The National Labor Tribune May 20, 1915


Q' Hab. 2:14 tells us that the earth will be covered with the knowledge of the Lord, and yet 2 Tim. 3:1-5 states that in the last days perilous times shall come, and men shall be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God! Please reconcile.

Answer' These two passages cannot be reconciled by viewing them as operative at one and the same time. It is very apparent that men would not be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God if the earth were covered with the knowledge of the Lord. Of course, men always have been lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. This passage does not apply to the world generally, but specially to those who have professed a knowledge of God and to be Christians (2 Tim. 3:1-5). As evidence that we are now in "the last days," we find the Church today is bent on pleasure, imbibing the spirit of the world instead of being separate from the worldly spirit. Hab. 2:14 does not apply to the present dispensation, but to the next age. Unless we can [HGL715] see that the object of the Gospel message between the first and second advents of the Lord is for the selection of the Church, to be used as the channel of God to bless the whole world in the next age with the knowledge of the Lord, we cannot hope to get the right harmony of God's Word on passages like those now under consideration. The selection of the Church will be completed in the "perilous times" at the end of the age. Then the blessing of the Lord will begin to go to the world and their instruction will continue until they "all know the Lord."

Q' What signs and portents may we expect previous to the setting up of Christ's Kingdom upon the earth?

Answer' The disciples presented a similar question to our Lord in Matt. 24:3 - "What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the age?" The Kingdom could not be set up unless the king had returned. The Answer will be easier understood if we remember that Jesus speaks here in symbolic language, and also that the word "coming" in verses 3, 27, 37, and 39 should be translated presence. The disciples did not ask what would be the sign by which they would know the exact moment of their Lord's arrival, but what signs would indicate his presence. Verses 37-39 indicate that he would be present doing a preparatory work unknown to the world. At first only the faithful waiting watchers will be aware of the dawning of the day of the Lord. Many signs are now evident of the very near approach of this time. It is a common expression, "Things are getting hotter and hotter," meaning that the friction between the contending forces is increasing. In all Europe the people are taxed to the limit of endurance for the support of armaments, the wealth of the nations is rapidly being wasted, and evidently the demand has not ceased. The discontent among the vast populations of Asia is causing much anxiety. In the ecclesiastical world there is chaos, and ministers confess they have no message to meet the present extremities. The strife in the world of labor is unceasing. All these point to the near approach of the dissolution of the present order, upon the ruins of which the glorious kingdom of God will be set up.

Q' Please explain 1 Cor. 14:34, 35. (a) "Let your women keep silence in the church; for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. (b) And if they will learn anything let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the Church."

Answer-(a) Any interpretation of the Apostle's word which would ignore all opportunity for the sisters to "labor in the Lord" would manifestly be erroneous. It is in the gatherings of the Church (whether two or three or more) for worship and praise and mutual edification that the sisters are to take a subordinate place and not attempt to be the leaders and teachers; thus to do would be usurping authority over the man, upon whom, both by nature and by precept, the Lord has placed the responsibility of the leading ministries undoubtedly for wise reasons, whether we could agree respecting them or not. The Apostle's restrictions evidently related to meetings such as he describes in 1 Cor. 14. These meetings included the sisters, who certainly shared all of its blessings joining in the songs and hymns and spiritual songs and in the prayers, by whomsoever offered. (b) Women were not to speak at all in such meetings, although outside the meetings or at home they might "ask their own husbands," or, more properly, their own men, they could suggest their views or make queries through those brethren (men) with whom they were most intimately acquainted their husbands, if possible, or brethren with whom they talked on their way homeward from meetings, etc. The word home in this text has the significance of family or acquaintanceship. The thought then is, Let them ask their questions of or through the males of their acquaintance. The Apostle proceeds to say, "It is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the Law" 1 Cor. 14:34-36.

Q-(a) When Christ was with God as the Word, was he on the same plane with God? (b) Was he of a higher nature than the angels?

Answer' While there is no definite and direct statement of the Scriptures to the effect that Christ's nature was higher than the angelic, yet that seems to be a proper inference. We read "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham" (Heb. 2:16). He was higher than the angelic nature and passed by it to take the human nature that he might be man's Redeemer. Above the angelic hosts there are Principalities and Powers, Cherubim and Seraphim. As to what these are, or as to the respects in which they differ from the angelic nature, we have no knowledge. Some have supposed that Jesus, in his pre-human existence, was on the same plane with Jehovah because he is spoken of as "God." This is because of a misunderstanding of the meaning of this word. It merely means "a mighty one." Thus a very literal rendering of John 1:1 gives us a correct idea of the relationship of the Father and his son. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with the God, and the Word was a God" (Diaglott. John 1:1).

Q' Matt. 16:24. Please explain this verse, more particularly how a man can deny himself, and what the Cross means.

Answer' Jesus was a perfect man; yet he denied himself the legitimate exercise of his pure, fleshly ambitions because he had, at Jordan when thirty years of age, presented himself as Adam's substitute a ransom for all, all condemned in Adam. On this account he was begotten of the Holy Spirit with a view to his being brought forth from the dead, after Calvary, a spirit being who would be highly exalted to God's right hand of power, and should become, in due time, the King of Kings and ruler of the human race. God graciously purposed to call out a people during the Gospel age who should follow in his steps suffering with him now, in order that they should, if faithful, be his joint-heirs in his kingdom (Rom. 8:17). What a prospect for the consecrated followers of Jesus! Surely we would gladly deny our fleshly ambitions their legitimate indulgence and count all things loss and dross if we might be found in him!

"If the crown we would wear, Then the Cross we must bear."

Q' Please explain 2 Cor. 12:4.

Answer' In the context the Apostle told of having been caught up to the third heaven which he here describes as [HGL716] paradise. In recent years Bible Students have learned to examine the Bible dispensationally. These dispensations are called ages, or worlds. According to the Apostle Peter (2 Pet. 3:6, 7, 13), we are now living in the second of these worlds or ages. Each dispensation had its two features earthly organization and spiritual rulership. The spiritual ruler of the present time is Satan, the Prince of this world (John 14:30). Our Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints to rule the new dispensation (Jude 14). The purpose of his reign will be the re-establishing of the perfect condition originally provided by God for man in the Garden of Eden. The end of his reign will see paradise restored. The Apostle is telling us of how he, in vision, saw this restored paradise. Since he was not permitted to tell the things he saw, we cannot know what he beheld of the beauties and grandeur of the earth restored and peopled by men in the image and likeness of God. However, we doubt not it will be so different from present conditions that we could not comprehend the description if one were able to give it. The restored race will be one loving family without an evil thought, without suffering or sorrow, a never dying race, unblemished by sin.

Q' May I ask, now that so many nations are engaged in such bloody warfare, yet desiring peace, "When will the desire of all nations come" according to Hag 2:7? Also, when will the prayers of all who have long prayed "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven," be answered, or have they already been answered?

Answer' The prophets declare that because of the increase of knowledge a still more general and wide-spread dissatisfaction will finally express itself in a world-wide revolution, in the overthrow of all law and order; that anarchy and distress upon all classes will be the result; but that in the midst of this confusion the God of Heaven will set up his Kingdom, which will satisfy the desires of all nations. Wearied and disheartened with their own failures, and finding their last and greatest efforts resulting in anarchy, men will gladly welcome and bow before the Heavenly authority, and recognize its strong and just government. Thus man's extremity will become God's opportunity, and "the desire of all nations shall come" the Kingdom of God, in power and great glory, bringing to all the peace they have desired but have been so far from attaining. True, men have hardly known what they want, but, when the Kingdom comes, they will find it their desire.

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