The National Labor Tribune, April 30, 1905

Altoona, Pa., April 30 – Pastor Russell spoke here this evening at the opera house.. His discourse, which we report in full, was on the parable of the sheep and the goats. (Matt. 25:31-46)

It was called forth in part by certain criticisms of Pastor Russell's discourse of some weeks ago at Greensburg, Pa., opera house on the subject, "To Hell and Back. Who Are There? Hope for the Return of Many of Them."

The attack was by a Lutheran minister, through the public press, and claimed that Pastor Russell's teachings were contradicted by the parable here considered. Christian people have held various views of the parable of the sheep and the goats, some claiming that the parable has been in process of fulfillment all down through the Gospel age and that it will be finished at the second coming of Christ. This view is shown to be erroneous by the first verse of the parable, which definitely locates the time of its fulfillment.

It begins at the time of the second advent of Christ, as is clearly intimated by the words, "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all his holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations," etc., etc. These momentous events have not yet occurred, and consequently the parable still belongs to the future.

Another interpretation given to the parable by some is that at the second advent of Christ, on the very day of his arrival, all the 20,000,000,000 of the dead will come forth and, together with the living, will all range themselves before the Lord, and that during that 24-hour day he, as the great King, will separate the sheep class from the goat class, gathering all the sheep to the right hand and all the goats to the left hand. This interpretation is not very satisfactory to anybody because, first, it implies that the Lord has made no determination yet as respects those who are his and those who are not.

Fitting this interpretation to the usual but erroneous thought that all the dead are either in heaven with God and the holy angels or in some nether world with demons and flames, it involved the thought that they were dealt with before they had been judged, before their true characters had been determined. It further involves the thought, therefore, that some who had gone to heaven and been there for centuries should have been in the other place, and others who had possibly gone to the other place by mistake should have gone to heaven, and this parable shows the time and manner in which the Lord will finally determine as to whether or not any serious mistakes had occurred and endeavor to rectify them.

Again this view is not altogether satisfactory in that it supposes God to be fallible, or else supposes a gathering of millions from heaven and hell to this earth again for no particular purpose, merely for a spectacular display which could alter nothing. This view as a whole is farcical, for it would be absurd to think of any kind of a judgment of the whole world or a separative gathering into two companies all over the earth in a 24-hour day. True, this is the prevailing view, but that proves nothing as respects its truthfulness or its reasonableness. It is to the discredit of theologians in general that any could entertain such a thought for a moment, or suppose that the Almighty and his glorified Son would participate in such a useless sham. The correct view takes into consideration the various parts of the parable and applies them in harmony with other Scriptures and in harmony with consecrated reason.


The parable applies at the end of this Gospel age, at the second advent of Christ, after the Judgment of the Church is past, after the Lord shall have selected from amongst mankind a people for his name, a "little flock," and the "great multitude" also. (Luke 12:32; Rev. 7:9)

The Bride class will, according to promise, be with him in his throne and shall not come into judgment with the world. And the Apostle points out, the Church will be the judges in the throne, and will not, therefore, be represented by either the sheep or the goats gathered before the throne for judgment. His words are, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Cor. 6:2)

The judgment of the Church is referred to in a preceding parable in the same chapter. In verse 14-30 we have the parable of the talents, in which our Lord represents his departure for a far country, heaven itself; and that during the period of his absence, during this Gospel age, his faithful servants should consider their privileges and opportunities as talents to be used in his service and that [NS180] he will first reckon with them on his return, at his second advent, rewarding each according to his faithfulness in the use of his opportunities, privileges, talents. To all the faithful he will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

The joy of the Lord, the throne of his glory, is brought to our attention in the succeeding verse. It will be the glory of the Millennial Kingdom, and the period for the judging of the world by Christ, the great King, and the Church his Bride with him in his throne. It will not be a 24-hour day, but a day of the kind mentioned by the Apostle Peter, saying, "Be not ignorant of this one thing, brethren, that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years."

It will be during that thousand years of the reign of Christ known as the Millennial day, whose dawning we hope, is very near at hand – during that day the Lord will gradually, thoroughly, effectively gather before him in judgment all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues. Those who have gone down into the tomb will come forth, that they may participate in the experiences of that great thousand-year judgment day.


Those who have been accustomed to think of the judgment day as merely a time of terror, "doomsday," will no doubt be surprised when we call to their attention that the Scriptures speak to the contrary of this, and assure us that the judgment day will be a mark of divine favor toward humanity. Theology has gotten miserably twisted on this subject, far away from the Bible presentation, and hence the prevalence of the wrong, unscriptural view of the day of judgment. Allow me to quote for you the words of the prophecy respecting this great judgment day, that you may see that the Lord, guiding the words of the Prophet David by inspiration, calls upon all mankind to rejoice that there is to be a judgment day. (1 Chron. 16:31-34)

He says: "Let the heavens be glad, And let the earth rejoice; And let men say among the nations (Gentiles) Jehovah reigneth. Let the sea roar and the fulness thereof; Let the fields rejoice and all that are therein. Then shall the trees of the wood sing aloud At the presence of Jehovah, Because he cometh to judge the earth. O give thanks unto Jehovah, for he is good; For his mercy endureth forever."

Our race had a trial once representatively. Father Adam was on trial, and when he failed his trial was over, he was condemned, and, since none of his posterity could be better or purer, and all were really parts of him, the condemnation rested against us all, as the Apostle declares, "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men because all are sinners." (Rom. 5:12)

Our race does not need to be twice tried or twice sentenced for the same crime. Since the sentence upon the race is a death sentence, Justice could not grant another trial, but has held that all are condemned, all are under sentence of death. The Scriptures teach that in view of man's inability to recover from the penalty of original sin, there would have been no future life possible to any of us except as God in his mercy provided for that future life through the great sacrifice finished at Calvary. That sacrifice, the Scriptures tell us, was a full offset to the original sin. It was not only sufficient to meet the claims against the whole world, all of whom had been sentenced in the first Adam. Thus the Apostle declares, "As by man came death, by a man also (Christ) came the resurrection of the dead."

The signification of this is that God has appointed that through Christ all who will of the human family may come back into harmony with their Creator, and attain again the full perfection lost by Adam because of sin, including life eternal.


But although Christ has died, sin and death are still reigning over the human family as before. The only exceptions are the few who believe in and accept and follow the teachings of the Redeemer. These, we are scripturally told, are a special class, "elect," favored. But their blessings and favors are not of the earthly kind but are by faith spiritual, unseen to the world. Those who constitute this class, as we have seen, are on judgment now.

They have in advance of the world an opportunity granted them of showing their love for the Lord, for the Truth and for righteousness, by their willing sacrifices in the service of these. At the close of their trial, when all the Lord's jewels shall have been gathered and polished, he will take them up or gather them at his second coming. They shall constitute the Bride class, the "very elect," heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord. These shall sit with him in the throne of his glory during the Millennial age, as the Apostle says, to "judge the world," as this parable of the sheep and goats illustrates. The Scriptures represent that the world is deaf to what is now going on, namely, to the selection and judgment and trial of the Church to this great [NS181] position of glory, honor and immortality with the Redeemer, and participation with him in the work of the Millennial age. "This world knoweth us not even as it knew him not." [1 John 3:1]


The Apostle Paul not only points out that the members of the Church are to be judges of the world with Christ, but he also points out that in the divine plan a specific period or epoch, a "day with the Lord," a thousand years with men, is set apart for the very purpose of judging the world. His words are, "God hath appointed (future) a day in the which he will (future) judge the world in righteousness (impartially and equitably) by that man whom he hath ordained" (the great new man of which Jesus is the Head and those constituting the Church are reckoned members.)

The Apostle's declaration is that God hath given assurance of the fulfillment of this promise by raising Jesus from the dead. He demonstrates God's approval of Jesus and his intention to execute all the gracious provisions of his plan foretold through the prophets. In the divine plan the thousand-year day has been appointed for the judging of the world, Christ has been appointed to be the great chief of those who are trying the case, and the Church-approved in the trial which takes place during this Gospel age – is to be associated in the judging work. On what score shall this judgment take place? For what will the world be on trial?

Will mankind be tried for Adam's sin? No, because Christ died for Adam s sin. Will the world be tried for the sins of its own weakness and ignorance while yet it was blind and deaf? No, because the redemption price which Jesus paid not only covered Adam's personal transgressions but also the transgressions of all his posterity which have resulted from the ignorance and weakness and frailty which followed the first transgression. The weaknesses and blemishes of heredity are, therefore, all paid for, and the world can not in justice be held responsible for these when it shall be brought to trial.

In this respect it will be the same with them that it is with the Church: when we accept Christ and the favor of God through him, are we judged for the weaknesses and imperfections which went before our justification, or are we merely judged for those blemishes which followed our justification? Certainly not more than the latter. We are reckoned to be "new creatures;" old things have passed away, are reckoned to have passed away. The new mind, the new will, is reckoned as being free from the sin and condemnation which belonged to the old will, the old man. Even the blemishes of the flesh which are unwilling, to which our wills do not consent, are graciously covered with the merit of Christ's righteousness imputed to us. Will it not be the same with the world when the day which God appointed shall arrive, when Christ shall sit upon his throne and when all nations shall be gathered before him in judgment?

May we not see clearly that the King's own death as the man Christ Jesus covered all the blemishes and weaknesses and imperfections of the past, for the world as well as for the Church, and that even their blemishes and imperfections of the future would not be permitted to weigh against them if they are sincerely desirous of becoming his sheep, of being led to him. So then, the judgment of the world in the future age will be very similar to the judgment of the Church in this age, so far as the matters of judgment are concerned. As now the Lord's people are judged according to their desires and intentions of heart, and the past is all under the blood, so it will be with the world and its judgment day; the past will all be under the blood, and the world will be on trial to see what it will do with Christ, with the love of God manifested toward it, with all the favors and mercies of the divine plan within its reach.


The Lord speaks of his Church of this Gospel age as his sheep, his flock, and we rejoice in this term and in the care of the Shepherd; but this must not hinder us from seeing the meaning of the words, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, that they be one fold and one Shepherd." [John 10:16]

The parable we are considering shows us when and how the Lord will seek for this second flock, how he will find them amongst the nations during the day of the world's judgment, and gather them all to his right hand of favor. Others not his sheep will be gathered to his left hand of disfavor. As to the ultimate results of that judgment of the world the Lord gives but little clue.

We might naturally be inclined to suppose that, with all the blessed favors and privileges and opportunities and knowledge which the Millennial age will bring to the world, the whole human family would develop into sheep; but the parable seems to teach to the contrary, seems to teach that there will be some who, even after their eyes and ears shall have been opened to see and to appreciate something of the Lord's plan, will still fail to develop that measure of loving obedience and accord with righteousness which would have his approval, which would mark them as sheep, which would entitle them under the divine arrangement at the close [NS182] of the Millennial age, to be ushered into the everlasting Kingdom of God. The gathering to judgment will be a gradual one, not all at the same moment, not all on the same day, not all in the same year. All nations will be gathered, however – first the living nations; subsequently, gradually, more and more will be gathered from the tomb, until all the race shall be assembled excepting those who have been favored in advance during this Gospel age.

All shall see the King in his beauty, shall discern that they are living under the reign of Immanuel, shall realize that the clouds and darkness of this present time of evil, of sin, of Satan, have rolled away and a new dispensation has been inaugurated, and that no longer will it be necessary to suffer for righteousness' sake but only for evil doing.

The work of separating will be a gradual one, and will not be fully completed until the close of the Millennial age. Each member of Adam's race will have a full opportunity for not only receiving instruction in righteousness, but for making his personal decision as respects the same. In other words, each will have an opportunity for the development of character. Those who either refuse or neglect the opportunity for forming characters which God could approve as worthy of life eternal, will be amongst the goats, while all who will form characters in accord with the divine arrangement and plan will be amongst the sheep.


The rewarding of the sheep and the punishing of the goats will come at the close of the Millennial age. True, great blessings will be upon all during the Millennial age, upon each in proportion to his obedience to the divine standards, but only at the close of the age will the full reward be granted. The reward to be granted to those sheep is not the same reward which will be granted in the end of this age to the sheep of this Gospel age flock.

The promise to the faithful sheep of this Gospel age is expressed by the Lord himself in these words, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I have overcome and am set down with my Father in his throne;" [Rev. 3:21] "To him that overcometh will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron." [Rev. 2:26,27] The promise to the sheep of the Millennial age is a kingdom promise, too, but does not pertain to the same Kingdom.

They will inherit the kingdom which God prepared from the foundation of the world, from the time of Adam's creation. That kingdom was given to Adam originally; he was the first king of earth while in the image of his Creator. As it is written of him, "Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels and didst crown him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet." Psa. 8:5, 6

By disobedience father Adam lost the rulership and power in his kingdom, and the entire kingdom of nature has suffered in consequence. The reign of Christ during the Millennium will be for the purpose of lifting up so many of mankind as shall then desire to come back into full harmony with the Lord, lifting them up out of the mire of sin and out of the miry clay and horrible pit of sin and death, lifting them up to all that Adam was before he sinned – to the image and likeness of their Creator. This the Apostle Peter designates restitution (Acts 3:20, 21), which he tells us will begin at our Lord's second advent. But even the obedient of mankind will not be fit to be entrusted with the kingdom of the world until absolute perfection shall have been reached, and the perfection of the race will not be attained, as we have seen, until the end of the thousand-year day appointed for the purpose, and then the worthy will be granted the kingdom of earth, the dominion under the whole heavens.

With this transfer of the earthly control to the perfect man of that time. Christ's Millennial Kingdom or mediatorial Kingdom will end. In delivering the Kingdom up to the perfect and worthy members of the race he will be delivering it up to the Father, in full harmony with the Father's original arrangement, interfered with by original sin. What the glories of this earth will be when man, the king of earth, shall be restored to the image of his Creator, and when the earth itself shall be filled with the glory of God, no tongue can tell, no mind can properly picture; we can only wonder and praise and adore the loving God, whose provision has been so bountiful for every creature, every member of the fallen race.


A sharp distinction should be drawn between the heavenly promises and heavenly rewards which are for the Church, selected or elected during this Gospel age, and the earthly rewards, the earthly kingdom and earthly paradise blessings which are to be provided for the remainder of mankind willing to be in accord with the Lord under the favorable terms as they will then be presented to them. If the earthly blessings will be glorious the heavenly blessings will exceed in glory, for "Eye hath not seen neither hath ear heard, nor hath it entered the heart of man, the things which God hath in reservation for those who love him," "for the called according to his purpose." – 1 Cor. 2:9; Rom. 8:28 [NS183] The goat class will not be punished for such crimes as are common today, murder, theft, arson, blasphemy. They will be punished because of a failure to develop properly the spirit of love, for love is the fulfilling of the law, and none can meet the divine approval except those whose sentiments will attain to the degree of loving Jehovah with all their hearts, minds, being and strength, and their neighbors as themselves. The sheep of the Millennial age, we may be sure will attain to this love, which God's law marks as the proper measure of God-likeness; and the goats of the Millennial age, we may be equally sure, will be the ones who will not have this God-likeness. The Lord represents the goats as being the associates or companions of Satan and the fallen angels. Satan lost his perfection and purity and harmony with God through disobedience inspired by ambition, and so this goat class is represented as having some of Satan's characteristics – as being unfaithful to the Word and Spirit of the Lord. Hence they, as well as Satan and all in harmony with him, are denominated accursed, "condemned."


Verse 46 explains, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment," and in verse 41 the punishment is referred to figuratively as everlasting fire. This is the special point on which we are opposed by many of the Lord's people, who, we think, misunderstand the teachings of his Word, because still more or less under the baneful influence of the smoke of the Dark Ages. It will be admitted that in our Lord's parables figures are used: for instance, in one wheat and tares, in another sheep and goats. The tares are represented as being bundled and burned, likewise the goats are to be burned. But our dear friends forget that if the tare is a symbol and the wheat is a symbol so must the garner be a symbol and the fire a symbol. Likewise as the sheep is a symbol and the goat a symbol, the fire must be a symbol. The next point is, What does fire symbolize? We answer that it always symbolizes destruction. No one even knew of a preservative fire. The thought of destruction is always associated with it. Thus in Revelation, for instance, we are given a symbolical picture of a lake of fire and brimstone, and immediately after we are given a key to the symbol in the words, "which is the Second Death." [Rev. 21:8]

Fire represents destruction, and brimstone represents one of the deadliest gases known. The Lord has thus, in the figures used in the Scriptures, particularly guarded us against the thought of preservation of life in this punishment. Furthermore, there are other Scriptures that are not symbolical, which are not parabolic, which tell definitely what the punishment of the wicked is to be. It is our duty in seeking the interpretation of the Scriptures to interpret symbols and parables by literal statements. Let us hear, then, from the Scriptures what is the punishment for sin. The Apostle Paul refers to sinners and the punishment that would be brought upon them saying, "They shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power." [2 Thess. 1:9]

Here we have it plain enough; the punishment is not everlasting torture but everlasting punishment destruction, or reversing the statement everlasting destruction is everlasting punishment. Again we read, "All the wicked will he destroy;" [Psa. 145:20] again, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." [Eze. 18:4, 20]

Everything in the Scriptures agrees with this thought, that the punishment that God has prepared for those who are finally incorrigible is the Second Death, utter destruction of the being, without hope of recovery, without hope of another redemption, without hope of another resurrection, without hope of any opportunity of any kind – "They shall be as though they had not been." [Oba. 16]


The Greek word here rendered everlasting is not as strong as our English word which represents it. However, on this point we raise no question; it is the same word that is used in referring to everlasting life which will be granted to the sheep. It may be well, however, to notice that life, being the Lord's gift to the sheep, implies that no life will be given to the goats – it thus implies the kind of punishment which the Scriptures describe, namely, a death punishment, an extinction of life; and this will continue forever, as we have seen. The Greek word here rendered "punishment" does not signify torture nor imply pain. The Greek word is "kolasin," and literally signifies restraint. It is thus used in secular Greek writings, as, for instance, we read, "The charioteer restrains (kolasin) his fiery steeds."

It may mean more or less of restraint. In the case of the goat class the assurance is that it signifies complete restraint, the restraint of death, into which Satan and all who are in sympathy with him and his rebellion against the divine regulations will be restrained to the full – destroyed in the Second Death. We submit to the candid hearers that this parable rightly interpreted is full of meaning to the Lord's people, showing not only how the seed of Abraham, the elect with Christ at the Head, will soon be the King of the Earth to reign during the Millennial age, to [NS184] bless the world, to judge the world, to uplift the world, but how, also, all mankind will assuredly be brought under the restraint of that judgment day and its assistances, and how after the enjoyment of those blessings the tests will be finally unto life everlasting or death everlasting, according to the character developed by the children of Adam – according to whether they develop the sheep character of docility and obedience or the goat character of waywardness and self-assertion. The Lord's provision, as the Apostle points out, is – The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, but the wages of sin is death.

The National Labor Tribune, May 7, 1905

Pastor C. T. Russell was with his home congregation Sunday. The services were held in Carnegie hall, Allegheny, Bible House chapel being too small for the occasion. The topic was the "Keys" given to St. Peter. It was announced that two weeks from last Sunday, namely, on the 21st inst., Pastor Russell would speak in the same place from the text, "Upon this rock will I build my Church."

The text for Sunday afternoon was, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 16:19)

The discourse follows: Much of the language of Scripture as well as much of our everyday conversation is in figures of speech. Indeed, mental imagery is the basis of all language, and the more poetic the temperament the more clearly this will be comprehended and appreciated. The giving of keys to St. Peter symbolically represents to our minds the thought of some doors that up to that time had been closed, locked, and which Peter was to have the honor of opening. We aren't to think that Peter was given the keys of heaven, as though heaven up to that time had been a closed prison. He did not receive the keys of heaven. That is an erroneous thought which many have gathered from our Lord's words without the slightest authority. The statement reads explicitly enough, "the keys of the kingdom of heaven."

The expression, "the kingdom of heaven," was familiar to the Jews, because for many centuries they had been waiting for the fulfillment of God's promise that a kingdom of heaven should be established in the earth for blessing all the families of the earth, for the overthrow of evil and the lifting up of the standard of righteousness and truth. The Jews understood that this kingdom could not come, could not be established, except through the power of Messiah, and hence their hopes for their kingdom blended with their hopes for Messiah and their anticipation that they would be the favored people of earth under his regime. Our Lord at his first advent in all of his teachings fostered this idea, assuring the disciples that as the Father had appointed the kingdom to him, he would share it with his faithful followers, and that the faithful of his disciples should sit with him in his throne "in the regeneration" – in the times of restitution. (Acts 3:19-21)

It was this Kingdom they were to hope for at his second advent and for it they were to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." [Matt. 6:10]

Thus seen the Kingdom in reality is still future, still waited for, still hoped for and prayed for; but it had an embryo beginning directly after the Lord had paid for the world the ransom price of his life at Calvary. When he rose from the dead his apostles were commissioned to proceed with the work of telling the good tidings that the world had been redeemed, and inviting those who believed to turn from sin, to become Christ's disciples, and to lay down their lives in his service, trusting for reward that they should constitute the Kingdom class, the Royal Priesthood, under and in conjunction with their Savior. All who would take these steps of faith and obedience and consecration were to be recognized by the Lord and by each other as the respective heirs of the Kingdom – the Kingdom class. It was understood that all thus joining the Kingdom class were probationary members only, and that a full acceptance to Kingdom honors depended upon faithfulness. Hence the exhortation of the Scriptures to all of this favored class, called the elect, is that they shall persevere and make their calling and election sure by so running as to obtain the great prize, the great privilege, the great honor to which they have been called and accepted in Christ. [NS185]


From the foregoing it will be seen that the use of the keys in opening the doors of the Kingdom had nothing whatever to do with any sectarian system. It was not the Methodist kingdom, nor the Presbyterian nor the Roman Catholic nor the Lutheran nor the Baptist nor any other earthly system that Peter was commissioned to open. None of these systems mentioned were dreamed of in the days of the apostles. The keys were to be used in connection with the Lord's Kingdom – to open the embryo kingdom to all who were of the condition of heart above described, and who had the hearing ear.

Although the Kingdom of heaven had been promised, had been hoped for by the Jews for centuries, there had been no opportunity for entering it because the door was closed, and that door could not be opened – that is to say, no Kingdom of heaven and no blessings of restitution through that Kingdom were possible – until first Christ Jesus our Lord and Head had paid the great penalty for the sins of the whole world. From the time of our Lord's baptism and consecration unto death, the work of redemption having begun, the work of proclaiming the Kingdom was due, and hence the message of Jesus and his apostles was, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent and believe the good tidings.

Our Lord described the situation saying, "The law and the prophets were until John; since then the kingdom of heaven is preached and every man presseth into it," [Luke 16:16] or, properly, every one should seek to enter it. But although our Lord collected a goodly number of disciples during his ministry, about five hundred of whom were counted worthy to be witnesses of his resurrection, nevertheless none of these were actually received into the Kingdom relationship, into an adoption of the holy Spirit, until after our Lord had finished his sacrifice, had risen from the dead, had ascended up on high, had appeared in the presence of the Father on our behalf and had appropriated to believers a share in the merit of his sacrifice. Then the holy Spirit was shed forth upon those who had received Jesus, and was to them an evidence of their acceptance with the Father as prospective members of the Kingdom of God's dear Son, as prospective kings and priests under our Lord as the great King and High Priest of our profession.

They would be tested, but the position granted them was sure to them if they maintained the earnest and loyal sentiment of heart with which they already had made consecration. The Lord's grace would be sufficient for them and keep them and develop them, working in them to will and to do his good pleasure, instructing them and fitting them for joint heirship in the Kingdom. It was at this juncture, just when the Lord had endowed all those who had already made consecration during his ministry and had himself admitted them into this Kingdom relationship – at this juncture Peter was to use his key and to throw wide open the door into this Kingdom class.

How successfully he used this key or authority to throw open the privileges of the Kingdom is clearly stated in the account of the preaching done immediately after the holy Spirit was poured out. The other apostles, of course, were associated in the work and assisted, but Peter was the leader and chief spokesman in that opening work of the Gospel dispensation, in the invitation then extended to all the Jews to purge themselves from their sins through faith in the Redeemer and to accept the conditions of the Kingdom, as we read – "Peter, standing up with the eleven lifted up his voice and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you and hearken to my words ... This is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel... Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the holy Spirit," etc. [Acts 2:14, 16, 38]

So powerfully was the key of the Kingdom used by the Lord in the hands of St. Peter that 3,000 believers were found and brought in through the door thus opened – six times as many as had accepted our Lord during the three and one-half years of his ministry. It was not that Peter was thus powerful and a more eloquent preacher than he had ever been before, it was not that he was superior to his Master, but that the time had come for the throwing open of the door to the Israelites indeed in whom there was no guile, and the Lord's providence and holy Spirit directed and overruled so that this great work was accomplished – so that those previously the Lord's he granted to see their privilege of entering into the Kingdom class.

For three and one-half years after Pentecost the blessing of the Lord was upon the Jews according to his promise, up to the end of their symbolic week of favor. That week of years, seven years, began with Jesus' baptism, and in the midst of it, as the prophet had foretold, Messiah was cut off, not for himself but for the sins of the people. The remaining half of the week, three and one-half years, marked special, continued favor upon natural Israel for the gathering out of them of all the Israelites indeed in whom there was no guile. During this time, God's favor being still confined to Israel, the Gentiles had neither part nor lot in the matter. But at the end of that seventieth week, namely, three and a half years after Pentecost, God's favor was due to extend beyond Israel to all Gentiles who were in a proper condition of heart. There, as the Apostle Paul explains, the middle wall of partition was broken down, and the [NS186] Gentiles obtained opportunity to share in all the blessings of the Kingdom as fully and thoroughly as the Jews.


At this juncture, at the proper time for the opening of the door for the Gentiles into the Kingdom privileges, it was proper that the Lord's grace toward the Gentiles should be manifested and that he should use some instrumentality in this manifestation. Angelic beings could have been used, any of the apostles or any of the other loyal brethren could have been used of the Lord, but, in harmony with his promise that Peter should have the keys to the Kingdom, the Lord used him in the opening of the door of divine favor to the Gentiles.

We all remember the narrative – how Peter, like the other apostles and believers, understood that divine favors were exclusively for the Jews, and accordingly confined their efforts for those three and a half years to the Jews. At the same time there were amongst the Gentiles some equally as devoted, equally as sincere, equally as zealous for the Lord as amongst the Jews. One of these, Cornelius, reverenced God, prayed to him, frequently gave much alms, and in general lived a very model life, but being a Gentile he was outside the wall, he was shut out from entering the door that was opened by Peter, which was only a Jewish door, a door of favor which belonged to that people by divine arrangement.

Now, however, the seventy weeks of favor having expired, the Lord would begin to show his favor to the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name, to be one with those selected from amongst the Jews. Accordingly God sent a message to Cornelius by an angel, assuring him that his alms were appreciated by the Lord and that his prayers were heard and that he should send for Peter to open the door before him that he might enter into the Kingdom class. He sent his servants, God in the meantime preparing Peter to respond, although the whole proceeding was contrary to the prejudices of himself and his nation, of centuries standing. The message was to send for Simon Peter who when he was come, should "tell him words" which should be to the saving of himself and his house.

The telling of the words was the preaching of the Gospel, the explaining to Cornelius of how Jesus the Son of God had come into the world for our redemption, how he was made flesh, holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, how he gave his human life as our ransom price, how his faithfulness and acceptableness to God were indicated by his resurrection, how he had ascended as the Mediator, how already through faith in him many of the Jews had realized their sins forgiven, covered, and had been received into fellowship with God, to be prospective heirs in the Kingdom. As Peter explained the situation Cornelius accepted the thought and believed, and the time having come for the acceptance of such as he, St. Peter's words were blessed to his heart and the Lord poured out his spirit upon Cornelius, a Gentile by birth, as he had previously, at Pentecost, done upon those who were Jews by birth. Thus the second door was opened – the door to the Gentiles.


National favor to the Jew ended at the time of our Lord's crucifixion, as he said to them five days before when he rode on the ass, "Your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall see me no more till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." [Matt. 23:38, 39]

As a nation Israel has been without divine favor since, but the time is not far distant when at the second coming of our Lord many of that people shall say indeed, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Jehovah," and shall receive him, as the Apostle Paul distinctly points out in Rom. 11:25-36.

After the national rejection of Israel the special individual favor of God was with that people, as we have just seen, for three and a half years. Subsequently, notwithstanding the breaking down of the middle wall of partition at the time the door was opened to the Gentiles, nevertheless Israel stood first in the Lord's great plan; as the Apostle Paul points out, it was necessary that the Gospel should first be preached to you (the Jews), but also to the Gentiles. The full end of favor to the Jew, in every sense of the word, was reached in A. D. 69, when their entire system and polity were overthrown, not to be restored in any sense or degree until after Spiritual Israel shall have attained the Kingdom. Then, as the Apostle points out, they (Israel after the flesh) shall obtain mercy through your favor – through the favor of the Gospel Church, which will then be glorified with the Lord as Spiritual Israel. At that point, therefore, A.D. 69, the Jewish door of favor closed, and since then they are privileged to enter the Kingdom of heaven class only upon the same terms and conditions as the Gentiles.


The doors to the Kingdom class were not designed to stand open forever. One of them, as we have seen, has already closed; the other will close as soon as the foreordained number of the elect shall have made their calling and election sure. The fact that one of these [NS187] doors has stood open for eighteen centuries should not deceive one into thinking that it will never close. Our Lord himself in one of his parables illustrates this matter, saying that when they that were ready went in to the marriage, the door was shut [Matt. 25:10]. The fulfilment of this will be that when the last member of the elect Church shall have been fully accepted, graduated, there will be no further opportunity for entering into the Kingdom class.

We are not saying that the door of mercy will be closed. God forbid! On the contrary, as the Scriptures declare, God's mercy endureth forever – to a completeness – until all whom he sees would profit by his mercy shall have had the fullest opportunity and until all others shall have been destroyed in the Second Death. It will be a happy day for the world when the door into this Kingdom class shall close.

For centuries the whole creation has been groaning and travailing in pain together, waiting – waiting for the consummation of this feature of the divine plan – waiting for the gathering of the Lord's jewels from every kindred, people, nation and tongue – waiting for the Royal Priesthood to be complete – waiting for the glories of the Kingdom of heaven then to shine forth, and its power then to be exercised, for the restraining of evil and for the uplifting of all who, under the light of that glorious day, shall aspire to righteousness and harmony with God. The Apostle's words are, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." Rom. 8:22,19

The Apostle elsewhere says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God (but not glorified); and it doth not yet appear what we shall be (how glorious, how powerful); but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." [1 John 3:2]

The Son of God, our great Redeemer, finished his work eighteen centuries ago, and in the interim has been working in his people to will and to do of his good pleasure, working in them through the experiences and trials and disciplines and oppositions of this present time to prepare them to be his associates and joint-heirs in the great work of blessing mankind. Let us, then, thank God that the company of the elect will soon be complete and that the door will be shut and that shortly thereafter the great blessing of all the families of the earth will ensue.


Meantime, dear friends, the thought that the company of the elect will soon be complete and that the door into that honored position will soon be closed, is a momentous one to us. It should not cause us alarm, but, as the Apostle expresses the matter, it should cause us fear. He says, "Let us fear, lest the promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should seem to come short of it." [Heb. 4:1]

To have heard with the ears of our understanding respecting the wonderful Kingdom for which God has been preparing for six thousand years and which is to be his instrumentality for the blessing of all mankind, and to have seen our privilege of becoming members of that Kingdom class and to have entered into covenant relationship with the Lord with this in view and be counted in as prospective members of that Kingdom, and then to come short of it, to miss it – to fail to make our calling and election sure – would indeed be a sad disappointment to us, a loss compared with which all earthly losses would be as dross and, as the Apostle declares, unworthy to be compared with the glories which, if faithful, shall be revealed in us. Let the thought inspire us to greater personal zeal, to greater faithfulness in following in the footsteps of our Lord in all of life's affairs. Let the promises gird up the loins of our minds and make us strong and courageous to be, to do and to endure according to the Lord's good pleasure, assured that all things are working together for good to them that love him and are called according to his purpose.


True, the Scriptures speak of the closing of the period in which the door to the Kingdom class shall be shut as being one of fiery trials. But as we come to understand more fully the divine program we perceive that even these trials and sorrows that are coming upon the world are intended of the Lord to work out eventually a blessing. That is to be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation, a time of anarchy and confusion and general distress, symbolically pictured in the prophecies under the figures of fire, cyclones, floods and storms.

All this is but the plowshare of the Lord breaking up the fallow ground of the world of mankind in general, to prepare them for the messages of peace and blessing and the glorious opportunities which will immediately follow the trouble – when the Kingdom of God's dear Son shall shine forth as the Sun of Righteousness to scatter the darkness and mists of ignorance and prejudice and sin, to enlighten and to bless and to refresh the world of mankind. Thus rightly viewed in the light of divine promise these troubles are Millennial harbingers, in which, while sympathizing with the world and its bitter experiences, we can nevertheless rejoice greatly, praying, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." [Matt. 6:10]

If, therefore, by God's grace we have gained access into this Kingdom class, let us hold fast to all the blessings which we have [NS188] received, let us hear the word of our Master assuring us that if faithful he will not blot our names out of the book of life and will not apportion our crowns to others. Rev. 3:5-11

The National Labor Tribune, May 14, 1905


Tiffin, O., May 14, 1905 – Pastor C. T. Russell spoke twice here today to large and attentive audiences. His evening discourse, which we report, was from the text, "He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Isa. 53:3

Goodness and sorrow do not naturally associate themselves in our minds. Neither does the statement, "He who sins shall suffer," commend itself to us. We cannot suppose that our great Creator and the holy angels of the heavenly hosts are sad, sorrowful, grief-stricken: on the contrary, we naturally and properly associate with the heavenly purity the thought that there's no night there, no clouds, no shadows, no pain, no sorrow, no crying, no dying; and yet, the same Scriptures which assure us that our Lord Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, picture him to us as having been a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Why is this? Why were our Lord's experiences so different from what we should have expected from one who was perfect? The Scriptures clearly set forth that sin is the cause of all our sorrows, our troubles. Hearken to the Apostle: "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world and death as the result of sin, and thus death passed upon all men for all are sinners." Rom. 5:12.

Our sorrows, then, are parts of the penalty for sin, evidences of the death sentence working in us as transgressors of the divine law. True, this sentence came not directly upon us but upon our first parents; yet having inherited from them all that they could give us we find that inheritance an imperfect or cursed condition. "We are born in sin, shapen in iniquity." [Psa. 51:5]

"There is none righteous; no, not one." [Rom. 3:10]

Thus we readily account for our sorrows, our pains, our troubles – in that we are sinners. Our question, however, is, How and why was our Redeemer a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, since he was not a sinner, since he was not the inheritor of the weaknesses and imperfections common to the human family, but had his life directly from the Father, transferred from the heavenly condition?


A little reflection proves to us that our Redeemer, who knew no sin, and whose previous association had been with the Father and the holy ones in heaven, transplanted from the heavenly to the earthly condition, from the heavenly surroundings to the sinful surroundings of fallen humanity, would realize the gloom and blight of sin and death far more than any of Adam's race, than any of those with whom he mingled. They had been born amidst the gloom of sin, the weakness and depravity resulting therefrom and the sorrow and dying connected therewith. Never having known other conditions they had become considerably inured to those surroundings, even as mankind are today. For, notwithstanding the Apostle's declaration that "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together," there are many of our race who do not sufficiently realize their condition to groan for themselves. Blunted physically, morally and mentally, stunted and stupefied, they are unable to comprehend the depth of their miserably fallen condition, and to some extent their ignorance and stupor is blissful to them.

On the contrary, we must see that it would have been impossible for our Lord Jesus to have been anything else than a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, considering how his heart was noble, pure, true and loving, and that he was suddenly immersed into so uncongenial surroundings. Take an illustration from our own experience. Let one who had been reared under conditions socially and physically favorable, with refined sentiments and esthetic tastes, visit heathen lands and witness their degradation or visit the slums of his own land and come in contact with the degraded, depraved, "submerged," and his feeling will be that of extreme revulsion, the sights and sounds and odors will nauseate him in every sense of the word, and, in proportion as his heart is tender and full of sympathy with others, he will feel sorrow and grief for the unfortunates – more than they feel for themselves. Accustomed to such surroundings [NS189] they have gradually become inured to them and have even learned to take a certain measure of pleasure in the sights and sounds which so grate upon and grieve the more refined. From this standpoint we may well see that it is no wonder that our Lord, although previously accustomed to fulness of joy, when transplanted to human conditions was pre-eminently the man of sorrows and more acquainted with grief than others.


The context corroborates this thought, saying, "Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows."

It was our condition which moved our dear Redeemer to sorrow and grief in sympathetic compassion; it was our helpless and pitiable condition as condemned sinners that induced his tears, for "Jesus wept."

Not a word throughout the Scriptures to the effect that Jesus laughed – the surroundings as viewed from his standpoint were too serious. A race was under sentence of death, and mentally, morally, and physically diseases were preying upon it and bringing it down to the tomb. The picture is enough to excite the sympathy of all – a race created in the image and likeness of God, in harmony with his beneficent arrangements for its peace and prosperity and everlasting life, had fallen to the wretched condition which surrounded the Savior; and although the Jewish nation had possessed much advantage every way in that God's favor was manifested toward it through the Law, through the testimony of the prophets, etc., so that it was on a higher moral plane than the remainder of mankind, nevertheless even amongst those with whom the Master associated it must have seemed terrible to him that, instead of love and pity and sympathy and brotherly kindness and gentleness and patience and all the graces of the Spirit to which he was accustomed, he should find the very reverse spirit prominent amongst men – the spirit of selfishness, hatred, anger, malice, strife, idolatry of name and fame and wealth, an almost utter blindness to that love and loyalty to God which should fill their whole hearts and to the Golden Rule which should guide their conduct one toward another. No wonder our Redeemer was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief – sorrow for us, grief for our conditions.


But to have merely sorrowed for us and had grief for our deplorable condition would have advantaged us little: something more was necessary, and that our Lord did for us. There was a penalty against Adam, in which all of his posterity shared by inheritance. His was a death sentence (not an eternal torment sentence). It reads, "Ye shall surely die" – "Return to the dust from whence thou wast taken" – "The soul that sinneth, it shall die;" and because all souls had proceeded from Father Adam's loins, every soul of man was under this sentence because imperfect, unable to commend himself to God. The thing necessary first was more than sorrow and grief and sympathy, and this necessary thing our Lord did for us as a race. He died as the Apostle declares, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures," and again, "He died the Just for the unjust that he might bring us to God."

This was indeed sorrow and grief and sympathy taking on a most practical form, paying the ransom price for the sins of the whole world. We have no sympathy with those who claim to be wiser than what is written, who claim that the death of Christ was not necessary as the propitiation, satisfaction for our sins. We have no sympathy with the suggestion that God did not require a sacrifice. Everything in Scripture as well as all the facts of history show that without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins. The penalty for sin being death, the world's condition was hopeless unless a Redeemer took the place of the first transgressor, through whom the entire race fell under the curse, the death sentence. Unless that death sentence were met by one holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners there never could be a resurrection of the dead, there never could be a recovery from the power of the tomb, the power of sheol, the power of hades. There never could be a Millennial age, "times of restitution," so long as the original sentence stood against the race.

It is in line with this that the Scriptures everywhere hold out the thought that our race has been purchased by the Redeemer, that we are bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ – bought from the sentence of Justice, the price of our Lord's sacrifice being paid to justice and in harmony with the divine plan wherein was manifested both the love and justice of God. This is the essence of the Gospel – Jesus has died, and there is remission "through the merit of his sacrifice;" the sins and imperfections of our race can be passed over by divine justice, and those once condemned to death can have opportunity of attaining life everlasting through him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood. Whoever hears the message has the opportunity of accepting the Life-giver and becoming his follower.

True, not many hear of these good tidings clearly and distinctly in the present time; but the assurance is that in due time all the blinded eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears unstopped – all shall know of God's mercy [NS190] and goodness and love and provision. It is in view of the ultimate results of this great redemptive work that the angels sang at our Redeemer's birth – "We bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people. For unto you ... a Savior which is Christ the Lord." [Luke 2:10]


The inquiry is a reasonable one, Why has not the curse of death been rolled away from humanity if it be true that Jesus paid the ransom price – that he redeemed us through the sacrifice of his life? We reply that God's ways are higher than man's ways, God's plans are higher than man's plans. God has purposed a higher and grander and more thorough-going salvation than man ever dreamed of. He proposes a salvation unto the uttermost for all who will come unto the Father through him, through Jesus.

The work of salvation is divided into two great sections, one of which is already operative, the other to begin where the present one ends. This first section of the divine plan of salvation relates to the Church, a little flock, and to a household of faith, both separate and distinct from the world in general, which is not now being particularly dealt with. The message of the justice of God, the fallen condition of man, and the remedy provided in Jesus, are promulgated now that those who have the hearing ear may be attracted and may receive a blessing. This blessing, which is of faith, can not reach all now, neither is it the divine plan that it should reach all in the present time. It is merely designed to take out of the nations a people for his name – "a little flock." (Acts 15:14, Luke 12:32)

A blessing comes promptly to those who now hear and see even a little if they will obey, and we properly enough speak of them as saved from the time that they accept the Lord and consecrate their hearts to him; but when we thus express ourselves that they are saved, we are speaking by faith in God's promise, speaking of "the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

We speak of being saved in the sense that sin has no longer dominion over us. We speak of being saved from death because we have faith toward God in a resurrection of the dead, but the actual salvation is to be brought to the Church and to the household of faith at the second coming of the Lord, for, as the Apostle declares, "We are saved by hope" – not saved actually and will not be until our resurrection change shall complete, finish that of which we already have a foretaste in our hearts through faith.


Those who in the present time experience salvation to the extent of receiving the holy Spirit, the holy mind of the Lord, are thereby lifted to new experiences and prompted to view matters from much of the same standpoint that Jesus viewed them. These disciples of Jesus are enabled to take his viewpoint in looking at sin and at the fallen condition of the world in general, at its meanness, its selfishness; and to these come measurably the same sentiments which filled our Master's heart. They proportionately become more deeply sensible of the sorrows of the world and of grief for the world.

Not that it is possible for them ever to have as deep an appreciation of these matters as did the Master, but that in proportion as they have his mind, his disposition, his spirit, they view matters from his standpoint. Thus he tells us to "Rejoice with those who do rejoice, and to weep with those who weep;" thus he tells the same class, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted," and again, "Verily I say unto you that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy." Matt. 5:4; John 16:20; Rom. 12:15


The prophet has declared, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning," the morning of the resurrection, the morning of God's favor, the morning of the rolling away of the curse, the morning of the in-shining of the Sun of Righteousness to bless the world and to heal its sin-sickness, to dissipate its death conditions for all who will accept the divine favors then so freely bestowed. That, too, will be the time for the special joy and rejoicing of the Church, the household of faith. We will then enter into the joys of our Lord in the fullest sense, actual joys, everlasting joys, joys and rejoicing induced by the glorious conditions which will then obtain, and the glorious privileges of blessing the world of mankind shall then be ours. Meantime, however, there is a joy of faith and hope and trust which maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.


It would be a mistake for us to suppose that our dear Redeemer had no joys, and an equal mistake to suppose that his followers have no joys. We hold to the contrary that theirs are the real joys, such as the world can not appreciate. Of the Master we read, "Jesus rejoiced in spirit" From the standpoint of the flesh he was in very unfavorable and uncongenial surroundings, but from the standpoint of his mind, his heart, he was in a very favorable condition. He delighted to do the Father's will; he had joy in realizing that the outworking of the divine plan would not only accomplish [NS191] the grand divine will, but accomplish the blessing of all the families of the earth, and incidentally his own glorification with the Father and a glory more than that which he had with him before the world was. Our Master, addressing all of us who are his disciples, assures us that it is our privilege not only to enter into his sorrows and griefs but also sympathetically to enter into his joys, his rejoicing – by faith to realize the victory which he was granted and which he assures all who are his followers will share with him. Even while we are privileged to suffer for righteousness' sake, for obedience to the Lord, we may still rest upon the assurance, "Your sorrow shall be turned into joy," "My joy shall remain in you, that your joy may be full."

In harmony with this we find the Scriptures testifying that the followers of Jesus were always rejoicing, in everything giving thanks. Even in trials and difficulties and persecutions, in prison and with bleeding backs from stripes received, the Apostles were enabled to sing praises to God and to thank him for the privilege of being associated with Christ in the sufferings of this present time, in an anticipatory sense, for the pleasure of being associated with him in the glories that shall follow.

Such joy the world indeed can neither give nor take away. Such joys are not for those who have earthly joys to the full in the present time, but rather to those who because of faithfulness to the principles of righteousness, to the Word of the Lord's testimony, are to some extent dis-esteemed among men, ostracized, whom the world knoweth not because it knew not their Master, because it is still blinded to its own fallen condition and alienation from God and righteousness, because the eyes of its understanding have not yet been opened to see its true condition and needs and the divine provision for these.


It may appear to some that Jesus is no longer despised and rejected of men, and that his followers are no longer despised and rejected. How is this? Have matters so changed? Have the Lord's words ceased to be true? – "Marvel not if the world hate you; ye know that it hated me before it hated you." [John 15:18]

Has the world ceased to despise and reject Jesus and his followers? We reply that at the first advent the multitude said, "Never man spake like this man."

They did not despise his message in every particular. We remember that great multitudes followed him because they saw the miracles that he did, and because they ate of the loaves and fishes which he had provided. So today there are some who follow the Lord as disciples, but few who are willing to take up their cross and follow him. There are multitudes who are ready to declare that the sermon on the mount represents the highest ideals ever presented to humanity, but very few of those who thus commend the ideals of the sermon on the mount would confess themselves to be followers of the Lamb, or confess that they lived or endeavored to the best of their ability to live in harmony with the holy precepts which they to some extent commend.

There are many who partake of the loaves and fishes of civilization and who realize that the name of Jesus is somehow connected with many of the blessings which are now common to civilized nations, who, nevertheless, are far from being footstep followers of the meek and lowly Jesus. The multitudes who followed Jesus crying "Hosanna!" and the multitudes which testified to the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth, the multitudes who followed him because, as he said, of the loaves and fishes, were not in evidence when the High Priest and scribes and Pharisees, moved by jealousy, sought the Lord's life. So today, men who commend some of Jesus' teachings would not be inclined to disturb themselves if doctors of divinity and high priests and scribes and Pharisees should for claimed political reasons seek to suppress those who most loyally seek to walk in accord with the Master's teachings.


The Jews were willing to concede that our Master's teachings were grand in many particulars, but they did not wish to be put under such restraints – they would not have him for their Master, their king, their lawgiver. "We will not have this man to reign over us," is the way the Lord describes their attitude, and herein the world differs from the true followers of Jesus, who so desire that Christ shall be their King, that his will shall be done in their hearts, that they may please him more and better day by day. They "delight to do his will."

Not so the world and the merely nominal Christians who approve some of the Lord's beautiful sayings. They esteem him not as a ruler; they prefer to keep the reins of their own hearts in their own hands – yea, they prefer their plan to his even as respects the establishment of his Kingdom and the method by which the world shall be blessed. They have plans of their own, schemes of their own. Their prayer is, Our wills be done on earth; yours, O Lord in heaven. The true disciples of Jesus accept his will, his plan, and pray: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

Very soon the prayers of this class will be answered: very soon they, with Christ, as his glorified Church, shall be associated in his Kingdom, shall sit upon his throne, changed by resurrection power to the glory, honor and immortality of the divine [NS192] nature, and associated with Jesus in the ruling and blessing of all the families of the earth, purchased by his precious blood. Then will come their time of special rejoicing, and, thank God, it will not mean a permanent time of sorrow and torment and torture upon the world.

The Scriptures, however, do intimate to us that the world in the present time is so out of accord with the Lord that a great time of trouble will be necessary to introduce the Millennial Kingdom properly – that the plowshare of trouble shall go deeply through the souls of mankind, that the fallow ground may be broken up and be prepared for the good message of salvation as the Lord and his then glorified Church shall make it known to every creature.

We may well thank God, then, that in his wisdom and love he will not spare the world from those experiences which will be profitable to it, and that he has promised that when the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth the inhabitants of the world shall learn righteousness. Meantime let those of us that have tasted that the Lord is gracious, who have covenanted to be his footstep followers, see to it that we refuse not a participation in the sufferings of Christ, that we may be counted worthy of a share in the glories to follow. The sufferings last only until the closing of the Gospel age; the glories will follow immediately afterward, glories and blessings for the faithful and opportunities for blessing all mankind.

Let us not only appreciate the sorrows of our Savior, but let us see to it that he is not despised and rejected by us as the King, the Ruler of our hearts – that, on the contrary, we call upon our souls and every power within us to praise and laud and magnify his name, and to show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of the darkness into his marvelous light.

The National Labor Tribune, May 21, 1905


Pastor C. T. Russell addressed a goodly audience Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Hall, Allegheny. His text and discourse follow: "Upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matt. 16:18

What instruction can we draw from these words of our divine Master? Well would it have been for all of his followers down through this Gospel age had they given closer attention to the Master's inspired utterances and those of his heaven-directed apostles, and less attention to the speculations of men, however well intentioned, however wise in earthly lore.

As the "traditions of the elders" confused the Jews and made the Word of God of no effect, and thus hindered many from receiving our Lord at his first advent, so the traditions of the ancients – coming down to us through the creeds formulated during and following the dark ages – have tended to becloud the minds of many of the Spiritual Israelites, who today are much more in bondage to these traditions than they are aware of.

Let us, dear brethren and sisters, as our eyes open wider to the facts, be the more on the alert to hold fast the precious Word and to reject any and everything for which we can not find authority in the inspired records. May the Lord bless to us our study of our text, that our minds may be clarified, our faith purified, our whole lives be more illuminated, and our way toward the heavenly City become more and more easy to follow!


The first thought that strikes us in connection with this text is that there is only one Church built by our Lord – only one Church properly to be recognized as his – "My Church."

Throughout Christendom we see many churches of many names, some of them founded recently and others in the remote past, some having one hope and some another, some having one baptism and some another, some having one faith and some another, some having one organization and some another. Time would fail us to trace the history of these various organizations of churches. We can only briefly rehearse the matter as follows:

(1) There was the Church which the Lord founded in the twelve apostles and about five hundred brethren who believed on him, accepted his Messiahship, and became his disciples during his ministry. For these he prayed the Father on the night on which he was betrayed, saying, "I pray not for the world, but for them thou hast given me, That they all may be one; as thou, Father, and I are one: that (eventually) the world may [NS193] believe that thou hast sent me. Neither pray I for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on my Word." [John 17:9, 20, 21]

This true Church was formally recognized of the Father at Pentecost, and progressed in its appointed work of seeking out and building up in the most holy faith those who had the ears to hear and the hearts to receive the message that Jesus was the Anointed One who had died for our sins, and who would ultimately deliver all who would accept the favor.


(2) As our Lord foretold in the parable of the wheat and tares, it was not long after the apostles fell asleep in death until the great adversary, Satan, brought in grievous errors in the name of Christ, and thus sowed tares amongst the "wheat."

History shows that the tare-producing errors began to flourish in the Lord's Church and under his own banner early in the second century, and, as the Scriptures had foretold, the tare class had increased until the wheat was practically swamped. Meantime, gradually an organization sprang up which, while claiming to be of Christ, was really an organization of men along different lines from that which the Master laid down, and bound or organized, not with the cords of love – union with the Head – but with creeds, confessions, forms and ceremonies very different from the simplicity which the Lord and the apostles as his representatives had instituted. This organization established its headquarters at Rome, and gradually increased its power and influence, by fair means and foul, until it acquired such a prominence and predominance that those who adhered to the simplicity of the faith and practice laid down by the Lord and the apostles were gradually lost sight of, or, where noticed at all, were called heretics and were persecuted as such. This condition of things prevailed for fourteen centuries.

All this time there were, we believe, here and there solitary individuals, a "little flock," who held fast the faithful Word and who recognized no other organization than that which the Lord himself instituted, the organization in which each member is united to the Lord in faith, in love, in consecration, and thus united to each other. But these few were so insignificant in the eyes of the world, and in the sight of the great human system that overshadowed everything, that there may be said to be no history of them for all those centuries – indeed there is no history of this kind of Christians even yet.

(3) In the sixteenth century a religious reformation which had been working for some time broke forth. It had its sympathizers in every part of the civilized world, but for the time its chief leaders were Luther and his coadjutors in Germany, and Zwingli and his associates in Switzerland, and others of the same spirit in other parts, particularly in England and Scotland. The reformation thus begun was an attempt to go back to the simplicity of the early Church – the Church of Christ – the Church founded upon the rock, as declared in our text.


The result of this reformation movement we see all about us in the five hundred or more different denominations of Christendom. The motive in the organization of each of these systems undoubtedly was to go back to the original lines of the primitive Church which our Lord founded. But, alas, for human weaknesses, prejudices, ignorance and superstition: in every case, it would appear, a fragment of truth was grasped and combined with old errors from the dark ages, and became the pretext for a new name and a new organization fashioned, not after the original pattern, but corresponding more nearly to the form, style, bondage, etc., of the Roman Catholic "mother."

In dealing thus with the facts of the case, we are not railing against the good intentions of the organizers of these various sects and parties. On the contrary, we hold that they have been more or less deceived and duped by the great adversary and deceiver, Satan. We give them credit for a considerable degree of honesty, but believe that worldly men with worldly motives, "tares," had much to do with all these organizations. We merely wish now to call attention to the fact that none of these man-made institutions can properly claim to be the Church which our Lord in our text called "my Church."

Indeed, so far as we are aware, few if any now make that claim – though there was a time when practically each one of them claimed to be the only true Church. Now they recognize that none of these organizations were founded by the Lord, and very few in any denomination dispute our statement that their membership in earthly sects and denominations brings then no favor with the Lord, since they are organizations which the Lord neither established nor authorized, and that the only hope of any is in vital, personal union with Christ and with all who are his, outside of and without regard to any of these human organizations, good or bad.

We see, then, that the Church which Christ organized has existed all through the centuries – has been composed of all of those individuals inside and outside of man-made churches, sects, parties, and only these have ever constituted the one and only Church of the [NS194] Lord Jesus Christ. So many as see this matter clearly and distinctly will be ready to follow the command of the Lord to separate themselves from all human institutions, which the Lord designates Babylon – "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins" (false doctrines and antagonism to those now seeking to lift up the standard raised by our Lord and the apostles). Rev. 18:4


Upon what rock did our Lord suppose to build his Church? Our Roman Catholic friends quote this passage with fervor and heat and boast that the Apostle Peter was the rock, and that they made him the first Pope of their Church years and years after he was dead, and on the strength of their having done this they claim that they are the only Church on the true foundation – Peter. We must dissent from this view as unreasonable as well as unscriptural.

We have already shown that the organization, creeds, ceremonies, etc., of the Church of Rome are wholly different from those instituted by our Lord and his apostles as set forth in the New Testament. Compare the two. We note carefully our text and its context to ascertain under what circumstances our Lord used these words and what rock he meant. The context shows that the people were beginning to discuss our Lord's personality – who he was – and our Lord took occasion to inquire of the apostles what they heard on the subject. Then he asked them their opinion, "Whom say ye that I the Son of man am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God." [Matt. 16:15, 16]

It was this great fact, that our Lord declared to be the truth, which would build his Church. And it is so today: Every true member of the Church built upon the true foundation is resting his faith not upon Peter, nor upon the human Church organization but upon this great truth that Jesus was the Son of God and the Messiah who had so long been promised, whose mission it was in God's due time to bless the whole world by destroying sin and the wages of sin, death, and by destroying also all who after full opportunity continue in wilful sin. Our Romanist friends fell into their error in supposing that Peter was the rock because of his having been the one who voiced this great truth respecting Christ's Messiahship, and because our Lord there associated his name Peter (Greek Petros, which means a piece of rock) with this great rock truth which he had expressed.

The word rock in our text, in the Greek, is Petra and signifies a mass of rock. Thus we see that our Lord declared Peter one of the rocks or living stones who, with others, would be built upon this great foundation truth which Peter had expressed by divine inspiration. That the Apostle Peter had this same thought respecting the matter is evident, for in his epistle he speaks of the true children of God as living stones for God's temple, built upon Christ as the great foundation. 1 Pet. 2:4-5


If we examine this rock-truth upon which the true Church was to be built, we find that a great many are building partly upon it and partly upon the sandy foundation of human theories. All who are truly consecrated to the Lord should seek to build their faith upon the full significance of this great foundation truth which our Lord commended as such. Unfortunately the word Christ has in a general way lost its real meaning. It is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word Messiah, but the Messiah thought is lost to many. In the Messiah thought we mean the thought which for centuries God had inculcated in the minds of the Jews respecting the great Deliverer of their race and the world of mankind.

The Messiah thought was the one the apostles had, which led them to recognize Jesus as not only the Redeemer of the world, but also the one who, in due time, after selecting his Church, after building it upon this foundation truth, would come a second time and establish in the world a reign of righteousness, with himself as the great spiritual, invisible King, all powerful in the subduing of sin and every evil, all powerful also in the blessing and uplifting of all who will turn from sin to God.

This Messianic thought pervades all the writings of all the apostles, as, for instance, in Peter's declaration following the Pentecostal blessing – "Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send Jesus Christ (Messiah – at his second advent), whom the heavens must receive (retain) until the times of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:19-23

Whoever would get his faith properly built upon the foundation which the Lord declared to be the true one, should see to it that this declaration of our Lord's Messiahship has its proper prominent place in his faith, his hope, his aspirations, his joys in the Truth. Another part of this rock-truth is that Jesus is the Son of the living God. Many there are in the pulpits of Christendom who gradually, insinuatingly, are introducing to their hearers the thought that Jesus was a mere man, that he was not "separate from sinners" (Heb. 7:26), that he had no prehuman existence, that he did not come down from above. Such teaching is off the foundation, and all who give heed thereto are [NS195] building upon the sand, and will surely suffer loss as a consequence. But while yielding to none in our reverence for the great ransom sacrifice which our Lord gave on behalf of the sins of the whole world, and in our admiration for the nobility of character which led him to leave the heavenly courts to become a man that he might redeem us from the penalty of Adam's sin, and with highest appreciation of his subsequent resurrection to glory, honor and the divine nature, nevertheless we must fault those who falsely teach, contrary to the Scriptures, that Jesus was the heavenly Father as well as the Son of God – that the two were one in person, that he sent himself, that when he died it was the death of Jehovah, and that either


and deception merely, or else the universe for a time was without a God. Such absurd statements have come down from the dark ages and find no recognition whatever in the words of the Lord and the apostles. Some mistakenly suppose that they thus add honor to our divine Master by claiming that he was Jehovah, for the time disguised in the flesh. But instead of adding honor, these dear friends unintentionally dishonor the Master and discredit his Word. It was himself that said, "I delight to do the Father's will," not his own; it was himself that prayed to the Father, and that without deception or fraud; it was himself who prayed in his dying hour to the Father; it was himself who, after his resurrection, declared to Mary, "I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God."

Those who contradict the Lord in these matters, and who assume to know more than he did on these subjects, are not properly on the rock foundation which he laid, and which distinctly recognizes him as the Son of the living God. Whoever may thus find himself drifting from the foundation should return thereto, otherwise he will surely suffer loss to the extent that he neglects the Master's word. Neither did the apostles contradict the Lord and say that he was the Father, nor that he was equal with the Father. The highest declaration of homage expressed by them is in these words, "Him hath God highly exalted, and given a name above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth," [Phil. 2:9] "And that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." [John 5:23]

No uninspired man has the authority to add to the inspired utterances of God's Word, and none should have the temerity to do so. The Apostle Paul distinctly expresses himself on this subject, saying, "To us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." (1 Cor. 8:6)

At a future time we may deal with this subject more exhaustively, but since this is a part of the rock foundation of our text, thus much attention is due to the matter here.


Our Lord's words in our text, declaring that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his Church, are seemingly understood by the majority of Christian people. All educated ministers understand it, but they seem indisposed to communicate their knowledge to the people – probably for fear that they should gain thus a clearer knowledge of the true meaning of the Greek word, hades, rendered hell in this passage and elsewhere. The ordinary mind, ensnared with the erroneous doctrine of eternal torment, which has come down blazing and smoking from the dark ages, draws a picture from these words of our text that is far, far from their true meaning. The erroneous view sees gates red-hot and flaming, seeking to enclose the Church with the world in a hell of flame and torture under the control of devils.

To those who have this view, the Lord's words signify that he will exert his power to the intent that those who are truly his shall not be shut up to that awful doom which will be upon the remainder of the race. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this picture, which comes to the average mind because of ignorance, false teaching or no teaching upon this subject. As soon as the light of Truth shines into our minds we learn the true meaning of the Greek word hades in the New Testament and of sheol in the Old Testament which it is used to translate.

If time permitted, dear friends, we could give you most abundant evidence from scores of texts that these words, as used throughout the Scriptures, had no significance of torture or fire or anything of the kind. The equivalent hades merely signifies the tomb, the death state, and is translated nearly seventy times, grave, and frequently where the word hell is given in the text, some one disposed to help the reader has in the marginal column given the true significance, "grave."

According to the Scriptures all mankind go down into sheol, hades, the tomb, the death state. Our Lord himself was dead, was in hades, the tomb, for parts of three days, and arose from the dead, arose from hades. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians describes first the deliverance of the Church from the power of hades, from death, as the first resurrection, to glory, honor and immortality. (1 Cor. 15:42-46)

Then proceeding he shows (v. 55) the ultimate deliverance of the remainder of mankind who will come into harmony with the Lord, and in connection [NS196] with this he quotes from the Prophet Hosea (13:14) a shout of victory over death that will then be due, saying, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave (hades) where is thy victory?" The Apostle adds, "Thanks unto God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." [1 Cor. 15:57]

He gained the victory in his own case by his obedience in the things which he suffered, and by laying down his life as a propitiation for the sins of the whole world. When he ascended up on high, he applied the merits of his victory to his Church, which he counts as "members of his body;" and these in turn he has invited to participate with him in the victory over sin and death, by laying down their lives, by walking in his steps of self-sacrifice. The Lord's victory applied to the Church will result in the deliverance of every member of it from the power of hades, the grave.

The gates of hades shall not prevail against the Church. It was sin that brought upon mankind the penalty of death – "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" – but through Christ, believers are justified from sin; and when the entire Church shall be complete in the end of this age, the Lord's power will be exercised and every member of his Church shall come forth from the gates of death. For eighteen hundred years or more the gates of death, the power of the tomb, have prevailed against the Lord's Church. Like the remainder of the world they have gone down into death; but when the due time shall have fully come, every member of his Church shall be delivered from hades, the grave, by a resurrection. It was to this that our Lord referred in his last message to his Church, saying, "I am he that was dead, and, behold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of death and of hades – the grave." [Rev. 1:18]

The key is the symbol of power, authority, ability to open the grave. Similarly our Lord's resurrection was prophetically and symbolically represented as the bursting of the bars of the tomb – of sheol. All who are of the Lord's true Church, by faith and consecration, whether in man-made churches or not, whether or not they have yet obeyed the Lord's command, "Come out of her," – all these may rejoice in the Lord's assurance that the gates, the bars of the tomb, shall not prevail against them; that in his due time every true believer shall be fully liberated from the bondage not only of death but also of sin.

It is another part of our glorious hope set forth in the Scriptures, when we come to understand them aright, that the work of the next age will be to liberate all of the prisoners from this great prison-house of death – sheol, hades, the tomb; and that the Church will be associated with our Lord in that great work, the final victory over death, the victory that was begun in our Lord's resurrection and that will reach still further development in the resurrection of the Church, which is his body, the resurrection of the just and which will reach a still further development in the raising up to life and fully freeing from every vestige of death and sin all those who, during the Millennial age, coming to a knowledge of the Lord, will come also into harmony with his reasonable and just requirements and receive at its end the blessing of eternal life.

All others will be remanded to death, the second death, from which there will be no redemption, no deliverance, no resurrection. Dear friends, let us appreciate this great foundation of faith which the Lord has laid down for us, and let us build thereon obediently to the letter and spirit of his Word and regardless of human traditions, that we have the special blessing which he is pleased to give to those he will recognize as his faithful followers – to those who will hear and heed his voice and not the voice of strangers.

The National Labor Tribune, May 28, 1905


Dayton, O., May 28, 1905 – Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny, Pa., spoke twice here Sunday at the National Opera house to large and intelligent audiences. We report the evening discourse from the text: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11

Not long since we commemorated our Lord's death, and subsequently, at Easter, his resurrection: forty days later he ascended to heaven, and today being almost the anniversary of that event we choose for our subject the message of the angels to the disciples who had witnessed our Lord's ascension. They were bewildered with the events of the forty-five days preceding, the Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the ass in [NS197] fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah (9:9), his subsequent betrayal and crucifixion, in harmony with his previous declarations on the subject, that the Son of man must be lifted up before he could bless the world by drawing all men to himself.

Their bewilderment was intensified by the peculiar incidents of that first Easter Sunday, the Lord's various appearances on that day to Mary and the other women of his company, to the two on the way to Emmaus, to whom he revealed the meaning of the Scriptures and their fulfillment, until their hearts burned within them in sympathy with the great divine plan of which the death and resurrection of Christ constituted the pivot or center. In the evening of the same day he had appeared to the disciples in the upper room, the doors being shut, and after speaking a few words with them and eating a piece of broiled fish and of honeycomb to demonstrate that they were not beholding merely an apparition, he vanished from their sight as mysteriously as he had come into their presence.

Then several days elapsed in which they saw nothing of him, had no communication with him. On the following Sunday he appeared again in a body similar to that in which he was crucified (doubting Thomas was present on this occasion and was fully convinced). Then two weeks more elapsed in which they saw nothing, heard nothing, knew nothing about the risen Lord. The disciples were discouraged. They had left all to follow Jesus and now he had been crucified! And although he had risen from the dead yet he was no longer with them as previously, but merely appeared and disappeared as angels of bygone days had done. They finally concluded that the active duties of life called them and the three principal disciples, Peter, James and John, former partners in the fishing business, concluded to resume operations on the Sea of Galilee.


The Lord's ascension was evidently delayed for the very purpose of allowing all the peculiar incidents to have their proper weight and effect and to prepare the disciples for the final instructions for the great work committed to them. The trio re-entered the fishing business, and the first night they toiled in vain and caught nothing. Their disappointments were growing upon them. They had left the fishing business to be made fishers of men, and that engagement seemed to have failed when Jesus died. They had no doubt of their success at their old occupation, but it, too, had apparently failed them.

Had God forsaken them? Had everything gone wrong, and would they have no more success in life? Thus did the Lord permit difficulties to work out for their good and prepare them for his still further instructions. In the morning they saw Jesus on the shore but they knew him not. In all of his various appearances to them after his resurrection he appeared otherwise than he had been before he was crucified, except on the two occasions in the upper room where he displayed his hands and feet. On these other occasions he was a traveler or a gardener or a stranger. The stranger called to the fishermen inquiring for fish, as though he would purchase their catch. They replied that they had caught none, whereupon he suggested the casting of their net on the other side of the boat.

They felt that such a change would be unavailing, because the boat was small anyway and continually turning, and what was one side now would be the other side shortly, but, perplexed by their lack of success, they were ready to follow any suggestion from any quarter, and so cast the net on the other side. Finding it immediately full of great fish, and the net itself breaking, they realized that an astounding miracle had been wrought and that the one on the shore could be none other than the risen Lord.

They hastened to the shore, more anxious to meet him than to care for the fish they had caught, and though they saw no print of nails we read that none of them durst ask him who he was, knowing it was the Lord, feeling sure from the miracle that had been wrought, and realizing that this, another appearance in different form, was in line with his various appearances to them. Then he took occasion to ask Peter, the one who first proposed returning to the fishing business – Simon Peter, lovest thou these – boats, fishing tackle and fish – more than thou lovest me? The question repeated three times became a burning question to Peter and the lesson was never forgotten. He realized that, having become a fisher of men under the Lord's direction, he was to continue in that service. Our Lord emphasized the matter saying, "Feed my sheep," "Feed my lambs," and again vanished from them. By appointment about five hundred of all his followers gathered to meet him, as the Apostle Paul tells us. All of these meetings had been very brief and altogether less than a dozen times – probably not two hours in all during those forty days.


Finally, on the fortieth day, by appointment, he met the disciples on the Mount of Olives, and after being visible to them for a few moments ascended, disappearing gradually from their sight upward. No wonder the disciples were amazed and stood watching in the direction in which he had disappeared. [NS198] We can readily see that all of these experiences were necessary to their instruction – that they might know to a certainty

(1) that the Lord was risen;

(2) that he was no longer the Jesus of the flesh whom they had known as their Master and Teacher for three and a half years;

(3) that he was now a spirit being, who could appear and disappear at will, who could appear in one form or another, in one garb or another, appear (the doors being shut as easily as if they were open) and vanish out of their sight without walking away. It was evidently necessary that they should have these pantomime lessons, and the last of these, his ascension, was no less important than the others, for they were not as yet begotten of the holy Spirit, as we read, "The holy Spirit was not given because Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7:39

The holy Spirit would come after his ascension, and under its guidance they might understand spiritual things, but now they must be taught respecting spiritual things in a natural manner, in pantomime. Had he not on leaving them appeared in a form of flesh and thus ascended and vanished simultaneously they would not have known that he had gone away; their not seeing him would have been no proof of his having gone. Having seen him disappear they got the pantomime lesson of his departure for heaven, and this was emphasized by the angels who appeared to them and in the words of our text declared that this same Jesus would so come in like manner as they had seen him go into heaven.


A great deal of confusion obtains amongst Christian people respecting the second coming of Christ, and much of this confusion is due to a misunderstanding of this text, and that, too, by persons who have given the subject considerable study, but whose minds have run in a certain groove which obscured the truth. Which Jesus did the angels refer to when they said, "this same Jesus"?

We answer that it was the resurrected Jesus. The name of Jesus attaches to our Lord, and we use the name for him when speaking of his heavenly existence before he became a man, the pre-human Jesus. Again we recognize it as especially his name after he became the Man Christ Jesus, and it is his name still since his resurrection and ascension to glory, and it will always be his name, for it signifies a Savior, a Deliverer. It should be noticed, however, that the Apostle explains that Jesus was put to death in the flesh and quickened in the Spirit.

That is to say, the Man Christ Jesus died for our sins, the human nature perished there as our redemption price, and God raised up Jesus from the dead, not again to human nature, not again as a man, but, as the Apostle declares, "a quickening spirit," a life-giving spirit. It was this resurrected Jesus, the Life-giver, the Spirit that ascended, which was referred to by the angels. His appearances in various forms did not prove that he was still a man after the resurrection. Quite to the contrary: the angels who are spirit beings have appeared as men with bodies of flesh and with clothing especially created for the purpose – they materialized. So Jesus the quickening Spirit after his resurrection materialized on various occasions, for the express purpose of demonstrating that he was no longer dead but risen from the dead, and the appearing in various bodies demonstrated also that he was changed, so that no flesh body was his, and that he was no longer a human being but a spirit being, who could appear in any form. While what we are saying might be associated with the claim of Spiritualists, be it understood distinctly that we have no affiliation or sympathy with Spiritism. We do indeed concede that materializations have taken place in the past and that they may to some extent take place now and in the future, but the materializations of those known as Spiritualists we hold to be under the power and influence of the fallen angels, all evil spirits, the spirits of demons who deceive the mediums and the public.


Many dear Christian people – who perceive that the Scriptures everywhere speak of the second coming of Christ as the great hope of the Church and the world, point out that God's Kingdom can not come and his will be done on earth as it is done in heaven until the second coming of Christ as the King, the Messiah of the world – on reading these words, "so come in like manner," draw a very wrong conclusion from them as they do from the words, "this same Jesus."

If we ask these dear friends how they are expecting the second coming of Christ they refer you to certain Scriptures which speak of the voice of the archangel, the trump of God, a shout, the heavens rolling together as a scroll, etc., etc., and tell us that this is what they expect. We ask them, Would that be in like manner as he went away? Did he go away with shouting and trumpets and heavens rolling together, etc., etc.? The fact is that the Lord has permitted the subject of his second advent to be misunderstood that the world might not know what to expect – that none except the most zealous and earnest of the Lord's people might be guided to an understanding of the subject through his Word by the holy Spirit. The time [NS199] is now come for a clearer appreciation of this matter. We now see that the voice of the archangel and the trump of God correspond to the seventh trumpet of Revelation, and will make no more noise upon the atmosphere than have the preceding six. We now see that the rolling together of the heavens is symbolical, representing the rolling together of the ecclesiastical systems of our day, the federation of Christendom which is everywhere being talked about and which is hoped for as a glorious achievement. Symbolically the earth represents society, the sea represents heathendom and anarchy, the mountains represent the kingdoms of Christendom and the heavens represent the ecclesiastical powers. In the symbol all of these are represented as taking fire and being burned up, and as being superseded by a new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness will prevail and in which "there will be no more sea."

The burning of the heavens and the earth, of the ecclesiastical and social systems of the present time are elsewhere in the Scriptures called "The time of trouble such as there was not since there was a nation," nor ever shall be.


When we come to study the matter of the second coming of the Lord carefully we find it variously referred to: First the parousia of Christ in the end of this age is drawn to our attention. The word parousia signifies presence, but it does not signify outward show or demonstration of that presence. Thus our Lord was present during all of the forty days after the resurrection, but he was manifested or visible only a few times and altogether only a few hours. The word Epiphania, used in respect to our Lord's second advent, signifies a shining forth brightly; still, however, not indicating in what manner the shining forth shall come.

Another word used in respect to our Lord's second advent is apokalupsis, which signifies revelation, making known, disclosure – as, for instance, the Lord may have been in the upper room with the disciples, present but invisible for some time, noting their words and conduct, and then manifesting himself, revealing himself by appearing in a body of flesh which they could see and handle and talk to. As we have seen, our Lord's revealings after his resurrection were in bodies of flesh, but revealing in that manner was necessary because the disciples were not yet begotten of the Spirit. There is nothing to indicate that our Lord's apokalupsis at his second advent will be in a body of flesh. On the contrary, the Scriptures speak distinctly of his being revealed (apokalupsis) in flaming fire.

The sum of the Scriptural teaching seems to be that in the end of this Gospel age, at the proper time, Jesus will come again – come to set up the glorious Kingdom so long promised and so earnestly waited for by all his faithful people. He comes as the Lord and Bridegroom of his Church, the "Bride," and to be the "King over all the earth in that day."

For a time, although present, he will be invisible. His presence will not be known to the world, and will be known only to the saints his very elect, and to them not by any spiritual phenomena, but through the light which will at that time shine from the Word of God on this subject, revealing the time at which he would be due, the manner of his second advent, etc., etc.

While thus present (in the parousia) he will have an oversight to the completion of his Church and her glorification – her change from earthly conditions to spirit conditions. As each member of the Church shall pass from earthly conditions to spiritual conditions in this harvest time he will be able to see the Lord, not as he was as a man, but as he is, "this same Jesus" – the resurrected Jesus, the quickening spirit. The Apostle explains that such a change is necessary to the Lord's saints, saying, "Flesh and blood can not inherit the Kingdom," therefore we must all be changed. When we shall be changed to spirit nature conditions we shall be able to see the Lord and to see all of the spirit beings, the angels and the heavenly Father.

During the time of the Lord's parousia, in the harvest, the end of the Gospel age, there will be a bright shining and mental illumination granted to his people through his Word, which will enable them to appreciate the fact of his presence and to feel fully assured on the subject. This is in accord with the Lord's promise to his followers that at his second coming, in his parousia, he would knock, he would give such indication of his presence as would be sufficient to arouse those who were in the proper attitude of heart to investigate the matter, to open the door of their ears by faith to receive him, and he declared that to such he would come in and sup with them, nourish them, feed them with special spiritual refreshment. He declares that for all of his people in this time he would gird himself as a servant and come forth and serve them.

They should not only know of his presence by the testimony of the Scriptures, but they should have a special demonstration of it by the clearness and beauty of the plan as it would shine into their hearts under his ministrations. Luke 12:37; Rev. 2:20 Later on will come the public revelation or demonstration that the Lord has assumed the control of the world. Every eye shall see him, not in the sense [NS200] of seeing the flesh of the Jesus who walked the vales of Palestine, but in the sense of recognizing the power and authority and government and judgments of him who in the end of this age shall take to himself his great power and reign. The world is represented as seeing the Lord thus with the eyes of its mind in the judgments that are coming, and they are represented as calling for the rocks and mountains to cover them from his presence. Not that worldly men will gain such faith as to be able to pray for mountains to topple over and crush them, nor that they will go so far as to suppose that this will be the easiest way to extinguish life. No! No!


The symbolism signifies that in the time of trouble that is coming, men, without seeing the Lord in person, will realize the beginning of the reign of righteousness, and they will seek to be covered or shielded from those troubles by entering into the caves of the rocks – that is, by seeking protection and cover of social organizations, hoping thus to escape the "wrath of the Lamb."

They will seek the great mountains, the strong kingdoms, hoping that in these they will have better opportunities of escaping the anarchistic troubles which will be upon the whole world. But none of these will cover them, hide them, for the time of trouble that is coming is to be worldwide – there will be no escaping it. According to the Scriptural picture it will mean the dashing in pieces of all the kingdoms of earth as potters' vessels [Rev. 2:27]; it will mean the carrying of the mountains or kingdoms into the midst of the sea of anarchy [Matt. 21:21]; it will mean that the heavens of ecclesiasticism rolling together [Isa. 34:4], uniting for mutual protection or strength, will eventually be destroyed by the social conflagration of that great day of the Lord.

Referring to his parousia, his presence before the apokalupsis or revealing in flaming fire and trouble, our Lord explains to us that in the day of his presence matters will be going on much the same as in the past. The world's affairs will not be interrupted thereby, for it will be secret, unknown to the world, known only to the Church, to the Bride of Christ. At that time men will be eating and drinking, planting and building just as they did in the days of Noah, just as they knew not in those days how close they were to the great catastrophe, the end of their age. (Matt. 24:39)

Let us notice carefully that the Lord here does not liken his presence to the flood nor to the days of the flood, but to the days that were before the flood – before Noah and his family entered into the ark – "So it shall be in the days (parousia, presence) of the Son of man."


We are now living in this very time mentioned by our Lord, the time of the parousia, the presence of the Son of man, who is making up his jewels, who is reckoning with his servants to whom he committed the pounds and the talents. Very shortly the work will be complete; the full number of the elect will have been tested, proven, and admitted to the joys of their Lord beyond the vail. Then will come the revelation of the Son of man and the evidences to the world that the Kingdom of righteousness has been established – the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.

We do not call attention to this matter with a view to alarming the world. We know, on the contrary, that the world is deaf to the messages of the Lord's Word, and all the better it is for it to be deaf. We address those who have the "ear to hear," whether they be few or many. Our message is for these and these alone. Others hearing will not hear, neither will they understand until the time of trouble shall be upon them.

In speaking to the world we prefer to emphasize, according to the promise of the Lord, the glorious favors and blessings which are to be world-wide and ocean-deep during the Millennial age – as soon as the troubles shall have consumed the present order of things and thus have prepared the way for Emanuel's Kingdom, the Kingdom of righteousness and peace, which for a thousand years is to bless and guide and control and uplift the poor groaning creation, to the intent that by the time of its close every member of our race will have been blessed with a full opportunity of attaining to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed by the precious blood. Time does not permit us to furnish evidences on this subject – to prove that we are now in the presence of the Son of man, in "the days of the Son of man." (Luke 17:26)

But those who have the hearing ear will, under the guidance of the holy Spirit, hunger and thirst for more evidences along these lines, and we have them in abundance and are pleased to dispense them as we have received them – freely. We will be pleased to have the addresses of those who would like to investigate these subjects further, that we may send them some free literature.

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