The Cincinnati Weekly Enquirer, November 25, 1909


With the exception of the paragraphs printed below, this discourse has been republished in the Overland Monthly, pages 202-206, under same title.

York, Pa., November 25 – Pastor C. T. Russell arrived here from the Brooklyn Tabernacle, to address the truth-seekers in this staid old town and vicinity. He was warmly welcomed by his many friends. He took for his text, Psalm 30:5, "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning."

He said: Properly enough, the world seeks to put its best foot forward, to present as good an appearance to others as possible. Properly enough, sorrow and tears are hidden from the public gaze, as well as is the skeleton in the closet, which causes these troubles. This is well, for each other member of the race has quite a sufficiency of such things of his own.

It is a justifiable kind of deception which seeks to appear as cheerful and happy as possible, however heavy the heart may be – however crushed and broken and lacerated. Yet there are special times when those who are near and dear may surmise each other's burdens and give to each other a word of cheer and comfort, which will lighten the load and heal the wound to a considerable degree. Blessed are those who have attained this degree of Christlikeness that, instead of mourning or moping over their own difficulties, they make it their chief concerns to "do good unto all men, especially to the household of faith," and to their own households.


But here is a seeming inconsistency. The God of the Bible admits that the world of mankind is suffering under a load of sin and its penalty of imperfection, sickness, pain – death. But while we are assured that God is loving and wise and that He has all power in heaven and in earth, the sorrow continues as though God lacked the love, lacked the wisdom necessary to the blessing of the world, or lacked the power to carry out His loving and wise Purposes.[the following paragraph is found just before the subheading, "Learning by Suffering. "]

These are left with the world in general during the night of weeping, for because it is a part of the test of the worthiness that they must "walk by faith and not by sight."

It is a part of the test of their loyalty to God and to righteousness that they shall follow in the footsteps of Jesus through evil report and through good report. They could not receive this crucial testing during the millennium, when sin and evil will be restrained; hence their testing comes in advance of the world's – during the night of sorrow and weeping. Of our dear Redeemer it is written that He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Heb. 5:8)

And again, "Being made perfect through suffering He became the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him."

The National Labor Tribune, November 30, 1909


YORK, Pa. Nov. 28 – Pastor Russell of Brooklyn Tabernacle, preached here today from the following text: "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you in Christ Jesus. "(1 Thess. 5:18)

He said: There is a beauty and consistency in the Bible which many overlook, to their own confusion. Failing to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" (2 Tim. 2:15), failing to discriminate between the consecrated believers and nominal believers of the world, which the Bible everywhere recognizes, has led to this confusion. To the logically-minded thus confused, the [NS740] Bible is an unreasonable Book, inconsistent with facts. These matters are well illustrated in our text, which was addressed, not to all mankind, nor to merely nominal Christians – but to Christians "in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ," as the introduction shows. This word in means something more than is generally appreciated. Note the Savior's words, "If a man love me he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him."

"I am in my Father, and ye in me and I in you." (John 14:20, 23)

The whole testimony of the Scriptures is that those who attain to this glorious oneness with the Father and with the Son are in all but a little flock" and amongst them are "not many great, not many wise, not many learned."

It is to this class alone that the Scriptures are addressed – though to some extent including a justified class supposedly approaching this sanctified condition. These may well be informed by the Apostle that they should "in everything give thanks," when in full harmony with the Divine will. But note the confusion of attempting to apply these words to the world in general. What has the world to be thankful for – from its own standpoint?

It knows not what God's future purposes are, which, therefore, cannot enter into its consideration. And without that knowledge of coming blessings life is often so little appreciated that self-destruction is preferred. Undoubtedly the number of suicides would be far greater than it is, were it not for a certain fear or dread that the future might be more terrible than the present. The average man, heathen and civilized, knows that his coming into the world was without his consent. He eats and drinks and sleeps and labors, because these are necessities. He has headaches and heartaches and every other kind. Altogether his experience is "of few years and full of trouble."

His chief pleasure is in hoping for and striving to attain pleasure. And when the "cup" of supposed happiness is in his hand, the gall of bitterness is found mingled with it, and its dregs are sorrows. Can such a man be thankful?

especially if he has been taught the doctrine of the "dark ages respecting the future – that when he shall die he will either be ushered into a Purgatory of centuries of torture indescribable, or, worse still, that his lot will be to suffer endlessly – unless he should be one of the saints, which he well knows he is not, and which we all know as the Bible declares are but "few."

Surely to call upon such people for thankfulness to God would be an absurdity. And it is to the credit of the Scriptures that they are not thus absurd, and that our text is addressed, not to those who constitute the masses, but to the "little flock," "the saints."


Before proceeding to apply our text to the class to which it is addressed, (the saints), we pause to consider the hope of the world in general as set forth in the Scriptures. The knowledge of this hope is not granted to the world, but to the saints – that they might know, might appreciate, the gracious purposes of God toward mankind in general; and that they might understand also the Divine intention respecting their co-operation with God in the blessings he purposes to bring eventually to all the families of the earth.

The explanation of the sorrows of this world is given in the Bible, which tells us that sin lies at the door and that the mental, moral and physical blemishes which cause humanity such distress are incidental to the penalty pronounced against sin; namely, death. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."

Because Father Adam when on trial representatively for his race sinned and came under sin's penalty, "Dying thou shalt die," therefore all of his children sharing in his imperfections are likewise imperfect – sinners, as St. Paul explains. (Rom. 5:12)

Thus during sixty centuries, approximately twenty thousand millions of Adam's children have been born in sin and shapen in iniquity, and have come into the world condemned and dying, mentally, morally and physically. Divine sympathy exercised toward this race of sinners provided a Savior, "who for the joy that was set before him" sacrificed his life – for the world. (John 3:16)

"Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man."

Then instead of dealing with the world, instead of saving the world, instead of setting up the promised Kingdom to bless the world, the Savior did' something else. And this which he has been doing from the time of his death until now the Apostle explains to us is "a mystery." (1 Cor. 15:51; Eph. 1:9; Rom. 11:25)

"The mystery of God," the world does not understand, because God prefers to keep the matter a mystery from them. But "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him and he will shew them his covenant." Psa. 25:14

"The mystery" is that God purposed that the blessing of the world should be accomplished not by our Savior alone, but in association with a select class of saints gathered out of the world and specially taught and prepared in the School of Christ during this age. Not only is this feature of the Divine Plan Scripturally called "the mystery of God," which will be finished by the close of this age, but additionally the Church herself is Scripturally termed the mystery of God – the Mystic Body of Christ. "For God gave Christ to be the Head over the Church, which is his Body."

"Ye are [NS741] members in particular of the Body of Christ," which is the Church. Eph. 1:22, 23; 1 Cor. 12:27

During these long centuries required for the finding of this saintly class for whom the Lord has been searching with the magnet of Truth, various false theories have sprung up and found acceptance in the world. One of these is that God does not love the world and has never purposed its salvation; but that, on the contrary, he foreordained and predestinated that all except the "elect saints" should suffer eternal torture, because he wished to have it so. Another wrong theory which gained acceptance was that whilst God wishes to save the world, he finds himself unable so to do, because handicapped by human self-will and by the aggressiveness of Satan, who has blinded and deceived the vast majority and has them completely in his power through ignorance and superstition.

This theory tells us that God loves the world, including the heathen millions, and that he longs to have the Gospel taken to them, but cannot do so, except through human agency, and is disappointed and baffled, because those who profess to be his people fail to raise sufficient missionary donations. To natural minds these theories which satisfied in the past are no longer satisfactory; hence many are turned to infidelity. As the Scriptures say, "My people perish for lack of knowledge." Hos. 4:6


Leaving these unsatisfactory errors of the "dark ages' and going back to the Scriptures we find their teachings consistent; namely, that as soon as the "mystery," the Church, is completed, the blessing of God will proceed through The Christ (Head and members) to the world. As it is written, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

The mystery, be it known, is that the scriptural "Seed of Abraham" is not the Lord Jesus only, but includes also his members – the Church. As we read, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the promise." Gal. 3:29 According to the Scriptures the blessing of God will proceed through Spiritual Israel, a "Royal Priesthood," "after the order of Melchizedec" to natural Israel under the terms of their New Covenant. (Jer. 31:31)

During the Millennial Age under the spiritual Kingdom of The Christ (operating through the earthly Kingdom of Israel) all nations will be instructed, enlightened, blessed. Not only so, but the merit of Christ will then be applied also on behalf of the thousands of millions who have gone down into the prison house of death – sheol, hades – the grave. The Church will constitute the "First Resurrection," "His resurrection."

All sharing in it will attain life on the spirit plane like unto the angels, but superior, "far above angels."

Later during the Millennium the world will return from the tomb, "every man in his own order." (1 Cor. 15:23)

And the resurrecting process will continue with them, to the intent that the willing and obedient may continue to rise gradually towards perfection and finally attain it, while at the same time the earth will be rejuvenated and become the promised "Paradise regained" – restored. Acts 3:19-21

When the world begins to experience the blessings God has in reservation for it, thankfulness will break forth spontaneously and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess – for these refusing so to acknowledge Divine grace will be "destroyed from amongst the people." (Acts 3:23)

And to whatever extent the world may gain a trifling knowledge of those coming blessings, thanksgiving and praise and self-consecration should proportionately result promptly. The Scripture's testimony is that when God's gracious Plan shall have been thus worked out to its completion, both heaven and earth will ring with praises and thanksgiving and adoration "To him that sitteth upon the Throne and to the Lamb forever."

We are informed that this praise will be from every creature – not a rebel will remain – "Every creature in heaven and in earth and under the earth" will be heard giving praise to God.


Looking down into the future prophetically the Psalmist explains, in view of the Kingdom blessings promised to the world, "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good! for his mercy endureth forever!" It is the mercy of God toward us and toward all who need his mercy and who desire it that is the ground for thanksgiving. True praise must come from thankful hearts, and in order to be properly thankful, one must see more than is now visible to those who have not the eye of faith and the ear of faith and the Divine revelation respecting things to come. But it is these very opportunities that the Lord's consecrated ones possess: "Blessed are your eyes, for they see and your ears, for they hear."

Not only so, but to the extent that anyone's eyes see and his ear hear of the grace of God he has responsibility. To possess the knowledge of God and to disdain it is to receive the grace of God in vain, whether more or less. 2 Cor. 6:1 God's people not only give thanks for the blessings of the future which they receive by faith, but additionally they appreciate blessings granted to them in advance in the present life and give thanks for these. The first of these is the knowledge, the appreciation, of the goodness of God in granting us a release from sin and [NS742] its penalty by faith, so that we can (without waiting for actualities) now rejoice in the mercy which has justified us freely by Divine grace through faith in the blood of Christ. The realization of the rolling away of our load of sin, a realization of our forgiveness by the Father, called for gratitude, for thanksgiving, and this cause continuing, our thanks continue. We were lifted from the horrible pit and the miry clay of sin and condemnation and our feet were placed upon the Rock Christ Jesus.

It was in consequence of this that a new song was put into our mouth, even the loving-kindness of our God. And this is the first cause for our thankfulness. All other blessings rest upon this blessing and all other thanksgivings should properly, therefore, include thanks for this blessing. Additionally after being justified we were inducted into a still further grace or privilege; namely, the privilege of becoming members of the Body of Christ, members of the "mystery" class. The invitation to this class the Apostle expresses thus, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God (your justification) that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Rom. 12:1)

Through this grace or privilege, if accepted, we gain the opportunity of a change of nature – from human to Divine. Our human nature justified, cleansed, made acceptable to God as a sacrifice through the merit of Christ, if sacrificed by us faithfully, will be replaced by a spirit nature and glory, honor, immortality, joint heirship, with our Lord and Head. What cause we have in this for thanksgiving! "What shall we render unto the Lord our Cod for all his benefits toward us? We will take the cup of salvation (his cup, the cup of self-sacrifice) and call upon the name of the Lord (for assistance to drink of the Master's cup). We will pay our vows of consecration unto the Lord – publicly before all his people." Psa. 116:12-14

"Every joy he sends me, Comes a sweet and glad surprise. The very fact that we do not know everything; the. fact that we are ever learning as pupils in the School of Christ, so far from being a cause of disappointment, is a source of pleasure. The heart that has come into faith-union and communion with the Lord learns something more daily respecting the Heavenly Father's love and care, and each fresh item of knowledge is a new well-spring of pleasure. "He satisfieth the longing soul."

"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."

"Goodness and mercy follow me all the days of :my life."

These are the experiences of those ripe Christians called upon by the Apostle to give thanks unto God in every matter and to know that this is God's will in respect to all those who are members of Christ – in Christ Jesus. Psa. 107:9; Matt. 5:6; Psa. 23:6


Let us not overlook the fact that our text indicates that we are to give thanks for our sorrows, our trials, our disappointments, as well as for our joys and pleasures, for everything includes all things. Nor is this the only Scripture to this effect. Hearken to the Apostle's words which urge the members of Christ to rejoice in tribulation, not because tribulation is a joy producer; but, as he explains, tribulation works out additional patience and patience brings additional experience and larger experience brings larger hope, until we are not ashamed of our tribulations, because of increased love of God shed abroad in our hearts thereby. Rom. 5:3; 8:35

We remember also our Lord's words to the effect that when we suffer persecution and tribulation we should rejoice and be exceeding glad, knowing that great will be our reward in heaven – knowing that the faithful endurance of such trials and difficulties will fit us and prepare us for the higher and nobler state in the Millennial Kingdom, by preparing us the better to sympathize with mankind in general, enabling us to pour upon them in due time the riches of God's grace and Truth.

But, the Apostle urges, no tribulation for the time seemeth joyous, but rather grievous. Hence the Lord's faithful must sometimes be glad whilst in tears. Yea, sometimes the very best mellowing and sanctifying influences upon our characters come to us in connection with disappointments and heartaches. At such times the Lord's people are to remember the gracious promise that all things, under Divine supervision, shall work together for good to those who love God – more than they love houses or lands or self or any other creature.

The basis of all these blessings and rejoicing both as respects the future and the present experiences is faith. First, in the fact that there is a God. Second, in the fact that he has a noble character. Third, in the fact that his Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power are perfect and thoroughly co-ordinate. Fourth, in the fact that all of those powers are enlisted in the salvation of the world. Fifth, in the fact that that salvation began to be worked out by our Lord at his First Advent. Sixth, in the fact that it is still working out in the selection of his Church. Seventh, in the fact that shortly it will begin to take practical shape in the establishment of Christ's Millennial Kingdom. Eighth, in the fact that through that Kingdom a blessing shall extend to every creature of our race. [NS743] So, then, let every man to the extent of his enlightenment appreciate and confess the Almighty God and "give thanks unto his name, for he is good and for his mercy endureth forever."

And let those who have tasted of his grace pursue on, that they may grow in grace, grow in knowledge, grow in faith and grow in character-likeness to our God. And let his saints addressed in this text more and more appreciate their wonderful privilege, their high calling of God in Christ Jesus – to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord – if so be that they suffer with him, that they may be also glorified together.

And knowing that they have need of faith and patience and character-development, let these firmly trust the Great Teacher, come what may and give thanks for every experience of life, knowing that our Father is too wise to err and remembering the Master's words, "The Father himself loveth you." John 16:27

The Weekly Enquirer, December 9, 1909


For his text Sunday, at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, Pastor Russell took the words of the Savior: "No man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)

The discourse follows: The Great Teacher did not use the methods of modern revivalists to secure a following. He did not ask the multitudes to raise their hand if they would prefer to go to heaven at death and then publish them as converts – Christians.

Indeed, His methods were the very reverse of this, avoiding all kinds of sensational appeals to pride, selfishness, vanity, etc. He set forth in plain terms the difficulties to be expected by all those who espouse His cause and become His disciples. He forewarned them that it would mean the taking up of a cross and the bearing of it in His footsteps in the narrow way of self-sacrifice. He warned these, saying: "Marvel not, if the world hate you. Ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (1 John 3:13; John 15:18-19)

Instead of trying to produce an excitement which would overbalance the judgment of His hearers and lead them to profess what they subsequently would not be able or willing to practice, the Great Teacher, on the contrary, said to those contemplating discipleship: "Sit down first and count the cost."

Instead of attempting to sway the multitudes our Lord took a different course and attempted to make disciples of only a special class – not the poor, not the rich, not the learned, not the ignorant, but irrespective of these class-lines and distinctions His call was to all those who loved righteousness and hated iniquity. All those who were weary and heavy laden, oppressed by sin and its penalty to themselves and their friends – these He called to learn of Him and find rest of soul. So far from expecting or seeking the conversion of the whole people our Lord's words were: "No man can come unto me unless the Father which sent me draw him, and he that cometh unto me I will in no wise reject."

The same thought is expressed by the apostles, who declared that they sought and expected to influence, not the world in general, but "as many as the Lord your God shall call ."

Doubtless there is room for difference of opinion respecting the manner in which the Father "draws" and "calls" the Church of Christ during this Gospel Age. Our understanding is that the Lord exercises a favorable influence upon a certain class of people only and that it is an enlightening influence to the extent of bringing this class to a knowledge of Christ – to a knowledge of the fact that forgiveness of sins may be attained through faith in Christ.

Thenceforth that class, having been brought in touch with the Redeemer, can make further progress only through faith in Him and submission to His guidance into all truth and into fellowship with the Father. The class thus influenced we believe to be small as compared to humanity as a whole – only that portion which in honesty of heart deplores sin and longs for righteousness and fellowship with God.

These, like the remainder of the race, are by nature fallen, imperfect, sinful, condemned, but in these still persists some trace of the image of God, in the perfection of which Father Adam was created. It is this trace or strain of the Divine character represented by conscience and faith which leads them to recognize their fallen and sinful condition as compared with the Divine standard of perfection, and this becomes the basis of their calling or drawing of God, their "ear."

"He that hath an ear let him hear" (Rev. 2:7).

It will be observed that we are not specially blaming or condemning those who have not the hearing ear. On the contrary, we remember the gracious words of [NS744] Scripture, that in God's due time "all the blind eyes shall be opened; all the deaf ears shall be unstopped." (Isa. 35:5)

We are glad of this promise of God that ultimately all shall see and all shall hear and all shall know Him, from the least to the greatest. We rejoice, too, that when they know Him truly they will rejoice, even as do we now. That will be their time of responsibility, their time of trial or judgment for life or death eternal on the earthly plane.


Our text speaks of the Kingdom of God. And it is important that we first of all notice that these words have in the Scriptures a twofold signification. For instance, our Lord Jesus taught that we should pray to the Father: "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

The reference of this prayer is the millennial reign or government of Christ, which St. Paul declares will begin at the second coming of our Lord and continue until He shall have put down all insubordination, all sin, everything contrary to Divine character and law. It will be the Kingdom of God which will subdue all things.

It will be the Kingdom of God among men perfected when all things shall have been subdued. And when Christ's mediatorial Kingdom shall be at the end of the Millennium, delivered back to God, even the Father, God's Kingdom will have fully come in the earth. God's will then will be possible of accomplishment by men, because all will have reached perfection, and Christ's mediatorial Kingdom will end because it will be no longer necessary. It will have accomplished the great purpose for which it was intended.

It was not, however, respecting that millennial reign, that mediatorial kingdom, that our Lord spoke in our text, nor did He refer to the perfect Kingdom, as it will be turned over to the Father at the end of the millennium, and will last forever. Our Lord used the words, "Not fit for the Kingdom of God," as He did in many other of His discourses – in respect to the church class now called of the Father to be the "Kingdom" in the sense of being the kings and priests of that Kingdom – the royalty of the kingdom – the Queen, the Lamb's wife, associated with the Heavenly Bridegroom, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, in His rule of a thousand years. In very many of His parables our Lord refers to this Kingdom class, which, during this gospel age, is in process of selection or election, and hence subjected to trials and difficulties specially permitted for the development of character – for the chiseling and shaping and polishing of the "elect."


We now have before our minds the two ways in which the expression, Kingdom of God, is used, and we can readily see that our Lord could not refer to the millennial kingdom and say that any would be too degraded to be fit for the influences of His millennial kingdom, because that Kingdom is designed for the very purpose of dealing with the unfit and gradually, during the thousand years of its reign of righteousness, uplifting men out of sin and death conditions, if they will, to the full human perfection which Adam lost, which Jesus redeemed, and which is to be restored to the willing and obedient, as St. Peter declares. (Acts 3:19-21)

It follows, then, that our Lord must have referred to those called of the Father and accepted by Himself to be chiseled and polished – to be taught in the school of Christ and eventually to become His bride and joint-heir in the Millennial Kingdom. No man will be esteemed fit for a share in that Millennial Kingdom unless he attains to the glorious qualities of character and saintship which the Scriptures set forth as the divine standard – "copies of God's dear Son." (Rom. 8:29)

Surely no one will consider it unreasonable that our Creator should set standards for this "elect" class – very high standards, too, are reasonable, because of the very high positions of honor, glory and immortality to which they are invited. When we consider the apostle's testimony that divine grace in proffering this great privilege of joint-heirship with Christ, passed by the holy angels to us, we were amazed at the length and breadth of the divine favor, and freely concede that even if angels were granted so high a state they would need to be crucially tested; much more so we, who "by nature were children of wrath even as others," but are now justified freely through faith in the precious blood. "Fit for the Kingdom!" Let us think for a moment what these words signify. First of all, we recognize that, as sinners, we were most thoroughly unfit for any favor of God, much less this greatest of all favors, joint-heirship with His Son and "partakers of the Divine nature." (2 Pet. 1:4)

But that difficulty has all been overcome with those who have come unto God through Christ and been made partakers of His holy Spirit of adoption. Of such we read: "It is God that justifieth! Who is he that condemneth?" (Rom. 8:33, 34)

It is Christ that died for our sins and who now is our Advocate. Who could in any wise come between us and our Savior and our Heavenly Father? But this justification is not enough. If we were perfect actually instead of merely reckonedly we would not be fit for the Kingdom of God – we would not be fit to govern others – to be "kings and priests unto God and to reign on the earth." (Rev. 20:6)

We should still be unfit to be the judges of the world, as the Scriptures declare that we shall be, saying: "Know ye not that the [NS745] saints shall judge the world?" (1 Cor. 6:2)

Our Heavenly Father in bringing many into glory made the Captain of their salvation (Jesus) perfect through sufferings. Should we think it strange that we, His younger brethren, justified through His blood, should be required, not merely to make a profession of Godliness, holiness, but also to approve or attest that sentiment to be a part of our very character! Is not what we as the Church of Christ experience very reasonable indeed – who would be prepared to teach the world meekness, patience, brotherly kindness, long-suffering, love, without first of all developing these various qualities of character in himself?

And how could he develop these and be tested except under just such schooling and disciplining influences as now are upon the Church of Christ, with a view to making us fit for the glorious position of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus? When the Scriptures refer to the Church as being fit for the Kingdom and as being the "overcomers" for whom the Kingdom is prepared, and who shall share its glories and honors, because "they are worthy" (Rev. 3:4), we are to understand this worthiness and fitness, not that they were originally so, but we do understand that by God's grace, through Christ, a transformation work will eventually bring some to this glorious position where God himself will esteem them worthy to be called His children, and to be joint-heirs with His Son, the Great King.


There is one certain standard of fitness for the Kingdom, and none other will do; but there may be quite a variety of conditions which make one unfit for the Kingdom. One of these is murder. "No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:15)

He would be unfit for the Kingdom. This would not signify, however, that one who had once been a murderer might not, by a sound conversion and by faithfulness in the School of Christ, become a member of the Kingdom class. But the word murder here used has a broader meaning than is generally attached to it – the meaning which St. John gave to the word when he said that whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. (1 John 2:2)

We know, then, that no brother-hater is fit for the Kingdom. But some may have been brother-haters and have been washed, cleansed, sanctified, brought into heart-relationship with the Lord and into love of the brethren. If so, implication is that they have lost the spirit of murder from their hearts and are brother-haters no longer. The Scriptures tell us also that it will be possible for a man who has been figuratively washed from his former condition of sin-defilement and who has been clothed of the Lord symbolically in a robe of righteousness, and who had been begotten of the holy spirit of love to turn from this holy commandment of love, to turn from the way of righteousness to his former condition of sin-defilement. The Apostle gives the illustration of the sow that washed returning to her wallowing in the mire. (2 Pet. 2:22)

But the case of such is helpless if the step be taken with full intention and deliberation – if the return to a murderous condition of heart – brother-hating – be with the full consent of the heart. The Apostle, however, does intimate that up to a certain point there is hope of recovery, and hence he urges all of the faithful to assist those, saying: "He that converteth a sinner (once a brother) from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death." (Jas. 5:20)

Again, we read: "No drunkard shall enter into the Kingdom of God." (1 Cor. 6:10)

He surely would be unfit. This does not, however, imply that all total abstainers from intoxicant liquors are fit for the Kingdom. Neither does it imply that a drunkard might not reform and thus cease to be a drunkard, and by the Lord's grace, become fit for the Kingdom. Moreover, the word drunkard in the Bible is frequently used in a figurative sense. It represents an addled condition of the mind; as, for instance, we read that Babylon's cup made all the nation's drunk. (Rev. 18:2, 3)

This signifies that fellowship with false doctrines has permeated, influenced, bewildered the world in general. God's people, partaking of Christ's cup of suffering, are said to receive "the spirit of a sound mind" – clearness of understanding respecting the divine character and plan and the principles of righteousness. All who will be fit for the Kingdom may be expected to have considerable clearness of understanding respecting divine things. They are to know God, and by receiving His spirit they are to have understanding of "the deep things of God," which the natural man cannot understand. (1 Cor. 2:10-14)

This our Lord spoke, saying: "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent." (John 17:3)

Pride is another quality of the heart which would render its possessor unfit for the Kingdom of God. We read that the Lord "resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble." (1 Pet. 5:5)

Pride is one of the things which God hates. It is a foe to righteousness in general and leads captive many into sin. When we read that God shows His favor to the humble we may be sure that the favor of joint heirship with the Redeemer is for the humble alone. With what carefulness this should lead us to search our hearts and put away everything in the nature of pride, self-conceit. Love is the fulfilling of the law. Love is the law of the new creation; and pride is a foe to love. It is [NS746] related to selfishness, which is a deep-seated foe of every grace of the holy Spirit.


Our Lord illustrates the subject by a plowman looking back after he had started his furrow – looking back regretfully, desiring to abandon the plow, and really doing it. The illustration teaches that any of us who now hear of the grace of God and who now accept the terms of His call and make a full consecration to the Lord will lose the promised blessing if we in heart look back, in the sense of declining to go forward, in harmony with the consecration of their lives – unto death.

The Lord wishes us to see that the Heavenly Father is not merely calling for those who have generally good intentions and who would rather do right than wrong. We may rejoice with such that they are better than their neighbors, but they are not fit for the Kingdom of God, unless their love for righteousness, for truth, for the will of God, be so firmly established that they are ready and willing to "endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ" and to "fight a good fight" to the end of the course, laying hold upon eternal life and glory and immortality. One of God's objects in permitting the world and the flesh and the adversary to have the power which they now possess to counteract and to fight against our good intentions and good resolutions is explained in the Scriptures. We read "The Lord your God proveth you to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deut. 13:3)

If love of sin or love of self or love of any earthly thing can overbalance our love to the Lord and to His truth and His people we are not worthy of a place in the Kingdom – not fit for the Kingdom. Not merely good professions, but faithfulness unto death, fixity of character are required by the Lord of such as He would honor with a share in the Kingdom.


Having noticed that lack of love, lack of zeal, lack of constancy, lack of devotion would unfit us for the Kingdom, let us notice some of the characteristics necessary to a place in the Kingdom – some of the qualities, therefore, which we must each cultivate in our own hearts, which we must each develop in his own character.

The Apostle explains these and urges the matter thus: "Add to your faith fortitude, and to fortitude knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things be in you and abound they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . for if ye do these things ye shall never fail; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:5-11)

New Jersey Advocate, December 23, 1909 Originally Republished from The St. Paul Enterprise, April 24, 1917


"With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; Yea, with my spirit within me, will I seek Thee early: for when Thy judgments are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." Isa. 26:9

Sunday, Dec. 19 – Pastor Russell spoke today from the above text. Brooklyn Tabernacle was crowded with an attentive audience, as usual.

We report the discourse as follows: Only those who come to an advanced degree of knowledge of God's Word can realize how Divine judgments are all good – all blessed. Under the influence of the fog of superstition, not understanding aright the teachings of the Scriptures, supposing that they taught eternal torment for the great majority of our race, we feared God, rather than loved Him. We dared not say that such a judgment was wrong, malicious, devilish, yet we were unable to see it in any other light; hence the general perplexity of Christendom, and the general alienation of heart, and many intelligent minds driven to infidelity, and the dislike to think about God and His supposedly terrible purposes respecting our race and the general awe respecting the Bible and the fear of its misunderstood teachings. But now in the dawning of the New Dispensation the Word of God is shining as never before; one passage illuminating another, our fear gives place to reverential love and filial awe. We begin to understand [NS747] that the torment doctrines which we received are wholly foreign to the Divine character, which, on the contrary, is distinctly marked by Wisdom, Justice, Mercy and Love toward all. We find ourselves now in agreement with the Scriptural declaration that God's judgments are "righteous altogether," and we delight in them. Instead of a judgment of eternal torment as a penalty for sin, we find a judgment or sentence of death. We agree to the righteousness of that verdict or judgment. God had the right to demand of His creature the obedience he was able to render.

He had a perfect right to destroy him in death when he refused the blessing of life eternal on the terms of obedience. Seeing this, how rejoiced we are to note the Divine Mercy in the Plan of Redemption for the sinner and his offspring through the sacrifice of Christ! As a result we have good hope in his judgments; for him who once judged us worthy of death has with equal Justice redeemed us and granted us the opportunity of eternal life through the resurrection.

It was another part of the Divine Judgment against our race that, instead of the death penalty coming instantly upon Adam and Eve, it came gradually, that through the processes of gradual dying they might the better learn the lesson of "the exceeding sinfulness of sin – to the intent that, when granted the new trial secured by the merit of Christ's sacrifice, they might profit by it the more. The same principles apply to all of Adam's posterity. 'The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now . . . waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:22, 19).

They are waiting for the establishment of Christ's Millennial Kingdom under which they shall have a full opportunity of coming to a knowledge of the Truth. This is God's provision for the world in general. What God did for the little nation of Israel during the Jewish Age, and what He has been doing for Spiritual Israel since Pentecost, in this Gospel Age, are matters separate and apart entirely from His general dealing with the world of mankind. The natural and the spiritual Seed of Abraham are exceptions to the rule.

They have been granted special privileges and blessings not granted to the world in general – natural Israel under the Law Covenant and spiritual Israel under the Abrahamic Covenant. From these two nominal Israels special "overcomers" have been chosen or elected. These shortly, in association with the Redeemer, will constitute the Kingdom of God. The overcomers of spiritual Israel, becoming the Bride of Christ by resurrection "change" to the heavenly nature, will be like Him and share His glory and constitute the Kingdom class in the highest sense. The overcomers of natural Israel, resurrected to the perfection of earthly nature, will constitute the earthly phase of the Millennial Kingdom. Mankind may see and have intercourse with these, but will not see nor have direct intercourse with the glorified Christ, Head and Body – the King of Glory.


So far as the world is concerned, it has been under the one general sentence of Divine Justice, "dying thou shalt die."

But so far as natural and spiritual Israel are concerned, they have been dealt with as freed from the original sentence and on trial for life or death afresh under God's judgments or disciplines. Thus it is written, 'Jehovah will judge His people."

Not all under these judgments have understood them – not all were in the condition of heart to receive their instructions. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His Covenant" (Psalm 25:14).

Thus, during the Jewish Age, Israel often lapsed into more or less of darkness and idolatry and failed to see their special privileges and relationship to God under their Covenant. But amongst them were the faithful who with the eye of faith discerned the righteousness of God's dealing with them. Of these were the prophets who rehearsed the Divine dealings and rewards and punishments, that they were true and righteous altogether and merciful in the extreme. Similarly during this Gospel Age Christendom as a whole has not been in the condition of heart to hear, to understand, to appreciate, the judgments of the Lord. But some have been "Israelites indeed" who possessed the secret of the Lord and who were able to rejoice in His judgments – His righteous dealings. They realized by faith God's love for them. "The Father himself loveth you" (John 16:27).

By faith they appropriated the Apostle's assurance that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Rom. 8:28


We have seen that God's judgments in the past have been merely with those who shall constitute the Seed of Abraham (natural and spiritual), through whom, according to the promise, "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 28:14).

We now note the fact that our text does not relate to either of these, for their judgments could be discerned only by the eye of faith. Our text refers to the world's judgments during the Millennial Age. Then God's judgments will be abroad in the earth – not merely confined to one nation or specially called class, but will include every member of Adam's race. And while these are declared to be the Lord's judgments, note the fact that they will be [NS748] administered by the Christ, of which our glorified Redeemer shall be the Head, and His "members," when glorified, shall be the Body – the Church. The judgments of the Lord abroad in the earth will not mean havoc and dismay to mankind in general, but the reverse – relief, assistance to all who come into line with the righteous arrangements of that Kingdom designed for their uplifting from sin and death conditions. The judgments of that Millennial Day of a thousand years will be severe – even to destruction – only against the wilfully, the deliberately rebellious; after they shall have been brought to a clear appreciation of right and wrong, good and evil, and their result; life or death.

Mark the statement of the Prophet David when prophetically referring to the Millennial Age; he points out that the judgments of that time will be a cause of gladness. He says: "Let the heavens be glad, And let the earth rejoice; Let men say among the nations, the Lord 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 out At the presence of the Lord. Because He Cometh to Judge the Earth. O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; For His mercy endureth forever." – 1 Chron. 16:31-34


Mark the words of St. Paul respecting what God has in reservation for the world. He says God "hath appointed a day [the thousand-year day of Christ] in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained." Acts 17:31 In this work ordained for our Lord he is to have associates – the "elect" Church, His "members," of whom the Apostle writes, saying, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Cor. 6:2)

And the Ancient Worthies enumerated by St. Paul (Heb. 9:38-40) will also be judges, but on the earthly plane as representatives of the Heavenly Kingdom. As it is written, "I will restore thy judges as at the first and thy counselors as at the beginning." Isa. 1:26

Our All Wise Creator, who has thus made provision, both for the heavenly and the earthly judges of the world in the election from Israel and the election of the Gospel Age, has thus demonstrated to the few who understand "the secret of the Lord," "the mystery" hidden from ages and dispensations past. It is evident that there will be no disappointment, no failure, in respect to God's great oath-bound Covenant made with Abraham – "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

The basis of the blessing is the redemptive work of Christ finished at Calvary. The outworking of that blessing will come through the glorified Lord and His Church, "His Body."

The first work will be the establishment of a righteous government in the hands of those already proven absolutely loyal to God and to His righteousness – "faithful even unto death."

We may have full confidence that in that Kingdom 'righteousness will be laid to the line and justice to the plummet," as God has promised (Isa. 28:17).

Not only so, but we may have full confidence that mercy will have a free hand there to do all for mankind that would be reasonable and possible. The combination of a strong government with merciful assistants is represented by the fact that our Lord will be, not only the great King but also the great Priest and Prophet and Teacher. Even so, also, the Church shall be "kings and priests" – their office, their service, will be a combination of ruling and healing, instructing and uplifting. Everything done will come under the head of judgment – righteous dealing. Every good deed, yea, every good effort, will be rewarded – its judgment will be a blessing, an increase of harmony with the Lord and with a character development and restitutional physical experiences (Acts 3:19-21).

Instead of the ways of darkness will be the way of light. Instead of the broad road leading to destruction with the masses going down thereon – to the tomb – will be "the highway of holiness."

Instead of stones of stumbling we are assured that all the stumbling stones shall be gathered out of the way. Instead of beastly violence, over-mastering temptations and besetments, devouring mankind because of their weakness to resist the Adversary, the Bible assures us that Satan will be bound and that the wild beasts of vice and degeneracy will all be brought into subjection. Thus "nothing shall hurt nor destroy in all God's holy Kingdom."

"And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called, The way of holiness." Isa. 9:9; 35:8 The Messianic Psalm (seventy-second) finds its application to that glorious Millennial epoch. Thus we read, "Give the King thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the King's Son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness and thy poor with judgment (justice). .. . He shall judge the poor of the people, [NS749] He shall save the children of the needy and shall break in pieces the oppressor. . . . He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth. In His days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth."


As already shown, God's dealings in the past have been with the world only in the sense of executing a general sentence for Adamic sin – a death sentence with all that that involves of mental, moral and physical degeneracy – dying. All of God's special judgments have been with those who were justified to special relationship through faith. If we were to judge of the number who will be blessed during the Millennium by the "little flock" of natural Israel and the "little flock" of spiritual Israel, saved under God's judgments in advance of the millennium, the outcome of the world's judgment would not appear favorable. But these would not be fair criterions. Present conditions are permitted in order to test and to prove the faith, as well as the obedience of those who are under trial or judgment and who, by reason of the fall, have such a faith as permits them to grasp the glorious features of the present call. Consequently, "few" there will be who will find the great reward now offered. (Matt. 7:14)

This is as God designs it, because He is selecting a special class. But the arrangements made for mankind in general are that the darkness and sin of the present time shall flee away. The dawning of the Millennium morning, with the rising of the Sun of Righteousness with healing in his beams (The Christ in glory to enlighten the world), will mean that knowledge will be granted the world – facts, evidences, proofs. The world will not be required to "walk by faith and not by sight," as are the "elect" of this present time. Instead of the eye of faith of the present time will be the eye of understanding (knowledge), then. Instead of the secret of the Lord being kept from the world, all of His gracious purposes will then stand fully revealed. "The knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep" (Hab 2:14).

As a result none shall need to say unto his neighbor and to his brother, Know thou the Lord, for all shall know Him, from the least to the greatest of them. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God (Rom. 14:11).

When every good deed shall receive promptly and manifestly its reward, and every evil deed shall receive promptly its punishment, the world will speedily learn to avoid the punishments and to win the reward by obedience to the laws of the Kingdom.


The Prophet in our text personifies the Christ, Jesus the Head and the Church His Body. Note the statement, "With my soul have I desired thee in the night" (Isa. 26:9).

The "night" of sin has been upon the world for centuries. The "morning" is at hand, but not yet fully come. During the night-time the faithful of the Church are represented as walking in the light of God's Word. "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a lantern unto my footsteps" (Psa. 109:105).

St. Peter says, "We have a more sure word of prophecy, to which we do well to take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place – until the day dawn and the day-star arise" (2 Pet. 1:19).

In this night-time the "elect" are different from the majority of those around them – they desire God's righteousness and they pray, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth even as it is done in heaven."


Those who now are able to "sing in the night" because of their appreciation of the Divine Plan are prophetically declared to "sing the song of Moses, the servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy; for all nations shall come and worship before thee, because of the manifestation of thy righteous dealings." Rev. 15:3, 4

The Cincinnati Weekly Enquirer, December 30, 1909


Pastor Russell, of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, preached at Richmond, Va., Sunday, to a large and attentive audience. He chose for his text: "The angel said unto them, 'Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.'" Luke 2:10-11

The speaker said: [NS750] There is an appropriateness in the general joy of the Christmas season, even though some of it is not wisely expressed. The happy custom of giving tokens of love and friendship prevails everywhere the story of Jesus has gone. Even the almshouses and prisons make special provision that the day which celebrates the Savior's birth may, so far as possible, be a happy one, a joyous one, to all mankind.

The poorer of our citizens and the unfortunate of slender means are often kindly remembered by their more highly favored relatives and neighbors. Surely this is as it ought to be. Some may have been injured by receiving bounties, but few, if any, have ever been other than blessed in the giving of them. Herein we see corroborated the Savior's own words, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

It is godlike to give. The Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Father of Lights, has set an example of benevolence which all who have any knowledge of Him should be proportionately careful to obey and emulate. Our text tells us of God's great Gift, and, although it is evident that our Lord Jesus was born about October 1, instead of December 25, this makes no material difference, for it is the great fact that we commemorate, and not the particular day of its occurrence. Let us consider today the great gift of God's love, which the apostle refers to as "the unspeakable gift. (2 Cor. 9:15)

As we discern something of its length and breadth and height and depth our amazement is the more, our joy increases, and we have the more desire to be likewise generous with all with whom we have to do, especially with all who are less fortunately situated than ourselves, either in temporal or spiritual matters.


All men realize, to some extent at least, their imperfection – that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Men's thoughts toward God seem to run along the lines of fear; unworthy of Divine favor, they fear Divine wrath. So it was with the shepherds as related in our context. When the angel of the Lord appeared to them to announce Messiah's birth they feared. For what purpose would an angel or messenger come to them except to render some denunciation or to foretell some catastrophe? It was, therefore, that the first words of the messenger were "Fear not."

So in approaching mankind in general with God's message to sinners it is appropriate that we begin by saying, Fear not! The God we preach unto you is not a demon seeking your injury and your torment. He is a God of wisdom and justice and love, with all power to carry to successful conclusion His wise, just and loving program, respecting our race, "which He purposed in Himself from before the foundation of the world." (Eph. 1:9)

Satan has used this human tendency of fear as a lash wherewith to drive man away from God, and from the Bible, His revelation. We are not, therefore, to accredit to our forefathers the viciousness of character which seems to be implied in the creeds of the "dark ages" handed down to us; rather we are to credit those vicious misrepresentations of our Heavenly Father to the great Father of Lies. He it is who in the dark of the past planted the seeds of what the apostle terms "doctrines of devils." (1 Tim. 4:1)

We thank the Lord that gradually we are getting our eyes of understanding opened to recognize the true character of God and Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent, and Who is His express image. St. Paul outlines the difficulty for us, saying: "The God of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of all them that believe not, lest the glorious light of divine goodness should shine into their hearts." 2 Cor. 4:4

Hark to the Lord's message through the Prophet Isaiah. Foreseeing our estrangement Himself and our enslavement by the adversary, He tells us in so many words: "Their fears toward Me is not of Me, but is taught by the precepts of men" – as inspired by our adversary, the devil. Isa. 29:13


Intending from the first not to abandon his fallen human creatures to utter destruction, the Father purposed in Himself, in advance, the great plan of salvation now in progress. From before the foundation of the world he purposed that Jesus should be the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world and eventually to bring all the willing and obedient back to harmony with Himself, so that only the wilfully wicked would experience the wages of sin, death – "second death."

But God has a "due time" for every feature of His great plan. Four thousand years sped by before it became due time to send the Only Begotten Son into the world to redeem it. "In the fulness of time God sent forth His Son, born of a woman." (Gal. 4:4)

"In due time Christ died for the ungodly" – 4,160 years after sin had entered. (Rom. 5:6)

At first we are amazed at such a delay. Nor can the matter be satisfactorily understood until we learn two things: 1. That man's experience with sin and death is a part of the great lesson which God designs all to have – learning the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Later, when the second great lesson shall be given to mankind – the desirableness and profitableness of righteousness – the schooling as a whole will be the more effective. 2. We must also learn that our dear friends and [NS751] neighbors who go down into death are as if only asleep, and have no consciousness in either joy or sorrow, waiting for the millennial morning – the resurrection morning. Their death would have been absolute, as in the case of the brute beast, had not God with His great love provided for their redemption and resurrection. (Eccl. 5:9; John 11:11; 3:13; Acts 2:34)

In view of this provision the whole world is said to sleep in Jesus – in the sense that their hope rests in the great work which Jesus accomplished when He gave Himself a "ransom for all to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:6)

There is a difference, therefore, between the W6rld sleeping in Jesus and the church who fall asleep in Christ. The church is composed of those begotten of the Holy Spirit during this Gospel age, who maintain their relationship to Christ, the Head, as members of His body, and when God has promised that as they share with Christ in His sacrificial death, they shall also share with Him in His glorious resurrection to honor and immortality. The Scriptures make very plain the fact that while Jesus was born of a woman this was not the beginning of His existence, for "He was with the Father before the world was."

He was the very "beginning of the creation of God." (Rev. 3:14)

As St. John declares, "In the beginning was the word (Logos) and the Logos was with the God and the Logos was a God. By Him were all things made that were made and without Him was not one thing made."

He was "made flesh and dwelt amongst us," "He came unto His own and His own received Him not, but to as many as received Him, to them gave He privilege to become sons of God." John 1:1-14 The Scriptures make clear to us that the Father did not compel the Son to be our Redeemer – on the contrary, He invited Him to do so and set before Him the great reward;

1. The privilege of proving His loyalty to the Father. Heb. 10:7; Psa. 41:8

2. The privilege of serving the fallen race, as being their Redeemer and Restorer. Matt. 20:28

3. The honor of high exaltation to even greater dignities than He had before He left the Father – to honor, glory and immortality, far above angels and principalities and powers and every name that is named. St. Paul, in referring to the matter, tells us that our Lord, "for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame" – and now, in consequence, is set down on the right hand of the Father on high. Heb. 12:2

While the Savior was the Christmas gift to us in one sense of the word, yet the gift was more from another standpoint – although it was all contained in that primary gift. Our Lord first, by obedience to the divine law, demonstrated His right to eternal life; and, at the same time, by His consecration to death, He laid down the life He was privileged to have. Nor did He ever take it back. He arose from the dead on the third day, perfected as a new creature – as a spirit-being. (2 Cor. 3:17)

He did indeed appear to the apostles during the subsequent 40 days, but not as before. Although after His resurrection He appeared in the flesh He was not flesh. He had taken the body of flesh "for the suffering of death," and not to keep eternally. When He had finished sacrificing it the flesh had served His purpose. His high exaltation is on the spirit plane, far above angels. His appearances during the 40 days were very brief and few, after the manner in which angels had previously appeared in the flesh. They were for the purpose of convincing the disciples that He was no longer dead, and to convince them also that He was no longer limited to earthly powers, as before His death. He was "put to death in the flesh, but quickened in spirit." 1 Pet. 3:18

Notice how God's gift expands, carrying blessings with each change. The giorified Jesus, when He ascended up on high, had to His credit, so to speak, the human, earthly rights which he had sacrificed. Those rights were sufficient for the whole world. Because all had been condemned through one man, all could be justified, atoned for, by the sacrifice of one perfect man – "the man Christ Jesus, who gave himselfa ransom for all." 1 Tim. 2:5, 6

But the ascended Savior, although He came into the world to be the Savior of the world, did not apply the merit of His sacrifice for the world, but, as the Scriptures show, He applied it for His church, and the entire household of faith. Unbelievers are not covered by that application of Christ's merit. In order to get under the merit of Christ now they must believe, renounce sin and make a consecration of themselves to walk in the Redeemer's footsteps as living sacrifices.

Under this provision the gospel call has been going forth for now eighteen centuries. The object of this, the Scriptures tell us, is to select primarily the Church of Christ, a "little flock," "the bride, the Lamb's wife" and joint-heir with him in his millennial kingdom, which is to bless the world. There is also a secondary dass blessed during this gospel age. But the Scriptures exhort all to seek to "make their calling and their election sure" to the bride class.


Throughout this gospel age a faithful "little flock" has gradually been gathered. Their test is their willingness to lay down their lives in the Lord's service – in the service of the truth and in the service of the brethren. In doing this they are sacrificing with [NS752] Jesus; as the apostle suggests, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Rom. 12:1)

This sacrifice of Christ's "members" is counted in as part and parcel of the sacrifice of Christ. When this sacrificing shall be finished it will mean that the merit of Christ's sacrifice at Calvary appropriated to the church will have been laid down again – returned to the credit of the Redeemer. Then, at the conclusion of this ages when the last "member of the body" has suffered with Him and been glorified, the great High Priest will apply the blood afresh. Not again for His members and the household of faith, however, but for the world, as the type clearly shows.

That will be the application of the ransom price or purchase price for the sins of the whole world. But that blessing is divinely arranged to reach the world through natural Israel, which is to be restored to God's favor at the dose of this age under a new law covenant, which will take the place of their old law covenant. All nations will be privileged to share in the blessings of that covenant and to come under the protection and guidance of its Mediator, and to be helped up out of sin and death conditions. To receive this blessing they must renounce sin and become children of Abraham, by faithful obedience under the new covenant arrangement.


Glance backward now, and see the unfoldings of the divine plan: The Babe of Bethlehem, the Man of Sorrows, the Risen Lord, the Ascended High Priest and Advocate, the appropriation of his merit to the church, the joy of forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God experienced by all believers; their instruction in the school of Christ, their testing and proving by trials and difficulties, and finally their glorification with their Lord in the millennial kingdom.

In turn, the glorious Prophet, Priest, Mediator, King, Head and "members" complete, will institute the millennial kingdom reign of righteousness for the blessing of the world. Applying His merit for the world and using it also to seal the new covenant, He opens the way whereby all then living may become reconciled to God – may be blessed with restitution to full perfection of mind and morals and physique – and have back again the paradise lost by sin, but redeemed at Calvary. The picture is the more enchanting the more we examine it. The glorious King and His giorious bride, the church, will be very merciful and kind and helpful as well as very firm in dealing with poor humanity, the groaning creation. This will insure that every one possible to be reformed will be reformed, while the willfully rebellious will be destroyed in second death. (Acts 3:23)

Nor will the Great Redeemer be content with even so glorious an outcome as this from His sacrifice. The millions that have gone down into the tomb were imperfect in mind and body and morals, largely because of heredity – because they were "born in sin and shapen in iniquity."

The Savior proposes, in harmony with the divine program, that not merely the members of the race living at the time of His second coming and the establishment of His kingdom, shall be blessed by God's great Christmas gift, but additionally, every member of Adam's race. Hence the arrangement is, as the Master tells us: "All that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth."

The "overcomers" of this time of evil, having passed their trial, will come forth perfected in life – the church on the spirit plane, being the "first fruits."

The remainder of mankind unapproved of Gods shall come forth unto a resurrection of crisis, trial, judgment, testing. They will come forth that it may be testified to them – in that their due time – that Christ died for their sins and that redemption through His blood has been provided for them and for all of Adam's race. During that thousand years of trial they must either accept God's grace and co-operate in their advance to perfection or be destroyed in the second death as unworthy of any further divine favor and blessing.


Truly, dear friends, we are beginning to understand the message sent us through the angel when our Savior was born. The message is not, "Fear greatly; I bring you bad tidings of eternal torment and misery for all people."

It is the very reverse of this, namely, "Fear not; I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people."

The joy has not been to all people as yet. Even the knowledge of the Lord has reached only about one in ten of earth's population thus far. And what did reach them was generally a very unsatisfactory, unreasonable message of damnation and great misery. As we have just seen, however, the great plan of the ages is rolling onward toward completion, andits nearness at every stage makes for fresh blessings and fresh revelations of the glorious things which God proposed in Himself from before the foundation of the world. Truly the Scriptures say: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God's ways higher than man's ways and His thoughts higher than man's thoughts." (Isa. 4:9)

Thankful and faithful we should be for the further knowledge of God's great plan, which now is streaming [NS753] forth from His word for the blessing of all whose eyes of understanding and ears of faith are open. We are truly thankful that our friends and neighbors are not in everlasting torture, but, on the contrary, waiting for the glorious millennial morning. We are thankful, too, that in God's providence we have been called to be "members" of the body of Christ, to share in His sufferings and in His glorious reign and work of the future and its blood-bought opportunity of restitution (Acts 3:19-21).

It is possible for those who thus see the real value of Christmas Day to be a thousand-fold more happy and more grateful to God than others could be. In turn they should seek to distribute the blessing and to glorify our Father in heaven, who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

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