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VOL. III. PITTSBURGH, PA., MAY, 1882. NO. 11.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER and Herald of Christ's Presence
ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL
"Watchman, What of the Night?" "The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11
PUBLISHED MONTHLY.101 Fifth Ave., PITTSBURGH, PA.
C. T. RUSSELL, Editor and Publisher.
The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he can not and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION.
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Foreign Postage being higher, our terms to foreign subscribers will be 65 cents a year. Please send us no foreign money or postage stamps as we can make no use of them. Remittances may be made by Postal Money Orders.
N.B.--This paper will be sent free to any of the Lord's poor who will send a card yearly requesting it.
VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
Many letters received tell of much interest among our readers. As requested, a number reported the observance of the anniversary of our passover sacrifice. It was very generally observed--reports coming from all directions. The largest of these small gatherings were at Newark, N.J., and in this city, the attendance at each of these being about the same--sixty persons.
The reports indicate that these meetings wherever held, were solemn and impressive--blessed seasons. Here, it was a very precious season. We recounted the scenes of the upper room at Jerusalem 1849 years ago. We looked at the type which Jesus and the twelve had met to observe. We saw through the shadow the substance. Through the type, we saw the antitype--our deliverance from the world through the death of Jesus our Lamb. [R346 : page 1]
Then, we saw that the law shadow ceased, with that last observance of the passover. That there the reality commenced by our Lamb being slain --the same day. We saw clearly that Jesus had not only substituted himself for the typical lamb, but had substituted his supper of bread and wine (emblems of our Lamb's body and blood) as instead of the flesh of the type. And we saw how, so often as we celebrated the anniversary with these emblems, we do show forth our Lord's death.
Then we commemorated the supper, examining as we did so, the import of the broken bread of which we partook, and of the wine of which we drank. We heard Jesus' words, that it was his body and his blood. Then we heard His further testimony--that if we drank of the cup, it meant that we were sharing or filling up the sufferings of Christ, as members of his body. Next we took Paul's testimony, 1 Cor. 10:16,17. (Diaglott.) "The cup of blessing for which we bless God--is it not a participation of the blood of the anointed one? The loaf which we break--is it not a participation of the BODY of the ANOINTED ONE? Because there is ONE LOAF we the many are ONE BODY; for we all partake of ONE BODY."
We endeavored to take in the full import of this teaching; to see how we must drink of his cup of suffering and death, in order to share future glory with him. The breaking of the loaf, represents our mutual strengthening of one another as members of the BODY. Each must do his share, according to his ability to strengthen and nourish and build up the body. We thought of the order, bread first, and then the wine. We saw that thus, our Lord gives us strength through the food--truth, before he passes us the cup of death and sacrifice. None can sacrifice, until strengthened by the exceeding great and precious promises.
We have regretted since our last issue that we recommended raisin juice, as a substitute for wine. Upon further reflection it seems to us that wine is the only proper emblem. All Scriptural references to wine indicate that it was of a sort that would intoxicate. In fact any wine which, when freely used, would not stupefy, (deaden) would not represent what is shown by the cup of which we are to partake. As we part-take of the cup of Christ's sufferings and death of the human will and nature, it gives a deadness to worldly things. At the same time it gives a blissful peace of mind. This is well illustrated by the symbol--wine. It produces the most thorough stupor or deadness to surroundings of any liquor. Now consider the Apostles words: "Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; but (do that which would be symbolized by it) be ye filled with the spirit." If filled with the Spirit of Christ we will be dead to the world and daily desirous of drinking more and more into His cup, while at the same time filled with a peace the world knows not of.
At our Pittsburgh meeting, both wine and raisin juice were provided; but under the influence of the above considerations, all partook of the wine.
A correspondent inquires, why keep the supper since the Lord's presence, since Paul says: "Till he come." 1 Cor. 11:26? Since it is an emblem not only of the death of our Lord Jesus, but also of the death of His Church, which is his body, it is proper that we should thus signify our "participation of the blood of the anointed one." While any of his members are yet in the suffering, or crucifying condition, the sufferings of Christ are not ended. The head, and all but those of us still in the flesh, have, we believe, entered into the glory of power. The members who preceded us having finished their course, no longer need to declare annually their continued determination to share in his death; but until the Christ in the flesh has fully died, and the Christ--the New Creature has been completed, it is appropriate to show forth the death.
Our Brother Keith, whose trip through Michigan was announced last month, was suddenly called home by the death of a little one. Not, he writes for the sake of the dead, but for the comfort of the living--Sister Keith being quite ill. The Lord bless them and grant that this, as one of the "all things," may work for their good. Bro. K. writes, that the Lord willing, he will soon make a more extended trip in the direction intended, including other places. You will probably hear from him in due time. Any (in that North-Western direction) desiring him to meet with them, may address this office.
Bro. Adamson is holding some very successful, and we trust profitable meetings in Mercer county, Pa.
Bro. Leigh, who has been preparing for some time, is about to go forth.
The number of orders for "Food," which come in by every mail, indicates that some are doing effective preaching by loaning reading matter. We have still plenty of these pamphlets. Order all you can use to advantage.
We fear that the last supplement-- the "Tabernacle" tract has not had the deep study and care which such a subject requires. It is strong meat even for those who have had their senses exercised (Heb. 5:14), and requires thorough mastication. Read it at least twice or three times. Do not loan this last to any but fully consecrated Christians.
LONDON, ENGLAND, April 5, 1882.
Editor Zion's Watch Tower.
MY DEAR BROTHER:--The copy of the TOWER and "Tabernacle" came duly to hand, for which please accept my most grateful thanks. I have read carefully to see if I could find anything contrary to the precious word of truth, and confess if this is the mystery hid for the ages, it is magnificently grand and glorious, and worthy of our only immortal God and Father. It is blessed to contemplate as concerning man's future blessedness and wonderful salvation; in fact it seems to be the embodiment of justice, mercy and love. No wonder Paul exclaimed: "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!"
I have a brother, a D.D. in the Methodist Church, and have been always told I was called to preach the blessed glad tidings, but I never have felt satisfied with orthodoxy, although I have been a member for twenty-five years. I threw out the doctrine of natural immortality five years ago, the Trinity three years ago, and with the Em. Diaglott and Bible, with other helps, have been feeling after the truth. I left the Methodist Church three years ago, and though often asked to join that and others, never felt willing, the Saul's armor of the creeds did not fit, and it seemed to me I could not fight the good fight in them. I desire to fight the fight of Faith, and lay hold of everlasting life. I have held up the thoughts given in your works of "Tabernacle" and "Food" to some of Spurgeon's people, and they were unable to gainsay me. It does seem to be too good to be true, but nothing is too hard for God, and I confess I see a harmony between the infinite Creator and created (fallen) man, given in the Bible as brought out by the light from your exposition, that I never have seen before. It satisfies my understanding and my longing spirit. Can I with fair speaking ability be exalted by our dear Lord to the high honor of telling or preaching the glad tidings, which are to all people, that Jesus anointed tasted death for every man, and all may look and live? Whatever tracts and instructions you have in the divine mysteries of truth will you have the kindness to forward by return mail, as I may be required to leave London by the 1st of May, and please instruct me how and what to preach so as to accomplish the blessed work God wishes done.
Was this a revelation? Where did you get these clear ideas? They must have come from above, for all wisdom comes from God, and He giveth it liberally and upbraideth not. Pray that I may be led into the truth, and that I may be free indeed.
CALEDONIA, MISS., April 8, 1882.
DEAR BRETHREN:--The Emphatic Diaglott, mentioned in this month's issue of the WATCH TOWER, is the very book I want (or rather need). I do wish that some good friend would pay for it for me, as I am not able to at this time. I am a colored Congregational minister, and I am anxious to know the truth of God's word, but I am too poor to purchase the Bible helps I need. I have learned more from "Food" and "Tabernacle" in two or three weeks than from anything else in ten years. I am grateful to you for them, and for the paper also. I and all that [R345 : page 2] have seen and can understand them are much interested. I have no means with which to purchase, and I want them so much that I am forced to beg for them.
Yours in Christ, __________.
NOTTINGHAM, ENG., Feb. 24th, 1882.
DEAR BROTHER:--I thank you most sincerely for what I have received from you this last few days. The "Day Dawn," reached me on the 15th, and what I have already seen of it, has both pleased and instructed me. Like its fellow--"Food for Thinking Christians," it needs much careful thought; but I am sure it will amply repay it. Last evening I received the "WATCH TOWER" and "Tabernacle supplement," and I am looking for more blessing through the perusal of this valuable paper, as each month brings me something fresh.
Tears came to my eyes this morning, as I read the letters of your correspondents who had received so much help and comfort from the December number. To me also it was indeed a "feast of fat things." The article on the "Creative Week" and the one on the "Importance of [R347 : page 2] Baptism" was a great help to me.
In this number the articles on "Assembling Together"--"Consecration to a Work," and Mrs. Russell's Answers to Inquiries, are wonderfully pregnant and helpful. I feel as though I must read my Bible all over again, for the difference between Ransom and Pardon, pointed out in your closing article, had never struck me, though obvious enough when you put it before your readers. I wonder if it will ever be my lot to come over to some of your meetings. I very much long to see this happy type of Apostolic Christianity Revived --for such I think it must be--in the persons of its professors and preachers. The books and papers I regard as a blessing sent to my house; and which will bring forth fruit in my own soul, and I trust in my people also. Believe me to be,
__________. (A Minister.)
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--Please accept my thanks for your kindness in sending the papers and pamphlet on the "Tabernacle," &c.
I am thankful to say that all my skepticism has fled away. The darkness is chased away by the light of truth that has shone around me for some time past.
We are having a very happy time in Newark, and I look forward to a number of people of this city being brought under the influence of the truth to rejoice with us in the great plan of salvation.
Zion's Watch Tower.
DEAR BRETHREN:--It is with much feeling and thankfulness I send you my greeting for the benefit I have received from perusing your valuable publications. No one knows how I have yearned after the truths found in the Bible that are so much clearer to my mind since I read your valuable paper.
OUTLINES OF SERMONS.
We have frequent calls for outlines of sermons on these glad tidings, by those in various places who desire to publicly make known the glories of our Father's plan.
To such we would say, we have now prepared suggestive outline notes for six sermons, explanatory of the "Chart of the ages." (This chart most of our readers have received as a supplement to July, '81 issue.) A copy of these notes will be mailed free, to those who are anxious to use them. You may order at once.
When you receive them, commence with the first, and with your chart placed in good position, thoroughly acquaint yourself with the first, and so with each of the succeeding ones in order, study much and thoroughly.
Then, when thoroughly conversant with them, lay aside your notes and give the discourses in your own language. Patient perseverance will enable you to place the plan before your hearers in a strong and convincing manner. Always bear in mind in study and presentation that "Order is heaven's first law."
The small charts (33 inches wide) will answer to begin with, and are well adapted to an audience of about a dozen. We will have larger charts for any who prove themselves capable of using them to advantage.
A WORD TO ALL.[R347 : page 2]
Your chart should hang in a much-used room; you should often run over it mentally, noting its various points, and thus be refreshed with the hopes illustrated, and prepared to give a general presentation of its significance to interested friends; an explanation of Chart is in "Food," p. 105. Our American readers may all have them by ordering--they cannot be mailed to Europe.
THE EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT.
Had we not fortunately received more copies of this work than was announced in our last issue, many of your orders would have been unfilled. As it is, however, we have some yet on hand, of those but slightly damaged copies, which you may have at $1.50 per copy. (Postage paid by us.)
We repeat, these books are so slightly damaged (in the fly leaves) that many would not discover it. They are in all other respects the regular $4.00 books. We knew that many of you would need and want this valuable book; hence we purchased this entire lot. Order soon that you may the sooner have the benefit of this helper. Several may order together if they choose, but please order only for readers of the paper, at present. If any remain after our readers have been supplied, they will be offered to the public.
Any one purchasing one of these, may, if not satisfactory, return it in good order within seven days after receiving, and we will refund his money.
Every one in studying the Bible should have a concordance. One of the best, recently published is "Young's Analytical Concordance." It can be had of book-sellers in all large towns. If any cannot thus obtain it, we can purchase it for you here. The wholesale price, bound in sheep $3.80, in cloth $3.00, by mail-- postage prepaid. By express 50 cts. less. All who can afford it should have some kind of a concordance.
EXTRACT FROM A LETTER.
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus, through God's will, to those saints who are in Ephesus, even to believers in Christ Jesus--favor to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be that God of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies by Christ, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we might be holy and blameless in his presence; having in love, previously marked us out for sonship through Christ Jesus for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will to the praise of his glorious beneficence, with which he graciously favored us in the beloved One. By whom, through his blood, we possess the redemption--the forgiveness of offences--according to the opulence of his favor, which he caused to overflow towards us, in all wisdom and intelligence, having made known to us the secret of his will, according to his own benevolent design which he previously purposed in Himself in regard to, an administration of the fullness of the appointed times, to re-unite all things under one head, even under the Anointed One;--the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth--under him; by whom also we obtained an inheritance, having been previously marked out according to a design of him who is operating all things agreeably to the counsel of his own will; in order that we might be for a praise of his glory--we who had a prior hope in the Anointed One."--Paul's Letter to the Ephesians (Chap. 1:1-12, Diaglott).
TRIBULATION AND PEACE.
Both are promised us: "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but in me ye may have peace," said Jesus. (John 16:33.) Do you have any tribulation? Yes? Then make sure that it does not arise from natural causes. Possibly you are being paid back in your own coin--possibly you deserve the tribulation which you receive. If so, be diligent to repent and reform. Let none of you suffer as an evil doer; yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed. "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you FALSELY, for my sake," said Jesus. "Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven." So then, if we suffer for the cause of Christ and His word, we should thank God and take courage, and remember that by the sharing in His sufferings, our future reward is secured. If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him, said Paul.
Sufferings in the present time, for the truth's sake, we are to reckon a part of our wages, and all who think they are running for the heavenly prize of our high calling, should look for these wages as a proof that they are so running as to obtain that prize. (1 Cor. 9:24.) Do you experience but little or none of the sufferings of Christ now? Do you begin to count the time of suffering over, and are you building your hopes on the fact that in times past you suffered a little for Christ's sake? That is a serious mistake; it is one of the devices of your adversary to put to sleep the saints of God, saying peace, peace, while we are yet in the enemy's country. It is the fatal error with which he has lulled the nominal church to sleep, from whose condition we have just escaped. Jesus and Paul ran and suffered to the very end of the race, and Jesus said that the disciple or follower is not above his Lord and teacher; that if they called the master the prince of devils, they would call the disciples devils. "Whosoever will live Godly shall suffer.""Ne'er think the victory won,
Nor lay thine armor down:
The work of faith will not be done
Till thou obtain thy crown."
Then, beloved, if you do not suffer you have good cause for fear that you are not living up to your covenant --that you are not confessing Him and His word before men by word or act as you should do. If this is the case you are not overcoming the world, but are being overcome and silenced by the world. Of such, Jesus said: He that is ashamed of me and my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of Him will I be ashamed before my Father and before the holy angels. The present generation (church) is adulterous in that it is mixed up with and united to the world, while claiming to be betrothed to Christ. Under such circumstances it requires grace and strength to rebuke the Harlot mother or daughters, and to declare boldly for the true Bridegroom's rights and his words. But all who are thus ashamed of Him cannot be a part of His Bride. He is not ashamed of her. Yes, if faithful, you may expect it. "In the world ye shall have tribulation"; and you may expect it to come as it has always done--through the world's church--the nominal systems. Thus Jesus and the apostles and the early reformers all found it, and thus some of us find it to-day.
But it is not tribulation only, which we are to get, though that is all we expect of the world. No, Jesus says, in him we may have peace. We may have both the tribulation and the peace at the same time. We get a peace which so overbalances the tribulations, that we may say, we reckon the present afflictions and scorns of the world as light indeed, when weighed with the hopes of coming glory on which our peace is builded.
Do any of the faithful in tribulation for Christ's sake yet lack the peace? It is because you lack faith to lay hold of the promises--the exceeding great and precious promises made to those who take up their cross and follow in His footsteps-- suffering with him. To such we would say:"Soul, then know thy full salvation;[R348 : page 3]
Rise o'er sin, and fear and care;
Joy to find in every station
Something still to do or bear.
Think what spirit dwells within thee;
Think what Father's smiles are thine;
Think that Jesus died to win thee;
Child of Heaven, cans't thou repine?"
But if you have peace without the suffering, while all men speak well of you, BEWARE! That is the peace of a sleep in which one dreams that he is filled and crowned and awakes to find himself empty. That is the peace of a dead calm on the ocean:"Blest be the sorrow, kind the storm,
That drives us nearer home."
Unless you get your vessel into the winds, and be tossed about on a tempestuous sea, you may never reach the port for which you set out. Hence we say to some, Beware! to other, Take courage! and to all we repeat the words of Jesus: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.""Sure we must fight, if we would reign.
Increase our courage, Lord;
We'll bear the cross, endure the pain,
Supported by thy word."
FULL CONSECRATION.O sacred union with the Perfect Mind!
Transcendent bliss, which Thou alone canst give.
How blest are they this Pearl of price who find,
And dead to earth, have learned in Thee to live.
And thus while dead to human hopes I lie,
Lost and forever lost, to all but Thee:
My happy soul since it hast learned to die,
Hath found new life in Thine infinity.
With joy we learn this lesson of the Cross,
And tread the toilsome way which Jesus trod;
And counting present life and all things loss,
We find in human death, the life of God.
PAROUSIA WELL DEFINED.
The Sabbath Advocate, in an article opposing our views relative to the personal presence of Jesus unseen, during the "harvest" or end of this age, in a recent issue said:
"Some try to make it appear against our view of the personal coming of Christ by saying that the Greek word from which the word coming is translated is parousia, which means presence, and is sometimes so rendered, even in the common version. But this is an extraneous or overdone effort, for when the word parousia is used with reference to the Saviour's coming it has the understood meaning of presence after having come; so when the coming of Christ is expressed by the word parousia, it means his presence after his having come; so it implies his personal and actual coming first in order to have his presence."
We admire the candor of the above statement. We could not ask to have it better stated. The writer admits our claim that parousia signifies presence, and always so when used in connection with Jesus' second coming. But he evidently thinks that he quite overthrows our argument when he says: "It means his PRESENCE after having come." Why, brother, that is what presence always means; it is for this reason that we insist that the word coming is an improper translation of the Greek word parousia. Coming signifies an incomplete action--if Jesus is coming then he has not arrived; if he has arrived he cannot longer be said to be coming, but to be present; hence the force and importance attaching to the word parousia. The difficulty and hindrance of many in the appreciation of this word lies in their preconceived idea that presence always implies physical sight. Suppose your room were filled with gas; as you enter, your physical sight could discern nothing, but the presence of the gas would become known to you by the sense of smell. You might discern the presence of a friend by the sense of hearing, though entirely deprived of the sense of sight; or you might know of his presence if informed by good authority in which you have confidence or faith.
Jesus manifests his presence now, to some of us; not to our natural organs of sight, hearing or smelling, but to the spiritual eye and ear of faith. God speaks to us through His Word about our Lord's presence, just as he tells us about all other spiritual things. If we have the hearing of faith, and walk by faith and not by sight, we may know of the Lord's presence thus, just as surely as we can know of the crown of life promised. If we have the eye of faith we can look about us and see the very things now transpiring which God's Word assures us will take place in the presence of the Son of Man. Thus, by two lines of proof, we may know: First, The positive statements of the prophets, and teachings of the Law shadows. Second, The fulfillment of things now as foretold would be in his presence. The character of this evidence proves also that only the faithful watchmen --the little flock--will be able to receive it, until he is revealed in judgments upon the nations.
Let us look at some of the texts in which parousia (presence) occurs, and let them speak for themselves: remembering, that as the "devil goeth about" "up and down on the earth," unseen during the Gospel Age, so the new Prince or ruler of the world will be present and active and unseen during the Millennial Age. Present as the angels have been during the Gospel Age--(Heb. 1:14)-- yet like them also unseen and unseeable to the natural eye except by a miracle. The reason of this similarity between our Lord, angels and devils is, that they are spiritual beings and not human. Let us remember that though we have known Jesus after the flesh--as a man--yet now know him so no more, but as the perfected NEW CREATURE--the express image of the Father's person, whom no man hath seen nor can see. Heb. 1:3 and 1 Tim. 6:16.
One illustration of presence and power, manifest only by effects, is Electricity. It is present in that telegraph wire, and carries a message with rapidity and force. Your eye sees nothing, but put forth your hand, touch the wire, interrupt its course, and you will know of its presence and power. Again, the same invisible fluid, brought into contact with a "carbon" produces an "Electric light." Again, the same invisible electric fluid unbridled in the clouds, we call lightning because, under certain circumstances, it produces a flash of light. It is there present, and is the same fluid, and has the same latent force before the flash indicated its presence and demonstrated its power.
This is one of the illustrations used by our Lord to bring us to understand how he will be present in the end of the Gospel Age. He says (Matt. 24:27) that if any shall attempt to define a location, and say he is here in such a house, or in yonder desert, believe it not. He will come in no such way--but "as the lightning ...so shall also the presence (parousia) of the Son of Man be." Not--he will come like the lightning, but he will be like the lightning after he has arrived and is present. Luke 17:24 puts it yet more forcibly, saying: "As the lightning that lighteneth" (it is the electric fluid that lighteneth or causes the flash; then let us read: "As the electric fluid which causes flashes of light)...so shall also the Son of Man BE in His day." He will be present in power and force, invisible, except as his judgments flashing out upon the corrupt systems of earth (State and Church) shall overturn and destroy them.
Thus, as we have heretofore pointed out, the Lord says he cometh with clouds--a great time of trouble. The governments of earth never saw so many black, heavy clouds. In every kingdom the rulers and the ruled are fast approaching open rupture, in which the storm will be clearly recognizable. The lightning force will be found against the "rulers of the darkness of this world" (Eph. 6:12), bringing light and knowledge to the poor, degraded and often oppressed subjects, thus preparing them for the new Prince of the power of the air (spiritual power)--the Christ--and for a better earthly government under the rule of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets--raised to human perfection.
Already the light is flashing upon the waking ones in the church. They can see the light shining from the present Lord, making manifest various things which, during the darkness of this Gospel night, might have been before unnoticed--unfolding in a wonderful manner flash by flash the beauties of his Word. The clouds are gathering and the storm must soon burst, which shall, by its loud, crashing thunder awaken one by one the sleeping--those at ease in Zion. Thank God for that, even though they awake to find themselves in terror in the storm. The Millennial morn is already here, but it is early--not yet light except to the prospective waking, watching Bride, who receives the light of the Morning Star. (2 Peter 1:19; Rev. 22:16.) It will be some time before sunrise, and the weeping must endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning. When the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings he will turn their mourning into dancing, and put off their sackcloth and gird them with gladness. Psa. 30.
Matt. 24:37 says: "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the presence (parousia) of the Son of Man be." This informs us that we may expect here in the end of this age, [R349 : page 3] during the PRESENCE of Jesus, a similarity to Noah's time before the flood. Now, note closely and see what resemblance will exist. The clear statement is, that as in Noah's day, the people did not know of the coming flood, and did not believe in such a thing, so when our Lord is present they will not know and will not be aware of the impending deluge of trouble. As then they knew not, but attended to the ordinary affairs of life, so here and now, people know not of Christ's presence. They complain of us for arousing the slumbering church by saying that Jesus is here, and that the testing and trial is now begun at the house of God, and that the nominal, sectarian institutions are even now spued from his mouth (Rev. 3:16), and the true children of God called out. The parallel passage in Luke (17:26) says: "As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be also in the days (in the presence) of the Son of Man."
Do we find that with the brighter shining truth our hearts are being established--our faith well founded and settled? If so, it is just what Paul expected. He wrote to the end that our hearts might be established "unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father at the PRESENCE (parousia) of our Lord." 1 Thes. 3:13.
Peter tells us of some who, at the present time, would deny that there is such a promise as we have just pointed out, viz.: that Jesus would be present while all things would continue as they were--the World eating, drinking, planting, etc., unconscious of his presence. He says: "There shall come in the last days [of this age] scoffers walking after their own lusts [desires--plans] and saying, Where is the promise of his presence? for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 2 Peter 3:4. Thus we see that there must needs be just such scoffing in the days of Jesus as was in the days of Noah. Ye overcoming, covenant-keeping saints, lift up your heads, your redemption draweth nigh. At his presence he first inspects his household and rewards his faithful, saying: Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; and then he chastises his enemies. The inspection is now in progress; soon the new rulers will be made manifest, shining forth as the Sun in the kingdom of their Father. Brother, sister, seek with all diligence to make your election sure. Study to show thyself approved unto God, and be not only a student, but a doer of his will.
"AN ANSWER TO EVERY MAN."
"Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear."
Let us notice in this passage some things in connection with our hope. And while we give our principal attention to things relating to it, let us not overlook the importance of sanctifying the Lord God in our hearts, that is, set apart and "make the means of holiness." Let Him be the sacred presence to whom we shall, bring all the issues of the heart, and the pattern to which we shall make our whole life and character conform. As we are reasonable beings, we should use our reason for God-given purposes, notwithstanding that the "wise and prudent" assume to monopolize the freedom of its use.
It is but reasonable to suppose that men will ask us a reason of the hope that is in us, especially as we are supposed by many, to have such a peculiar hope. It may not be amiss, then, first to state what hope in general is, and then what our hope in particular is; after which we will give a reason for entertaining such a hope.
Hope, in general, looks to the future for some good, with, at least, some expectation of attaining it, or with the belief that it is attainable. It presupposes that the present position, condition, or whatever, is undesirable.
For our present purpose, we will assume what is an obvious fact, that the condition of the world and of man is one that it is not desirable to have continue forever. The pains, and groans, and tears, and dying struggles, the separation and estrangement of friends, the sufferings caused by ignorance and wickedness; all are good and sufficient reasons for dissatisfactions and causes of unrest. But we have hope.
When we look about us and see how selfish man is, without the knowledge and love of God, as the majority are; when we see human beings come into the world diseased from the first, physically and morally, and environed with evil influences, borne down with a load of woe too great to stand upright under, and finally sinking under its weight and disappearing in death; when, on account of this accumulation of individual distress and misery society becomes foul and corrupt, breeding moral pestilence, and growing "worse and worse;" when, on account of all this aggregated evil, governments become weak and tottering, when wide-spread ruin seems to be inevitable and certain, when all hearts fail and all cheeks pale, when skeptics speculate, and many professing Christians doubt, and all, most all, are perplexed; when the "whole creation groaneth" under the effects of the curse of sin we have hope.
Our hope is that the curse of sin will be removed, that the reign of [R349 : page 4] evil will come to an end; that governments now under the control of the powers of darkness, shall be brought under the sway of the Prince of Peace; that where evil, in all its hideous forms now holds carnival, righteousness and peace shall have dominion; that all hearts shall be made glad; that the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth.
We have hope that not only the living of this or the succeeding age shall see this condition of things, but that all who have ever lived shall see it together.
That a great jubilee shall come, and all men shall be set free from the captivity of death.
We have hope that the earth itself shall feel the change, and that instead of thorns and thistles and poisonous plants, healthful productions and life-giving fruits shall take their place.
We have a hope that to insure all that and make it permanent and lasting, God will establish a government in the heavens which shall rule over all in truth and righteousness, that this government shall so thoroughly bring under subjection every hitherto evil and turbulent element, in fact melt them, that men will have no use for instruments of death, but shall fashion them into instruments of agriculture and the useful arts.
We believe that the ministers of that government are being disciplined and educated for this high and important work now, and that this is the principal work which the Almighty is accomplishing in this world or age; that this special work is about complete, and that soon the new arrangement and order of things will commence, and that when fully inaugurated, all men will know what is duty and be able to perform it, having all hindrances, such as hereditary taint, and evil surroundings removed; man will be free to do the will of God, and from past experience with evil, willing to do it, that this will be the rule at least; that the rulers in this government will be composed of such as have been men, but who through sanctification of the spirit, and knowledge of, and belief of the truth, came into the possession of power, or privilege to become "SONS OF GOD," "NEW CREATURES," proper instruments with which God is to accomplish His grand and glorious designs for the sons of men in the ages to come.
Now we know this is hoping a great deal, but we are "ready always" to give "a reason" of this hope "with meekness and fear," (fear lest we become a castaway).
First, then, we will give briefly our reason for believing the Bible to be the word of God, for upon it all our other reason of hope is based.
Certain Jews, called prophets, without knowing what was in the future, undertook to tell a long time beforehand what would come to pass. If they had been disposed to gratify a selfish or ambitious feeling, of course (supposing that they could prophecy at all, with such a nature) their prophecies would be the foretelling of events which they wished to have come to pass; whereas, much of the burden of prophecy is of a nature not at all in accord with the spirit of the Jew, and of such a nature that when it did come to pass it was rejected by the Jews.
That their utterances, many, many years before were strikingly fulfilled, we shall presently show. We believe and assume that the general character of these men was good, as men, that "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." --2 Peter 1:21. But God, knowing "what was in man," and how liable poor human nature is to warp and distort things to conform to its own understanding, did not commit all these sacred things to their understanding, for they did not understand their own utterances at the time, see Dan. 12:8; Zech. 4:5, and 1 Peter 1:10,11,12.
Then, too many of their prophecies, not being in accord with the hope of the Jews, could not have been written to gratify their ambition. If the prophecies had been uttered in accord with the spirit and expectation of the Jews, nothing, we [R350 : page 4] may well assume, would have been said about the humiliation of Christ, nothing about the ignominious character of His sufferings and death.
One thing is certain, Christ was rejected by the Jews when he did come, and this was also foretold.-- Isaiah 53:2,3; John 1:10,11.-- and put to death by them because he was not acceptable to them.
That such a man did live and die, that such a man was "born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king;" that He did strikingly fulfill the predictions made hundreds of years before concerning such a character, we think very few, if any, will be found, who are informed on the subject, that will deny it.
How marvelously he fills the picture drawn in the 53d chapter of Isaiah, and in the latter part of the 9th chapter of Daniel, also in Isaiah 7:14, and 61:1; and in Jeremiah 31:22, and Hosea 6:2. This last we understand to have, like many of the prophecies (and that is evidently one reason why they were not better understood by the prophets themselves and by the Jews) a double signification, that one phase of this prophecy applied to Christ in person, and that has been fulfilled in His resurrection, and is the pledge that the other phase of it will be fulfilled in subsequent resurrections. These passages referred to, we believe to have been fulfilled already, and are a reason for our hope, in that we believe the Bible.
Now, let us notice, briefly, how signally prophecy has been fulfilled in regard to the Jews themselves. From the 15th to the 68th verse of the 28th chapter of Isaiah, is one of the most marvelous pictures of the condition of the Jews which has had and is having its fulfillment, that the mind can conceive. Also in Jer. 34:17.
These, with many other prophecies relating to the Jews, have had their fulfillment, and so wonderful are they that the Jews, some of them at least, acknowledge it now--they have done so in conversation we have had. We understand that nearly all the prophecies relating to the downfall of the Jews have been fulfilled, and that those relating to their rise and establishment remain to be fulfilled, and really are beginning to be fulfilled.
Thus far we see, and it is "the substance (foundation) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Without dwelling further upon the truth of the Bible we shall assume that it is the word of God, and found our hope upon it; this we are satisfied to do. Let us examine our hope then that the condition of the world of mankind will be improved. But first, there must be a universal desire for a change. Many have that desire now, but many have no such desire, they are satisfied with it as it is; "their eyes stand out with fatness," they have all they wish, but the oppressed of all nations now long for a change; but we understand from the Word, that the present governing power will become so burdensome, and so inefficient, and incapable of promoting the happiness of mankind, and really so conducive to evil that all men will clamor for its overthrow and desire its removal. Already this condition of things begins to be manifest. Already, agencies for the overthrow of governments are taking on organized forms and making themselves felt, to the dismay of kings and peoples. But the agencies which are being put in such active operation for the overthrow of the present governing power, are themselves so full of evil, that instead of bettering the condition of mankind, they will only make it worse, until the whole world will be satisfied that the wisdom of man is folly, and will long for a king who shall reign in righteousness.
We think that the rapid increase of moral corruption (now so apparent to those who are "looking") will quickly ripen the harvest of iniquity that is now so nearly matured, and culminate the general ruin in a comparatively short time, and that then "the desire of all nations shall come."--Hag. 2:7.
That the condition of things generally will grow more distressful and appalling until the world shall be tired out, "dissolved," (be "burned up") with the legitimate result of sinful rule. (God permits the "fire of his jealousy," to turn the hearts of men to himself.)
That Satan is now permitted to rule, see John 14:30; Eph. 6:12, and 2:2, also Joel 3:9-16. "Proclaim ye this among the gentiles (nations) prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up, beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning-hooks into spears," &c. "My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger, (the natural result of sin,) for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy."--Zeph. 3:8.
See Isa. 13:6-12 and Zeph. 1:14-18. Read carefully, and may the Lord give thee understanding. Should some one say: "But these prophecies are concerning Judah and Israel," &c., we should answer: God's "wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men," and it is evident that when the prophetic eye was opened, the prophet saw in rapid succession God's dealings with sin and iniquity clear through to the end of his indignation, and recorded it in that mystic way: and it requires the same spirit in the minds of the readers to understand that rested upon the minds of those who wrote. The light that shines out from prophetic utterances is only recognized by the eye of faith; for "none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise (but not according to the wisdom of this world) shall understand." Dan. 12:10.
This is some of our "scriptural reasons" for believing that a time of trouble will precede a time of righteous rule and restoration (regeneration). Matt. 19:28. Now, we know this is not the teaching of the "wise and prudent" (of this world or age), but God says he will "bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent, and these things are hid "from the wise and prudent." 1 Cor. 1:19; Matt. 11:25. We know that we who hold these views are nothing, according to the wisdom of this world, not having "even a name," but God has said he will take the "things which are not to bring to naught things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence." 1 Cor. 1:28,29.
Now, the wise (of this world) say the world is growing better and better. Let us look at that for a moment and see if there are no indications of storm.
We will ask the questions, and you can answer them for yourselves. Can men leave their buildings open now more safely than formerly? Are there less locks and safes sold? Is there less murder and bloodshed than usual? Are there fewer prisons and convicts, less theft and arson? Are the instruments of war fewer and less formidable, are there less revolvers sold? Do men, by their actions, show that they love each other better than formerly? Do they legislate to benefit the poor more? Do capitalists make it easier for the laborer? Do they love the laborer (or his labor) and give him a nice, large slice from their loaf? Does the laborer love the capitalist, and do they work for each other's interest? Are the churches purer and better and less worldly, plainer and more simple, and true and good, so that the worldly man is rebuked by their good works, and has he confidence more than formerly in church members? Are there no grasping monopolies; if so, are there less of them, and are they working for the general good of mankind? Is it real easy to get honest, self-sacrificing men to hold the reins of government and stand at the helm of state? Are there less "election frauds" than when we were boys? Is purity and chastity--but we will go no further now in the slimy catalogue. Let those who think the world is growing better wade on through the sickening pool. Now, let us notice the scriptural reasons for hoping that there will be a better condition of things to succeed this. In Isaiah, second chapter, we read-- but, says one, that was "concerning Judah and Jerusalem;" yes, we know it did concern them, and concerns them yet, and concerns us, too, now. May the Lord give thee understanding: "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain (government) of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills (will be the ruling power), and all nations shall flow unto it, and many people shall say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His way, and we will walk in his paths, for out of Zion (glorified) shall go forth THE LAW, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem," and "He shall judge among many nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." "In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground; and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will [R350 : page 5] make them to lie down safely." Hosea 2:18. See also Isa. 11:6-16.
"And I will come near to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me saith the Lord." Mal. 3:5. Then through the judgment (swift retribution of this ruling power) abroad in the earth, they will "learn righteousness." Isaiah 26:9.
Does some one say, "I wish I could live when that time comes?" You will, my friend, according to our hope; for "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Isa. 40:5. Yes, we hope for the World's "restitution," and why not when it is so [R351 : page 5] desirable and is spoken of "by the mouth of His Holy Prophets, from of old." Acts 3:21 E.D.; Eze. 16:44,63; Matt. 11:24,25.
We can come to no other conclusion from these scriptures referred to, than that the nations of earth, including Sodom, are to live again, and that when restored will profit by past experience, and be ashamed of it; that it is the design of our Heavenly Father to restore, through Christ, all that was lost in Adam; that hence "there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust," Acts 24:15; that this is the age of generation, and that the one to follow is the age of regeneration:--Matt. 19:28--that this generation all die on account of Adam's sin, but will all live again on account of Christ's righteousness. 1 Cor. 15:22;--Rom. 5:18,19. But not that all will be brought to the same kind of life finally, for those who will give up the natural with Christ and fill up the afflictions which are behind, shall be made "partakers of the divine nature." That there is clearly a difference we can but conclude from 1 Cor. 15:23,48. Here Paul is evidently speaking of both resurrections; that is, of the dead, and of those "from among the dead," though we distinguish the former from the latter by the term restoration, and that is the word used in the revised N.T., and in the Diaglott in Acts 3:21.
We have hope that as Christ came to lighten "EVERY MAN that cometh into the world," so every man will be enlightened; not one in a hundred or thousand, but EVERY ONE. John 1:9; that Sodom and Tyre, who did not have as good an opportunity as Capernaum and Bethsaida, will, in the regeneration, find their condition even better than theirs. If any one disbelieves this we shall have to differ, for we would sooner believe Christ's words: Matt. 11:21,22,23,24,25.
This is a part of the "reason" of our hope, and this hope grows stronger the more we examine the subject and see the evidence brought in. Christ was raised from the dead, according to the Scriptures, and so we have the "first fruits of the spirit."
Some, who are in the light, told us that if our reckoning was correct, favor would begin to be shown to the Jews in the spring of 1878. This was told as early as 1876, though no one at that time dreamed of the source from whence it was to come; but it came at the expected time through the "Berlin treaty." The strangeness of the matter (according to human reason) was that just at the proper time a Jew was PREMIER of England, a government upon whose dominions the sun never sets; and "who knoweth whether" he, like Esther, had "come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14. And now the Jews, for the first time since the destruction of Jerusalem, are permitted to return to their "sacred city" and worship as they please, and now we are told the temple is being rebuilt!
But some one may say: "But they are not shown much favor in Russia and Germany." No; but that is also according to Scripture.--Jer. 49:5,6: "Behold, I will bring a fear upon thee, saith the Lord God of hosts, from all those that be about thee; and ye shall be driven out from men right forth, and none shall gather up him that wandereth. And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the Lord." Again, in Micah 4:6,7: "In that day, saith the Lord (and we think that day is dawning), will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; and I will make her that halteth a remnant, and her that was cast off a strong nation, and the LORD shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even forever." These are but a few of the Scriptures bearing upon this point. We cannot, in an article like this, consider but a small portion of the evidence.
But we have a still greater and more glorious hope, and that is the one in which all the others center and are bound up. It is the hope of being made perfect in Christ, of being made partakers of the divine nature. It is the hope of completing our adoption as sons of God. Eph. 4:5,6,7; John 1:12; 1 John 3:1. For this hope the world is anxiously waiting. Rom. 8:19. It is nothing less than the hope of "obtaining the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thes. 2:14. But before we can come into the possession of this hope there is much suffering and trial to be endured; there is the "dying daily" until we are dead with Christ.
But we are willing, and do count all things but vile refuse, so that we may gain Christ and be found in Him. Eph. 3:8,11 E.D. Now, the following passage will enable us to test ourselves with regard to this hope, for it is a high calling, a glorious hope, and we must examine ourselves closely:
"He that hath THIS hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure." 1 John 3:3. The fine linen must not be mingled with other material, and must be kept clean and white.
J. C. SUNDERLIN.
THE SEVEN CHURCHES.[CONTINUED.]
THE MESSAGE TO SMYRNA.["And to the messenger of the assembly in Smyrna write" Rev. 2:8.]
The name Smyrna means myrrh. Our word myrrh is from the Arabic marra, to be bitter. The Hebrew word mara is the name given to the first water found by the Israelites in the wilderness. Ex. 15:23. It was also the name chosen by Naomi in her affliction. Ruth 1:20.
The symbolic meaning of the title here would be, To the church in bitter affliction. This agrees perfectly with the condition of the Smyrna phase. The chronological location is evidently from the end of the Ephesus period or earlier, to the beginning of the reign of Constantine. It was the period covered by the terrible pagan persecutions.
The message is sent by one who announces himself as "the first and the last; who was dead, and is alive."
This was in itself a message of comfort and hope to these suffering martyrs. It was as if he said: "Fear not, my faithful ones; I was before all these persecutors; I shall be when they are forgotten; I shall take care of you. I, too, was put to death by this same power. Fear not to follow in my steps. See! I have risen in glory, in power, in immortality. Follow me! I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich)." This is an interjection with an emphasis. It is as if he said: You poor? No, no; you are looking at the things which are seen. Look up; the kingdom of heaven is yours. This is the cross, that is the crown.
He reminds them that he, too, has heard the blasphemy of those who claimed to be the favorites of the gods, and to whom he now applies the true symbolic and appropriate name by which they should afterwards be known--Satan, Devil, &c. Ver. 13; 3:9; 12:9. "Fear none of these things which thou shalt suffer; behold the devil (this pagan power) shall cast you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days." This is, of course, symbolic time--a day for a year. It clearly refers to the most cruel persecution under Diocletian. It began Christmas day, A.D. 303. We extract the following from Wilson's Outlines of History: "During ten years the persecution continued with scarcely mitigated horrors; and such multitudes of Christians suffered death that at last the imperial murderers boasted that they had extinguished the Christian name and religion, and restored the worship of the gods to its former purity and splendor." Through all this the faithful flock, as they looked forward to a martyr's death, could see above, spanning the heavens like a glorious bow of promise, the living words in letters of light: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." "He that hath an ear"--listen. "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."
W. I. MANN.
[The article in our last number headed THE SEVEN CHURCHES was also by Bro. Mann, unintentionally his name was omitted.]
AN INFALLIBLE TEST.
Any view of a subject that harmonizes with, or naturally takes in all the known facts in the case, must be substantially true. The most difficult and abstruse problems in science are solved in this way. Any theory of Christianity, therefore, that is in harmony with all the plain declarations of Christ and the Apostles, and the customs of the primitive churches, is substantially true; but any theory that requires the suppression of plain passages of Scripture is dangerous.
Now, let all Christian teachers apply the foregoing test to themselves, and when they meet with a plain declaration of Scripture which they cannot reconcile with their adopted theory, let them not suppress or ignore such passage, but at once correct their own false theory. If all who profess Christianity would faithfully apply this rule, it would soon result in the overthrow of all human inventions and false doctrines.
These are peculiar words, spoken at a peculiar time, and under peculiar circumstances. It seems that Paul and Barnabas, in their journeying, had came to Antioch, in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down in the audience as listeners; but the rulers of the synagogue very courteously invited them to speak, if they had any word of exhortation for the people, to which Paul responded, and among the things spoken by him at that time were the words quoted above.
We notice they are addressed to "children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God." The word fear, as used here, signifies to be in apprehension of evil; to be afraid.
The law was very strict, and to transgress the letter of the law meant a curse. Every member of the stock of Abraham must have been conscious of his inability to keep the whole law, and so must have been fearful of the consequences. Many of them, no doubt, were anxious to keep it, and were terrified at the thought of their repeated failures; many of them, too, had an additional fear "taught by the precept of men," and under the influence of both, must have realized something of the fear that hath torment in it.
Now, to such, trembling under the terrors of the law Paul addressed himself.
"The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt."
They must have thought that such a statement was a strange introduction to his speech, and would listen out of curiosity to what was to follow.
How little had they thought that their fathers were exalted while serving as bondsmen in Egypt, and yet it was so, as the subsequent unfolding of God's plan clearly shows, for their whole ritual and all God's dealings with them, from first to last, were the significant expressions of Deity by sign-words ("shadows") of his grand and glorious designs for the whole race of mankind in the ages following.
Paul then goes on to touch the mountain tops of God's dealings with them, and in a brief outline brings them up to the time of Christ, and then adds, as we have said, "children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of THIS SALVATION sent."
Your rulers knew him not ("He was in the world, and the world knew him not") nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, and yet "they have fulfilled them in condemning him" (27th ver.), but God raised him from the dead (30th ver.), "and we declare unto you glad tidings" (32d ver.) The promise made of God unto the fathers is beginning to be fulfilled; in fact, it is the same as though it were fulfilled, "in that he hath raised up Jesus again."
Paul and Barnabas saw the hope of Israel and the hope of the world, and very wisely and carefully unfolding to their view the glorious things belonging to "this salvation."
Paul did not, in this discourse, tell them plainly all the nature of "this salvation," but only hinted at it, and [R352 : page 6] left it in such a shape as to excite their desire to hear more. (People seldom are aware how strong their own prejudices are, and how careful the preacher has to be, to not feed too much and too strong feed at first; but Paul well understood this, as is manifest in the way he presented the subject, and in the way he left it at that time). He evidently wished to set before them, as they could bear it, the importance of this salvation, and to have them understand that it was a very different salvation from anything they had conceived of, for it had been "brought to light through the gospel," and though it had been spoken of by the prophets, yet they "did not know the voices of the prophets."
Some seem to think that they were to blame for not understanding the nature of Christ's coming and kingdom. No doubt they were to blame for the evil which they cherished in their hearts, but how otherwise could they be blamed for not understanding the nature of that salvation spoken of by the prophets, when the prophets themselves did not understand it? Peter, referring to this same thing, says: "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what (things) or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow." They were made to understand that "not unto THEMSELVES, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, which things the angels desire to look into."--1 Peter 1:10,11,12, "This salvation" seems to be the salvation which Jude (3d verse) found it necessary to exhort the brethren to earnestly contend for, when he was writing to them concerning the common salvation. This salvation is once for all (only once) "delivered to the saints." It is a prize which will be held out to view but once; that is, in only one age; there is no "second chance" for it; only once can it be earnestly contended for. This is the salvation which Paul meant when he said to Timothy: "Therefore we both labor and suffer reproach because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men (to natural life the common salvation), specially of those that believe." 1 Tim. 4:10.
In this statement we understand that a general and a special salvation are referred to, and the special is "this salvation" to which he was calling the attention of "whosoever among you feareth God." By "this salvation" "all that believe are justified from all things from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses." (39th ver.)
This must have been good news to a people apprehensive of evil because of their shortcomings under the law, and at this point they must have been getting anxious to hear what Paul had to say further on the subject. Perhaps some of them were beginning to think that they could live very loosely, released from the servitude of the law.
(Alas for poor, weak human nature; how readily it would cling to its moral corruption were it not for the apprehension of evil in consequence?)
We can imagine the look of surprise on the faces of those law-abiding fathers who had begun to think of the policy of believing in Christ, that they might be justified not "from" but in "all things."
Is it not to be feared that many now get almost if not quite as limited a view of "this salvation?" To such let the "Beware, therefore," of Paul ring out clear and distinct.
Here Paul ended his talk for that time, and it is quite certain that they had not yet seen the "offense of the cross," for the next Sabbath "almost the whole city" came out to hear him. But let us notice the prophecy in connection with the last sentence of Paul's speech, above referred to: (Don't lose the connection; the passage is in Isaiah 29:14.) "For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid."
What! Is it possible that "this salvation" is of such a character that the wisdom of their wise men fails to comprehend it? And cannot the understanding of their prudent men grasp it? No, indeed, it cannot; IT is (for the present) THE "stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel."--Isaiah 8:14. And the failure of their wise men to see (recognize) this, and the nature of the work itself, are facts, which Paul said they would not believe, though a man should declare it unto them. It is a pretty hard matter to conclude that the wisdom of their wise men has wandered so far from the truth that their counsel amounts to nothing, and is perished; but that is what the prophet said would come to pass at a future time, and is what Paul gave them to understand was imminent then, and is what we understand to have taken place in its full import now. The wisdom of their wise men has perished, and the understanding of their prudent men is hid.
Wherein? does some one ask. In that their conclusions and teaching make confusion of His Word, and imply a failure of God's designs or "plan." They allow that God provided for the salvation of all men; that is, he planned to accomplish that, but the subtlety of the enemy and the perversity of man were so great that his purpose is but partly accomplished; that is to say, that only a few will receive any benefit from the death of Christ. That though Christ came to "destroy the works of the devil," yet demons and lost spirits will forever exist in conscious misery, and that it is imprudent to teach otherwise. Is this not equivalent to saying that the plan of God fails of accomplishment; and is it not a confirmation of the prophetic statement that "the wisdom of your wise men shall perish?"
The word teaches that "in the last days" (of this age) "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse" (2 Tim. 3:1,13); but their wise men tell us the world is growing better and better, and yet a late secular paper of some note said that crimes were becoming so frequent that they, in their weekly issue, could only make a statement of them, not having room for particulars. [R353 : page 6]
It is a fact, not an assumption, but a solemn fact, that we are now living in a time when crime and corruption have assumed prodigious proportions, not only in the lower grades of society, but in what are called the upper grades. Even all the machinery of church and state seems to be so rotten that many are exclaiming, without knowing that their utterances are the fulfillment of the spirit of prophecy: "I don't know what we are coming to!" Thus already their hearts are beginning to "fail them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." Luke 21:26.
No sane man to-day, unless he is trying to sustain a creed, fails to see (recognize) that thrones stand unsteady, and that throughout the world there is a feeling of distrust among all classes; there is "perplexity." Luke 21:25. Verily, the foundations of the earth do shake. But it is only the beginning of God's "controversy with the people." Plain as these things seem to those who are looking, yet the "wise" (?) men say "peace and safety."
Not very long ago we were speaking in a public place about the application of the prophecy in Isaiah 2:4, and showing that it had its application in a coming age and under a different ruling power, and the teacher (preacher) present said that it was now, in this age. We told him we thought if so it should read in the last clause of the verse "and they shall learn war more and more" instead of "no more," for earth trembles with the thunder of cannon and shock of contending armies, and millions fall in this lake of fire and brimstone. Wonderful improvements in instruments of death are frequent. "Prepare war" (Joel 3:9,10) is the prophecy to apply now, and is beginning to have its fulfillment, but the understanding of the "prudent" (?) men does not discern it. It is a fact which the spiritually minded plainly see, that the portion of prophecy which is having and is about to have its fulfillment is as completely hidden "from the wise and prudent" of this time as it was from the wise and prudent at the time of Christ's first coming. Now, if the prophecies relating to earthly matters of this time are so utterly misunderstood by the wise and "prudent" men, shall we wonder that but few will see the grandeur and glory of "THIS salvation" until the accumulation of evidence shall be so great that the "sons of God" shall be MANIFEST?
Some of our former friends may think we are not very prudent nor modest because "we use great plainness of speech," and may be ready to say: "No doubt ye are the men, and wisdom will die with you," to which we would reply that the wisdom spoken of above, and that God by the mouth of the prophet said should perish, the wisdom of this world (age) has died with us; we have no reputation for such wisdom and make no pretensions to it. What we have seen has been shown to us in the Word because we were simple "babes." Matt. 11:25.
The next Sabbath Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and let the secret out to those who were simple enough to understand. In the 47th verse the eye of faith discovers "this salvation." "For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles that thou shouldst be for salvation to the ends of the earth."
In Isaiah 42:6,7 the same mystery is spoken of. "I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."
Let him that readeth understand.
"It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be for salvation to the ends of the earth."
"Therefore, having girded up the LOINS of your MIND, and being vigilant, do you hope perfectly for the GIFT to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ? As obedient children do not conform yourselves to the former lust in your IGNORANCE; but as HE who CALLED you is holy, do you also become holy in all your conduct. For it has been written, you shall be holy because I am holy." 1 Peter 1:13,16 (E. Diaglott.)
J. C. SUNDERLIN.
"MILLENNIAL DAY DAWN."
We desire to correct an error into which some of our readers have fallen, relative to this work, which we hope soon to put in press, and a notice of which appeared in our last issue. We wish you to understand that this work is not a revision of the book called "DAY DAWN, OR THE GOSPEL IN TYPE AND PROPHECY." It will be a totally different book, except that some of the same subjects will be treated, among others. We would have the new work and all our publications judged on their own merits, as in or out of harmony with the Word of God; therefore would not wish to have them confounded with others.
Our object in calling our forthcoming publication, "MILLENNIAL DAY DAWN," is this: The pamphlet "Food for Thinking Christians," published in England and in this country, and circulated to an enormous extent, contains a reference to a book called "Day Dawn." The work we desired to commend to them by that notice was the old "Day Dawn," the edition of which is now almost exhausted. And we now desire that notice to apply to the "MILLENNIAL DAY DAWN." To secure to the readers of "Food" and others, a work in harmony with the teachings of that pamphlet, is the object in publishing our new work; and to associate the advertisement and the book we desire the readers to have, is our object in including in its name the old name.
There is a book published called "DAY DAWNING," and we learn of one soon to be published entitled "DAY DAWN OR GOSPEL IN TYPE AND PROPHECY"--"REVISED EDITION," advanced sheets of which, we have received. Neither of these works are in harmony with the book "Day Dawn," advertised in "Food," nor with any publications issued from this office. We make this statement in order that none shall confound MILLENNIAL DAY DAWN" with any other.
We have written, suggesting to the Christian brother who is about to call his new work, "Day Dawn," etc., that some change should be made in its title, as it is liable to be confounded with the original work of that name. Since the two works will be fundamentally different, each should stand on its own merit.
Should the author persist in calling his forth-coming work by precisely the same name, he should not be surprised if the inference drawn, is, that he desires to appropriate the world-wide advertisement given the original "Day Dawn," both by its publisher, Bro. A. D. Jones, and through the WATCH TOWER publications. WATCH TOWER publications gave over sixteen hundred thousand (1,600,000) free notices and warm commendations of "Day Dawn" without money or price, because of the TRUTHS which it contained. (Not that we have ever considered it free from all error, but because of its many and fundamental truths.)
We question both the justice and propriety of calling any new work by precisely the same name as an old one from which it so widely differs-- the reputation of which name has been built up by those who agreed with the principles of the original.
THE CHILDREN OF CHRIST.
We have heretofore noticed that one of the titles of Christ is "The Everlasting Father." We saw that to be a Father at all, implies that there must be children. We looked to see where and when and who, these children may be. We found that Jesus is not the Father (life giver) to the church which is his body; but that "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, hath begotten us." (1 Pet. 1:3.) We found that Jesus for this cause was not ashamed to call US brethren, saying: "I will declare thy name unto my brethren." (Heb. 2:11,12.)
We found, however, that when Jesus and his brethren, or, Jesus and his bride, or, Jesus and his body, are made ONE--the Christ complete: then that anointed ONE, will be the restorer of life to humanity. That ONE will be the Father (life giver) to the race. We found many Scriptures in harmony with this, and now notice another which we believe is explainable in no other way, viz: "Instead of thy Fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." (Psa. 45:16.) [R354 : page 7]
The context brings to our attention, the King of Kings--Jehovah; the King's Son, our Lord Jesus; and a number of the King's daughters, all pure and honorable women. The word King's is in the possessive singular form, and refers to Jehovah, though it is mistranslated in the plural. (See "Young's Concordance.") Chief among these her companions, is the Bride of the King's Son. Concerning this Bridegroom and his Bride, this Psalm principally treats.
We read, "Unto the Son, He (Jehovah) saith, Thy throne, O God (mighty one) is forever and ever, a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, thy God (the mighty one above even thee,) hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows"--or as head over his brethren and fellow heirs. (vs. 6,7. and Heb. 1:8,9.)
The "little flock" of overcomers, of this age, now "espoused to one husband, even Christ," will soon be "the queen in the gold of Ophir"--clothed in the glory, honor and immortality of the divine (gold) nature. She will be at the "right hand" of her Lord --the place of favor.
She is addressed in her present espoused condition, and told how she may best prepare for her high calling and future station--"Hearken O daughter (of Jehovah) and consider, and incline thine ear"--Give attention to Jehovah's instructions--search the Scriptures--learn of him. "Forget also thine own people and thy father's house"--forget the world, its vanities, its smiles, its frowns, its praises and its scorn--Be dead to the world. "So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty." Have respect only to His approval, His smile, His praise and His frown; "for He is thy Lord and worship thou him."
Another description of the "queen" is given: "The King's (Jehovah's) daughter is all glorious within: It is beauty of character). Her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework. The virgins her companions (the "honorable women") that follow her, shall be brought unto thee." The victors and overcomers of past ages, as well as those of the "great company" of this age, (Rev. 7:15) shall be brought into the King's blessings; but they follow the queen. "They without us shall not be made perfect." (Heb. 11:40.)
Then follows the words we have under special consideration, addressed to the united one--the Christ; "Instead of thy fathers, shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make rulers (princes) in all the earth."
The term "fathers" was a very common one among the Jews, and generally referred to the head or chief men of that nation, and to the Patriarchs of the preceding age, and would be but another way of saying Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Prophets. This is a clear and forcible statement of what we have found taught by other Scriptures. We found that Jesus is the Head, Leader and Forerunner of all who ever reach the Divine nature as his bride and joint heirs; that the overcomers of the preceding age, though heirs of some "gifts," "callings" and "promises of God," which are sure to be accurately fulfilled, were not heirs of the "high calling."
It is readily seen who were the fathers; but how--in WHAT sense can they ever become the children of the Christ? We reply, they (as all mankind) will receive their restored, perfected human life directly from the glorified Christ, who in this respect will become their father or life giver. And if the Christ thus become their father, they are the children of the Christ. Thus the fathers become instead, the children. The promise toward these is, "whom thou mayest make princes (rulers) in all the earth." What a grand position that will be for those tried and tested worthies. How necessary too, in harmony with the general plan, will be these "princes" of earth on the earthly plane, as the agency through which the spiritual company will bless all nations.
Thus too, will be fulfilled God's promise to Abraham: "In THEE," and "in thy SEED shall all nations be blessed." (Gen. 12:3 and 22:18.) The seed is the Christ, but Abraham was no part of that seed--but he as well (and as we have just seen, under and as the child of Christ) is to share in the work of blessing. This perfecting of the fathers, and making them the rulers on the human plane, will, to our understanding, be the beginning of the earthly phase of the kingdom of God. That kingdom shall ultimately fill the whole earth and include all men. Those not assimilating with it, will be cut off during the Millennial age--the second death.
But does some one inquire: if the fathers become children, does it not imply that the children also, will partake of the Divine nature and lose the human? No, we answer, to be a father or to give life, does not imply that the children will partake of their fathers nature; for instance, Jehovah is the life-giver or Father of men, also of angels and also of the "new creatures" of which Jesus is the head. But these represent three different natures--human, angelic and Divine. To all of these, Jehovah is Father, yet only one of them is of his own Divine nature. (Luke 3:38; Job 38:7; Matt. 3:17; 1 John 3:2; 2 Pet. 1:4.)
In the case now considered, the Christ becomes the father not by a direct creation, but by restoring life lost, to a race already created. To be a restoration, it must become perfected in the same nature in which it was originally created--human nature.
This making of the children princes in all the earth, calls to mind another scripture which harmonizes beautifully with it, viz: "A King shall reign in righteousness and Princes* shall rule in judgment"--to "act as magistrates"--Young. The Divine family are all Kings: Jehovah is the "King of Glory," the "King eternal." The entire company of Jehovah's anointed--The Christ--will be kings. "Thou hast made us unto our God Kings and Priests." (Rev. 5:10.) And their head and captain, Jesus is "King of Kings."
"Tell the whole world the blessed tidings,
Speak of the time of rest that nears;
Tell the oppressed of ev'ry nation,
Jubilee lasts a thousand years.
A thousand years, Earth's coming glory,
'Tis the glad day so long foretold;
'Tis the bright morn of Zion's glory,
Prophets foretold in times of old."
PALESTINE AND THE JEWS.
Writing to the Jewish World, "a Russian Jew" says his brethren in Russia "are bent on emigrating at the earliest opportunity," but they do not wish to change the Russo-Jewish question to an American or Spanish Jewish question, but endeavor, with God's help to solve it once and for always in a manner promising to be permanent." "Unmistakably," he says, "their goal is the colonization of Palestine. In almost every town in Roumania, and in some of the principal cities of Russia, there have been formed Palestine Emigration Societies with funds of their own; and although the Russian government has not yet expressed its opinion on the movement there is a strong hope that it will not run counter to it. Long ago the wish had taken root among them, and having waited some time in vain for their Western brethren to take the initiative in the enterprise, they have at last of themselves taken the matter earnestly in hand. They have chosen Palestine, not on account of any wild dreams of ambition in the immediate future, but because it alone promises to supply the felt and universal requisite of a permanent abode, besides its possessing other qualities, such as the absence in it of undue competition, its proximity, to Russia, and the traditional friendliness of the Turkish government toward the Jews."
Mr. Lawrence Oliphant, in a letter to the Times, dated 11th of February, also mentions the existence of the Roumanian societies referred to, several of which have made appeals to him to aid them in their plans. He says:
"The dominant idea of the Eastern Jew, whatever may be that of his co-religionist in Western countries, is to return to Palestine. This sentiment is not confined to the poorer classes, many of whom may wish to go there in order to share in the charity which their richer co-religionists dispense all over Europe for their support; but the desire to return to the land of their forefathers is extremely strong, even among the more wealthy members of the community, whose highest ambition is to become landed proprietors on the soil endeared to them by the most cherished traditions. They are deterred from doing so partly from fear that they might be subject to extortions from the local officials, and partly by their ignorance of agricultural pursuits. Nevertheless, more than one wealthy Jew is carrying on farming operations successfully in Palestine, and a colony was formed about five years ago near Lydda."
"In regard to Russia," he says, "The correspondent of the Jewish Chronicle, in a letter dated Jerusalem, 27th January, writes: 'The movement for emigration to this country appears to extend more and more in Russia. From divers places envoys have arrived here charged to secure eligible sites for their brethren, [R355 : page 7] who are to follow next spring. A Russian gentleman has assured me that many Jewish capitalists of his country were firmly resolved to settle at Jaffa, in order to erect factories there. I have seen letters from old rabbis of the strictest orthodoxy, declaring that whoever puts his hand to the working of the soil of the Holy Land acts more meritoriously than he who passed his time day and night with the study of the Beth Hamedrash.'"
The Times supports his appeal to some extent in a leading article, from which we quote a sentence or two:
"The Jew is in many countries not a stranger; in Syria and Palestine his race is at home. Palestine is a land of rocks and wilderness, which it would tax a wealthy empire to reclaim, but with intervals of the most fruitful soil, waiting only the husbandman to be converted from a waste into a garden. Religion forbids the Jew to ever forget Judea. He has always longed to see colonists of his race return to it. The men are available, through the savageness of a mob, to take up the Hebrew inheritance. Resources seem also fast flowing in, through the pity of civilized nations, sufficient to replant the Jew in the seat of his forefathers. Such is the scheme which Mr. Oliphant presents to us."
We have before expressed our opinion that some portion of the Jewish people would be replanted in their ancient city and land without having been converted to belief in the claims of Jesus to be their Messiah, and would be in course of time subjected there to a final invasion and siege by their Gentile enemies, from which they would be delivered by "Him whom they had pierced." (Zech. 12:9-10.) It is not our province to say by what means this partial resettlement is to be brought about. But we watch and record with ever-increasing interest those events of our time which seem bringing it nearer the range of actual fulfillment.--Messenger.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
Ques. Bro. R. I have been reading in "Food" pp. 125 to 130, and cannot understand how a resurrected being will possess knowledge of past life, unless there be something more than body and life. I think there must be an unexplainable something which does not die--which people generally call soul.
Ans. Read it over two or three times very carefully with this thought, viz: Being, or individuality, or what some call soul, is that conscious existence which comes as a result of the union of life principle with organized matter. Let us illustrate: Suppose a steam pump; without the steam it is motionless. Turn on the steam and the motionless machine begins to perform its work--the water flows. If you shut off the steam, or break the pump, the water ceases to flow. If you repair it again and connect perfectly, water will flow again to the pump's capacity. The pump represents the human body. The steam represents life as a principle or power. And the flowing water, represents thought which is the result of the combination of life with the finest and most delicate physical organism --the brain.
The illustration would be the same applied to lower animals than man, for we may suppose various sizes and qualities and capacities of pumps.
Ans. We gave several of the names of the Beast and Image. Each of those names will be found to contain exactly 18 letters, or three sixes, which written numerically, form the number 666. This corresponds with the number designated (Rev. 13:18.) and proves that we have a correct application of the symbols (Beast and Image) of this chapter.
Read in the January number again, and be sure you see it clearly enough to prevent your being of those worshiping the Beast or his Image, or receiving his mark, or the number of his name. Those who are worshipers and marked thus, are not reckoned of the overcomers who shall sit with Christ in his throne. See Rev. 20:4.
Ques. (No. 1.) A recent writer says, (not a WATCH TOWER writer,) on the 9th page of a pamphlet, that the text (Eph. 1:5.) "The adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself," means, that during the ages to come, Christ will be the Father, and the Church the Mother of the nations, by the law of re-generation. Eph. 1:5 does not seem to teach this to my understanding. Please give me your view.
Ans. That the Christ (head and body complete) is Scripturally called the "Everlasting Father" of the human family in general, we believe, and have expressed in a previous issue, under the heading "The Everlasting Father." The same is also treated in this paper--"Children of Christ." However, we agree with your criticism of Eph. 1:5. That verse, if read in its connection, will be clearly seen to teach, that we are children of Our Father Jehovah-- through or by means of Christ Jesus. We refer you to the Diaglott rendering of this verse--see "Extract from a Letter," in another column (page 2).
Ques. (No. 2.) The same writer says, that "The Papal Church system, as a counterfeit, represents the true church. As the counterfeit existed before her complete union (marriage) with the kings of the earth, and their joint reign began; so the true church exists before her complete union (marriage) with the true king of earth and their joint reign, begins. The union in either case involves the exaltation to power, in contrast with the former subjection and suffering. Additions were made to the Papal Church after her exaltation, and during her reign. If this has been so of the counterfeit-- will it not be so of the true? There was a thousand years reign of the Papal system during which she was adding to herself, before she gave birth to her daughters in the Reformation. So there will be a thousand years reign of the true church," etc.
What I would like to ask is--How do you understand this? How far is it safe to follow a counterfeit as a guide? Is not a counterfeit to be detected by its difference or variance from the genuine? If Papacy was exactly what the true kingdom should be, who can know that it is not the genuine?
Ans. Your question is long but good. We must answer briefly.
We long since called attention to Papacy as a counterfeit, and as a harlot "mother of harlots." But when did the harlotry begin? Certainly not until united with the Roman Empire. So also, there was a time when she began to be a counterfeit, and ceased to be of the true virgin of Jesus. The counterfeit, we think, consisted not in counterfeiting suffering as this writer would teach, but in counterfeiting our coming glory and reign. Yes, Papacy assumes that since her exaltation to power, she as the Bride of Christ, is reigning over earth. It is thus she counterfeits the true reign of the true bride soon to commence.
This carrying of a type or counterfeit too far to make it prove a theory, is an error to which humanity seems very liable. Let us see how absurd it would be to follow the plan suggested by the article you quote. Suppose it for the moment:--Additions were made to the counterfeit church; therefore additions will be made to the true church when she is exalted. The members of the counterfeit church died, even the head (Popes) being displaced by death; therefore in the real kingdom the true church will be subject to death --yea, even the head of it (Jesus) also. The counterfeit abused the power she possessed; therefore the true will do so. The counterfeit finally became so corrupt that uproar and a Reformation movement, led to the establishment of reformation churches who opposed and Protested against the errors of the mother church; THEREFORE the true church will become corrupt, have the same experiences and similar daughters. At the end of her 1,000 years' reign Papacy got into terrible trouble, and lost her power and authority; THEREFORE--What? The legitimate conclusions are manifestly absurd.
We would think it a poor plan to make genuine dollars like counterfeits in every respect. It would be far better to look for the original outline which the counterfeit in some respects had copied, and from it, form our ideas.
One general mistake made in judging of the Papal church is to suppose that it is "Congregational," i.e., that the congregation is any part of the church. It is what is known as "Episcopal," i.e., there is a church hierarchy, which rules over the laiety. The Roman church represents the very extreme of Episcopacy. It recognizes three classes; first the hierarchy or church proper, which consists of Bishops, Arch bishops, Cardinals, and the Pope; secondly, the priests or brethren, who are the direct servants of the church; thirdly, the people, who are called the children of the church.
This outline of their government, resembles what we are told of the true church glorified: First will be the Hierarchy--the overcomers with Christ at their head, all reigning. (So in the Roman church, Cardinals and Bishops have the Pope at their head--yet all are in authority.) Second, the "great company" before the throne, who serve--the second company not overcomers, who come to spiritual conditions "through great tribulation." (Rev. 7:14,15.) These will be brethren. (These correspond to the priests--the brothers--servants [R356 : page 8] of the Roman church or hierarchy.) Third, the people of earth, as fast as they come into harmony with the kingdom, will, we have seen, be regarded and called the children of the church or hierarchy. (So Papacy calls its adherents the children of the church.)
Ques. Please explain David's words: "Let them go down quick into hell." (Psa. 55:15.) It seems to teach that there is at present a hell for the wicked; but David does not seem to have much love for his enemies.
Ans. The word here translated hell is sheol, and signifies the condition of death or the tomb. Both good and bad people go to sheol (tomb); Jesus went there. David says, speaking prophetically for Jesus--"Thou wilt not leave my soul (me) in hell" (the tomb) Psa. 16:10, compare with Acts 2:27, where Peter explains. The Greek word there translated "hell" is hades, and has the same meaning as sheol--the tomb. David sees the doings of the wicked, and prays that they may soon die, and thus cease to work mischief. Had David prayed that they might go to a place of torture it would indeed reveal a dreadful condition of mind, and no wonder you might feel shocked. But remember that if it would seem wicked in David, it would be ten thousand times more awful for Jehovah to provide such an endless torture as some suppose. It must be modern theology that is at fault, for Jehovah, David, and Paul seem to have the same mind on this subject. Paul said, "I would that they were even cut off which trouble you"--i.e., let them go down quick into death, and Jehovah says, "I took them away as I saw good." The key is found in the fact that the age for the world's trial is the coming one, when all shall be made to know God and his truth under favorable circumstances. See Psa. 136:1 to 26.
Ans. Verses 7 to 10 should be read in connection. The last says it will be "in that day," which we understand to refer to the Millennial day--the seventh (1,000 year) day-- "the last day" of sin, in which it will be forever wiped out.
Now the saints may be troubled, and God may seem careless of their interests in allowing their enemies to prosper and oppose them. But there comes a time in which it will be different; the Lord, at his coming, will exercise his power; the saints will rest, and all ungodliness will be brought under subjection. In that day the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth, and any who then fail to know (appreciate his character) shall be wilfully culpable, and any who accept not the "glad tidings" will themselves be to blame. All such shall be "punished with everlasting DESTRUCTION." Destruction means preservation in misery just as much as death means life in misery, and no class but theologians would so twist and turn words so opposite in their significance. Thus do they wrest the Scriptures, defame their Author, torment his children, and make infidels of the world--ignorantly (?), while boasting of their scholastic learning.
Ques. DEAR BRO. R.:...I am laboring as the Lord's servant among Christians in general, making my church home specially with the Episcopal Church. Is not this right? Am I not doing as Jesus did when he went into the Jewish synagogues? If not right, why not?...
Ans. We believe that every member of the body of Christ is, like the Head, anointed to preach the glad tidings. Not all publicly, but each according to his or her ability. We are to preach Christ by every word, look, and act of life. But what are we to preach with reference to the Christ now? Is there a special message at this time? Yes, it is harvest time, and the ripe wheat of the Gospel Church is to be separated from the tares, just as the ripe wheat of the Jewish church was separated from the chaff. Those thus gathered out are to complete the body of Christ. If you want to work in harmony with the Lord's plan, and if you find a field of wheat in the English church, even though mixed with tares, boldly make use of the sickle of truth. As you enter, being filled with the Spirit, you may be received and welcomed as was Jesus before the truth began to cut. Luke 4:15. But if you are faithful in proclaiming the truth, which is sharper than any two-edged sword, it will not be long before they will do with you as they did with Jesus. Luke 4:28,29.
Thus Jesus forewarned us that we would be treated--Matt. 10:17; Mark 13:9; John 16:2; Matt. 10:24,25. He taught in various synagogues, carrying the same message, which always had the effect to draw the few and repel the many. The Jewish Church was not left desolate until five days before his crucifixion; so the Gospel church was spewed out of his mouth at the parallel point of time, 1878, since which time the call has been, "Come out of her, my people." As the disciples of Jesus met thereafter from house to house, but if bold for the truth, were no longer permitted in the Jewish synagogues, so we no longer meet with the Nominal Gospel church, which is now so overrun with tares, that the wheat cannot flourish. And wherever we find a grain of wheat still standing among the tares in the Nominal Church, we say by word and example, "Come out" where the storms of opposition, the sunshine of truth, and the showers of grace, may strengthen, develop, and ripen you.
As some have not understood, we repeat the notice, that the Oct., Nov. and Dec. issues of the WATCH TOWER are exhausted. And instead of re-publishing them as at first proposed, their leading topics will be treated in the forth-coming book Millennial Day Dawn.
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