this is txt filethis is txt file Z1896 May
page 89
May 15th
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

VOL. XVII.MAY 1, 1896.No. 9.


CONTENTS.


Special Items90
Views from the Tower91
"Have They not Heard?"94
Bible Study: "God be Merciful to Me, a Sinner98
Bible Study: Stewardship of the Pounds and Talents98
Encouraging Letters100

I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me. Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. -- Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 90

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

THIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the
Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and
the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished,
God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to
him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these
"living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready,
the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection;
and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting
place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for man," "a ransom
for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth
"in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as
his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's
witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of
the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution
of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the
hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor; MRS. C. T. RUSSELL, Associate.




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[R1968 : page 91]

VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.


CHRISTIAN (?) Italy, like other Christian (?) nations of Europe, has been trying to do its duty to the heathen of Africa to teach them something of modern civilization, as represented in the liquor traffic and in land-grabbing. Italy felt that duty called her to conquer and "protect" the Abyssinians;--that is, she would "protect" such as she did not destroy with her modern implements of warfare, that they, as her slaves, might be heavily taxed and help her to live in luxury and pay the interest on her present enormous debt. But the Abyssinians surprised the world by nearly exterminating the army invading their home. In view of this they may be regarded as less "barbarous" than Italy had supposed, and as not needing Italy's civilizing taxation.

Christianity was introduced into Abyssinia as early as 330 A.D., but it was of the corrupt type so early prevalent, and represents many of the errors of the Romish, Greek and Armenian systems. But Protestant missionaries and Bibles published for them by the British and Foreign Bible Society have done much to elevate their moral and religious standing. What will the Abyssinians now think of the British assisting the Italians by advancing upon them the Egyptian army?

The following from La Figaro purports to be a letter from Negus Menelek, king of Abyssinia, to Mr. F. S. R. Clark, an English missionary, Feb. 3, some little time before the Italian army attacked him and was defeated. We quote as follows:--

"You are mistaken in believing that I do not care for your prayers. All prayers of believers are dear to me, even when they come from the children of Europe. Not all are aggressors in my kingdom; not all commit the iniquity of attacking those whom they hope to find weaker than themselves: not all have bent the knee before Baal, the god of destruction and the slaughterer of brothers. Many, I am sure, still truly adore the God of the cross, the God of justice and of peace. With them I feel in perfect communion of faith, and I am happy that they pray for me, for my household and for my people.

"I only wish they would make truth dwell in the sanctuary, and that instead of a mutilated gospel, which explains the confusion and the infidelity of the peoples of Europe, they would return and lead others back to the true gospel which began with the creation of the world.

"By what right do they efface the whole portion of it which precedes the coming of Jesus Christ, and have they done away with what God established for all time?

"What you call the Old Testament is as true as the New, and what is contained in it must be respected and observed by those who follow Jesus and the apostles, announced by the prophets.

"Never did Jesus abolish the distinctive mark of his race, since he was subject to it by his mother on the eight day. [Circumcision, still practiced by Abyssinians.] To suppress that which God established "from age to age and from forever to forever" is to weaken the faith, is to furnish the same spectacle shown by the Christians of Europe. It is not only without that they use violence, but also within, against the Jews who are, nevertheless, Christian souls, and to whom we owe our Savior. There are more than 300,000 of them in my kingdom, and, though they enjoy almost complete independence, they are obedient and industrious subjects. They never conspire, pay all tributes, and respect our abuna as much as do the Christians. If they are worse in Europe, it is because the Christians, too, are worse. Our Lord Jesus forgave them on the cross: why should we persecute them? You [English], at least, do not persecute them. May the other Christians of Europe imitate you.

"What you need is to return to our God, to observe all his ordinances, to no longer separate Moses and the prophets from the apostles or St. Peter from St. Paul. Whoever wishes to serve God must humble himself and obey. You know that, envoy of God. Teach it in Europe and Asia. I am having it taught in Africa.

"May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Menelek."

[R1968 : page 92]

Little as we have in common with any of the so-called "Catholic" systems of Christian religion--the Greek, Roman, Armenian and Abyssinian--we nevertheless consider it a shame that, if the Armenians cannot be protected from the Mohammedan Turk, the Abyssinians must be scourged by Roman Catholic Italy, backed by Protestant and enlightened Britain, while civilized France has just finished a conquest of Madagascar, which for some time has been known as "the first heathen nation converted to Christ" in modern times. The heathen pay dearly for their acquaintance with civilization and so-called "Christian nations." Evidently selfishness is the basis of all this injustice. All this, however, may be a necessary experience to prepare men for the true Kingdom of Christ.


***

In Chicago a number of Presbyterians broke away from the Fullerton Ave. Church, and, with "Rev. Dr. John Rusk," organized an independent congregation known as the "Church Militant." This Church, in order to emphasize their Christian (?) liberty, recently invited Col. Robert Ingersoll to preach (?) to them. Mr. Ingersoll did so on Sunday, April 12. The public press account is as follows:

"With a prelude that included an invocation, the repeating of the Lord's Prayer in unison, the reading of the tenth chapter of Luke, beginning with the twenty-fifth verse, the singing of a Hosanna, of "Nearer my God to Thee" and "America," Col. R. G. Ingersoll stepped to the rostrum of the Church Militant and for nearly two hours expounded to the congregation his views upon 'How to Reform Mankind.'

"Although admission was strictly confined to ticket holders, the street in front of the theatre was blocked with people long before the opening of the doors, and even after the interior had been packed more than a thousand men and women besieged the entrance. On the stage were 400 or more representative citizens, including nearly every member of the Appellate and Superior judiciary and several county officials, delegations from every medical and law college and institution of learning in the city and suburbs, and a number of retired preachers. Every sect and denomination of importance, without exception, had its representative.

"When Col. Ingersoll made his appearance, arm in arm with Rev. Dr. Rusk, there was loud applause. In the prayer that followed the musical exercises Rev. Dr. Rusk asked for a special blessing on Col. Ingersoll as one who was endeavoring to show the world how this life might be made one of usefulness and joy. Rev. Dr. Rusk invoked a dispensation for Col. Ingersoll's wife and children, and in his introductory remarks spoke of the agnostic as "the man who is endeavoring to do this world good and to make it better." Rev. Dr. Rusk added that this was no time to reason, no time to disagree with the faiths of men or beliefs of men, when they were trying to make the world better than they found it. No matter, he said, whether a man believed in God or not, if he expounded the truth.

"As Col. Ingersoll stepped to the rostrum he was welcomed with applause that lasted for over a minute. His text was from Shakespeare, "There is no darkness but ignorance." He discoursed fluently on the evolution of intellect and the necessity for education; on the evils of war, showing that it costs $6,000,000 per day; on how to lessen crime by teaching criminals "the naturalness and harmony of virtue." [A difficult lesson for intelligent men to learn. All of their experiences attest the contrary, and agree with the Scriptures that to the natural man virtue is quite unnatural. ED.] He advocated homes for all the people, proper, useful education, etc., and then gave his views of what a church should be, as follows:

"Now it seems to me that it would be far better for the people of a town having a population of 4,000 or 5,000 to have one church, and the edifice should be of use not only on Sunday, but on every day of the week. In this building should be the library of the town. It should be the club house of the people, where they could find the principal newspapers and periodicals of the world. Its auditorium should be like a theatre. Plays should be presented by home talent, an orchestra formed, music cultivated. The people should meet there at any time they desire. The women could carry their knitting and sewing, and connected with it should be rooms for the playing of games, billiards, cards, and chess. Everything should be made as agreeable as possible. The citizens should take pride in this building. They should adorn its niches with statues and its walls with pictures. It should be the intellectual centre. They could employ a gentleman of ability, possibly of genius, to address them on Sundays on subjects that would be of real interest, of real importance.

This is a "natural" man's mistaken conception of what Christ's church should be. He rejects Christ, and cannot be expected to have his spirit or mind on the subject of what, why and how his church is "called" "out of the world." And alas! the Church, two thirds full of unconverted, "natural" men, see no better than this Infidel teacher. Indeed, to "natural" men the advice of "natural" men must appear more reasonable and more consistent than the teachings of the Word and spirit of God. It does not surprise us, therefore, to see many [R1969 : page 92] turned from the truth unto fables (2 Tim. 4:4), and congregations and denominations moving from the hopes and methods set before us in the gospel to hopes and methods of their own misconceptions and unbelief.

But the close of the address pictured the real Church of God glorified, in a manner and degree little realized by the orator, who meant rather to describe Nature--his god. He said:--

"The firmament inlaid with suns is the dome of the real cathedral. The interpreters of nature are the true and only priests. In the great creed are all the truths that lips have uttered and in the real litany will be found all the ecstasies and aspirations of the soul, all dreams of joy, all hopes for nobler, fuller life. The real church, the real edifice, is adorned and glorified with all that art has done. In the real choir is all the thrilling music of the world; and in the starlit aisles have been, and are, the grandest souls of every land and clime."--Compare Eph. 2:21; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Pet. 2:4,5; Rev. 3:12; 21:22; Matt. 13:43.

The "Church Militant" convinces us that it is free-- not only free from Sectarian supervision and creed bondage (a good thing), but free also from Christ, a very dangerous freedom. Yet it is still true that truth only can make "free indeed." Whatever the state of their hearts, if Christians at all, they sat for two hours in the seats of the scornful [R1969 : page 93] and took counsel of the ungodly. The blessed of the Lord do not so, as is particularly stated in the first Psalm.

How this circumstance shows the blindness of Christ's professed followers, that they who should be the light of the world should be so dark that they feel their need of, and request the instruction of one whom the god of this world hath blinded; who is so blind that the light of the glory of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord has not yet penetrated his mind;--almost as blind as the "fool" mentioned in Psalm 14:1. Verily, Mr. Ingersoll chose a good text, There is no darkness like ignorance; and if, as the Scriptures declare, "The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," then Mr. Ingersoll is still in gross darkness, the "True Light" not having shone into his heart. What could he know or teach of the true hope for the groaning creation?

We have not yet heard whether or not some of the brethren in Chicago improved the opportunity to offer to the congregation, as they came out, some of the truth in printed form, but if they did not they missed a grand opportunity. There probably were some of the really truth-hungry children of God there, who, starving for lack of true food for their souls, are looking and feeling after it in a wrong direction. All men are awaking, and all as they awake are hungry: Satan will supply them poisoned food in abundance and under favorable conditions; let us who have the truth redouble our activities if we hope to hear our Master say, Well done! good, faithful servant,... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.


***

The Christian Denomination, otherwise known as "Disciples," have very rigid ideas respecting baptism (immersion in water). They teach that immersion is the door to justification, or forgiveness of sins and acceptance as God's people. They lay stress upon the Apostle's statement in Acts 2:38, and fail to notice that he spoke to the Israelites, already God's people (verse 36), and not to the Gentiles. They overlook the fact that it is faith, not water, that justifies.--Rom. 5:1; 4:2-4,13,22-24. See TOWER for June 15, '93.

The Cedar ave. Disciple Church, Cleveland, having recently broken over the unwritten law of the denomination, and having received into membership a Christian man who had not been immersed, a great stir has ensued, and, as a sign of disfellowship, the donation of this church to the Foreign "Christian" Missionary Society was refused. But nevertheless the influence is spreading, and the South Side Christian Church of Indianapolis is also receiving members who have not been immersed.

The result will no doubt be a disruption of the denomination, for its membership will be started to thinking; just as other circumstances are arousing thought in other denominations. It is all a part of the shaking and waking up, proper to this time of "shaking" (Heb. 12:28), that the true Christians of all denominations may get free from denominational thraldom; henceforth to be bound, not as members of human institutions, but each as a branch in the true vine--Christ. Instead of unions in cliques, societies and denominations, bound tighter and tighter to prevent disintegration, each individual Christian must stand free from all human alliances, that he may be most completely united to Christ, and, in fellowship and bonds of love only, with all who have Christ's spirit. The fall of Babylon means the setting at liberty of those whom God calls "My people."--Rev. 18:4.


***

Abbe Courbe, parish priest of Dion, Vichy, France, has just published a book, which he distinctly states is done with the consent of his superiors, in which he presents the view of a future Millennium. (This is the very opposite of the Roman Catholic theory, which all along has claimed that it was fulfilled during the period of Papal triumph, from the eighth to the eighteenth century, closing with Napoleon's triumph, which it claims began the "little season" of Rev. 20:3,7. This book may be an attempt to "hedge" a little, and indicates at least a doubt as to the previous interpretation.)

The title page of the book, translated from the French, reads as follows:--

"The great occurrence ("coup") with its probable date. That is to say the great chastisement of the world and universal triumph of the Church, which will probably occur between Sept. 19 and 20, 1896. The secrets of La Salette compared with the prophets of the Bible and other authorities."

As here indicated the author expects a one-day (24 hour's) battle, whereas we see from the Scriptures that it is a forty-year battle day, begun twenty-one years ago, whose latter part is to be a time ["day"] of trouble such as never was before. (Dan. 12:1.) Like the bloody predictions of others for this year, this of course will fail. The year will doubtless bring its share of troubles, but much remains to be done before the great revolution shall occur which will wreck society.


***

Electrician Thos. A. Edison has developed the "Roentgen ray" or "X ray" to such a degree that in a recent experiment he was able with his naked eye to look through an eight-inch block of yellow pine and see the outlines of his fingers. He has still greater hopes of future experiments.

Professors Pratt and Wightman have conceived that these penetrating rays might be utilized not only in locating diseases but also in curing disease by killing the disease germs. They have been experimenting with the germs of Dyphtheria, Cholera, Influenza, Typhoid fever and Consumption; and report excellent results. They believe that the X-rays will kill these germs or bacilli and thus stop the dreadful ravages of these diseases. These things are telegraphed throughout the world, yet how few realize their meaning--that the long-promised "times of restitution" [R1969 : page 94] are approaching and that our present Lord is thus making ready for blessing the world physically, by natural means, which are none the less of his providence.

If any one wonders how restitution could possibly rejuvenate the aged, let him read of a sample case, possibly granted for the purpose of illustration, as follows:--

"Middlesboro, Ky.--Mary Crabtree, who will be 91 years old the 15th day of August, is now in possession of all her faculties, has cut a new set of teeth, and can read without glasses. The most remarkable fact of all, however, is that her hair, which was snowy white, began to turn dark again eighteen months ago, and now is of a dark, glossy brown, just the color it was when she was a girl of eighteen."--The Philadelphia Press.



[R1969 : page 94]

"HAVE THEY NOT HEARD?"


"But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily their sound went into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."--Rom. 10:18.
BY many this scripture is understood to mean that in Paul's day the gospel had been universally proclaimed and heard; but it requires only a little reflection and observation to see that this view is not correct. For instance, it would be contrary to the reasoning of verses 12-15.--"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent?" Besides, it could not have reached the portions of the earth then almost or entirely unknown,--e.g., America, Lower Africa, Eastern Asia or Australia. Nor had it gone in a full, clear sense to all even of the then known world.

The Apostle's meaning is clear, however, when his discourse is considered as a whole, and when it is remembered that he is addressing Israelites--those who had been under the bondage of the Law Covenant. The ninth, tenth and eleventh chapters should be taken together and studied as one subject. Then it will be seen that the Apostle, reasoning from the Old Testament Scriptures, is showing that the [R1970 : page 94] gospel is to be preached to all the world, and not to Israel only, as some had imagined. To support this argument he repeatedly quotes from the prophets.

It should also be borne in mind that the prophets seldom spoke of things as future, but instead, they took a future standpoint and spoke of things future as though they were present, or accomplished in the past. Thus Isaiah, in referring to the birth of Jesus, a thing then future, spoke of it as though already accomplished, saying, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." (Isa. 9:6.) Thus also "went," in the above text, should be understood; and the real meaning of the passage is seen to be, Verily, their sound goeth, or shall go into all the earth. The statement of Colossians 1:23, properly understood, is in harmony with this: the gospel which the Colossians heard was not to them exclusively, nor to be confined as heretofore to Israel, but was to be preached, declared or made known, irrespective of birth or nationality, to every creature who has ears to hear it.

To make clear Paul's argument, we will briefly paraphrase Romans 9:30 to 11:36, as follows, calling special attention to Paul's quotations from the prophets:--

Rom. 9:30-33.--What must we conclude, then, concerning God's dealings with Israel and the Gentiles? We conclude that though Israel has been seeking to be right and justified before God, for over 1600 years, and the heathen nations were indifferent to and ignorant of needed justification, yet now that it is offered, Israel will reject, and the heathen will accept, the gospel of justification and reconciliation. Why? Because Israel, as a nation, vainly expect it by works, while the heathen will accept it by faith in Christ's finished work. Israel, feeling so confident that she can approve herself to God by works of obedience, stumbles at the simplicity of the gospel and will not believe that Jesus was the propitiation (satisfaction) for the sins of the whole world. Therefore, instead of accepting of redemption through Christ, they have stumbled over and rejected the only way to God. This was foreshown by the prophet Isaiah (8:14). "Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone, and rock of offence; and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."

Chap. 10:1-4.--Though I speak thus plainly about Israel and their stumbling, do not understand me to rejoice in their fall, for I desire and pray that they might be saved. I do not accuse them of indifference and wilful unbelief; nay, they have a zeal for God, but they have a plan and way of their own, and are thus blinded to God's way and plan of justifying through a ransom. They hope for salvation through the keeping of the Law in every particular, which in their degenerate condition is an impossibility; and they reject Christ, who before the tribunal of justice became the ransom, the substitute for all who will accept his service; and for all such he met and fulfilled the penalty of the Law, which is death.

Vss. 5-10.--Moses explains (Lev. 18:5) that the man who does right according to the Law shall continue to live, and not die; but in all the time since Moses thus wrote, none have succeeded in meriting life; death claimed all. It is therefore useless longer to look to works. We are proclaiming that Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Jesus' death settled the claims of the Law upon all under it who accept of his ransom; and this is the good tidings which we now proclaim--that a right to life may be had by accepting of the redemption provided through Christ's sacrifice for our sins. [R1970 : page 95]

But, my brethren, as Moses also said (Deut. 30:11-14), this thing is not hidden from them, neither is it far off, difficult to understand. And those who banish prejudice and exercise faith will not say, Who ascended into heaven to bring Christ down from above, or who descended into the grave to bring Christ back from the dead? But what will faith say? Faith will say just what Moses said (Deut. 30:14). The word (that is, the truth we preach) is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart--it is reasonable and plain, that you may understand. Faith, finding abundant foundation in the teaching and mighty works of Jesus and his apostles and in the testimony of the prophets (unimpeachable witnesses), accepts the facts of the coming of Christ from above, of his death, his resurrection and ascension. Unless you believe this, you of course cannot accept of his sacrifice as being the end of the law and the cancelling of its death-penalty against you as violators of it.

But if you would lay hold of this great salvation, you must publicly and openly confess that Jesus is Lord--your Master; that by his death he purchased you, and thus became your owner; for "To this end Christ both died and rose and revived, that he might be LORD [owner, master] both of the dead and living." (Rom. 14:9.) And you must not only own and believe that he is your purchaser, your Redeemer and Lord, but also that he is a living Lord, that God raised him from death and highly exalted him to a higher nature than that which he gave as our Ransom. To believe and thus confess is acceptable with God, and to such believers it will be plain that Christ settled all the condemnation of the Law against them, and such may have joy and peace in thus believing. After all, it is with the heart that men believe. No matter how much their minds may be convinced of the truth, if their hearts be stubborn they will not believe. Brethren, get your hearts right, and then you will be able both to believe on and to confess Jesus as your Lord.

Vss. 11-13.--This general principle, that faith is the condition of release from condemnation before God, is proved by the Prophet's words to apply, not only to Israel, but to all mankind, for the Prophet declared, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Isa. 28:16.) This shows that, no matter how much preference was shown the Jew under the Law, there is to be no preference shown under the gospel, for the same Lord over all is rich enough to settle the claims of all that come unto him and ask for a share in the benefits of his ransom sacrifice. We have proof of this also in the prophecy which says, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." --Joel 2:32.

Vss. 14-17.--This brings us to another question, namely: Is it not very proper to preach the good tidings of ransom and salvation through Christ to the Gentiles, as well as to Israel? Certainly; the quotation last made implies this; for how could they call on Christ as Lord without believing? and how could they believe on him except they should hear? and how could they hear without a preacher? and how can preachers go forth with this message unless authorized of God? Hence it is evident that God meant this good news to be preached to all the Gentiles as well as to Israel--to every creature. Not only can we reason it out logically thus, but we find a positive statement that the good tidings will be preached, which implies that the Law Covenant will be at an end to every one who hears and believes. The prophets Isaiah and Nahum testify of this preaching, saying: "How beautiful the feet of him that bringeth good tidings of peace [reconciliation through his blood--the remission of sins], and bringeth good tidings of good [things which come as a result]."--Isa. 52:7; Nahum 1:15.

But we must not hastily suppose that when preached all will receive the good tidings; for the Prophet, speaking of things future as though they were past, again testifies of the result of the preaching, saying, "Who hath believed our report [our preaching], and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" (Isa. 53:1.) This implies that the real believers and confessors would be few, at least for a while. But this proves that faith is to be the result of hearing--of hearing God's truth--and not a result of keeping perfectly the Law.

Vss. 18-21.--Now we inquire, Will the fact that few will believe prove that the testimony will reach only a few? No, it is bound to reach all, in proof of which I again quote from the Prophet. He says, speaking from a future standpoint: Their sound went into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. This proves that all the Gentiles shall yet have this gospel preached to them. But what about Israel? Shall not they as a people come to know--understand and appreciate-- the good tidings? Yes, but not for a long time; they are yet a stiffnecked, stubborn people. As Moses said (Deut. 32:21), God will [have to] provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation will he anger you. Isaiah speaks yet more pointedly of Israel's rejection of the message, and of the acceptance of it by the heathen, saying: I was found of them that sought me not, I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. And, speaking of Israel, he says, "All day long I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying [self-willed] people."--Isa. 65:1,2.

Chap. 11:1-5.--In view of these declarations of the prophets, showing that Israel will have to be thus dealt with and disciplined, I ask: Hath God utterly cast away his people Israel? God forbid; for I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not utterly cast away his people whom he formerly recognized and favored. Call to mind Elijah's prayer against Israel, saying: Lord, they have killed thy prophets and digged down thine altars, and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But mark God's answer: I have reserved to myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the [R1970 : page 96] knee to Baal. (1 Kings 19:10,18.) Even so at this present time there is a remnant who through God's favor will accept the good tidings and will not stumble. I, Paul, rejoice, that I am of that favored remnant.

Vss. 6-8.--But now another point: This remnant is not saved by works of the Law, nor because they almost kept it, but by accepting of salvation as God's free favor through Christ. While Israel as a nation fails to receive the blessing sought by works of the Law, the chosen ones, the remnant of Israel, and those of the heathen who receive the gospel, will obtain a special blessing far higher than Israel ever dreamed of. These being justified, not by works, but by faith in Christ as their Redeemer (substitute), thereby gain [R1971 : page 96] the privilege of becoming sons of God on the divine plane and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, in the coming kingdom. The rest, both of Israel and the nations, will be blinded to this privilege. The God of this world will blind all except those who, by faithfulness, make their calling and election sure--a "little flock."

Vss. 9,10.--David also foretold Israel's stumbling, saying, "Let their table be made a snare and a trap and a stumbling-block and a recompense unto them [i.e., their downfall shall be over the very blessings which God gave them; over their blessings they shall stumble. God had given them food such as he gave to no other people. To them God had committed the oracles of truth, the prophecies and the types which foreshadowed the sacrifice for sin and the blessings following that atoning sacrifice; yet, becoming proud and vain of the honors conferred, they thereby stumbled over the very graciousness of God's plan shown to them in types]." (Psa. 69:22,23.) Thus their eyes were darkened, and they were bowed down to see only the earthly promises.

Vss. 11-14.--But now we come to another question: Admitting that Israel will stumble, and is stumbling, as foretold, I ask, Have they stumbled to fall irrecoverably? will they never again come into fellowship with God? God forbid that they should forever remain cast off. The significance of their fall is rather to be a blessing to the Gentiles than a permanent injury to Israel. And we may reason that if their fall from favor results in riches to the world (the Gentiles), then their restoration to favor, which God's promises guarantee, will imply an abundance of divine favor both to Jews and Gentiles. I speak to you Gentiles thus, because, being the apostle to the Gentiles, I desire to show the importance of the Gentiles in God's plan, and to stimulate my countrymen to emulation, and thus recover some of them from blindness.

Vss. 15-21.--Thus is seen the breadth of God's plans. We know that there are certain promises made to Israel which must yet be fulfilled; and if they would be temporarily postponed and a blessing unexpectedly given to the Gentiles, it argues that God's plans, as we now see them, are broader than we had at first supposed, and include Gentiles as well as Jews; for if the casting away of them opens a door of favor to the Gentiles, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? that is to say, God's promises to Israel are such as imply their resurrection from death, their restitution; and now that we learn that the world in general may be reconciled to God because their sin was atoned for by the ransom, we may reasonably conclude that "life from the dead," restitution, will be offered to all the heathen, as well as to Israel. We see Israel to be merely a first-fruit of the world, the first favored; and if God has a blessing for them, as promised, it follows that he has the same blessing for other nations; for if the first-fruit, or sample, be holy --acceptable and blessed of God--so also the mass which it represents (the world in general) will be holy.

The covenant promise of God out of which the kingdom classes are being developed is the root, and fleshly Israel as branches were first developed. But, because of unbelief and pride, most of these were broken off, and wild, heathen branches were grafted in instead, with them to partake of the life of the root, yea, the very fatness of the promise; yet they should not be puffed up against the broken-off branches, but humbly and thankfully remember that they are occupying the place originally belonging to the natural descendants. Walk humbly, for if because of pride and unbelief they failed and were cast off, God would be as likely to cut off the wild branches under similar circumstances. [How we see this fulfilling in the breaking off of many of the Gentile branches--now blinded and being cast off. They are no more respected than were the natural branches, and are broken off for the same cause. (Rev. 3:15-17.) Only the elect few branches, the "little flock," will remain.]

Vss. 22-24.--Here we find two prominent characteristics of our Heavenly Father illustrated--his love and his justice--his goodness and severity. He is abundant in mercy and goodness, but will by no means clear the guilty. His goodness is manifested by the promise and the blessings it contains, and his just severity in the cutting off from those favors of all the unfaithful. But even in cutting Israel off, God is merciful and kind; for even though cut off as a people from the chief favor, they still have every advantage as individuals, and as such, any may be reengrafted, if they exercise the needful faith, though, as we have already seen, their hearts are hardened by the past favors of God, so that most of them are less ready than the Gentiles to accept of the gospel.

"THIS MYSTERY."


Vss. 25-27.--Here is a fact not generally known; it is a secret as yet--a mystery--and will show you that God's plan is more comprehensive than you have yet appreciated; and by showing you that you have not all wisdom, it will enable you to keep humble and to search for the further unfoldings of God's plans. The mystery is this: The blindness and breaking off of Israel will not continue forever, [R1971 : page 97] it will last only until the choicest, fittest branches from the Gentiles have been properly engrafted on the root --the Abrahamic promise. Then the broken-off branches shall be reunited to the root. The fact is, the root of promise contains a double set of branches; first, the select branches, natural and engrafted, the spiritual seed of Abraham, the Christ which is to bless all nations; and, secondly, a lower order of engrafted branches--Israel restored--the natural seed of Abraham through which the spiritual seed will principally operate in blessing all nations.

Thus seen, Israel as a whole will be saved from their blindness in due time, and will yet share in the very blessings they expected when they were broken off; viz., the natural or earthly part of the blessings--the better or spiritual part of the Abrahamic blessing being conferred upon the elect, then chosen, who through much tribulation and crucifixion of the flesh and following of the Master are counted worthy of the chief honor, the spiritual blessings. What I state as to the recovery of Israel from her cast-off condition is already stated, but obscurely, by Isaiah the prophet (59:20,21), and I will throw light upon it by stating it clearly, as follows: "There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins."

Vss. 27-30.--This prophetic statement shows us that though the natural branches are treated as enemies for the present, for your exaltation, yet really they are still beloved of God, and he has blessings yet in store for them, as promised to their fathers; for any free gift and promise which God makes is sure of fulfillment. He fully foreknew this temporary lopping off before he made his promises concerning them, and, knowing the end from the beginning, it is unnecessary for him ever to repent of a promise.

Let us now analyze this prophecy and see that it implies what we have before suggested to be God's plan; viz., to bring the natural branches again into God's favor. "Jacob" clearly means fleshly Israel, and from these ungodliness is to be turned away--but not until God himself shall "take away," or "put away," or "blot out" their sins. As elsewhere shown, the sins of the world will not be put away, until the close of the Gospel age, until the sufferings of the body of Christ are ended. During this age, only the sins of those who now believe are cancelled or put out of sight by God. But he who now justifies believers, will then justify them also, when they become believers in the ransom. He will thus take away their sin through the same ransom which he gave for our sin--even his Son.

In turning away ungodliness a Deliverer is required. This is none other than Christ, the great Deliverer whom Moses promised. He shall deliver from all evil, from death, from pain and sickness, from ignorance and blindness, from every oppression of the devil. He shall bind Satan and set free his captives. This Deliverer is the complete Christ, the members of the body with the head united, complete, no more twain, but one. This Deliverer comes out of Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, which is the mother of us all. (Gal. 4:26.) He is the first-born of Zion, the overcomer and heir of all things. Hence, before the promised blessings come to Jacob (fleshly Israel), the heir of the spiritual blessings must first be developed.

Nor should we suppose that the blessings and deliverances will stop with Jacob; for, as already shown, they are but a first-fruits of restored mankind; and when they are turned to God, they shall become a channel through which the Deliverer will bless and release "all the families of the earth."

Vs. 31. Lift up your eyes and take now a comprehensive view of God's dealings with Israel--both spiritual Israel and Israel after the flesh--and see how grand and large is the plan of God, which as yet is only budding. As for a long while you (Gentiles) were strangers and aliens from God, and seemingly unloved and uncared for, yet now you have obtained mercy and favor, while fleshly Israel is cut off, even so these of the fleshly house are now unbelievers and cut off that by and by they may obtain mercy and find favor through you. That is to say, God is blessing them at the very time he is cutting them off; for in blessing you and preparing the spiritual seed and Deliverer, he is making ready to bless them through you, when you as the body of Christ are complete. (Gal. 3:29.) Thus through the mercy which God now shows you, he is also providing mercy for them, to be manifested in his due time.

Vss. 32-36.--God treated Israel as a nation of unbelievers, and cast them aside nationally, in order that he might have mercy upon them nationally, and bring them as a people to inherit the earthly promises made to them.

Looking at the deep workings of God's plan thus, in the light of what he tells us is future, as well as of what is past, how wonderful it is! Oh, the rich depths of God's wisdom and knowledge! How useless for us to try to discover his dealings except as he is pleased to reveal his plans to us. His doings are all mysteries to us except as we are [R1972 : page 97] enlightened by his Spirit. Who knew this gracious plan, so much beyond human conception? Who helped the Lord to arrange such a plan, think you? This is not human wisdom. God only could be its author. A Jew never would have planned to graft in Gentiles to share the chief blessings of the promise! A Gentile never would have arranged the original stock and branches Jewish and himself a favored graft. No, the plan is clearly of God, and well illustrates both his goodness and his just severity. Of him is all the plan; through his power it is all brought to pass; and to him be the glory forever.

When the spirit of Paul's argument is caught, it can be clearly seen that he quotes the words, "Their sound went into all the earth and their words to the end of the world," AS PROPHECY yet to be fulfilled, and not to prove that the gospel had been universally published, but that it would be in due time.



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"GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME, A SINNER."
--MAY 10.--Luke 18:9-17.--

Golden Text--"The publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me, a sinner."--Luke 18:13.
WHILE the Pharisee presents to our minds the extremes of conceit, selfishness and hypocrisy it is always well to remember that there are many approaches to that disposition which give sure signs that those who have and who are cultivating them will by and by mature the same kind of fruit unless they change their course. The spirit of meekness, which is the spirit of all true children of God, is the very opposite of the spirit of proud, boastful self-righteousness. It is only this spirit that can gain the ear of the Lord and bear away the answers of peace, as illustrated in the case of the publican so strikingly in contrast with that of the Pharisee.

How this calls to mind the words of wisdom and of warning to guard against every approach to a spirit of pride and vain glory:--"Be sober, and watch unto prayer"; "Be sober, be vigilant" against "your adversary, the devil; I say...to every man...not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly"; "In simplicity and godly sincerity" have your "conversation in the world." (1 Pet. 4:7; 5:8; Rom. 12:3; 2 Cor. 1:12.) It is the intoxication that comes from imbibing the spirit of the world that leads to that foolish boasting of which a man in his sober senses would be ashamed, and such intoxication is an abomination in God's sight and is unworthy of the least of his children; for every sober man must realize that he is far, very far, short of perfection. Boasting, therefore, is only an evidence of ignorance and of intoxication with the worldly spirit.

To further enforce this teaching, our Lord calls attention to the beautiful, artless simplicity of childhood as a pattern in this respect of what all must be who would enter the Kingdom of God. To be a child in guilelessness and simplicity, however, is one thing, while to be a child in understanding and development of character is another; and it is in the former, and not in the latter respect, that we are to be children. And it is in this respect that the people of God are spoken of as his "little ones" (Luke 17:2), and by the beloved John as "my little children." They may be old in years and gray-headed, but their hearts are young and preserve the sweet simplicity of childhood. On the other hand, they may be ripe in character and learned in the wisdom of God, as was the Apostle Paul, who said, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things." And the same apostle also says, "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."--1 Cor. 13:11; 14:20; 16:13.

The simplicity of childhood, realizing its need, confesses it and asks mercy, instead of attempting to deceive itself by philosophizing. In this respect we must continue "children," we must continue to admit our own imperfection, continue to admit our need of mercy, continue to trust in the precious blood provided to cleanse us from all sin, if we would continue to have the Heavenly Father's ear and favor, and if we would continue to be "justified" in his sight.

We urge upon all the importance of sincere prayer; --private or "closet" prayers, "family" or "household" prayer and "social" prayer with fellow-Christians. Each has its special importance to everyone who is running the heavenly race; and each has Scripture sanction. They need not be lengthy: indeed few of the Scriptural examples of prayer were so; but they must be sincere, from the heart and not a lip service. Heart prayers are always accompanied by efforts of life in harmony with the prayers; while lip prayers are usually in contradiction of the living epistle. Prayer without corresponding endeavor is like faith without works; it is a dead, worse than useless, thing.

Prayer is required, not to change God's plans, but to bring our hearts into such a condition as will prepare us to receive and appreciate the blessings which God has freely promised and which he delights to grant to his children. Hence our requests should be such only as God has authorized us to ask and expect. Our requests should be unselfish: The Apostle remarks that some ask and receive not because they ask amiss (not in harmony with the Lord's arrangements), to consume the things asked for upon selfish desires. --James 4:3.



[R1972 : page 98]

STEWARDSHIP OF THE POUNDS AND TALENTS.

MAY 17.--Luke 19:11-27. Compare also Matt. 25:14-30; 1 Cor. 4:1-7.

"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."--Luke 16:10.
THE Parable of the Pounds and the Parable of the Talents, as companion parables, illustrate from different standpoints the responsibilities of the stewardship of God's people. St. Paul says, "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers [servants] of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." This stewardship and ministry, while it belonged in a special sense to the apostles, belongs also to the whole Gospel Church, all of whom have the anointing and the commission (Isa. 61:1,2) and the consequent responsibilities of the sacred trusts committed to them. And as stewards of God we have nothing of our own, nothing with which we may do as we please; for, says the Apostle, "What hast thou that thou didst not receive?" Nothing. And what have we to call our own that has not been included in our covenant of consecration to God? Nothing. Consequently all that we have belongs to God, and we are merely stewards of his goods.

"Moreover," says the Apostle, "it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful"; and the parables under consideration show what is considered as faithfulness to our stewardship. To merely receive the gifts of God is not faithfulness, tho many seem to think so. Many indeed seem to think they have done God a great favor in merely accepting his grace through Christ, and are satisfied to make no further efforts. But such make a great mistake; for faithfulness, as here shown, consists in a proper and diligent [R1972 : page 99] use of our gifts in harmony with the divine purpose and methods; and both the Lord and the Apostle point to a day of reckoning, when even the secret things will be brought to light, and all the counsels of the hearts shall be made manifest.--Luke 19:15; 12:2,3; 8:17; Mark 4:21,22; Matt. 25:19; 1 Cor. 4:5.

We observe that in the former parable each of the servants received exactly the same thing--a "pound," while in the latter the gifts varied: one received five talents, another two, and another one, "every man according to his several ability." The "pound," being the same to all, fitly represents those blessings of divine grace which are common to all God's people. Among these are the Word of God and the various helps to its understanding, the influences of the holy spirit, the privileges of faith and prayer and communion with God and fellowship with Christ and with his people. But the "talents" being distributed according to every man's several ability, represent opportunities for the service of God along the lines of such abilities as we possess. They may be talents of education, or money, or influence, or good health, or time, or tact, or genius, with opportunities for their use in God's service.

In both parables our Lord is represented as about to take his departure to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. And a part of their object was to disabuse the disciples' minds of the idea that his Kingdom would immediately appear. He thus intimated that while he was about to return to his Father in heaven there would be an interim between then and the time of his return, during which time their faithfulness to him would be fully tested, and that all that would prove faithful to their stewardship in his absence would [R1973 : page 99] be owned and blessed of him in his Kingdom upon his return.

The commission to each and all of the Lord's stewards is expressed in the words, "Occupy [which, in old English, signified, "Do business with," "Use," "Traffic with"] till I come." And the first business with the King on his return is not to deal and reckon with and judge the world, but to reckon with these servants to whom his goods--the "pounds" and the "talents"--had been committed; to see how much each had profited thereby, as a test of their fidelity, to determine what place if any should be granted them in his Kingdom. Notice also that the reckoning with them is as individuals, and not by groups or classes.

In plain language, these parables teach that it is the duty of every Christian to make good use of all that the Lord has given him. The right use of the "pound" is to diligently profit by all the means of grace for the spiritual upbuilding of ourselves and others. We cannot afford to neglect any of these; for we cannot do so without loss. If we neglect to consider and ponder the principles and precepts of God's Word, or to heed their wholesome instructions; if we fail to consider or to follow the leadings of the holy spirit; if we neglect the privilege of prayer and communion with God; or if we fail to cultivate the fellowship and communion of saints, we are folding our "pound" in a napkin. It cannot yield its legitimate increase while thus unused. Christian character cannot grow and develop in the neglect of the very means which God has provided for its perfecting. In such neglect a spiritual decline is sure to set in; and the more persistent and long-continued is the neglect, the less realized is the decline, and the less inclination is there to energy, diligence and zeal in correcting it. But in the diligent and proper use of these means of grace there is a "feast of fat things" which is sure to build up and invigorate the spiritual life and cause it to bring forth much fruit unto holiness, which is the increase for which the King is looking.

Yet the parable shows different degrees of increase in different cases following the right use of the "pound." The "pound" in the care of one servant gains ten, while with another it gains five. This reminds us of what we commonly observe, that even the same means of grace do not profit all to exactly the same extent. Some, for instance, are by nature more studious and thoughtful, or more generous, or grateful. And therefore the appeals of the various means of grace to the heart differ in different individuals, and the consequent fruitfulness also differs in quantity. Another illustration of the same thing is also found in the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:8), where the seed in good ground produces fruit in varying quantities--some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred fold.

But all such fruitful characters are appreciated and rewarded as "overcomers," and of the "little flock" to whom "it is the Father's good pleasure to give the Kingdom." The different measures of fruitage--the thirty, sixty, and hundred-fold, or the ten pounds and the five, mark differences in obstacles to be overcome, etc., rather than unfaithfulness in the use of the means of grace. Some may work long and diligently for small results, while the same effort in others of more resolute will and of greater continuity may accomplish great things. Some by slips and occasional backslidings, from which they subsequently recover, lose time and opportunities which can never be regained, although they are forgiven and generously reinstated in the divine favor and thenceforth run with diligence and patience to the end.

All of these, therefore, because of their faithfulness, because they have overcome the obstacles in their way and have diligently cultivated the fruits of the spirit in the use of all the means of grace provided, are accorded a generous welcome into the everlasting kingdom, although the best efforts were short of perfection, and each must still have the robe of Christ's righteousness imputed to him by faith. But the degrees of exaltation in the kingdom differ according to the measure of their fruitage here. The steady diligence that secured the gain of "ten pounds" here is rewarded with corresponding exaltation there, which figuratively is likened to authority over ten cities; while the faithfulness which was sometimes interrupted and imperilled by dangerous backslidings afterward healed, but which apart from these perseveringly gained "five pounds," is rewarded with an exaltation in the Kingdom represented as "authority over five cities."

The Parable of the Talents illustrates fruits of labor. In it the ratio of increase is the same with both of the faithful servants--each doubled his "talents"; and the same approval is expressed to each, according to the principle mentioned by Paul (2 Cor. 8:12),--"If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." A truly "willing mind" to serve the Lord will always find a way to serve him in the use of whatever talents are possessed; and the increase is sure to follow; and if not under our immediate, present observation, it will appear by and by. "God is not unmindful of our work and labor of love," however unfruitful it may appear to us. The fruit will be manifest by and by when all the secret things shall be revealed.

The differences of reward, accompanied by the same words of approval and welcome to the Kingdom glory and joy of the Lord, call to mind those scriptures which bid us rejoice in all present opportunities for that suffering and service which attest our faithfulness, because they work out for us "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," and also remind us that there will be some least and some [R1973 : page 100] greater in the Kingdom of heaven. This is an incentive to "lay up treasures in heaven," where moth doth not corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal.-- See Matt. 5:11,12; 2 Cor. 4:17,18; Matt. 11:11; 6:20.

But what of the faithless servant who wraps his "pound" in a napkin (who failed to make use of the means of grace for his own spiritual upbuilding and character development) and who buries his "talent" (of time or means or education, or ability of any kind, great or small) in the earth-- in the service of self and Mammon? Is there any reward for his faithless misuse of the Master's goods? No! even that which he hath shall be taken away, and he shall be cast into outer darkness. (Luke 19:24-26; Matt. 25:28-30.) The principle announced in the golden text is that upon which the rewards are to be given. Great trusts are to be committed to the "overcomers" of this age, and their worthiness must be tested: they must endure the tests, and thus be proved.

The citizens that hated him (verse 14), and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us, represent not only the Jews who cried, Away with him! Crucify him! We have no king but Caesar! but includes also all who having come to a knowledge of Christ and his coming kingdom are so out of accord with righteousness that they do not desire the promised Millennial Kingdom. Wrath will come upon these, a great "time of trouble, such as was not since there was a nation," soon after the "servants" have been reckoned with and rewarded. "Bring them hither and slay them before me," speaks of the Lord's righteous indignation against evil doers, but in no way cuts off hope of forgiveness for those who shall then repent and become loyal subjects of the King.



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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.


California.

DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:--I wrote you some time ago that I had commenced to hold meetings in the house of a poor widow who was in great trouble. She seems to be much comforted, and is eager for the truth.

I was much encouraged recently to learn that two to whom I had spoken two years ago followed up the subject and have become deeply interested. Glory to His name! It seems wonderful to find undeniable evidence that the Lord has blessed one's feeble efforts. Another lady to whom I talked tells me that she has read the three volumes and uses the TOWER explanations of the S.S. Lessons in the Sunday School. I am kept very busy. I held four meetings last Sunday, three of them with an audience of one, the other with an audience of three. It would save much trouble if I could get the people to meet all together, but so far I have not been able to do so. Therefore, in order that they may hear the truth of God's plan I go to them. Three of them are old ladies from 50 to 60 years, one of whom has been bedridden. I sometimes think that if we could perform miracles, as the disciples did, we could then get many followers, if we could make the lame to walk, etc. But it seems that such is not the plan of God for these days.

I know that my poor efforts have slow results some times, but I recall the words of St. Paul, not to look back, but to press forward to the prize which is in Christ Jesus. The Lord is so good to allow the light to shine even here on me; and if it is his divine will, I would like that its rays should reach those to whom he leads me to speak of the precious truth.

Bidding you Godspeed, Respectfully, Mrs. A. A.

[This dear co-laborer has caught the right idea. An audience of one is not to be spurned by us, who follow in the footsteps of him who was pleased to serve the lone Samaritan woman; and, if we despise not the day of small things, he will not only bless us for our humility and warmth [R1974 : page 100] of zeal, but also those whom we serve, and finally grant us still larger opportunities for service. The spirit that will search out the poor and aged and afflicted, in order to comfort them with the glad tidings, is the spirit of Christ. He "went about doing good;...for God was with him."--Ed.]


S. Dakota.

DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:--I do not wish to intrude upon your time, but judging your heart to be something like mine, I trust good news will be no intrusion.

The Master has very graciously and lovingly been leading me for the past two years. I used to like Christ, felt very grateful to him for forgiving my sins and for the peace I even then felt, and was willing to do a great many things for him. Now I think I can truly say I love him with all my being; and what a wonderful change has come over my whole life! Truly, he is the one altogether lovely.

I have been a member of the Methodist denomination for a long time, but probably by the time this reaches you I will be no longer. I also have a Bible class in the Sunday school; but last week I received a letter from the pastor stating that my class was becoming annoyed at my persistence in teaching doctrines of Adventism (?), and giving interpretations to passages which according to Methodist doctrine were unscriptural, and requesting that I desist.

I had determined upon the withdrawal some time ago and asked for guidance as to the best way to do it. And the Master seems to have opened the way much more effectively than I could have done. The letter referred to was in reply to one of mine to the pastor setting forth God's dealing with men as I understood it.

A number in the city are much interested in the DAWN. What the next step will be I do not yet know; but he who has opened one door can certainly open another. So I have no fear, my only anxiety being that I may be willing to take the next step when it is made plain.--Phil. 3:14-15.

[A later letter says:--] I have your very kind favor, also the DAWN and tracts. The five volumes are already gone. Enclosed find order for more.

The Father, Christ and Heaven all look so much more glorious and lovely as I get some of the cobwebs of tradition and creeds cleared from the picture, that I want to help clear them from before the eyes of others.

The many ways the Lord has taken to open my eyes, seemingly so adapted to just my peculiar needs, would take too long to mention, but to me they are so manifestly from him that I cannot doubt. Suffice it to say, so far as I know my own heart and mind, everything has been laid upon the altar, and as fast as new light comes to show me more, I receive it very thankfully, and lay that also upon the altar.

I appreciate very much your personal prayers for me and mine, and I am glad to be able to ask the Father daily that his favor and spirit may be granted you and yours, that you may be able and willing to do his will completely.

Yours in Christian fellowship,
W. E. V.



page 101
May 1st

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

VOL. XVII.MAY 15, 1896.No. 10.


CONTENTS.


Special Items102
Erroneous Chronology and False Conclusions103
Mr. Dimbleby's Chronology, Etc110
True Bible Chronology Stated A.M112
The Temple of God113
Bible Study: Parable of the Vineyard115
Bible Study: The Destruction of Jerusalem Foretold116

I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me. Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. -- Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 102

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

THIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the
Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and
the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished,
God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to
him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these
"living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready,
the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection;
and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting
place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for man," "a ransom
for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth
"in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as
his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's
witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of
the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution
of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the
hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor; MRS. C. T. RUSSELL, Associate.




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INSPIRED COUNSEL FOR ALL SAINTS.


"FRET not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

"Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land and verily thou shalt be fed [naturally and spiritually]. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thy heart.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon-day [sun]."--Psalm 37:1-7.



[R1974 : page 103]

ERRONEOUS CHRONOLOGY AND FALSE CONCLUSIONS.


MANY are the false chronologies and erroneous and very misleading applications of prophecy in our day, but the majority of them being little known it is not necessary that their errors should be specially pointed out. But during the past five years numerous tracts and pamphlets have been published and widely circulated by a Mr. Dimbleby of England, and by a Mr. Totten of the United States, which present a so-called "Bible chronology," and various prophetic interpretations based thereon, which are quite misleading to many,--inclining them to false expectations and thus diverting their attention away from correct expectations, and consequently away from the real duties of the present "harvest" work and time.

Their chronology, and methods of applying such prophecies as they attempt to expound, are practically the same, with a few exceptions which we will show later on. Mr. Dimbleby is conceded to be the originator of the Chronology, which is far from clear, and very disconnectedly stated. It is built only in part upon the testimony of the Bible; and, while claiming exactness to the fraction of a day, it is one hundred and twenty-nine years astray, according to the Bible record. This is shown in the article following, on "The True Bible Chronology";--to which, for straightforward, unvarnished simplicity, no other chronology we have ever seen will compare. We do not claim it as "our" chronology: on the contrary, we claim it is God's chronology, supplied in the Bible to all that are his, and for our common use and behoof. We fear human speculations and manufactures along these lines, by ourselves or others.

But it may be asked, Why should any be confused by this Dimbleby-Totten chronology, which they do not understand, and which is not simple? We reply, it is chiefly because of five things:--

(1) Because these gentlemen claim to back up their chronology by astronomical calculations, eclipses, etc.

(2) Because Mr. Dimbleby is or has been connected with the British Chronological and Astronomical Association; and Mr. Totten is a man of some erudition, who for some time held the position of Instructor of Military Tactics in Yale College, and therefore is known as Professor Totten.

(3) Because the majority of people know little about mathematics, chronology and astronomy--especially the latter--and are apt to overestimate possibilities along those lines.

(4) Because both of these gentlemen, following a very common failure, employ their talents rather to impress their readers with reverence for their learning, and thus for their views, than to elucidate and prove their subject. They use technical terms, and assert astronomical proofs of their chronology which the average readers do not comprehend, the latter are convinced of their own ignorance, and proportionally convinced of the wisdom of these gentlemen; and forthwith they accept what they do not at all comprehend. And as for those who have some knowledge of astronomy, they usually have little knowledge of the Bible, and no knowledge of Bible chronology. They are therefore as unprepared to see, as they would be indifferent to expose, the errors of statement on this subject made by Mr. Totten and Mr. Dimbleby.

(5) Because these gentlemen state themselves boldly, as though they believe all that they are teaching.

Respecting the last proposition: We must remind our readers that it is nothing uncommon for people to deceive themselves, as well as others. Saul of Tarsus, one of the most zealous, God-fearing men in Israel, was deceived to the extent that he persecuted the Church while verily [R1974 : page 104] thinking that he did God service. Hence, while charging these gentlemen with serious errors, we do not believe that they were originally actuated by any desire to deceive themselves or others. They desired to find a chronology, and concluded they ought to be able to find and prove one. They set about it; and have bent and warped their own judgments so that they no doubt at first believed what they were teaching, which, as we proceed to show, is very far astray chronologically, and without a particle of astronomical support. But we do find fault with them in that afterward, when they became involved in difficulties from which they could not extricate their theories, either logically or Scripturally, they taught and still teach them instead of refuting them.

Their "Bible Chronology" is defective; because in certain places where the historic account of the Bible is broken, they have neglected to take the divinely given "bridging" for those "chasms," specially provided by the Lord in the New Testament; hence the difference between it and the simple, easily comprehended, Bible chronology presented in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chapter II. (See p.42), and stated in Anno Mundi order on another page of this issue. The largest portion of this error (100 years) is made in reckoning the period of the Judges. The error next in magnitude is made in connecting Bible chronology with secular chronology,--the "seventy years desolation of the land" being taken to mean seventy years of captivity, whereas the captivity began eighteen years before. Thus one hundred and eighteen (100 + 18) years are lost from their reckoning. In these two errors these gentlemen have followed Bishop Usher, whose chronology appears in the margin of our common version English Bibles. Indeed, it may be said that they use Usher's chronology with but slight deviation, until, finding it too short, they adopt a peculiar, "original" and erroneous method of lengthening it, the fallacy of which we will expose.

But, says some one, if their chronology is wrong to the extent of one hundred and eighteen years, or even one year, or even one day, how could they prove it by astronomy?

They do not prove it, we answer; they merely assert that they prove it: and we will show you why it is impossible, absolutely impossible, for them or for any one else to prove their chronology, or any other Bible chronology, by astronomy. [R1975 : page 104]

Now do not allow yourself to conclude that because you know nothing about astronomy you can therefore only choose between their claim to prove their chronology by astronomy and our claim that such a procedure is as impossible as the most impossible thing you ever heard of; for the matter is not nearly so abstruse as some learned people pretend and some unlearned people suppose. When we have explained, in simple language, the principle of applying astronomy to chronology, you can understand it, and will understand it; and you will see and fully endorse our declaration that astronomy cannot in any sense or degree be applied to Bible chronology.

First.--Astronomy has taken note of the fact that the heavenly bodies move with such regularity that it is possible to calculate their movements into the future and say, Unless some remarkable and now unforeseen change occur, the sun will rise and set at such hours on a certain day five hundred years hence, and that during that year there will be such eclipses at such and such hours on such and such days. By similar calculations or by reference to tabulated reckonings (just as in reckoning interest one person would figure it out while another would refer to an "Interest Table"), it is a very simple matter to know that such and so many eclipses occurred one thousand years ago or ten thousand years ago, unless some unknown changes occurred in the meantime.

But now suppose that you had reckoned the matter out, and found that just five thousand years ago to-day the sun rose at 5 A.M. and set at 7 P.M. in the vicinity of Palestine; and that during that year the moon was eclipsed four times, and the sun twice; suppose that you were very precise and had reckoned the very day, hour and minute at which each of those six eclipses occurred; suppose that you noted, also, a transit of Venus and a transit of Mercury, to the very day, hour and minute, that same year. Of what value would all that reckoning be to you, or to any one, so far as giving a knowledge of human history, or of enabling anyone to connect your astronomic reckoning with mankind and the chronology of human affairs?

None whatever!

All can see that! Any grammar school pupil can see that it would be absurd to claim that because you had found that certain eclipses and transits occurred in a certain year, therefore, that must be the year in which Adam died; or in which Noah was born; or in which Moses and Israel came out of Egypt.

But, says some one, while that seems logical enough, will you not explain how astronomy is sometimes used in ascertaining, or at least in corroborating, dates of history?

In ancient times a connected chronology was not valued and preserved as now. The solidarity of the race was not appreciated then as now, and no common era was recognized. The first effort to bring time-order into the world's general history was in the second century of the Christian era (A.D.), by that celebrated astronomer, mathematician and geographer, Ptolemy, of Alexandria, in a book entitled "A Table of Reigns." In it he gives a chronological table of the Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Roman sovereigns from his own day back to Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar, of Bible note. The records of those kings and dynasties had been written independently; and Ptolemy attempted to reconcile and harmonize them into one. And, although generally quite accurate, no doubt the mistake of reckoning the "seventy years desolation" as seventy years of captivity, in his endeavor to unite Bible [R1975 : page 105] history with secular history, was originally his. It has been followed, very generally, since.

Astronomy was one of the early "sciences"; but in early times it was so mixed with vague imaginations and astrology as to be of little value, and astronomers (rather astrologers) then not only claimed to foretell something respecting the future state of the weather, but after the style of the modern "fortune-teller" pretended to predict future events;--teaching that there was some connection, or relation, between the eclipses and transits of heavenly bodies and the events of earth,--such as births, battles, deaths, revolutions, plagues, etc.;--and they frequently made note of eclipses in connection with their records of events which they supposed answered as fulfilments of these superstitious notions, just as superstitious people now often connect things together in their imaginations which have not the remotest philosophical relationship--as, for instance, the breaking of a looking glass to be a sign of a death, etc., etc. Thus it happened that Ptolemy, who was a historian as well as an astronomer, found in those superstitious records of the world connections between history and astronomic data which he was able to use; and his knowledge of astronomy and of dates and times when eclipses had occurred helped him in bringing order and harmony out of the histories of the four principal heathen nations of his day--Assyria, Persia, Greece and Rome.

To illustrate the incompetency of astronomy in fixing dates, we note the fact that scholars are still in doubt and dispute respecting the date of our Lord's birth. Some hold that it occurred one year and three months before the beginning of the year A.D. 1, while others contend that it occurred four years (and some six years) previous to A.D. 1. Both parties appeal to astronomy to assist them in proving their dates. There is nothing in the Scriptural account to assist (except the reference of Luke 3:1 to the reign of Tiberius; see MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II. p.54), for in the Bible nothing is recorded respecting eclipses or transits; but in secular history something was found that might bear upon the subject, at least indirectly,--the date of Herod's death, supposed to have been the year in which our Lord was born, or the year after. The only astronomical date was Josephus' record that the same year that Herod died a sedition occurred and several of the rebels were burnt alive by Herod's orders; and "that very night there was an eclipse of the moon." This is more data for an astronomer to work on than is furnished by any incident mentioned in the Scriptures: but was it sufficient to fix the year of Herod's death? No; because there are from one to four eclipses of the moon every year.

How absurd it is, therefore, to talk about establishing Bible chronology by astronomy! The absurd claim of the Mormons that God gave them a new Bible engraved upon copper plates is no more incredible. The one proposition is as worthy of belief as the other.

The following from the American Cyclopedia bears upon the point we are considering. It says:--

"Greek and Roman dates are generally well authenticated [back] to the first Olympiad (about 776 B.C.).... The Assyrian, Babylonian and Egyptian inscriptions are in extinct languages and in characters long obsolete.... Ctesia, a Greek, about 415 B.C., wrote a history of Babylonia, but it is not regarded as authentic. Herodotus is valuable only as to his own time, about 459 B.C., and those of a century or two earlier.--Attempts have been made to bring astronomy to the aid of chronology. Eclipses being anciently regarded as portents, occasional mention is made of them in connection with historical events."

Thus it is seen that secular history of very early dates is admittedly not generally reliable; and that only in a few instances has astronomy been able to assist in fixing dates to a reasonable degree of exactness. Two dates are fixed with considerable certainty,--the beginning of Nabonassar's reign on Feb. 26 of 747 B.C. and the beginning of the reign of Cyrus in 536 B.C. The former date is valueless to us in the study of Bible chronology; because Nabonassar is not mentioned in the Scriptures. The latter, however, is a very important aid; for the Bible chronology ends with the "70 years desolation of the land," and it tells us that God stirred up the heart of Cyrus to restore Israel from captivity at the close of that period, and that this was in the first year of Cyrus;--hence 536 B.C.

The Bible, and the Bible alone, supplies such a chronology as the people of God can rely upon; and our conviction that God did intend to give us a Bible record of all past time is strengthened by the fact that the only broken periods in the Old Testament record are "bridged" by New Testament records.

If, then, we rely upon the Bible as an inspired declaration on the subject, why should we not use it as far as it goes;--to the "seventy years desolation of the land," and thus to Cyrus. Why not believe that God intended thus to provide a chronology as long as it was needed-- down to the point where secular history could be depended upon as accurate--so as to give us a complete chronology A.M.? We do so believe; and we find most satisfying corroborative evidence of it in the fact that the whole Bible record fits it with accuracy and precision, as shown in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II.

But did not Messrs. Totten, Dimbleby and Usher pursue this same safe plan, and make use of the inspired chronology of the Bible as far as it will go,--down to the first year of Cyrus?

No, they did not. They admit that the first year of Cyrus was the end of the "seventy years desolation of the land"; and that that date is well established as A.D. 536; but instead of following the Bible line of chronology back of that, and making the uncertain dates of secular history conform to the positive statements of the Bible, they reverse the matter, and attempt to make the Bible record agree with the secular dates, admitted to be quite obscure and uncertain. For instance, they adopt the uncertain secular date for the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar's reign; [R1975 : page 106] and then referring to Dan. 1:1, they thus fix the date of [R1976 : page 106] Jehoiakim's reign and alter other matters to suit.* Then again, they apply the "seventy years" as years of captivity and begin them in the third year of Jehoiakim; whereas the Scriptures unequivocally declare, repeatedly, that those were years of "desolation of the land," "without an inhabitant." (Jer. 25:11,12; 29:10; 2 Chron. 36:21; Dan. 9:2.) In this manner the remainder of the reign of Jehoiakim and all of the reign of Zedekiah (18 years) are reckoned in as part of the "seventy," whereas Scripturally they were previous and, therefore, additional years.+

*We, on the contrary, by this passage fix the date of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, from the Bible date of Jehoiakim's reign.

+Thus they lost eighteen years more.--See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., pp. 50,51.

In this connection let us remind the intelligent reader that the secular history, whose dates are taken in preference to the Bible history and dates, is so confused, that to this very day the ablest secular students of the subject are not in full agreement as to who was the immediate predecessor of Cyrus,--Darius or Cyaxares; or whether those two names were applied to the same ruler, or whether they ruled for a time conjointly with Cyrus.

It is not surprising that unbelievers put as much confidence in the uncertain dates of secular history as they do in those furnished by the Bible; but it is strange that Christians should do so: and that they should give them the preference and adopt them when professedly giving a "Bible Chronology" is a matter of regret. The consequence is that while Usher's chronology is 124 years too short, the chronology of Dimbleby, endorsed and used by Totten, is 129 years too short. This leads the gentlemen into other errors (one error almost always leads to another); for they see that there are strong evidences that we are living somewhere near the end of the Gospel age, and near the time for the Millennium to be ushered in by "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation."

They believe, with us, that the 6,000 years of permitted sin are to be followed by the 1,000 years of Christ's reign of righteousness. But whereas the true Bible chronology shows that the 6,000 years from Adam ended in 1873 (the very year in which the world-wide depression began), their erroneous chronology would show the beginning of the seventh millennium to be over one hundred years in the future.

To make their short chronology come out to fit present times, two fallacies are introduced; and their readers, who are unskilled in chronology, are confused and misled into false calculations and into false expectations based thereon. As their applications of prophecy differ a little, we shall consider their efforts separately,--Mr. Totten's first.

With these three thoughts in mind: (1) that the transition should be expected somewhere about the end of six thousand years; (2) that present evidences indicate that the Lord's Kingdom is near at hand; (3) that his adopted chronology shows the end of six thousand years to be more than a century future, Mr. Totten seems to conclude that he must look up some means of shrinking his chronology, of shortening the 6,000 years so as to end them somewhere near the present time; or rather near 1899-1\4--which date he reckons, by his calculations, will witness the end of the Times of the Gentiles.

Mr. Totten is ingenious. He reflects that while according to his accepted chronology the 6,000 years will end in A.D. 2002, yet by reckoning twelve lunations as a year, each year would be shortened eleven (11) days and the 6,000 years end very shortly now. These he terms "short" or "lunar" years; while the regular solar year he styles the "true" year. To count the entire 6,000 years as "lunar" years, of 354 days each, would make the 6,000 years from creation end in A.D. 1829, rather too early for present use; so looking along the aisles of history, and figuring, he finds that the date of Joshua's great battle, at which he commanded the sun and moon to stand still, would be a convenient approximate date, as well as a marked event upon which to speculate. He reckons the date of that event to have been the year A.M. 2555-1/4, and declares that the remaining 3444-3/4 years necessary to complete 6,000 years would (if reckoned 354 days to each year), according to his chronology, end A.D. 1899-1/4. We quote his words from his own publication of Sept. 22. '90, as follows:--

"Since that [Joshua's] day the millennaries have been shortened to lunar years, so that there will extend from thence 3444-3/4 lunar years to March 1899 A.D. The sum of the 2555-1/4 "long" or solar years up to that day and the 3444-3/4 "shortened" or lunar years, from thence to the specified equinox, is exactly 6000. Thus some particular day near the vernal equinox [March] of the year 1899 A. D. will accurately terminate the sixth millennary since creation."

We can find no reason whatever for using such a year as 354 days would make; and know of no reckoning, ancient or modern, upon that basis. The solar year (i.e., the year reckoned by the sun, and marked every spring and every autumn by equinoxes--the equal length of the day and night) has always been used in reckoning years The ancient Jewish custom was to reckon intermediate time by "new moons," but this was rectified in a simple manner, and brought to solar time, by beginning each new year with the first new moon at the Spring equinox, nature adding an extra month every few years. Thus the years of the Bible were true or solar years, and may be reckoned in with our present chronology without difficulty. Although arrived at in a simple manner, it was no less accurate and scientific than our present method of intercalation.

But we shortly after discovered another reason why Mr. Totten chose this date for the ending of 6000 mixed years (part solar and part lunar);--he wanted it to agree with his "Times of the Gentiles," reckoned by his chronology. [R1976 : page 107] Accordingly, we concluded to examine his "Times of the Gentiles," which he brings to a close at the same minute, and proves by similarly careful (?) mathematical (?) and astronomical (?) calculations. What do we find?

We find that in this, as in his chronology, Mr. Totten goes outside the Bible account and takes secular history from the first year of Cyrus back to and through the Babylonian period. Thus doing, he is obliged to deny the Bible statement that the land of Judea lay "desolate" "without an inhabitant" for seventy years. (Dan. 9:2; 2 Chron. 36:21; Jer. 25:11,12.) To get the Bible chronology linked to secular chronology he shortens the desolation period, which followed Zedekiah's captivity, from seventy to fifty-two years.

But, worse yet; in order to get the "Gentile Times" to end as early as 1899-1/4 he begins them, not at the time when the crown was removed from Zedekiah, the last representative of David who sat upon the typical Kingdom of God; nor even at the date when Nebuchadnezzar had his vision and was told that he was the head or beginning of the Gentile governments represented in the image shown him in his dream. Mr. Totten goes back twenty-two years before the dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, and forty years before the crown was taken from God's representative on the typical throne of David, and begins it with the first year of Nabopolassar.

God, both by a vision and by his Prophet Daniel, had said to Nebuchadnezzar, "Thou art this head of gold, and wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven, hath he given into thy hand, and made thee ruler over them all." (Dan. 2:38.) And, in view of this clear, plain statement, no sufficient excuse can be found for such misapplication of Scripture as the above, by any candid expositor. We can only suppose, as above suggested, that Mr. Totten, realizing from the signs of the times that the great crisis of the age is close at hand, let his zeal run away with his judgment and his conscience, to a greater extent than even he has fully realized.

(1) He errs in asserting that his chronology is that of the Bible, and that it is supported by astronomy--eclipses, etc., --when in reality everybody familiar with the Bible knows, who knows anything about the adaptation of astronomy to history and chronology, that there is not one solitary event so recorded in the Bible as to make this a possibility.

(2) In shrinking his (erroneous) chronology 103 years, he supposes a year such as no people, not even savages, have ever used.

(3) To get his "Times of the Gentiles" near the same date, by his erroneous chronology, he violates the Bible record and begins them twenty-two years before God gave any intimation of Gentile Times, and while God's typical throne still stood.

By reason of the assertive style of Mr. Totten's teachings some astronomers even, who were not so well posted in the Bible as in astronomy, have been thrown off their guard, supposing that he had found something new in the Bible on which to calculate the dates astronomically; and vice versa, some Bible students were so unfamiliar with astronomy that they were ready to believe that it could prove anything. And so some very good and some educated men are misled by Mr. Totten's supposed wisdom, the main evidence of which to them is his strong statements that he has "solved the riddle of history," found "the hidden key" to prophecy and chronology, etc. Many of the unsophisticated of God's children are thus in danger of being misled so as to ignore and neglect the true light now shining upon God's Word and plan. Unless helped in time, they are likely by and by to be greatly shaken by the failure of Mr. Totten's predictions; and then to become easy captives to the snare of Infidelity.

But, while Mr. Totten is very positive about all past time, he is cautious as he reaches out into the future. He states himself, but rather vaguely; intimating that the [R1977 : page 107] "watchers" will understand: and they do. We see exactly what he expects from his writings and diagrams, but have difficulty in finding brief, succinct, positive statements for quotation.

His theory, as presented in his publication of Sept. 22, 1890, chart, is, that from March 1892 to March 1899, seven years, the world will be crazy; as represented in the seven years of Nebuchadnezzar's madness.

By March 1891 A.D. the "Jewish Irredentalism" would be accomplished; i.e., the Jews would organize as a people, but under the domination of other governments.

By the autumn of 1891 A.D. he announces "Palestine" Redivivus"; i.e., Palestine would come into existence again, be revived. By this we presume he meant nationally, for Palestine has been in process of revival otherwise, for nearly twenty years. That he meant nationally is implied also by his expectation that "Jewish Irredentalism" would precede it six months.

By March 1892 A.D. (the beginning of the seven years of world-madness), a man, a prince (Antichrist), representing himself as Messiah, would appear and deceive many Jews, and make "a compact with many"; and the following September would see the "altar finished" and Antichrist's "edict issued," and then would follow the general deception and conversion of the whole world to Antichrist,--the "virgins" being the only exceptions. This would be quickly done, and fully completed before Sept. 1895 A.D., the "midst of the week."

By Sept. 1895 a wonderful event was to take place;-- the setting up of a great Image of Antichrist, which every human being on earth was to be compelled to worship, or else be killed. Onward to 1899 the "plagues" and "vials" of divine wrath, mentioned in Revelation, will be let loose upon Antichrist and all whom he had deceived--the whole world; and Antichrist will perish, while Christ and the [R1977 : page 108] saints (to be translated about March 1892) will appear in glory, at that time, March 1899.

That it may be seen that we are not misstating Mr. Totten's views we quote his words, from his pamphlet of Sept. 22d, 1890, as follows (the brackets are ours):--

"This table gives upon an enlarged scale the years surrounding the final seven upon the 'Times of the Gentiles.' [March 1892 A.D. to March 1899 A.D.] They antitypify those of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity, and cover Antichrist's REIGN OF HORROR. The latter half of the seven, which will probably be bi-sected [divided, Sept. 1895] by the setting up of his IMAGE [Rev. 13:18] in the temple, is the time of 'Jacob's trouble.'

"The times are now short and their signs are all completed save a single one--the manifestation of 'Ho-Anomos' 'That Lawless One' (2 Thes. 2:8), whose synonym in the same language gives us the familiar neologism, 'Ho Anarchos' --(THE ANARCHIST)--and those short days (a year and a half) [Sept. 22d 1890 to March 1892] are the SOLE DAYS OF GRACE THAT YET REMAIN TO US. For when that One shall have begun his reign [March, 1892] the Holy Spirit which hitherto has withstood it (2 Thes. 2:6,7) will have withdrawn! From that dread moment [March 1892] we must date the 'Great Tribulation,' which is the time of 'the harvest'....Progressive interpretation of the Word now suggests the awful certainty that the Holy Spirit, grieved beyond endurance, will withdraw [March 1892] before the Second Advent! With it 'the elect' will probably be 'caught up' to join the returning Savior in the air. But 'woe to the inhabiters of the earth' (Rev. 12:12) when the 'wise virgins' disappear! The 'foolish' will then be truly surrounded by a pack of wolves, for when the Holy Spirit 'withdraws itself' man must literally face the INCARNATE DEVIL."

We take exception to every item of Mr. Totten's program, except that the Gospel age ends with the second presence of our Lord in the clouds of a great time of anarchistic trouble, already overshadowing the world. We are not now presenting our views, however, but criticizing his.

In the beginning of Mr. Totten's presentations of his views, we thought that few probably would be misled by his errors; and that those few would quickly be undeceived by the utter failure of the predictions for 1891 and 1892. But no; we had given his followers credit for more discernment than they possessed; for it seems that they and Mr. Totten become more and more infatuated with their errors as the predictions one after another fail, until now they think of no date except 1899-1/4. There they expect something, nay, everything, to occur; whereas, according to Mr. Totten's claims, if reliable at all, everything should be over by that time.

Mr. Totten himself, instead of coming out frankly and admitting that thus far his calculations and predictions are certainly erroneous, still infatuated with them, writes in the same positive manner as at first. In his publication of Dec. 21st, 1892, after the time predicted for "Jewish Irrendentalism" and "Palestine redivivus" had passed and, as every one knows, brought no such events; and after the year 1892 had passed, and no Antichrist such as he predicted had appeared, or made an "edict," or made a covenant or "compact with many" Jews, so far from admitting his errors Mr. Totten writes thus:--

"I doubt if many hamlets in Saxon lands have failed to hear some echo of the message, which during the past year I have been constrained to send forth with no will to hesitate, nor have I aught of it to curtail or withdraw."

"Whether the date, March 29th 1892, upon which I have fixed as merely the beginning of Judgments, be a type only, or the long delayed antitype itself, it is the one or the other, and in either sense is FINAL."

All this is the language of desperation, the language of a man who has staked his all, and as it disappears will not believe the evidence of his senses, but continues to mutter to himself, It is so! It must be so, even if it isn't so! Hear him again:--

"The time has at last arrived when Biblical Chronologists may be absolutely sure of certain things; and have no fear that they will ever have to be moved again."

But Mr. Totten thinks best to take some notice of the dates which had so evidently proved false, so far as his predictions were concerned. He concludes to mention the matter guardedly, lest a few should have seen the slip, and need just a word of assurance from him, that his only reliable and authentic, only Biblical, and only astronomically proved and double riveted chronology is as faultless as ever. Yet the statement must be so guardedly made that the masses of his readers, uncritical, would not know that any slip had occurred. His utterances, therefore, must be as much as possible like the utterances of the ancient Oracle of Delphi,--capable of being understood variously, according to the hearer and according to the facts of the future. Thus on page 319, Dec. '92 issue, he refers to the "Jewish Times" which he had previously shown most conclusively would end exactly one and a half years before March 1892, as proved beyond shadow of doubt by his wonderful astronomical calculations. Without a word of retraction of the error (so far as we have noticed), he takes a new place for beginning those times; viz., 3406 A. M. (his and Dimbleby's chronology) instead of, as before, 3444-3/4 A.M., a difference of only 38 years--a mere nothing however, in Mr. Totten's exact (?) chronology which proves (?) itself to a fraction of a minute.

But more; he not only begins at a different point, but also changes the kind of time: he now measures it by the "true" or solar year of 365-1/4 days, instead of by his short and untrue year of 354 days; then, because the reckoning reaches nowhere, he adds 75 years (for no conceivable reason except to force a date); and then gives the astonishing (?) result, 6001 A.M. Here are his own words:--

"Hence, adding to 3406 A.M. these seven times (7x360=2520 years), we reach the 5926 A.M., and by the further addition of thirty and forty-five or seventy-five years, we reach the year 6001 A.M., which is the first of the Sabbath thousand, reckoned on the longest possible or Solar scale!...Moreover, as we are at this moment (Sept. 20-21 1892 A.D.) only at the end of Solar year 5890 A.M., it would appear that the first year of the Millennium [R1977 : page 109] was still about 111 years off! And so it is upon the long or Solar scale."

This is so stated that Mr. Totten can refer to it by and by and say,--I showed that the Millennium might not come before 2003 A.D. This would mean that the poor Jews would be "trodden down of the Gentiles" for a hundred years more;--a hundred years after the end of Gentile Times, after all Gentile nations and Antichrist have been destroyed by the establishment of Christ's Kingdom. Where now is Antichrist's deception of the Jews, getting them to build him a temple and altar and to worship him--if he flourishes from March 1892 and is destroyed in March 1899; and, poor Jews! must they be trodden down by their dead enemies for another century?

But Mr. Totten well knew that few, very few, of his readers would see or appreciate this little statement sandwiched in with other matter; and so he proceeds on the very next page to reiterate his older erroneous position, in these words:--

"Our 1899-1/4 A.D.--Now I have elsewhere shown upon a dozen or so lines of independent calculation that the 'Times of the Gentiles' must terminate with this latter date; and it is for this reason that I unhesitatingly place the termination of a hidden scale of 6000 years at this [R1978 : page 109] very point."

It will be noticed that March 1899 is no longer stated as the end of 6000 years, but now the end of "a hidden [deceptive] scale" of years;--part "true" or solar years and part false or short years. All this we can characterize as nothing short of a jugglery of language.

Although Mr. Totten had previously acknowledged Mr. Dimbleby as his "preceptor" "in the critical study of Biblical chronology," and claimed that they "use the very same line of A.M. years with the same respective calendars, all as discovered by Professor Dimbleby"; and although he had vouched for the whole, and assured his readers that he (Totten) had verified it by astronomy, etc., etc., proving it to a second and beyond a shadow of doubt, as it were double riveting it all around by his wonderful discovery, or inspiration, etc., connected with Joshua's long day and the dial of Ahaz, etc., etc., yet after critics had taken some notice of its historical and astronomical inaccuracies, Mr. Totten shoves the blame of them upon Mr. Dimbleby, saying in his serial of Dec. 25, '94.--

"He [Dimbleby] formerly held the maximum Eclipse Cycle to be 651 years to the very day. The true Eclipse Cycle seems to be nearer to exactly 649 years, as he now agrees. Yet for all practical purposes 651 years is an accurate Eclipse Cycle. We now believe that it is really the earth's mean anomalistic period, and that it always closes with an eclipse to within 4-5 days, sometimes accurately."

Is this a sufficient retraction for men to make who have deceived a confiding public into the belief that they had found some new means of verifying their chronology to the fraction of a minute, and, by a system of stretching and shrinking periods, had led people to expect a fulfilment of their predictions from 1892 to 1899, which, if not witnessed would impliedly prove God a liar and the Bible a fraud;--because their eclipse-proved chronology could not err. Now the fraction-of-a-minute exactness means, "within 4-5 days, sometimes accurately," on a short cycle of 649 years!

We have searched carefully for any retraction or acknowledgement of the error of the statements of what he had previously stated must occur in the several years 1892 to 1899; but we find none. On the contrary, the Dec. 25 '94 issue speaks of the leading of the Holy Spirit still, although it was to have been withdrawn in 1892 to make way for Antichrist. Referring to past teachings in the aggregate, he affirms their truth, saying that it must yet "be mastered by the scoffers."

Finally, in Nov. 15, '95 issue, he admits just a possibility of some trifling error; but by his triumphant tone would have his readers believe these so trifling as to be unworthy of mention. He says:--"Now and then a stray shot may hit away a 'week-day' designation, and here and there a careless disposition may entail the sweeping of a whole section of our work into the dust." But not one syllable as to the gross misapplications of Scripture and history already pointed out in this paper; which misstatements will surely do damage to the faith of some well-meaning but too credulous people, unless they are helped by God's providence.--Psa. 91:11,12.

In the same publication, in view of the proved gross inaccuracies of Mr. Dimbleby in relation to astronomy, etc., Mr. Totten says: "Any close astronomical student of Biblical Chronology will detect the specific errors of Professor Dimbleby." But Mr. Totten himself not only endorsed those astronomical inaccuracies, but has also used them to delude many trusting souls. Mr. Totten adds: "Even were every feature of Prof. Dimbleby's work amenable to the specific criticism of inaccuracy, and we will not say it is not, it has none the less SUPPLIED THE FOUNDATION upon which some of the grandest truths of Biblical chronology have been discovered."

What an admission of the weakness and unworthiness of the foundation upon which Mr. Totten has labored for years. And how astounding that any man not bereft of reason should claim that he had built a substantial faith-structure upon an unreliable, crumbling proposition which "any close astronomical student" would at once reject as senseless, if not fraudulent. Yet Mr. Totten declares, in the same editorial,--"We not only believe, but are satisfied by PROOF and DEMONSTRATION that the time of the end of the times of the Gentiles is almost over, that the world ought to have the message sent to it at once, and as no message was sent ever before. If we had the means we should send it at any cost." But as Mr. Totten has not the means, those who believe his unscriptural, unscientific, unastronomical and mathematically incorrect presentations can procure them at the wholesale rate of $8.50 per [R1978 : page 110] set in paper covers, and scatter them as truth, and delude fellow pilgrims. Alas! that even those who seem to be struggling to open the eyes of their understanding should be beset by such bewildering false lights.

In a chart issued by Mr. Totten, Oct. 1895, he reiterates his so-called Bible chronology which we have shown is very unscriptural, and repeats the same false measurements of Gentile Times, but he says nothing about the withdrawal of the holy spirit in 1892, nor about the seven years' reign of Antichrist from 1892 to 1899, predicted in a previous chart. Instead, he runs the record of years down to 1899, and then says, "How long, O Lord!" and following this he shows another century--until A.D. 2000, for Israel to tussle with a literal, human Antichrist and get firmly established. Some may consider this all the retraction of previous errors necessary; but we do not. Many will not see through it, and hence the necessity for helping the candid ones, as we now attempt to do.

If we have shown that Mr. Totten's chronology is not Biblical nor reliable,--and that it is absurd to talk of proving his (Usher-Dimbleby) chronology, or any other Bible chronology, by astronomy,--eclipses, etc.--because the Bible contains no record of eclipses and absolutely no data of any kind upon which astronomy could take hold,--and that his "Times of the Gentiles" were commenced at a wrong period, for which there is no authority in reason or Scripture,--and that all of his other prophetic "discoveries" are based upon these false premises and hence are equally erroneous and misleading, we have accomplished our purpose.



[R1978 : page 110]

MR. DIMBLEBY'S CHRONOLOGY, ETC.


AS ALREADY stated, Mr. Dimbleby's solar chronology was the one acknowledged by Mr. Totten. Therefore, whatever we have said respecting its errors of one hundred and twenty-nine years applies to the calculation built upon those errors in the theories of both. But to the credit of Mr. Dimbleby's knowledge of astronomy, he found nothing peculiar to note about the time of Joshua's long day, nor any reason to count his years 354 days each from then on, so as to culminate the six thousand years over a century sooner than they could honestly be terminated, according to his erroneous chronology. So he allows his 6000 years to end in the year 2002 A.D.; and begins in another way to show that the seventh or great millennium of Christ's Kingdom will begin one hundred years before the sixth thousand years end--but for what reason each reader is left to guess. It was evidently the observance of this inconsistency, together with the erroneous chronology, that led Mr. Totten to his grievous error of attempting to shorten one period and stretch another to bring the two together.

Mr. Dimbleby errs, as Mr. Totten does, in beginning his "Gentile Times" with the beginning of King Nabopolassar's reign, fully twenty-five years before Nebuchadnezzar had his dream of the great image of Gentile governments, in the interpretation of which God informed him, through Daniel the prophet, that into his hands (not into the hands of his dead father Nabopolassar) he gave the dominion of the world. (Dan. 2:38.) So even if his chronology were corrected he would be obliged to alter the date for beginning his 2520 years of "Gentile Times" or rule;--which, by the way, he brings to an end in A.D. 1898-1/4 (March 1898), one year earlier than Mr. Totten. Working on the same exact (?), eclipse-proved (?) chronology, Totten begins Nabopolassar's reign with the year 3377-1/2 A.M., and Dimbleby begins it in 3376-1/2 A.M.

Mr. Dimbleby, knowing of Mr. Totten's failure thus far, steers clear of any danger of failure before 1898, by locating the second coming of Christ, the time of trouble, etc., beyond or at the close of his "Times of the Gentiles"

--March 1898. He says:--

"We must observe that our Lord places his second coming as at the end of the 'Gentile Times,' 5896-1/4 [1898-1/4 A.D.]....The coming of Christ, the conversion of the Jews, and the appearance of the saints in glory, are contingent events, all taking place at the end of the Gentile Times."

"The evidence is abounding and overwhelming, if we can add up figures, that the eventful period is 1898-1/4.... All civil governments will thus be overturned, and God rises up to make the enemies of Christ his footstool."

"Following the close of 'Gentile Times' will be the 30 years....But how great are the events of this day of Christ, or 30 years, now close at hand."

What about this "30 years?" What is it? Where does Mr. Dimbleby get it?--We reply, He claims that there are certain Jewish Times as well as "Gentile Times," with a different beginning and a different ending,--an ending 30 years after 1898-1/4, where he ends Gentile Times. But this is an unreasonable and untenable position, and betrays a misunderstanding of the real significance of "Gentile Times."

God passed by all the other nations of the earth and recognized only Israel. (See Amos 3:2; Rom. 3:1,2.) In Israel he placed his own throne, typically, and her kings represented Him; as it is written, "Solomon sat upon the [R1979 : page 110] throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father." (1 Chron. 29:23.) Yea, before the first of their kings, Saul, God considered himself Israel's King, and so declared. (1 Sam. 8:7) Under his covenant with that nation, God promised to bless and protect them while they remained loyal to him; but to chastise them for disloyalty. He did this repeatedly, delivering them on account of sin into captivity to the Philistines, etc., and rescuing them again after they repented; but still recognizing that nation, as represented in "Judah," under the kings of David's line, down to the end of Zedekiah's reign (3522 A.M., true Bible Chronology*). There, in harmony with his vision to Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (18 years previous), God actually removed his typical kingdom, to permit Nebuchadnezzar's government to become universal; for it would be impossible for the Gentiles to have universal sway so long as God's Kingdom, even in a typical form, existed. The Lord marks this time and event in most explicit language, saying of Zedekiah, the last king upon the typical throne,--"Thou profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come when iniquity should have an end, thus saith the Lord God: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, [R1979 : page 111] overturn, overturn it [God's typical crown and kingdom on earth]; and it shall be no more until he come, whose right it is [the Christ, "Head" and "body"]; and I will give it [the crown and kingdom there overturned] unto him." (Ezek. 21:25-27.) It is for this period, during which the crown or kingdom of God is overturned in the earth, that God gives a lease of ruling authority to the Gentiles, whose "times" are seven symbolic years, or 2520 literal years. And it is during their "times" that God's people, Israel after the flesh, are trodden under foot by the Gentiles; and during the same period Israel after the spirit, "the Kingdom of Heaven, suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." (Luke 21:24; Matt. 11:12.) Hence for Gentile Times to end means for the Gentiles to cease to tread down, and for God's people no longer to be trodden down; and the treading and the being trodden must of necessity end together.

*Starting from this, the evidently correct starting point, the 2520 years of "Gentile Times" will, without stretching or shrinking, end with September 1914 A.D.; while, possibly, something may be expected 18 years sooner (1896 A.D.); because the announcement of "Gentile Times" was made by Daniel, and the dream representing them was given to Nebuchadnezzar, 18 years before God's typical Kingdom was taken out of the way of Nebuchadnezzar's universal sway.-- See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chap. 4.

But not only does Mr. Dimbleby err in separating his Jewish times of being trodden, from the "Gentile Times" of treading, but he begins them at different and wrong places. He begins his Jewish times at the end of the reign of king Jehoiakim; seven years after Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and eleven years before God removed the diadem of his kingdom and overturned it. Furthermore, although he does not use Mr. Totten's false year of 354 days in his chronology, he falls into the error of reckoning his Jewish times by that false measure, authorized nowhere and by nobody. Though his chronology and starting times are erroneous, his calculations seem to be truthful, except when he tries to bring together various prophecies which have no real connection, and there he persuades himself that the following statement is true; viz.,--

"I should also state that the 1260 and 1335 years make a total of 2595,--and 2595 lunar [354 day] years are 2520 solar."

Mr. Dimbleby's pencil deceived him here, by five years lacking 26 days; for 2595 lunar years, 354 days each, would represent exactly 2515 years and 26-1/4 days, of 365-1/4 days to the year. A rather bad slip for an astronomer and premier chronologist, who claims to figure out a chronology correct to the fraction of a day, and proved (?) by astronomy (?)!

On the whole, then, Mr. Dimbleby's errors are perhaps less serious than Mr. Totten's; but still very serious for himself and many others: for he has a very dogmatic style, calculated to deceive many. Indeed, he almost charges that if there should be any miscarriage of his dates it would be because of God's unfaithfulness. For instance, in commending his findings and presentations, he says:--

"Is God going to change? Will he abandon his fidelity? Better suppose that the sun will not rise tomorrow."

Such language is not that of a teacher properly under the lead of the Lord's spirit. A teacher should present the Scriptural or other evidences, and there rest his case. Beware of any teachings "hammered in" thus. The implication is that Mr. Dimbleby's work is infallible, beyond question; sooner question God's veracity and fidelity, and sooner yet doubt the sunrise: the thing farthest from failure is Mr. D's. chronology and figures,--which we have just shown are inconsistent in every important part. We recapitulate them here:--

(1) Errors in Chronology of one hundred and twenty-nine years.--One hundred years short in the period of the Judges of Israel. The other twenty-nine years in error are dropped by leaving the Bible record (as the standard, down to the first year of Cyrus, the end of the seventy years desolation) and attempting, with Ptolemy, Usher and others, to harmonize the statements of Scripture with the fragmentary statements of secular history.

(2) The error of making a period of "Jewish Times" (which the Scriptures nowhere mention) separate from "Gentile Times"; and of beginning both at wrong dates, and counting them upon his erroneous chronology, and one of them upon false (short) years.

(3) Above all the other errors his wholly unwarranted and absolutely untrue statements that prophecies begin and end on the same day of the week and month, etc., and that his chronology is proved by eclipses, exact to an hour or minute, etc. Mr. Dimbleby, as well as Mr. Totten, must know, what every person of even average acquaintance with chronology, astronomy and the Bible should know, that the Bible does not contain one solitary item that could be used by an astronomer in fixing any date;-- neither with certainty nor with uncertainty.

What he has done with his chronology any one could do with any chronology. First, as Mr. Dimbleby practically does, accept Usher's chronology--partly from the Bible and partly from secular history. Then, take your pencil, or such astronomical "tables" as are accessible to all, and say to yourself, If my chronology is correct, Nebuchadnezzar came to his throne in such a year; and, if so, I see by the "tables" that there must have been such and such eclipses, or such and such transits, that year. If my chronology is correct, king David ascended his throne in the year _____, so many years ago; and, if so, according to the "tables," there were such transits and such eclipses that year.

But all depends on the if of the chronology. If the chronology were astray one year, or one thousand years, astronomy would not assist in detecting the error, unless accurate and quite elaborate records of astronomical events are found in connection with the history; which is not the case with Bible history.

We could just as easily fix up a statement of solar cycles, conjunctions and transits and affix it to various items of our truly Bible chronology. We could claim that astronomy verified every date; and we could no doubt deceive many by such attempts, and few would see through the sophistry. But God would know it, and we would know it ourselves; and we believe that it is as dangerous for one to deceive himself as to deceive others. We advise all to be especially on guard against self deception in handling the divine Word.--2 Cor. 4:2.


***

Much more could be said in criticism of the views set forth by Messrs. Totten and Dimbleby--their misapplication and distortion of every prophetic date they attempt to handle; their expectation of a coming man Antichrist, etc., etc.; but we forbear for two reasons. (1) Because those who see that their chief proofs (?) and arguments are absurdities would know better than to trust in other matters to such teacher's assertions. (2) Because our readers already have what we believe to be the Scriptural interpretation of the various prophetic periods, and a full treatment of the Antichrist, in MILLENNIAL DAWN.


***

For the sake of some, we remark that a "prophetic year" of 360 days, used to symbolize 360 years, is an arbitrary arrangement peculiar to its intended symbolic use. It is neither a Lunar year of 354-1/3 days nor a Solar year of 365-1/4 days. The fulfilment of a prophetic year would mean 360 actual or Solar years of the common reckoning.



[R1980 : page 112]

TRUE BIBLE CHRONOLOGY STATED A.M.


THE arrangement of Chronology in our Common Version English Bibles was made by Bishop Usher. It begins with the era known as Anno Domini (the year of our Lord--although Usher believed, with many scholars, that our Lord was born 4 years earlier than that era,--and we claim 1-1/4 years earlier.)* Usher reckons backward from A.D., calling the years B.C., and in our chapter on Chronology in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., we have followed the same usage. But since some might grasp the subject better by a presentation of it in consecutive order, from Adam's creation to the present time, we will here give such a presentation, known as A.M. (Anno Mundi) or the year of the world. Otherwise the statement following will be found to coincide exactly with the presentation in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II.

*See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., p.54.

PERIOD FROM CREATION TO THE FLOOD.


                                                                 A.M.
Adam's      age when Seth       was born--Gen.  5:3--was 130 =   130
Seth's       "   "   Enos        "   "      "   5:6   "  105 =   235
Enos'        "   "   Cainan      "   "      "   5:9   "   90 =   325
Cainan's     "   "   Mahaleel    "   "      "   5:12  "   70 =   395
Mahaleel's   "   "   Jared       "   "      "   5:15  "   65 =   460
Jared's      "   "   Enoch       "   "      "   5:18  "  162 =   622
Enoch's      "   "   Methuselah  "   "      "   5:21  "   65 =   687
Methuselah's "   "   Lamech      "   "      "   5:25  "  187 =   874
Lamech's     "   "   Noah        "   "      "   5:28  "  182 =  1056
Noah's       "   "   the flood was on the earth 7:6   "  600 =  1656
                                                        ----
Total years from Adam to the day the flood
was dried up--Gen. 8:13                                 1656

PERIOD FROM THE FLOOD TO THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT.


                                                                A.M.
Flood dried up (Gen. 8:13)......................................1656
Arphaxad was born two years after the Flood (Gen. 11:10)........1658
Arphaxad begat Salah when 35 (Gen. 11:12).......................1693
Salah begat Eber when 30 (Gen. 11:14)...........................1723
Eber begat Peleg when 34 (Gen. 11:16)...........................1757
Peleg begat Ren when 30 (Gen. 11:18)............................1787
Ren begat Serug when 32 (Gen. 11:20)............................1819
Serug begat Nahor when 30 (Gen. 11:22)..........................1849
Nahor begat Terah when 29 (Gen. 11:24)..........................1878
Terah died aged 205 years (Gen. 11:32)..........................2083
Abraham at that time was 75 years old (Gen. 12:4)...............2083

PERIOD FROM THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT TO THE LAW.


Terah was Abraham's father; and at his death (Acts 7:4; Gen. 12:4) Abraham removed into the land of Canaan. Thus by his faith and obedience he sealed to himself the great Abrahamic Covenant, which God had previously promised should be his, upon this condition. (Gen. 12:1-7.) And, since the period from the making of this Covenant to the giving of the Law was 430 years (Gal. 3:17), it follows that the first feature of the Law, which was the Passover, was instituted in the year

A.M.
2513

(See Exod. 12:40-51 and MILLENNIAL DAWN VOL. II., pp.45-47.)

PERIOD FROM THE LAW TO THE DIVISION OF THE LAND.

Israel's day of trial in the wilderness was 40 years--from "the self-same day" that the 430 years ended, on the fourteenth day of the first month, four days after they entered Canaan in

A.M.
2553

There the Jubilee cycles began to count.--Compare Joshua 4:19 and 5:10; Lev. 25:2.

Six years were consumed by Israel in conquering the land and dividing it amongst the tribes. These preceded the first Sabbath year, and ended with the year

A.M.
2559

(Josh. 14:7,10; MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., p.48.)

PERIOD OF THE JUDGES.


St. Paul, discussing this subject, says (Acts 13:19,20): "He [God] divided their land to them by lot; and after that he gave them Judges about [during+] the space of four hundred and fifty years [i.e., they had Judges off and on during that space of time], until Samuel the Prophet [inclusive]. And afterward, when they desired a king, God gave unto them Saul," at the close of the year

A.M.
3009

(Compare MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., p.49.)

+The Greek word here rendered "about" is hos, and has the significance of during or while. The same writer, Luke, uses the same word in Acts 1:10; 10:17; Luke 24:32; and in each of these cases it is translated "while," in our common version. The Syriac reads thus,--"And for four hundred and fifty years he gave them Judges, until Samuel the Prophet"--the last of the Judges.

The record of 1 Kings 6:1 is evidently a transcriber's error, 480 being stated instead of 580. The latter agrees perfectly with the Apostle's statement (Acts 13:19,20), and is in accord with the lapping and broken periods of the Judgeships and captivities recorded in the Book of the Judges.

The Emphatic Diaglott has the following footnote on Acts 13:20: --"A difficulty occurs here which has very much puzzled Bible chronologists. The date given here is at variance with the statement found in 1 Kings 6:1. There have been many solutions offered, but only one seems entirely satisfactory; i.e., that the text in 1 Kings 6:1 has been corrupted by substituting the Hebrew character daleth (4) for hay (5), which is very similar in form. This would make 580 (instead of 480) from the exode to the building of the temple, and exactly agree with Paul's chronology."


PERIOD OF THE KINGS.


                                                                A.M.
Saul's 40 year "space" of reigning (Acts 13:21) ended           3049
David's      reign of 40 years (1 Chron. 29:27)   "             3089
Solomon's      "      40   "    2 Chron.  9:30    "             3129
Rehoboam's     "      17   "         "   12:13    "             3146
Abijah's       "       3   "         "   13:2     "             3149
Asa's          "      41   "         "   16:13    "             3190
Jehoshaphat's  "      25   "         "   20:31    "             3215
Jehoram's      "       8   "         "   21:20    "             3223
Ahaziah's      "       1   "         "   22:2     "             3224
Athaliah's     "       6   "         "   22:12    "             3230
Jehoash's      "      40   "         "   24:1     "             3270
Amaziah's      "      29   "         "   25:1     "             3299
Uzziah's       "      52   "         "   26:3     "             3351
Jotham's       "      16   "         "   27:1     "             3367
Ahaz's         "      16   "         "   28:1     "             3383
Hezekiah's     "      29   "         "   29:1     "             3412
Manasseh's     "      55   "         "   33:1     "             3467
Amon's         "       2   "         "   33:21    "             3469
Josiah's       "      31   "         "   35:1     "             3500
Jehoiakim's    "      11   "         "   36:5     "             3511
Zedekiah's     "      11   "         "   36:11    "             3522
[R1980 : page 113]

PERIOD OF THE "70 YEARS DESOLATION OF THE LAND."


This period began after Zedekiah's kingdom was overturned when the land was left desolate (Jer. 40:6-13; 40:10-18; 43:5-7)

A.M.
3523

It ended 70 years later, in

A.M.
3593

PERIOD FROM THE RESTORATION UNTIL THE ERA A.D.


The date of the restoration of Israel to their own land, which terminated its seventy years of desolation "without an inhabitant," is clearly fixed in the Bible as the first year of the reign of Cyrus the Mede (2 Chron. 36:21-23), which was therefore, as above shown, the year

A.M.
3593

Here the Bible chronology ends, giving us a good connection with secular history; for the first year of Cyrus is recognized by all competent judges as a clearly fixed date, 536 years before our era known as Anno Domini. (And it should be remembered that no earlier date than this can be clearly and unquestionably associated with Bible history and chronology.) Since the year 3593 was the same year as the first year of Cyrus, to add 535 years to it would show that the year B.C. 1 was the year

A.M.
4128

Our A.D. era followed. To complete 6000 years would require 1872 years (to Oct. 1872 A.D.

1872
Hence, the year ending Oct. A.D. 1872 was the year 6000

The date marked by the Jubilee cycles as the beginning of the Times of Restitution (Acts 3:19-21), Sept. 20th, 1874* was therefore the year

6002

The year which ended Oct. 1895 was

6023

The year ending Oct. 1900 A.D. will be

6028

The year ending Oct. 1914 A.D. will be

6042

and the full forty year "day of wrath" from October, 1874, will end Oct. 1914 A.D., the full limit of Gentile Times to tread down Jerusalem and its people.

*Two years in Eden, free from sin, may be reckoned as belonging to the Millennium, and thus the two years discrepancy between the end of the 6000 years and the beginning of the Times of Restitution be accounted for;--Man's week of evil, 6000 years, being measured in full. See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. III., p.127.

All students of chronology may be said to be agreed, that the first year of Cyrus was the year 536 before the beginning of our Anno Domini era+. But there is, and can be, no agreement as to the dates of previous events, for several reasons:

+Much confusion will be saved by remembering that between B.C. and A.D. is a fixed point which marks a new era chronologically; (not the birth of Christ, but that point of time once assumed to have been the date of his birth). Hence, whether our Lord was really born one and a quarter years earlier, or four and a quarter years earlier, would not alter the number of the years. Whatever would be added to the A.D. would come off the number of B.C. years, and the total years would be in every case the same. See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., p.55.

(1) The records of secular history are fragmentary, and all hopelessly tangled. The Bible record is by far the most clear; yet, as we have seen, its Old Testament records would be insufficient without the inspired assistance of the New Testament writers. [R1981 : page 113]

(2) In endeavoring to harmonize the statements of the Bible with the tangled statements of secular history, Bishop Usher (and nearly all more recent chronologists have followed his lead in this matter unquestioningly) counted the "seventy years" upon Israel to be years of captivity to Babylon and have dated them from the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, when he carried Jehoiakim and many of the people and the valuable vessels of the Temple to Babylon. The chronology arranged upon such a false supposition is of course incorrect; for, as we have shown, the Bible explicitly declares that those were "seventy years desolation of the land," without an inhabitant.

Our method, of taking the Bible figures only, and exactly, is the only proper course; and we are thus assured that we neither deceive ourselves nor others. God will in due time vindicate his Word abundantly;--meantime we trust it implicitly. Whatever may be said of others, the chronology as given in the Bible itself is, in our judgment, the only one worthy of consideration by the child of God who believes that

"God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain."



[R1981 : page 113]

THE TEMPLE OF GOD.


"For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."--1 Cor. 3:17.
THE usual Hebrew term applied to the Jewish temple was heykal, which signifies a royal residence. It was also often qualified by the term kodesh, sanctuary, to indicate its sacredness as the visible dwelling place of Jehovah among his people. The same significance also attached to the movable tent or sanctuary of Israel, the tabernacle in the wilderness. The idea thus visibly expressed was that God was in the midst of his people, as he said, "And there will I meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God."-- Exod. 29:43-45.

In fulfilment of this promise, as soon as the tabernacle was finished, the glory of the Lord filled it, as we read:-- "So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle....The cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys"--Exod. 40:33-38.

So also at the dedication of Solomon's temple there was the same divine recognition of this more permanent structure:--"So was ended all the work that king Solomon made for the house of the Lord. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated, even the silver and the gold and the vessels did he put among the treasures of the house of the Lord....And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord so that the [R1981 : page 114] priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord."--1 Kings 7:51; 8:10,11.

The idea conveyed by the several accounts of this glory of the Lord, as it appeared in the Tabernacle, in the Temple, on Mount Sinai, and as it guided and protected Israel in coming out of Egypt, is that of exceeding brightness, enveloped, and usually concealed, by a thick cloud, from which, on special occasions, it shone forth. Thus we read, "And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days....And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel." --Exod. 24:16,17. See also 19:9,18,19; 40:34,35; 1 Kings 8:10,11.

But the tabernacle and temple of God, built by divine direction and under the divine supervision, and thus honored with the visible, typical manifestations of the divine presence and glory, were only types of that grander tabernacle, not made with hands, of which fleshly Israel could have no conception, and of that holy temple which should by and by eclipse the grandeur of the earthly temple with all the gold and precious stones that adorned it. Let us, then, look away from, or, rather, let us look through, the typical temple of God to its antitype. The Apostles tell us that the Gospel Church, both individually and collectively, constitute the antitypical temple:--"For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

Considering the matter first in its individual application, we hear Paul say to the consecrated people of God, "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the holy spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?...Ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people." (1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Lev. 26:12.) Thus every faithful, consecrated child of God in whom God, by his holy spirit, dwells, is a temple of God, a royal residence of the King of kings, a holy sanctuary, this high privilege being ours through Christ, who first redeemed us by his precious blood, and thus made us eligible to the call of God to be thus sanctified and set apart wholly to his use--"for a habitation of God through the spirit."

It was to this that our Lord also referred, saying, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him....The comforter which is the holy spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:23,26.) Thus each individual saint becomes "a habitation of God through the spirit," a holy temple, a royal residence.

How precious is the thought, how great the condescension of our God in thus honoring his chosen ones who believe and trust in him and are fully consecrated to his will and service. "Ye are the temple of the living God"; and "ye are not in the flesh [in the old carnal condition], but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you." (Rom. 8:9.) And if the spirit of God dwell in us, it is to sanctify and glorify these temples of his, that even now we should show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

It is in this view of our relationship to God that Paul would impress upon our minds the sanctity of these temples of the holy spirit, saying, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man destroy the temple of God, him will God destroy." That is, if, after he has been made a partaker of the holy spirit, and consequently, through the enlightening and guiding influences of that spirit, has tasted the good word of God and the powers [privileges of divine instruction, etc.] of the coming age, he should stifle all these blessed influences, refusing to be further led of the spirit of God, and turn again, either suddenly or gradually, to the spirit of the world, such a one is destroying his spiritual life--destroying the temple of God, which was holy and consecrated to God. And if such a one should hope thereby to have his portion in the coming age with the restitution class, let him quickly undeceive himself, for the judgment against all such is, "Him will God destroy." The Lord has "no pleasure" in any who "draw back" from such high privileges. "But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation....We are not of them who draw back unto destruction, but of them which believe to the saving of the soul."--Heb. 6:4-9; 10:38,39.

It was in allusion to this same thing that our Lord, addressing his disciples, said, "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life, shall preserve it"; and that Paul also said, "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Luke 17:33; Rom. 8:13) It is to those who appreciate the sanctity of these temples of God that all the blessings of divine grace belong; for God shall dwell in them and walk in them, and his glory shall be manifested in them and to them. It is their blessed privilege, in reverent humility, to realize the condescending favor of God in recognizing them as his temples, and making his abode with them, and to profit by all the hallowed influences of his presence and favor. And if indeed these bodies of ours be the temple of the holy spirit, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godlikeness? and how ought these mortal bodies to be quickened by his spirit that dwelleth in us?--quickened into active and diligent service and to the bringing forth of all the fruits of holiness. --2 Pet. 3:11; Rom. 8:11.

But while the saints are thus individually the temples of God, they also collectively constitute the great temple in which Peter likens each individual to a living stone, and Christ to the chief or foundation corner stone, "To whom coming, as unto a living stone,...ye also, as living stones, [R1982 : page 114] are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up sacrifices* acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 2:5.) Paul also refers to this same thought, saying, "Ye are...of the house of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [the foundation of hope in which they trusted, and which they pointed out to us], Jesus Christ, [he] being a foundation corner stone of it; in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple for the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the spirit."--Eph. 2:20-22.

*Sinaitic MS. omits "spiritual" before sacrifices.

The fact of the chief corner stone being also the foundation stone of this building, as well as the "head-stone," the crowning glory of it, as suggested by the prophets (Zech. 4:7; Psa. 118:22), calls to mind the form of the Great Pyramid whose top stone is the chief corner stone, and whose internal structure corresponds so perfectly with the Tabernacle and its symbolism.+ And further, if Christ [R1982 : page 115] be the chief corner stone, the top stone and also the foundation, as he surely is (1 Cor. 3:11), the manifest suggestion is that the foundation of this building of God is laid in the heavens, not on earth, and that all the other living stones built upon this foundation are drawn and cemented to it by heavenly and not earthly attractions. Yes, "ye are God's building"--"ye," both individually and collectively, consecrated sons of God who have become the habitation of God through the spirit, ye are the temple of God. Howbeit, though now it is but a tabernacle in the flesh, and though in this tabernacle we often groan, being burdened, we know that when this tabernacle is destroyed we have a building of God, "a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."--2 Cor. 5:1,2.

+See Millennial Dawn, VOL. III., Chap. 10.

Though the Church, like a tabernacle in the wilderness, is now a habitation of God, owned by him, and blessed by his presence, and filled with a large measure of his glory, yet enveloped, as it generally is, by clouds of trouble, etc., which hide the glory from others, except as occasionally manifested, it is not always to be a moving tent with its glory concealed. By and by her glory will be manifested without the enveloping cloud;--"She shall shine forth as the sun." (Matt. 13:43.) The prophet Isaiah joyfully anticipates that blessed time when the finished temple of God shall displace the present tabernacle, saying, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee,...and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising."-- Isa. 60:1-3.

What a hope is thus set before the faithful ones, who, as living stones, come to Christ to be built upon this foundation! From the eloquent imagery of prophets and apostles we catch the inspiration of that holy joy which shall be fully realized when all the living stones of the glorious spiritual temple of God shall noiselessly come together without the sound of a hammer--in the first resurrection, and when the headstone shall crown this glorious building of God, amid shoutings of "Grace, grace, unto it." (Zech. 4:7.) What tongue can tell or pen portray the glory to be revealed in the saints by and by, when the sacrifices of this day of atonement (the Gospel age) are all over? and what plummet can sound or line measure the wealth of blessing that will flow to redeemed humanity from the glorified temple of God?

But, aside from this inspiring theme, let us return to the thought which the Apostle would impress upon the minds and hearts of all God's people; viz., the sanctity of the temple of God,--"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man destroy the temple of God, him will God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

If the spirit of God does not dwell in us, then we are not of the class addressed; "for if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." And those who have that spirit are led by it in the paths of righteousness and truth. And not only so, but those who have and who are led by the spirit of God have therein an earnest or pledge of their future inheritance as the sons of God, as the Apostle tells us, saying, "After that ye were sealed with the holy spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."--Eph. 1:13,14.

Yes, our present divine recognition as sons of God is the surest evidence we can have of his recognition when we shall have finished our course. If to-day we have his manifest approval and fellowship, and if these mortal bodies are quickened into loving, active zeal both to know and to do the will of God, we may also look forward with joyful anticipation to that blessed time when we shall see the Lord and be like him.



[R1982 : page 115]

PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD.
--MAY 24.--Luke 20:9-19.--
Parallel accounts--Matt. 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12.

Golden Text--"The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner."--Luke 20:17.
THIS parable formed a part of our Lord's discourse on the last day of his public ministry. He had been teaching daily in the Temple, and the people, much impressed by his mighty works and his wonderful words, "were very attentive to hear him." (Luke 19:47,48.) But the more his fame spread abroad and the people were influenced by his teaching, the more the envy and opposition of the scribes and Pharisees increased and intensified into a settled murderous hatred, which plotted and schemed to accomplish his death. It was in this spirit and intent that the chief priests and scribes and elders of Israel came upon him with what they esteemed puzzling questions, seeking to entrap him in his words and thereby to gain some pretext for his arrest.

The shrewdness with which our Lord met their attacks commands the admiration of all. He was more than a match for all the gainsayers, putting them to silence and to shame. Then he spoke this parable, which they perceived to be against them, and which the more angered them, so that they would have laid hands on him then had they not feared the people.--Verse 19.

In the parable, the owner of the vineyard represented God, and the "vineyard" represented the Jewish nation as described under the same figure in Isaiah 5:1-7.--"For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant." God had done much for his vineyard in the way of planting and care and cultivation; and in view of this he inquires (Isa. 5:4), "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?" But nevertheless it repaid him wild grapes instead of good grapes,--"and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry, etc." And the "husbandmen" to whom the vineyard was let were the divinely constituted religious leaders of the nation. These husbandmen had this stewardship from the time of the exodus down to the time of the coming of Messiah, a period of nearly nineteen centuries.

At various seasons during the age God specially looked for fruits of righteousness, sending to them his faithful prophets, who were lightly esteemed and illy treated--especially by the husbandmen.--Matt. 23:31,32.

Last of all, in the harvest or end of the age, God sent unto them his Son, saying, "It may be they will reverence my Son." But no, in their selfish ambition to retain their stewardship, they said among themselves, "This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours." "So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him." The application of the parable was too manifest to be misunderstood. The guilty consciences needed no further accusation. The self-righteous hypocrites perceived that the [R1982 : page 116] great Teacher had read their hearts and was aware of their dark designs.

In the further progress of the parable was the prophecy of his own final triumph, even though they should kill him; for he was the stone of which the Psalmist prophesied, saying, "The stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner" (Psa. 118:22), the building of God being referred to as a pyramid, of which the topstone is the chief corner stone. (See also Zech. 4:7.) This stone might indeed be rejected by them then, but that would not hinder its exaltation in God's due time as the chief stone in the glorious spiritual temple of God.

In stumbling over Christ at his first advent, the Jewish nation was indeed broken to pieces; and ever since they have been a nation scattered and peeled (Isa. 18:2), all the world being witness to the fact. The world is also witness to the fact that those wicked husbandmen who crucified the Lord were destroyed as such. They lost their prestige and power and honor and office (and many of them doubtless perished literally in the destruction of Jerusalem), and were superseded by the more worthy apostles and teachers of the gospel of Christ.

Such was the testimony of Christ against fleshly Israel [R1983 : page 116] as a people, and against their religious leaders and teachers; and as we read the prophecy and mark how true to the letter has been the fulfilment, we should not fail to mark also another prophecy, pointing to a double fulfilment,--first, upon fleshly Israel, and, secondly, upon nominal spiritual Israel, or the nominal Christian Church. It reads,--"And he shall be for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel." (Isa. 8:14.) In this as in other things the two houses of Israel, the fleshly of the Jewish age, and the spiritual of the Gospel age, stand related to each other as type and antitype; and the likeness is striking. The attitude of the public teachers of to-day, like those of the Jewish age, is against the Lord and the truth now due in these days of his presence. They are closing their eyes to the light that is now shining, and, as a result, both they and all who follow their leading are stumbling into the ditch of infidelity; and soon they will all be overwhelmed in the great tribulation of which the Lord and the prophet forewarn us.--Matt. 24:21; Dan. 12:1; Rev. 18:4.

The result of the stumbling of the nominal gospel Church over this stone will be the same as in the case of the Jewish Church: they will be broken; the whole institution will be disintegrated, and only the faithful remnant of this age (as of that) will be gathered into the Kingdom of God--a "little flock" to whom "it is the Father's good pleasure to give the Kingdom."

But when this corner stone crowns the finished temple of God, the Church glorified, when the Kingdom is established in glory and power, upon whomsoever this stone falls it will grind him to powder; it will utterly destroy him. "Every soul that will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people."--Acts 3:23.

With the example of the stumbling of fleshly Israel in view, how careful should every Christian be to see to it that he is not among those of this age who form the antitype-- either of the blind leaders or of the blind multitudes who follow their leading into the yawning ditch which shall surely ingulf all of the unfaithful.



[R1983 : page 116]

THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM FORETOLD
--MAY 31.--Luke 21:20-36.--

Golden Text--"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.--Luke 21:33.
IT should be remembered that this lesson is but a fragment from our Lord's long discourse, in answer to three distinct questions propounded by the disciples:-- When shall these things [the destruction of the Temple, etc.] be? What shall be the sign of thy [second] coming? What shall be the sign of the end of the age?

Verses 20-24 have reference primarily to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity in the close of the Jewish age, altho they have a secondary reference to events in the end of the Gospel age, the antitype of the Jewish age. This, however, is no part of our present lesson.

The literal fulfilment of this portion of the prophecy is disputed by none. The Roman army besieged the city, and then suddenly withdrew (A.D. 69). Vespasian, the Roman general, learning of the death of the Roman emperor, and that insurrection prevailed at Rome, hastened thither and assumed the emperorship. Meantime, before Titus had assumed command of the army and renewed the siege of Jerusalem, the Christians of the city acted upon our Lord's instruction, fled from the doomed city and thus escaped the awful horrors of its siege, in which it is claimed that 1,100,000 Jews perished. Josephus, the Jewish historian, says of this event: "The misfortunes of all men from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to those of the Jews, are not so terrible as theirs were"; "nor did any age ever produce a generation more fruitful of wickedness, from the beginning of the world." As a nation, the Jews had experienced great blessings and privileges, and these being misused brought great darkness and ultimately a terrible national judgment, as predicted. (Verse 22 and 1 Thes. 2:16.) All of these things correspond to the conditions in the "harvest" or end of this Gospel age. Here the light of the Lord's second presence rejected will bring special responsibility upon nominal "Christendom," whose wickedness at the time will be very great, proportioned to its light; and its fall will be in the midst of a time of trouble still greater than that which overwhelmed the typical city and nation.

Our Lord's prediction, when uttered, seemed most improbable: the city and country were more prosperous than for a long time, and the temple, after forty-six years of building, had just been completed and was truly magnificent. Yet within forty years it was an awful ruin. (See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chap. 4.)

Verses 25-31, leaping over centuries, point to events near the close of Gentile Times, and mention the signs of the close of the Gospel age, and connected with the revealing of the Son of Man in glory. The signs in the sun, moon and stars were to give a general idea as to the time when the Kingdom would be nigh. We will not here particularize respecting these signs, but will mention them:-- The remarkable darkening of the sun and moon, May 19th, 1780; and the notable falling of stars or meteoric shower on the morning of Nov. 13th, 1833. While we believe also in a symbolic fulfilment of the darkening of the sun and falling of the stars, yet we cannot overlook the literal fulfilment, and hence expect, in harmony with

Verses 32,33, that some of the generation which saw the falling stars will continue to live until God's Kingdom shall be fully established.

Verses 34-36 are a general exhortation, as applicable to us to-day as to the disciples eighteen centuries ago.



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