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CHURCH--Submission to Elders.
QUESTION (1909)--1--Would the principle of submission lead us to accept the form of prayer, for instance, if suggested by an elder?
ANSWER.--In the order of the Church it would be very proper for us to submit ourselves to the arrangements of the congregation while worshipping together. If we are of those who are of the Lord's consecrated people it would be for us to say what the order of the meeting would be and proper for those worshipping together to say what it would be in the absence of such an elder. It would also be proper for an elder to say who should lead the meeting if he were going to be absent; and it would he proper for the one appointed by the elder to obey his suggestions kindly, as far as possible, as the Apostle says, "Submit yourselves one to another." For instance, if Brother Sherman opened this meeting and he chose to say "Shall we stand to sing such a verse?" barring any physical weaknesses we should arise, instead of saying:, "Who gave you liberty to suggest that we should arise?" Or for an illustration, suppose some one else should say, "Shall we bow our heads in prayer?" and some one else should say, "Well, I am in the habit of standing up when I pray. I am going to stand up." To have a certain amount of willingness to fall in line with everything that is not a matter of conscience is a good thing. The Lord's people have a good deal of combativeness, and unless we have this quality we will not be overcomers. But unless it is brought into control it is likely to make us contentious, difficult to get along with, hard to live with. We should submit ourselves as far as possible to every reasonable regulation. If each had his own right and will there would be confusion all the time. It is a good thing to have to submit ourselves one to another; it is a good thing to learn to submit ourselves--but when it is a matter of conscience we are to have sufficient courage and manhood to stand by that conscience so we would not violate that conscience. There are a whole lot of things in the world that do not involve conscience at all.
CHURCH--Because Thou Hast Left Thy First Love.
QUESTION (1909)--2--What is the meaning of those words, "Because thou hast left thy first love"? (Rev. 2:4).
ANSWER.--Those words, you remember, were applied to the first stage of the Church, and our thought is that they meant there was a love for Jesus, and for God, and the great Plan of Salvation manifested in the days of Jesus and the Apostles, for a little while during the first century, and that gradually much of that love and zeal became less and less and they left their first love. We might apply that in a general way to everybody. I have found some who at first found the truth of God very precious and sweet, but finally persecution arose and opposition, and they found out how much it would cost, and they did not realize their privileges, that these were necessary to prove if they were worthy, and some of them have lost their first love, and become lukewarm, in their attitude toward the truth. Do not become lukewarm, but be very zealous. The heavenly race demands all of the zeal and energy that you and I can put forth. The more you and I can see of the beauty of the [Q103] divine plan, of the privilege of reigning with our dear Redeemer, and of the little that we can offer in sacrifice, the more we should appreciate the privilege of doing with our might what our hands find to do.
CHURCH--God Sets the Members.
QUESTION (1909)--1--In 1 Cor. 12:28, we read: "God hath set some in the church; first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers; . . . helps, governments." Who are the governors, and to what extent do they govern?
ANSWER.--It does not say governors, but governmental rule, order or law. The whole congregation, by the direction of God's Word recognize's certain rules as proper, the orderly course of the conduct of meetings. Every one who is a child of God and makes any progress in the way of the Lord, ought to come to the place where he could see the wisdom of certain rules in the Church of Christ. Anybody who is not willing to recognize the rules and regulations made for the Church is to that extent an anarchist. We believe in the law of the land or of this city. It is better to have some rules or laws, even if they be imperfect, than to be without them. We admit that there might be too many laws and regulations and restrictions, but the Church of the Lord are to seek to know and appreciate and to use the liberty that God gives--everything must be done decently and in order. The object of each class should be to have as much liberty as would be good for each class. So God is the one we are to recognize, the one who has established the order in the Church.
CHURCH--Trouble in a Class.
QUESTION (1910)--2--In case where some little bitterness sprang up between two brothers in the church, and they refused to speak to one another, and it is evident to all the class that they are not in the right relationship, what should be the attitude of the elders in that case? Should they make the matter in any way public, or should the matter be allowed to drift along, especially if it does not interfere with the church in a general way?
ANSWER.--My thought would be, brother, there may be certain matters that are individual, and that the Church had best not take any notice of, but do the way the Bible says God did with some things. We read of certain things that God winked at. And so the Church needs to wink at certain things--that is, not to notice them. Now where there is a little difference springs up between two persons, if the Church attempted to interfere, it would be busy all the time, perhaps. But each one should remember that it would be proper to bring it to their attention, and if either or both of these parties were causing divisions they should be noted or marked by the others, and not treated quite so cordially--not spurned as brethren, but not put into any place of office or service of the class, and just treat them a little more coolly, because they are not walking circumspectly, apparently, but are causing some division. Then it would also be proper for any of the elders, if they thought they saw a good opportunity, to have a little private conversation with either of those brethren, and say, "Brother, is there anything in your affair that I could help with? I notice you and Brother Brown are not getting along very nicely; I want to say to [Q104] you that as an elder of the Church, do not forget Matt. 18:15; if Brother Brown has done you any harm do not forget that Scripture, and if I could be of any service to you at any time I will be ready."
"No, brother, I do not wish to have you tell me about it I think it would be wrong for me to listen to the matter; it would have to come to me in the regular Scripture way. If there is a difference between you and Brother Brown I do not wish to hear it, it would be wrong for me to encourage you in stating it. God has provided a way, as Jesus said, in Matt. 18:15-17. He tells us how we shall do--go first to him, try to make it up with Brother Brown; if you fail to do that, and he is doing you some harm, and makes you feel as though you cannot be a kind brother to him, then come and get a couple of brethren to go with you. If you want to call me to go with you I will be pleased to serve you and do everything I can to bring about peace and harmony. But I do not wish to hear anything in advance; it would not be right; I would not be a suitable one if I did listen to anything you had to say. If Brother Brown has done you harm, go to him and then after you have been unsuccessful if it is still important enough in your mind to make a breach between you and him, then take, as the Scriptures say, one or two others and have a conference, and if it is still unheeded and if neither you nor he can see the thing harmoniously, then it may be brought to the Church if you wish, but not sooner than that."
CHURCH--Opposition in the
QUESTION (1910)--1--The strong ones in our Church are opposed to present truth, and those who are most faithful are not teachers and are younger in the truth. The opposers are holding on to the meetings, as they are principally elders. What are the faithful, weak majority to do?
ANSWER.--Well, I have no idea from whom the question comes, so I can answer it with the greater freedom. I can see that there are certain principles involved in all that the Lord has laid down in respect to his people, and that they are to choose from amongst those for elders, or for elder brothers, those who are most qualified to represent the Master in the congregation. If any of those who have been long in the truth, and who have natural ability, have become such as this brother evidently thinks some have become, then they are to be considered from the Apostle's standpoint as heady, and it would be proper for the congregation to follow what they believe to be the Lord's will in respect to electing them or not electing them the next time. My thought would be that it would be injurious to any brethren who are really in this condition to elect them to any place of prominence. It would be to their good, and the very best thing as helpful to them, if they were allowed to remain outside of any teaching capacity for a while, even though the apparent prosperity of the meetings would seemingly be interfered with. It probably would not be interfered with, because any who are in such a wrong attitude of mind as this question intimates would certainly be likely to do more harm than good every day, and every meeting, and to be getting more harm than good themselves. But, now, it does not follow that the brother who has written this question has the proper focus [Q105] on the matter. Perhaps he has some wrong impression; I am not competent to judge; know nothing about the case, nothing about the elders, nothing about the writer of the note. But it would be his duty to try to look as calmly, and patiently, and benevolently, at the elders that have been serving as it is possible for him to do, and for all the congregation to so regard the matter. And perhaps it would not be unwise for the brother to call on each one of the elders whom he thinks is not quite right, one at a time, and kindly tell them what he fears, and suggest that he is not wishing to judge, but that he sees certain things, and ask them to consider these matters-- whether it might not be the adversary is gaining some advantage over them, and have a nice kind brotherly or sisterly talk. Generally a good plan is, if they get angry with that, and you have been very kind and considerate in the way of presenting it, it shows that there is something wrong. They might not agree with it necessarily; they might say, Why, brother, you have misunderstood me. I did not mean that at all; you have been looking too critically at it; what I meant was thus and so. In any event, it should be a means of assistance to those who would be in this supposedly wrong condition. Before undertaking anything of the kind, I would advise that each one who would undertake to do anything in the way of correcting a brother or a sister, or even giving a suggestion to anyone, should first make the matter a subject of prayer, make sure that their own heart and mind are all right, that they had no bitterness, and that they were seeing things as generously as possible. Let us first get right ourselves--as the Lord puts it, first cast out any mote, or beam, as the case might be, from your own yes, and then with the clearer sight you would thus have you may be able to be a blessing to some brother who is having a mote or beam in his eye.
CHURCH--Members of Body of Christ.
QUESTION (1910)--1--Is it correct to say that we are members of the Body of Christ both as justified human beings and as New Creatures? My question is prompted by the fact that in the last Tower you say that we are members of him as New Creatures, members of Christ spiritually, and not of the man Christ Jesus. In another place you explain in Volume 6 that the Little Flock during the Gospel Age has been Christ in the flesh.
ANSWER.--I am not sure if I get the thought of the questioner, but in my own mind there is no contradiction between the statements of the Tower and the Dawn. Therefore, I will state my thought on the subject again and perhaps make it clearer to the questioner.
My thought is that we are not members of the Body of Christ at all, in any sense of the word, until we have made the consecration, and until he has appropriated his merit to complete our insufficiency, and until the Father has accepted us and begotten us of his holy Spirit. Then we are New Creatures, and as such, members prospectively of the Body of Christ. We are called the Body of Christ, called the Royal Priesthood from the moment we make the consecration, and if we fail then we drop out from being members of the Body of the great High Priest and we become merely members of the household of faith, or members of the [Q106] Great Company class, or members of the foolish virgin class, but we do not become members of his Body until we have made our consecration. No one is competent to say of another that he has ceased to make his consecration. It is not given to us to determine who are and who are not. It is the Lord's own work, and it is for him to determine who are in the Body and who may remain. "Every branch IN ME who beareth not fruit (of love, the fruits of the spirit), the Father taketh away. Every branch that remaineth IN ME, he pruneth that it may bring forth more fruit. Herein is your Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."
CHURCH--When Presented to the Father.
QUESTION (1910)--l--"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless with exceeding joy." Will the Church be presented into the immediate presence of the Father at the beginning or at the end of the Millennial reign?
ANSWER.--Undoubtedly at the beginning of the Millennial reign. That is my opinion. We already are children of God and the banquet that the Scriptures refer to is the marriage supper of the Lamb and to my understanding symbolically pictures or represents our union with the Lord on the plane of glory and that he will present us to the Father faultless. Why should there be a delay of a thousand years? I can think of no reason. I expect to see the Father before very long after I am changed. Yet I understand there will be a little delay because apparently the Church will be changed first, and then apparently there will be a little delay in waiting for the Great Company; because, you remember, in Revelation, after describing in the 18th chapter the fall of Babylon, and those who did not come out of Babylon, the Great Company class, then in the 19th chapter we read, Babylon is fallen and the marriage of the Lamb is come, his wife hath made herself ready. They who are speaking are not of that happy class, but they said, Let us rejoice because it has taken place; we are glad that the Bride class has gone in. The marriage is one thing and the supper is another thing. So a message comes to this great multitude, saying, Blessed is he that is invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. My understanding is that the Great Company class are going to have the glorious privilege of coming in with the Church into this great festivity. Primarily it is for the Church, but the Great Company will have a share in it.
So these are pictured in Psalm 45, as the Bride which is all glorious within, she shall be brought unto the King in raiment of fine needlework of gold, and the virgins, her companions, shall follow her, and they also shall be brought in before the King. This represents the two classes, the Little Flock and the Great Company.
CHURCH--Re Justified Before 1910.
QUESTION (1910)--2--Are all the justified accepted before the close of October, 1910, giving the remaining years for the gathering of the great company?
ANSWER.--I understand that the Great Company is already in existence and they will not be gathered specially, but will be manifested. Babylon will fall and that will shake them free, for they did not have sufficient courage [Q107] to get out, and when the walls fall down, they will stand free, but it will be too late to get any special reward. My thought is that the Church may possibly be here until October, 1914, and the Great Company also, and Babylon by that time will fall, which will break down all barriers, etc., and leave the Great Company free. By that time we expect that the Little Flock will be all changed.
CHURCH--Children of Which Covenant.
QUESTION (1910)--1--When Peter said to the Jews, "Ye are the children of the promise and of the covenant which God made to our fathers, saying to Abraham in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed," which covenant did he mean-the Sarah or the New covenant of the Millennial Age?
ANSWER.--Well, the covenant God made with our fathers would especially refer to the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were the fathers; Father Abraham, Father Isaac, Father Jacob. God made the first directly with Abraham, renewed it with Isaac, and then with Jacob, so that was the covenant. Then the Israelites were in natural processional order to get the blessings first, but though as a nation they had rejected God and crucified the Messiah, yet this would not be held against them, for they had not been cast off as individuals, though they had been as a nation--they were still in the special line of favor. You remember Peter's wonderful address on the day of Pentecost, telling how the Jewish people through their elders had taken Jesus and by wicked hands had crucified the Son of God. They were pricked to the heart and said, What shall we do? They saw that a great deal of condemnation would attach to the killing of the Son of God, their Messiah. What must we do? And the Apostle's words were these, Repent and God will have mercy upon you, the children of Abraham, and those who follow in the direction of the prophets. Come into harmony with God and make repentant endeavors. I will paraphrase the matter. Jesus said, five days before the crucifixion. Your house is left unto you desolate. Ye shall see me no more until that day, the Millennial day, when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. But Peter wants to point out that they were not yet broken off. While the nation was broken off, the individuals were not broken off. Seventy weeks of years were appropriated to that nation in a special way. For sixty-nine weeks, at the end of it, Messiah the prince would come, and that was the appointed time when Jesus was baptized, at the end of sixty-nine weeks. Then the one week, the seventieth week of seven years, remained, and Jesus, during the first half, for three and a half years, did all his ministry and died in the middle of that week, as the prophet foretold, "He shall be cut off, not for himself, in the midst of the week." But now, you see, after Jesus died there still remained three and a half years of favor due them of that seventy years. One-half of the last week was still due to them according to God's covenant or promise to them, that he would give them the full seventy weeks. It was in this last half of the seventieth week, three and a half years after the cross, that the great work was done amongst the Jews. So the Lord said that he would cut short the work in righteousness, for a short work [Q108] will he make. How did he cut it short? In that he gave up the nation at the time he died. Had he any right to cut it short? Yes. He will cut it short in righteousness. It was righteous in the sense that God did them no injustice, but a great favor by casting off the nation there and completing the ministry in the midst of the week. It permitted him to ascend up on high and appear in the presence of God, sprinkle the blood of atonement on the mercy-seat, and then God's blessing came upon the waiting church in the upper room at Pentecost. And so that last half of the three and a half years they were under the Spirit ministration instead of the simple teaching and hearing, etc. Before he died he said, I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot hear them now. But when the Holy Spirit was poured out they were greatly blessed. So, then, the fact that our Lord died in the middle of that seventieth week, or three and a half years before their favor ended, was to their advantage. It was in righteousness, in their favor. So, then, they still belonged to the promise, they had not been cast off. The Apostle Paul is speaking from a later date when he said some of these branches were broken off, but Peter was speaking at a time before any were broken off. Jesus said before the crucifixion, Your house is left unto you desolate. Individually they were surely God's favorites, and so Peter was right in saying, Ye are still the children of the promise, ye are still of the original tree, you have not been broken off; so, then, repent and get back into harmony with God.
CHURCH---Re Receiving Blood Before Sacrificed.
QUESTION (1910)--1--The church receives the blood of Jesus before being sacrificed. Would it not be reasonable for the goat to have received the blood of the bullock before being sacrificed?
ANSWER.--No. When people cannot see a thing it is no use talking about it, when it is a matter of types. The matter of a type must be seen from the mind. If the type said it in so many words it would be different. If a person cannot see it there is no use talking about it; it is a matter of blindness. You say, I cannot see the clock. I am sorry, for I can see the clock.
QUESTION (1910)--2--Do you still maintain that the church never needed a Mediator to introduce or reconcile them to the Father?
ANSWER.--Yes that is my understanding. (Hear, hear.) Father Abraham was introduced to the Father, or the Father introduced himself to Father Abraham and made a covenant with him, and there was no mediator there that we ever heard of, and so also with Enoch, who walked with God and God took him. There was no mediator in the matter. God could not give to either of those men full restoration to his favor in the sense of giving them eternal life. The meaning of mediator is "one who stands between," and to keep two parties at variance apart, and to reconcile them to one another. But an advocate is one who stands alongside of, to be the spokesman, to be able to help in the matter, and so the Apostle does not say, We have a Mediator, but he does say we have an Advocate with the [Q109] Father. The Church has the Advocate. Why, then, is there this difference, some having an Advocate and some a Mediator? Because the world is that portion of humanity not yet reconciled, and it needs a Mediator to come in and instruct and bring it about, whereas the class that God accepts in the present time must be in such an attitude of mind as Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, or as Enoch; whatever they might have been by nature, they must have come to the Lord in the sense of desiring to be his, and surrendering their wills to him, otherwise he could not receive them. For such there was no Advocate before Jesus came, and consequently they never could get eternal life. All they could get would be friendship with God--they could not be introduced to the Father in the sense of coming into Divine fellowship, but we do by first turning from sin; second, drawing nigh, and then he draws nigh to us, and then he points us to the Saviour, and then we are introduced to the Saviour and he becomes our spokesman, our Advocate, and he has promised to appropriate of his merit to cover our imperfection so as to make up to us what we lack physically and in every way, that we might offer an acceptable offering that God could accept. He made up to me what I lacked, but he did not stand between us because God had already drawn me, and he has drawn you; as the Scriptures say, No man cometh to the Father except by me, and again, No man can come to me except the Father who sent me draw him. That is in the present time. In the future it will not be so. It will not be the Father who does the drawing in the Millennial Age, because in the beginning of the Millennial Age the Father will give over the whole world into the hands of the Redeemer, who purchases or makes application of his merit for the world en-masse. During the Millennial Age the great Mediator will raise them up, up, and give them chastisements and encouragements necessary to lift them up if they will. But if they will not, then they will be destroyed in the Second Death. After raising them up, then at the close of the Millennial Age he will present the whole world en-masse to the Father, into the Father's hands, perfect.
CHURCH--Acceptance Re 1914.
QUESTION (1910)--1--Are we, the Church, to be accepted before the close of 1914?
ANSWER.--I trust that we, as the Church, are accepted, now. The Apostle says, "We are accepted in the beloved. Now I assume the questioner means, Are we to be changed before that time? I know no Scripture that says it, and there is nothing to that effect in the Dawns. The matter started in connection with the description of the Great Pyramid. One measurement there seems to imply that something might be expected by 1910; that is to say, if that measurement was intended, but that is a supposed measurement of that step at the top of the grand gallery, and we do not know that it is especially intended to mark that; but if the mark of that step be taken, the step itself would seem to imply an impediment, or step. What we might expect is not our change, but a great test, for that whole step speaks of a test; it is hard to get over. The whole passage-way is difficult, but the step especially so. We are [Q110] in the year 1910, now, and it seems to me that quite a considerable test has come to the Church, and perhaps that is what we might interpret that matter to mean. I am glad that by the grace of God we still stand, and as the Apostle says, let us be humble that we may still stand, for only such will be able to. According to the Scriptures, the first qualification is meekness, gentleness, patience, etc., and so this meekness or humility will be a test of character all the way along. Make sure to get the truth and to hold it, and the Lord will not take it away from any except those who are not meek. The Apostle says, Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time.
CHURCH--First-born vs. Of His Body.
QUESTION (1910)--1--Is there any difference between the Church of the First-born and the Church which is his Body?
ANSWER.--I answer yes. To my understanding the Church of the First-born takes in the Great Company as well as the Little Flock, whereas the other expression, the Church which is his Body, does not include the Great Company, but excludes them. The Church which is his Body is the Royal Priesthood class, of which he is the high priest and head, and we are members in particular of the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
CHURCH--A Royal Priesthood Now?
QUESTION (1910-Z)--2--Is the Church in the flesh a royal priesthood?
ANSWER.--We recognize that we are not a royal priesthood, in the full sense of the word, yet, because we are not yet certain that we shall be in the priesthood finally. We must first make our calling and election sure.
It will have to be determined whether we shall be in the "Little Flock" or "Great Company--whether Priests or Levites-- or whether we shall be worthy of life at all. Since this matter, then, is in process of determination and will not be fully settled until our death, it follows that we are not in the fullest sense of the word officiating priests, but candidates for this priesthood, and temporarily acknowledged as priests and counted as priests--just as some time you might meet a gentleman who had been nominated for Governor. By way of compliment you might say, "Good morning, Governor." He is not really a Governor yet. That will be determined by the election, but before he is elected it might be proper or courteous to call him Governor. And so with us. We hope we shall make our calling and election sure that we shall be of that royal priesthood in the fullest sense and in one sense we are now members in the Body, in that we have already received a begetting of the Spirit, acknowledgment of the Lord as ambassadors of God. This is an acknowledgment in one sense of the word and our priestly office, for these priests are "ambassadors," and to whatever extent we are conducting ourselves as ambassadors of God, to that extent we are priests of God--of the probationary kind, and not fully of the Melchisedec kind, which we shall be when our change shall come and we shall be like our Lord. [Q111]
CHURCH--Re Her Share With Christ.
QUESTION (1910-Z)--l--Does the Church share with Christ?
ANSWER.--Briefly summed up, the Church is called by special invitation, to a "high calling;" a high station--now to suffer with Christ, that she may in due time reign with him. This suffering with Christ is not suffering for sin we may commit, for he never suffered in any such sense. If we suffer with him, our suffering must be along the line of experiencing injustice and in laying down our lives in the service of righteousness. His sufferings were sacrificial sufferings, hence if we share in his sufferings, our sufferings must be sacrificial.
We share with him in the begetting of the Holy Spirit and we share with him in his resurrection, if, as the Apostle says, we are faithful in suffering with him, faithful in the matter of participating in his death; for, "If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him."
Looking at the matter from the standpoint of the Scriptures we shall see that they sometimes speak of Christ and the Church under the figure of one great Priest, Jesus the Head and the Church his Body, his consecrated self-sacrificing members, and the "Great Company," the antitypical house of Levi, the servants of the Priest. Sometimes the Scriptures speak of us as the under-priesthood, and Christ Jesus as representing the Head of this priesthood. In all these figures the thought is that in some sense we share with our Lord in his work. As the Apostle expresses it, "we are one loaf," all members or participants in that one loaf. The breaking of that one loaf, which was accomplished in our Lord Jesus primarily, is continuing in those who are accepted as members of him, continuing in those who keep their hearts with all diligence.
In the matter of sin atonement, "we were children of wrath even as others," and therefore we had nothing wherewith we could procure the redemption either of ourselves or of anybody else. Hence we were wholly dependent upon God's provision in Christ Jesus our Lord, "who gave himself a ransom for all"--a ransom-price. We, therefore, have none of this ransom merit in us; but when he gives us a share of this, or imputes it to us, and then, by virtue of our consecration and his becoming our Advocate, the Father receives us as members of his Body, we thus become members of the Ransomer, because his work of ransoming is not completed. He has indeed given the ransom-price, but he has not yet applied this price for all. We had nothing whatever to do with the matter at the time the price was laid down, but we become identified with him before that price is applied to the world. We have, therefore, that much share in the ransoming-work, because the word "ransom" takes the thought not only of the work that Jesus did in the past, but also of the whole procedure down to the very end of the millennial Age. To ransom means, not only to purchase, but to receive or to recover the thing that is purchased. We have nothing to do with the payment of the price that secures the ransom, but we have something to do--and are counted in with him--in the work of recovering that which was bought with his merit. [Q112]
It will take all of the Millennial Age to recover mankind in the full sense of the word, to ransom them or to bring them back; as we read, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave." The ransom-price for that purpose was paid nearly 1,900 years ago, but they are not yet ransomed from the grave and will not be until the awakening time in the Millennium. Then, as they gradually come out of sin and death conditions, the full intent and purpose of that ransoming will be in process of accomplishment, and since the Church is to be associated with Christ in all the work of the Millennial Kingdom, therefore the Church, in that sense of the word, will be identified with the ransoming work, or the work of deliverance.
As represented in the "sin-offering," the merit originally proceeded from the great High Priest, who is Jesus, and that merit is conferred upon the Church, his Body, not apart from himself, but as members of himself. He does not treat us as separate from himself. He is simply adding to himself these members, and as soon as we become justified through his merit and accepted of the Father as members of his Body, we are members of the great High Priest who has a great work to do; and when the merit that has been imputed to us, and to every spirit-begotten member of the household of faith, shall be available for disposal the second time, all the members of his Body will have participation in the application of his sacrifice, in the sprinkling of the New Covenant.
Our Lord's present invitation is to drink with him his "cup," to partake of it. This is the blood of the New Covenant, his blood, "shed for many for the remission of sins," of which we are all to drink, and it takes the entire Gospel Age to find the proper number of those who are thus invited in harmony with the Father's plan, and who are willing to drink of this cup, to be baptized into his death.
CHURCH--Nominal, Unacceptable Workers for Jesus.
QUESTION (1910-Z)--l--Our Lord declared that many in that day shall say, "Lord, Lord, have we not taught in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?" And his declaration continues that he will then say to such, "I never knew you. Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity ." (Matt. 7:22,23.) How shall we understand this in harmony with the above statement of our Lord that his disciples should not forbid him who followed not with them, but who cast out devils in his name?
ANSWER.--We would understand that God may permit people to do certain good works who are not fit for the Kingdom class, who are not fully submissive to the Lord Jesus and his Headship, who are not fully taught and used of him. They may be exercising a certain amount of faith and the Lord may recognize them to that extent, but he will not guarantee that anybody who has power to work miracles and preach publicly, will be granted a place in the Kingdom. We are therefore not at liberty to say that everyone who is engaged in mission work or slum work will be in the Kingdom. He may be doing a good work; but he may not be of that special class which the Lord is now seeking. We are not to object to his work, if it is a good work. It is not ours to interfere with him, for the Lord is able to take care of his own work. It is our work to take care of ourselves, although we are not to acknowledge or co-operate with those [Q113] who we believe are associating error even with good works. We should not in any sense lend our influence to the assistance of evil.
We are to take the standpoint of leaving to the Lord the management of his own affairs, the interests of his cause in general. He is abundantly able to attend to the whole matter. We are to see to it that our hearts are fully sub-missive, and that our head, our wills, are under the Head ship, Leadership of the Lord; that his will is done in us, and that our sacrifices are not made to be seen of men, but are made as unto God; thus we shall have his approval in that day. To such he says he will be glad to give acknowledgment, and to confess them before the Father and his holy angels.
CHURCH--Mediator vs. Advocate.
QUESTION (1911)--1--If we do not need a mediator, why do we need an advocate? In other words, if we have not any case in court, why have a lawyer?
ANSWER.--Well, the brother who writes this question does not understand what we mean. He ought to read about twelve times more what we have written about what an advocate is, and what a mediator is. We have only written on the subject about forty times. If you read it over twelve times you will get it well in. You see the difficulty is that we get our heads badly mixed up sometimes on these matters. Now try and get it straight this time. A mediator is one who stands between. An advocate is one who stands along side of-- totally different thoughts. Christ will be the mediator between God and men, between God and the world, for a thousand years, when be will stand between God and men. God will have nothing to do with the world and the world will have nothing to do with God. Christ will be the one between-- the mediator standing in between, completely cutting off all relationship, and the world will have nothing whatever to do with the Father until the end of the thousand years when the mediator shall step out of the way and say, "Now, Father, I hand over the world to you." In the meantime under the mediatorship of Christ the world will be taught and chastened and helped, everything that can be done for them will be done to bring them up to perfection, and when they are at the perfection point, then they will be turned over to the Father at the close of Christ's reign. Now that is not what Christ does for you and for me. He does not stand between you and the Father. On the contrary he brings us nigh to God--"Ye were brought nigh"--not kept at a distance. It is the very reverse. There are two ways of dealing with the sinners. We were sinners and they are sinners, but in dealing with those sinners, they will not be in a condition to come in the same way that we are coming. We are coming to God because we desire to come. The rest of the world are not desiring to come; they will need to have a kingdom established that will thrash them. They will need a good thrashing the first thing, and a good deal of switching all the way along through the thousand years as they may need it until they learn righteousness. But the church that God is calling out first loves righteousness, and hates iniquity; and they are striving for this standard; they may have weaknesses of the flesh, and they may not always do what they wish, as Saint Paul says, but still their hearts' [Q114] desires are for God and for righteousness; and thus God is drawing this class, and drawing them to Himself. And when he draws them to Himself, He is not willing to receive them in their imperfect condition, therefore He points them, as they draw near to him, to Jesus, whose meritorious sacrifice is the basis of all reconciliation either for the church now or for the world bye and bye. And when they come to Jesus, he acts as their advocate, as their attorney, as the one who pleads their cause, as the one who says, "Heavenly Father, I will stand good for this one who desires to come back into harmony with You." The Father has made this arrangement and is very pleased to receive them.
So the advocate brings one nigh to God and we become sons of God, and God deals with us as sons, and calls us his heirs, for if we are children of God we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is our advocate. But with the world in the next age, it will be altogether different. The Mediator will stand between and have his kingdom for dealing with them. It will be a mediatorial kingdom that will separate them from God and keep them separate for their good. For the world to be brought nigh to God in the same sense that the church is brought nigh, would be disadvantageous.
I will say, however, dear friends, that I think there are some people who will never understand the meaning of certain words. That is to say, I have an idea that there are people who have not that keen discernment of mind that would enable them to discriminate in respect to words, and what I would say to such people is this: If you cannot understand it, never mind. Do you believe that the death of Jesus in some way is the ground or condition upon which the Father is willing to receive you? Yes. Very well, come on those conditions. That is the way the church has been coming for centuries past, and did not understand the difference between mediator and advocate at all; and it is not perhaps any more necessary that everybody should understand the difference between mediator and advocate than it was that they should understand the difference between those terms a century ago. The point to be remembered is that Christ is our Savior and that without him we have no standing with the Heavenly Father. Get that point clear whatever else you have clear or do not have clear. If you can understand the philosophy of the matter well and good; you get that much more blessing; but if you cannot, do not worry yourself about it. It is thus like chronology. I should think that one-half of the friends do not have that quality of the mind which would enable them to understand a chronological proposition. And some of them might feel that because they could not understand all that was written in the second volume of Scripture studies on chronology, they could not be saints. Not at all, dear friends. Those who can understand chronological matters, let them have that pleasure. Let those who cannot do so not worry themselves about it.
CHURCH--Nature to Which Resurrected.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Will the church be awakened in the divine nature or on the spirit plane corresponding to angels, as our Lord was, and then at the marriage feast received their reward, the divine nature? [Q115]
ANSWER.--The person who asked this question knows more about it, apparently, than I do. How does he know that our Lord was raised on the spirit plane without the divine nature? I do not know anything of the kind. I believe that our Lord was raised from the dead to the divine nature--put to death in the flesh and quickened in the spirit and that as a spirit being he was of the divine nature. Do not understand me to mean that he was the Father. It seems as though we get our minds so twisted, and our language is so in danger of being twisted in our poor heads, that we can hardly make these matters simple enough. Understand me to believe and to teach that our Lord Jesus never was the Heavenly Father and never will be the Heavenly Father. Understand me to say, with the Bible, that as the head of the woman is the man, so the head of the church is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. That is the Scriptural order of the matter. But this doctrine of the trinity which has got into people's minds confuses and blinds all their thinking powers. So then our Lord was raised from the dead to the glory of the Father--not to being a part of the Father, but to share in the Father's glory --glory, honor, immortality was the high reward--and this is confirmed by the Apostle's statement in respect to the resurrection of the church (1 Cor. 15), "Sown in dishonor, raised in glory, sown in weakness, raised in power, sown an animal body and raised a spiritual body;" and he goes on to say, "For this corruption must put on incorruption, immortality;" and evidently from the structure of the sentence he is saying that the resurrection moment is the moment of immortality, the divine nature.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Saint Paul says, "We are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." Doesn't the word "prophets" here refer to the prophets of the old Bible and not to the prophets of the New Testament?
ANSWER.--I would think the Apostle is here referring to the prophets of the Old Testament times, but this is the foundation for faith that was laid in their prophecy. Now there are other prophets mentioned in the Scripture, as, for instance, the Apostle says that when Christ ascended up on high he gave gifts unto men, and then he goes on to tell what those gifts were; he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some teachers, and some evangelists. He is not here speaking of the prophets of old. In this text he is speaking about the orators, because this word prophet as used in the Greek stands for one who publicly expounds, publicly declares, makes public proclamations--that is, a prophet, or, literally, a teller-forth.
CHURCH--Change Re Time of Trouble.
QUESTION (1911)--2--"Before her pain she was delivered of a man child." Does this imply that the Church is complete, changed to the divine nature, before the time of trouble?
ANSWER.--Yes, and this was illustrated in the two sons of Rachel, Rachel being a type of Zion, we might say, her first born son was Joseph, who attained to the throne, and her second born son was Benjamin, and Benjamin's name signifies, "Son of my pain," and she died in giving birth to Benjamin. We understand this is a type. God intended it [Q116] to be a type of how there will he two classes delivered here-- two classes for the spiritual plane, the little flock which will be the bride class, and then following them will be the great company class, as it is called in the Scriptures, or the foolish virgin class, from another standpoint. They will all be virgins, but one class will be the wise virgins who make their calling and election sure by following the directions, and the others will be the foolish virgins, who will fail to make their calling and election sure, and who will have to come up through a great time of trouble, and these two classes are represented in the two sons of Rachel. The first son, Joseph, was the one who reached the throne. Joseph became, through great tribulation of a certain kind, the ruler of Egypt and was the purchaser of all the land, and was a type of Messiah and his glorious kingdom, and Benjamin became a type of the great company class, who do not attain to the throne.
CHURCH--The Body of Christ.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--When does the Church become the Body of Christ.?
(1) The Church in glory will consist exclusively of the Redeemer and His Bride class, His joint-heirs, or, under the other figure, "Jesus, the Head, and the Church, His Body"-- "members in particular of the Body of Christ." These alone will have part in the "first resurrection"; these alone will reign with Christ a thousand years.
(2) In the present time, however, the Church is spoken of as the Bride of Christ, in a formative or developing state, His espoused. Each one who makes a full consecration of himself to the Lord, trusting in the merit of Jesus, when begotten of the Holy Spirit, is counted a member of the Body of Christ. As a member he is to grow in grace, knowledge and love, putting off the former things of the flesh and putting on the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. These, however, develop into three different classes:
(b) A "great company" class, loyal to God and in the end faithful, but not sufficiently zealous to be considered sacrificing priests, not worthy, therefore, to be counted of the Body of the "more than conquerors." These will ultimately come off conquerors and attain the plane of spirit being to which they were begotten at the time of their consecration. These will be the "virgin companions" of the Bride, serving in the Temple.
A third class, described by St. Paul as falling away and counting the blood of the Covenant wherewith they were sanctified an ordinary thing and despising the great favor and privilege of sanctification through justification. These are described also by St. Peter as "the sow returned to her wallowing in the mire"--as turned from spiritual hopes and promises to earthly. These, once counted members of the Body of Christ, will die the Second Death, as brute beasts.
CHURCH--Still Hold Same Scriptural View Re Her Change.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--2--Are we to understand from your remarks in The Watch Tower of April 1, 1911, page 102, [Q117] column 2, paragraph 2 and 3, that your opinion has altered respecting the "change" of the Church?
ANSWER.--No; we have no different thought from that heretofore presented. We still believe that since 1878 we are in the time indicated by the statement, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, they shall rest from their labors, and their works follow with them."--Rev. 14:13.
We must all die, but "we shall not all sleep." In the cases of those remaining alive at the time of our Lord's second presence, there will be no need to sleep--the moment of death will be the moment of resurrection change.--Psa. 82:7; 1 Cor. 15:51,52.
CHURCH--When Presented to the Father?
QUESTION (1912)--1--On March 15,1902, Special Parousia Tower, you state that we are not to understand that the Lord will take the Church away to Heaven and come again and make His "Epiphania" or "Apokalupsis," for that would be the Third Advent, which is nowhere even hinted at in Scripture. You might please harmonize with statement in 1911 Convention Report that the Church in the beginning of the Millennium will be presented to the Father.
ANSWER.--When the Church will be completed and will have passed beyond the Vail, I do not know how many days or even months will elapse, but some little time will intervene, and then the Church will be presented to the Father, and then the Great Company are said to follow Him to be presented before the King. It will not be a coming and going to and from heaven at all. The Lord is at the right hand of His father in heaven, and I understand that the Lord Jesus Christ will be always in that position. He does not leave His place vacant for one moment. The Church, as His Bride, will have the same privilege as He has. This is not a going away and a coming again. We shall be there and sit forever with the Lord with all the liberties of the angelic hosts and having still higher liberties and powers.
CHURCH--Reigning Now Is Not Scriptural.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--2-- Is it scriptural to say that the glorified members of the Church have reigned at any time up to the present?
ANSWER.--No! They have not reigned at any time. At least, if they have reigned, we have not found it out, and they have made a poor reign of it so far. All the reigning we have seen in the world thus far has been a rather poor kind. We would say, however, that the kings of the earth are doing the best they can do; they are doing just as wisely as they know how to do under the circumstances and conditions. We are not specially faulting them.
Take the Czar of Russia, for instance: the poor man does not know how to do better than he is doing. Probably the same is true of the Emperor of Austria, the President of France, King George of Great Britain, Emperor William of Germany, etc. These would all rather see their people happy; but they are imperfect men with imperfect subjects and are surrounded by such conditions as are almost impossible to overcome. Therefore we are not to fault them that their reign is not perfect. If they had perfect subjects, doubtless the world's condition would be very much better. [Q118]
The reign of Christ did not in any sense begin in the past. Our Catholic friends claim that Christ began His reign some time ago; and that for over a thousand years the Pope has been the representative of Christ as King of Earth; that it is not Christ Himself who is to reign, but His vicegerent, a title which they give to the Pope, meaning the one who rules instead of Christ.
We think that our Catholic friends are laboring under a misapprehension. They do not get the proper thought. You remember the Apostle says of some, Ye have reigned as kings in the earth; you are getting along very prosperously; you have had no trouble or persecution at all. Then after making fun of them a little, he says, I would to God that ye did reign; for if you did, we would reign with you.--1 Cor. 4:8.
We hold that this is still true. When the reign of Christ begins, you will find it such a thorough reign that all the members of His Body will have some part in it. So we assume that when our Lord's Kingdom shall begin its reign conditions, for the whole world will be very much changed. If the reign of Christ should begin today, the saints would be with Him; for He is to be the great Judge, the saints the under-judges; He is to be the great King, the saints the under-kings; He is to be the great Priest, the saints the under-priests-- "A Royal Priesthood," "Kings and priests unto God," who "shall reign with Christ a thousand years."
With His reign will begin the reign of righteousness, for the Scriptures intimate that sin will be suppressed promptly. Nothing shall hurt, or offend, or destroy, in all God's holy Kingdom. (Isa. 11:9.) Nothing will be allowed to do so. The Great Judge will know how to inflict such punishments and so promptly as to prevent the reign of evil; and then the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness; for instance, if some one wished to speak evil of his neighbor and a punishment, such as paralysis of the tongue, should come upon him merely for the intention, before he spoke the evil, do you not suppose that he would learn the lesson that he must not think evil? He would not speak the evil, for his tongue would be paralyzed before he even spoke the word. The Bible says that he will learn the lesson. "When the judgments of the Lord are in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." (Isa. 26:9.) It will not take them long to learn. They will not need to have calamity overtake them many times before they will learn that it would be better for them not to do wrong.
This will not, of course, affect the heart; but it will enable them to learn to do right, to see the effect of righteousness in the world. Thus they will have the opportunity of either loving or hating that condition. If they learn to love that condition they will get into the right attitude of heart, pleasing and acceptable to God; and so at the end of Christ's millennial reign they will be ready to have the full blessing of eternal life; but, even though not permitted to do the wrong thing, if at heart they still love iniquity, with all the knowledge before them and experience behind them, if they will not learn to love righteousness and hate iniquity, they will be of those worthy of cutting off in the Second Death, from which there will be no recovery.