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GREAT COMPANY--Re Seed of Abraham.
QUESTION (1910)--1--Is the thought that the Great Company class is a part of the spiritual seed of Abraham contained in the question re the covenants? See February 15, Tower, 1909.
ANSWER.--1--I do not know what the reference is. The questions should always be independent of anything, then if the Tower is out of harmony you will notice it. But I will answer the question without reference to the Tower--"Is the Great Company class a part of the spiritual seed of Abraham?" I answer, Yes, to my understanding they are, but there are two ways of viewing the matter. The type of the spiritual seed of Abraham was Isaac and Rebecca, Isaac representing the Lord and Rebecca representing the Church, the Bride class, the Little Flock; and then in the account of how Rebecca was called, you remember we read that certain maid-servants were given to her and they went with her. These maid-servants, you see, represent the Great Company class. They traveled right along with Rebecca; they were not the Bride, but "The virgins, her companions," that went with her. So it was customary in all incidents of the Old Testament, that wherever the bride is mentioned, there is mention also of a maid as going along. There were the wives of Jacob, and each one of them had a maid. It was a custom of the times. So we read that Rebecca had at least two if not more. In the 45th Psalm, picturing the Church as the Bride of Christ, we read that the Bride is all glorious within; that she shall be brought unto the King in raiment of fine needlework. Then we read of the virgins, her companions, that follow her. These companions of the Bride are a part of the household. So the Great Company class is a part of the household. But take another picture that is given, the tribe of Levi. Go back and see where it came from. You remember the Passover night. In that night the Lord passed over the first-born of Israel. Then you remember that subsequently the Lord said to Moses, I have passed over and spared the first-borns of Israel, but now exchange these for the tribe of Levi. Thenceforth the tribe of Levi represented all of that first-born class, and that first-born class represented the Church, for ours is called the Church of the First-born whose names are written in Heaven. Now the whole Levite house, you see, was representative of this first-born class, this Church of the First-born. But among these Levites there were two classes. There was selected from the Levites a little flock of Priests--Aaron, and his family--and the remainder were the servants of this priestly family. Here we have another picture of the general fact that the household of faith includes Jesus, and the elect Bride class, and the Great Company class, and they are all the Church of the First- born whose names are written in Heaven, and they are all of those who are spared or passed over in this night time--in the present time before the Millennial morning begins. That night takes in the whole Gospel Age, and all of those who are spared in that night were represented in the whole tribe of Levi. Therefore the whole tribe of Levi represents the Church of the First-born, and these two classes are the elect Body of Christ, or Bride of Christ; and on the other hand the spiritual servants of the Church, the Great Company class. [Q305]
GREAT COMPANY--Re Separation From Little Flock.
QUESTION (1910)--1--Do you anticipate an outward separation of the Great Company from the Little Flock, or merely a separation in spirit, and a general affiliation of both classes in one assembly to the end of the harvest period.?
ANSWER.--I know of nothing to indicate that the Lord will make a separation between the Little Flock and the Great Company, as far as separating them into parties is concerned. You remember we pointed out in the Scripture Studies that Elijah was a type of the Church and that possibly Elisha was a type of the Great Company class, and subsequently of the Ancient Worthy class. We are not so sure about Elisha, but we are sure about Elijah, because we have positive proof in Revelation that Elijah was a type of the Church class; but if Elisha was a type of the Great Company class, then that type would seem to prove that there will be no separation, because there were frequent offers to separate as representing the trials and testings that would tend to turn them aside. As, for instance, Elijah said to Elisha, Now you tarry here, the Lord has sent me thus and so. But no, says Elisha, I will not stay; wherever you go I will go with you. So he went. Then presently another time Elijah said, Tarry here, the Lord hath sent me to so and so. But Elisha went with him everywhere. And finally Elijah acknowledged to Elisha that his getting a special blessing would depend upon his being with him down to the last. Elisha asked to have a special blessing--Cannot I have a special blessing, give me your blessing? Elijah answered, If you are with me when I am taken, then you shall have a blessing. In other words, if you continue steadfast and follow on and are not separated by the trials by the way, you will get a special blessing after the Elijah class is gone. And that is just what we would expect. You remember then the picture that when Elijah was taken up, his mantle fell from him for Elisha and Elisha went and got the mantle. The mantle is a symbol of power. You remember Elisha put on the mantle of Elijah and had some of the powers of Elijah. When he came to Jordan he smote the river with the mantle and it divided so he could cross over dry shod. All of which would be symbolical of the death of the Great Company class--that they would pass through death, which is symbolized by Jordan, victoriously, after they had the mantle of Elijah with them. Anything that happens beyond the crossing of the Jordan we would understand, if this be a type at all, to be typical of what the Ancient Worthies would do when their time would come after the Great Company had passed through the Jordan of death.
GREAT COMPANY--Fallen from Mark of Perfect Love.
QUESTION (1910)--2--Can any one who has reached the mark of perfect love fall back into the Great Company?
ANSWER.--I think he could; I think he could not only fall back into the Great Company, but I think it would be possible for him to fall away entirely. That if he had reached the mark of perfect love, and been a teacher of others, he might be a castaway himself if he did not maintain his standing and relationship to the Lord. [Q306]
GREAT COMPANY--Re Serving as Priests.
QUESTION (1910)--l--Are the Great Company Priests in the service of holy things?
ANSWER.--No, they are not priests. They were accepted as priests. The picture is a double one. But the priesthood God is providing is one that belongs to the future, that is, the spiritual priesthood; the Royal Priesthood is future. We now speak of ourselves as members of the Royal Priesthood, but not in the actual sense; you are now probationary members to see whether or not you will be worthy of being members of the Royal Priesthood. The members of the Royal Priesthood will be those who will share with Jesus in his resurrection, the first resurrection. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." But the Great Company are those that after having consecrated and proposed to take the proper steps to which they were called as priests fail to take the steps and therefore they will not be priests in the future. They are now in with us, and it is not for you and for me to determine who are the priests, and who are performing their sacrifices properly; that is for the Lord to determine. In this company there may be some who will be Priests and some who will be Levites, and will not attain to worthiness for the priesthood. But it is not for me or for you to make a distinction and say, You are not a Priest, but you are a Levite. The Lord did not give us any such authority. So we now speak of ourselves together. You consecrated and are going on but I don't know whether you are making your sacrifice properly or not, and you do not know about mine.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Losing Crowns.
QUESTION (1910)--2--Are the words, "Take heed, let no man take thy crown," strictly applicable to the Great Company class? Can these be said to have the crown of life?
ANSWER.--I answer that there is no Great Company class in the beginning. Nobody was received as a member of the Great Company. He was received as a consecrating priest, and everyone is elect at the time of consecration. A crown was apportioned to such one. The object in inviting him at all was that he might have a crown. But the question is, Will he maintain his right to that crown by being an overcomer? If he does that will mean that he continues to be one of the priestly class to which he was invited, for we are all called in one hope of our calling. But if he fails to be an overcomer, then he ceases to be of that Body of Christ class, the Little Flock class, and by ceasing to be of that class forfeits his right to a crown. But the crown was there when he consecrated for no one is accepted but to a crown.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Awakening of Great Company.
QUESTION (1910)--3--Is it your understanding that since 1878 all the consecrated who are faithful pass immediately at death to the spiritual plane beyond, and would this include any of the Great Company? And do you understand that any of those of the Great Company who died previous to the present harvest-time [Q307] were awakened at that date? And if this is true, how would it harmonize with the parable of the wise and foolish virgins?
ANSWER.--I answer: I do not know anything in the Scripture that would give us a proper ground for reaching a conclusion, and I do not know that it is very important that you should reach a conclusion. The conclusion that you and I want to settle is that we make our calling and election sure, and that we try to keep out of the Great Company class, and try to get into the Little Flock. I can see no difference to any of us as to whether the Great Company were awakened in 1878 or not. That is our understanding respecting the Little Flock, that from that date, all those who were members of the Body of Christ experienced a change; but as for the Great Company, we would not undertake to answer. We do not know. We are rather inclined to think not, but we have no ground on which to answer.
GREAT COMPANY--Ran for Prize and Lost.
QUESTION (1911)--l--Will there be any among the great company class who ran for the prize and lost, and then went into the great company class?
ANSWER.--We answer yes; to our understanding they will all be in this class--all those who started out to run. Some of them may only have run one step or two, but the running for the prize seems to me to begin right at the gate. Just the minute we enter the gate we begin running; you are on the race course and they are all running from that point. Whether you run fast or slow, you are on the race course and all enter by the same gate. As the apostle says, "We are all called in one hope of our calling." God did not call anybody to be of the great company class. Everybody that is called in this age is called to be of the little flock class. All of those go into the great company class; there will be those who having started to be of the consecrated class, and having consecrated to give up all, having made that much of a start in the race course, then fail, they must either then go into the great company class, or worse, into the second death.
GREAT COMPANY--Consecration But Not Running.
QUESTION (1911)--2--Will there be any among the great company that made a consecration and never ran for the prize?
ANSWER.--I don't know that anybody could answer that question except the Lord; hut I would suppose there would he none in the great company class that had not made the start in the running.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Begetting.
QUESTION (1911)--3--Is it correct to say that the great company class is begotten to the divine nature, seeing that only the little flock are born as divine, of the immortal nature? Please explain the Scriptural teachings on the begetting of the Holy Spirit.
ANSWER.--I would think it entirely right to use that expression, "begotten to the divine nature." I did change it however, in "The Dawn," to read: "begotten to the Spirit nature," but I did that, not because I thought it as necessary to do so, but because I thought to make it easier for some to grasp the thought. The begetting is to a certain nature, just the same as we are all called in one hope of our calling. [Q308] The begetting of the Holy Sprit is the same begetting in every case, but if it has one turn, or development, the result will be the divine nature, and if it takes the other turn, or development, the result will be the nature like unto the angels. We think it is well illustrated by the fact that those who are begotten of the flesh may be born either male or female. The same begetting may result in the child being born male or female; so it does not follow, then, we must say that one is begotten to be a female or begotten to be a male. The begetting is the same in every case. So, with the Holy Spirit's begetting; they are all of one begetting, all by one Father, and all of the same kind. But as certain things in the human tend to determine whether it will be a male or whether it will be a female, after the begetting process is ended, just so with the spiritual; after the begetting of the spirit has been accomplished, certain conditions, etc., tend to determine whether the one will be born from the dead to the divine nature, or to the spirit nature like unto the angels, and that determining factor we find plainly stated in the Scriptures is with ourselves. In proportion as you and I are faithful to him who called us, and to the terms and conditions, we will make our calling and election sure. That calling, that election, that begetting, which we are to make sure, is to the divine nature. If we fail to make it sure in the highest sense of the word, there is still a possibility of a birth to a lower nature by the same Spirit begetting; or there is still a possibility of being utterly cast away into second death.
Another illustration you remember, brought to our attention in the Watch Tower, is that of bees. In bee culture it seems there are three classes of bees; there is the worker, and the drone, and the queen bee, and these are all begotten alike originally; but whether the cell shall turn out the one or the other depends upon certain subsequent treatment. When the bees desire to make a queen bee they apparently feed that larva more and more nourishing food until it becomes a queen bee, of larger size, distinct entirely from the other bees. I think perhaps we may learn a lesson there; that those who feed most upon the spiritual food have the best chance of getting to the royal position.
The Lord has given us plenty, and we are all called to be of this king bee and queen bee, class--the queen class rather suits us pretty well, since the Lord himself is king. We are to be his queen. So whether we shall be of that class depends largely on how we shall assimilate the truths that the Lord has given us, and the assimilation includes also our use of the blessings and favors that are coming to us. So all having one begetting, much will depend on ourselves as to how we use the varied opportunities and blessings.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Part in First Resurrection.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--l--Will the Great Company have part in the First Resurrection.?
ANSWER.--Those in the First Resurrection will live and reign with Christ a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4,6.) Therefore those of the Great Company will have no part whatever in the First Resurrection. The Apostle Paul speaks of Christ's Resurrection--"That I might know Him and the [Q309] power of His Resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death." (Phil. 3:10.) This is the First Resurrection.
There are, however, two other Scriptures which include the Great Company: Heb. 12:23, where the Apostle speaks of the Church of the First-borns whose names are written in heaven, and Rev. 2:27, where mention is made of those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. All will attain life on the spirit plane, whose names are written in the Book of the Lamb, and the Lord said that He would not blot out the names of any overcomers.--Rev. 3:5.
Do the Great Company overcome? Yes. God has no blessings to give to those who are not overcomers. What is the difference between the Great Company and the Little Flock? The difference is that the Little Flock are those who are more than loyal to God. The Great Company will be loyal to God in that they will not withhold their lives when the test shall come. They will perish rather than deny the Lord; and thus they will experience the destruction of the flesh. But they did not go forth with sufficient zeal to carry out their consecration. They were loyal to God, but they did no more than maintain their loyalty.
Then we have our Lord's statement as recorded in John 5:28,29: "For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life." This will include both the Little Flock and the Great Company; both classes will get eternal life. If this statement includes the Ancient Worthies, then it means three classes: the Little Flock, the Great Company and the Ancient Worthies, though there will be different planes of perfection--human perfection, the perfection that will be like that of the angels, and lastly the perfection that will come to those who shall be like Christ, namely, that of the Divine nature.
GREAT COMPANY-Not Shown in the Pyramid.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--Is there nothing in the Great Pyramid to represent the Great Company--the Bride's virgin companions, who will follow her? (Psa. 45:14.) We understand your interpretation to teach that the Queen's Chamber symbolically represents those who will attain perfection on the human plane, and that the King's Chamber symbolically represents those who will attain to the divine nature. Is the Great Company not shown in the Pyramid or have you merely neglected to call attention to the feature which symbolizes it?
ANSWER.--God, during this Gospel Age of nearly nine teen centuries, has been calling the Church to glory honor and immortality. During the next Age, under Messiah's Kingdom, He will open up a way of Restitution and return to earthly perfection for all the willing and obedient of mankind. God did not call any to be of the Great Company Class. Those who will ultimately be of that class, "saved as by fire," will get a reward to which they were never called or invited. There is but one call during this age; as we read, "Ye are called in one hope of your calling." (Eph. 4:4.) That call was to self-sacrifice--to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Only by making that covenant of sacrifice were any of us accepted or begotten of the Holy Spirit [Q310] or privileged to call ourselves the elect of God.
The ante-chamber, as we have already pointed out, marks the experiences of the Church in the School of Christ, which are necessary before any could pass, by the power of the First Resurrection, into the divine perfection symbolized by the King's Chamber. We may, therefore, assume that the Great Company class all come into this Ante-Chamber, or School, but that only the "faithful unto death" pass beyond it under the granite leaf into the King's Chamber.
GREAT COMPANY--Spirit Begotten, Levites, Court.
QUESTION (1912)--l--Please explain about the Great Company, "Spirit Begotten"--the anti-typical Levites, as against the Court being the justified condition.
ANSWER.--In the Tabernacle the Court represents a condition which is not yet complete or perfect at the present time. Let me illustrate the matter in our spiritual experience. We will suppose that we belong to the Camp, and over yonder in the background is the Tabernacle with its curtains and everything else which I need not describe to a class of Bible Students. We would, before long, say to ourselves that we had the desire to go across, and we learn that there are those who are special servants in there, and we wish ere long to become one of the servants of God in connection with the Tabernacle. We realize, however, that we are sinners and so imperfect, but still we turn to God, and we walk toward the Tabernacle and our Justification may be said to have its beginning from that very moment we turned toward the Tabernacle. We are enjoined to seek "that which is right" and it is right and just that we should have this attitude towards God, therefore we are taking the right course or the course of Justification. There are many people in the world saying that God is not far from everyone of us, but the inspired writer said that there are many who are "feeling after God, if haply they might find Him." Those who leave the Camp to come into the Court of the Tabernacle are feeling after God with the desire to find Him. When they come up to the Tabernacle enclosure they find that there is only one entrance (Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ), and that that one way is the only way of approaching the Tabernacle. They enter, and as they enter they must pass the Brazen Altar of Sacrifice before they have gone very far within the enclosure. The person who sees that much sees more than ever before of the matter. But he or she is not yet at the Tabernacle proper. Those who have come thus far must remember that they have still to go on for a bit more yet. At that Altar they have seen the fact that God has provided a way from sin. Recognizing this, they may stop there for a longer or shorter period. A danger is that some are so pleased with that portion that they would sit down there content with that. It is good that we thank God for having made that provision for salvation, but there must be a going forward for a distance yet. What is there after seeing this Altar and its meaning? The next step is to yonder Laver, and towards yonder Laver they go next. What do they find? Water! This surely means Cleansing. O! to put away the filth of this flesh and make myself--or rather [Q311] allow myself to be made--as nearly as possible right with God! Have I wronged anybody? Such questions as that must be asked of ourselves and answered by ourselves. This is the attitude of those who have reached the Laver for cleansing. We may cleanse ourselves at the Laver, but still we have not fully come to God. Is there not something I can do? That is the next question which turns up in the mind of those who have reached the Laver. We remain in a justified condition so long as we keep forward in our way, and we become more right with God and more justified, if we might say so, every step of the way onward. Now we come to the Door of the Tabernacle and we present ourselves as Sacrifices as represented by the Goat for instance. "Present your bodies" is the injunction which comes to us now. When we have done that, we have done everything in our power to do. There is nothing more we can possibly do after that presentation of our bodies as Sacrifices in that sense. But we are not justified by that action. Nothing of ourselves can justify us for our justification is not of works. "It is God that justifies." And there is only one way, namely, that way through HIM who is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. He must be our Advocate. When we present ourselves at the Door of the Tabernacle, and say: "Here, Lord, I give myself," then is the time for God to put into operation the gracious arrangement He has made previously, and there and then the High Priest becomes our Advocate. When He applies His Merit the sacrifice is accepted. That moment we are justified, and then, as a consequence, the Heavenly Father receives us through the Holy Spirit and we are begotten of that Holy Spirit as New Creatures. The New Creatures are now in the Tabernacle; have passed under that first vail, and they should enjoy the light from the Candle Stick and the Shew Bread and the Golden Altar, and then at the close of life should pass beyond that Second Vail--the Resurrection, and should land on the other side of that Vail in safety. It is all in this present life. Whoever is coming near to God by believing in the work of Jesus, and who trusts in the precious sacrifice, these are in a tentatively justified position, but justified only as they have made a full consecration to the Lord. They are justified to the privilege of approaching, but they are not privileged to be Priests, and they cannot come into God's full favor without going on and still on. Suppose anyone went as far as the Laver and then began to reason that he was advancing too rapidly, and then stands still arguing that he must stop this rapid progress by taking matters slowly and wishing to remain here for some time before going on to the Priesthood, that one never has his Justification completed. His Justification is never fully completed because he never takes the final step by which that Justification is vitalized. That is the step of FULL CONSECRATION. After wandering around in this way for a length of time without any sign of going on in the way, some grow cold and get out of the way, and perhaps out of the Court altogether. That represents the use of the Court at the present time. When it comes to the end of this Age and to the perfection of the saints at that time, those who were approaching unto God sincerely during this Age, and who have come all the way there will be accepted. The remainder will no longer be justified in this way, but will be [Q312] with the rest of the world waiting for the blessings of the next age. The Court will be emptied, so to speak, and all those who have entered fully into the Most Holy will then remain as the Members of the Body of the Christ. At the end of that time a distinction will be made between those who have been found worthy and those who have not been found worthy. Those who are found worthy shall pass into the Most Holy to be there forever with the Lord, but the others who are not found worthy will be excluded from that and they will belong to the second company. They still have Justification. They got it the moment they passed the First Vail of Consecration-- the moment Jesus Christ became Surety for them. They cannot be of the Elect. They are of the Levites. These positions represent the attitude of the two classes. All the Levite Class represents the Court condition; all the Priest Class, the Elect condition.
GREAT COMPANY--In Holy or Court.
QUESTION (1912)--l--Can one who has entered the Holy as a Priest, during the Gospel Age, ever drop back into the Great Company, or the Court condition?
ANSWER.--This shows a misunderstanding--the Great Company are not in the Court. The only ones in the Court now are those in a tentatively justified condition--the Great Company are not in the Court. At the close of this Age there will no longer be a tentative justification. There will be nobody in the Court condition, except the actually justified. If the Great Company will be excluded from the glory of the priestly office, at the end of this age, then it will be theirs to serve in the Court, as the Levites of the next age. But those in the Court now, during this age, are only those in a tentatively justified condition.
GREAT COMPANY--Re the Holy.
QUESTION (1912)--2--Can any be of the Great Company class who have never been in the condition typified by the Holy of the Tabernacle?
ANSWER.--No, they could not be of the Great Company class, unless they had gotten into the Tabernacle--only those who make the consecration and those consecrations have been accepted, are tentatively counted as members of the Body of Christ. If, after entering the Holy they fail to have the Spirit of Christ, fail to be exercised by His Spirit, the end will show that they have not retained their position in the Body of Christ, but no one is competent to decide that point now. The resurrection will reveal the Master's decision.
GREAT COMPANY--Should We Fear We are in it?
QUESTION (1913)--3--While we realize that fear is of the Adversary, would it be improper to expect that we would have some sure indication in our own hearts, that we have lapsed into the Great Company class, or made our calling and election sure in this late time of the harvest?
ANSWER.--My thought would be that your head is poor and imperfect, and so is mine, too; that you would not be able to juggle all your thoughts sufficiently to know where you stood. If you attempt any such hair splitting with yourself the best thing is to say, I know the terms and conditions, am I [Q313] living up to the best of my ability to these terms? If you can say to yourself, I am doing all I can in the fulfillment of my consecration vow, you could not do any more, so do that much and let it go there. Say to yourself, "faithful is he that called us who will also do his part;" If you do your part the Lord will do His part--that is the end of it, it is no use arguing any more. If you were in the Great Company class you probably would not realize it at all. I would say simply this: did you make a consecration to the Lord? Yes; are you doing your best? Yes; do you think you could do any better? Yes; well, try and do a bit better.
GREAT COMPANY--Their Development.
QUESTION (1913)--1--Have the Great Company class been developing all through the Gospel Age; or will they all come out through the time of trouble?
ANSWER.--We have already answered that in the Studies in the Scriptures, and perhaps a second reading will give better light. The fact is, the Great Company is not to be known to you, or me, or any other individual. There will be no such class until the Lord shall make the decision as represented in the parable. He is represented as having given certain talents to his servants, and upon His return He reckons with the servants, and that means the church. Some will be in one class, and others in another. That classification will affect the dead as well as the living. In God's providence, some may have been experiencing the tribulation which belongs to the secondary class, during the Gospel Age. We cannot determine who are of the little flock.
GREAT COMPANY--Re 1914.
QUESTION (1913)--2--Do you think those going beyond 1914 will go into the Great Company class?
ANSWER.--I do not know, and my think or guess, would not be of any value. I think the less guessing we do the better. As respects 1914, we have some reasons for believing that to be a very important year. We have never set forth anything to indicate that our view in the matter was infallible. I do not know positively that the times of the Gentiles will end in October, 1914, or at any other particular time. We think there is strong reason for believing that the Gentile Times will end in October, 1914. We give it as our opinion, and set before you the Scriptural reason. Some may believe and some not. This is our thought and if it is correct, about that time, or shortly thereafter, a great time of trouble will come upon the world. Not a burning of literal fire, but a symbolic fire, in that the world will pass through fiery experiences, in the midst of which Messiah's kingdom will be established.
GREAT COMPANY--Expiating For Sin.
QUESTION (1913)--Is it your thought that the Great Company expiate for the partially wilful sins committed against the Church so far as justice is concerned, in order that they may come from the tomb?
ANSWER.--I would not put it in that form. I would put it in the form it is in the WATCH TOWER or DAWNS; I think that is better. This brother may be all right, but I do not like the way of stating it. If you will read over again what is in the WATCH TOWER, that is what I prefer. On [Q314] most of these doctrinal questions I prefer not to say either at conventions or in private letters anything else than what is in the WATCH TOWER because I find that some of the dear friends are inclined to say, Oh, well, that is what Brother Russell used to believe, that is what is in the DAWNS and in the WATCH TOWER, I know, but since then he has changed his mind; he wrote me a special letter, but I heard him say at the convention this year so and so. I understand that even one of the Pilgrims has been telling what Brother Russell changed his mind about. I want to say that when Brother Russell changes his mind, he is going to put it in the WATCH TOWER; he wants you all to know. You just take it from the WATCH TOWER. I will make it as plain as possible there, and, if I cannot make it plain enough there, I am afraid I would not do so here.
GREAT COMPANY--Their Change.
QUESTION (1913)--1--Are those of the Great Company class changed at the moment of death at the present time?
ANSWER.--Do we understand that those of the Great Company class are changed at the moment of their dying? I think not. To my understanding, the Little Flock class will constitute the first resurrection; as we read, Blessed and holy are all of those who have part in the first resurrection: they shall he kings and priests unto God and Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. This is the first resurrection. I would understand the Great Company class will not he changed until after the Church class, the Little Flock company, is all completed on the other side of the vail.
GREAT COMPANY--Their Change.
QUESTION (1913)--2--About what time will the Great Company class be glorified?
ANSWER.--I think shortly after the Little Flock has been glorified, and the great time of trouble has come upon the world in general in which the Great Company class will be amongst the first to share and that after they have all finished they shall he glorified and brought into the presence of the great King, as described in the 46th Psalm.
GREAT COMPANY--This Side the Vail.
QUESTION (1913)--3--Is there any Great Company class on this side of the vail and is there any separation between the Little Flock and the Great Company on this side?
ANSWER.--We tried to say last evening there is no separation, no two classes at the present time, and it would be quite improper for you or I or any others of God's people to try to say, This one belongs to the Great Company and that one to the Little Flock. No one decides that but the Lord Himself, and that apparently is left to the very close, therefore we think it would be quite improper to speak of two classes in the Church. "All ye are brethren." All come under one name. Seek to make your calling and election sure. No man can know nor say how well you are running in the race. Only God and you know how loyal you are, and the Apostle intimates that we might ourselves be fully confident as to how well we are doing. You remember he says, It is a light thing that I should be judged of you or any man. Yea, I judge not mine own self. I might pass a wrong judgment on myself and say, You do not belong to the Little Flock, or say, Surely you do belong to the Little Flock. So it [Q315] would be a small thing that we should be judged of each other or by our own selves. There is one that judgeth, even God, and He will decide the matter. No one else is competent to do so. We do well to avoid any such judging. Help one another, encourage one another, point out the conditions and terms and all that, but do not judge one another.
GREAT COMPANY--What Part in the General Assembly.
QUESTION (1913)--1--To the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn which are written in Heaven--does the church of this text include the Great Company and when does the text apply?
ANSWER.--This question we had earlier in our service. It does include, as we then showed, the Great Company class, and it applies at the present time. That is to say, the Apostle is telling about the gathering of the Church. The General Assembly, we believe, is going on now; just the same as this convention has been going on now for two days; some came on Saturday morning, some in the evening and some have just come in. I saw some coming in with their valises just now. So there is a gathering here and it has been coming together gradually. Just so God is gathering in the first resurrection, the Church of the Firstborns. The Firstborn of the Church, Jesus the head, went to glory 1,800 years ago, but the gathering of the Church which is His Body we understand takes place during this harvest time. Those who sleep in Jesus will be the first to be changed, then we which are alive and remain are to be changed gradually, each one in his own order, until all the church will have experienced the change. And this same process of gathering the Church of the Firstborn will include the Great Company class, and all of those will come in as part of the gathering together of the General Assembly of the Church of the Firstborn whose names are written in Heaven. Their names are not all written in the Lamb's Book of Life, because those whose names are written are the special class, the Bride class. Their names are written from the time they first made their consecration, and the Lord said He would not blot out their names unless they would prove renegade--unless they would turn against him and His arrangements. So we see that the Lord is dealing very graciously and even will bring some through great tribulation.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Chart of Ages and Tabernacle.
QUESTION (1913)--2--On the chart the Great Company is represented above plane M of spirit begetting, yet we are told in the finished picture in the Tabernacle type they will be in the court condition below the spirit begetting. Please harmonize this.
ANSWER.--The chart is a picture of the progress of the Church upward to the attainment of the High Calling, and then in the large pyramid at the end of the chart the different relationships of these the one to the other is pictured. We cannot say that we can harmonize it to everybody's mind. Take as much of it as you can and leave the rest. Some can get more nutriment out of a slice of bread than another can, so we cannot hinder the one that gets only a little nutriment from eating the bread, and, if he need it, eats more.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Teaching What is Understood.
QUESTION (1915)--3--Cannot Rev. 7:9-17 be applied [Q316] to the saved world of mankind, rather than to a Great Company class? Is there not a very serious danger in teaching that there is to be a great company on the spirit Plane and that those who lack a thorough appreciation of the high calling, and a consecration thereto, will be saved notwithstanding?
ANSWER.--It would he very dangerous for any person who does not see a thing to presume to teach it. The questioner evidently does not understand this subject, and that cuts the answer short. When we leave a subject as the Lord puts it, we have it right. "The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully." "We speak that we do know." This is the privilege that we intend to have until we die. Is it not?
GREAT COMPANY--Their Change.
QUESTION (1915)--1--Will the Great Company be take Home before the Kingdom is set up?
ANSWER.--I think not. I think the Kingdom will be set up before the Great Company is taken. I believe that after the Kingdom is set up and after the Time of Trouble is fully on the Great Company will wash their robes and will finish their course, during the period of anarchy, and will then be present at the Marriage Supper. They will not be a part of the Bride, but may nevertheless have the honor of being at the great Feast and have association with the Bride, become her honored servants--her bridesmaids so to speak.
GREAT COMPANY--And The Divine Nature.
QUESTION (1916)--2--Are there any Scriptures to prove that the Great Company will not receive the Divine nature?
ANSWER.--There are no Scriptures to prove that the great company will get the Divine nature, and there are many scriptures to prove that they will not get the Divine nature, because the Scriptures say that the Divine nature will be given only to those who are more than conquerors. The great company will finally be conquerors, but the Little Flock class will he more than conquerors and will consist of those who gain a great victory in that they fully follow the Lamb. Jesus went on voluntarily presenting His body as a living sacrifice. The little flock will be voluntary sacrifices, whereas the great company will not be voluntary sacrifices. They will therefore be sent forth into the wilderness of the tribulation for the destruction of their flesh. Only those sacrificers who cooperate willingly and gladly with the sacrificing Priest, the Lord Jesus, will be members of the bride class and become partakers of the Divine nature--glory, honor and immortality. At first the Father only, had immortality, afterwards the Son received this as a reward for His faithfulness, and then the bride class will sit with Him on His throne and share His glory. St. Peter says He has given us exceeding great and precious promises that, by these (working in our minds and hearts) we might become partakers of the Divine nature. He speaks to the little flock class, and not to the great company class. Why not? Because the Word of the Lord is not for the great company. They refuse to go faithfully forward until death, so the Word of the Lord is not sent unto them. They will have [Q317] to be pushed in, you see; but those who will be willing to go in by the Word, they will share the Divine nature. St. Paul speaks of those who seek glory, honor and immortality as gaining this eternal life, but they must seek for it. It is something to be done. The worthy ones are those who seek for it. We must first apply that promise by entering into the covenant by sacrifice, and then, if we will run properly, we will attain unto that prize. Others will receive a lesser reward.
HANDS--Placed on Heads of Offerings.
QUESTION (1909)--1--What was the significance of the High Priest always laying his hands upon the heads of the offerings?
ANSWER.--I am not sure that he did always lay his hands on their heads, but when he did, it would imply that he accepted it, and that it would represent him, as being his sacrifice. The same also when a sinner laid his hands upon a sacrifice, it was accepted instead of himself and represented him. Also the same in the case of the Church laying their hands upon Paul and Barnabas, that act said, in effect, We accept them as our representatives, and when they go out they represent this Antioch Church, that they would bear their expenses, etc.
HARVEST--Difference Between Separating and Reaping.
QUESTION (1908)--2--What is the difference in the character of work between separating the wheat from the tares, and the reaping?
ANSWER.--Well, dear friends, I suppose this illustration of a harvest is not a perfect illustration; I would scarcely think that it would be a perfect illustration. If we were to think of it that way, we would have to suppose, first of all, there would be the cutting of the grain, and then the separating of it, and the threshing of it, and the gathering of it into the barns; and if we were going to apply that, we would see so many ways for cutting it down, so many ways of separating it, so many ways for threshing it out, etc., that it would not fit with the facts. To my understanding, this harvest work is going on for all of these forty years, and there are some who went promptly into the garner away back in 1881, and some have been going into the garner ever since, all the way down; so here in this beautiful figure of the harvest work I do not think we could expect the fulfillment of every little detail. The main features are given in the parable itself, namely the Lord taught that the harvest would be the end of the age, and in the harvest He would send His reapers who would gather the tares into bundles for burning. Now, the gathering of the tares into bundles to my understanding, represents the gathering and the tying tight of organizations. I am not going to limit this to so called secret orders; I think that probable they are part of it. All the various denominations are part of that great bundling system, and the effect is very similar in; fact I do not know why anyone who is a member of an ordinary church should make objection to a man being a member of the Odd Fellows or the Masons. So far as I can understand, they are a kind of a church, too, or they clam to be; they have their regular ritual service, and claim to go to the holy, [Q318] etc., when they die. Only a few days ago I heard a little dissertation along that line. Their comrades are all supposed to be welcomed when they die into the great hereafter; they pass them along gently, just about as well as any of the nominal church people could do it, and with just about as much authority, and with just about as much sincerity, so far as I can tell. I am not judging at all, I am merely saying, so far as I can tell. But my understanding is, that all of these are bundles, and each bundle is getting tighter. Some of you know a great deal more about Freemasonry than I do, and I am not here to say anything against it, because I do not know anything to say, and I do not know as I would say it if I did know it. The Lord did not send me to preach against Masonry or Odd Fellowship, nor against Presbyterianism or Methodism. Our opportunity is to tell the truth, to preach the true gospel of Christ, and the Lord says that this message is to have its effects on the different hearts. Now, if you find yourself in any kind of a bundle, you know that is not the program so far as the wheat is concerned. The wheat is to he gathered into the garner; it is not to be put into bundles in the present life. The wheat is to be free. If you find yourself in any kind of a bundle, better get out of the bundle. Trust in the Lord, and be in harmony with Him, and this will take you out of all kinds of bundles and human organizations, I believe. I should, perhaps, say a cautionary word here to the effect that I would understand this would mean, for instance, that if I were a carpenter I would prefer to be at liberty, but if it were demanded of me that I should join a union before I could have work, and that I must pay so much of my money into that union's coffers, I should join. I should understand that I was making so much of a contribution to the general weal of the carpenters, and I would have no hesitation in the matter, because there is nothing of a religious kind there. There is nothing that would fetter my heart or mind. But if that organization should do anything I could not approve, I would feel perfectly free to withdraw at any time. So I would make that limitation. But, so far as wheat and tares are concerned, I think there are plenty of bundles all around you, and I notice, too, that these different worldly organizations, if we may so call them in contradistinction to church organizations, are also taking the same methods the church people are taking. It used to be very easy to withdraw from one of the churches and you could say, "I will thank you for a letter," and then they would take the letter and never deposit it, but burn it up, if they desired. And so with the Masons; they had a method by which anyone desiring to leave the order could ask for a demit and he would get that without any particular question. I have been informed that now this is changed somewhat. If you are a Presbyterian, and you wish a letter, they say, "To which church do you wish the letter addressed?" You say, "Oh, just make it out anyway." "Oh we do not do that now; we will give you a letter to a certain, particular church and it is to he deposited there--good when deposited there." And so I am informed that our Freemason friends are doing the same thing; they do not give demits now. If you wish to be transferred to another lodge they will transfer you, but they do not give demits now in the same way they formerly did. [Q319]
A Brother: Brother Russell, I am a Mason and, unfortunately, hold a high position in the order, and I would like to make a little correction on that. A Mason is perfectly free to leave when he feels so disposed. No restraint whatever is placed upon him.
Brother Russell: You will notice that we never have anything to say against any of these. We have not said an unkind word about Freemasonry, and you never read anything unkind that we have ever said about it, and I do not wish to say anything unkind about Presbyterianism, or Methodism. I think that many of the dear friends in these denominations are good people, and I appreciate their characters. What I talk about sometimes is Presbyterian doctrine, and they talk about it, too. And I have read things they have said about Presbyterian doctrines far harder than anything I have ever said. I sometimes quote in the Watch Tower some things Presbyterians say about their own doctrine, and I occasionally quote in the Watch Tower something the Methodists say about their doctrine, because they say it stronger than I should wish to say it.
HARVEST--Great Harvest, Little Flock.
QUESTION (1910)--1--"The harvest truly is great." If it is a "Little Flock" that comes out, how is the harvest great or plenteous?
ANSWER.--The Lord's illustration must be borne in mind; he was in the harvest time of the Jewish Age, and the whole Jewish nation was the harvest field at that time, so then we will have to find fault with the Lord. If there is any mistake, he made the mistake, for He said, "The harvest is great and the laborers few." Now, then, the harvest there, so far as Jesus was concerned, was the gathering in of 500 brethren at that time, but that was not all of the Jewish harvest, for more were gathered later. We must suppose that Jesus meant relatively, there is a great work to do in comparison with the few that are ready and willing to do it. Also they were a typical people and it was true then, and so it is true now. All of the Jews were not gathered then, for millions were not gathered, but the Lord spoke of those who were gathered as plenteous, all good characters, and he was satisfied. He will be satisfied with what he gets out of the Gentiles. But the point of the argument seems to be that the laborers are few, more work than the laborers could do. There is plenty for all, and work for more. So he said, Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he will send more laborers. Such should expect that the Lord would send them. Apply the same thing now--do not expect that the harvest work here will include millions, but a considerable number, and in my judgment there is yet a great work to he done. I can see where ever so many more of the Lord's faithful people could be used in the Lord's work. I have been calling attention to the London office, that there ought [Q320] to be a great many more Colporteurs here. There is a great field for work to be done. If the Colporteurs do not do it, I presume the Lord will find some other way, but the opportunity will be lost.
As an illustration: the Lord hindered the books from being sold in book stores, and I presume it was to make the way clear for the friends to sell the books. For a long time the Lord did not open the way for the newspapers, so the friends could give out the tracts, but now the Lord is opening up the worldly newspapers, and sending them to millions of people. Why? There are not enough reapers. While praying, ask yourself, What can I do? If he has a work going on you want to get your share, so with everyone.
HARVEST--Re Ending in Spring of 1910.
QUESTION (1910)--1--A thought is being advanced among the friends that the work will close next spring. Do you find any Scriptural proof for such thought, and are you in sympathy with the advancing of such theory?
ANSWER.--I do not find any ground for such a thought. I am not in sympathy with the advancement of such a theory. I think it would be far better for the dear friends not to speculate about things of which they have no knowledge. At least, I will say that I think I would do best not to speculate about things of which I have no knowledge. If they have any knowledge on this subject, they have some knowledge I do not have, and if they are sure that they have knowledge, of course to their own Master they are responsible for the using of it. But so far as I can see, dear friends, discussing such matters as that merely takes away from the friends opportunities for usefulness, and we would far better stop talking about such things and be busily engaged in the harvest work, doing what we can do, never minding whether it is going to stop next spring or not. I will tell you next spring how it will be. In the meantime, as far as I can see, we all have plenty to do. Do not anybody stop for lack of work.
HARVEST--Re Extent of Opportunities for Service.
QUESTION (1910)--2--According to the present outlook, can you give us any idea how long the opportunities for service will continue, the pilgrim service, colporteur service, volunteer work, etc..?
ANSWER.--I cannot. Some of the dear friends would seem to think that they have it all very nicely figured out. Well, I cannot quarrel with them, because I do not see it. If they say they see it, why they see more than I do. So far as I can see now, dear friends, I have no reason to think that the colporteur work or the other parts of the service are going to shut down immediately. It looks to me as though the work never had a more prosperous appearance than it has at the present time. My thought is that you and I, and all who are interested in the work, had best not be bothering our heads about when it is going to close. You will find out when it closes all right, won't you? Of course you will. So then do with your might what your hands find to do, and you will find lots to do now, large opportunities every day in all these various directions. My advice is, go ahead; never mind what somebody says about when you can not go ahead; you will find that out in due time yourself.