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HIGH CALLING--Coveting Crowns of Others.
QUESTION (1905)--1--If the called ones were all selected prior to 1900 are we not coveting the crown of another? I mean those that have started in the race since then?
ANSWER.--I think the brother does not mean just as the question reads, for if the required number has been selected that would end the matter. I think what he means is that if a sufficient number had been called to complete the election, prior to 1900, would we not be coveting some one else's crown? We answer, no, not at all. It is according to God's grace, and not as we will. It is not because you or I do this or that, but because God has something to give away. God has done his own work in scattering the truth, etc., and God has favored those that come into the call. If they count themselves unworthy of the crown or do despite to God's favor they are not the kind God intends should get the crown. He intends to give them the opportunity just as though he did not know how it was going to result. Suppose a sufficient number at the present time have the grace of God and that there is no lack of numbers, and suppose I were one that had not yet made the consecration, and suppose I should like very much if the Lord had some blessing to give that I might be one of his favored ones, but I do not know, and the whole number may be completed and it might be useless to try, for I might be taking the crown from some one else? I ought to say, I have learned of the riches of your grace, Lord, and I give myself to you anyway, whether the number is complete or not, and you can give me what you please. Anything that the Lord would give would be a very great thing. All kings give presents in proportion to their positions as kings. It would be all out of harmony with God's character to give a mean thing. The Lord is going to give a blessing to thousands that are his. You give him your heart and you will get exceedingly abundantly more than you could have asked or thought of. So it would not be coveting another's crown to consecrate yourself to the Lord. If he gives you a crown, take it, for it will not be coveting any one else's crown.
HIGH CALLING--Will Our Families Know About Us?
QUESTION (1909)--2--Will those of our families who are left behind know that we have made our calling and election sure, and how will they know it?
ANSWER.--I think they will. It will be just like our Heavenly Father to make something known of the richness of His grace toward us in Christ Jesus. A Scripture in Psalms says, It shall he said of this one and of that one, that such a one was born in Zion. What does that mean? I think that refers to the heavenly Zion, and to those who shall be born in the first resurrection, and our friends and our relatives will know of our resurrection and birth in Zion, and that we had passed beyond the vail, just as we know of our Lord Jesus having passed beyond the vail.
HIGHWAY--Will Force Be Used?
QUESTION (1912)--3--Will it be consider walking up the Highway of Holiness if force or compulsion be used? [Q331]
ANSWER.--There is no Highway of Holiness yet; hence nobody is walking on it yet. None can walk that way until it is prepared. There will be no such highway until the Great King takes control of affairs, overthrows the present order of things and sets up the Kingdom of Messiah--then there will be a Highway of Holiness. Then the righteous can go up thereon.
Now there is only the Narrow Way and the Broad Way. The Narrow Way is for those who wish to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the steep and rugged way. To be forced is not the thought, it must be a voluntary devotion, a willing walking in the footsteps of Jesus, or it will not be acceptable at all.
The Great Company will have certain experiences in being forced. But they will not be forced to perform, but forced to decide for themselves. You see the difference between forcing a man to go into a boat and bringing certain influences to cause him to desire to go in. Will I turn my back on the Lord to escape the trouble, or will I take the way of the Lord? Even those who choose to take the way of the Lord under stress will be overcomers. In the next age, when the world's Highway of Holiness will be opened up, force will be used to bring all to a knowledge of the Truth respecting God's provision for them. Wrong doing will be punished with corrective stripes. But it would be far from right to suppose that mankind will be then driven or forced along the Highway of Holiness. All who will go up thereon must exert themselves--it will be an upward way. Our Saviour stated the Father's sentiment respecting all to whom He will ever grant life everlasting: "He seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth."
HIGHWAY--Rod of Iron Used.
QUESTION (1913-Z)--1--Will any one, be forced, or compelled, to walk up the Highway of Holiness?
ANSWER.--At present there is no Highway of Holiness; consequently no one is walking on it during the Gospel Age. There will be no such Highway until the Great King takes control of affairs, overthrows the present order of things and sets up the Kingdom of Heaven. Then a Highway of Holiness will be prepared, upon which the righteous can walk. During the Gospel Age there are but two ways--the Narrow Way and the Broad Way. (Matt. 7:13-14.) The former is for those who desire to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and is a steep, rugged path. The latter is the road that leads to destruction and is a broad way on which the human race are hurrying to the tomb.
Those who walk acceptably in the footsteps of the Master must do so willingly. Theirs must be a voluntary devotion. To be forced is not at all the thought. The Little Flock will thus run the Narrow Way; but the Great Company will have experiences which will force them, not to take one special way, but to decide for themselves what course they will pursue. There is a difference between forcing a man to go aboard a vessel, and bring certain influences to bear which will cause him to desire to do so.
In the next Age, when the world's Highway of Holiness shall have been opened up (Isa. 35:8), force will be used to bring all mankind to a knowledge of the Truth respecting [Q332] God's provision for them. Wrong doing will then be punished with corrective stripes. But it would be far from right to suppose that mankind will be driven or forced along the Highway of Holiness. All who go up thereon must exert themselves; for it will be an upward way. Our Savior stated the Father's sentiment respecting all to whom He will ever grant everlasting life. His words were, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him."
HOLY SPIRIT--In What Sense Received Before Pentecost.
QUESTION (1908)--1--In what sense did the disciples receive the holy Spirit before the Day of Pentecost, as stated in John 20:22: "He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit."
ANSWER.--The record here would seem to imply that this was done some time before, at the beginning of the ministry. I was not there, and do not know to the contrary, but I fancy that while John recorded it here, the fact is that it was done some time before, at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, when He sent forth the disciples in His name. That is the time I think He breathed on them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit," and sent them forth; and when they went forth, they went in His Spirit, in his power, and they exercised His power in His name, and cured diseases and cast out devils, and did many wonderful works. So I presume then that this breathing on them, and giving them the Holy Spirit was in this sense of the word, and at this time. What could it mean? The Holy Spirit as it came to the Church at Pentecost was the heavenly Father's manifestation of His acceptance of the Church, and that was deferred until after Jesus had made His sacrifice at Calvary--until after He had ascended up on high and appeared in the presence of God for us; and it was an evidence to these disciples that God had accepted them, and that they might count themselves in as members of the Body of Christ, His spirit-begotten sons. The spirit that Christ put upon them was His Spirit, His power, before that. He had received the Spirit without measure; He used that Spirit Himself in the healing of diseases, because the power was thus put upon Him; so He gave the disciples of this power and sent them forth as His representatives in His name.
HUMAN BEINGS--Rights and Privileges--Belonging to.
QUESTION (1908)--2--What are our human rights and privileges?
ANSWER.--I suppose the thought in the mind of the person asking this question is, that you and I and all others propose to lay down all rights and privileges, to sacrifice these. What are these? Now I think of one that will serve as an illustration. I was on a sleeping-car not long ago, and the porter and some fellow-traveler in the middle of the night got into a conversation, talking about a variety of things, loud enough to wake up all of those who were not as sound asleep as they might be. I exercised my right and privilege by calling the attention of the porter to the fact that he was not attending to his business properly, and that unless he desisted I would report him to the company. That [Q333] was my right; that was my privilege. He afterwards made some amends, and I dropped my privileges in connection with reporting him. That is an illustration and you can apply it in a thousand different ways in the affairs of life. You have rights, everybody has rights, and you will find that people trample on your rights every little while, and possibly unintentionally you may trample on theirs; it is your business and ours to see that we do not trample on anybody else's rights; we want to obey the golden rule and do to others as we would that they should do to us. But it is unnecessary to insist that they should do to us according to the golden rule. You have a right to demand justice, but you can forego these rights. Now in connection with this matter, I will tell you that I learned a little lesson myself and I have made a partial resolution; I have not made it a fixed resolution yet. When I go to make a resolution, or a vow, I usually think it over pretty well, and try it for a little while, see how it would go, and whether it would do to make it a fixed resolution or not. I have never been as much afraid of vows as some of the dear friends, but I have made a number of vows to the Lord, and I hope I will make some more. Whenever I find a place where I think I can improve on the old man, then I say, Here, put another strap around him and tie him down, and if you find it is likely to be able to hold, make it positive, clinch it with a vow, and that helps you ever afterwards. If you leave it open to be tried another time, every time that matter comes up you have to fight it over in your mind; but if you have once fought it over and gotten the conquest, and realized that it is the right thing, then nail it down, or as the Apostle says, put the body under and bury it--"I keep under my body." So when we find any part of the body sticking up a little from the grave, bury it again, stick it down and put a little more dirt on it. In this matter I was thinking some years ago to make a resolve, or vow, to the Lord that with His assisting grace I would never murmur or complain in respect to anything He permitted to come to me. I thought that was right. What right have I to complain? Shall I receive blessings at the Lord's hand, and if He sees proper to give me some that are not quite so pleasant, shall I refuse those? No. Then I have no right to murmur or complain. So I said, with your assistance and your grace I make this vow, that I will never murmur nor complain with respect to anything that your providence may permit to come to me. Now as far as I know I have always kept that vow, and I am very glad I made it. If I could find another as good as that, I would make it right today. When I was thinking about this porter afterwards, and how I had hauled him over the coals, and it was all right, there was justice about it, but I thought this, Now how do I know but what that porter might some time have a kind of grudge at me, and suppose the truth should come to him. He would say, "That is the man that raked me over the coals, and I do not like anything he has, though it may be reasonable, or just, because he held me to account there." But it might keep him from getting the truth. I would not keep that poor man from getting the truth. I had better not say anything to him. It is a good principle to apply all through. This resolution that I would never murmur has been a great blessing to me. I find so [Q334] many people that are groaning, and working, and grunting, and complaining about things, and I think they are making a great mistake. All their burdens are harder after they have grunted over them a while; they make them worse all along. I find we get along much better by saying, If the Lord is pleased to let that come, I would not think of murmuring against His wisdom in the matter, but will accept it as of the Lord. If I break my leg this afternoon, shall I murmur? Not a bit of it. Not one of you would hear a murmur come out of my mouth. If something else happened I would not murmur. What right would I have to murmur? What good would it do to murmur? It is the Lord's will I want to be done, and He says He will not allow anything to happen to His children that He will not overrule for good. If the Lord thinks it is good for me to break my leg this afternoon, I hope I will break it. We want that which the Lord's will sees is best for us. So we have nothing to complain or murmur about; we are not to be complainers. You remember the Apostle points out that that was one of the difficulties of the children of Israel. They first murmured and complained, and afterwards it led up to opposition to the Lord. So when you begin to murmur you begin to get out of accord with the Lord. So I said to myself, I think I will make a resolution, or a vow, that I will not murmur about what other people do to me. If they do something bad, I will not murmur; I am not bound to take it up and say, "I challenge you, sir; that is a lie." I need not do that. I need not murmur or make a complaint against him. Let him take his course; let the Lord deal with him. What will I do? I will try and take it as meekly as I can, and I will get a good lesson out of it in patience, perseverance, and self-control. I do not know how much of a blessing there may be in that resolution. I have an idea that resolution, or vow, never to murmur about anything anybody says, if I shall make it, will do me good. I have not made it as yet in full; I have merely thought to try it and see if it will not be good; but I think I will make it, and I think it is going to do me a lot of good. You can say anything you like about me and I think I will not say anything back to you.
HUMAN NATURE--Does It Desire Sympathy?
QUESTION (1908)--l--Is it part of human nature to desire sympathy from others? And then, if so, does avoiding telling our troubles to others, even other members of the Body of Christ, bring us into nearer relationship with him, causing us to lean solely on the arm of the Lord?
ANSWER.--I answer: Yes, to the first part of the question. The Apostle's suggestion is that each one should seek to bear, so far as he can, and not only should he seek to bear his own burdens so far as possible, but he should seek to bear somebody else's burdens. And whoever has burdens of his own and tries to bear them and to have the Lord's assistance for them, and then who is seeking and reaching out to help other people with their burdens, will find his own burdens thereby a great deal lighter, and that he has a blessing on the way. So then the proper attitude for each one of us is to seek so far as possible to bear our own burdens and then to help somebody else, and not to think too much of our own, not to imagine that we have all the labors and all the troubles and all the burdens, but to look out and see [Q335] how many other people have troubles, and you will find that many of them have more than you. But before that, when looking at your own, they seemed very large. This does not mean that you and I will never get sympathy from others; but we will not be seeking for the sympathy so much as before; we will be trying to bear our own; and the Lord will send someone perhaps who will give us some sympathy when we did not reach out for it; sympathy will come as the Lord sees best. You remember the great Head of the Body is the Lord Jesus Christ and every member of the Body is under His superintendence and care; and just as if you had a sore finger, what would the finger do? Appeal to the foot? No. To the other hand? No. Well, what would the finger do? The nerves of sensation would telegraph to the brain, "I am hurt." And the brain would telegraph to the other hand, "Go and help that finger." And thus you see, our Lord is the One we tell our troubles to, and we are to look to Him for the aid, and then we are to expect whatever we may need and it may come from the fellow members of the body; and as fellow members of the Body, we must all be in that attitude of seeking to respond to the Head, knowing the Head would have us sympathize with one another, to give to one another in His name, so that we will be trying to do good, and to look for opportunities to serve one another. This is the way we will have the most blessings, the most peace, and the most joy, doing the best we can to bear our own burdens and to bear as much as possible for others, to sympathize and to help others.
IDENTITY--In the Millennial Age.
QUESTION (1913)--1--Will you please explain If the identity of each individual will be maintained throughout the Millennial Age, and afterwards.
ANSWER. I understand that it will, that the identity of each individual will be preserved; that is to say, all except those who go down into the second death. I cannot say I know of any Scripture to bear that out; it is merely a logical conclusion. God deals with us as individuals; He is not dealing with us as pieces of wood or metal or something that has no intelligence, but as an individual personal intelligence with a body to identify us as persons. And so we believe it will always be. We are not expecting that in the future things will be worse than the present, but when that which is perfect is come, those things of the present which are in part will be done away.
IMMORTALITY--When Brought to Light?
QUESTION (1908)--2--Did our Lord bring immortality to light before or after; His resurrection?
ANSWER.--The Apostle says that He has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. It was neither His living, nor His dying, nor His resurrection, that brought this to light in the fullest sense of the word. It is the gospel that brought it to light, and this gospel was not fully understood by the Apostles at the time of the Lord's resurrection, but only after they had received the Holy Spirit. There were certain things our Lord said that would imply this, but they did not yet understand the matter; the thing was still hidden from them, so that it was not brought to light until after Pentecost. Then they began to see that there was not only hope for all of mankind who would ultimately come into [Q336] harmony with God, but that there is another hope, still greater, still more wonderful, for the Church which is the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, and that is immortality. So Christ in His message--the message of which His death was the center, and His resurrection a share, this great Gospel which centered in His death and resurrection--this great gospel message brings to light to all who can see, both life and immortality. We find, as soon as the light comes in, we can see in our mind's eye the testimony, "As the Father hath life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself." We can see there a testimony with reference to the immortality of the Church; so we can see that He gave His life for the whole world that they all might have life, and life more abundantly. There is general testimony concerning life for all mankind, but to get it in clear form requires the blessing of the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost which would open the eyes of our understanding respecting these things which our Lord had said and illustrated in His own life experiences.
IMMORTALITY--Has a Believer in It Hope of Membership in Christ?
QUESTION (1908)--1--Can a believer in the immortality of the soul, and in the doctrine of eternal torment, have a well grounded hope of becoming a member of the Body of Christ?
ANSWER.--In considering that question, I would have in mind the fact that there have been people in the past who, so far as you and I know, were Saints, and yet held these erroneous doctrines, as for instance, I should not at all be surprised that John Wesley was of the class that would be covered by this description, if he believed in eternal torment, and if he believed in the immortality of the soul in some sort of a fashion. Therefore, I would think quite likely that it was possible in the past, at least, that a person might be that much in darkness respecting God's plan and yet be a real member of the Body of Christ and a real sacrificer--a real believer in every sense of the word. I would add, however, that my understanding is, we are today in a peculiar position in that greater light has come into the world, and therefore there is greater responsibility on the people who are living today; as our Lord said in His day, you remember, that if He had not come amongst them, and that if the light had not shined in their hearts, they would not have had this responsibility. Those are not the exact words, but that is the thought. So, I think it is today: that the Lord is pleased in our day to bring increased light to His people, and to bring this to our attention, and we have a measure of responsibility in connection with the truth after it has come to us that we would never have had if it had not come to us. From this standpoint, we might suppose that the true light that is now shining would be granted to all who are in the right attitude of heart to receive it. In other words, just as at the First Advent, Jesus said of Nathaniel: Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile, and then he made the matter so plain to Nathaniel that it was very easy for him to believe the Lord. So I think it is today, that wherever there is an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile, there we may expect the Lord will make the truth so plain and so clear and so simple that that person will be able to see it and appreciate it and enjoy it; and that where [Q337] there is not a reception of the truth it is an implication, at least, that there the person is not an Israelite indeed, or else he is not without guile. We are not to judge, but the truth is to do the judging. That is what we understand the Lord to mean, that His Word will judge. So His Word, we believe, is judging today in the Church, and His Word will judge by and by the whole world. But we think that His Word of Truth is acting as judgment now, and the Spirit and power now; that this is the sickle of truth that is going forth in His "harvest time," to gather all the true wheat and to separate them from the tares. So then we are content to let the Lord do this work, without particularly making tests in our own minds, but simply that our expectation would be that wherever there is an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile, the Lord would lead him to an appreciation of Present Truth.
IMMORTALITY--Who Only Hath Immortality.
QUESTION (1913)--1--To whom does the following Scripture apply: "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see?" (1 Tim. 6:16.)
ANSWER.--This passage is somewhat ambiguous; that is to say, in the way it is presented, it would be possible to take two different views, and if someone would claim that it was the Heavenly Father who was meant, we would not have any special controversy with him over the matter. In giving our own view of what it signifies we have already stated, and still believe it refers to our Lord Jesus. If it referred to the Father, it would mean that He alone has immortality, and that would imply that the Lord Jesus would not have immortality, whereas the Scriptures declare that He has. Then, if we apply it to the Lord Jesus and say He only bath immortality, it does not cut out the Heavenly Father from having immortality, because, as the Apostle explains, God is always excepted in every rule and proposition; He always is excepted.
QUESTION (1909)--2--In Paul's letter to the Romans, 7th chap. and 15th verse, we find these words, "For that which I do I allow not; for what I would that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." Does that apply only to the inability of those under the law to comply with its requirements, or does it apply to us in the Gospel Age and at the present time in our imperfect efforts to do the will of our Heavenly Father? In other words, have we a right to use this as an excuse for our imperfect ways?
ANSWER.--I understand that the Apostle was speaking of the Jews and all who were under the law, that what they allowed or admitted was the just law of God they could not comply with, because of the imperfection of the flesh. You see the perfect law of God and you know you are not able to keep that in every thought, word and act, for in our flesh dwelleth no perfection. Our heads are more or less misshapen, and the New Creature finds that it cannot do the things that it would. You would be perfect, but you know that you are not. How then can God deal with us? Because He has graciously covered our imperfections; everything that we strive against, he covers with the merits of the sacrifice of Christ. If we could keep the law perfectly, [Q338] then Christ died in vain, for as the Apostle said, If righteousness could come through the keeping of the law, then Christ's death was not necessary, but we needed Christ to come, and die for us, and justify us. So this language, while used for the Jews, has an application for us as Christians. It does not mean that we should look at our shortcomings and say, O, you know I have so many weaknesses, and excuse ourselves that way. No, we have been given the robe of Christ's righteousness, and the Scriptural instruction is that we should keep it unspotted from the world. We are likely to get a spot on it by a hasty word or by our manner not being what it ought to be. The Scriptural injunction is that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin, not only from the original sin, but also from these imperfections, after we get the robe. After we have made a mistake, we should at once seek the Lord's arrangement for cleansing, thus getting rid of the spot, then our robe will be clean again. You go to the Lord, making application for this merit, acknowledging that you have erred, asking His forgiveness, you come to the throne of grace for help in every time of need, and you will get rid of the spot and then you can keep it unspotted.
There are a great many dear friends, which the Scriptures state will constitute a great company; they get one spot and say, I don't like that spot, then they get another and another, and then someone says, You have a great many spots on your robe. They say, Yes, but I guess I must have them. So they get used to them, they get so many of them that it is a difficult matter to get rid of them. So what you and I want to do is to keep as close to the standard as possible. See that you not only go to the Lord, but to the one you have wronged, whether your parent, wife, husband, brother, friend or enemy, and make it good to him. Take it to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to apply the precious blood on your behalf.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--Does Christ impute His righteousness to the members of His Body?
ANSWER.--When we say that our Lord imputes His righteousness, we are not to think that He gives His own righteousness as the High Priest, but that He imputes the merit of His human sacrifice on our behalf. When, as the Man Christ Jesus, He laid down His life, without being under sentence of death in any degree, there was a merit in that sacrifice. The earthly life-rights, which the Lord laid down, were to His credit, giving Him the power of restitution for the world of mankind, the power for their regeneration. But before the merit of that sacrifice is given to the world, it is made the basis of our justification, for the covering of our imperfections. It could have been used for us in restitution but such was not God's Plan during this Age. Hence, Jesus' merit is imputed to believers who consecrate, and also covers the blemishes and unwitting trespasses of their imperfect earthen vessels to the end of their course.
IMPUTATION--Of Christ's Merit.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--2--What is meant by the expression, "Christ's imputed merit?"
ANSWER.--When speaking of Christ's imputed merit we should keep distinctly in mind that He has a personal merit, a righteousness of His own which He has never given away. [Q339] He needs His own righteousness. In this sense of the word He could not give us His righteousness, without being bereft of righteousness. The same would be true of His life-right. He has a right to life; but it is not that right to life which He imputes to us; for He needs it Himself. He needs His own personal merit.
In what sense, then, do we say that He will give to mankind during the Millennial Age and impute to the Church during the Gospel Age, a life-right and righteousness respectively. In this way: He will give mankind His human life-right, the merit that was His as the reward for His obedience as the man Christ Jesus, namely, the privilege, or right, to live as a human being. That right was secured to Him by obedience to the Law. (Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:12.) Now He is highly exalted, a partaker of the divine nature, and no longer needs that right to human life and the righteousness which goes with that right. He is quite satisfied and complete in his present condition. He has, to give to the world, by and by, the right to human life and the righteousness which goes with that right, the merit of that earthly sacrifice. Of this, He imputes to the Church at the present time a sufficiency to make good for their imperfection. We are complete in him, so that our offering of ourselves may be, through Him, an acceptable sacrifice to God and reckoned holy.
IMPUTATION--What Releases Imputed Merit?
QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--In the case of the one who makes utter failure and who dies the Second Death, is the imputed merit released at the time his failure is determined or at the time when he actually dies? ANSWER.--The merit of Christ is imputed to those who come unto the Father through him. Those who repudiate this earthly merit of Christ have it no longer from the moment of their repudiation; from the moment of their rejection of the Lord all the merit that they had is released, forfeited, gone. This does not mean that they must die actually at that moment. But they fall into the hands of the living God; that is out of the hands of Mercy, into those of Justice. And we know that no one can stand in the presence of the living God and Justice without perfection. Those who repudiate the Ransom seem to have no longer a sense of sin. This is illustrated by the parable of the man who takes of the "wedding garment;" from the moment of his repudiation, no longer is it his in any sense of the word.
IMPUTATION--Pastor Russell's View.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--2--Have you changed your mind in regard to the following quotation? In Dawn, Vol. 1, page 232, par 1, we read as follows: "Our sins He consented to have imputed to Him, that He might bear our penalty for us, and He died on our behalf, as though He were the sinner." In Vol. 5, page 109, line 23, we also read: "Not imputed to them, but imputed to Him, who bore our sins in His body on the tree." In Vol. 5, page 444, par 2, we also read: "That God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, but imputing them unto Him."
ANSWER.--The work of Christ is presented from a variety of standpoints, some showing modifications of one kind and some of another; some stating the matter from the human standpoint and some from the Divine. What we need in all Scriptural matters is to get at the real import. [Q340]
From God's standpoint human sin is imputed to Jesus; that is to say. He was provided to be the sinner's Representative--to pay the price for the release of man from the death sentence; thus God pictures Christ as the serpent raised upon the pole. Thus the Apostle says He was made sin for us, although He knew no sin--He was a sin-offering.
Viewing the matter from the other standpoint, from the human standpoint, we see our own weaknesses and shortcomings, realizing the necessity of our Master's imputing to us the merit of His sacrifice to make up for our deficiency. Thus the facts agree, whether we state them from one standpoint or another. Our sins were reckoned against Jesus when He died for sin. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us when we offer ourselves to God and our Great Redeemer and High Priest makes good our deficiency.
QUESTION (1916-Z)--1--If Merit is imputed, who imputes it? If Righteousness is imputed, by whom is it imputed?
ANSWER.--Our Lord Jesus imputes His own Merit to His own followers under the conditions of their covenant of full consecration; but this imputation is with the full sanction of and in co-operation with Divine Justice--not otherwise. This imputation of Merit to the imperfect one desiring to he the follower of Jesus may be expressed as an imputation of Righteousness to such a one on the part of Divine Justice, on the part of the heavenly Father; as we read, "It is God that justifieth."--Rom. 8:33.
IMPUTATION--Old Testament Teaching.
QUESTION (1916)--2--Is the imputation of Christ's merit shown by types and shadows in the Old Testament?
QUESTION (1916)--3--Define the meaning of the word imputation, please.
ANSWER.--The word imputation signifies to make applicable to another. Something the other does not have. Not by a direct gift, but by an imputation. It is rather difficult to define the word imputation. We can illustrate it better. If I was in need of $1,000 and asked you for it--that would not do. We never ask (laughter). I guess I had better change that illustration. Suppose John Smith needed $1,000, and Henry Brown had $1,000 and would give him the use of it, and yet, he said to himself, I think I will not give him the $1,000. He promises he will work it out. Let him give me his note, and I will endorse his note and let him go and borrow it of the bank. When you endorse his note you impute the $1,000 to his note. John Smith did not have a penny. The banker says, have you any money or property? No, not worth a cent. Can you have some one endorse it for you? John comes to you, and you endorse his note; you have imputed full value to that note. He takes it to the bank and it is all right. Worth $1,000 now, and not worth a cent before. So in this Gospel Age there are certain terms by which we can come to the father. The same terms by which Jesus came in that you will become a living sacrifice. You say, I am very willing to be a living sacrifice. You say, God [Q341] I would like to do what Jesus did. God will say, your promise is not worth a cent here. Why not? Why, you are a bundle of imperfection; I know you very well. You could not do anything at all. You get Jesus to endorse it for you. Let him be your advocate and take up the matter for you. So you go to Jesus. Will you, dear Lord, be my advocate with the Father? Will you make it possible for me to come in under these terms and present my body holy and acceptable? Will you help me do that? That depends. Oh, you have terms? Yes, very strict terms. You must turn your back against sin and enter into a special covenant as I have done. A covenant of sacrifice, giving up yourself absolutely. You say, I am willing to do that. Very well, you be my disciple and I will be your advocate and take care of the rest. You follow the lines I have laid down for you and you will come out all right. I will endorse for you. How does Jesus endorse for you? In this way--He has that corresponding price, that right to life, applicable to Adam and all his race. If you and I belong to the race of Adam, we had from the moment we were born, an inheritance in that great account. The Bible tells us in advance that the very object of God's having this plan of salvation was to give life to mankind. You and 1 have interest in that, because we belong to this race. If we can but know about it, we have the privilege of returning the human perfection, restitution; all that is included in that which Jesus put in the Father's hand. You could not accept restitution, for he has not offered it to any one yet. He said there will be a restitution of all mankind, and you and I merely know what is coming bye and bye. Then we learned that God has another feature of the plan separate and apart from the world and this is, that He is taking out a people for His name to be the Bride class, to be associated with Jesus in the kingdom. Now we see on what terms; that you shall walk in His steps, be like He was, and He will be your advocate with the Father, and when we agree to this and give up our little all, what do you give up? Just what you have got. Some ten years, and some ten days of life, and some more. You might give up a very healthy or a very sickly body. No matter what you have; great influence in the world or no influence at all, and give yourself just whatever you have. But all that you have--not a thing to be kept back--time, influence, money, everything goes when you make a consecration such as Jesus made. To be Jesus' disciple and follower that is what we agree to do. But when we come to the Father and find out we have not very much, we say, will He accept this? No, not that. How will it go through? Well, says Jesus, you know I have an account with the Father and a right to give restitution bye and bye and that includes you. Well, now I am going to impute to you all that I would be giving you bye and bye, and you give what you have now in your possession and I give in your behalf what will be coming to you bye and bye, so you see it will be all that will be yours in perfection. Illustration: We are not to think Jesus deals with each individual as they come along. The way Jesus did was this when He ascended on high He appeared in the presence of God for "us." Who are the "us?" It took in all those who will be of the Church class and it appeared for you and me away back there 1900 years [Q342] ago. The Holy Church is one church from God's standpoint. The Church He predestinated and foreordained. The Bible says God foreknew Jesus, and us by Jesus. Now if Jesus appeared for the whole Church at once He made an application of merit in the sense that it was imputed to all of us. I tell the banker, I have $1,000 I want to keep intact; I will be doing some endorsing. I will endorse a note for $1,000 and when that note is in, it will he for a number of people; to S. & Co. and the R. & Co., and a number of them. You know you have the merit there in my deposit, and that will be the merit for this note I endorse. So as long as this note is unpaid there will he an embargo on that deposit and it could not he used for any other purpose. Embargo means it has a handicap; a note given that covers the whole thing. Not the money given, but an endorsement. The Lord endorsed for the whole Church at once. Therefore He first imputed the merit to the Church and afterwards to the world. The Church does not need it now; we are going to join in with him in sacrifice; why should He give us the earthly life? We do not want restitution. We are looking for the better Hope; Spiritual Kingdom--glory, honor and immortality. Imputed to us, that which made our sacrifice acceptable to Him.
INCARNATION--Re Belief in.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Do you believe in Reincarnation, the soul reverting into the physical body?
QUESTION (1911)--2--Should the sweet incense burned by the high priest, and which represented the perfections of the man Jesus, be understood as having been offered also by the members of the body of the high priest, the under priests? If so, how was this shown?
ANSWER.--Since there is nothing in the account in Leviticus that says that the incense was offered a second time, it is rather improbable that it was offered twice. And yet the thought is there that the sacrifice of the Church, made acceptable by the Atonement effected through Jesus' death, must continue to be presented until death, that these members might eventually be received into glory. "As our Lord was, so are we, in the world." As He was rendering obedience day by day, so are we rendering obedience day by day. As the spirit of loving zeal was demonstrated in His case, so in our case otherwise we should not be permitted to he members of that Body.
So we might say that the incense which He offered up, in a certain sense and to a certain degree, represented the whole Church, which is His Body; for in harmony with the Divine intention, before the foundation of the world, He was to be the Forerunner, the Representative and the Advocate of those who would he accepted as His members. Hence, in offering up His own perfections, He was offering up that which would, by imputation, be our perfection, as His members.
In view of the fact that nothing was said about offering the incense the second time, and since we do not go into the Holy as individuals, but as members of His Body, we are safe in saying that we are, "in Christ, a sweet savor to God," [Q343] though a bad savor to the world. "Be ye, therefore, followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and hath given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor." "For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ." (Eph. 5:1,2, Cor. 2:15, Rev. 8:3,4.) "Therefore, let us offer the sacrifices of praise to God continually;" "for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."--Heb. 13:15,16.
INCENSE--Re Lord's Goat.
QUESTION (1913)--1--When the blood of the Lord's goat was taken into the Holy, was incense taken also the same as with the blood of the bullock?
ANSWER.--There is nothing stated of that kind, and I do not understand it would be at all proper. The incense represented, I think, the personal value of our Lord's personal sacrifice; it ascended up as a sweet odor and that smoke entered in beyond the vail and covered the mercy seat. I understand that sweet odor and perfume remained there, giving the high priest full right thereafter of access to the Most Holy, and going in and out with the blood of the goat had no part with the offering of any more incense necessarily. Yet I do not know. I merely know that nothing is said about additional incense, and I would see no necessity for any additional.
QUESTION (1909)--2--How would you explain the fact that several of the brethren thoroughly consecrated are lapsing into insanity, generally shortly before death? How would this "square" with the spirit of a sound mind that we would expect to be pretty well developed by this time?
ANSWER.--I do not know, I have not heard of it. I should not think there was anything in the truth to make anyone insane. The Apostle speaks of the Spirit of the Lord being the Spirit of a sound mind. I think that if you go deep into the matter that we have fewer persons of an unsound mind than in any other walk of life. Look at the condition of the state of New York, the Empire State. I find there more than twenty-five thousand people in that state in the insane asylums, adults, which would mean that for every one hundred and fifty adults in the state, one is insane. The state of New York has in it Presbyterians, Catholics, Methodists, as well as ourselves. How do you think we would compare, one in every one hundred and fifty insane? You would find fewer unbalanced minds in the truth than outside. If you find anything to the contrary, I would be glad to be informed. I do not know many who are insane.
Everyone knows that there are periods of life when there may be a temporary derangement of mind, and there are very few families who have not had some such experience. If some of those should be truth people, it would not be strange. I think of one who had typhoid fever and he became delirious or insane. I do not know very many in the Truth that are going insane, but I will be pleased to be informed if you learn anything of the kind.
QUESTION (1909)--3--How does this "square" with the spirit of a sound mind? [Q344]
ANSWER.--I do not think it would square at all. I do not feel insane, and you do not look that way. I hope my mind is getting better balanced every year, and I hope yours is also. If any of us had reason to be perplexed or confused in our minds it was when years ago we thought that our friends and neighbors and children, all who had not died as saints, were all going straight to eternal torment. That was the time when your mind would probably give way. Now that we have found that it is not eternal torment that is the penalty, but death, and then learn that Christ died for all to bring eternal life--if that makes one insane, I do not understand the process of his mind. I would understand that if one in the truth loses his balance of mind, it would be due to something in his family line.
Our Lord did not say that as soon as we came into the truth He would give us mental restitution and that we should have no more headache, etc. The promise He gives us is the promise of the kingdom. As the old flesh shall die, He intends that the blessing of the truth shall make us more glad and to have more peace and joy while we are seeking day by day to finish our race.
INSURANCE--Is it Right to Take Out Short Term Policies?
QUESTION (1912)--1--Is it right to take out a five years' insurance policy to be paid at death or which lapses in five years? Is it worth taking out?
ANSWER.--I do not know the condition of your insurance societies here in Great Britain, but I know that we have many fine societies over in America. In many instances they are as strong as the banks, and in some other instances they have a stronger hold than the banks, and some of these societies are now in the course of issuing very cheap insurance. The man who can leave the money to his family may just as well leave it in insurance, for the insurance will be just as safe in the insurance company as in the bank. Would it be right to insure our lives? I should say that it is a great blessing to mankind. Do not, however, trust in the insurance companies instead of trusting in the Lord. Some of the poor worldlings are putting all their confidence in banks and insurance companies and exchanges. When these things smash, then their poor faith loses itself. We are not seeking to make provision for ourselves but we should seek to avail ourselves of every opportunity to help those around us and those who should remain after us in life. As to where to put your money; as to which bank to put it in, I do not know and so will not tell you. The Lord's advice was to have your treasure "where moth and rust doth not corrupt." I know of only one investment which is sure and certain, and that is a Heavenly investment. "Where thieves do not break through and steal." I cannot give, and will not try to give, any advice as good as the Master's words. I have merely thrown out some hints and suggestions, but this is not an answerable question finally and conclusively so far as I can make out.