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JUSTIFICATION--For Past Sins.
QUESTION (1908)--1--As Christ died for our sins in Adam, would not that imply that at justification we are at peace with God for all of our past?
ANSWER.--I answer Yes and no--in this way: It is according to your faith. What God says now is merely on the basis of faith. Those who cannot exercise faith cannot have present blessings. Everything that God gives during this age is according to faith, and to those who exercise the faith. You see there are some people so constituted that they cannot exercise faith, and they cannot get the blessings of this present time unless they can exercise faith. Must they go to hell because they cannot exercise faith? We are not talking about going to hell; we are not talking about eternal torment. We are glad, thank God, that is not the divine provision for those who cannot exercise faith at the present time, but that in due time, in the Millennial Age, they will be treated according to sight. If they cannot exercise faith now, they will have an opportunity of having sight bye and bye in the Millennial Age, and they will then see the things that you and I now see with the eye of faith. The eye of faith is directed by God's Word and to those that have the eye of faith, and the ears of faith, there is a special blessing now, because this class which God is now calling out of the world are those that do hear and see with this power of faith. Others are left waiting for the time when God will deal with them. You remember how the Apostle and the prophet declare that the time is coming when all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped. Thank God! It will not be merely to those that have faith, but now the present offer is only to those who have faith, because God is now gathering out the elect class, the little flock, who will be with Christ, and no one will be suitable for this position unless they can exercise faith. Therefore God is leaving the matter in such form that only that class can receive it now. "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and blessed are your ears, for they hear." For others who cannot see and who cannot hear for the lack of faith, or for lack of something else, God has a blessing of another kind. Now suppose you did exercise faith, what would be the result to you? If you can exercise faith in Christ, and know that Christ has died, and fully believe it and accept it, then it is your privilege to realize that you are one of those who were covered by the merit of that sacrifice; and if you are governed by his sacrifice, it is your pleasure then to feel, Now from God's sight, all my blemishes and my imperfections according to nature are covered by the merit of Christ's sacrifice, and now God will not hold them against me. But mind you, that is yours only so long as you exercise faith. If you lose the faith before night you have lost all of the justification that went with it, because it is only a reckoned justification, it is not an actual justification; you are not made actually free from those imperfections and sins; they are merely covered; the Lord covers them on account of your faith, and if your faith goes you are back exactly where you were before. So, according to your faith be it unto you, in this present time. Thus the Lord teaches those whom he is now schooling, [Q417] namely, those who are in the school of Christ, the household of faith, he is teaching the importance in his sight of full confidence and trust in Him. When he tells us that our sins are covered and we are willing to receive it so, why then his blessing is with us. That does not mean that all your sins in the future and in the past are covered. What is covered then? I answer all the sins which come to you through Adam and through heredity, through your parents; but whatever you did personally and wilfully, knowing it was wrong, and not of heredity or weakness, is still yours to settle for. Now, of course, heredity and weakness will cover, I trust, nearly all your blemishes and shortcomings; but to whatever extent you have done wilfully aside from these weaknesses you have inherited, and aside from ignorance, you are responsible for, and you will have to have some kind of stripes for them still. That is the way I understand it. And if today, or at any time, you commit sin, with knowing intelligent wilfulness, the Lord may see better than you that some portion of it was attributable to ignorance, or to your heredity, and he will give you credit for all of that. You will not have to settle that. Therefore the Apostle says, I judge not mine own self. He says, it is a small thing with me that I should be judged by any of you. What do you know about me? You cannot read my heart. It would be a small thing for me that I should be judged by any of you. Yea, I judge not mine own self, the Lord is the one who is going to decide. And the Lord knows exactly how much wilfulness or ignorance there is in connection with anything you have done, and according to that reasonable arrangement he is going to cover through faith in Christ everything that was of ignorance, and every element that was of heredity. You will have a clean sheet, so far as that is concerned, and you will stand responsible and be held accountable only to the extent that you did wilfully and intentionally. What a comfort that is to us, and what a restraint. It is a great mistake some seem to make, some perhaps who are Catholics, and some perhaps who are Protestants, that there is forgiveness for everything. Catholics say, we will go to the priest and confess it and it will all be over, no matter what it was. I heard of one man who had stolen two hams, and he confessed to the priest and said, I brought you one of them as a present. The priest found after he had given him absolution that he had stolen them from himself so; he was just in one ham. I am not giving that as a true story, or a reflection against our Catholic friends, but merely as illustrative of the point that we cannot do any shilly-shallying with our heavenly Father, for he knows all about our matters, and he has made provision for one class of sins, all that was from Adam, all the ignorance and heredity, are provided for freely, fully, graciously, and we have nothing to pay at all; but we must feel that we have a personal responsibility for every action and for every thought, and for every word. If you get that thought into your minds, it will make you very careful. You will realize that however much Christ may have done for us through forgiveness of sins that are past, nevertheless there is a responsibility on our part for everything that we do, think, or say.
JUSTIFICATION--Legal and Actual.
QUESTION (1916)--1--In September 15th Tower, page 281, [Q418] Article on Justification, discussing "Legal and Actual" Justification, is this statement: "It is legal and it is actual at the same instant." Is the thought here meant to be that our justification is actual and not reckoned?
ANSWER.--That is what we tried to say and apparently did not succeed in saying it properly. We cannot say it so that all of God's people will understand it.
JUSTIFICATION--Pastor Russell's Views Not Changed.
QUESTION (1916)--l--Comparing articles on Justification in Volume 6, Tabernacle Shadows and Sept. 15, 1916, Tower Do these harmonize? Has Brother Russell changed his views on Justification?
ANSWER.--Brother Russell has not changed his views on Justification. Justification is justification, has always been justification and will always be justification, and Brother Russell could not change justification for himself or for anybody else. Justification means to make right, to make just. As, for instance, if we had a pair of scales in our hands, and placed something on one side, then by placing something of equal weight on the other side, we would balance the scales. That is the basis of the thought of justification--the balance. Apply this thought to the world of mankind. You and I and the whole human race get out of balance. The true balance of Adam was a perfect mind, and God required nothing more than he could do. He was therefore a balanced man, and being separate from sinners, needed no justification to be made right. Jesus was the same. He was "holy, harmless and separate from sinners," was not wrong in any sense, and therefore needed no balancing, required no justification, or making right. He was right. Only that which is wrong, or unbalanced, needs justifying. The whole world has been tried in Adam, placed in the scales, and found wanting and consequently sentenced to death by the Righteous Judge. He has adjudged all in Adam to be unworthy of life, and He will never alter or change His mind. How, then, you inquire, will He bless the world? God tells us that all this condemnation came through the disobedience of one man, and then passed down to all the children of Adam, so that all are subject to this unbalanced, undone condition started in Adam. We were born with an unbalanced mind and body. We are not to be held responsible for that in the sense that we caused the wrong, but still, we are wrong, although not responsible for the wrong. Adam is the one responsible for it. As by a man came sin, by man came death. We did not bring in this death-condition; we were born in it. We were born in this unsatisfactory state which is unworthy of life. God has provided that we shall be justified, or made right. In the case of Adam, it would mean that he must he made right with God, or else he can never have everlasting life, and Christ will do something for him in the way of justification that will make him acceptable to God. What will Christ do for Adam and the whole race of mankind? What He will do for Adam and the race will be different from what He will do for the church. In the Millennium He will make Adam and the race perfect. All the obedient will become perfectly balanced, well-poised, in full harmony with God in all their talents and powers by the time Jesus gets through with them at the end of the Millennial Age. They must, however, be willing and cooperate with Him. God [Q419] does not intend to force any man's mind contrary to its natural bend, but, if willing, He will help them up to the perfection that was lost in Eden, and give them the privilege of complete recovery. This is the way the world will be justified, or made right. This has been stated in the Sixth Volume; the same justification has been taught in the Tabernacle Shadows, and twenty times in the Watch Tower. It is the same in every one of them. No new meaning has been given. This justification, however, applies to the church differently because the church is separate from the world in God's great plan; consequently the justification comes to them in a different way. Why? If the Lord were to justify you and me in the same way that He will justify the world, He would make us perfect human beings. However, He did not make us perfect, for our flesh is the same as when we gave our hearts to the Lord. Being imperfect in the flesh proves that we are not justified in the flesh. How, then, does He justify us? From the type we see that the merit of Jesus is imputed, or reckoned, or counted to the church for the purpose of covering their blemishes, as though God would hide these blemishes from His sight, so that with this covering or imputation of the merit of Christ to us, God can accept us as sacrifices. He could not accept us as sacrifices so long as we were sinners. We must be granted the right to life before we can present our bodies as living sacrifices. We can't give anything before we have it. We must therefore be justified by FAITH. Mark the difference between the making one actually perfect during the Millennial Age, and the justification by faith during this age. We have this justification by faith. It begins with us. "Too late! too late! will be the cry when we have been glorified. When did we get started? When we turned our backs upon sin and began to feel after God. To convert is to turn around. If I were going in one direction, the natural course of sin and the world, and I hear something about God and the truth, and come to have some knowledge on these subjects and that God is willing to receive sinners back to Him, what shall I do? Turn around and get on the side of righteousness. I am then converted, or turned around. This turning around does not mean that you become a saint. O, no! You were not a saint because you turned around. You turned around because you wanted to find God: "If haply you might find Him." We found Him when we turned around from the wrong course and wanted to go in the right way. We found Him when we began to walk in the right way. We then took steps toward putting away sin, putting away filthy habits, for we must put these away. So we began to divest ourselves of the filth of the flesh. We kept on trying, and said, we want to draw nearer to God. Finally, we said we want to get fully to God and we hear that we must get into touch with Jesus and He will justify us and make us acceptable to the Father. How shall I get acquainted with Jesus? You begin to have reverence. You learn from the Bible, Scripture Studies, tracts, friends, etc., and get the understanding that you must make a full surrender of yourself to Jesus in order to be His disciple, and you learn that if you do thus come to the Lord and He accepts you that He will then justify you and immediately present you to the Father, who will indicate His acceptance of you by giving you the Holy Spirit and thus [Q420] begetting you to a spirit life. Just as soon as the great Advocate with the Father accepted you in the name of the Father, your spirit begetting was the next thing in order. Instantaneous with your full consecration and acceptance came the begetting of the spirit. Up to that time you were in the process of being justified. You had turned in the right direction to become justified, and you were getting a little nearer to the justified condition where God would be pleased with you, but He would not give you any hearing at all until you had first turned around. As you went on in this way you were always progressing toward justification; each step was leading you to the point of justification. Was this shown in the Tabernacle, and if so, how? An Israelite on the outside who wished to approach God would first see the white curtain surrounding the court, representing our standing before God, and would learn that he must go to the gate, and by invitation, pass through to the brazen altar and the sacrifice made thereon. This would say that he was turning from sin and desired to approach God. This altar and sacrifice represented God's provision for the sinner. He made a sacrifice in the interest of sinners that he might be able to receive you justly and treat with you. We went to God along that way. Then he would pass on to the copper laver. That contains water, and the water represents truth, and also cleansing, and so, as the picture shows, everyone who goes to the laver puts away some of the filth of the flesh, and consequently gets into a purer and better condition. Should we not go to God first and get rid of the filth of the flesh afterwards. Never! You are now going to God and it is very proper for you to show your desire to do everything in your power to put away filth from yourself and this is represented by the laver, and then, you go on still further and draw near to the first vail, and inquire, what shall I do now? I would like to go on now and become a priest. I know that God is now calling for priests. But you can't be a priest unless you are a sacrificer. You will have to sacrifice if you have any hope of being a priest. You must have the priest to make the sacrifice. Jesus is this priest. Previous to being sacrificed you must first be tied up at the door of the tabernacle just as the goat was tied up. You tie yourself up by giving up your will to the Lord--all that you have and all that you are. The tying of that goat at the door of the tabernacle represents your consecration and my consecration. The consecrated goat is smitten by the high priest. It is the high priest who kills us. He does this. Just the moment that he accepts you and the killing or sacrifice takes place, that is the very moment that He justifies you. God won't accept you before His merit is imputed to you. Then you are begotten of the holy spirit and become a new creature, and it is this new creature, begotten of the holy spirit, that is a member of the Christ, and goes beyond the second vail. The goat never goes beyond the vail. Neither goat went in; neither did the bullock. The bullock and the goat represent the flesh, and the flesh never goes in. It is the new creature that goes in. The moment the Lord accepts you, you are justified, and that moment you receive the Holy Spirit and are received into the body of the high priest, and because you are in that body, you are in the holy. The next thing will be faithfulness until death where you will pass under the second vail. [Q421]
Now you see where this justification comes in. This might be stated in a variety of ways, but it is the one start, the one sacrifice necessary, the one consecration necessary, and the one justification by the precious blood.
KINGDOM--Outcast Children of the Kingdom.
QUESTION (1906)--1--Please explain Matt. 8:12? How shall the children of the kingdom be cast out into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, while many from the East, and West and South, sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom?
ANSWER.--I answer that the Lord was here discussing the matter of the earthly kingdom with the earthly children of the kingdom, and He was telling them that because they were rejecting Him, the time would come when they would be rejected. He was explaining to them spiritual things, and did not try to explain the difference between the heavenly and the earthly parts of the new kingdom; it was not proper that He should do so; they were not yet begotten of the holy spirit and could not have appreciated spiritual things, if he had taught them spiritual things. Therefore our Lord, in all His teachings of the people during His three and one-half years of ministry, did not attempt to teach them spiritual things; he merely taught them natural things. Anything beyond the natural was stated in parables and dark sayings, and He told the disciples, who were able to receive those messages that the time would come by and by, as a result of this going to the Father, that the Holy Spirit would come, and bring these things to their knowledge--not to the knowledge of the others. Therefore those who are addressed, and who were rejecting Him, were not intended to understand in its fulness and clearness the earthly and heavenly phase of the kingdom. From their standpoint the best way He could talk to them was on their level: that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be in the kingdom, not saying whether the earthly or heavenly phase. We know from other scriptures that they will be in the earthly phase of the kingdom, but the Lord did not undertake to explain matters or dilate on that feature of the subject, but merely that they would be in the kingdom, and that these others when they come forth will find that, instead of being companions to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom as they hoped to be, being the chosen nation of God, will find themselves in the outcast condition. When do they get the weeping and gnashing of teeth? We answer they went into weeping and gnashing of teeth at the end of their Age. Those who rejected the Lord found a great time of trouble coming on their nation. That fits that part of the statement very well. By and by when they come forth, in awaking, they will find what a great mistake they made, and the prophet speaking of them and respecting them says that they shall look upon Him whom they pierced, and shall mourn because of Him.
KINGDOM--Spiritual or Earthly.
QUESTION (1909)--2--When our Lord in His parables spoke of the Kingdom, did He always refer to the spiritual phase?
ANSWER.--Apparently in one case He was speaking of the earthly when He said, "Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," etc. I do not remember any other parable referring to the earthly phase except the parable of the sheep and [Q422] goats, when all mankind as sheep and goats will be gathered before the Millennial throne, the earthly phase of the kingdom, but in general the kingdom referred to by our Lord is the spiritual kingdom, from which proceeds the power and authority.
QUESTION (1910-Z)--l--Please give briefly your understanding of the expression, Messiah's Kingdom, and the work of that Kingdom.
ANSWER.--Our understanding is that Messiah's Kingdom will be a spiritual one, invisible to mortals, yet all- powerful, for the accomplishment of the great things promised in the Law and in the Prophets. The Empire which he will establish, invisible to men, will take the place of the Empire of Satan, likewise invisible. The King of Glory will replace the Prince of Darkness. Principal amongst Messiah's earthly agents and representatives will be Abraham, Isaac and all the Prophets, resurrected in full human perfection. Instead of their being, as heretofore, the fathers, they shall be the children of Messiah, whom he will make princes in all the earth. (Psalm 45:16.) With this Kingdom the nation of Israel will speedily unite, and eventually every nation will come into harmony with Messiah, and all people will be privileged to come in under Israel's New Covenant, then established by the great "Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in."-- Jer. 31:31-34; Mal 3:1-3.
The glorious Messiah, whom the Jews identify with "Michael, the great Prince, which standeth for the children of the people" (Dan. 12:1), the Mohammedans also expect and identify with Mahomet of the past. The Free Masons also expect the same glorious personage and, in their traditions, identify him with Hiram Abiff, the great Master-Mason. This same great Messiah, Michael, the archangel, the anti-typical Melchisedec, Priest as well as King, we identify as "The Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:5,6.) But when the great King shall appear in his glory and establish his Kingdom with Israel he will be, as promised by the Prophets, "the desire of all nations." (Hag. 2:7.) Then all the blinded eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears will be unstopped. Then who he is and how he should be identified with Abraham's Seed and David's line, will be clearly known to all, in heaven and in earth. Not now, but when the King shall reign in righteousness, all shall fully understand the significance of Zechariah's prophecy (Zec. 12:7-10) and Psalm 22:16. Content that Messiah shall show the Truth in his day of revealment, we are glad to point Jews, Mohammedans, Christians, all, to the glorious Messiah and the great work of blessing for all the nations which he will accomplish through the Seed of Abraham, according to God's Covenant and his Oath.
KINGDOM--Breaking Least Commandment.
QUESTION (1911)--2--Please tell us to what party and people Christ was referring in the nineteenth verse of the fifth chapter of Matthew, when he said, "Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least of these commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom [Q423] of Heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven?"
ANSWER.--The kingdom of Heaven is spoken of in two different senses of the word. In one sense the kingdom of Heaven is not at hand. We are waiting for that kingdom of Heaven when the Elect shall all have been completed, and shall all have experienced the change to glory. But in another sense you and I are the kingdom of Heaven now. We are the ones who represent the kingdom in the world, and we are spoken of by the Apostle Peter as a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, now; even though it is not certain you will be one of these, and it is not certain that I will be; still we are spoken of in this way. In this sense, all the church is spoken of as the kingdom of Heaven. So, Jesus said, you remember. The kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence; the violent taketh it by force. Now, the heavenly Kingdom of the future was not suffering violence then? No, but Jesus represented that kingdom and he was suffering violence, and his disciples represented this kingdom, and they were suffering, for the violent ones were taking them by force, and they caused the Lord's death, and the scattering of the church, etc. So then, in this scripture also; whosoever in the church class will make little of any command of God, he will make himself less, or should be considered that much less amongst the Lord's people; if anyone would do or teach anything contrary to the Lord's commandments, no matter which they are, anything we believe to be of divine institution--whoever would go contrary to God's arrangement or will in any respect, we should consider him thereby less on that account. He that breaks the commandments and teachers others to do so, and sets a had example, count him least in the kingdom and those who teach the will of God, and strive to do the will of God, consider those amongst the greatest; and so that is the advice of the Apostle to the church. Look out amongst you those who are walking the most in the footsteps of Jesus if you want to elect elder brothers and deacons in the church. Look out amongst you those who are copying the most closely the divine arrangements, and choose of this kind. And those who have these qualifications for service, let them be the servants of the church. They will be the least and the greatest in proportion as they are doing the divine will. That is the proper standard for you and me to recognize.
KINGDOM--Turning Over to Father.
QUESTION (1911)--1--When we read in firstCorinthians, the fifteenth chapter, that Christ shall deliver all things over to the Father who put all things under him, will this turning over of everything to the Father be before or after the little season mentioned in Revelation, the twentieth chapter, where we read that Satan shall be loosed for a little season that he might tempt the world?
ANSWER.--We answer that it will be before. When the thousand years are finished Christ will deliver the kingdom up to the Father and Satan will he bound for a thousand years. So during all of that thousand years evil will be restrained, Satan shall be bound and Christ will do his work completely of restoring; and then having finished his work, he will turn it over to the Father, and then all mankind, being perfect, will be under the control of the Father. Then [Q424] you say, "What is the difference between the control of the Father and the control of the Son? Do they have different laws?" No, there is no difference in the law. The law which Jesus will enforce, during the thousand years, will be exactly the same law that God will enforce after the thousand years, but Jesus stands for, or represents, divine mercy; as the Mediator, he stands between divine justice and the sinner; he stands as Mediator by virtue of having redeemed the sinner. And so in this position he represents the Father's mercy. Now if God were to establish a precedent and he himself were to exercise mercy, he would have to set aside his justice, and God does not propose to do that. If every now and then he would set aside justice, he would be destroying the order of things, would be rather cultivating the spirit of error. For illustration, suppose one angel should say, "Now, heavenly Father, I have sinned; please overlook this matter." Suppose the Father would say, "Very well, I will overlook it." Then another one would say, bye and bye, "Well, heavenly Father, I have sinned; please overlook this matter." Bye and bye it would be fashionable among the angels to say, "I have not had my turn yet at forgiveness." God does not propose to have any such operation as that. He makes all his creatures perfect; as we read, his work is perfect. And having made them perfect, he expects them to maintain that perfection, and therefore he makes no allowances for imperfection. And in the case of man, he allowed this course of sin, and arranged in advance that Jesus would redeem man, so that thus he might illustrate the glorious qualities of his nature in condemning man to death, and allowing this reign of sin and death, his justice in not forgiving, then the justice that would require a ransom for them, and would send forth his Son to be the Redeemer--all of that was a great lesson to the angels, and it is a great lesson to us, and will be a great lesson to mankind, that God is not trifling; that God's word, "Thou shalt not be disobedient," is something that is to be recognized; there is no trifling with our God. You cannot say, "Well, he will forgive me, and it won't matter." Sin would be common amongst a great many people if God in that manner--in carelessness, so to speak--in dealing with them, and in following out his own will, would be careless with the sinner; it would be very common to sin; and it would really be an invitation. But God sets a ban on sin. He says it is injurious to every person, that righteousness will be a blessing, and that he will not allow a single case of sin. And then he illustrates that in man's case and allows it to go on, then provides a Redeemer, and allows the Redeemer to stand as the Mediator for a thousand years, dealing with mankind and helping them up. He does not take any part in this, they are all under the care of the Mediator during that thousand years, until the Mediator shall bring them up to full perfection. But at the end of the thousand years they are perfect and do not need a Mediator any longer. A perfect man does not need a Mediator, any more than a perfect angel needs a Mediator, or any more than Adam needed a Mediator--and not as much, because Adam did not have the experience that these perfect men at the end of the thousand years of Christ's reign will have had with the reign of sin and death and the reign of righteousness, and having seen the goodness of [Q425] God, and now then they ought to be thoroughly fixed in their character. No doubt about it. So then the Mediator steps out from between. What does it signify? It means that mankind will be turned over to simple, pure justice--nothing more, nothing less; and God will require them to do right, exactly right in every case; no allowances whatever; no way of making good if they go wrong. If they infract the divine law a little bit, it will mean that they do so with knowledge, and it will mean that they will die the second death. However, we are not to understand that the Son will have nothing to do with the matter. While Revelation says that fire will come down from God out of heaven and destroy Satan and those who go with him in the error of that time, and that indicates that it comes from justice, nevertheless we understand that in all these things the Lord Jesus, and the church, his body, associated with him, will be the Father's agent; but in the one case, as Mediator, he is acting upon his own initiative, upon that which he bought with his own precious blood, this right which he has to rule the world having come to him through his redemption of the world, but that work being finished, he will resume active operations in the universe as the representative of Jehovah, just as he was before he came into the world. He was God's representative in the creation of the world, in the creation of the angels--all things were made by him; and just so after the thousand years, when he shall resume his relationship to the Father, he will be the Father's agent in all things that shall be done. So I presume it will be the Lord Jesus who will have the supervision of this matter, and the destruction of Satan and the others, and that seems to be the picture given us in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, where the parable of the sheep and the goats carries us down and shows us that Satan and those associated with him will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death.
KINGDOM--Messiah's Kingdom Will be Spiritual
QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--What is meant by Messiah's Kingdom?
ANSWER.--Our understanding is that Messiah's Kingdom will be a spiritual one, invisible to mortals, yet all- powerful for the accomplishment of the great things promised in the Law and the Prophets. The Empire which He will establish, invisible to men, will take the place of the Empire of Satan, likewise invisible. The King of Glory will replace the Prince of Darkness. Principal amongst Messiah's earthly agents and representatives will be Abraham, Isaac and all the Prophets, raised to full, human perfection. Instead of their being, as heretofore, the fathers, they shall be the children of Messiah, whom He will make "Princes in all the earth." (Psa. 45:16.) To this Kingdom the nation of Israel will speedily unite. Eventually every nation will come into harmony with Messiah, and all people will be privileged to come in under Israel's New Covenant, then established by the great "Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in."-- Jer. 31:31-34; Mal. 3:1-3.
The glorious Messiah, whom the Jews identify with "Michael, the great Prince, which standeth for thy people" (Dan. 12:1), the Mohammedans also expect, and identify Him with Mohammed of the past. The Free Masons also expect the same glorious personage and, in their traditions, [Q426] identify Him with Hiram Abiff, the great Master Mason. This same great Messiah, Michael, the Archangel, the anti-typical Melchizedek, Priest as well as King, we identify as "the Man Jesus Christ ,who gave Himself a Ransom-Price for all, to be testified in due time."--1 Tim. 2:6.
But when the Great King shall appear in His Glory and establish His Kingdom with Israel, He will be, as promised by the Prophets, "The desire of all nations." (Hag. 2:7.) Then all the blinded eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped. (Isa. 35:5.) Then, who He is, and how He should be identified with Abraham's Seed and David's line, will be clearly known to all in Heaven and all on earth. Not now, but when the King shall reign in righteousness, all shall fully understand the significance of Zechariah's prophecy (Zec. 12:7-10) and of Psa. 22:16. Content that Messiah shall show the Truth in His Day of revealment, we are glad to point Jews, Mohammedans, Christians, all, to the glorious Messiah, and the great work of blessing for all the nations, which God will accomplish, through the Seed of Abraham, according to His Covenant and His Oath.
KINGDOM--Bringing Forth Fruit for.
QUESTION (1912)--l--When the Lord said in the parable that the seed would being forth some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred fold, are all these classes belonging to the Church or to the Great Company?
ANSWER.--He does not say, and I would suppose it would represent all that are fruitful, that would bring forth the fruits of the spirit. One hundred fold might be those who came up to the very highest standard, and those who would bring forth sixty might refer to that same class, but not to shine quite as highly in the Kingdom, as we read that "Star differeth from star in glory." And the thirty fold might mean those who perhaps will be of the Great Company class, who will develop the spirit of the Lord, but not in such an abundant measure. They will all bring forth fruits of the spirit, in any event; just the same as those who are of the two classes, the wise and the foolish virgins. They are all virgins--all pure, all acceptable to God.
KINGDOM--Will Children Be Born in the Millennium?
QUESTION (1913)--2--To whom do you understand Isa. 65:23 to refer, especially the last clause, "They shall not labor in vain nor bring forth for trouble, for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them"?
ANSWER.--Apparently, it would refer to a human class and under the administration of the Kingdom. If we inquire, would they be having offspring there, the answer would be that in all probability the cutting off of the matter of human families will be a gradual one and not an instantaneous one. For some time there may be sexual lines, but this condition of things will be gradually eliminated as they attain nearer to the perfection in which "there will be neither marrying nor giving in marriage." So I believe this text would refer to an early stage in the Millennium.
KINGDOM--A Point Yet in Doubt.
QUESTION (1915)--3--How are we to know when the Kingdom is set up? [Q427]
Well, dear friends, I am sure I will know when I get set up! (Laughter.) When I get set up, it will be when I receive my "change;" it will be when you receive your "change" to the spirit nature that each of you will be set up, passing through the door into the Most Holy, beyond the veil. We believe that the majority of the Kingdom class have already passed beyond the veil. To our understanding of the Bible all the sleeping saints of this Gospel Age were resurrected and passed beyond the veil in the spring of 1878. Of course it is by faith that we understand this. We think there are reasonable evidences for so believing, but we do not believe that the Kingdom was fully set up then. These saints are glorified in that they have now their glorious spirit bodies; but their spirit bodies do not constitute the Kingdom. The kingdom is the reigning power. The Bible intimates that Jesus is to take to Himself His great power and reign before the great destruction of the present Order comes about. This destruction means "Armageddon," and probably all of the Bible class will be with their Lord in glory by the time that Armageddon, the final phase of the great Time of Trouble, is on. Yet we are not wise enough to surely know.
We have pointed out in the Watch Tower the possibility of the last members of the Body of Christ remaining yet for a little time. You remember the words of the Psalmist: "Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand," etc. (Psa. 149:5-9.) This intimates a rejoicing, and it appears to be on this side of the veil, and seems to imply that there might be some of the saints during this time of smiting the nations who would he exercising power while still in the flesh. But we do not know. It looks that way. Some of us might be set up in that sense before our "change" takes place; for the Prophet goes on to say that they shall "execute vengeance upon the heathen [the nations] and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgments written. This honor have all His saints." This honor has not come to us yet. You have not bound any kings; neither have I. We are looking to see what this means. We are not to expect the prophecy to be clearly understood until the fulfilment.
Look back at the First Advent. The prophecies relating to that time were not understood until after they had been fulfilled. It was so with the disciples after the Lord was risen from the dead. When He explained the prophecies to them after His resurrection they understood. When He told them before what would take place, they did not understand. It was not then due time for them to understand these things. So it may he with us, that we will not understand until we are in the midst of the fulfilment. We had better leave it for the present with an interrogation point.
KINGDOM--The "Pearl of Great Price."
QUESTION (1915)--1--The kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." (Matt. 13:45,46.) What is this pearl?
ANSWER.--We might very properly understand the pearl of this parable to represent the Kingdom of God. You and I and all persons have intelligence or something to sell, some [Q428] thing to give away, something to exchange. What are you giving? What kind of exchanges are you making? Well, as children we were taught to exchange our time for knowledge; so we began our trading early. We traded off our hours, our minutes, our attention, to get instruction and knowledge. As we grew older we said, "Now we must do something in the way of business." So we went into business, some as bakers, some as clerks, others as dressmaker or milliners, others as wash women, to which we gave our time in exchange for money. One says, "I will be a lawyer, and I will make money and then become able to have an automobile"--an automobile comes first, you know (laughter)--and I will get a house of my own and become prominent and have a good name. Then when I go out with my family people will say "There comes Mr. So-and-So--well thought of!" That is the prize that many set before them. That is the pearl they intend to buy. That is what they are living for. That prize they spend their days and hours and minutes in attaining, planning how they will work their business so as to make money.
Others set before them a different prize. One says, "I would like to be a great physician." So he goes to medical college. He works hard to get his education, thinking, "I will be one of the greatest surgeons in America. That is my ambition." Therefore he spends his time along that line, bending every energy to its attainment. Another man says, "I would love to be a great musician. I love music best of all." This one spends his time and strength and money in mastering this great art. Everything goes for music, because that is his one ideal. And so each person, properly, has some ideal in life toward which he labors.
A child should be early taught to have some ideal in life; and according to the wisdom of the parents will the ideal be more or less reasonable, more or less valuable to the child. Every child should have a good ideal, something worthy for which to work. Children not blessed with good parents or teachers who are able to guide them aright do not get the proper blessing out of life, because the child's mind is feeling out and wishing for something to exercise itself upon.
A young girl in her early teens may say, "I would like to be the wife of some great orator or musician." The youth may say, "I would like to marry an intelligent and accomplished lady." Then is the time for parents to carefully impress the proper and noble ideal, so that the children will early begin to get a real blessing out of life.
Before we come to the Lord, we have one or more of these different ideals or aspirations, some having more valuable ideals and some less valuable. Any of these ideals are better than having no ideal in life. The person who has no ideal and is not aiming at any particular attainment is not doing the best he or she can do for himself or herself. But when we come into Christ, we come to know about the Gospel, about the wonderful High Calling now open, and we have the grandest ideal of all. We have heard about this "pearl of great price," of great value, and have given all we had to purchase it. All the other pearls--the pearl of being a great doctor, a great artist, a great musician, or a model housekeeper, or something else--all these are trifling and insignificant in comparison with this great Pearl, so large, so wonderful, so priceless! [Q429]
What is this great Pearl, this great High Calling? This Pearl, my dear brethren, is what the Gospel sets before us. The "Pearl of great price" is the Kingdom of God, in which you and I are offered a share. Is it possible for us to get such a Pearl as that? What does it mean? It means glory, honor and immortality, the Divine nature, sitting with Christ in His Throne! We do not get merely a part of these glories. We get all or none. To get into the Kingdom means to have a share with Jesus in blessing "all the families of the earth," and to have a share in all His future glory and honor. This is the Pearl of great price.
Our Lord very forcefully pictured this matter in this parable of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls. You and I and everybody else seek something valuable for which to exchange time and influence. But when we come to see this one thing, this choicest of all pearls, we are so enraptured with it that we are only too glad to sell everything else we have to obtain it. You say, "I will give everything I possess for this!" Then the Lord says, "That will be just the amount required to obtain this great Pearl." If you say, "I would like to keep just a little," the Lord will say, "Then you cannot have it. It will take all you have." Jesus gave all He had, and He had far more than any of us. So we must give our all, whether we have much or little according to worldly estimates. We are getting a Pearl worth a great deal more than thousands of millions of dollars, and all for a few paltry pennies, so to speak! You haven't much to give; none of us have! But our God says, "This great Pearl is for sale. Anybody who has the disposition to appreciate it may have it." So, dear brethren, it is our blessed privilege to obtain this wonderful Pearl if we will.
KINGDOM--Heirs of the Kingdom.
QUESTION (1916)--l--What great lessons will be required of those who will be heirs of the Kingdom?
ANSWER.--(1) A proper, thorough appreciation of Justice, and a manifestation of that appreciation of justice by an endeavor to comply with the requirements of the Golden Rule--to love our neighbor as ourselves. (2) A further lesson is that of Love, sympathy, compassion, mercy. However exacting we may be respecting ourselves, our own thoughts, words, and deeds, we are not to exact from others, but be willing to take from them whatever they are pleased to give--as did our Savior. This will mean (3), suffering with Christ, having fellowship in His Suffering. It will mean the learning of valuable lessons to fit and qualify us for the work of being kings, priests and judges with our Lord in His coming Kingdom.
St. Paul emphasized the importance of having the Christ- character engraved on our hearts when he wrote that God's predestination is that all who will be of the Church in glory must be copies of his dear Son--must have the Epistle of Christ written in their hearts. (Rom. 8:28-30.) No matter how imperfect their bodies, how imperfect their attainment of their ideals, those ideals must be according to the Divine standard. And they must be so in sympathy with those ideals as to be glad to suffer for their attainment.
KISSING--Re Promiscuous Kissing
QUESTION (1909)--2--Is promiscuous kissing advisable among the sisters in the truth? [Q430]
ANSWER.--Well, I might be entrenching upon somebody's rights if I were to give some law on the subject, but I am not a law-giver, merely a law interpreter, that is all. Some people might like it, and some sisters might not; so, love in the matter should be the rule, and it should lead us to be very careful and considerate, and if I were one of the sisters that liked to be kissed, I should not take offense if they did not. Besides, scientists tell us that kissing is a means of communicating diseases, and therefore, not a very wise proceeding. I should think that as a rule a good, hearty handshake would be quite sufficient, but if any like to kiss, I do not know of anything in the Scriptures to hinder, and the law of love is the only thing between the sisters kissing each other and the brothers kissing the brothers.
LANGUAGE--What is the Pure Language?
QUESTION (1909)--1--What does the Scripture mean which says, "I will turn unto them a pure language?" (Zeph. 3:8,9.)
ANSWER.--We understand this "pure language" to mean a pure method--the pure method of God's plan. The world doesn't know this method now. Only we know what is the pure method. It has brought us life and joy and blessing, and the promise is that in due time He will turn into them all a new method-- they will not hear the babble that is now going on. One says: I believe you must get into the water--another says it is free grace, etc., etc. The people have no pure method. Each has a different method. After this great time of trouble, when the whole world will be humbled, then He will turn to the people a pure method. They will not be serving Methodism or some other ism, but will serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
LAST DAYS--Conclusion of This Age.
QUESTION (1916)--2--Are we in our last days?
ANSWER.--I don't know. This may be my last day for ought I know. If so, I am in the last day for me. The questioner may mean, Are we in the last days as that expression is used in the Bible? If that is what he means, I think that is the right thought. The Bible uses this term "last days" to refer to the conclusion of this age and the inauguration of the new because this one is to pass away with great commotion and the new order brought in. So the one is represented as being burned up, or destroyed, while the other as the new heavens and new earth will be brought in. The new heavens will be the church in glory and the new earth will be the new social order or condition of things. We are in the last days of the old order, and in the dawning time of the new dispensation.
LAW--Abstain from Things Strangled.
QUESTION (1909)--3--Why does St. Paul command us to abstain from things strangled and from meats offered to Idols?
ANSWER.--This was not Paul's command, for he did not so command. Paul had been teaching the Gentiles that all the regulations of the Law were given to the Jews, and were not upon the Gentiles, but that the Jews were bound by them until they came into Christ. Then there arose a discussion as some came down from Jerusalem and said that they had to be circumcised and keep the law. Then some said Paul tells us [Q431] this, and another tells us something else; so they had a general conference to ascertain to what extent the law of the Jews was upon the Gentiles. You remember James was the Chairman, noting God's providential leadings, and then Peter told how the Gospel was first preached to the Gentiles. Then the Conference of the Apostles concluded that there were no mandatory laws upon the Gentiles, and that they should not put any upon them. But they said, let us enjoin this upon them rather as a recommendation, that they abstain from things strangled, from fornication, and from meats offered to idols. Why did they make that recommendation? Because they believed that at that time it would be a wiser matter to advise. We would suppose that abstaining from fornication would always be in harmony with God's will. But about meat offered to idols, Paul explains that the idol is nothing but a block of wood or of stone; it had not hurt the meat at all, but if any man would think that it had been hurt, if he had thought that something had happened to the meat, and that he would be dishonoring God if he ate of it, then Paul said: If there be any among you that are weak, and think that it is wrong to eat it, those that are strong should condescend to such an one.
Then as to things strangled. That was a custom among the Jews because blood was a type or symbol of life, and God commanded the Jews not to eat anything strangled. They do not state why they advised it, but they did advise it and they advised it after they had stated there was nothing in the law that was binding on the Gentiles.
LAW--Eating Thing that Dieth of Itself.
QUESTION (1912)--1--"Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself; thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is within thy gate, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God." Please explain this.
ANSWER.--It seems to me that it means what it says. It was said to the Jews, not to us. An animal might die of itself without being put to death and yet not be unfit for food except to those forbidden to eat animal food not specially killed. For instance, an animal might get caught and strangle itself or might fall over a precipice and die without being killed in the manner prescribed to the Jews. That meat might be just as good; it would not produce sickness or death; and, therefore, giving it or selling it to a person not under the Law would not mean injury to him.
LAW--When Put At An End.
QUESTION (1916)--2--When did Jesus put an end to the law? At Jordan, or at Calvary?
ANSWER.--This expression "Putting an end to the law" is one that is apt to be misunderstood. The question might be viewed from various viewpoints. Jesus never put an end to the law in a very important sense of the word. The law is the Father's law. It existed before Jesus came. It still exists. It will always be in existence. Jesus did not put it to an end and never will put it to an end. It is God's law briefly summed up in this: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, mind and strength and thy neighbor as thyself." When will that law be put an end to? Never! Never! We get a little nearer to an [Q432] appreciation of it every day. Neither at the Jordan or at Calvary, nor at any time will He ever put an end to that law. What, then, is meant by this expression? Upon the basis of that law as God gave it through Moses to the Israelites was made a covenant, and that covenant was often called the law because it was the law--covenant and consequently this word covenant, because the covenant and the law were so closely associated and vitally connected, was sometimes used when the law was meant, and the word law was used to include the covenant based upon it. It was in this sense that Jesus made an end of the law, that is, the law-covenant or the covenant based upon that law. He made an end of this covenant, and yet, He did not make a full end of the law--covenant even, for, to my understanding, the Jews are still under that law- covenant, and certain blessings are to come to them in consequence. They are now under the condemnation part of that law-covenant, but, if it were dead, they would not be under its condemnation phase. They could not be under the condemnation of a dead covenant. Jesus therefore made an end simply of the favors, privileges, opportunities granted to the Jews under that covenant. How? By Himself fulfilling all its obligations and Himself thus becoming the Heir of God to the things which the law had promised to the One who would keep it. The whole Jewish nation had an opportunity of becoming heirs of these blessings if they had kept the law, but they failed to keep the law; but Jesus coming in, He kept all its requirements and thereby became Heir and inheritor of all the blessings which that law had promised, and thus He made an end of those blessings, so far as others were concerned; and from that time on no Jew can come in. Jesus got all the blessings. The Jews can get the curse, but not the blessings. Jesus is dividing these blessings with all those who become His disciples. We became joint-heirs with Him to all that inheritance which He inherited by keeping the law. We are unable to keep the law, and these Jews were not able to keep the law, but Jesus kept it and won its blessings, so that we may now become (both Jews and Gentiles) joint-heirs of all the promises made to natural Israel, through faith in the Lord Jesus and becoming members of His body. We come in and we get possession of all these things. What Jesus made an end of then, was, such requirements upon the Jews except certain obligations they had. Then coming under the new arrangement they are liberated from the requirements of the old. For instance, the Apostles coming in, the requirements of the law covenant were no longer binding upon them, when Jesus made the new provision whereby they might enter in. The new provision was to enable them to come in under the new arrangement. The Apostles became dead to the old things of the old arrangement in order that they might become alive to the better things--to God--by choosing to become the disciples of Jesus.
LAW COVENANT--Testator of.
QUESTION (1909)--1--Who was the testator of the (old) Law Covenant? "For where a testament (covenant) is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament (covenant) is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength while the testator liveth." (Heb. 9:16,17.) [Q433]
ANSWER.--The Apostle's argument here in using these words was particularly respecting our Lord Jesus, and he does not say anything about the Law Covenant. We may not improperly suppose that Moses, as mediator of the Law Covenant was its testator to some extent, and his death was represented in the bulls and goats that were offered back there under the Law Covenant. It was only a typical covenant, and the sacrifices were only typical sacrifices. Our thought would be that if it were applicable at all to Moses, it would be in the sense that these sacrifices represented Moses.
But the force of the Apostle's words in speaking of Jesus as being the testator of the New Covenant is one that it is well to note very closely. While it is not the question here, if you please, I will add a few words on this line which may be helpful to some. Get the thought that under the Law Covenant, God had offered to any Israelite who would keep the Law, all the blessings, and rights, and privileges that belong to a perfect man, so that if any Jew had lived at any time from the institution of the Law Covenant down to the time of Christ, and could have kept the Law, he would have had the right to all that Adam had lost; he would have proved himself to have been a perfect man, and, therefore, would have had the right to everything under that covenant, of everything that Adam had; he would have been worthy to have taken Adam's place. But, we know, as a matter of fact, for over sixteen centuries the Law Covenant was in force, but not a Jew was able to keep the Law, and so Paul said that "through the deeds of the Law, no flesh should be justified." But our Lord Jesus, coming into the world with a special body, a body having been prepared, and that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, was able and did keep the Law, and thus by keeping the Law, He proved Himself to be perfect, and was able to be the ruler of mankind. Did He do this? No. Why not? Because God had a broader and deeper plan. What was it? It was this, that the Lord Jesus should not only demonstrate His worthiness to be a perfect man, but having demonstrated that, He should sacrifice that perfect life, that He should lay all down in death, and this He did. Then, the Scriptures tell us, "God raised him from the dead," as a reward for His obedience. Then He had, so to speak, all the merit, all the virtue, all the value of a perfect human nature at His disposal. All the perfect rights of a perfect man were in His hands, to do with just as He pleased. What did He do with it? He could have applied it for all of the human race, or He could apply it for Adam or for any number of the human race. What did he do? Well, we naturally would have expected Him to have applied it in favor of the Jewish nation--you see He had something to give away. He was going to die, and He was going to give these earthly rights away; He was the testator and He was going to make a will, which represented His earthly life laid down in sacrifice. To whom has He given them? Not to the Jews, as we might have expected, Jesus did not seal the New Covenant with His blood. What did He do with it? He ascended up on High and appeared in the presence of God for us, whosoever would respect Him and come under the conditions and terms of justification and sanctification. He applied the whole of that merit to the Church; He did not seal the covenant at all. [Q434] How was He going to use it in the Church? The Scriptures show in the type that the bullock represented the Lord Jesus, and that the High Priest took the blood of the bullock and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat for Himself and His household of faith, all who belong to Him in the true and proper sense of the word. To these, then, He gave the merit of His earthly life. He did not give them a spirit life; He did not give them immortality, but only that which He had to bestow. He had no spirit life to bestow, because it was not spirit life that He had secured by keeping the Law--only earthly rights, and therefore, He had only earthly rights that He could bestow upon anyone. So, when He ascended up on high, He bestowed those rights upon believers who took a certain stand in harmony with His teachings, that, if any would be His disciple, let him take up his cross and follow him--only to such would the full benefit of justification come. Others who failed to make their consecration would fail of receiving the full benefits that had been offered, but those who would come into the right attitude, would have imputed to them the merit of Christ's sacrifice, on condition that they would lay down their lives. In other words, He gives us the full restitution rights and blessings of perfect manhood, the only thing that He had to give away. So what He gives to you and me as a free gift is justification, on condition that we lay down our lives with Him in sacrifice. Any who will not do that is not included in this class.
The faith comes first, and that is a certain introduction to other blessings and opportunities, but they do not become a fixed matter until the consecration which follows. It is then unchangeable; neither angels nor God can change it after giving His recognition of His spirit. All who receive justification and then the impartation of Holy Spirit at their consecration, which seals them as the lord's people, all such are counted in with Christ in His death. Those are the conditions, those are the terms. Whether members of the Little Flock, they must go into death with Him or if members of the Great Company, they must also go into death--there is nothing else for these, but not all who make the consecration go on and follow in His footsteps, and hence they do not get the same reward. Some hold back and the Scriptures tell us that they will be the Great Company who come up through great tribulation; their flesh will be destroyed that their spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. The restitution blessing that God is giving the Church is not to stay; no, not one particle, but having received it, it is passed through the Church and passed on for further use. It is the same precious blood that He shed and applied to the Church, which the Church passes on, so at the end of this age there is just as much to dispense as there was at the beginning. It was the whole merit which was given to the Church, and when the Church shall have passed beyond the vail, and shall have laid down these justified lives and earth rights, then the New Covenant will be sealed and its benefits applied to the whole world.
So, then, Jesus is the testator of the New Covenant, and when He laid down His life, it was with a view of mediating that covenant, but, instead of doing it at once, He first of all, in harmony with the Father's Plan, gathered out His Church, that we might be members of His Body, participators [Q435] with Him in the work of laying down our lives and sharing in this testament.
Paul, in the 11th chapter of Romans, tells us that they shall obtain mercy through your mercy; it will be the mercy of the Father and of the Lord Jesus, but it will be the Father's mercy through Christ, and through the Church. His mercy will proceed until all the families of the earth have received His blessing.
LAZARUS--Parable, Its Foundation.
QUESTION (1909)--1--It is generally accepted that all of our Lord's parables were suggested by certain facts. How about that of the "Rich man and Lazarus?" It is the only one founded upon imagination?
ANSWER.--I had never thought of the matter that way before, and I do not know. But, what are you going to do? It is there. If any one takes it as a fact, be has a tough brain. Brother Russell then went on to show how ridiculous the whole parable would be if each item in it were a fact, how that the rich man would be sent to torment simply because he had enough to eat, wore linen and purple, so Brother Russell said according to that, many of us here would have to go to torment, simply because we had enough to eat, had on a clean shirt and wore some purple. Also, in the case of Lazarus, he went to heaven simply because he was full of sores, laid at the king's gate, and had the dogs lick his sores. He then showed that if taken as literal facts, Abraham's arms would soon be full of people full of sores, for he could not hold very many.
LEVITES--Represented in Great Company.
QUESTION (1910)--2--In what way do the Levites represent the Great Company?
ANSWER.--Well, now, I thought that I answered this yesterday. I will repeat. Those who were separated on the night of the Passover, when the destroying angel destroyed all except the first-born that were under the blood, all of these first-born that were separated represented the Church of the First-born whose names are written in heaven, and these first- borns of Israel, according to God's direction, were subsequently exchanged for the whole tribe of Levi; so that the whole tribe of Levi represents the household of faith, or the Church of the First-born. In that tribe of Levi there was a certain special family, or class, selected that were the priestly family, and were representative of that portion of the household of faith, the Church of the First-born, who are to be the Bride, the Lamb's wife, and it leaves all the remainder of the Church of the First-born corresponding to the Levites and antitypical Levites to be the Great Company that follow with the Little Flock of priests and constitute the servants on the spiritual plane.
LEVITES--Theirs Will Be a Heavenly Inheritance.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--3--If the antitypical Levites have no inheritance in the land, as shown in the type, what will be their reward?
ANSWER.-- The typical Levites were the whole tribe of Levi, a part of which was selected for a little company of priests. In the wilderness of Sinai, the Lord set the Levites apart for His service. (Num. 3:11-16.) Thenceforth, that one tribe represented the first-borns of Israel, who, the [Q436] Apostle says, were typical of the Church of the First-born (Heb. 12:23)--typical of the spiritual class.
In the type, the entire tribe of Levi was cut off from having any possession in the land. No title to land was given them; no field was given them. The land was divided amongst the other tribes, but not amongst the Levites. God thus typified the fact that the antitypical Levites would not have an earthly inheritance. All the Gospel Church are called to heavenly conditions; and therefore they are cut off from their earthly rights as men, that they may have the heavenly rights as New Creatures. The Apostle says God has "called us with a holy calling," a "heavenly calling," a "high calling."--2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 3:1; Phil. 3:14.
The tribe of Levi was divided into two classes, a priestly class and a Levitical or servant class. In the antitype are two classes on the spirit plane--the Royal Priesthood, composed of Christ and the Church, His Bride; and also the servant class, "the virgins, her companions, who follow her," and who are to enter into the King's Palace with rejoicing. As these do not come up to the high standard required for admission into the Bride class, they are not counted worthy of being in this class who are presented unto the King "in raiment of needlework." Nevertheless, they must all be grand characters, worthy to receive palm branches, indicating their victory over sin and all evil.--Psa. 45:13-15; Rev. 7:9-17.
LEVITES--In Court on Atonement Day.
QUESTION (1913)--1--Did the Levites have access to the court on the Day of Atonement? Are the Levites represented in the camp or court?
ANSWER.--I do not remember anything particularly stated about the Levites being in the court on the Day of Atonement. I should think quite probably they were. I do not remember any prohibition of their being in the court. The Levites we see represent two pictures. We are keeping a Levitical attitude toward God when approaching Him and willing to do any kind of service, and we say, Yes, if you have something to do I would like to have a share. Are you consecrated, brother? No, not consecrated, this brother might say, but I am sympathetic with what you are doing. Well, in a figurative way he stands related to those who are consecrated and who are sacrificing. He is not one of those necessarily who will ultimately be of the Levite class. Those ultimately of the Levite class, have the future advantage also, such as have made a covenant with the Lord and they have failed to fully keep it, but in the present time all of those who will make the covenant at all are called priests. There is no Levite class recognized in this distinction at the present time, and anybody who is sympathetic with the Lord's work and comes in and does a kind of sympathetic work, tentatively or temporarily, occupies the place of the Levites. So in this sense of the word we may be said to be in the position of Levites up to the time that we accept the Lord's arrangement and make our full consecration.
LEVITES--Antitypical Levites and their Work.
QUESTION (1915)--2--What is the antitype of the Levites?
ANSWER.--We understand, first, that the antitype of the Jewish priests is Jesus, the High Priest, and the Church, the [Q437] "little flock," the under priests. The Great Company class, as it will eventually be, is the antitype of the Levites. Their relationship to the Bride class is that of "the virgins her companions that follow her" (Psa. 45:14). The work of the Great High Priest will be that of teaching and healing. The high priest's work in olden times, after his work of atonement, was to heal diseases and give instructions to the people; and the under priests were associated with the high priest and under his direction. Then came in the Levites, to do a less important part of that great work. So we understand that during the Millennial Age the Great Company class will have a great work--not so important as that of the Church, but a secondary work, more of a servant work, though honorable.
Our idea of their work is this: The high priests, you know, will be small in number in comparison--only 144,000. When we compare that number with the world's population since Adam--twenty thousand millions--it would be a good many for each one of the Bride class to care for. Apparently many more than that number will be necessary. Every individual of the Royal Priesthood is to have the honor of managing and instructing, and we understand that the Great Company will be their instruments and assistants in connection with all this work.
Let us illustrate: There are vast numbers of people in a large city to be governed. There is a mayor at the head of the city. Then there are the police judges coming next. In New York City there are a great many police judges. Then there are many thousands of policeman. The police judges do not go out and try to attend to everything throughout the city. But the policemen are on the street corners and along their beat. They are on the street-crossings, attending to the traffic, on congested streets guarding pedestrians from being run over, seeing that the law is not infracted, making necessary arrests, etc. These policemen report to the police judges. Thus the city's government is carried on. Certain important matters might come directly to the mayor, and not be dealt with by any others.
Now all this, to our mind, furnishes a sort of illustration of how Christ will be the great Ruler, or King, corresponding to the Mayor in our figure. All the saints, the Bride class, will be under kings, corresponding to the police judges. They will be rulers and priests, having authority--ruling over two cities or five cities or ten cities, as Jesus parabolically represented the matter (Luke 19:17). But ruling over these would mean that they would have individual inspection of every case. Suppose some one were about to shoot another. The ruling judges would not take personal cognizance of each offender, because there might be many trying to do wrong at the same time. Therefore it would be necessary to have somebody to look out for each of these.
It is so now with the saints. You know that each one of the Church is guarded by holy angels. "Are they not ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14.) They are looking out for our interests, and are reporting us if we are not in the right way. They give us blessings and assistances according to our need, shielding us from harm; or if the report be for wrong-doing, we are given certain stripes and punishments. [Q438] So "the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them" (Psa. 34:7).
With the world in the next age, the Lord's power will be represented through the Great Company class, under the Bride. They will be a great police force, looking out for the whole people. They will have a big job; for God has guaranteed that "nothing shall hurt or offend in all His holy Mountain"--Kingdom (Isa. 11:9). That will mean a careful supervision. Yes, indeed! How will they hinder wrong- doing? If a person were about to speak blasphemy or slander, the tongue might be instantly paralyzed. Very easy! A policeman right on the spot!--not waiting until the offender had done the mischief and then punishing him, but fixing him so that he will not get the chance to do it, and punishing him for trying to do so.
You may ask, "Brother Russell, what about those who try to do good?" There will be a great blessing for every one doing a good deed, a kind deed. They will get a blessing at once. All who come into harmony with the laws of the Kingdom will be rising up and rising up all through the Millennial Age, until all the willing and obedient will be restored. This will come through the agencies God is now preparing--Christ the High Priest, and the Church, the under priests, under kings, under judges, of the world. The Great Company class will be the instructors of the world under the Bride class. Then on the earthly plane, will be the Ancient Worthies, to do a certain work of judging and directing, making known to mankind the conditions of the Kingdom. These will be human, visible to men, serving under the invisible, spiritual guides.
All this great provision to handle the twenty thousand millions of mankind! Won't it all be fine! There will be a host when all are awakened from the tomb! "But how do you know this? Is there Scripture for it?" Someone will ask. Yes, right to the point. It reads like this: "When Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" (Isa. 26:9). The judgments of the Lord will then be everywhere. Just as soon as anything wrong is intended--not committed, but intended--the punishment will follow prompt and sure. There might be a temptation to do wrong, but if resisted it will not be sin. But any evil planned and purposed will meet swift retribution. This, we understand, will he the rule that will obtain all over the earth, bringing blessings to every well-doer and punishment to every intentional evil-doer.
As the number of the Bride of Christ is to be 144,000, it would be reasonable to think that each member of this class may have 144,000 to look after, as 144,000 x 144,000 equals 20,736,000,000 (twenty billion, seven hundred and thirty six millions). Evidently just about the right number to be cared for--couldn't fix it better myself. Now 144,000 would he quite a host for each individual of the Bride class to look after. So we can see the necessity for the work of the Great Company and the Ancient Worthies.
LIFE--How Attain Perfect.
QUESTION (1909)--1--How can an imperfect being attain perfect life?
ANSWER.--If any fail to attain perfect life, they will attain to second death. This is my understanding. I understand this is God's law and nobody will ever be acceptable [Q439] to the Father except they come up to the standard of that law. "Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself." That is the simplest and slightest obedience that the Lord will accept. If you and I do not come up to that standard you and I will not get perfect life. How can we do that? Will all the world in the Millennial Age attain to that standard? Yes. That will be the work of the Millennial Age. Every one who will be worthy of eternal life will be worthy of that perfection. God does not have different standards. This is the standard of all creation. No angel will be granted eternal life with the Lord unless they have this perfection. As for the world of mankind, they will all have to reach that standard, full love for God and for their neighbor. But, you say, here we are with our misshapen heads--how can we get there? You are not on trial according to your flesh. You are on trial as a new creature. If we do not learn our lessons as new creatures we will not be fit for graduation when the time comes. If we do not let the Lord develop this character in us we will not be fit for life on any plane. There are certain principles the Lord lays down, and if we are to have eternal life at all we have to get it on these principles. He is not dealing with us after the, flesh, but after the spirit. Our hearts, our wills, our intentions, our endeavors, will be to manifest that perfect love for God and for our fellow creatures. Suppose in my imperfection I do something unkind. Just as soon as the New Creature finds this out as a new creature I must go and make it right. But, you say, "Suppose pride in my heart will not enable me?" Then you are not the kind He is looking for. If you have done something amiss and have been angry with a brother or sister, go to the Lord and confess your fault. If you are solely His you will want to do those things that are pleasing to Him. Get the principle fixed; to what extent is my heart loyal to God, to the Word of God and to righteousness? While we are natural men we cannot help having these imperfections. One time in Allegheny after I had been preaching about speaking no evil, showing how contrary it is to the Lord's will and to the admonitions of His Word, a certain sister said, as she shook my hand, "Brother Russell, I am so glad you preached that, for it is just what is needed," and before she let go of my hand she began to speak evil. The poor sister was doing the best she could and I thought the poor sister will gradually learn. She approved of the things she had heard and she thought she was applying them most thoroughly. If sometimes you find some of the brothers and sisters do not appreciate some of the higher principles, remember the Apostle says God hath chosen the mean things of the world. They are not all mean-- some of the Lord's people are the noblest people in the world, but "Not many mighty not many noble are called," but chiefly the mean things. And do not be too sure that you have not some of the meanness yourself. Be very sympathetic and glad if you see your brothers and sisters are getting the advantage over the old creature. It is the old creature that He accepted that is mean. The transforming grace of the heart, the new creature, is proving more and more what is that good and acceptable will of God. I sometimes give the example of a scale, beginning with zero. Some have 40, some 50, some 20, some [Q440] 30, and some only a tenth of the perfection belonging to a perfect human being. Now when these consecrate, whatever they may be, the Lord agrees to take them and He gives them sufficient grace. Suppose a man is only rated at fifty, or seventy, or here is one with only thirty marks. The Lord makes up the other 70 per cent. His grace is sufficient-- sufficient for the needs of each one that He receives. The Lord's grace is sufficient and makes up for every deficiency. He is going to judge you at what your heart or intention is. Your will must never be at the 90 or 50 mark. Your intention must be at the hundred mark, and if you are doing his will to the best of your ability it is counted to you for a hundred and you are His and in full fellowship with Him. That 100 mark means a perfect heart. But the Lord requires more of us than He will require of the world. He requires that we love him with all our mind and strength and our neighbor as ourself, but He will require this of the world also. You say how can He ask more? He is asking more of you and of me. How? Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you." You are to deal with your neighbor as with yourself. You are not to give all that you have or sacrifice your own interest and go without yourself. But when it comes to the Lord's disciples it is a different matter. It meant the sacrifice of our Lord's life. We have got to love one another as He loved us. You have bound yourself by that arrangement and you cannot be one of the little flock unless you are a sacrificer. Every one who is of that little flock is a sacrificing priest, so if you belong to the Royal Priesthood you will be sacrificers.
LIFE--At End of Millennial Age.
QUESTION ( 1910)--1--Will the purified humanity at the end of the Millennial age have eternal life or everlasting life?
ANSWER.--I answer that these terms "everlasting" and "eternal," as used in the Scriptures, are not used with that same exactness that the writer here seems to infer. The general thought of the Scriptures would seem to be not eternal life, but everlasting life, if you are going to make a distinction between them. But the majority of people do not make a distinction between them, and consider that if they say eternal life, they mean life that lasts forever; and if they say everlasting life they also mean that life which lasts forever; so with that definition they are right anyway. But if you are going to add to the word "eternal" life something that means immortal life, then it is a mistake. It would not be proper to use it with that thought in mind; the world is not to have immortality, but the world is to have everlasting life, or, in that sense of the word, eternal or unending life.
LIFE--That Possessed by The Man Jesus and by Jesus Christ.
QUESTION (1916)--2--Does Jesus Christ our Lord have the same life that the man Jesus had?
ANSWER.--Again we are not sure what the questioner had in mind. We have said in volume one that all life is the same. Life is life. God has life. Angels have life. Man has life. Beasts have life. Birds and fishes have life. So, of course, Jesus had the same life as He had before. The nature is different, and so God has life on the divine plane [Q441] or nature. The cherubim have life on their own plane, angels on theirs, man on his, and beasts, etc., on theirs. Each has life according to its nature. Suppose the questioner meant, Does Jesus have the same nature and life on the same plane as before? Our answer would be, No. "He was put to death in the flesh and was quickened, or made alive, in the spirit." He was a spirit being with a spirit nature and therefore had a spirit life after his resurrection; on the other hand he had human nature with human power and with human life when He was the man Jesus. As the Logos or mouthpiece of God, He had a spirit life. After this He came into the world to sacrifice Himself. When He had sacrificed Himself He had finished the work the Father had given Him to do. The Father then raised Him up from the dead, and He showed this change in appearing in various forms, manifesting that He was a spirit being with a different nature. He did not manifest Himself as a man, but after His resurrection manifested Himself as a spirit being and at the same time showed the change from human to divine nature.
LIFE EVERLASTING--The Final Testing Will Determine It.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--Will restitution include the right to everlasting life, or will the right to everlasting life be determined by the final testing that will come at the end of the Millennial Age?
ANSWER.--Perfection was given to Adam originally; and by virtue of his perfection he had a right to continue to live, if he were obedient. But as God saw fit to test Father Adam, so He will test the human family. And the final test, after the Kingdom shall have been turned over to the Father, will be by way of testing their worthiness to attain these life- rights and to keep them everlastingly. The thousand years of Christ's reign will be for bringing mankind to perfection. At the end of that reign those who have reached perfection will be delivered over to the Father. The New Covenant will have accomplished for them all that it was intended to accomplish. But before God determines them worthy of the fulness of His everlasting life, He will see that all are tried individually and without any Mediator between. We may be sure that the test will be a crucial and a just one.
LIFE-GIVER--Spiritual Father and Mother with Earthly Children.
QUESTION (1905)--2--If Christ is to be the life-giver and the Church the mother, how can the children of the restitution class be of the human nature?
ANSWER.--This is a case of adoption as far as the earth is concerned. They were children of Adam and Christ proposes to give them a life in place of the one they lost through Adam. They are not begotten in the sense that we are begotten; their promise is of restitution to that which they lost through Adam. The second Adam is to take the place of the first Adam. They get the life Christ laid down for the world, otherwise there would not have been any for them.
LIFE-RIGHTS--When Given Up?
QUESTION (1911)--3--When do we give our life rights, at consecration, or at death? [Q442]
ANSWER.--We give up our life rights at consecration. That is the principal thing that you give up. You give what you have, and what you have is very little--what anybody has is very little. But God has provided in Christ for every member of the race earthly life-rights through Jesus, and these belong to you in a reckoned sense from the time you believe in Jesus and understand that God has a restitution plan for mankind. You might say to yourself, and I might say to myself, "Oh, I have a little life now, very little indeed, but God's provision through the Redeemer is that I shall have a future human life. This will he imputed to me now through God's mercy, that I may give up all that I have. I give up what I have a right to now, and all of these rights of mine that would belong to me if I had maintained my human nature, and claimed my rights as a human being, under the general merit of Christ's sacrifice." So we give up all our life rights the moment we consecrate--the present life and that which is to come. When did Jesus give up his life rights, at Jordan, at Calvary, or at Pentecost? Jesus gave up his life rights at Jordan. He gave everything into the Father's hands. "Lo, I come to do thy will, everything written in the book." He held nothing back, everything was given up.
LIFE-RIGHTS--Are they Sacrificed.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--What rights did our Lord possess when He was a spirit-being, before He become a man, and what became of those rights when He became a man?
ANSWER.--Our Lord was rich and for our sakes became poor (2 Cor. 8:9) by exchanging the heavenly rights and perfection for the earthly rights and perfection. This exchange was not a sacrifice [not an offering]; for it was the man Christ Jesus who became a ransom. There is no statement in the Scriptures that He sacrificed any pre-human rights. He did, however, resign these for the "joy that was set before Him."--Heb. 12:2.
The rights that man needs are earthly rights, human rights; and it is those rights that Jesus redeems through giving His earthly life sacrificially. As a spirit being He could not have sacrificed the rights of a spirit being; for there were no spirit beings condemned to death. It was the man Adam whom He was to redeem. "Since by man came death, by man comes also the resurrection of the dead. For as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive."--1 Cor. 15:21,22.
QUESTION (191l-Z)--2--How shall we distinguish between the merit of Christ which He will appropriate for the sins of the world, and the life-right of Christ which He will give for the sins of the world?
ANSWER.--Our Lord's righteousness on the human plane of course appertained to Him while He was a man. He has no righteousness as a man now. He has merely the credit of that righteousness in the Father's sight, in the sight of Justice, constituting a merit which is to be appropriated to the world in due time, but which is loaned to the Church during the Gospel Age.
The human life-rights Jesus had need for up to the moment, He died. In dying He committed them to the [Q443] Father, according to the Father's arrangement. He said, "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11.) When a man, those life-rights were His to use; but He does not need them now; for He has better rights. But He has a right to human life, which He does not need personally--but which He needs in order to give for the world of mankind, that they may have life everlasting if they will.
The Lord is to be viewed from the standpoint of His own personality. First of all, He was a spirit-being; secondly, He was made flesh--holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners; third, for permitting the earthly life to be taken from Him, God rewarded Him personally with a high exaltation.--Phil. 2:9.
God has arranged that this glorious Personage shall do certain things for the world of mankind. The power to do these things lies in the fact that He still has a right to earthly life, which He does not need. He holds it over to give to the world in the Millennial Age, gradually, as they will come into harmony with the terms of the New Covenant. He imputes now a share of that value to such as desire to become his members--to cover their blemishes and make their sacrifices acceptable to the Father.
Christ's merit was in doing the will of the Father. That merit the Father rewarded with the new nature on the other side of the veil. And, of course, that merit still persists; and He will always have, in God's sight, a personal merit, irrespective of anything that He may do for mankind. Therefore we cannot suppose that He would give away His Merit; in that case He would be left without merit. But having obtained His reward, He has a right to human life, which is so recognized by God. And this constitutes a thing of merit in God's sight--a value for the redemption of Adam and his children--his purchase-price, so to speak. This He is to use for the world shortly and this He is now imputing to us.
LIFE-RIGHTS--Do We Actually Sacrifice them.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--Do the under-priests sacrifice their earthly life-rights?
ANSWER.--Since God purposes to give eternal life only to those who are perfect, and since we of Adam's race are all imperfect, therefore, we had no life-rights to sacrifice. But Jesus appeared as our Advocate and purposes to help us if we are desirous of becoming followers in His steps, and thus of being sharers with Him in His sacrifice and afterwards in the glories of His Kingdom.
To enable us to do this, He purposes to make up for us a sufficiency of His merit to compensate for all of our blemishes and defects. But we do not present this merit imputed to us by our Lord. Our whole part is faith that our great Advocate is able to make up for our shortcomings. He makes up that which is imperfect, and then offers us in sacrifice; and the Father accepts the sacrifice. Really, we never had any life-rights to sacrifice.
LIFE-RIGHTS--Represented in New Covenant.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--2--During the Millennial Age where will be the life-rights that Jesus laid down at Calvary? [Q444]
ANSWER.--That which we speak of as the life-right of the great Redeemer is, we understand, that which is typified by the blood of Atonement. According to the type, in the end of this antitypical Day of Atonement, that blood of Atonement will be applied to Justice on behalf of the whole world of mankind and will be accepted on their behalf--that is to say, as the Apostle expresses it, "to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." (Heb. 2:17.) As soon as the people shall have been released from their death-condemnation they will be in a position to begin to receive blessings, but not before. As the great High Priest, our Lord undertakes, at the close of the Gospel Age, to seal with the Blood of Atonement a New Covenant between God and the seed of Abraham, natural Israel; and He, together with the "Church, which is His Body," undertakes to stand as the Mediator of that Covenant. All who come into full accord with that Law will have eternal life. Through all those years the Mediator will merely carry out the provisions of that Covenant, which promises that they shall have the privileges of Restitution. If they avail themselves of the opportunity they shall have eternal life.
At that time, the right to human life will have passed out of the hands of our Lord as Redeemer, and will all, thenceforth, be represented in the Covenant itself, which guarantees all the things that God declared man should have. The stony heart of mankind will give place to a heart of flesh; and all who will live up to the terms of this Covenant shall have eternal life. During the Millennial Age the New Covenant will represent the life-rights laid down by our Lord. Whoever fails to observe that Law will receive chastisements. By this arrangement Christ, as Mediator of the New Covenant, will for a thousand years dispense the blessings. During this Gospel Age our Lord keeps the right to life under His own control in order to give it to Justice as the ransom-price for the world's sins, for the redemption of the world. As soon as He sums up this right at the end of this Age, Justice relinquishes it, and mankind receives it, as shown foregoing.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--Could Christ become the Everlasting Father to the world if He did not have earthly life-rights at His disposal?
ANSWER.--If our Lord Jesus did not possess the right to earthly life as an asset, in order to give that right to Adam and his race during the Millennial reign, then He could not properly be spoken of as the Father of that race. He could not regenerate the race unless He had a life to give, an earthly life.
LIFE-RIGHTS--Compare with Merit.
QUESTION (1912)--2--What is the difference between the life-rights of Jesus and the merit of Jesus?
ANSWER.--The answer all depends on the mind and viewpoint of the writer of this question. Jesus has this merit already spoken of, but He is never to give His merit to anybody. He is not to give His merit as the Son of God. If he were to give away His merit in this sense He would have none for Himself. The thought underlying this question may be all right, however. That sacrifice which He made and finished at Calvary was a special offering to Himself, [Q445] and on account of that He received this higher nature. He laid down His earthly nature and this is counted to Him as an asset in His favor. It all depends on the use of the word "nature." This earthly nature or life he laid down and it is intended to be given as the Ransom Price for the whole world as soon as Jesus gets ready to take over the world, but this is not just yet. "The world lieth in the Wicked One" still. The world would not still be lying in the wicked one if it is the case, as some tell us, that Jesus has applied His merit. When the proper time comes He will take His great power, and when He is ready to bless He will then make the application of His merit or the merit of His earthly life-rights on behalf of all mankind, all flesh. Then the blessings will begin to "all flesh" as the Kingdom will be the source of the channel of all the blessings. This is not yet applied to the world. They are still the children of wrath, but they will not be the children of wrath after the application of His merit. Afterwards, they will all be turned over to Christ, and then Justice will merely look at Jesus and not at mankind at all. Then at the close of one thousand years Jesus will step aside and lay all the people in the hands of His Father, for when He has done that they will be able to stand in the presence of God at that time.
LIFE-RIGHTS--Are Jesus' Imputed to the Church?
QUESTION (1912)--1--Do we understand you to teach that the life-rights of Jesus are imputed to the Church?
ANSWER.--Substantially so! Jesus has two life-rights. He has a life-right as a man. He laid down his earthly life; it was not taken from Him. He laid it down in harmony with the Divine arrangement: "Even unto Death." That which He laid down is still His. Suppose I lay down my book here on the table and let it remain there for a time, it is still mine and I am at perfect liberty to come and take up my book again. Am I not? Jesus did not forfeit His life. He merely laid it down of Himself. "I have the authority to lay it down and to receive it again." When the time came for His resurrection from the dead, He received life on the highest plane, as a Son of God on the Divine Plane. That was the reward for the laying down of His life. This was a "reward life." This was the Gift of God to Him. This was the reward of His obedience even unto death. He still had the right to earthly life, but He was given the Divine life as a reward. While He has this Divine life He has also this earthly right to an earthly life, and He has this to dispose of as He wills. It is in the hand of God. "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit." Did He apply it to anyone? No! Jesus has His earthly rights still, as also has He the Divine Life. His earthly life-rights He intends to give to the world. The very object of God making this arrangement was that He might give these earthly life-rights to Adam and his children. Not now though! He is now selecting the Church, the Lamb's Bride. With regard to the others, Jesus becomes the "Guarantor" of all of us who come to the Father by Him. He is so to all who have presented their bodies "Living Sacrifices." He accepts and presents these as His Members through His own merit. There is a difference between the imputation and the giving of the merit. If you were to ask me for some money and I endorsed a check for you, you could present [Q446] that check at the bank and receive the money for it. So then, it might be said, that has been done with regard to the merit of Jesus. He endorses or imputes the merit of His perfect ability to us, and thus we can present ourselves holy and acceptable before God.
LIFE-RIGHTS--Has Adam Any?
QUESTION (1912)--1--Has Adam any life- rights at present?
ANSWER.--No, Adam has no life-rights at present, neither has anyone of his children except those few who have accepted Christ in the real sense of the word. "He who hath the Son hath Life." There are no life-rights except for those who have accepted Christ and have come under His conditions. Even the Ancient Worthies have no life-rights yet, and when the due time comes they will be the first to receive the blessings and come into harmony with God, and they will not get their life-rights until the end of the thousand years. All will get their life-rights at the end of these thousand years. The Lord Jesus had His part in making us ready, but it is God, the Judge, who is the one who gives the eternal life. He is the Father of all who will he His children. Therefore, there are no life-rights for Adam or his children at present. Provision is only in the course of being made, and the Great Plan is being surely unfolded and developed and finished. The time will come when the words "Come ye blessed of My Father" will sound forth, and then those in harmony will get their life-rights. Again I say that Adam has no life-rights at present, but the time is coming for him and his children.
LIFE-RIGHTS--Are Adam's Imputed to the Church?
QUESTION (1912)--2--Is it correct in any sense to say that the life-rights of Adam are imputed to the Church?
ANSWER.--Not at all! Adam had no life-rights to impute. All were forfeited. Not a particle of life-right was left to Adam and, therefore, there was nothing for him to impute or impart to anyone. Not having them for himself it is a moral certainty that he could not impute them to any other one.
QUESTION (1913)--3--Is it correct to say that our Lord will lift the condemnation from off the human race, that the life and life-rights lost in Adam might be restored to them, or is it more, correct to say that these were lost forever through Adam's sin and that the Christ, as the second Adam, will give life and life-rights to the race?
ANSWER.--I think it would make very little difference either way. We may speak of the matter as a resurrection or as a new creation. In one sense it is really a new creation, and in another sense it is a raising up of things that were formerly there. In one sense it is to give back that which Adam lost, and in another sense Adam lost his forever. So it is very much tweedledeedee, tweedledeedum.
LIFE-RIGHTS--Right to Life.
QUESTION (1916-Z)--4--What is meant by the terms "right to live" and "life-rights?" And what is the difference between these terms?
ANSWER.--A person might have a right to live by being in harmony with God; for God has ordained that all of [Q447] His intelligent creatures may continue to live if they live in harmony with His Divine Law and its requirements. A right to live, therefore, was the privilege of Father Adam in the beginning. He had a right to life and he would not have forfeited that right had he not sinned. He came into the world, but also after He became the Man Jesus, He had a right to life. It was because of this right that He would be able to lay down His life sacrificially on behalf of Adam and his race. After He had made His consecration at baptism, He no longer had the right to live as a man; for He had given up that right to live. But having been begotten by the Holy Spirit, He had a right to life as a New Creature, spiritually begotten, unless He should make failure by violating some Divine Law or by violating His own contract, or covenant. The world of mankind will have the right to live after the Millennial Age, after they shall have reached perfection, shall have been delivered over to the Father and He shall have accepted them. They will then have the same right to life that Father Adam had at first, before he sinned.
"Life-rights." This term we may use in different ways. Applying it to the Lord Jesus Christ as having life-rights, for instance, we may say, while He had consecrated His life as a man, He had done nothing really to forfeit that life. He had agreed to lay it down; it was rightfully His; else He would not have had the right to use it again for others. He maintained the right because of His personal righteousness. Therefore He still possessed a right to human life, because this life which He was permitting to be taken, He had not forfeited. He still has the life-rights of a human being, although He has no need of human life or life-rights now for Himself; since He has something so much better, and since He could not use two lives at the same time. He has Divine life-rights; but He still maintains his human life- rights; and these He is about to dispose of, to give as a Ransom-price, as a full offset for Adam and all that was lost through him.
LOGOS--Nature of the Logos.
QUESTION (1906)--l--What Scripture have we to prove that Jesus had not the divine nature before He came in the flesh?
ANSWER.--I answer that the proof would be on the other side. What Scriptures have we to prove that Jesus had the divine nature before He became flesh? We answer there are no Scriptures to prove that He had the divine nature before he came in the flesh, but we have logic to prove that He did not have the divine nature. The logic of the matter is this: That the divine nature is the very highest of all natures, is immortal, cannot suffer and cannot die; that it needs no support, no sustenance of any kind. Now if our Lord Jesus had had what we understand to be the divine nature, immortality, then He could not have died, and what would have been the use of coming into the world to die if He could not die? So you see the logic of the matter says that He was not possessed of the divine nature, and there is nothing in the Scriptures to show that He was possessed of the divine nature. Therefore it is proper for us to understand that this nature was the great blessing and reward the Father gave Him, as the Scriptures particularly say. He humbled Himself, took upon Himself a bondman's [Q448] form, was made in fashion a man, humbled Himself unto the death of the cross, wherefore,--on this account,--God has highly exalted Him. Now, if our Lord had the divine nature before, which is the very highest of all natures, how could the Father have highly exalted Him after His obedience even unto death? It would be merely bringing Him back to what He had before. It would be no superior exaltation. And the Scriptures practically say that it was because He was obedient that God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name that is above every other name.
LOINS--"Gird up the Loins of Your Mind."
QUESTION (1910-Z)--l--What does this text signify?
ANSWER.--In olden times when they wore flowing garments, girdles were constantly worn for two purposes; one was to gird up their garments--as, for instance, we sometimes sing, "Gird thy bridal robes around thee." The girdle, therefore, was useful in keeping the garments in their proper place, or position, so that they would not be disordered in appearance, nor cause one to trip and fall. Then, secondly, the girdle was used for its effect upon the loins during active labor. For instance, when one was engaged in a strenuous occupation, such as lifting a heavy weight or carrying a heavy burden or running a race, the muscles of the abdomen would play an important part.
Even in speaking we find the muscles of the abdomen contract, and thus give us the more force and strength of voice. In any kind of manual labor this is found to be the case, and these muscles become comparatively rigid. It is the custom, therefore, among workmen, even today, to wear a belt. When they have particularly severe tasks they take another "hitch" in their belt--that is, they pull it up a few notches more, making it a little tighter around the waist, the object being to support the muscles of the abdomen and to enable them to accomplish more labor with less fatigue; and when they are at rest they slacken the belt.
This seems to be the special thought of the Apostle here-- "Gird up the loins of your mind." As there are loins in the body and they have their important part to perform and we strengthen them in time of exercise, or necessity, so with our minds. We who have devoted ourselves to be the Lord's people, to do this service, realize that our minds need to be strengthened. We need to be of good courage. We need to be fortified against all disposition to lassitude.
When we undertake to gird up the loins of our minds it signifies that we have determined upon a course of activity; that rest and ease are put aside and that we are now engaging in an important work which we realize requires all the strength that we possess. The Christian has a great task before him, to lay down his life in the Lord's service, to accomplish all that he may be able to accomplish in respect to the use of opportunities which the Lord has provided us as his servants, his followers, that we may have a good report to give when he calls us to render our account; that we may say, Thou gavest me two talents and I have gained, two; or, thou gavest me five talents and I have gained beside, other five.
LOVE--Agape vs. Philadelphia.
QUESTION (1909)--2--When we are told to add agape to [Q449] Philadelphia, does it mean that we are to get a higher form of love for the brethren than Philadelphia?
ANSWER.--I understand that agape love refers to love of the broadest kind. We love the brethren with the Philadelphia love because they are brethren. We may not love their peculiarities, we may not love all their features, but we love them as brethren, whether black or white, bond or free, because they are brethren, comrades in the same race. But as we get agape love, it means that we love all the others.
LOVE--Reaching Mark of Perfect Love.
QUESTION (1909)--1--Is it possible for all who are called to the high calling to reach the perfect mark of love, and how?
ANSWER.--It is possible for every human being to reach that mark, and more than that, every individual who will ever get eternal life, either as a member of the little flock, or great company, or of the restitution class, whoever will receive eternal life on any plane will have to come to that place or mark of perfect love; because God will not give eternal life to any others. The law of love is the least thing that God will recognize. According to the spirit, you are under the law, and you are obliged to live up to everything in the spirit that the Jew was commanded to do in the flesh. You remember how it reads that, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and mind, and strength." Won't a little less than that do? No. Oh, but I have weaknesses of the flesh and cannot do the things that I would. Well, the Apostle said that the Lord is not judging us now according to the flesh, but according to the sentiments of our hearts. If it is full of love for the Lord, all your soul, mind, and strength, then you are up to that feature of the perfect mark. You cannot do more if you like, and you cannot do less. If your heart is not all of that you will not be of the Little Flock or Great Company, but such will go into the second death. All must come up to this standard in their hearts, or they will all die the second death.
What about the second commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself?" It relates to mankind. How? Get the best of him in a trade or take advantage of him? No. You must treat him as you would want him to treat you. That would not mean, however, that you must exercise your judgment for him. If he thinks his farm is better than yours and you make a trade, you both go into it with your eyes open, but to take advantage of another would not be loving as you should. The Church must do more than that. How? This way, my dear brother: The law never requires sacrifice on your part, simply love your neighbor as yourself, but what the Father requires of those who will be Members of the Body of Christ requires more than that; namely, that you sacrifice your earthly rights and lay them down. Jesus did it and it was more than the law required. He laid down in sacrifice His earthly rights, His interests. Oh, well, you say, we sacrifice our earthly interests, but we do not think them worth much. That is right, but you must sacrifice them.
LOVE--How to Manifest Love.
QUESTION (1913)--2--Do you know the dear brethren in Great Britain, and especially London, love you, and is there any way we can more effectively show it to you? [Q450]
ANSWER.--The Lord, you remember, said, "If ye love Me keep My commandments," and if we are thus abiding in His love now, my dear friends, that tells us that if we abide in His love we will abide in the Father's love.
I love you and I wish you to know that. I love you and think this love is mutual in all the members of the Bride of Christ. It could not be otherwise. How could we love Him who begat and love not also those who are begotten of Him? (1 John 5:1.) As each one loves more and more the spirit of the Master, we will be bound to more and more love each one; until we all get perfected beyond the vail when our love for each other will be absolutely complete.
LOVE--Proof of What?
QUESTION (1913)--1--What is the most potent proof that we have passed from death unto life and that we are sons of God?
ANSWER.--The Apostle tells us right in that same connection saying, "we know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. That is a very essential test, dear brethren, and it is one that we do well to keep in mind. If we lose love for the brethren it is not a favorable sign; if we never have love for the brethren it is not a favorable sign. The best sign is that you love all other children of God, no matter what their color or sex or position in life, rich or poor, bond or free; if you love the Lord you must love all those whom He loves and has chosen. We all belong to the Lord and every member of the Lord's family must be loyal to every other member of His family. We must have the Spirit of the Master, and to have this we must love all those who are begotten of God. Everyone that loveth Him who begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him. (John 5:1.)
LOVE--Perfect, Casteth Out Fear.
QUESTION (1913-Z)--2--What kind of fear is referred to in the text, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear."--1 John 4:18.
ANSWER.--Fear is a mental condition which is begotten of uncertainty. There are some things which we ought to fear, and some which we need not fear. The Adversary seems to take advantage of the fallen condition of the race, and to cause them to fear. Mankind realize instinctively that they are sinners by nature and that there is a penalty for sin. Taking advantage of this fear of the consequences of sin, the Adversary tries to instill in them a dread of God. He pictures before their imperfect minds a God who is unjust, over severe in His dealings with sin and the sinner, for whom He has prepared a place of everlasting torture.
As we gradually come to a clear knowledge of God and of the principles by which He regulates the universe, we lose this improper fear; and in its stead comes a love for God and a realization that He has love for us. Our love for Him grows in proportion as we perceive that He loves mankind, and has made provision for them whereby they may have an opportunity for everlasting life. After we have come to love Him perfectly, all fear in the sense of dread is cast out.
Our knowledge and love should not, however, cast out the fear of displeasing God for proper fear (reverence) must never be cast out. The more we have of reverential love, the more of the proper fear we shall have. Who would not fear [Q451] to offend a brother or a neighbor whom he loved and appreciated? Much more should we dread offending our just, wise, loving God.
The principle that "perfect love casteth out fear" should operate between husband and wife, between parents and children. The wife who fears her husband cannot be as happy as she would be if there were perfect love; and so also children who are in dread of either, or both, of their parents cannot love them with true filial affection. Each should fear to wound or offend the other, and should strive to have that perfect love which God is pleased to have all of His intelligent creatures exercise.
LUCIFER--His Previous Job.
QUESTION (1913)--1--Is there any intimation in the Scriptures that Lucifer was given the oversight or made the overseer of God's earthly creation or Kingdom at Creation?
QUESTION (1905)--2--What is meant by the word "lust"--"Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust?"
ANSWER.--Our word lust has changed its meaning a great deal. In the Greek it has a much wider meaning. Today it is generally restricted to mean immoral desires, fleshly desires. In the original it means any earthly desires, for instance, the lust for power.
MAN--Re Man Christ Jesus.
QUESTION (1910)--3--Who are we to understand is meant in 1 Tim. 2:5,6, by the words, "man Christ Jesus"?
ANSWER.--I answer that the man Christ Jesus does not to my understanding mean the Church. The man Christ Jesus who gave himself, to my understanding, points back directly to Jesus our Lord when he was a man, and at his baptism he there gave himself up and God accepted him there as the Mediator between God and the world. Not that he did the mediating work there; no, not at all. But he there became the Mediator. It is true that he was born to be Mediator when a babe, but he was not so recognized then. Only after consecration was he recognized of God as a Mediator. This is the one whom I delight in. Why? He is to be the great King, the great Priest. What will he do as King and Priest? He will mediate between God and the world. Will he make a successful mediation? O, yes; "Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord and he shall send Jesus Christ who before was preached unto you, whom the heavens must retain until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets." Will he always maintain this position of being the man Christ Jesus, or will he in some sense of the word share this with the Church? I answer that according to the Word of God a Body is being gathered from amongst the world, which is the Church, and it is to share with him his Kingship and his anointing descends on his Body members who are anointed to be kings on his throne. As his Body they share also in his anointing as the great High Priest, as pictured in Psalm 133, where [Q452] we read that the oil was poured upon the head of Aaron, the high priest, and it ran down even to the hem of his garment. This represents that all the Body of Christ is anointed, and they are the Christ, or the Messiah, because they were anointed, because the word "anoint" means "Christ." So if, as the Apostle says, "Ye have received the anointing," it is because you are a member of the anointed one. If anointed to be the Mediator, then you are anointed also as Kings and Priests that you may participate with him as members of that great Mediator which will do his great work between God and men during the Millennial Age.
MANIFESTATIONS--God Manifest in Flesh.
QUESTION (1915)--1--Are the spirit- begotten class a manifestation of God in the flesh?
ANSWER.--God was manifested in the flesh of Father Adam, because He made man after His own image (Gen. 1:26; Gen. 5:1; Gen. 9:6). Man was not made to sin. The Bible explains that sin came to mankind through the fall. Sin and selfishness coming in warped and twisted our judgments, so that now, the Bible declares, "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). Though God is not a fleshly being, yet when He made man in the flesh, in His own image, Adam was a manifestation of God in the flesh. And so Jesus, when He came into the world, leaving the heavenly, spiritual glory which He had with the Father and becoming a man, was a manifestation of God in the flesh.
God is, of course, manifested in all human flesh to some extent; but in proportion as the original likeness of God has been lost, men are not in God's image--not a manifestation of God in the flesh. But if we become New Creatures, by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, we have a new mind, as the Apostle declares. Our minds are given up to the Lord, our wills given up to His will; and by reason of this submission of our will to God's will, the Apostle tells us, we gradually acquire the spirit of a sound mind. We have not sound bodies, but our minds become more and more sound by reason of their harmony with God's mind. God's mind is a sound mind, and as ours become submissive to His we become sound-minded. Whoever is guided by the Lord's Spirit has the mind of the Lord, and God will be much more manifest in his flesh than before such a one became begotten of the Spirit and this new mind had taken control.
So we see that it is a very reasonable statement to say that each Christian, in proportion as he receives the Spirit of the Lord, and grows therein, becomes more and more sound in his mind. He becomes gradually a copy of God's dear Son, and therefore a copy of the Father; for Jesus is the Father's express image. The Christian who is growing in the likeness of Christ becomes, therefore, more and more a manifestation of God in the flesh (2 Tim. 1:7; Heb. 1:3.)
MANSION--Prepare Place or Disciple for.
QUESTION (1909)--2--(John 14:2), "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." Did Christ mean that He would prepare a place for the disciples, or that He would prepare them for the place?
ANSWER.--The picture before my mind is this, that our Heavenly Father has many different arrangements or parts [Q453] to His plan. There was one order or department of cherubims, another of seraphims, and another order or arrangement for the angels. As for the earthly arrangement of man, this was made for him, but there was no place yet provided in God's universe for this New Creation that He intended to develop, so our Lord said, "I will go and prepare a place for you." He has made it possible for us to enter in with Him, as we read, "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him." If He had applied His merit to the Jews under the New Covenant then, the blessing would have gone that way, and there would have been no place for us at all, but He went to apply same on our behalf, and gives us the opportunity of sacrificing with Him and of sharing in His high nature. It is true also that he is preparing them for the place.
MANSIONS--Many in Father's House.
QUESTION (1911)--1--"In my Father's house are many mansions." What does this mean?
ANSWER.--Our Father's house, in a large sense of the word, signifies the Universe, and the different members of his great family. He has one part of his great family on the angelic plane, we do not know how many; he has another part of his family that are seraphim and cherubim, and we do not know much about them. He has other parts of the spiritual family that the apostle Paul seems to refer to, but we do not know what these distinctions are; it is not revealed; but merely that there are different orders or grades of our heavenly Father's family on the spirit plane. Besides the church is to be on the spirit plane. Then he has also another part of his family of the human kind. Now he has made provision for all of these different families. He had already made provision for the angels; they have their plane, their status, their condition, assigned to them. So God has provided for mankind; the earth was made for man. But now was a new thing; the Lord Jesus came and called a church, and that church with himself is to constitute a new creation, and there was no place for a new creation; it was to be an entirely new creation. So our Master, who was the first-born of this new creation, when he ascended up on high left us word that if we would be faithful as his members he would go before us and prepare a place for us, and he tells us what place it will be, that it will be a place in the divine nature. Saint Peter says God has given us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these--by these promises working in us to will and to do God's good pleasure--we might become partakers of the divine nature. All who become partakers of the divine nature will have that place in the Father's mansion that is next to the Father's abode--the Father, the Son, the Bride, the Lamb's wife, and then all other orders under those.
MARAH--Sweetening of the Waters of Marah.
QUESTION (1910-Z)--2--What typical significance is there in the fact that when the waters of Marah were found to be bitter, and the Children of Israel had no water to drink, Moses caused a certain tree to be cut down and thrust into the stream, and thus sweetened the waters?
ANSWER.--As a result of Adam's sin there was nothing permanently refreshing for God's people to partake of. Those [Q454] who desired to be his people, those who left the world behind them, found a great deal of unsatisfaction, if we may so express it, from the provisions of the law, which brought only condemnation. In due time, however, God caused the death of our Lord Jesus, and through or by means of his death-- through the message of the ransom sacrifice--those who drink of this fact, this water, will not find that brackish taste.
We might say that it would not be unreasonable to consider that there is a correspondency of this at the present time. During the Dark Ages the water of life became very much polluted, and, as a consequence, undesirable. When we came to the waters of the Lord's Word and found that they were brackish and impure, nauseating, not wholesome, the Lord in his providence showed us more clearly than we have seen in the past the great doctrine of the Ransom, the reason for the cutting off of our Lord Jesus in death. Here was the manifestation of Divine Love and Mercy. And since we have realized this truth; since the truth has come in contact with and purified the message of the Dark Ages, we can partake of it with refreshment and joy.
We may not know if this was intended to be a correspondency, but we can at least draw some lessons from it, the lessons being true whether the matter was intended to be thus applied or not.
MARK--Re Great Company and Little Flock.
QUESTION (1910)--1--Is there a difference between the mark attained by the Great Company and the mark attained by the Little Flock?
ANSWER.--The Little Flock has consecrated not only to be obedient to all the demands of righteousness and justice, but they have agreed with God that they will do his will at any cost to themselves, whether justice should demand it of them or not. What you must sacrifice is something beyond what justice does or could demand. Just so with our Lord Jesus. Justice could demand that he keep the law, but Justice could not demand that he sacrifice his life. God demands that every man keep the law, but never demands that we should present our bodies a living sacrifice; it is an invitation. God does not invite you to keep His law; he says that if you do not keep the law, thus and so will be the result; there is my standard. So God sets before you and me this standard, that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. But you say, We cannot keep the law. No, we cannot, so far as the flesh is concerned, but we can keep it in our minds and hearts. We must do so. Anything short of that is to come short of the law of God and to find ourselves unworthy of having any eternal life. So it must be with the Great Company. They cannot come short of this standard of the law of God. They have agreed to do more, but they must come up to the standard of love. That is the standard for the world in general during the next age, which they will be obliged to come to. If they do not attain to that during a thousand years, they will not attain eternal life at the end of the thousand years. Now then, dear friends, don't you think the world will be a pretty nice set of people? I think they will be fine. When Jesus gets through with the work I tell you it will be well done, and humanity will be a fine representation of the power of God, and godliness in humanity.