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ORDINATION--Re Title V.D.M.
QUESTION (1916-Z)--1--What is the meaning of V.D.M., and what would be signified by the conferring of the V.D.M. Degree?
ANSWER.--The title V.D.M. is a very old one. Indeed, it has been out of use so long that comparatively few know its meaning. The three letters represent the Latin words, Verbi Dei Minister. The English of this is, "Minister of the Divine Word." When, during the Dark Ages, the Divine Word fell into disuse and creeds were substituted, this title was generally lost and ignored. There were no ministers of the Divine Word; for the Divine Word was not preached, but, instead, the creeds of men. Instead of these simple words so expressive of the proper thought in connection with all the Lord's public servants, we today have high sounding titles, such as Reverend and Doctor of Divinity, which are quite unscriptural. To confer the degree of Minister of the Divine Word would not mean to ordain, but merely imply that the Society in giving this degree had looked into the reputation, and so far as possible into the character and especially into the doctrinal development of the person to whom the degree was given, and that he was in the estimation of the Examining Board found worthy of being called a Minister of the Divine Word.
ORDINATION--Re Society Withdrawal of Ordination.
QUESTION (1916-Z)--2--Would the withdrawal of the Society's appointment or ordination mean that the Pilgrim thus suspended from its service would have no right to preach thereafter?
ANSWER.--Surely not! In withdrawing its appointment from a Pilgrim the Society would merely be indicating that for some reason it no longer was represented by that Pilgrim, and that it no longer was responsible for him or his teachings or his conduct or his maintenance. The Pilgrim brother thus dropped from the Pilgrim List might still be a Brother and be so esteemed by the Society, but might not be any longer considered a suitable person to represent the Society, either by reason of showing some weakness of character or some lack of the aptness to teach or some other reason which the Society would believe should not be encouraged, or for which it would not wish to be held responsible, or for various reasons, illness, etc.
ORDINATION--Withdrawing Pilgrim Ordination.
QUESTION (1916-Z)--3--Has the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society the right to withdraw ordination from a Pilgrim brother?
ANSWER.--Yes, surely! If it has the power to appoint and direct, it has power also to withdraw its past appointment and direction.
QUESTION (1916-Z)--4--Does the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society ever "ordain" ministers or representatives in connection with the Harvest Work?
ANSWER.--It does. All the Pilgrims are thus ordained, appointed, or set apart for the special work of the ministry. Keep in memory always that ceremony is not ordination, but that appointment and direction are ordination. The Society ordains, authorizes, directs the course of the Pilgrims who [Q521] are its representatives as well as the representatives of the Lord and His Word.
ORDINATION--Not of Men.
QUESTION (1916-Z)--1--If it is proper that all Elders and Deacons should thus be ordained and should not attempt to serve regularly without ordination, what did St. Paul mean when he declared that he was an Apostle not of men nor by men, but by the Lord Jesus Christ?--Gal. 1:1.
ANSWER.--No man or congregation is competent to appoint or elect an Apostle. No congregational vote would make one of the brethren an Apostle. That is a special office or function which is of Divine appointment solely. Thus the Lord Jesus appointed only twelve Apostles--"Twelve Apostles of the Lamb"--St. Paul taking the place of Judas, who lost his apostleship. (Rev. 21:14; Psa. 109:8; Acts 1:20.) It is in this particular that the Church of Rome, the Church of England, and the Greek Church do violence to the principles of God's Word, in that they claim to make, but do not really make, Apostolic Bishops--bishops possessed of apostolic power and authority.
St. Paul did not desire us to understand that he took no notice of earthly appointment, except in respect to his apostolic office. On the contrary, the Church at Antioch ordained Paul and Barnabas and afterwards Paul and Silas, to be their representatives and apparently at their expense to carry the Message to others. The Antioch Church did not ordain the Apostle Paul to be an Apostle, but ordained him to be their missionary; and he accepted their ordination and rendered reports to them, as the account in Acts shows --Acts 14:26-28.
ORDINATION--Of Elders and Deacons.
QUESTION (1916-Z)--2--Are all Elders and Deacons chosen by congregations of God's people to be considered Divinely ordained?
ANSWER.--No, no one can be considered Divinely ordained who has not received the begetting of the Holy Spirit. For a congregation to ordain any one who does not profess to be fully consecrated to God and to have received the begetting of the Holy Spirit is for them to do what they have not been authorized by the Lord to do. The person thus chosen would be merely the representative of the church thus ordaining him, but would not be a representative of the Lord.
But for a congregation to recognize the Lord's authorization of a Brother, and to recognize further his aptness to teach and his possession of the qualities fitting him for service according to the Divine Word, means the giving to that Brother of a proper election or ordination to be the representative of the congregation in the name of the Lord. No Brother should attempt to serve a company of the Lord's people without their request, and their request or their vote constitutes their appointment of him to that service--in other words, their ordination of him, or appointment, for the service, whether for a day or a year.
OVERCOMERS--Who Are More Than Overcomers?
QUESTION (1912)--3--Is there any place in your writings where you use this statement: "More than overcomers?" Is it proper to speak of the Little Flock as more than overcomers? [Q522]
ANSWER.--Yes, such a statement is proper because the Bible speaks of it that way. The Bible says, "He is able to bring us off conquerors and more than conquerors." The Great Company will be conquerors in the sense that they will finally get the victory. Otherwise they would not attain everlasting life at all. In Revelation, 7th chapter, (Rev. 7) they are pictured as coming up out of the great tribulation, etc. Will they not be victors? Yes. Will they not be conquerors? Yes.
Those who get upon the Throne will be "more than conquerors." To be conquerors would mean that we would be faithful, not deny His name, not repudiate Christ. Whoever does that is a conqueror and I am glad this will be true of the Great Company Class. But, to be more than conquerors we must seek opportunities to serve, and present our bodies continually and wholly lay down our lives. A conqueror is a man who does not run away when attacked. But the man who leads in an attack is a Hero--more than a conqueror.
OVERCOMING--How Long Before Reward?
QUESTION (1909)--1--In Rev. 3:5, we read: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels." How soon after the last member has passed beyond the vail, will this take place?
ANSWER.--I have no inside information, dear friends. I think the Lord is here referring to the present time, because unless you have in this present life, and before you pass the vail, the white raiment, and your name written in heaven, and unless it remains unblotted out, you will never pass into the Most Holy, as a member of the Christ. So this, to my understanding, refers to this side the vail. "I will confess your name before my Father, and before His angels." If your name and my name is there, I suppose the Father knows it, and I suppose the angels have some way of knowing it, but if we fail to overcome, then our names will not be confessed, but will be blotted out.
PAPACY--Re Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Sunday Resurrection.
QUESTION (1909)--2--If Papacy is the Anti-Christ, why should we hold to the old tradition of Palm Sunday, Good Friday and the Sunday morning resurrection?
ANSWER.--If Papacy should hold to Christ, should we deny Christ? I guess not. Papacy did not get only that which was wrong; Satan was too smart for that. There is a lot that is true in Papacy, but the trouble is that there is so much error that the truth is vitiated, and they are not able to use the truth because of the error. Thank God, if we get rid of the error and hold the truth.
What about Palm Sunday? I do not think that the Catholics made that, but that Jesus gave it to us centuries before there was a Catholic church. When Jesus rode on the ass, it was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Zec. 9:9. Now, when the people began to put their garments in the way and to shout, Hosanna, who was it that forbade it? It was the Pharisees, not the Roman Catholic church. Who said, Let them alone? It was Jesus. Palm Sunday was [Q523] not established by the Roman Catholic church. The palm represented the victorious ride of the King through the city.
Well, Brother Russell, you sometimes have a discourse upon that subject. Well, is that not right? At another time I have a discourse and call attention to the death of our Redeemer. Why not? Do the Catholics do me out of that? I guess not.
Well, how about Good Friday? It is just as good as any other day to me. If any wish to keep Friday as a special remembrancer of Christ's death, I have no objection. If they find it profitable to do this, God bless them--let them do what they are trying to do to remember the day upon which our Redeemer died.
What about Sunday morning? I do not know what that means. Why should we not celebrate it; we are all interested in it? The heathen are not interested in it. The Catholics celebrate Easter Sunday, but they do not know anything about the resurrection.. They think that when a man dies that he is more alive than before. They know that resurrection is in the Bible, but they do not know what it means. Of all the people upon the earth, we are the only ones that really want a resurrection, and if there are any people who should celebrate it, I want to celebrate it. If any one has objections to it because the Catholics do it, he has a right to his objections. I want to think that every Sunday represents the resurrection of our Lord, and about the time of the annual celebration, I like to see the cross brought forth in the various discourses, as it shows that the claims of justice will be satisfied through it, and that under the new arrangement there will be a resurrection of the dead. So, to me, the resurrection of the dead and Sunday become more precious every day.
PARADISE--Promise to Thief on Cross.
QUESTION (1909)--1--Please explain Christ's promise to the repentant thief on the cross. Second, is the earth to be paradise?
ANSWER.--You remember the thief asked the Lord a special request, saying: Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom. Our Lord has not come into His Kingdom yet, and hence the time when that thief wished to be remembered has not come. We are still praying, "Thy Kingdom come, etc." If Christ had His Kingdom, we would not be praying thus. The Lord answered the thief's request just as he requested. The word rendered "verily" means the same as "amen," so be it. I will remember you when I come into my Kingdom.
How, then, did it come that we got the wrong idea? It was because we were not fully posted in the Word of God. When our Lord died He did not go to paradise, but He went into the tomb. We read that God raised Christ from the dead; He was dead and rose from the dead on the third day, and He did not come back from paradise. You remember that when He did rise, one of the Marys clasped Him by the feet, but He said: Detain me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father and to your Father, and to my God and to your God. The difficulty is because the "comma" is in the wrong place. As the Bible was originally written, there were no marks of punctuation; it is a modern convenience. What our Lord did say [Q524] in effect was this: I say unto you today, notwithstanding that I am hanging on the cross and it looks as though I was a deceiver, etc., yet I say unto you today, this dark day, thou shalt be with me in paradise.
QUESTION (1911)--1--In the "Harvest Siftings" it is stated that it was a few months after October, 1874, when it was first realized that the Lord was Present, and in Volume Four, page 612, it is stated that it was nearly a year after October, 1874, before the fact of the Lord's presence was recognized. Is the month of 1875 known in which it was first realize that the Lord was present, and when was the first public announcement of this great fact made?
ANSWER.--I think those two statements are in full accord. I think a year is a few months. Whenever it is stated a few months in any writing, the Bible or any other, that is supposed to imply that it is not specific or a clearly defined number of months, but merely a general statement and not a particular one. I could not give the exact time; I do not know; no one else does; it simply was on or about or along there somewhere, that we began to have thoughts along that line. Now you see no thought comes up full-fledged at first; every fly begins a very small fly, and becomes a larger fly.
PASSOVER--How Often Repeated?
QUESTION (1911)--2--Was the blood of the Passover lamb sprinkled year by year continually, or was this done only the one time in Egypt?
ANSWER.--I do not know; it was to have been a symbol. That is the way it was commanded at the beginning, and quite likely it was followed all the way down. If there is anyone here who is a Jew, he could tell us perhaps whether it is customary now for the Jews to sprinkle the blood on the door post. I do not suppose that they do. I am not sure.
PASSOVER--Who Typified by First-born?
QUESTION (1912)--3--Did the "Firstborn" who were passed over on account of the shed blood of the Lamb typify the HEAD AND BODY of the Church, or the CHURCH ONLY?
ANSWER.--Why! the Church only; NOT our Lord Jesus. He was not passed over by anything. He died. In the full sense of the word He was the Lamb. His blood makes us "The Church of the First Born." Where would be the Lamb for His Own Justification if He were passed over? He did not need a Lamb. He passed over by Himself. He passed over by His obedience even unto Death. Now that enables Him to pass us over as the Church of the First Born through His blood applied to us.
PASSOVER--Passover as Related to Atonement Day.
QUESTION (1913)--4--What is the relationship between the Passover type and the annual Day of Atonement? Does the Passover represent the Ransom being paid, and the day of Atonement, following, the cleansing of the people as result of the ransom work?
ANSWER.--I would say that these two are not related at all. God put them at opposite ends of the year, away from each other. The one is the type of one thing, the other is the type of another thing. [Q525]
The word "ransom" is not shown in either: there is no picture of the ransom in either case. The word "ransom" or thought of ransom is given elsewhere.
PASSOVER AND ATONEMENT--When And Why Observed
QUESTION (1916)--1--Why was the Passover celebrated, on the evening of the 14th day of the first month, and the annual Atonement Day on the 10th day of the seventh month?
ANSWER.--Because God wanted them to be different. The two things have no direct relationship the one to the other. The one is a picture of the passing over of the Church of the First Born, whereas the other is a picture of the suffering of Christ and the Church during the gospel age as a basis and preparation for their dispensing of blessings to all the families of the earth during the Millennial Age. The passover Lamb merely represented the death of Jesus and the passing over of His people during this age and consequently another and different picture is given to represent the death of Jesus and the Church and the consequent blessing of the world in the age to come. He did not want them to run into each other. The one referred to the death of Jesus and the other was given to make a different picture.
PASTOR--Electing You If Not Able to Visit Class.
QUESTION (1912)--2--Would it be proper or well for one to nominate Pastor Russell to be a Pastor of a class for a year or any set period, the class may decide to vote? The thought is that you would likely be present only as represented by the printed page, or through correspondence.
ANSWER.--I do not quite catch the purport of the question, but would say, in some respects it might be considered rather a formal matter. As a matter of Providence, through the Watch Tower and through correspondence, I am practically Pastor in all the little Ecclesias represented in the Watch Tower lists. If the friends take a formal vote and elect me Pastor, I am pleased to have it that way, and if they prefer not to do so, they have their choice. And whether they make the election for a year or without limit is also for them to decide.
PASTORAL WORK--Elders Not Directors.
QUESTION (1916)--3--Should the sisters start the Pastoral Work without consulting the Elders; and should they go ahead with it even though one Elder is not in favor?
ANSWER.--The Elders have nothing to do with the Pastoral Work. The Elders are Elders, and should therefore attend to the work of the Elders. The Pastoral Work is for the Pastor, and the Pastor should therefore attend to it. The letters of instruction pertaining to this work have not been sent to any except those who have indicated to me that they have chosen me to be their Pastor, and since they have invited me to be their Pastor, I am endeavoring to do that work for them. If the letters have been sent to any who have not this desire, please return them and I will have nothing to do with them. But in all cases where I am the Pastor, I will use and co-operate with the sisters as I think best.
Evidently the objector does not understand this matter. There is nothing in it that I know of to antagonize the Elders, and should there be any Elders who have not enough [Q526] work to do to keep them occupied, it would be in order for them to be getting busy. There is an abundance of work for the Elders and Deacons to do and they should therefore be kept busy in doing the work which the Lord has committed to their care, but the case of the sisters is different, and we are now trying to find something for them to do, and are rejoiced that the way is now opening. If any of the Elders hinder and find fault with this work, our advice to the class would be that at the next election, they be dropped from the eldership. Each one should learn to attend to his own business, and not interfere with others, and in this way will the work prosper- -by each one attending to his own part of the work. Should anyone try to stop the work of the Lord, they had better be dropped, because the class will get along better without them. "Let all things be done decently and in order!"
PASTORAL WORK--Co-operation of Elders and Sisters.
QUESTION (1916)--1--Will you please explain a little more about the co-operation of the elders and deacons of a class with the sisters in the pastoral work?
ANSWER.--I cannot explain any more than has already been explained in the letters sent out. To each class has been sent two letters bearing upon this work. The one is for the sister who will act as lieutenant and representative of the pastoral work, while the other is for the elders and class in general. These letters explain everything as fully as I know how to explain, and it would be useless for me to take time to explain what is not therein stated. I repeat that, these letters only went to such classes as had intimated that they had chosen me to be their pastor. These letters explain the matter fully. If you cannot understand the matter by a single reading, then read again, and if necessary, a second and third time, until it becomes clear to you. Take each part separately. One of them has nothing to do with the congregation in general, but simply contains instructions for those who will be carrying out this plan of work, while the other is to the elders et al to show how they can co-operate in it.
I believe you will find that when this work is gotten well under way, it will not only afford the sisters an opportunity for service that will be very encouraging to them, but additionally, that, it will open the way for the elders to do more than they now do, and will also open the way for well-qualified deacons to enter the eldership. There is so much work to be done that the question arises as to whether or not we are doing the work of the Lord? Just so surely as we are in the Harvest time, so surely will we be called to do what the Lord is giving us to do.
Should anyone inquire whether this would be a good chance to get other brethren into the work who had not previously had experience in this kind of service, we would answer, No; this is not the place for any inexperienced person. They should get their experience beforehand. We do not want to put mere novices in such a work. "Not a novice" either in doctrine or in speaking should be employed in any of this class extension work. Novices should indeed get experience, but, how? At one time in Pittsburgh (and some have tried it since in New York), (in Pittsburgh I had something to do with it), we started what we called a School of the Prophets, not that this name meant to us what it did when [Q527] originally used, but still a name that seemed to us quite appropriate for the work in hand when considered in the light of the New Testament. A prophet in the Bible sense was one who was a public speaker, not especially one who was a seer and had revelations, but a public speaker, and it was in this sense that the Apostle Paul used this word when he said, "Desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy," which would suggest the thought that we should choose rather to have ability as public speakers. Now, then, we perceived that some brethren had talents for public speaking and we suggested that they come together as a little class to hear and criticize each other in speaking. They did not speak to the public, or to the class, at all. They had no qualifications, especially, for speaking. Some had a disposition that might be drawn out and cultivated. But we did not wish to impose upon a class by having them listen to unqualified speakers. No one should wish to bore a class or anyone else. Only those who were qualified and have shown talent and ability should be chosen to speak for the class or the public. Our instructions and training to that end should be given and received privately. In this class we had one appointed as a special critic, and then all present had the opportunity of criticizing the speaker. Some of these young men criticized each other pretty sharply until there was danger of them all being discouraged. It became necessary, therefore, for me to caution them against criticizing too closely lest there should be nothing left but skin and bones. I think it would be well to have such a school under proper control for the training of class and public speakers, and not impose upon the class or the public by giving them unqualified, inexperienced novices for speakers.
We believe this to be a very important matter in connection with the success of the Pastoral work, and would consider it to be one of the best and most efficient ways of cooperating with the sisters in this work.
PASTORAL WORK--Not For Brothers.
QUESTION (1916)--1--Would you advise a brother and sister to quit the Eureka Drama and colporteur work to take up pastoral and colporteur work?
ANSWER.--We would not advise the brother so to do for the reason that there is nothing in this line in connection with the pastoral work for the brother to do. The brother has evidently gotten the wrong view of the matter. This pastoral work is for the sisters. One reason is that the sisters have more time during the day than the brethren, who are generally employed otherwise during the day; and secondly, very many of the sisters have a great deal more tact in approaching people than the brethren have. Not that all the sisters are in possession of more tact than the brethren, but rather, it is a good opportunity for them to do their part of the work and thus increase the opportunities of the brethren for giving chart talks, and subsequently conducting first volume studies. We should not think of the start in this work as being the end by any means. The start will be the beginning indeed, but only the beginning. You will start in with the lists furnished you from Brooklyn of names that have come in from time to time through the Drama, public addresses and the colporteur service--that is the start--but my thought is, if the Lord is going to do the great work [Q528] which we expect will be done within the next few years that, in all probability this smiting of the Jordan is going to arouse a great deal of interest throughout the whole world, with the inevitable result that larger crowds will be in attendance, a large number of names will be handed in, and consequently this phase of the work will expand and continue, so that the opportunities for chart talks and first volume studies will multiply as the time goes on. This I apprehend to be a part of God's great plan.
My advice to the sister would be that she remain in the regular colporteur service just as long as the Lord may be pleased to bless her in it, and this might mean that the brother continue also in the Eureka Drama work as heretofore. This would seem to be the best for the present, and then, in the future, should the Lord so provide, it may be their privilege either to enter the pastoral work or have their present field of service enlarged.
PEACE--Enemies at Peace With a Man.
QUESTION (1910)--1--"When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him."--Pro. 16:7. What does this signify?
ANSWER.--Well, we can say surely that when a man's ways please the Lord, if it so please the Lord, he can make his enemies to be at peace with him. So far as I know, the ways of our Lord Jesus please the Father, but he did not make his enemies to be at peace with him, for they put him to death. So far as St. Paul was concerned, we believe his ways pleased the Lord, but it did not please the Lord to make St. Paul's enemies to be at peace with him, but they put him to death. So the most I could see in this would be that at some proper time God will make man's foes to be at peace with him, if he is in harmony with God, but that proper time does not seem to be this Gospel age, for now a man's foes shall be they of his own household, and whosoever will live godly will suffer persecution.
PEACE--Re Loving God's Law.
QUESTION (1910)--2--"Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them." A sister says that nothing in the Word of God shall offend them.
ANSWER.--We will not discuss what this sister means or what the other sister thinks, or what somebody else says. When you have a question, give the question and do not mind about what you think. I am the one that is going to say on this occasion what I think. But what does this text mean? I answer that God's law is so reverenced by all of those who really love him that when they contemplate what God has said, it becomes a law to their lives and becomes a ruling power in their lives, and nothing shall stumble them. The word "offend" here is used in the sense of stumble, or trip. If they love God's law, if they are not merely obeying God's law because it is a form and ceremony and other people say they ought to, but because they really love that law, they appreciate the principles of God's justice and righteousness and various commands, and in his law they meditate; they like to think it over and see how just God's requirements are, how kind he is, and appreciate all the teachings of God's law-- that is the attitude of mind that nothing will stumble. The people that get stumbled [Q529] are those that are not rightly in harmony with God's law-- using the word Law of God here in the broad general sense of complying with all of God's requirements, not only through the words of Jesus, but also through the law of Moses, and the words of the Apostles, God's law in the general sense that God's law signifies justice, that they love the Lord, their God, with all their hearts, and their neighbor as themselves. It will be pretty hard to stumble those who really love that principle. It takes a little while to learn enough of God's law to appreciate it and to really love it. We sometimes begin by obeying the law before we really learn to love it; but as surely as we make progress and grow in grace, knowledge and character-likeness of the Lord, we will come to love the principles of his righteousness and desire to have them not merely because God says we ought to do so, and we must do so to be in his family, but because we will come to appreciate the principles of righteousness that are behind his requirements.
PEACE--When Will They Cry "Peace?"
QUESTION (1915)--1--The Prophet Jeremiah says that they shall say, "Peace! Peace! when there is no peace." St. Paul, in speaking of the present time, says, "And when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them" (Jer. 6:14; 1 Thess. 5:3). Do these Scriptures apply now, or do they refer to Armageddon?
ANSWER.--We think that this saying of "Peace! Peace!" has been going on for some years. The Church systems and everybody have been claiming, every since the first Peace Conference at The Hague, that war had come to an end, that we were living in the time of peace, that we were having the time of peace that the Bible tells us about. They thought this was true; but those of us who had a better knowledge of the Bible knew it was not true. A great Time of Trouble must first come. The Lord long ago pointed out this great Time of Trouble, which has already begun and which will culminate in an awful period of anarchy, the Armageddon of the Scriptures. So they have been saying, Peace. Peace! when there is no peace, and no ground for peace. There can be no true peace so long as there is sin; for sin is the great difficulty with the world.
As long as men are imperfect and have the control of the world, there cannot be peace--the peace that God has purposed. That peace can come, as the Bible points out, only by Messiah's taking full control. He will bring in the peace. Now, in the meantime, the Lord is letting the nations go their way, that they may show what they can do for themselves. He is no longer holding back the winds of strife--let the winds blow; let the great passions of mankind manifest themselves, and grow from bad to worse, until they end in anarchy. When anarchy has accomplished the complete destruction of the present Order, it will be time for the setting up of the Kingdom of Christ, and He will bring the whole trouble to a sudden termination. But meantime all must learn that no human efforts of imperfect men and women can bring the peace that the world really desires and must have.
PENNY--Why Do Some Mourn?
QUESTION (1908)--2--And when they had received it, the [Q530] penny, in Matt. 20:11, they murmured against the good man of the house. If the penny signifies the great prize of glory, honor and immortality, how or why does that class, who receive it, murmur?
ANSWER--I answer that in these parables we do not expect that every little feature will find a correspondency. Some of the features would seem to be introduced merely to round out the story to make it a reasonable story, or to call attention to some particular feature. In this case to have passed by the fact that each one had received a penny and made no comment on it would have laid the matter open for some to say, "It is strange they did not make a complaint. Everybody now-days would have made a complaint. By introducing this feature, that there was a query as to why some had received only the sum the others had received, it draws attention prominently to the fact that it was the same price or same reward that was given to all of those who are faithful to a long period and to those who are faithful to a shorter period; if they all get exactly the same, it makes that point prominent in the parable. It is a finger that points to that feature, so to speak, and says, "this is the prominent feature of the parable." We are not to expect dear friends, that any who received of the Lord's blessing, which is represented here by the penny, would have a disposition to murmur against the Lord. Rather we are to understand that anyone who would be inclined to murmur would not be in the Kingdom at all. Our thought, then, is: this is introduced in the parable to show the general fact that there would be this one reward given to the whole company that would be rewarded at all. I am not sure, however, that the penny represents glory, honor and immortality. I think that the penny quite properly might be understood to refer to everlasting life merely, without representing the additional features of glory, honor and immortality. According to the Scriptures, we are not all to get the same thing. The Apostle tells us there will be those in the Kingdom who will differ the one from the other, as star differeth from star in glory; but one thing will be common to all of those, namely, they will all have eternal life; all who have honestly and persistently labored in the Lord's cause will be accounted worthy of eternal life; whatever other blessings may be given to them in addition to this are not shown in this parable.
PENNY--Of Parable, Pastor Russell's Dying Statement.
QUESTION (1916)--1--Who will give the penny?
ANSWER--I don't know.
PENNY--What It Represents.
QUESTION (1916)--2--In Matthew 20, the Parable of the Penny, we read, verse 2, "And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard." What does the penny represent? Again, in verse 6, (Mat. 20:6), we read, "And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle." Do we understand the eleventh hour is past? Again, in the 11th verse, (Mat. 20:11) "And when they had received it they murmured against the good man of the house." What does the murmuring represent, or signify?
ANSWER--We have dealt with this question several times in the Watch Tower, but I will briefly outline the matter [Q531] again. Perhaps others also may have forgotten what was written. The parable is one that is difficult to understand with all its peculiar features; as for instance, this giving of the penny seems to be on this side of the veil, because, when it was paid there were some there who murmured, and surely no one would murmur on the other side. If they had been disposed to murmur they would not have been on the other side. The giving of this penny seems surely to mean something that will occur in this present life, before our change, and at the end of this age. Then, it is to be given by the Steward, and given to those who have been laboring in the harvest. I do not know definitely how this will turn out. You are aware that most of the things of God's Word that are prophetical are difficult to understand in detail until they have been, or, are in the process of fulfilment; and I think this parable is about to be fulfilled. I can give only a suggestion. This great work of Smiting Jordan which, I think, is the thing before us, and is to be done within the next few years, is somehow to be connected with this matter. Just how, I do not know. I am looking, and so are you. We will see in due time. It is a parable and will be made clear and will then meet our expectations fully. So then, let us avoid any spirit of murmuring and let us be thankful for all our privileges given to us, and let us not think for a moment that, if the sisters be given an opportunity to serve we should murmur against them for having such opportunity!
PERFECT MAN--Till We All Come to the.
QUESTION (1911)--l--What is meant by the perfect man in the text which says, "Till we all come to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God, and to a perfect man?"
ANSWER--What perfect man? How could we all come to the full stature of a perfect man? This is the perfect man that the Apostle frequently refers to; as, for instance, in the third chapter of Acts we read, Moses truly said to your fathers, a prophet shall the Lord, your God raise up unto you, from amongst your brethren. That prophet, that great teacher, is the Messiah. That is the perfect man. Jesus is the head of the Messiah. God has been raising up that Messiah, raising up that great Prophet, that great Priest, that great King, that great Judge, that great Man in this larger sense, in which we sometimes use the word "Man"--the figurative sense, the head and the members. So this is the Apostle's thought when he says that the hand can not say to the foot, I have no need of you, nor the eye to the hand, I have no need of you, for every member of the body is necessary. What body? This great man. Why is God raising up a great man? We answer that this great man, or the figure of a man, refers to the church--Jesus the head and the church, his body. This is the great Messiah that God has been raising up for now eighteen hundred and more years--raising up from amongst your brethren. This is the Messiah of whom Moses spake, saying, "Moses truly said unto the fathers, a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you." He did not say that it would take eighteen hundred years to raise him up, but it has taken the eighteen hundred years, and he is not completely raised up yet. So the Apostle in this text is telling that when our Lord ascended on high he gave gifts unto [Q532] men in fulfillment of what is written in the Old Testament Scriptures; to some he gave apostles and some prophets, an some evangelists, etc., for the work of the ministry. What is that? For the work of the service. What service? The service of the church, the service of the truth, the service of the body of Christ. For what purpose and for how long? Until we all come--until by the processes of the preaching of the Gospel and all of this work that these gifts were given to forward and to carry out--until we all come, even the last member shall come, into relationship as members of that glorious body--that glorious man that is to have dominion of the world as God represented.
And this is the same man Saint Paul refers to again when he says that God took some from the Jews and some from the Gentiles and of the twain making a new man; thus making peace or thus balancing as between Jew aud Gentile. The chief members were the Jews. The Lord Jesus himself, and the early members of this man were taken from the Jewish nation and then also some from the Gentiles. So this one great man of which Jesus is the head, is to be composed of Jews and Gentiles by nature, who, during the thousand years of Messiah's reign, will reign gloriously and carry out all the glorious projects which the heavenly Father caused to be written in the Old Testament Scriptures and of which also the Apostles and our Lord spoke.
PERFECTION--In Millennial Age.
QUESTION (1911)--l--Will any reach perfection during the millennial age, before the end of that age? And, if so, will they come into actual relationship with God before the end of the age?
ANSWER--We answer yes, some will come to perfection before the end of the age. We know, for instance, that the ancient worthies will come to perfection immediately upon their resurrection, because their trial has been passed; therefore the ancient worthies will be just such a class. We will suppose that the questioner has particular reference to the remainder of mankind, and our answer would be, that according as each one is prompt to obey the institutions and laws and regulations of Messiah's kingdom, in that same proportion he will make the more rapid progress toward perfection. Just the same as it is with us now: in proportion as we are whole-hearted, in that proportion will we sooner reach the mark of perfect love. Some are quite slow in getting to where they can love their enemies, and others get there comparatively quick, and so with those who will be on trial during the millennial reign; they will have the opportunity of coming to perfection; they must all come to perfection, or else they will die the second death; and they may come to that perfection as rapidly as they choose. We might say that in proportion as they are obedient to the laws of the kingdom, the blessing will come to them, raising them up, up to perfection.
Now, the other part of the question, "Will they come into actual relationship with God before the end of the age?" We answer that this question might be viewed from two standpoints; in one sense, all who will come into harmony with God at all at that time will come under the provisions of the new covenant; they will be in relationship with God at once if they accept Messiah and attempt to order [Q533] their lives according to his kingdom. They will immediately be in covenant relationship with God. That is to say, God's covenant through Christ is, that eventually, if they are faithful and loyal, they will be in full harmony with him. God will treat them from the beginning through Messiah, through his kingdom, as though they were back in harmony with God. But not until the end of the millennial age will this covenant accomplish its full work of introducing these people actually, fully and completely, to God. At that time, the great Mediator of the new covenant will, so to speak, step from between and allow the world of mankind, brought to perfection, to have direct contact with the heavenly Father, and be in subjection directly to the laws of his kingdom, justice. All mediation will be out of the way then, all mercy, all covering of imperfection, will be taken away, and each one being perfect, will be responsible for his perfection to his Creator. They are in this blessed condition in the sense of his relationship all the way down, but at the end of the thousand years they are more directly in this covenant relationship, and obliged to stand each one for himself without the Mediator between.
PERFECTION--Be as Jehovah.
QUESTION (1911)--1--"Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect." What does this signify?
ANSWER--It signifies this: that God's perfection is the standard. He cannot have one standard of perfection for you, and another for me, and another for somebody else. There is just one who is perfect and that is our heavenly Father. When you were children in school they gave you a copy book, and at the top of the book was a copy and it was perfect, it was copper plate; you could not improve on it, you could not make anything like it; and so God knows we are imperfect; he knows we are not able to be like the Father in perfection, but he sets his perfection as our copy, just as your teacher gave you the copy book. I do not know whether this is the custom now or not; it was when I went to school. And I remember well that in school the top line of our writing usually looked better than the last line. The top line was nearer to the copy and we looked more at the copy when we made it, and when we got down nearer to the bottom we got to copying our own until the last line was sure to be worse than the first. That is just the condition with us, dear friends. We are in danger ourselves day by day, of taking some other brother or sister, and saying, "I will be like him, or like her !" God says, through our Lord Jesus, "Be ye like unto your Father in heaven," that is the copy, that is the sample, follow that as near as you are able. And how is he going to judge us? Will he judge us according to the flesh? No, the church he is now selecting, he will not judge according to the flesh, but according to the spirit; that is, according to the intention, according to the will, according to the efforts; and so if you and I are pure in heart, and zealous to know and to do the Lord's will to the best of our ability, then the Master will pass upon our following his copy, and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of thy Lord; you have been faithful in a few things (trying to copy) you shall be ruler over many things," sharing the great honor with the Master of ruling the world.