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RESURRECTION--Knowledge of Former Life.
QUESTION (1913)--1--When a man is resurrected will he have knowledge of his former life?
ANSWER--We would make a distinction, first of all, between being resurrected and being awakened. To be awakened is one thing, and to be resurrected is quite another. Mankind in general will be awakened in order to have a resurrection, but the raising up, or resurrecting, will be after the awakening. They will not be raised up while asleep in death, but after the awakening.
In answer to the question, then I would say, yes. Those who are awakened will have the same qualities of mind as in their former life. They will remember their experiences in the former body because their brains will have the same convolutions and impressions which they had in it. The same thoughts will be produced, as is illustrated by a talking machine record. You have the record and can make duplicates, and when you put them on the machine they produce the same sounds as the original record. The new body will have the same thoughts as the former body had, and in that sense their identity will be preserved. I suppose the physical form will be preserved, that people may know themselves by personal blemishes and peculiarities. I think they may get rid of their imperfections. The time for getting rid of these is the whole thousand years of Christ's reign. During that thousand years they will be raised up out of their imperfections, and not until the close will they be wholly free.
In the case of the church it is different. Their trial takes place at the present time, and these trials are for the purpose of testing the saints of God to find out whether they are loyal to the core. To such as are proven loyal will be granted the glorious change in the first resurrection. They will be given spirit bodies; a perfect organism with the spiritual mind which they now have, and that will be their resurrection. Theirs will be different from the world's resurrection, and they will know each other, not by knowing the spirit bodies, because these bodies will be entirely new. I cannot tell how they will know each other, for as the Lord says, now we know in part, but then we shall see face to face.
RESURRECTION--Re Spirit, Flesh and Bone.
QUESTION (1913)--2--What did Jesus mean, when after His resurrection He said, "A spirit hath not flesh and bone as ye see Me have?"
ANSWER--He meant that a spirit being did not have flesh and bone. The disciples were frightened. They had certain indefinite ideas respecting spirit as people have today. I do not know to what extent the spirits of that time might make certain commotion, as they do today, but the disciples did not know whether the object before them had tangible flesh and bone like their own. You know the doors were closed and they could not believe one could come in and have a flesh and bone body. They thought they saw a phantom, and Jesus, to inspire their confidence, said, "Do not be afraid. A spirit hath not flesh and bone as ye see Me have. Come and handle Me. I will eat some fish." He said to Thomas on another occasion, "Thrust your hand in My side; put your [Q596] finger in the print of the nails. It is not spirit you are seeing." He had materialized. He was made alive as a spirit being. He had the power of a spirit being, to materialize and dematerialize. He did not have these powers when a man, during the 33 years of His earthly life. It was after His change, and becoming a spirit being again, that He had the same power as other spirit beings.
RESURRECTION--Re Order of the.
QUESTION (1915)--1--Will the Ancient Worthies have their resurrection before the Great Company?
ANSWER--We do not surely know, but we are inclined to think they will not. We think that the Great Company class will pass beyond the veil before the Ancient Worthies will receive their awakening. The matter could be reasoned one way or another; but the way we are most inclined to reason on it now is this--to say that the Great Company comes in as a secondary part of the Church, a part of the general class represented in the Church of the First-born. You remember that this was shown in the type; for all the Levites--not merely the priests--belonged to the class who were accepted by the Lord in exchange for the first-born of Israel.
So we understand in a general way the Great Company belong to the same class as the Church the Body of Christ. They are the ones for whom there has been a special application of the merit of Christ during this Gospel Age, made at the beginning; and Christ's merit, thus obligated, might be said not to be fully released until all these shall have been completely dealt with. This would imply, we understand, that the merit of Jesus could not be applicable to any outside, not even the Ancient Worthies, until after all the Church class have died and the merit is thus set free. We think, therefore, that the Ancient Worthies will not be resurrected until the Great Company shall have passed within the veil.
RESURRECTION--Why Jews Embalm Bodies?
QUESTION (1916)--2--Since the Jews believed in a resurrection of the dead, why did they embalm the bodies of their dead, as in the case of Joseph? Did they believe they would come forth in the same bodies?
ANSWER--We may not say what they believed. But when today we embalm our dead it does not signify that we believe they will come forth in those bodies. They did not know the simple way of embalming that we practice today. They were expressing some faith in respect to the dead, but not necessarily a Jewish hope; for the Egyptians, not the Jews, practiced embalming. The Bible gives us to understand that Joseph requested to be embalmed as an expression of his faith in God's promise to Abraham that Palestine would be given to the Israelites. He wished to be buried with his people, just as we today ship a corpse a long distance at times that it may be buried in the family burying place.
QUESTION (1916)--3--Will there be a resurrection of dead-born children?
ANSWER--No child is a soul previous to birth. The Scriptures speak of "Every soul of man in whom is the breath of life," and it is all these souls of Adam that are redeemed [Q597] by the soul of Jesus, and therefore these are the only souls to be brought forth from the tomb. Whoever has not been born has not been redeemed. If not born, then not redeemed; and if not redeemed, then not raised. Such children as those referred to in the question have not been born, have not been redeemed, and will therefore have no part in the resurrection.
REVELATION--Answering Questions on.
QUESTION (1906)--1--Please explain Rev. 14:9-11.
ANSWER--We prefer, dear friends, not to answer questions on Revelation yet, because it is a book of symbols so interwoven one with the other that we would have to here begin and prove what was the "beast" and what was its "image," and what was the "mark," etc., and it would really take us all evening to give a full explanation of that verse. So our thought is until in the Lord's providence the book of Revelation shall be treated as a whole, and connectedly, it will serve your interests and the Lord's interests best for me not to answer questions on it.
RICH MAN AND LAZARUS--Parable of.
QUESTION (1911)--2--Explain the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
ANSWER--First of all we must prove that it is a parable, because so many dear friends believe that it is not a parable, but the statement of a literal occurrence. They say, "It reads that there was a certain rich man, and it does not say, 'this is a parable.' " We agree to all of that; we must therefore prove it is a parable. And in order to prove it is a parable, it is necessary to show that if interpreted as a literal statement, it would be an absurdity and anything that would be an absurdity to interpret literally, we would be bound to look upon as a parable and seek to find some parabolical interpretation. That this would be an absurdity if taken literally, note this. It is not said that the rich man was a bad man; it is not said that the poor man was a good man; there was a certain rich man. To be rich is not necessarily an evil. There have been good rich men. Abraham was very rich. Our heavenly Father is very rich. It is not poverty, merely that makes goodness, is it? And our Lord is rich and for our sakes became poor. So we are not to think that riches merely, mean wickedness. We do not read that this rich man was a bad man, or profane, or anything of the kind, but merely he was rich and fared sumptuously every day--ate three or four good square meals each day, and wore purple and fine linen; that was his crime; whatever it was, it was connected with that matter somehow. Now to say that any man would have to be roasted to all eternity because he wore purple or because he wore fine linen, and had plenty to eat, and because he was very rich, would not be rational.
Then take the poor man. There is nothing said about his being a particularly good poor man, nor that he prayed a great deal--not a suggestion about his ever praying; he was simply a poor man and he lay at the rich man's gate, and he was full of sores, and the dogs came along and licked his sores, and he ate of the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table, and he was carried by the messengers to Abraham's bosom. Now to take that literally would be also absurd. It would mean, in the first place, that the only persons that would go to Abraham's bosom would be some who had laid [Q598] at some rich man's gate. That would not take you and me in--at least would not take me in, for I never had any dogs lick my sores, and I never ate crumbs, etc. So you see it would be an absurdity. Besides, if Abraham's bosom only had two or three lusty looking Lazaruses, he would have his arms out like that, trying to get them into his bosom. If it is literal at all, the whole thing is literal, and if it is symbolic at all, the whole thing is symbolic. Therefore we say without any question, this is a parable, because to take it literally would be to involve ourselves in statements of absurdity.
When we take it as a parable it is a very beautiful one, very consistent with all the Word of God, from first to last.
That rich man who fared sumptuously was the Jewish nation; he fared sumptuously upon the gracious promises of God's Word. All of those precious promises of God's Word, for the time being, belonged to the Jews--not one of them extended beyond his boundary to the Gentiles, except all the families of the earth were to be blessed through the Jews. All the precious promises belonged to Israel. Then he had a purple robe. Purple has always been a symbol of royalty. In what way did they have royalty? Why they had the divine kingdom or Theocracy established in their nation, and although the crown had been taken off in Zedekiah's day, God had promised that he would give it in due time to him whose right it is, and that Messiah should be of the stock of David. So they still had the purple. They still claimed to be God's kingdom. And they had fine linen. What does fine linen symbolize? It symbolizes righteousness, purity. Fine linen in the Scriptures represents righteousness. Where did they get righteousness? Where did they get more righteousness than the Gentiles had? We answer that in God's covenant with them, the covenant of the law, he made a special arrangement by which upon the offering of certain sacrifices year by year, each year, the nation was clothed with righteousness for a year. At the end of the year they had a new Atonement day, and made fresh sacrifices for sin, and then their righteousness was renewed for another year, in this national manner. So that this rich man, this Jewish nation, at the time our Lord uttered these words, had all of these conditions fulfilled. He had more than he could appropriate of God's promises in the Scripture, and all the holy prophets and the types and shadows of the law--all of those things. A change came--he died; he died to all those blessings. Did he? Does everybody agree to that? Yes. Do the Jews also agree? They do. They know they are not enjoying the blessings they formerly had. They know that since the year 70 when their nation perished they have not been in the condition of divine favor in which they were previously. Where are they now? As a nation they are still dead. As a nation they are still in hades--oblivion. You cannot find any Jewish nation, in the proper sense of that term. The Jewish nation, or government, has gone to hades, to the tomb. Will it be resurrected? Oh, yes, the Jewish nation will be resurrected, as we tried to show last night. Zionism is the forerunner of the resurrection of this Jewish nation. Whatever goes into hades must come out. That is the very thought of hades. It means a temporary stopping place from which the person or thing will come out. So when the Jewish nation is said to have gone to hades, it [Q599] implies that that nation will have a resurrection, or come out as a nation from that hades, or hadean condition. But while the nation is unconscious, the people of that nation have been very much alive all of these hundreds of years. They are very much alive people today. There is no more alive people in the whole world than the Jews are, and they have some of that very suffering that is pictured there in that parable at the hands of the Christians--or those said to be Christians. Those who were deluded into thinking they were Christians have persecuted the Jews, and they have had the tribulation that is there symbolically pictured. And they have desired that the Gentiles might cool their tongues. Was that fulfilled? Yes. When and how? Many times. I will give you one illustration in your day and mine. Not long ago when President Roosevelt was in office, the Jews of the United States got up a monster petition asking President Roosevelt, after he had had some good interchange with the Russian nation, if he would not use the kind offices of the United States and his own personal influence with the government of Russia to bring about some cessation of the severe persecutions against the Jews in Russia--"Do something to cool our parched tongues" is the very thought. "Give us at least a drop of cold water." President Roosevelt could not do it. Just so in the parable. We read that the drop of water was denied. President Roosevelt said that he would like very much to do something in response to this invitation. He was in individual sympathy with the Jewish race, but he said it would be out of the way entirely for the United States government to attempt to criticise a foreign nation with which we are at peace, and to dictate to them any policy they must pursue in their own government. So the poor Jew could not even get that little bit of help. That is exactly true of the parable. The parable does not go on to show that the time will come when the Jews will come out of that time of trouble. It merely leaves it there in the trouble.
The parable speaks about five brethren. Who would they be? We answer that while all twelve of the tribes were represented in Palestine at that time, yet the major portion belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. These two mainly constituted the rich man. The other tribes were mainly scattered around in Greece, Rome, Asia Minor, etc., and the question here is raised to show that God's dealing with the Jews that were scattered abroad amongst the Gentiles would be exactly the same as his dealing with the people in Palestine. For the answer is, "They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. If they do not hear them, then they must take the consequences." Who have Moses and the prophets? The heathen? No, the heathen never had Moses and the prophets. Whoever did have Moses and the prophets that they could hear them? Only this Jewish nation, only this rich man and, his brethren--two tribes, and the other ten tribes. Two tribes represented in the one rich man and the other ten tribes represented in the five brethren. You see two make the one, so the ten would make the five proportionately.
We have seen the rich man, now how about Lazarus? Let us see where he comes in. Lazarus was that poor man in the parable who lay at the rich man's gate, desiring to be fed with some of the crumbs that fell from the rich man's [Q600] table. What class was that? That was some outsiders? Yes. Who were they? They were some godly Gentiles. I remind you of some of them in the Scriptures. You remember in the New Testament there is mentioned a centurion, and they besought Jesus that he would heal the centurion's servant; they said, "He is a godly man, and he has built us a synagogue and has done much good to our people;" and so Jesus healed the servant. He desired to have some of God's favors. Yet he knew they belonged to the Jewish nation, they were not his; he was an outsider. I remind you of Cornelius, of whom we read that he served God daily, prayed always, gave much alms to the people, and reverenced God. A pretty good man, wasn't he? Yes. Yet none of his praying and none of his alms-giving came up to God. God did not accept any of that. It is, so to speak, like the incense that rose so high and could not go any higher. Why not? Because he was a Gentile. What difference did that make? Because all of God's blessings belonged to the one nation of Israel. When God said, "Ye only have I known (recognized) of all the families of the earth," he was speaking there of Israel and the special privileges and blessings belonging to Israel, but just as soon as the middle wall of partition, or separation, between the Jew and the Gentile was blotted out, just three and one-half years after the cross, just as soon as that particular period of special favor to the Jew was over, the Gentile came in to have just the same favor as the Jews--no more, no less. And at that time God blessed Cornelius, and he sent a messenger to Cornelius and said, "Now Cornelius, your prayers and your alms are come up before me." Why not before? They could not raise any higher, but now the special favor for Israel having passed, your alms and your prayers are come up before me as a memorial. Send now therefore to Joppa to one called Peter and when he comes he will tell you words which shall be to the saving of thyself and thy house; and you will come into fellowship with me then; when Peter came he preached Christ to Cornelius. And Cornelius received the message and was blessed with the Holy Spirit and had all the privileges and favors thenceforth that any of the Jews who had heard and had accepted the Gospel received--the Pentecostal blessings came on him also.
Now go back to the poor man lying at the rich man's gate. This is, before the change; this is before the house of Israel was left desolate, before the Gentiles were blessed. The Gentiles were in that poor condition represented by that poor individual, with the sores on his body, representing sin and sickness. I presume, as Bible students, all here grasp the thought that sores would represent sin, and the dogs licking the sores would represent the Gentiles, because this was a prominent expression among the Jews, that all others than Jews were mere Gentile dogs. They did not count them on a parity with the Jews at all. But he desired to be fed with the crumbs falling from the rich man's table. That is to say, I would like to have some of the blessings God gave. You remember the Syro-Phoenician woman of whom we read that she came to Jesus saying, Lord, my daughter is sick of a fever; I entreat you to heal her. Jesus for the time paid no attention, and she entreated and entreated; [Q601] finally Jesus said to her, "Never mind, go away; it is not proper to take the children's bread and give it to the dogs." Don't you know you are a Gentile dog? Have you not had that idea right along? She answered, "Yea, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from the children's table." She was willing to confess herself one of the Gentile dogs, she was willing to confess she had no right to claim any of those blessings of healing for her daughter, because she was not of the Jewish nation--but Lord, do not the dogs get a crumb occasionally from the table? "Let me have this crumb, heal my daughter." Jesus admired her faith, and said, "Go thy way, your daughter is healed." So she went her way. The daughter was healed. She was a type of this Lazarus, you see, getting a crumb from the rich man's table.
Now then, Lazarus died, that is to say, this Lazarus class died to their unfavorable conditions, and the angels carried them to Abraham's bosom. What does that mean? They were not buried. When the Gentiles died to their unfavorable condition, the angels that carried them to Abraham's bosom were the Apostles. See how Saint Peter carried Cornelius right off to Abraham's bosom. Why, he explained to him he should be one of the children of Abraham, didn't he? And that is what is meant by the figure of getting into Abraham's bosom. If you are a father and have any love for your family, and have some children come to you, you take them into your bosom; they are your children; you are their father. And that is the picture. That is the whole thing--Abraham and his children. Now the Jews were the natural children of Abraham, but they failed to get into Abraham's bosom, and the Gentiles who were outcasts, who in their humble condition were more ready to receive God's grace in the way God was pleased to give it, became children of Abraham through faith. And that is exactly what the Apostle says, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, Abraham's children." You are in Abraham's bosom now. I am glad to be in Abraham's bosom, glad to have some blessings there also. I am glad that God's favor to natural Israel is soon to come. They will all be coming into Abraham's bosom, not on the spiritual plane, but the natural seed will be coming back into the obedience and faith of Abraham, and I rejoice in that glorious prospect.
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW--Paul Blameless.
QUESTION (1916)--1--What did Paul mean when he said, "Concerning the righteousness of the law, I am blameless?" Had he not had part in Israel's national sin of crucifying the Lord would it have been necessary for him to have been immersed for the remission of sins? Were there any of the Jews who were so in harmony with their covenant that they needed no immersion?
ANSWER.--I think that the Apostle meant, personally he was blameless. As a member of the nation he was not blameless because the whole nation was involved in the sin their leaders had committed. The nation was responsible for the blood of Jesus, but the Apostle as a Jew had not been living as a sinner. He had been trying to keep the law, and in that sense was not a sinner. He would not therefore need to be baptized. This baptism was not common with the Jew. What John the Baptist did was something new to them. They were all baptized in the Red Sea and in the cloud when [Q602] God brought them out of the land of Egypt. In leading them out of that land into the land of Canaan He brought them through this baptism of water--water on either side of them and the cloud above them. They were baptized unto Moses and were all represented in Moses as the mediator of the law covenant. Whoever was faithful to that covenant was doing all that he could do. Anyone so doing was not willingly doing wrong. Some of them were indeed publicans and sinners, were not leading righteous lives, and some were exacting taxes from their brethren in serving the Gentiles. Some were sinners in that they lived in open sin. Any one of these sinners who would come to make a reformation of his life, turn over a new leaf, get into harmony with God, could symbolize the washing away of his sins by water baptism. That would mean that they had come back into harmony with Moses and the law-covenant, and would to the best of their ability keep the law. So John, when he saw Jesus coming- -John knew that Jesus was not a sinner and therefore did not need to be baptized by him, but rather that he needed to be baptized by Jesus. Jesus was living in harmony with Moses' law, John was trying to live in harmony with it, and Paul reckoned himself in with this class. He would not need to be baptized because baptism was the needful thing for an outward sinner who wanted to come back into harmony with God. John said, Messiah is about ready to set up the Kingdom, and if you do not get right you will not be transferred from Moses to Christ and become members of the new nation.
RIGHTEOUSNESS--Of Law Fulfilled In Us.
QUESTION (1916) --l--How is the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us?--Rom. 8:4.
ANSWER.--The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us as New Creatures. It is not fulfilled in our flesh because in our flesh dwelleth no perfection. You cannot bring perfection out of an imperfect body. The New Creature desires to do perfectly. We desire that every act and thought might be pleasing and acceptable to God, but we cannot do all that we would. We can do a great deal towards it and we can gain many victories along this line, and although we may continue to make progress in this direction, yet we cannot hope to reach the point where we shall be able to do perfectly. We can only do with the imperfect body which we have. We cannot do with the body which we have not yet got. We can only use the old body with the new mind. It is the New Creature in whom the righteousness of the law will be fulfilled. First of all, God counted our flesh as dead before He received us. It would not be the flesh, therefore, that would keep God's law. It is the New Creature in us, the new creature in which the righteousness of the law is fulfilled, and if we are doing this to the extent of our ability the spirit of the law is fulfilled in us as new creatures--in our hearts, our minds, our intentions, our endeavors--and that is what God is judging who knows us not after the flesh, but after the spirit- -according to this spirit He judges us. In the mind we keep this law, loving God with all our minds and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves. But more than this, we seek to follow in the foot-steps of Jesus and to lay down our earthly privileges as He did in order that we might exercise the spirit that was in Him in the service [Q603] of the Father and become more and more like Him, and ultimately share His glory.
ROBE--Vs. Garments of Salvation.
QUESTION (1911)--l--"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for he hath clothed me with garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with raiment and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." Is there any essential difference between the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness?
ANSWER.--I think it would be quite reasonable to suppose here that these two expressions were used interchangeably. Our robe of Christ's righteousness granted to us when we become his betrothed, our wedding garment, is a covering of our blemishes. Therefore, it is a robe of righteousness, a robe of imputation, under which we are counted to be right with God. And we properly enough speak of ourselves as in the same condition. As the apostle again says, "Ye are saved by hope." Our salvation is not complete, of course, but our salvation is begun in the sense that we are already counted as on the Lord's side, and we are already assured that if we maintain this standing, if we keep our garments unspotted from the world, we shall be of that same class whose salvation may be accomplished fully at the second coming of our Lord.
ROBE--The New Creature Given the Robe.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--2--Can the New Creature's body sin?
ANSWER.--The New Creature's proper body is the Spirit body of the First Resurrection. But before getting it he is placed on probation and given his old human body to practice with. The New Creature cannot make the old body obey him perfectly. But he can develop strength in his endeavors to bring words, actions and thoughts into perfect accord with the perfect Law of God--Love.
Unable to conquer, he must show the Captain of his salvation his loyalty to the core by "fighting a good fight."
The imperfections of the flesh to which the new mind does not consent are all of heredity--all from Adamic weakness- -all, therefore, forgivable by the Redeemer who merely needs to be appealed to as the great Advocate. But every transgression of the flesh is charged to the New Creature, who owns the flesh and is using it. This obligates repentance, prayer, etc., and means the greater blessing to the New Creature. To whatever extent the New Creature gives consent or sympathy to the sin of his flesh he is worthy of "stripes," which correctively will assist in his character development. "What son is he whom his Father chasteneth not?"
The New Creature only is given the wedding robe, the robe of Christ's righteousness, as a covering for his imperfect flesh. It represents his justification as a New Creature. It shows him as in Divine sight, holy, harmless, undefiled, through the merit of Jesus his Advocate and Redeemer.
ROBE--Does All of Bride Class Wear It.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--3--Will any of those found worthy of a place in the Bride company wear Christ's robe of righteousness?
ANSWER.--We understand that all who make the [Q604] consecration do so and are accepted, in one hope of their calling, and that that one hope is the hope of being a member of the Bride class and joint-heir with Christ. The fact that there will be a "great company" is a special favor ordained of the Lord in the interest of those who do not prove sufficiently zealous to be counted in with Jesus as "more than conquerors."
The "great company" of Rev. 7:9 is composed of such as fail to come up to the highest standard of sacrifice required of the Lord, but who, nevertheless, will prove not unfaithful in their final test. These are said to have not kept their garments unspotted from the world; hence the requirement that they shall wash them in the blood of the Lamb--prove their loyalty under discipline and stress, having failed to prove it by voluntary obedience unto sacrifice. Thus both the Bride and her virgins who follow her all wear the Bridegroom's robe (justification) in the present life. And all in the future life will attain perfection on their own account.
This imputed robe will not be needed by the "great company" after they shall have experienced their "change" to the spirit condition: for they, too, will be changed, in a moment and thereafter possess an individual perfection of their own.
ROBE--What Have We Since Our Begetting?
QUESTION (1913)--l--Are we covered by the Robe of Christ's Righteousness, or since our begetting has God given us a robe of our own?
ANSWER.--This Robe of Christ's Righteousness does not appertain to us at all until we become New Creatures. It was not intended to cover the flesh of those who have not become consecrated people of God. The world are not identified in the sense of being New Creatures with old bodies; they are all old creatures, both mind and body. It is only the Church who have had a change and whose minds or hearts God accepts as being in relationship to Him in Christ and whose bodies are imperfect, and, therefore, need a covering, that the Lord regards in this figure of speech, "Robe," and shows how He provides the covering of Christ to cover our mortal bodies. It is His Robe and not ours, and it is a very precious use of His Robe. We need His Robe, His Righteousness, to cover our blemishes. Our own righteousness, as the Apostle expresses it, would be only filthy rags, and so it is a beautiful picture of how God uses His righteousness for us, the wedding garment of all His people, and we are to continue to wear it without spot or wrinkle, and if any comes on it we have to get it off again, and thus keep ourselves in the love of God and in readiness for the marriage supper when we are beyond the vail. We are to be made perfect in our resurrection. We will not then need the imputed Robe to give us access to the wedding. By the time the wedding will be over we will have that robe of our own through the merit of Christ.
ROBE-For Old or New Creature?
QUESTION (1913)--2--Is the Robe of Christ's righteousness for the covering of the old man or the new creature?
ANSWER.--The old man we are to put off. Put off, therefore, the old man with his works, the Apostle says. The [Q605] old man was the old will, and he is not to be covered at all; he is to be dead; do not even need to bury him, let him go. And the new man does not need any covering, for the new man is perfect, the new creature never had any sin, has no sympathy with sin. What is it, then, that needs covering with the robe of Christ's righteousness? It is the flesh that once belonged to the old man, the old will, this flesh that has now been turned over as the body or flesh of the new creature and that the new creature must act through. This flesh is imperfect and needs the covering of Christ's imputed righteousness to keep all the blemishes out of sight, so they will not appear to the brethren any more than necessary, and will not appear to the Father any more than necessary.
ROBES--Re Our Lord's Glory Robes.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Has our Lord his robes of glory and beauty on at the present time?
ANSWER.--The thought in the questioner's mind, I presume, is drawn from the type of the High Priest. You will remember that the High Priest when he made atonement on the Day of Atonement had on white linen garments, and in those white linen garments he did the sacrificing and the offering of the blood, and then having offered the blood and having made atonement for sin, he came and washed his flesh and put on his glorious garments--garments of glory and beauty. In other words, all through the year the High Priest wore his garments of glory and beauty, but on the Day of Atonement he took off these and wore the plain linen garments. Our answer to the question, then, is, that the High Priest has not yet put on the garments of glory and beauty. Of course it is all a figure of speech, but the thought is, these garments of beauty represent our Lord's manifestations--the High Priest manifested as the one who is qualified and authorized of God to bless the people. This has not yet taken place. Why not? Because the antitypical Day of Atonement is not yet finished. How do we know it is not finished? Because some of the church, the body of Christ, are still to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. And this filling up of the afflictions of Christ is still going on. Some of the work of the High Priest, therefore, as sacrificer is still in progress, and he does not put on the glory and beauty of his high office until he shall have fully finished the sacrificing work; and until the last member of the body of Christ has suffered with him, the sacrificing will not be at an end. Just as soon as the sacrificing is finished, the glory will begin; as the Scriptures say, "If we suffer with him, we shall reign with him." And then, you remember, we read also that the prophets of old and the angels desired to look into these things and to know respecting the times and the seasons, respecting the sufferings of Messiah and the glory that would follow. While the suffering of this Messiah class is not yet at an end, the offering of the Day of Atonement is not yet finished, therefore the High Priest has not put on his garments of glory and beauty, representing the dignity of his office when he shall rule and bless and begin the Messianic reign.
RULERS--Number of Earthly in Millennial Age.
QUESTION (1908)--2--While speaking with a brother, the thought was expressed that the House of Servants will be the earthly rulers in the next age, and they number a hundred [Q606] and forty-four thousand, the same number as the Church, the heavenly rulers, but being a new thought to me, and not wishing to accept same without more light on it, I ask, Is it correct? Are the ones to be made princes in all the earth to number one hundred and forty-four thousand? Or, is it only the Church, "Israelites indeed," number thus? I think the chapter used is Rev. 7:4-8, which I have always thought referred to Spiritual Israel.
ANSWER.--I do not know anything about that. I have never seen any Scripture to that effect, but if anybody knows of such I will be very glad to hear it. I do not know any Scripture which says that the Ancient Worthies will number one hundred and forty-four thousand. We are not competent to judge, but if the Apostle's statement in the book of Hebrews be a correct one, I have serious doubt if we could find anything like one hundred and forty-four thousand such in all the history of Israel, so far as the Scriptures inform us. You know the Apostle only gives us a dozen or so by name, and says that time would fail us to mention the number of others. He certainly would not think of mentioning one hundred and forty-four thousand. It would have taken a great deal of time to mention all of their names. I doubt if there were that many Israelites of this high order. Amongst those he names it takes in Rahab, and Samson also. I am not inclined to think that there would be that many, but if anybody finds any Scripture which says there are one hundred and forty-four thousand I would like to have it.
A Brother.--I have heard this same thing talked about. Some take the seventh chapter of Revelation because it states there will be one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, twelve thousand out of each tribe.
ANSWER.--I understand that chapter refers to Spiritual Israel and not Natural Israel. It speaks of those being twelve tribes in this way just as, for instance, we would speak of the soldiers in the Philippine Islands and say, There was the Ninth Tennessee Regiment, and there was the Eleventh Ohio Regiment, and the Fourteenth Pennsylvania, etc. We could speak of those different regiments from the different states as being in the Philippine Islands doing duty there; and suppose now something occurred which decimated their ranks by reason of death, or whatever might be the thing which would sever their relationship to the regiment, and that would leave a vacancy. Now, suppose the vacancy in the Ohio Regiment was 400, a deficiency in the Tennessee Regiment of 600, and a deficiency in the Pennsylvania Regiment of 200. Now suppose there were men being enlisted by the Government for the places that would be assigned to fill up these regiments; whether they came from New York, New Jersey, Michigan or where, they would fill up the Eleventh Ohio, or the Fourteenth Pennsylvania, and they would come in under that head. So God arranged different tribes of Israel, and in His arrangement be determined upon one hundred and forty-four thousand, which would be as if were twelve thousand from each tribe. Now when he came to Israel to select there were not enough, and they were mostly out of one tribe. They nearly all came out of Judah. Our Lord sprang from Judah, and most of the others also, so far as we know. Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin, and we do not know what the others were of; there were a certain number there received, [Q607] but not enough to fill up the one hundred and forty-four thousand. We might suppose there were not more than ten or twelve thousand of those Israelites who ever became members of the Body of Christ. Would the Lord break up that arrangement? No; the Lord says, These are the spiritual Israelites I had in mind; these natural tribes were merely the outward shell, as it were, and the real kernel of the matter from my standpoint was spiritual Israel. I will still preserve this method of speaking of them as the twelve tribes. Now we have some from each of these tribes, and I will fill them up from all nations, kindreds, and peoples, and tongues; and it has taken all of this Gospel Age to do this. I do not know to which tribe I am assigned, and I do not care; it is merely an outward figure, and what difference does it make? It is all one company. The same thought is also called to our attention in Romans 11 where the Apostle speaks of the covenant made with Abraham, and how many branches were broken off because of unbelief, and then he says we were grafted in and took the places of those branches. Those branches represented the one hundred and forty-four thousand, but they were broken off and their places made vacant, and you and I were grafted in. In this sense you and I belong to the original olive tree, and those that were natural branches are not in it at all. The only way they can come in is by being grafted in again.
RUSSELL, PASTOR--Re Membership in Nominal Churches.
QUESTION (1911)--l--Did you ever belong to the Adventist church? Some say you did, and some say you left for a reason. If so, please say what.
ANSWER.--I never belonged to any church except the Lord's and the Congregationalists. I was a Congregationalist, and in my endeavor to be faithful I was trying to convert an infidel, and I did not convert him, but while trying to do so, I got enough new thoughts into my head to give me a lot of trouble; and finally, I became an infidel, and was about a year in that condition. I still worshiped God, but not recognizing the Bible, and not knowing if Christ were my redeemer. I still, nevertheless, continually went to God in prayer and asked for guidance and finally, in God's providence I came to see clearer light on the divine Word. I never was an Adventist--excepting that I believe in the advent of our Lord- -very glad to believe our Lord is to come again to receive the church to himself. But I never believed that about the world being burned up, nor any other things of that kind that constitute special features of the Adventist belief.
QUESTION (1909)--2--Please give a few moments to explain why we keep the first day of the week instead of the seventh. I had always been taught to keep the first day. Within a short time I have been told that I was not right.
ANSWER.--The best answer I could give would be to refer this dear sister to what I have written. God gave to Israel a command that one-seventh of their time belonged to Him. The seventh day of the week was set apart as holy to the Lord--a day of rest from all labor--they were not allowed to do any work on this day. You remember [Q608] the account of the man who was stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath. It required work in those days to build a fire. In our day we turn on the gas and rub a stick with a little sulphur on the end of it and we have a light. The Lord didn't make this arrangement of keeping the Sabbath with us. You will remember also that in our Lord's day they made objections because the disciples passed through a wheat field and gathered some of the wheat and blew away the chaff and ate the wheat. In that day it was lawful for any person in passing through anybody's vineyard or field to eat all they wished of the product. On what ground then did they find fault with the Apostles? On the ground of working on the Sabbath--of threshing the wheat--rubbing it in their hands. They said, "You have broken the Sabbath day." That was the absurd degree to which they went. That seventh day was given to the Jew in an appropriate sense because it was intended as a type of the great seventh day of a thousand years' duration in which the whole world will have rest from sin. The human family will be greatly blessed on that seventh day. The Jewish Sabbath prefigured this day. But you say, "What day did He give to the Church?" He gave us all the time. We rest according to the antitypical meaning. We are resting today--we rested yesterday and we will rest tomorrow. How? We rest with God through the finished work of Christ. We are resting from our own works and our attempts to justify ourselves. This is the antitypical rest--the rest of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. I am resting the most when I am working the hardest. This is the rest God has given to us, the Church--not the typical rest, but the antitypical. The peace of God that passeth all understanding has come to us. There is still another rest-- a rest that remains for the people of God. But, you say, "What about keeping the first day of the week? There is no Scriptural command to keep any day." We can keep Wednesday or Monday or Thursday, but I think we will do better to keep all the days. We want to rest every day, and He will give us the desire of our hearts,--our good intentions. But how about the first day of the week? It is kept by some because they imagine God said they must keep the first day. You remember after our Lord's crucifixion that He appeared to the disciples on the first day of the week-- while they were in the room with closed doors He suddenly appeared in their midst. "Oh," they said, "this is very wonderful." On the first day of the next week they were again together and He appeared again to them. So they got to coming together every first day in the week, and called it the Lord's day. They had breaking of bread together on that day--but this was not the Lord's supper. You remember how He appeared to two of them on the way to Emmaus--this was on the first day of the week. The first day of the week represents something now. In the Scriptures seven represents completion. During this Gospel Age it is very appropriate that we should celebrate the new beginning of new things. I shouldn't wonder if during the Millennial Age there would be some days set apart for the world to observe and it wouldn't surprise me if they kept the seventh day. He has suggested to us the specially appropriate day of the first.