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QUESTION (1911)--1--"And I heard the number of them which were sealed, and there were sealed 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel." Does this mean that that is all there will be saved?
ANSWER.--No, there are some to be saved that are not sealed. To our understanding, that 144,000 exactly corresponds to this man we have just had in a previous question.* God is raising up the great man, this anti-type of Moses, or has been in the process of raising him up--or, in other words, this 144,000, the spiritual seed of Abraham, of whom the Apostle Paul says, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs, according to the promise" -- these are the seed of Abraham that will be as the stars of heaven in contrast with the earthly seed of Abraham which will be as the sand of the sea shore, and which eventually will include all nations, peoples, kindred's and tongues; as it is written of Abraham, "I have constituted thee a father of many nations"-- not merely father of the Jewish nation, but father of many nations. So all the nations eventually to be saved will come in under Israel's New Covenant, and all become children of Abraham through faith and through obedience. But now in the mean time, and before that blessing comes to Israel in the flesh, and before it comes through Israel in the flesh to all the other nations, God is first gathering out this spiritual class, this 144,000. And so you will find in the book of Revelation, this 144,000 is said to have been gathered or sealed, out of the twelve tribes of Israel--12,000 out of each tribe sealed. That is to say, God planned the entire matter as though he would get the whole number of Abraham's spiritual seed out of the twelve tribes of Israel--he planned it on that basis. Then he proceed to get just as many of the children of Israel according to the flesh as were worthy of a place in that spiritual class, to bring to that sealed class, sealed of the Holy Spirit. We know, for instance, this much about the matter, that Jesus during his ministry, gathered some 500 brethren, as Saint Paul calls them. We know also on the day of Pentecost there were several thousand more that were indicated as being worthy, and that were sealed, and then later on several thousand more of Jews. And then we know that the work of the ministry was consigned to the Jewish nation exclusively for three and a half years after the death of Jesus. And then after that again they had the same opportunity with the Gentiles exactly, and a better opportunity than the Gentiles, as far as the conditions were concerned, for the remainder of the Jewish age, and up to the time that the city of Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70. Now in all of that time then, God was finding literal Jews belonging to the twelve tribes, some of them belonging to Asher--those that were in Palestine represented the twelve tribes, though mostly they were of the tribe of Judah, and the tribe of Benjamin, and the tribe of Levi--those were the principal ones, but there were others of different tribes, as the Scriptures remark, and all the twelve tribes were represented there and some in the outlying districts in Asia Minor, and also in Greece and Rome, and to all of these, wherever [Q629] the apostles went, as, for instance, when they went first to Rome, Saint Paul first called for the Jews of the synagogue and explained to them the situation, and gave them still the first opportunity and said it was necessary, it was appropriate, that the Gospel should be first preached to you. That was God's program; He was going to get from amongst the Jews as many belonging to those various tribes as could be found--and then what? Suppose now we had twelve bushel measures here which would each hold twelve thousand peas; and here is one measure representing the tribe of Judah, another measure representing the tribe of Benjamin, and another the tribe of Issachar, Asher, Zebulon, etc., and some of them have more and some of them have less peas in them, but all of them have peas in them in varying amounts. Now when all of the Jews who were fit for this place of being the spiritual seed of Abraham were gathered and sealed, then the Gospel message went to the Gentiles. What for? To fill up the measure of these twelve tribes. What tribe do I belong to? I suppose, I hope, I belong to one of those measures, and I hope you belong to another, or to the same; but whatever one it will be, it will be one needing more to fill it up. As, for instance, just the same as the United States government has certain troops in the Philippine Islands, and suppose there was the 97th Regiment of New York there, and certain other regiments from Missouri were there, and another regiment from Pennsylvania, and another from Maryland, and those different regiments had their regular names; but suppose for some reason, either by sickness or discharge or what not, these regiments were depleted in number, so they were not up to the normal standard of a thousand men, or whatever constitutes a regiment, and the government would say, "Fill up all those regiments." They might start a recruiting office here in St. Louis, and the men that would be recruited in St. Louis might go to fill up a New York regiment, or a Pennsylvania regiment, as the case might be. Now just so God is filling up this number. He started the whole thing on the basis of Israel first, and these various tribes of Israel were counted as having so many apportioned to each, and when they got as many as were fit and ready to be sealed in this way, then they were filled up from amongst Gentiles. So the Apostle Paul, in Rom. 11 says, you remember, that when the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, then the blindness shall be turned away from Israel. As soon as God shall have a sufficient number to fill up this 144,000 all the work of this Gospel age will terminate quickly. It will all be at an end, because the spiritual seed of Abraham will be complete and there will never be another one added to it; there will neither be one short nor one too many; and just as soon as that is accomplished, then would come, you see, the glorification of this 144,000 as the spiritual kingdom and then would come the blessing of natural Israel! as Saint Paul says, "All Israel shall be blessed, all Israel shall be saved, all Israel shall be brought back into divine favor, and harmony, and through Israel, then, the blessing shall extend to all the nations, for the due time for scattering the blessings of God amongst mankind will have come; the time will have come for the blessing of all the families of the earth through natural Israel," under this superior and spiritual Israel, the 144,000. [Q630] And that 144,000 are composed of those who have been Jews, English, Irish, Welsh, and all others. So then instead of this 144,000 being the end, or completion of the matter, dear friends, it is only the beginning of God's salvation. This is the special salvation, this is the elect class, this is the Messianic class of which Jesus is the head--and it merely means a beginning. Following that will go out a general salvation for mankind at large. But these are saved to the heavenly conditions while mankind at large are to have the offer and opportunity of salvation in the flesh, coming to human perfection and to everlasting life as human beings and to a full restored earthly dominion--all that was lost in Eden to be restored through that great Messiah.
*Question 1, page 531.
SAVIOR--Jesus a Complete Savior.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Could Christ be a full and complete Savior if anything was required of man in either the heavenly or the earthly salvation ?
ANSWER.--Why certainly he could be a complete Savior. Suppose now there were ten men here drowning in the water, and suppose I had life buoys with ropes on them, and threw them in and said, "See that? Catch hold of that and I will pull you up! Catch hold! Catch hold!" They were all there invited to catch hold and they would be pulled up. Now then if one rejects this means of salvation after he knows what it is, and has heard what was said, knows he is able to grasp the rope, and has hands to catch it with, has all the power to get hold of it and come up out of the water, if he rejects it, the person that has done this work has nevertheless been the Savior of all those persons. He has recovered them all, because if after they were thus saved in the sense of salvation or recovery being cast to them, they then willfully rejected it, it is just as though they had jumped in the water after they were on top again.
SCAPEGOAT--Representing a Spirit-Begotten Class.
QUESTION (1907)--2--Since the scapegoat was not accepted for sacrifice, and did not enter the Holy, could it represent a spirit-begotten class?
ANSWER.--The bullock did not go into the Holy or the Most Holy, nor did the Lord's goat; and similarly the scapegoat did not go into the Holy or the Most Holy. If the fact that the scapegoat did not go into the Holy and the Most Holy were to be considered a proof that the class represented by the scapegoat was not to be spirit-begotten, the same argument would hold against those who are of the Lord's goat class, and the same argument would hold against our Lord Himself, represented by the bullock. It was the blood that was to be taken in, and that was all. Those who are represented by the scapegoat are represented for the time being in the body of the High Priest, as for instance, Jesus the High Priest first of all, in His first offering of the blood of the bullock, as the High Priest represented himself in taking the blood in himself individually. You and I were not in that at all. He went into the Most Holy on our behalf, and made reconciliation for our sins. Then he came out and offered the goat of the sin-offering, the Lord's goat, and took of the blood of it. Now then, he was representing in that goat, you see, the members of his body, and he went in with the blood of that goat. But the goat itself was represented in the priest. The bullock was represented in the [Q631] priest and now similarly the goat is represented in the priest, and he makes the offering there. The scapegoat class are for the time being represented in the body of the High Priest. That is to say, when they made their consecration, they were counted as members of the Body of Christ, for the time being, and it was only after they failed to continue in His way, failed to go on and complete their sacrifice, that they were eliminated and no longer counted as members of the Body of Christ, but thereby becoming a secondary company, or a company not found worthy of places in the Body of Christ.
SCAPEGOAT--How Represent the Spirit-Begotten?
QUESTION (1912)--1--How can the Scapegoat, not having the light of the Golden Candlestick represent the Great Company, which is spirit-begotten?
ANSWER.--The Scapegoat did not get the light, because it did not get into the Holy. Neither did the Lord's goat, nor the bullock.
It is not everybody, apparently, that can understand these types. If you are one of these, don't worry about it, for you have plenty that you can understand, and thank God for. The Lord's goat outside represented one class, and the Scapegoat represented another class, and the Bullock represented the Lord Jesus. In the Court condition, the Bullock represented Jesus, when He was in that condition; the Lord's Goat represented one class of His followers when they were in this Court condition, and the Scapegoat represented another class of the consecrated when they were in the Court condition-- not after they passed into the Holy. No goat or bullock ever went into the Holy. All who enter the antitypical Holy become members of the High Priest. When the bullock was slain the change took place. Outside the curtain the High Priest was symbolized by the bullock; inside he was the High Priest.
Also with the Lord's goat--outside it represented the human nature of those accepted as members of Christ; but inside it represented the Body of Christ, spiritual, the Church. So it is the Priest inside the vail that sees the light from the golden candlestick, eats the shew bread--not the bullock nor the goat.
The question before the mind of the questioner, I presume, is this: Could those who have ever gone into the Holy get out again? And the answer is this: That so far as you and I are concerned, all that you and I know about the matter, is that every person who makes a consecration enters into the Holy and becomes a member of the Body of Christ, which, is the Church.
Suppose twelve hundred persons were here. Suppose all, had consecrated themselves to the Lord, and had been begotten by the Holy Spirit. Where would they be represented in this Tabernacle type? I answer, They would be represented inside, not outside the Holy. They went inside, for they were begotten in the one hope of their calling. Those in the Holy become two classes. They all see more or less of the light, eat more or less of the shew-bread, and more or less approach and appreciate the Golden Altar. But one class approaches and eats in a way that the other class does not. One class appreciates the light and uses it more [Q632] thoroughly than the other. One class goes more particularly to the Altar of Incense.
Those who fail to avail themselves of these privileges will not go on into the Most Holy. Only the Christ Head and Body will constitute the Great Priest in glory beyond the Second Vail.
What will happen to those failing to make their calling and election sure? In the end of this age their portion will be assigned in the Court condition--but they are not in the Court condition now. The holy represents all those who have made acceptable consecration. All the worthy will eventually pass beyond, into the Most Holy. Those who fail to make their calling and election sure, though still spiritual, will be remanded to the Court condition, justified fully with God, but on a different plane from those fulfilling their covenant of sacrifice--followers in the footsteps of Jesus.
The Great Company, antitypically Levites will be the servants of the Royal Priesthood. Although on the Spirit plane and having no inheritance in the land--no part or lot with humanity--nevertheless, they will have to do with the earth in their spiritual service.
Whilst the work of restitution will be in progress for a thousand years and mankind will be gradually nearing perfection, these antitypical Levites will have an important service to render to men. In order that nothing may hurt, injure or destroy in all that holy Kingdom a great Company of spiritual guardians will be required. Their work will no doubt correspond to the service now rendered by the angels to the Elect Church. "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister unto them that shall be heirs of salvation?"
SCAPEGOAT--No Part of Sin Offering.
QUESTION (1915)--1--Does the scapegoat have any part in the Sin-offering?
ANSWER.--The scapegoat has no part. The scapegoat was not offered at all. It failed to be offered. Two goats were presented as offerings, but the lot fell only on the Lord's goat, and that one was the sin-offering. So we have the bullock and the one goat for the sin-offering, and the other goat was not sacrificed at all. Hence it could not be a sin-offering (Lev. 16:7-10). But in God's economy this scapegoat class will have a secondary part in the expiation of sin by having their sufferings applied as atonement, or expiation, for certain willful sins of the world--not Adamic sin.
SCIENCE--Re Wild Statements.
QUESTION (1911)--2--Do you know that the science of geology and archaeology, prove absolutely and conclusively that this earth is not only six thousand years old, but millions of years old; that man's remains have been traced back even beyond the glacial period, which is not less than one hundred and fifty thousand years, and that animal life can be traced back through all periods of time?
ANSWER.--I do not know anything of the kind, and I do not believe anything of the kind. I know that some gentlemen are in the habit of taking a little hammer, and knocking a corner off of a rock, and then spitting on the ground two or three times without saying anything, but looking wise, and guessing several large guesses. The one who guesses the [Q633] largest is the biggest professor. That is the science some people are following, and the apostle Paul speaks of such as "Science falsely so called." That is just what I think it is, too. Science has some basis, not mere guess work. One man might have better opportunities of guessing on a subject than another, yet at the same time a guess is not to be set down as scientific truth. We know, for instance, that we are able to make stone in a very few hours; we are making it every day in concrete work, it is being done all over the world. It was supposed at one time that stone could not be made except in a long period of time; that it would require millions of years. Now we can make it ourselves in a few hours. And those various theories respecting man and his period of time on the earth, I think are not well gauged.
We have set forth in the chapter I refer to in the sixth volume of Scripture Studies, our thought, which we believe to be the Scriptural one, that each of these ages of creation are periods of seven thousand years, and that the whole period of creation up to the time of man was six periods, or days, of seven thousand years each, or 42,000 years; and we have had six thousand years more of the seventh day period. Man was created in the beginning of the seventh day, and we have been in this period for six thousand years, and another thousand years remains to complete the seventh, and then we will have a complete cycle of seven times seven thousand years, forty-nine thousand years from the beginning of the creative work, and bringing us to the grand jubilee of fifty thousand years in the period of the world's history. In speaking of these creative days, let us remember that the Bible does not pretend to tell what condition the world was in when this creative period began. In Genesis we are not told when God began to make the earth; we are simply told that "the earth was," but we are not told how long it was, and we have no guess on the subject; but we are told that the earth was, and that it was without form, void, and darkness was on the face of the earth, and God began to order the earth or bring it into condition for man. Now, we are not to know any more than that. There was no man on the earth before that, and no beast before that, but there was a planet here; but how long it had been a planet we do not know.
SCIENCE--Re Moses and Pentateuch.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Do you not know as a historical fact that Moses lived in an age at least five hundred years before the Pentateuch was compiled, or that writing, except in Egyptian hieroglyphics, was unknown, and that it would have been a physical impossibility for him to have written it? Is it not a fact that Ezra, and perhaps Nehemiah, are responsible for all the writings attributed to Moses?
ANSWER.--I think not. I do not know the writer of the question, but I prefer to take some better authority. Jesus said, "Moses wrote of me." I prefer to take Jesus. I have not had anything to disprove it to my mind yet. I am not ready to throw away my Bible; it is getting better to me every day.
SCRIPTURE STUDIES--Laws Prohibiting Sale of.
QUESTION (1909)--2--If laws are passed to prohibit the sale of Scripture Studies, shall we continue to sell them? [Q634]
ANSWER.--It is time to cross the bridge and worry when we get to it. Our Lord said, "Be careful for nothing, but in everything give thanks." Give thanks that you have an opportunity now and do not worry about tomorrow or next year. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Sufficient also is the guidance of the Lord, and we are to wait and watch for it.
SCRIPTURE STUDIES--Why Is Author's Name Omitted?
QUESTION (1913) 1--We are sometimes asked why the author's name is not given in the Studies of the Scriptures. We are assured in our own mind that your reason is a good one, but we would like to have a definite personal answer from yourself to give to all enquirers.
ANSWER.--Well, a number of reasons could be assigned and any one of them be true enough. I do not know of any particular reason why the name might not appear there; I do not know whether it would be to advantage or not. The "Studies in the Scriptures" are given forth not merely as representing something of a personal kind, but something as representing teaching, and the teaching is supposed to stand on its own basis by the reference to the Bible, rather than upon the authority, or word, or name of any individual. The book is really less sectarian, if we wish to use that expression, by reason of not having the name, but I could not have any particular objection, and if anyone would like the name, kindly write it in for them.
SEALING--With Holy Spirit.
QUESTION (1909)--2--When are we sealed with the Holy Spirit?
ANSWER.--My thought is this, as expressed in the Dawn Scripture Studies, that at the time of our consecration, if that consecration be accepted of the Lord, we are begotten of the Holy Spirit, and this begetting work may progress more or less slowly, and that the sealing condition would come at the time when we would say we were quickened, and that the quickening condition would be at the time when we have come into harmony with the arrangements of the Lord, so as to see that the law of this new life is the law of love, and have come to the place where we have nothing in our hearts against God, the brethren, our neighbors, our enemies if we have had any, or against any one in the world, and we have come to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. From that time we are quickened and our life begins to manifest itself in what we say and do. To my understanding the sealing very considerably corresponds to the quickening, and is not an instantaneous work, but is a gradual or progressive work. When your heart has become tender toward the Lord, the Holy Spirit begins to impress upon you the character likeness of God, and that is the sealing of the Holy Spirit. It has fire, of course, and pressure, and becomes more and more effective, and continues all through your lifetime, and you are not to get rid of it, but obtain the full character likeness.
SECOND ADVENT--How Our Lord Knew About Raising the Church on Third Day?
QUESTION (1908)--3--If our Lord knew not of the time [Q635] of his second advent, how could he refer to raising the Church on the third day?
ANSWER.--If the Apostles sometimes spoke by the spirit of prophecy, as well as the prophets of the Old Testament, I know of no reason why our Lord Jesus might not similarly have spoken by the spirit of prophecy. We have to take His own word for it. He says He will raise it up on the third day. We know that He did not raise up the Church, the Temple of His Body, on the third literal day, nor did He raise it upon any third day we know of, except the third day of this great dispensational period, in which the world's history is divided, six of which have already passed and in the seventh of which we are now living--the fifth in which He was speaking, and the seventh would be the third therefore from his standpoint of time--on the third day He would raise it up. That is the only interpretation we know how to apply to His word. How much of His words were prophetical I do not know, or to what extent He was speaking prophetically I do not know, but we do know He Himself said respecting the day and hour of His second coming that no man knoweth, neither the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only. We would be obliged to suppose that our Lord either spoke prophetically about the third day, or else he would know of it as the third day, the three thousand year period, but did not know what day and hour in that three thousand year period He would be present and the work begin.
SECOND ADVENT--How Related to Wedding Feast?
QUESTION (1908)--1--"And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding; that when He cometh and knocketh they may open unto Him immediately." (Luke 12:36.) It seems evident from the text that our Lord is to return to the "little flock" from the wedding feast; so our Lord emphasizes that attitude on the part of the "little flock" when He returns from preparing the feast. "I go to prepare a place." So would this text indicate a return from an actual wedding to those who follow after,--the foolish virgins?
ANSWER.--I answer, neither. To my understanding, the Lord merely meant this: My disciples, you are aware that in any well regulated household the servants are always expected to do their duty, but you well know that there is one time, one particular season, in which more is expected of them than at any other time, and such an occasion is when the master of the house has wedded, and is about to bring in the bride. You know that is the time when the servants, above all other times, are expected to be faithful and obedient, and be awake, ready, and attentive. Now, let that illustrate to you the attitude all of my disciples should be in -- just like men who wait for their master with a bride returning from the nuptial feast, that they may open to him immediately. Now it does not mean that he will come to us from the nuptial feast, or that He will come to the great company from the nuptial feast, but we are to be in that prompt attitude that the very first indication of the Lord's presence will be heard by us; that we will be on the alert, as it were. And so, you remember, the next verse of the parable says--proving that it belongs to us at the present time,--"Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when He [Q636] cometh shall find watching; verily I say unto you that He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them." We have had this fulfilled with us, dear friends. To such as were on the alert to hear the knock of the divine word, the testimony of God as to the presence of our Lord, and opened their hearts immediately, and were in the right attitude to receive the Lord, He did come, and He has been feeding us, and bringing forth things new and old, and causing us to rejoice greatly.
SECOND COMING--Re Wedding and Watchers.
QUESTION (1910)--1--"And ye yourselves, be ye like unto men who wait for their Lord when he returns from the wedding." Does not this seem to teach that when our Lord would return the wedding would already have taken place?
ANSWER.--It might seem to teach that from some view point, but not from the proper viewpoint, which is this: A man who is an householder and has servants, would expect from them very special attention on the night of his marriage, when he was bringing home his wife. This night above all, then, they should be very much alert. This is, I think, the thought the Lord wanted to present. You know how alert they should be on such a night? Yes. Well, be ye so alert, so attentive, that when the knock is heard, there will be no delay, don't wait to wake up then, but be awake. That, I think, applies to us as the Church living in this particular time. We are expecting the Bridegroom to come and he is about to receive his Bride, and we are to be like those servants, to hear the first intimation that the Master has arrived.
SECOND COMING--Present or Future?
QUESTION (1911)--2--In the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, Christ tells his disciples of many signs of his second coming, and in the thirty-fourth verse, says, "This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled." How is this statement reconciled with the belief that his second coming has not yet occurred?
ANSWER.--A full answer of this will be found in the fourth volume of Scripture Studies. If my memory serves me right, there are about eighty pages on that one subject, and anyone interested would do well to read it very carefully. Briefly answering the question as it is here, we would say that Jesus in the narrative carries the mind of his hearers down from the day in which they were to the time when these things will happen, and when these will happen, and these, and so on, pointing clear down to the end of the age, and then indicating that the generation that would see these signs down in the end of the age would not have fully passed away before the consummation of this age. Not the generation he was talking to, surely, but the generation respecting which he was talking, the generation that would see these signs when they would be fulfilled--that generation would not pass away, it would not be a long enough time to be more than a generation from the time certain things would be seen until the full consummation of the age.
SECOND COMING OF CHRIST--"He Shall Come Forth and Bless the People."
QUESTION (1915-Z)--3--Unto them that look [Q637] for Him shall He appear the second time." Who are these who will look for our Lord?
ANSWER.--The Apostle is here (Heb. 9:28) tracing the work of Christ as the great High Priest. He represents our Lord as having offered the Sin-offering, on the Day of Atonement, in its two parts--the bullock and the goat -- and as being now in the Most Holy. When He has accomplished His work, He will appear the second time--not to repeat any of the offerings of the Gospel Age, not as a Sin-offering--but He shall appear unto salvation, to all those who look for Him. We can see that His words might apply to the Church. They will know of His second appearance. They will have an appreciation of that fact before He will be revealed to the world. He will appear to them that look for Him.
But we are to remember that our Lord's going into the Most Holy at the close of the antitypical Day of Atonement with the blood of the Lord's goat class, would indicate the death of that goat. The under priests will be with Him, as members of Himself. Then He shall come forth the second time, after this second presentation of the blood, not to offer a sacrifice--for the sacrificing will all be finished--but to bless the people.
Who then are these who look for Him and to whom He will appear the second time, unto salvation? We answer that in the Time of Trouble, and subsequently, the whole world will begin to look for the Deliverer. All nations will be desiring Him -- not as a Sin-offering again, but for their salvation. As mankind will get their eyes open to their need of salvation, they will be looking for this deliverance by The Christ in glory. They will never see Him with their natural eyes. But they will look for Him in the same sense that we now see Jesus -- they will see Him with the eye of faith.
THEY SHALL "FALL UPON THEIR FACES."
At that time many nations shall say, "Come, let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord's House. He will show us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths." (Isa. 2:3.) Another Scripture assures us that, when He shall appear, we also, the Bride class, shall appear with Him in glory. It is after the sacrificing is all finished and the Church glorified that He comes forth the second time unto salvation, saving and blessing all the people. The high priest in the type did not return into the Most Holy again, but lifted up his hands and blessed the people. Then the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people, and the people gave a great shout and fell upon their faces. (Lev. 9:23,24.) So the people of the world will prostrate themselves before the great Messiah. And this will be the work of Christ during the thousand years--uplifting mankind and giving them the benefit of the Atonement Sacrifice.
SECOND COMING--Bank of Fog.
QUESTION (1916)--1--If Christ came, where is He, and who is He?
ANSWER.--That questioner had a bank of fog in his mind. It will take him about a month's reading to get even a glimpse of this subject. I could hardly hope to make an indenture now, and so will not try.
SECOND DEATH--Jesus' Failure to Sacrifice and the Second Death.
QUESTION (1905)--2--If Jesus had not presented his human life would he have gone into second death? [Q638]
ANSWER.--It would depend upon what time this question would apply. If Jesus at thirty years of age had said to Himself, I will not sacrifice my life, I will live strictly in accordance with the divine law, I understand that he could have maintained his life. Nothing in God's law would have demanded his life. But at thirty years of age, he made a consecration and gave up everything earthly. After he made that covenant with God, for him then to have drawn back would have been sin and would have meant second death.
SECOND DEATH--What Constitutes Sin Unto?
QUESTION (1908)--l--What constitutes the sin unto death? Prior to the Millennial Kingdom is it possible for any except the spirit-begotten to commit the sin unto death?
ANSWER.--We answer that sin unto death is a sin against light and knowledge. No man can sin the sin unto death unless he has knowledge. It is not a sin of ignorance; it is a wilful, intentional sin against light, and therefore is called sin against the Holy Spirit, sin against the Spirit of Truth. Now then, is it possible for any except the spirit-begotten to commit the sin unto death? I answer that only those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit have a knowledge of the deep things of God, and therefore only these have the responsibility of that great knowledge; that the world in general, not having been begotten of the Holy Spirit, and not having a knowledge of the deep things of God, and not grasping the truth of God, clearly are not responsible to that extent. The responsibilities are with you and me because we have tasted and know, therefore we are responsible and we could sin the sin unto death, whereas the world could not so sin. Well now, a question: How much knowledge is necessary before we could commit this sin unto death? I answer, to my understanding it would not require a great deal of knowledge. The Apostle says that if we sin wilfully after we have received a knowledge of the truth. What kind of truth did he mean? Did he mean knowledge that we had come to as to the end of chronology? Oh no, for then all of those who went before us would not have had knowledge enough to go into the second death, because they did not know much about chronology. Does it mean those who understand about the parallel dispensations? No, because plenty of people never knew anything about the parallel dispensations. Does it mean only those who know about the Jubilee? No, for plenty of Christians lived and died without knowing about the Jubilee, --as in our Apostles' day, for instance. What does it mean then, what kind of truth and how much truth must we have? I answer, dear friends, the truth is that even grander truth, which Christians have had all during the Gospel age; for instance, the great truth that, "God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." That is the great truth, and people who have believed that great truth, and in whom it has exercised the proper power, have been turned from sin to righteousness, and from darkness to light. There is the truth that would sanctify. Now, then, if any has come to a clear knowledge of the truth of God's love, and of God's requirement of righteousness, and of our Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, he has come to a responsible position. Has [Q639] not the world a knowledge of that? No. The world has heard hymns such as "The Ninety and Nine," etc., and they have heard about theology, but I do not think the world is responsible to this degree. They have not comprehended the Word of God; they have not comprehended the provision God has made for our sins, for our reconciliation with Him, therefore the world could not commit this sin unto death. But those who have been once enlightened, and tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the age to come--the restitution powers;--we are partakers of these in that we are justified by faith, and justification by faith is the power of the world to come, and as we now enjoy it in advance of the world--and been made partaker of the Holy Spirit, these are the ones that might sin the sin unto death.
Then the second question here, "Please explain the case of Judas." I answer, Judas was one of those who accompanied with our Lord, who was a witness of His mighty works and was made partaker of the power of the age to come; he had justification through faith; he had accepted the Lord as the Messiah; he called him his Master, and he received the Holy Spirit in this special sense, that he was one of those commissioned, and on whom our Lord breathed and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit," and he was one of those whom the Lord sent out to exercise this holy power. He was one of those who cast out devils; he healed the sick and did many mighty and wonderful works in the name of our Lord. And he knew these were not frauds; he knew they were genuine; he had a share in the matter himself; he had so much light and so much knowledge, more than other people at that time, that our Lord could say of him, and did say of him, "It were better for that man that he had never been born." And that would not be true of any man who could pass through even a threshing machine experience in the present life if he had the glorious opportunities of the Millennial age. It would not be better for him if he had not been born.
SECOND DEATH--Will Many Go Into?
QUESTION (1908)--l--Do you infer from the parable of the sheep and goats that the number of those going into the second death will be as great as those saved?
ANSWER.--I do not know what to think of that parable, my friends, if it was intended to bear at all on the question of numbers. I used to take a great deal of satisfaction with this thought, that where it speaks of the sheep and the goats, I would say to myself, Well the number of sheep is much greater than the number of the goats, and I am very glad this is so. But when I was in Palestine, to my surprise I found the flocks over there were about half and half. Now I do not know what to think; I am going to try to keep amongst the sheep, and so will you, I trust.
SECOND DEATH--Re Fire and Brimstone.
QUESTION (1911)--2--"But the fearful, and unbelieving and abominable and the murderers * * * shall have their part in the lake witch burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death." Please explain.
ANSWER.-- The question answers itself. It says, "Which is the second death." That is the way it reads. All of these things symbolize the second death. [Q640]
SECOND DEATH--Prepared for the Devil and His Messengers.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--l--"For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared. He hath made it deep and large; the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." (Isa. 30:33.) Who is the king for whom Tophet is prepared?
ANSWER.--Tophet was a name given to the Valley of Hinnom, which is symbolically a representation of the Second Death, and the Lord is intimating that He has plenty of fire and fuel to accomplish all this destruction and that the Spirit of the Lord will set it afire and cause it to burn to the complete destruction. The king for whom it is prepared is the Devil, with his messengers. He is the instigator of evil, whose destruction is already ordained. First, however, in the Divine providence, before he shall be destroyed, the glorious reign of Messiah is arranged for, during which all of mankind shall be brought to a full knowledge of the Truth, and to a full opportunity of coming into harmony with God, and of demonstrating whether they have the disposition of God or the disposition of the Adversary, Satan. When the choice of each shall have been fully determined, the Second Death shall swallow up all for whom it has been prepared. Such as demonstrate their sympathy with evil will be counted as the messengers of Satan, and will have a share with him in the Second Death.
SECOND DEATH--Applies to the Begotten One.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--2--To whom do the words in Heb. 6:4-6 apply--"lt is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world (Age) to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance?"
ANSWER.--The conditions mentioned in the passage above quoted are all more or less intertwined. That is to say, the one who has been made partaker of the heavenly gift of justification is sanctified, begotten of the Holy Spirit; for only in that way can he get God's evidence respecting his justification. No one is justified by merely believing that Jesus lived or that Jesus died. In order to come to the point of justification and have the merit of Christ imputed, he must previously have presented his body a living sacrifice; and faith in the Lord Jesus must accompany this presentation.
Anyone having done all in his power--having turned from sin, having believed in Jesus as the Redeemer, and having presented his body a living sacrifice--must next receive the imputation of Jesus' merit to make up his shortcomings, to cover his blemishes, in order that the Heavenly Father may be able to accept the sacrifice: for no imperfect thing can come upon the altar of the Lord. It requires the merit of Christ to make good what is lacking in the one who presents himself in sacrifice; and only those who thus believe and present their bodies in sacrifice are the recipients of Christ's merit by imputation; and only such are begotten of the Holy Spirit. God's arrangement is that no one can be justified unless he has made a full consecration, after having already turned from sin. Christ would not impute [Q641] His merit to any except such as make this full consecration; and the Father would not accept by begetting with the Holy Spirit any others than those who have done so.
Those who have received justification have at the same time received the begetting of the Holy Spirit, which is "the power of the Age to come." The falling away of such, the Apostle says, would mean that they could never be renewed again. Why? Because they have had their share of the blessing of Christ. Christ's death was to bring a blessing--and only one- -to every member of Adam's race--one full blessing, a complete blessing, such a blessing as will enable every member of the race--if he will, when he understands it-to come fully and completely into harmony with God and thus to have eternal life. But after he has received his full blessing and then has rejected it, there is no hope in his case. He can never justify himself. He has had the merit of Christ and has repudiated it. There is no hope of renewing such a one, says the Apostle. The fate of such would not, of course, be eternal torment, but destruction--the Second Death.
SECOND DEATH--Not for Irresponsibles.
QUESTION (1915)--1--Do you know with certainty whether there are any in this Age or will be in the next Age who will go into the Second Death because they do not help themselves, no matter how hard they tried, and God could do nothing for them? (Laughter).
ANSWER.--God has provided every individual with a will. If there is anybody who has no will, he is not an individual, he is an idiot. (Laughter). We do not know much about idiots, but we know they are all redeemed as well as the remainder of the world, even though they may not now have any will. A part of the future work of the Church will be to bring such persons out of the idiotic condition. But as soon as such a one gets an intelligent will he will be required to exercise it. During Messiah's Kingdom Reign anybody who wills to will shall have the opportunity of raising up to absolute perfection, and will be given all necessary assistance. So then, to sum up, there is no individual of Adam's race but has or will have the fullest opportunity of attaining everlasting life; and whoever dies the Second Death, it will be because of his own will, because of intelligently refusing to accept God's wonderful and generous terms of salvation in Christ.
SECOND PRESENCE--Failure to Discern Re Second Death.
QUESTION (1911)--2--Those who discern the presence of the Lord, will they be eligible for the great company class, if they fall short of making their calling and election sure?
ANSWER.--Our thought would be that discerning the presence of the Lord would not necessarily have anything to do with the matter. That is merely one element of knowledge, and it would be an evidence that that person had made a certain degree of progress in knowledge and therefore had progressed a considerable degree in the Lord's instruction. But whether it was there, or wherever he might fail to develop the spirit of obedience in laying down his life, zeal for the Lord, for the truth and for the brethren, it would mean that he would fail to get into the little flock class, and that [Q642] would mean that he would get a share in the great company class--unless he should deny the Lord, turning his back upon the whole proposition.
SEED--Which Is of the Law.
QUESTION (1911)--2--"Therefore it is by faith that it might be of grace, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but that also which is of the faith of Abraham." What is meant by the expression, "all the seed," and what law is referred to?
ANSWER..--This text is from Rom. 4:16. We understand the apostle here refers to the fact that Abraham has two seeds, as God said to him, "Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the seashore." Here, first of all, is the heavenly seed of Abraham, and subsequently the spiritual or natural seed of Abraham. God is first selecting the spiritual seed, and the apostle tells us that we are now privileged to be part of that spiritual seed. I will remind you of where he says, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs of the promise." Then in the eleventh chapter of Romans, after telling about the development of this spiritual seed, the apostle uses these words, "I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant concerning this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; how that blindness in part has happened unto Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." He means that blindness has happened to the natural seed of Abraham until the full number of the spiritual seed shall be gathered in to complete the number from amongst the Gentiles, and then all Israel will be saved--all natural Israel will have its blindness turned away, the light of knowledge of God's glory will fill the whole earth, and all blind eyes be opened--Israel first. The apostle then says, "Thus it is written, there shall come out of Zion a deliverer who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." This deliverer that comes from Zion is the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus, the head, and the church, his body. This is the great deliverer. It has taken over eighteen hundred years for Zion to travail and bring forth these First-born, but the spiritual seed of Abraham is about to be delivered, and just as soon as that is accomplished, then this great deliverer, Christ the head, and the church his body, shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant, says God, when I shall take away their sin. These, then, are the two seeds of Abraham, first spiritual, and afterwards the natural.
SEED--Of Abraham Vs. Of Woman.
QUESTION (1913)--1--What is the difference, if any, between the seed of the woman and the seed of Abraham?
ANSWER.--The difference is that in the case of the Lord speaking to Father Adam and Mother Eve, and the serpent, when pronouncing the sentence upon them for sin, He said the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent's head. This represents a class of persons or personages who would become superior to the serpent, and therefore have power to crush out evil. I do not know whether this refers to a number of individuals. Presumably it refers to a number, because in the epistle to the Romans, I believe in the sixteenth chapter, we read, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." That shows who the seed of the [Q643] woman is. Of course it is not the church without the head. When we look at other statements about the seed of Abraham we find it to be the same class, because his seed is Christ. If you and I are Christ's we are members of His body. So the seed of the woman and the seed of Abraham are different ways of referring to Christ and the church.
SEEK--We Find What We Seek.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--Please give the meaning of the text, "Seek and ye shall find."--Mark 7:7.
ANSWER.--The above text illustrates a principle to which we have frequently called attention. We find what we seek! Those who approach the Bible with earnest desire to find in it God's Message, will be guided of the Lord. As it is written, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness (Truth), for they shall be filled."--Matt. 5:6.
On the other hand, those who approach the Bible from the standpoint of cavil, unbelief, antagonism, are equally sure to find what they seek--flaws, contradictions, etc. Note how Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll illustrated this principle; and compare their experiences and findings with the blessedness of those who feast upon the Bible as the Lord's bountifully spread table of good things--"Meat in due season" for "the household of faith."--Luke 12:42.
The same principle holds true with the Scripture Studies. As those who so desire can pick flaws with the Bible and turn and twist its statements into unreason, so the same class would surely be successful in similarly picking to pieces "The Divine Plan of the Ages."
SELF-CONTROL--Method of Gaining.
QUESTION (1916-Z)--2--What is the proper course for us to take in getting control of ourselves, our thoughts, our words and our conduct?
ANSWER.--Every thought should be challenged; for if an evil thought or a selfish thought or a mean thought, a depraved thought, be admitted, it will germinate and bring forth a great defilement, which will affect our words and our conduct, and will extend to others. We may learn to do the challenging readily, even along the comprehensive lines which the Apostle lays down in this lesson. What at first may require considerable time for decision will bye and bye be decided almost instantly:
(1) Is the thought which is seeking consideration in our mind an honorable one? If so, it may pass in and be entertained. If not, it should be immediately resented and driven out from the mind as an evil influence.
(2) Is the thought suggested a pure one--not sensual, not selfish? If so, if it pass these examinations, it may pass on for further consideration. If by these it fails to prove its purity it should be immediately resented as a thought likely to do great harm--as would the entrance into our home of things infected with a plague.
(3) Is tile thought lovely Does it appertain to things that are lovable? Does it excite lovable influences, or is it identified more or less with hate, resentment, anger, malice? If lovely? it may pass on. If not, it must be immediately expelled, not permitted to go further, to do harm to ourselves and to others.
(4) Is it reputable? This cannot mean: Is the thing [Q644] well spoken of by the world? For the Apostle himself and our Lord Jesus were reviled by the world, who said all manner of evil against them falsely. The word reputable here must be taken to mean that which would be thought well of by all reputable people, if they knew and understood everything connected with the thought.
(5) Has the thought any virtue, or is it in any sense of the word praiseworthy? If so, it may be admitted. If not, it should be repelled; for even if it be blameless otherwise, the fact that it is not of any value is a reason for its rejection. We have no time and no place for things that are merely not bad. We desire to have in our hearts and our minds things that are positively good, helpful, beneficial in some way. Otherwise, the thought should be repelled as a mere cumberer of the ground of our hearts, of our minds, needed for profitable things. Much novel reading is of this character--not evil, but not advantageous, not upbuilding.
Whatever we may be naturally, the people of God who follow the instructions of the Divine Word surely become noble people, helpful people, possessed of the spirit of a sound mind; and these things will be only a part of their preparation for the Kingdom and for the great work then to be entrusted to them as the servants of God under their Redeemer and Head.
SERVANT--Who That Servant?
QUESTION (1909)--1--Who is that servant? Do you believe and acknowledge the statement as put forth by representatives of the "Watch Tower?"
ANSWER.--As far as I know nearly all the talk about "that servant" has been by my enemies. I have nothing to say about this subject. What I would say would not change matters anyway. You have your right to your opinion and they have their right to theirs. In the fourth chapter of the sixth volume of "Millennial Dawn," this Scripture is brought to your attention. That is all that I have ever written on the subject.
SERVICE--Doing Good Unto All Men as Opportunity Permits.
QUESTION (1915)--2--What should be our attitude toward nominal church people? Must we differentiate between them and their doctrines?
ANSWER.--The Bible says that we should "do good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the Household of Faith." (Gal. 6:10). Therefore we should do good to our Roman Catholic neighbors, our Methodist neighbors, and all other neighbors. We should be glad to do good to every one. But if we have the choice of doing something for the saints or for a neighbor, then we should give the preference to the Lord's saints, whether they be Presbyterian saints or what not. That would include whoever is a son of God. We are the children of God, and we are glad to serve any other child of God, though we would be glad to see them all enjoying the liberty wherewith Christ makes free, not being entangled in any yoke of sectarian bondage. If the Son makes us free, then are we free indeed--Gal. 5:1.
SEVENTH DAY--Typical of Future Time.
QUESTION (1910)--3--Please explain why you are not [Q645] keeping the seventh day as the day of rest, but the first day, when the Scriptures say, Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the day of rest.? Is it typical?
ANSWER.--Yes, my dear friends, it is typical, and in order to answer this question properly, it would take at least an hour of good hard talking, because the subject is so misunderstood. We will not therefore tax those who do understand the question, and will refer the questioner to a chapter of this subject which takes it up in full and deals with it in a very elaborate manner in the sixth volume of the Scripture Studies, to which we kindly refer the questioner as being for his own good as well as for the advantage of all. The answer there we feel sure will be satisfactory.
SEVENTH VOLUME--Re Number of Beast.
QUESTION (1909)--1--Rev. 13:18 "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is six thousand three score and six." What does this mean?
ANSWER.--See the seventh volume.
SEVENTH VOLUME--Is It the Photo Drama?
QUESTION (1914)--2--Is the Photo Drama of Creation any part of the Seventh Volume?
ANSWER.--You will have to ask me something easier. I do not know, my dear friends, and I am not nearly as good a guesser as some of the rest of you. You can write that to some of the other friends and get an answer right off. I do not know. I do not think it is the Seventh Volume. The Photo Drama Scenario is a nice volume and tells the plan of the ages. I am waiting for the Seventh Volume also. Waiting until it gets off the press--but I will tell you privately, it is not on the press yet.
SEVENTH VOLUME--Re Time to Understand.
QUESTION (1916)--3--Since Revelation was discussed according to the program yesterday, are we to understand that the time has come for Revelation to be understood? If so, please explain Rev. 20:10: "And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are the beast and the false prophet, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever." Of what does the torment consist? Who does the tormenting?
ANSWER.--The fact that we discussed certain features of Revelation yesterday does not imply that all the speakers understood everything written in the Book of Revelation. So far as these seven Churches are concerned, we have written about them in The Watch Tower in 1880 and 1882. The seven Churches were then mentioned, and those features were discussed from time to time. But there are certain things in Revelation which I do not understand, and for this reason I do not write the Seventh Volume. Therein I do not wish to give any guesses. Whenever I write the Seventh Volume on the Book of Revelation, I will have a satisfactory understanding of the teachings of that Book. Until then, I will not write it. With respect to my understanding of Rev. 20:10, I think you will find a satisfactory dissertation upon this text in the "Hell Tower." You all have the Hell Tower; and if you have not you can use the Fifth Volume, in which this text is treated quite fully. In this way you will find a much better treatment of this text than I could give you at this time.