this is txt file
SUNDAY SCHOOLS--Should Sisters Teach?
QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--Should sisters teach Sunday School classes?
ANSWER.--Usually sisters are better teachers of the young than are brethren. Nothing in the Scriptures forbids their teaching such classes. The Apostle's words are: "I suffer not a woman to teach or to usurp authority over a man." His words apply specially to the Church.
As for the advisability of having Sunday Schools! We have not changed our judgment from what we have written in Scripture Studies, Vol. VI.
We still believe that God holds the Christian parents responsible for the spiritual education of their children, and that they get a special blessing in fulfilling his requirement. If Sunday Schools are ever advisable, we believe they would be only for orphans or worldlings, or for children already taught at home.
SUNDAY SCHOOLS--Are They Approved by God?
QUESTION (1912)--2--Do you consider the principle of the Sunday School can be justified under any pretext?
ANSWER.--My thought is this, brethren: The Lord has not told me to fight against Sunday Schools. I was to preach the Gospel. However, I may state that Sunday Schools were not organized by the Lord Jesus or the Apostles. The first Sunday School was organized in London for ragged children and poor street waifs. These schools were for the teaching of sewing and knitting and writing and such like subjects as that. We have better schools now established for these subjects. The first of these schools were held on Sunday because the teachers had no other time free, but we have the same kind of schools every day now, and we have put them upon a better basis under the state and government. We have pointed out in the Scripture Studies that God has laid the responsibility on the parents to teach their children. I do not intend to give the Lord any pointer in the matter. I say again that there were no Sunday Schools organized by the Lord or by His Apostles. There may be reasons for having them which you may think good, but that is not my business. If you think that there are good reasons for having them, well then, all I would say is: Brother Russell is not to find any objections. God has a liberal way of dealing with us and we are free to choose-- guided by God's word. There are principles in the Scriptures. Follow these loosely or closely, as you care. The Lord leaves that liberty, and who has a right to put bonds where they are not?
SUNDAY SCHOOL--Circumstances Vary.
QUESTION (1914)--3--Having our own eyes opened to the truth, is it right of us to let our children continue to attend Sunday School where they are in opposition to the truth?
ANSWER.--Circumstances vary. Sometimes the husband will be in the truth and the wife may be equally in earnest and not have seen the truth, and the husband in such a case would like the children to be instructed in respect to the Divine Plan of the Ages and the wife would like them instructed along another line. In such a case I think the best way would be to compromise and do to your partner in the matter as you would have her do to you. For the [Q686] husband to assert his authority as the head of the family and to demand that the children might not go to Sunday School would be to ignore his wife entirely. Some might say it would be right. I am inclined to think it would not be wise. I think the wiser course would be to say, "My dear, since you think that is best I will agree to it that they go to Sunday School, but in order to fulfill my obligations to the children, I will have every Sunday a Sunday School class also and so the children will get a double chance at Sunday School, and we hope a double blessing. They will get all you would have them get and the best I can give them too." The wife would see that the husband was considerate, and that always has a good influence. There is a great difference, but in most cases the children would get no harm even if they got no good.
SYMBOLIC FIGURES--Re Christ's Reign.
QUESTION (1911)--1--We understand in symbolical language that a day means a year, a month thirty years, and a year 360 years. Since this same manner of figuring time is used in the book of Revelation, why is the period of Christ's reign for blessing all the families of the earth called one thousand years when by the same process of figuring it would be 360,000 years?
ANSWER.--Well, any who prefer to count it 360,000 have my full consent. I think I cannot be more liberal than that. I would say, however, dear friends, to my understanding some of the numbers in Revelation are symbolical and some are not; and I am inclined to think, for instance, that the 144,000 sealed ones is a literal number, and so I understand this 1,000 of the book of Revelation repeated over and over, refers to a thousand years literally. I understand it is the same day of Christ that the Apostle speaks of. What kind of a day? Not a day for a year--a year day, but a thousand-year day, the seventh great day, the six days of evil of a thousand years each, six thousand years reign of sin and death, then comes the seventh, or Sabbath day. And so some of our Jewish friends are in the habit of counting this very same way. I found one recently inquired something along the subject of the time in which he expected the Messiah and the party said to him, "Do think it is soon?" He hesitated a little while, then looked cautiously around and whispered, "We are in Friday night." Friday night to the Jews would mean the end of the six days, because Saturday with them is the seventh day. So he meant that we are near the beginning of the thousand years in which the Messiah is to reign. This thousand years of Christ's reign agrees with the day of Adam, or Adam's day, a thousand year day, 930 years of which was accomplished in his own dying processes, and Christ's day, being a thousand years in which the world will be raised out of sin, and this to my mind seems a very reasonable, rational period of time to consider. It would seem very strange to my reasoning faculties if it were necessary for Christ to take 360,000 years to get mankind out of the sin and death that they got into during 6,000 years; and none of them ever lived out 1,000 years, except Enoch. The majority of us have only lived less than a century and how we could get an amount of sin loaded onto us in a century such that it would take 360,000 years for [Q687] the Lord to get wiped out, or eradicated, would not fit with anything in my head.
SYMPATHIZERS--At End of Age.
QUESTION (1910)--l--Will there be a class in sympathy with the saints at the last, a class not of the Great Company? If not, why are so many becoming interested in the truth now?
ANSWER.--Well, I do not know, dear friends, that we need to go into any great particularity in a question like that--to decide it, I mean, or have any difference with anybody. In my judgment there were a great many who were really in sympathy with Jesus at the time of his offering himself to the Jews at the end of their age. You remember how, on various occasions, the multitude wished to take him by force, and make him a king, showing that his teachings were very popular amongst a certain class at that time. And so it might be here that some might become very deeply interested in the truth after that superficial manner, some interested in it in an outward way from the worldly standpoint. They would say, "I think that is reasonable, that is the most logical thing I ever heard," etc., and yet it would be with them, probably, just the same as with some of the similar class in our Lord's day. Those very ones who rejoiced and took palm branches and said, "Hail Jesus, son of David," kept very quiet when the Pharisees and Doctors of the Law put up some others to cry out "Crucify him, crucify him"--these kept very quiet; they said nothing about "Hail Jesus, son of David," etc. So I should not wonder that a great many worldly people, when everything is favorable, say "That looks very nice," and if somebody said "boo" they would say nothing, but get very quiet. They have not enough stamina in them, or they would want to make a full consecration of themselves; and that lack of stamina would likely manifest itself if any opposition would arise; it is only what we might expect.
TABERNACLE--Re Outside Camp.
QUESTION (1909)--2--The camp represents the world. Our sufferings are caused by our actions while among those of the world. What is represented by the expression, "Outside the camp," if the camp represents the world?
ANSWER.--We understand it signifies that Aaron and his sons, and the Levites who served with them in the Tabernacle service had a two-fold life; one while serving the Tabernacle, and the other living outside the Tabernacle, for they went home to their own families, etc., and only served in the Tabernacle at times, and they had their life in the camp with the rest of the world. So, you and I, according to the flesh, are still in the world, but we are not of the world. As new creatures we have our service toward God in connection with holy things, the spiritual things. So far as our flesh and earthly lives are concerned, we have our relations still. You live in the same time, and live next [Q688] door to a worldly neighbor, and you must bear the reproach of those living as a consecrated priest of the Lord. These things separate you from the world and lead you to do things in a sacrificial way, and sacrificing worldly interests cause you to suffer, and that is so much of the burning of the carcass outside the camp. You count yourself as dead, so that which happens to you happens to your dead body; as the Apostle said, "Let us go to him outside the camp."
Who is the High Priest of our profession? Christ Jesus our Lord. What did He suffer? He suffered all manner of contention and opposition from the world and from the nominal people of God against himself. He said, If they call the Master of the house Beelzebub, what shall they call the servants. If they crucified him, do you expect that they would receive you very favorably? He tells us that the servant shall not be above His Lord, but that he should be as His Lord. They cast out His name as evil, and called Him the prince of devils; said He had a devil, was mad, that He was a deceiver and was deceiving the people. If they say such things of you today you need not be surprised.
Outside the camp means rejected of the people. Why outside the camp, why not inside? Because there is a great stench of the burning flesh. Get a lot of flesh, hair and hones and burn it in your back yard and notice how much stench there is from it. Thus your sacrifice and mine are not appreciated by those who are in the camp and not of the Church; they do not appreciate the laying down of your lives in sacrifice, and if you should spend your time and gain in the service of the truth, they would speak evil of you and consider you foolish, and for the same reason that they did Him. It is the reproaches that fell upon Him that fall upon us, in like manner and for similar reasons.
TABERNACLE--Re Beginners for Study.
QUESTION (1910)--1--Do you think Tabernacle Shadows study would be too deep for a class just coming in? And do you count the first volume study as being a Berean study?
ANSWER.--I would not think a Tabernacle Shadow study would be too deep for a beginner. That is to say, my thought is that anybody coming to a Scripture study and likely to be interested at all would be a person who had some knowledge of God and some knowledge of his Word generally; and in taking up Tabernacle Shadows as a study I would think they were getting into a good place for anybody that was spiritually minded. And if they be not begotten of the spirit, then I suppose they would not be profited and would not understand; but neither would they understand very far in some of the other studies.
And so far as the first volume is concerned, I would certainly understand that to be a Berean study. They are all Berean studies. The term Berean studies comes from the fact that in olden times we read that Paul went down to Berea and preached to the people there, and that the Bereans were more noble than those of Thessalonica in that they searched the Scriptures daily to see whether or not these things were true. So then a Berean study is a study by those who have the Berean spirit to search to know the truth of the matter that is before them, those who want to investigate with an honest heart ; and I think that will apply [Q689] to all we have to present, because these are the only terms on which we present anything. Come and try, come and see, come and investigate to see whether or not it agrees with God's word or not. If you find it in disagreement, do not believe it. If you find it in agreement, receive it and be blessed with us.
I wished to say a moment ago, but forgot that feature, that there is another slight bit of Berean study, you remember, in the back part of our new Watch Tower Bible; there are certain Berean helps, and in those there are certain topics taken up. Some of the Lord's people, in some of their studies, would like to study a topic, and there are a number there, if you feel disposed to take up a variety of topics. If you will take up any one of them it will make a fine Berean study. The reference to the Towers and to the Studies is good, and also the Scripture reference, so that you have the whole matter there concisely stated, and might have a splendid Berean study, topically. All of these are Berean studies. We have nothing special to urge, except we think they are all good, and perhaps where there are a variety of meetings it might be well to take one style of Berean study for one meeting, and another style for another meeting; as, for instance, for one meeting we might take up the studies as they are appearing in the Watch Tower, and then for another meeting we might take up the studies as outlined in the back part of the new Bible, and perhaps for another one we might take up the first volume of Scripture Studies, or the fifth volume, or Tabernacle Shadows. You know we now have the questions on the fifth volume in pamphlet form. Also the questions on Tabernacle Shadows in pamphlet form. And it is our thought, by and by, to get questions out on all the volumes, because that seems to be so helpful a manner of study, and so many of the dear friends are being blessed by it.
TABERNACLE--Re Anointing Underpriests.
ANSWER.--Well, it seems to be stated that way. The thought is this : there was only one high priest at a time. Christ is now the high priest and we are the underpriests, yet we have no standing with God, except as we are in Christ. In Ex. 40:16 it speaks of anointing them as they anointed Aaron; it means that when the time comes for another to take Aaron's place they shall deal with him as they did with Aaron.
TABERNACLE--Reconciling Tabernacle, Altar, Etc.
QUESTION (1910)--2--Lev. 15:20. After speaking of the sacrifice of the bullock and the goat, we read "And when he had made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, shall he bring the live goat." What does this typify?
ANSWER.--The holy place here represents the Court, and the tabernacle of the congregation represents the tabernacle proper, the Holy and Most Holy. After the priest with the blood of the bullock and of the goat had made reconciliation, atonement, satisfaction, for the Court and for the Tabernacle ; it does not mean for those places, but for those [Q690] people who are in those conditions. As, for instance, all whom we call the household of faith belong in the court condition, the holy place; and all who belong to the Royal Priesthood are in the Tabernacle condition, the Holy or in the Most Holy. Our Lord himself, and some of his brethren have already passed into the Most Holy, and some others are in the Holy, or first of these apartments. It would seem to be after the satisfaction of justice, in respect to all of these, the full offering of the Lord's merit, and the full acceptance of the whole matter, that then the sealing would take place with the live goat. The teaching of the type would seem to be that the tribulation that will come upon the Great Company will not come upon them in this official manner until after this dealing with the Little Flock has been completed. While the Great Company may be sharing in the tribulation of the past, yet this special dealing at the end of this age would seem to be after the Church had gone beyond the vail. Yet we must say this, dear friends, that every feature of type and prophecy belong to the future and is more or less uncertain until it is fulfilled. In other words, God did not give prophecy and type in advance for us to speculate upon, but so that when due we might know it. Just as our Lord said of himself at the first advent, that when they would see certain things fulfilled then they would know they were the fulfillment of the things written. So as we come down to the beginning of the time of trouble those who would then be living and witness the dealings of the Lord with the Great Company class would see something in that which would be helpful to them--perhaps more than you and I see now. The sacrificing of the Lord's goat has not yet been finished, and this dealing with the Great Company is something that takes place after the killing of the Lord's goat and the sprinkling of its blood.
TABERNACLE--Re Blood of Bullock Sprinkled on Goat.
QUESTION (1910)--1--If the Lord's goat of Leviticus 16 represents the church being sacrificed for the world, why was not the blood of the bullock sprinkled on the goat?
ANSWER.--I will have to ask the Lord why he did not do it your way.
QUESTION (1910)--2--This would have shown a little better the typical significance.
ANSWER.--Well, perhaps the next time the Lord will ask you.
TABERNACLE--Interpretation Regarding Animals Sacrificed.
QUESTION (1910)--3--In regard to the 16th chapter of Leviticus, please say what is your basis of interpretation regarding animals sacrificed on this day as sin-offerings and burnt-offerings?
For instance, why do you say the bullock is a type of Christ Jesus?
ANSWER.--Because I see it to be so. Why do I say that this is a gas lamp? Because I see that it is a gas lamp. [Q691] There are plenty of people who do not know that this is a gas lamp.
Why do you say the Lord's goat is a type of the Church? Because I see it is.
Why that the scape-goat is a type of the Great Company?
The same reason.
Can you give me the Scriptural usage for your interpretation?
Well, then, if all these things were explained in the Scriptures you would not need the pamphlet "Tabernacle Shadows," and God would not have given it to you. They are not all explained in the Bible. There came a due time for God to make clear the meaning of these types and he has made them clear to those who have an eye to see and an ear to hear. By this, we do not mean any unkindness to those who do not see. They have the majority on their side, all the Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, etc., etc.; all these friends are on the side which do not see these things--we are quite in the minority.
TABERNACLE--Re The Ram Representing a Class.
QUESTION (1910) --1--According to your interpretation of the bullock representing a class, and the Lord's goat a class, should we not expect that the ram would also represent a class?
ANSWER.--We have explained what we think the ram typifies, in Tabernacle Shadows. I might say that the Lord in his providence guided us to see that the bullock represented Christ; the goat meant the Church; we saw this from the Scriptures, not through any special voice or any other marvelous thing that happened. We have already explained it. The Apostle, you remember, speaking of this day of atonement, tells us about the bulls and goats which constituted the sin-offering, and whose blood was brought into the Most Holy to make an atonement for sin. Now there is only the one offering whose blood was brought into the Holy to make atonement. That offering was on the day of atonement and was in two parts; first, the bullock to make atonement for the high-priest's house; second, the Lord's goat to make atonement for the sins of all the remainder of the people. They were the only ones that could be meant. In that same condition, after telling about the matter, the Apostle says that the bodies of those beasts whose blood was taken into the Most Holy to make atonement for sin were burned outside the camp, and they were the only two who had this experience, whose blood was sprinkled to make atonement and whose bodies were burned outside the camp. When I saw this, I was sure I had the right thought. Then the Apostle said, Let us go to him outside the camp, and I saw that that represented the Lord's goat that went to the bullock outside the camp. Let us not have any quarrel with any who cannot see; that is to their disadvantage.
TABERNACLE--Re Begetting and Quickening.
QUESTION (1911)--2--At what point is the begetting and quickening typified in the tabernacle?
ANSWER.--The same difficulty again. We must not mix these different thoughts, any more than you would mix different parables. Take any two of the parables and if you mix them together you have confusion. And so here. To think [Q692] about the quickening and begetting, etc., in the tabernacle is not the correct thought. There was no quickening done in the tabernacle, there was no begetting done in the tabernacle. It is altogether a different thought. In harmony with the previous question the answer would be, then, that at the moment of passing into the Holy the person must be a Spirit-begotten one. There is nothing in the tabernacle to indicate anything about the quickening.
TABERNACLE--Re Levites Looking Into Holy.
QUESTION (1911)--1--In the tabernacle services, the Priest only entered the Holy; there was a penalty of death against the Levite, typical of justified believers, looking into the Holy. What was typified by this death penalty?
ANSWER.--I do not know that anything was typified by it, merely that no one was permitted to look in. All I see indicated there is, the death penalty was put there as indicating that nobody should look in.
QUESTION (1911)--2--What is the significance of the word "basketful" in the text which speaks of the three cakes taken from the basketful which were laid on the hands of the priest by Moses?
ANSWER.--I presume that basketful means basketful; I do not know of any other meaning.
TABERNACLE--Two Altars Contrasted.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--3--"We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat which serve the Tabernacle." (Heb. 13:10.) What is meant by this passage?
ANSWER.In this passage the Apostle is contrasting the Levitical priesthood, their services in the Tabernacle, and the table in the Holy at which they ate the shew bread, with the antitypical Tabernacle and its better table. In this connection he points out that, so far as the priesthood of Aaron was concerned, not only could the Church not be priests, but our Lord Jesus could not be; for this priesthood sprang from Levi, and Jesus was from another tribe, Judah. Therefore, if Jesus was on earth he could not be a priest. But now God had intended another order of Priests, namely, the Melchizedek Order, saying to David, "The Lord hath sworn and will not repent: Thou art a priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek." (Psa. 110:4; Heb. 5:6:) It is evident, then, that if Christ was to be a priest after the Order of Melchizedek, He would not be a priest after the order of Aaron.
When the Apostle has proved that we, as priests, have no right to intrude into the typical Holy or Most Holy, he then shows that they, of the house of Aaron, have no right to our place. They have no right to come into this antitypical Holy, which we enter. If they become members of the Royal Priesthood, they may enter; but their standing as members of the Aaronic priesthood does not give them the privilege. Thus he shows a discrimination between these two priesthoods, the Aaronic and the Melchizedek. We have the "better sacrifices"; we have the better services. We have, on the higher plane, everything that they had, typically, on the lower plane.
TABERNACLE--Incense in the Most Holy.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--4--Was it necessary that the incense should precede the high priest into the Most Holy when he went in to offer the blood of the goat? [Q693]
ANSWER.--The offering of the incense originally on the Day of Atonement by the high priest gained for him recognition by the Almighty, and manifested his worthiness to appear in the presence of God. Therefore, there was no need of his offering any other sacrifice than this. All the work of Atonement was divided into two parts. If the type had shown the under-priests as going into the Most Holy, then it would seem to have been necessary for each to stop and offer incense before entering.
We are represented, not individually, but as members of the Body of Christ. So it would not be necessary for the incense to be offered more than the one time. It would seem, however, that the incense abode in the Holy and Most Holy. The sacrifice is still appreciated by the Heavenly Father, and always will be.
TABERNACLE--Blood and Incense--Both Had to Do with Justice.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--In the type, was the incense that which satisfied Divine Justice? If not, how is the satisfaction of Justice accomplished, and why was incense burned?
ANSWER.--Both the incense and the blood had to do with the satisfaction of Justice. We read that the incense must cover the Mercy-Seat. (Lev. 16:13.) In other words, unless the incense had gone forth the high priest would not have lived. This shows that unless our Lord had rendered up His human life satisfactorily He would have forfeited His right to life. In consecration He had agreed to this and had surrendered His earthly life-rights. If He proved faithful to His engagement, He would receive a higher life beyond the vail. So the satisfaction of Justice, represented in type by the incense preceding the high priest beyond the vail, would be a satisfaction for Himself and would testify that He had faithfully fulfilled the required conditions.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--2--Who were typified by the Levites?
ANSWER.--The Levites typified the "Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven." This statement--their "names are written in heaven"--implies that they are recognized as a spiritual class--have come into Divine favor.
We are given the history of the Levites as a typical tribe specially representing the first-born; and this history of the first-born refers us back to the time when the first-born of the tribe of Israel were spared on the night of the passover. That night symbolizes this Gospel Age, the time of darkness on the earth, when the Lord is taking out His Jewel class. This "Church of the First-born" have passed from death unto life-- all of these first-born, representing the entire "Church of the First-born," are represented in the tribe of Levi. Out from amongst these Levites were selected the priestly few, typifying our Lord and those who are faithfully walking in His steps. So the entire "Church of the First-born" will include a great multitude--more than the Body of Christ. The virgins who follow her (Psa. 45:14), all belong to this "Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven." The work of the Levites in [Q694] connection with the Tabernacle service is, undoubtedly, a symbolical one.
The high priest "went alone once every year" on the Day of Atonement--into the Most Holy. Apparently the under-priests did not go into the Most Holy on this day (Heb. 9:6,7), but into the first Holy, where were the candlestick and the table of shewbread and the golden altar of incense. They, doubtless, typified those who are seated with Christ in the heavenly (Eph. 2:6), and are thus much in advance of the general household of faith. The under-priests were the sons of Aaron, and, being of the priestly family, or household, occupied a higher position and had greater rights and privileges than were enjoyed by the remainder of the Levites. The picture of the under-priests going into the Holy seems to correspond to our experiences of the present time and not to our experiences of the future, when we expect to enter into the Most Holy through the rent vail.
The experiences of the antitypical Levites at the present time are different from what they will be in the future. At the present time they are in the Court condition, because only the members of the Body are privileged to go into the Holy and to know "the deep things of God." But when the articles of the Holy had been wrapped up, the typical Levites bore the precious things--were allowed to carry them. They could feel that they had a right to touch them in a general way, but not in the same way as the priests. This would seem to imply that none except those who are walking in the footsteps of Jesus could have a deep, full appreciation of the Divine Plan. Others might understand these things in a comparative degree, but not in their fulness.
We are to consider, then, that as the Levites performed a service in connection with the Atonement Day sacrifices, so they will have a special service after the Day of Atonement. On the Day of Atonement, when the people were waiting for the priest to come out and bless them, was not the particular time for the Levites in general to teach the people or for them to learn their important lesson; but, after this Day of Atonement, the Levites were the general teachers of all the people, explaining the Law to them. And so we see that this will be a part of the work of the antitypical Levites in the future. They will have no inheritance in the land and its blessings. They will be associated in the Kingdom work and in the instruction of the people. But just how this will be done we may not now definitely know.
We might also understand that the Levites in the Court very fittingly represent all those who desire to turn from sin and approach God and who are making progress toward complete justification. They are in a justified attitude from the moment they turn from sin and come into the Court. This implies faith and obedience. And so all who are in harmony with God in any sense of the word are, tentatively, Levites; but as to whether they will become actual Levites depends on whether they make entire consecration. If they do not make this consecration they will not receive the special blessings which would entitle them to the spirit plane. We all were in this sense of the word Levites--in the sense of approaching justification, desiring justification, desiring harmony with God and seeking it, putting away the filth of the flesh, etc.--but we did not reach that justification until [Q695] we presented our bodies living sacrifices and were begotten of the Holy Spirit and the new life was begun by which we passed from death unto life, by which we became the "Church of the First-born" and had our names written in heaven. Any who turn back before presenting their bodies living sacrifices fail to reach the fulness of justification, fail to have the justification to life--they fail in degree of faithfulness to right principle and in degree of harmony with God.
While the Court condition seems to represent at the present time all those who are approaching God and loving righteousness and desiring harmony with Him, it appears as though, with the closing of this Age, there will be an adjustment of matters by which all those who have not come to the point of full consecration and to the point of Spirit-begetting, who would not belong to the household of faith and to the "Church of the First-born," in the absolute sense, will go out and cease to be recognized as in the Court. Meantime, the class who have already made consecration, "presented their bodies living sacrifices," and received the begetting of the Spirit and enjoyed for a time the privileges of being members of the Body of Christ--these, failing to maintain their standing, are represented as separate from the "little flock" class, at the end of this Age. Their condition apparently is represented by the Court condition thereafter.
TABERNACLE--Significance of the Bullock's Blood.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--l--What did the blood of the bullock represent?
ANSWER.--The blood presented in the Most Holy represented the life, or life-rights of the one sacrificed; but the blood itself was a symbol of death. When blood is in the veins it is a symbol of life. The blood of the bullock, and, subsequently, the blood of the goat, in the hands of the priest, symbolically said, This animal is dead, and here is a proof of it. So the presentation of the blood meant the presentation of this sacrificed life with all the rights appertaining thereto.
Our Lord had certain life-rights when He died. The expression life-rights may properly be used also in connection with an individual who does not have life in the full sense, but who has made a full consecration and has been accepted by the Lord. Such a one is reckoned as having passed from death unto life. In the moment of his having righteousness imputed to him, he passes from death unto life. The Advocate has imputed to that one a sufficiency of His merit to compensate for any deficiency: He is thus rendered acceptable and is then in a reckonedly complete condition. He then has life-rights; and it is those life-rights that are said to be sacrificed, or presented to God. In this manner the person may be said to become a member of the great High Priest's Body. Christ imputes to him a sufficiency of merit to compensate for his demerit; and having been made acceptable to the Father by this imputation, he becomes a member of the Body of the great High Priest.
There is a difference between offering our sacrifice and presenting ourselves. Not we, but the High Priest, does the sacrificing. Before the High Priest accepts one as a member of His Body, He imputes to that one a sufficiency of [Q696] His merit to give him life-rights. By virtue of being reckoned perfect one has life-rights, a condition which permits him to be a sacrifice.
All those life-rights which our Lord possessed when He died were symbolically represented in the blood of the bullock; and with that blood the sprinkling was done in the Most Holy.
There was just one moment when the knife in the hand of the high priest smote and slew the bullock. That moment represented the moment when our Lord, at Jordan, became dead as a man and alive as a New Creature, when "He, through the eternal Spirit, offered up Himself without spot to God." But it was not as a New Creature that He offered up Himself, but as the man Christ Jesus. His spotless humanity was what He there offered. This He did through the eternal Spirit of Sonship and loyalty to God; and this was the opportune moment, the moment foretold in prophecy. Then He was acknowledged a Priest. If Christ were on earth, on the earthly plane, He could not be a priest according to the flesh, not being of the family of Aaron. The only Order of Priesthood, therefore, to which He belonged was a spiritual Order, the one mentioned in the Scripture which says: "Thou art a Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek." (Psa. 110:4.) He was not a Priest according to the flesh, but as a New Creature.
The High Priest came into his office by virtue of his work of sacrifice. The bringing of the bullock into the Court meant its presentation for sacrificial purposes. So with Jesus. When He came to John at Jordan, He made a surrender of Himself. This the Father acknowledged. The disciples of the Lord presented themselves, but they were neither accepted as sacrifices nor begotten of the Spirit, until Pentecost. On that day, while they were waiting, God accepted the sacrifice, and made them priests at that moment.
TABERNACLE--All in the Court in Favor with God.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--Could any one be in the Court condition without being in God's favor?
ANSWER.--The Court of the Tabernacle represented a condition of Divine favor. But the Tabernacle represented Divine favor in a still higher sense and degree.
In the present time the Court represents the condition of all those who, exercising faith in God, are approaching nearer and nearer to Him and His service. Such are in favor with God because of their spirit of loyalty to Him, which leads them to go on step by step to know and to do His perfect will. God's perfect will respecting all those called in this Age is that they shall present their bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to Him through the imputed merit of their Advocate--their Redeemer. But if, after full opportunity to know and to do His will, these hold back and refuse to make a consecration, from that time onward theirs will be a backward course in which there will be less and less Divine favor, until they will be back again in the world. But even then God's purposes for them are generous, for they may share with mankind in general the gracious provisions of the New Covenant for the thousand years of Messiah's reign.
Those who make the covenant of sacrifice and thereby [Q697] pass from the Court into the Holy enter into the highest favor with God, as children of God and joint-heirs with Jesus. But if, later, they fearfully hold back and neglect to complete their sacrifice, they may not remain in so close a fellowship, but will eventually be expelled into, the Court. There they will, indeed, be in God's favor as the Great Company class, unless they entirely draw back, in which event their portion will be the Second Death.
TABERNACLE--Nothing Specific About Urim and Thummin.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--l--Is there any revelation as to what the Urim and Thummim consisted of, or how the priests were answered?
ANSWER.--There is nothing specific known on this subject. In some manner or other, it is supposed, the breastplate that was worn by the High Priest was used as the Urim and Thummim--that is, to give definite answer, Yes or No, to the questions that were propounded. For instance, if the question were asked, Shall Israel go out to war with this nation? or, Shall Israel enter into alliance with that nation? the Lord's answer was indicated by the breastplate. How these questions were answered, we are not informed. Nothing in the Scripture tells us, and we have no tradition even that gives any very clear answer. We know that they had the Urim and Thummim and that the answer was indicated in some way with the precious stones of the breastplate, but just how, nobody knows.
TABERNACLE--Great, Company and Second Death.
QUESTION (1912)--2--Does the Tabernacle show that there is a place in the Holy, beyond which one cannot pass as priest, and fall back into the Great Company, but if such fail as priests, is there nothing for them but Second Death?
ANSWER.--Only those who pass the Second Vail into the Most Holy, by the power of the First Resurrection, will be secured to the Royal Priesthood beyond the danger of failure. The Lord will decide whether we will be priests or Levites. I have seen some who apparently took great interest, and then for a time became inert, did not become great sacrificers, and then years afterwards became very fervent and sacrificed their very lives. One such was St. Paul. He was not only a persecutor of the Church at first, but after that he was three years in Arabia, then went to see St. Peter. Thirteen years later Barnabas hunted him up, found him at home in Tarsus Cilicia and got him started in preaching at Antioch, where they chose him one of the Elders. (Gal. 1:17; Gal. 2:1 and Acts 11:25-30.) If Paul had stayed in Arabia all the rest of his life merely studying and nursing his sore eyes, doubtless he would have been of the Second Company class. Barnabas said, Brother Paul, don't you want to be actively engaged in the Lord's service? Barnabas did much to encourage St. Paul and to start his activities, and once started there was no keeping him back. He was the greatest of all the Apostles in sacrifice--next to His Lord.
Suppose St. Paul had died during those years of inertia, what evidence have we that he would have made his calling and election sure? None. Was he meantime thrust out into the Court? No, he was still enjoying priestly privileges in the Holy. We do not know how much studying he did in [Q698] Arabia, nor do we see that he did much sacrificing during those years.
Now, if God could give him those years to determine what he would do, then He might do the same with anybody else, so far as we may know. The fact that one might be in an inert condition for a while does not mean that God had rejected him from the Holy condition. The decision of the Lord is at the end of our course. But now, perhaps, in the end of this age, conditions may be different. The Lord could not give us fourteen years, because all the sacrificing, so far as we know, will be accomplished in a very short time. And not only so, if we have not the spirit and disposition of sacrificing, He may set us aside sooner than that, because He wishes to complete the whole elect class before that time. Therefore it is a little different now.
TABERNACLE--Are Spirit Begotten in Court?
QUESTION (1912)--1--Is everyone who enters the Court condition during this Gospel Age spirit begotten?
ANSWER.--No. Nobody is spirit begotten when he enters the Court condition, as it is not a condition of spirit begetting. We have no quarrel with those who have a different opinion. Our opinion is given in Tabernacle Shadows, to the effect that the Court represents the condition of justification, and that those who are in that are in a so-called justified condition.
Justification means to be actually or tentatively justified What is the difference? Actual justification would be the bonafide or real thing; as, for instance, Jesus was actually perfect, approved of God, as being perfect. Not because of anything done to Him, nor because of anything reckoned to Him. He was actually perfect, just, or right in God's sight, because in Him was no sin. But none of us, His followers, are in that condition, because we are all "children of wrath, even as others" therefore, we cannot speak of ourselves as being in this condition.
We look back to Abraham and read that Abraham was justified through faith. Was this an actual justification of Abraham? Could he become actually right with God, by exercising faith? Then we remember the other Scriptures that, No one could be justified by works of the law, and that the only justification that could come to any would be by faith in Christ. Therefore, Abraham was not actually justified.
What way, then, was Abraham justified, and to what?
He was justified to receive God's favor, and justified to be treated as God's friend, and to be told secrets that God would tell to a friend and not to an enemy. Abraham believed God and he was counted as being a friend and as nearly right as possible, considering the fact that Christ had not died for the sins of the world.
Now, coming down to ourselves: Take somebody who has been a sinner, worldly, living after sin, and that person says, I would draw near to God, I have a hungering after God. I learn that eternal life is possible and that God is willing to give it to some. I am weary and heavy-laden with sin, and imperfect; I want to get to God. Such a desire would be the first step toward justification.
I remember a German sister who said, Brother Russell, when I went to school in Germany I was thrown with people [Q699] who were not at all religious, and I lost my God, and I would like very much to find Him. I am not happy and I see other people who are happy, and feel themselves as children of God. I would like to feel myself a child of God and that God so considered me. What steps shall I take?
(Have in mind the Tabernacle construction, with its Holy and Most Holy, the Court, curtains, etc. In the front of the Tabernacle was a brazen laver, filled with water. Still in front of that the brazen altar, upon which the fat was burning, near the front, by the gate).
Now suppose this young German woman in the Camp of Israel, saying, God is represented in that Tabernacle and I would like to draw near to God; He is represented there by the Shekinah glory, and I am living here. Will He allow me to draw near?
I said to her, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." From the time she began to take her first step toward God she began to come into a justified condition. She took her first step. Jesus spoke of the two men who went up to the Temple to pray--one a Publican and one a Pharisee. He said that the Publican went down to his house justified rather than the Pharisee. What does that mean? Why, he was more nearly in a justified condition than the Pharisee. They were both in a condition of partial justification, like all the Jews--they were in a relationship to God, through the Atonement Day sacrifices. They were using their privilege and coming to God in prayer, and one was more nearly justified and acceptable to God. That is what is meant by justification--approved of God. Abraham was approved of God because of doing the best he could. Both of those men were in a condition of tentative justification.
So, with this young woman, she was coming into a condition of tentative justification; she was turning to God. I pointed her to the gate and said, Go right in there by faith in to the Court.
The only way to draw near to God is to recognize that you are a sinner, and that God Himself has provided a sin- offering, represented by that Brazen Altar, right at the Gate of the Court. So, to draw near to God means to exercise faith in the sacrifice of Christ. I pointed to the antitypical Gate to the Court.
I asked her if she believed, and she said, Yes, I believe in Jesus, that He died and rose again from the dead for my sins and the sins of the whole world. Thus she passed through the Gate Antitypically.
When next I asked, Are you seeking to live separate from Sin? I was asking if she were going to the Laver, which was for the washing away of the filth of the flesh. She replied, I am seeking so to do. Her answer showed that she was washing at the Laver and getting the benefit of it, and putting away those outward things displeasing to God. She was not justifying herself thereby, but trying to cooperate with God-- she was in a condition of tentative justification. According to God's arrangement, justification cannot be complete until we take a further step. Upon noting the sacrifice, noting the laver and washing there at, we must do something more. [Q700]
I said the best thing for you to do is to give your heart entirely to God in consecration, keeping nothing back. That was represented in the Tabernacle picture by the tying of the goat at the Tabernacle door. No one could do more! The next thing in order would be for the High Priest to accept her as a member of His and as such to be her Advocate before the Father. The Divine acceptance was next in order. She had done all that she could do. The Lord must do the rest. But I believe that yet there is room, and that the Lord is pleased to receive you. Accept that as a fact, and look for the evidences that God has received you. The evidences will be a clearer spiritual perception, a desire to lay down your life in His service, and some opportunity to suffer for righteousness sake.
The picture in the Tabernacle Shadows is that the Priest slays the goat, takes its life, making it a part of His own sacrifice. The moment that sacrifice was made it represented Jesus' acceptance of her consecration. At that same moment she was begotten of the Holy Spirit and reckoned as a New Creature by the Father. Thus she passed beyond the First Vail into the Holy. This passing under the First Vail represents the death of the will, just as the passing the Second Vail represents the complete death of our bodies. We go down under the First Vail when our wills are baptized into His death; we are buried with Him by baptism into His death, and rise the other side as New Creatures. So the First Vail of the Tabernacle represents our death, so far as our wills are concerned, and represents God having accepted us as New Creatures, through faith, that we may have access to the spiritual things as New Creatures. Everyone who takes that step is represented as a member of the Body of the great High Priest, the Church, of which He is Head, and so, says the Apostle, we are seated in the heavenlies--that is in the Holy. But be it noted that our justification did not reach completion until the High Priest accepted our offering and imputed to it of His merit, making it Holy and acceptable to God.
Everyone who passes beyond this First Vail, so far as you and I know, is a royal priest--that is, it is not for you and me to say as to who shall be counted unworthy. In going under this vail you take the step that should make you a priest, it is the only step you are invited to take. There is no way for you to take any other step. So the Apostle Peter says, "Ye are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." St. Peter did not attempt to discriminate and say, that is what you started out to be, but you are of the Great Company. That is to be decided by the Lord in His own time, when He will show that some who have not been sufficiently faithful will not be of the little flock of priests, but will be of the Levite class. That will be determined at the end of this age, and it is not for you or me to decide.
A brother might be very energetic, so far as our observation may go, but God might see that it was for some unworthy motive or, he might, seemingly, not be very energetic, but God would see that he was doing the best he could. Hence, we are not to judge, but leave the whole matter with the Lord, and strive to do the best we can ourselves, and to help each other win, and in the end of the age the Master [Q701] will show which is worthy to be seated with Him in the Throne as priests, and which will be of the Levite class before the throne.
TABERNACLE--Sacrifices Before and After Atonement Day.
QUESTION (1912)--1--In the Tabernacle Shadows we read, "we must distinguish between the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement and the sacrifices which were following the Day of Atonement, and that the first were presented for the sin of Adam, while the following were for the private or individual faults committed by ignorance or wilfulness." But it has caused me a great anxiety. In Heb. 9:7 the Apostle teaches that the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement were for all the sins which were committed, for the sins of the whole people.
ANSWER--In the English Bible it reads, "But into the second went the High Priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people."
There is no conflict between this statement and the other. The Apostle is here speaking about the Day of Atonement sacrifices, and not about any of those sacrifices following the Day of Atonement. He explains in harmony with the account in the Old Testament that the arrangement was in two parts. In one sense of the word the Day of Atonement sacrifices were all one sacrifice and one work on behalf of all the people, but in another sense of the word it was divided into two sacrifices, the first one for the priests and Levites, and the second for all the remainder of the people, and the Apostle is speaking of this phase of it in this verse. He is here speaking of the second, which he is offering for himself and for the errors of the people. The first, the blood of the bullock, was for himself and his house, and the second was for the errors or sins of all the people. These errors of the people for which the High Priest offers atonement are not wilful sins, but those which are committed through ignorance, superstition, blindness, etc.--through heredity. In other words, God proposes to forgive and to cancel all sins for humanity that has come to us directly or indirectly as a result of Adam's disobedience. But if after getting that blessing and knowledge then we sin with any measure of wilfulness that measure which is wilful is not covered by the atonement.
TABERNACLE--What Were Day of Atonement Sacrifices for?
QUESTION (1912)--2--Were the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement offered for the sins of the people committed through ignorance?
ANSWER--This was a complete cancellation of all sin up to that date. It is merely a representation of the first Atonement Day, showing that when we once come and get our blessings from the sacrifice of the day of atonement it cancels all so far as we ever had recognition and ability.
TABERNACLE--What Sacrifices Are For Sins of Ignorance?
QUESTION (1912)--3--What is the difference between the sacrifices afterwards, following the Day of Atonement, and [Q702] the sacrifices during the Day of Atonement, both being for the sins of ignorance?
ANSWER--We must consider what the Apostle is speaking about, and he evidently here is not talking about the sacrifices after the Day of Atonement. So he says in the sixth verse, Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first Tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the High Priest alone once every year (the Day of Atonement). (Heb. 9:6-7)
TABERNACLE--Where Was the Golden-Altar?
QUESTION (1912)--1--How explain the verse in Heb. 9:4 in which the Apostle Paul writes that the golden altar was in the Holy of Holies? Some present the solution for this difficulty, saying that we must acknowledge or accept that the Apostle in saying golden censor meant one of the little golden censors by which the priests would carry the fire from the brazen altar.
ANSWER--There is unquestionably a difference between the statement of the order of things in the Tabernacle as given by the Apostle here, and the statement as given in the Old Testament. But we must hold steadfastly to the account given in the Old Testament, because the Apostle's own argument supports the Old Testament. He says that it was necessary for the High Priest to offer the incense upon the golden altar before he would enter the Most holy. This means, too, the golden altar could not have been in the Most Holy, according to the Apostle's own account, and according also to the Old Testament account. The only explanation we could think of would be this, therefore: Either that the Apostle had a lapsus linguae, a slip of the tongue, or that his amanuenses to whom he dictated this put in the wrong word, saying behind the vail instead of before the vail. It is not a matter of any importance, anyway. Nothing serious depends upon it. We see what was the real intention at all events. The golden altar was in the Holy and not in the Most Holy, and, therefore, whatever slip was made in this record has no bearing or special importance.
TABERNACLE--Altar At Which Not Privileged To Eat.
QUESTION (1908)--2--Please explain Heb. 13:10: "We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat which serve the Tabernacle." What altar does it refer to in type or antitype?
ANSWER--I answer that the Apostle here is introducing a contrast between the Jewish priesthood, the Aaronic priesthood, and the antitypical priesthood, Christ the high priest, and the church the royal priesthood, the members of his body. Now the Jews, you see, and those who had had this Jewish idea in their minds, had difficulty to understand how we could be spoken of as priests: how all believers, all who come to the Father through Christ, and make a consecration, presenting their bodies a living sacrifice, are as the Apostle Peter says, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people. Now they had difficulty. How can we be a priesthood? We do not belong to the priestly tribe. You see Paul is carrying this same line of thought. We belong to the Melchisedek priesthood; that is our order, not the Aaronic priesthood. The Aaronic priesthood is a type of certain features, but this priest is of a higher order of priesthood [Q703] than Aaron. They have the literal sacrifices; we have the better sacrifices. They had the killing of the literal bullock, and the literal lamb, and we have the killing of Christ, the antitypical bullock, and we have the sacrifice of the Church, the antitypical goat, upon an altar that is superior to theirs. Their altar of incense was only typical. The offering of the prayers of saints, and the merit of Christ ascending before God is the real incense that is acceptable to him. There is type and antitype all the way through. Now we have an altar of which they may not eat. What is our altar? Why, dear friends, our altar is Christ, and his consecrated sacrifice. The priest of the typical system ate the meat that was offered to God on the altar. Let me remind you that when a sacrifice was brought to the priest, not on the atonement day, but others, he took the fat and put it on the altar and burned it, but he took the flesh and the priests all ate it. Now, then, they were all partakers of the altar. The altar consumed the fat, etc., but the priests all ate the flesh. Now, says the Apostle, they can eat of that flesh, and can offer on that altar, but we have a superior offering, and we have a superior altar. We eat of this flesh of our altar. "Except a man eat of my flesh and drink of my blood he shall have no life in him." He was speaking to the Church. As a matter of fact, all of us are to be partakers of his flesh. Of course that opens up a still larger question. What does he mean? You remember at that time many people said, This is a hard saying, who can hear it? Why it seems foolishness. Can this man give us his flesh to eat? And many went away and walked no longer with him. They said, These dark sayings are getting too abstruse, we cannot have any more of them; we drop the matter here; he is talking in riddles to us. What does he mean by talking about eating his flesh? When we come to understand the real meaning, as we may now during this Gospel Age, it is that his flesh represented his sacrifice which he gave for us, and which he finished at Calvary, and you partake of it, you eat it, you feed upon that which Christ sacrificed, you feed upon the merit of Christ's sacrifice, and you appropriate it to yourself; you have justification through faith in him, you have eaten of that flesh; you have partaken of that which he sacrificed for us. So have I. And in this way we have justification to life. This is the picture and the meaning of it as you and I come to see it through God's Word.
TABERNACLE--Aaron Re Head and Body.
QUESTION (1916)--l--Does Aaron represent both the head and body members of The Christ during the sacrifices of the bullock and the goat on the day of Atonement?
ANSWER--Aaron did not represent the body of Christ when he sacrificed the bullock because the bullock represented Jesus only, and you and I were not represented in the body at all until Jesus had first finished His sacrifice and had appeared in the presence of God for us, covering our blemishes, that we might be acceptable to God as members of His body. There was not a single member of the body at the time He offered Himself, even as the prophet Isaiah declared, "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was no man with me."
TABERNACLE--Two Tables of The Law.
QUESTION (1916)--2--Why, and for what purpose, were [Q704] there two tables of the law? Tabernacle Shadows Question Book, page 37, question 48.
ANSWER--We are not told why there were two tables of the law, and so we can only have our opinion or surmise. My guess is that, these two tables probably represent the two parts of God's law: one pertaining to us, and the other pertaining to our fellow men. Jesus stated the two parts of the law. The first that which was on the first table: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," "This is the great and first commandment." "And a second like unto it (in sympathy with it, in harmony with the same principle), is this. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hangeth the whole law, and the prophets." The one tells us of our duty towards God, and the other of our duty towards our fellow men, and these were written, the one on one table, and the other on another table. Thus there were two tables
TEACHING--Women Keep Silence.
QUESTION (1909)--1--"Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them; to speak, but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." (1 Cor. 14:34,35.)
"But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven."
ANSWER--You will find those Scriptures treated very elaborately, very perfectly, and a lot more on the subject in the Sixth Volume. I do not think you have been studying the Sixth Volume enough. Some want to know when the Seventh Volume is coming out, but I do not think the Lord will allow it until the Sixth Volume is more thoroughly digested.
TEACHING--Enduring Unsound Teaching.
QUESTION (1909)--2--To what extent should the brethren endure unsound teaching on the part of Elders or others, and how remedy such conditions?
ANSWER--Well, dear friends, there are some things to be endured, but the Apostle intimates that to endure unsound teaching is to participate in the wrongdoing, that we should not endure unsound teaching at all. If there are any enduring such, we feel that it is their duty to protest. Now, that does not mean that his view is right and everybody else's view is wrong. But, suppose I was here in a class in Denver, a member of the class, and suppose somebody, either in public or private, was teaching certain things which I believed were wrong and injurious to the household of faith, it would not be proper for me to sit by and simply say, "I am not teaching the error." My silence would be giving consent to it. It would be proper for me to see an opportunity to kindly, and patiently, and clearly, and positively to set forth what I believed to be the error and the Bible teaching on the subject, etc. After I have done my duty in that matter, it would not mean that I must insist [Q705] that everyone must come to my view of the matter. I have had my say and if somebody else wishes to have his say, he should have his say also. The Church of Christ is not to be hidebound, but all should have the privilege to have the truth, but all things should be done decently and in order. My duty should end at the time of expressing my convictions and reasons for them, so that I should not need to get up half a dozen times. I should give Scripture reasons and they should give theirs. All the Lord's people should recognize those as the highest teachings. Suppose, then, that the majority of the class decided against my view of the matter, what then? Should I say: Here is a teacher that is not Biblical; shall I absent myself from the class and not meet with them? No. I would say, "I have done my duty thus far to the class, I will continue and perhaps another opportunity will come in which to present my views. If another opportunity came, I would hold to my position as long as I thought it was right, but I would not make myself obnoxious.
What about others not in the class? I would say, "Friend, neighbor, I thank you for your words, we have given them consideration and we have dismissed the matter, and you will please not trouble us again.
How remedy it? If the unsoundness was on the part of the Elder, if near the time of election, wait and see that you did not elect anybody that was not sound. If you knew it at the time you elected him, then you are at fault. You have no right to vote for anyone you do not know to be clear in the truth. You will find everything on that subject in the sixth volume.
I have found that sometimes the Lord's people feel a hesitancy, and say, "Now, I don't like to vote for so and so, yet I do not think so and so is fit for the position of Elder." You are doing wrong in keeping quiet and voting for him. God wants to have in His Church those who have character, recognizing principle, and who will act in accordance with that principle. It takes some overcoming on your part to overcome your timidity, and that is all the more reason why you should do your duty; because, none but overcomers are to be of the elect class. I admire that character that does not like to be quarreling and disputing and hurting others' feelings; we ought to have that disposition, and there is a kind and gentle way of saying things that are pretty plain, and you should let all know that you have nothing but the kindest intentions when doing your whole duty. The Church should take time and deliberate as to who should be your Elders. You are representing the Lord and you are representing Him in your vote. We want to feel the responsibility of our vote in the Church of Christ more and more.
TEMPTATION--Method Used by Serpent.
QUESTION (1911)--l--Eve was tempted by a snake. Could this snake talk, or did it merely walk on its tail? What language did they use?
ANSWER--I was not there, and I am not, therefore, in some respects, a competent witness but I will tell you how I think it was done. You need not think the way I do; I am liberal enough to allow you to believe it any way you like. But to my understanding, the temptation by the serpent was a very simple one. I do not know whether it [Q706] walked on its tail or how, but the Scriptural proposition is that Satan operated through that serpent for the beguiling of mother Eve. Mother Eve, with father Adam, saw all the trees of the garden, and they were all beautiful, and their fruit was good for food; they all looked good, and one kind was forbidden. Now, the serpent talked by signs, I am going to suppose. Satan, acting through the serpent, led it to go into the garden and take off that very kind of fruit that God had forbidden father Adam and mother Eve to eat, and the serpent ate that and did not die, and thus the serpent said to our first parents, "You would not die, either." And they observed that it was one of the most crafty and most subtle of all the animals, and they said, "It must be the eating of that fruit there that makes him wise. Oh, if we would eat that fruit, we with our superior talents and powers, how much we might know!" And the more mother Eve thought on it--for we read that father Adam was not deceived--the more she said, "I wish I could get some of that; I would like to be wise." Then the thought came, all through the serpent, "God is trying to keep you in ignorance, he does not want you to know too much, you would be a kind of competitor. God does not want you to eat of that fruit for that very reason, and he would like to keep you in ignorance and superstition. Go take and eat of the fruit." So she took of the fruit and ate, and she was a transgressor. The Apostle says that the woman was beguiled; she was tempted and deceived--deceived by the actions of the serpent; as we often say, actions speak louder than words. I do not suppose the serpent talked any, but in his actions he gave the suggestions, and the woman obeyed them. Saint Paul says that Adam was not deceived; he knew that God had put a penalty of death on the eating of that food, and knew that God's Word would come true, and therefore he surmised that his much beloved wife would die, and this was his thought: he had lived for some time without her; there was no companionship for him in all the animals of all the creation of God, no companion that was meet for him; he was a lonely man without a companion and now the thought came to him that the companion God gave him, the bone of his bone, must die, and he would be left alone. Poor Adam's heart sank as he thought of it, and he said, "I will eat with my wife." And he deliberately committed suicide in the eating of the forbidden fruit.
QUESTION (1916-Z)--1--How could Jesus have had the same kind of difficulties that a mother would have? How could He be tried in all points as a mother? He never was a mother. How could He be tempted as a father? He never was a father. How could He be tempted as a drunkard, or in many ways as fallen humanity are tempted, when He was perfect?
ANSWER--The Apostle was not referring to the temptations of fallen humanity. He says, "He was tempted in all points like as we are." He was speaking of New Creatures. We know of no temptation that came to our Lord except those which came to Him as a New Creature. He was tempted as we are tempted as New Creatures in Christ. He was not subject to every temptation which assails us from the fallen tastes, appetites and tendencies, which come to us [Q707] as members of the degenerate race of Adam. These are not temptations to the New Creature. Those who have enlisted under the banner of Jehovah should love righteousness and hate iniquity. This was our Lord's mind.
Whoever in his mind loves the wrong and approves the wrong gives evidence of not having the mind of Christ, and would not properly be one of the "we" class referred to here, since his temptations would not be like those which spirit-begotten New Creatures have, like those which Jesus had. Those who have formerly lived in sin should sufficiently know of its undesirability. Those who have practiced sin should have had satisfactory evidence of its unholy nature, of its pernicious and destructive effects. So we who have fled from sin and come into God's family do not wish to return to its bondage, like a dog to his vomit or a sow to her wallowing in the mire. Those are not our temptations at all. Our temptations are much more subtle.
Looking back at our Lord's life after his baptism in Jordan, we see how He was tempted. One of His temptations was in respect to the use of His God-given power. He was very hungry, and was in a place where no food could be secured. The Adversary suggested that He use His miraculous power to produce food for Himself by commanding the stones to become bread. This He could have done; for we remember that on more than one occasion He miraculously created food to feed the multitudes, and at another time He turned water into the choicest wine. But on this occasion He refused to use this power to satisfy His own appetite. The spirit of devotion to the Father led Him into the wilderness for prayer, meditation and study of God's Word, preparatory to beginning his sacrificial service.
We have not the power to turn stones into bread or water into wine. But we have certain privileges and opportunities; for instance, the opportunity of speaking in the name of the Lord and of telling of His goodness and of his wonderful Plan for human salvation. All these things are privileges to us who are following in the footsteps of Jesus. In these the temptation is to do these things for our own special advantage. For example, we might undertake to proclaim the Truth with the thought of obtaining great honor or a large salary. This temptation frequently comes to those who are God's ministers--to use this power of God and the Truth of God for personal aggrandizement. To whatever extent any would do these things to that extent be would be falling into temptation.
Another way in which Jesus was tempted was in the suggestion to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple, and thus call the attention of all the people to Himself. This act would prove Him to be possessed of superhuman power and would seem to imply that He was under the special protection of God. He could thus make a marvelous demonstration of himself and He would be considered some great one. The Adversary, true to his usual methods, misapplied a Scripture, endeavoring to convince the Master that God had promised to protect Him in just such an instance, to uphold Him lest He should dash His foot against a stone. But Jesus resented this misinterpretation of Scripture, and answered, "It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." He refused to tempt God, [Q708] to try Him through a misapplication of His promise. The written Word was His refuge and strength in each temptation.
So some of Christ's disciples are tempted to do things in a spirit of foolhardiness, hoping that God will shield them from evil results of a course which would be contrary to the laws of nature or save them from consequences which would be the natural result of certain actions. This would be presumption on the part of a child of God. Such a course is saying by implication, "God will protect me, He will not allow me to come to harm." To presume to do what God has never authorized in His Word, and then expect a miracle to prevent evil from resulting is entirely wrong and unjustifiable. If we should presume to go out in cold or stormy weather improperly clad, when it is not necessary to do so, and thus risk contracting illness thereby, we would be doing a wrong and unwarranted thing. Our bodies belong to the Lord and we have no right to do anything unnecessarily which would be a risk of injury or death. Only duty or necessity would excuse such a course.
TEMPTATIONS TO COMPROMISE.
Another temptation which was presented to our Lord was that He looked out over the Kingdoms of the world, and then be assured that all these should be given over to His control, without His having to submit to suffering, without taking the painful course marked out by God, if He would just fall down and worship Satan, acknowledge his authority instead of that of Jehovah. Satan's words implied that he would not require such suffering and sacrifice as God required; that if Jesus would only cooperate with him, all would work smoothly and prosperously. Our dear Lord replied, "Get thee hence, Satan!"
So temptations may come to us. We might have suggestions that if we would only not be too straight-laced, but would co-operate to some extent with the world and its spirit, we might get along better and have a greater influence over people. This was the Adversary's argument with the Master: "Co-operate with me, and we will bring the whole world where you can give them great blessings." But Jesus would not swerve from the Father's way. Temptations and suggestions of this kind often come to the Lord's people. We fear that many of His professed followers have compromised with the world and the Adversary. The church systems have fallen into this very trap of the Devil. This has surely been a grave and costly mistake. Temptations and suggestions of this kind come often to the Lord's people.
We also have temptations to return evil for evil and railing for railing. Our Lord was so tempted just before His crucifixion. When He was delivered to the chief priests and taken before the Jewish Sanhedrin, He did not show them up, as He might have done. Jesus might have delivered a very scathing criticism of the high priest at that time; He might truthfully have made caustic remarks about the high priest's character. With the power of eloquence which He possessed, He might have made a great stir. Perhaps He felt an impulse in this direction, but He held His peace, and allowed Himself to be led as a lamb to the slaughter. And so we have temptations of a similar kind [Q709] --temptations to render evil for evil, to keep square with people, to give them what they deserve.
When we realize that we are not always successful in resisting these temptations, we are to remember that we have a Throne of Grace, to which we may come and find mercy and grace to help in time of need. We may come to our great High Priest. The high priest of old held a very high and honorable position. Our High Priest is far more highly exalted. In considering this, we might at first be inclined to think of Him as very austere, not easily approached. But the Apostle says that we are to remember that this is the One who is our Saviour, the One who died for us; and that although He is so greatly exalted and seated upon the Throne of Glory, yet His Throne is also a Throne of Mercy.
Coming to the Savior's Throne is not the same as coming directly to the Father's Throne. Jehovah's Throne is a Throne of Justice, but Jesus' Throne is a Throne of Mercy. Here we may obtain mercy if we fail to come up to the highest standard. We are to remember that our merciful High Priest knows just what kind of trials we have. If we have tried to do our best, and have been overtaken in a fault, He knows how to make allowance for us and to be very sympathetic. We are to remember that this Mercy Seat is for this very purpose--to show mercy to us.
Thus as we realize that in our temptations and trials the Lord is for us as He sees our earnest struggles and endeavors, it makes us the stronger in resistance another time. "He knows, and loves, and cares." Therefore we should never grow discouraged, but come to Him again and again, remembering that He is never weary of our coming and that He will not turn us away empty.
TERAH--Re His Age.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Terah, Abraham's father, was 205 years old when he died. How could Abraham be only seventy-five years old when he left his father's house, when his father was only seventy years old when he was born? Was not Terah 130 years old when Abraham was born?
ANSWER--We answer that the way in which it was written, it puts Abraham's name first when giving the list of Terah's sons, and the inference might be not unreasonably drawn that Abraham would be the eldest son of Terah. But on the contrary he was Terah's youngest son. The account says, Terah was so many years old and he had three sons. The first of them was born at that time and the other two were subsequently born; but Abraham was the third of those sons. I cannot take time to go into the matter here in detail, but you have it all in Watch Tower publications with full particulars.
TESTIMONIES--Should Weak-Voiced Brethren Testify?
QUESTION (1915)--2--Would it be selfish for a brother or sister to take up time in testifying at a meeting when he or she cannot be heard, and when there are others desiring to speak who can be heard? (Laughter.)
ANSWER--That is quite a little rap on those who do not speak loudly enough. I think this would be a proper way of putting it. We should consider it to a certain extent selfish [Q710] ness to arise and merely whisper a testimony, especially of any length, and which can be heard by only a few and perhaps by none. When the dear friends have gathered together at considerable expense from all parts of the country for the purpose of getting a blessing, it seems too bad to have any time wasted. This same principle holds good also in the home meetings. We might sympathize with those who do not make themselves heard, but they might just as well whisper to the Lord in private; the friends would be just as much benefitted as when they don't talk loud enough to be heard. You know the Apostle Paul said that he would rather speak five words and be understood than to speak ten thousand words that no one could understand (1 Cor. 14:19). That is a good lesson. We should speak language that can be understood; and we suggest that all try to learn to lift up their voice like a trumpet. Some need to put on three or four trumpets.
But, dear brethren, nothing that we are saying is with the thought of discouraging any of you; for we believe that a great blessing comes to the Lord's people from giving a testimony. Therefore it is our hope that every one will find some opportunity of giving a testimony. But if you cannot speak so as to be heard, speak about six words and sit down, would be our advice. Then you will have the opportunity of standing up for Christ and thus receiving a blessing, and also will know that you did not hinder someone else. Give your testimony, but make it brief.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Should the brethren exhort one another to good works at a testimony meeting, or confine themselves to their own experiences, blessings, etc.?
ANSWER--Well, I think exhortation is one thing, and testimony is another thing. A testimony meeting is not to be strictly intended as a meeting for exhortation; a testimony is more given with the supposition that when you have told your testimony that the testimony itself would constitute, without saying so, an exhortation to others to strive in the right way. And this is one of the most forceful testimonies that can be given. The man who lives his religion, and whose experience testifies to that religious life, is giving one of the best exhortations possible to others to live a good life. At the same time I do not think that any could properly find fault with one who, after giving his testimony, should just add a word or two of exhortation. But I think it is true, as the question seems to imply, that a great many err, supposing that exhortation is testimony when it is not, and err in giving too much exhortation. Testimonies, I think, are better.
THANKS--Re Asking Blessing in Restaurants.
QUESTION (1909)--2--When several Truth people are taking a meal at a restaurant and all seat themselves together, would it be a duty or privilege to return thanks as in our own home?
ANSWER--There is nothing in the Bible that tells us specifically. We can only use our judgment. It would be very nice if you were around a table with others, to give thanks if circumstances made it appropriate, if otherwise, to do so in silence. If it would in any sense of the word be [Q711] seemingly hypocritical to those about us it would not be appropriate. You remember the Pharisees who said their prayers on street corners.
THIEF ON CROSS--This Day.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Our Savior's assurance to the thief, "This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise," what is the meaning of this?
ANSWER--We answer that that statement is generally misunderstood. Take the whole circumstance and get it clear before your mind. Two thieves were there, one on either side of our Lord. He was being crucified, they also. One was reviling him saying, "Why don't you save yourself and save us? If you are as you claim, something more than a human being, why don't you demonstrate it and save yourself, come down from the cross and save us also; show your power." And he was saying this in a derisive, scoffing manner. The other thief answered him saying, "How strange that you should act and speak in this way! You know that we are here justly. We are suffering the appropriate punishment for our sins; this is the penalty against us; but here is a poor man between us who has done nothing amiss and he is suffering unjustly, and instead of deriding him, we should be speaking words of comfort to him. And I will speak a word to him now."
Then turning to Jesus, he said (I am paraphrasing it), "I know you; you are a great personage; I have come in contact with you before and heard a good deal last night and this morning, as I was near by when your trial took place, and I heard those falsifiers bearing false witness against you and I sympathized with you all the time. I knew there was no evil character in you, and I have just answered this other thief and you have heard what I have said to him. Now I do not know what there is in your claim of being a King, but you are a great enough person to be a King. If you are a King, and after you have come into your office of King, and have your kingdom, then remember this poor thief, and do something for me, will you?" Jesus said, "I will do something for you when I come into my kingdom; you will get a blessing. Did Jesus come into his kingdom this day? Why no; he has not come into his kingdom yet; it is more than eighteen hundred years, and we are still praying, "Thy kingdom come." Is not that true? Sure. Did he deceive the thief? Did he say, I am going into my kingdom today? No, he did not. What did the thief ask, anyway? He said, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." And what did Jesus say? Jesus said, in the Greek, "Amen"--so be it. Be it as you have asked it, namely: to be remembered when I come into my kingdom. I will be there; and I will remember you when I come into my kingdom. And I am sure that he will. But what about "this day?" That was put in this way: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee today"--this day that looks as though I had no kingdom, this day that looks as though I was a blasphemer against the great Creator, this day that looks as though I had neither friend on earth nor in heaven, this day in which I seem to be the most pitiful object in the world--nevertheless, I say unto thee this day, "Thou shalt be with me in Paradise."