this is txt file
QUESTION--What is the unpardonable sin?
ANSWER--The unpardonable sin is a sin which God declines to pardon or forgive--a sin, therefore, which must be punished, must be expiated by the sinner. There may be said to be different degrees of unpardonable sin, however. An unpardonable sin is one that is committed against light and knowledge. All sins of weakness and ignorance are pardonable, because God has made provision for the pardon of these in the death of Christ. Since all of our weakness and ignorance came to us through the fault of our Father Adam, and since Jesus redeemed the world from that transgression and all of its hereditary taint, therefore, every sin attributed to that fall alone is a pardonable sin. There are, however, what might be termed mixed sins in which a measure of wilfulness, knowledge and intelligence combine with a certain measure of ignorance and weakness. For such sins there would be forgiveness to the extent of the weakness and ignorance, but punishment would be required to the extent of the knowledge and wilfulness. A wilful sin against full light and knowledge would be a sin against the holy spirit of God. Such, knowingly committed, would bring the sinner under the sentence of the sin namely, the Second Death.
SINS--Some Men's Are Open Before Hand.
QUESTION--To my mind, the following text of Scripture is one of the most puzzling to be found in the Bible--"Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after."--1 Tim. 5:24. (C. M.)
ANSWER--The Scriptures point out two spiritual classes among the Lord's people, one class of which will be kings and priests unto God, and will be seated upon the throne of Divine authority and power. This is a comparatively small class, and is called the "Little Flock," the "very elect," "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood," etc. The other class is comparatively large, and is called the "great multitude which no man can number," and are represented as being before the throne, as servants and messengers. (Rev. 7:9-15.) These two classes are referred to in the parable of the "Wise and Foolish Virgins." The first class, "the very elect," have all their sins up for judgment beforehand, before the general judgment time for the world. They are on trial in this present time and have all their sins atoned for and expiated. The other class, "the great company," will have its sins up for judgment following after the judgment of the "Little Flock," having "come up through great tribulation, and washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." The Apostle's letter was addressed to Timothy, a child of God, and his instructions relate to the worldly ones outside of the Church of Christ. Indeed, the world's sins, both Adamic and willful, are all fully atoned for by the above two classes in association with the Lord Jesus Christ as the "sin-offerings" of this great Atonement Day.
SODOM--Lot's Wife Turning to Salt.
QUESTION--We read in the Bible that as Lot and his wife were fleeing from Sodom, his wife looked back at the [Q834] city and was instantly turned into a pillar of salt; can that be literally true?
ANSWER--We see no reason for thinking otherwise than that the statement with reference to Lot's wife is a literal one. We can conceive of no reason why the record should be otherwise than literal. The Great Master, Himself, referred to the incident and made no criticism of the narrative (Luke 17:32). Why then should we criticize it? The Scriptures show that the Angels of the Lord had warned Lot to take his wife and daughters and flee out of the City of Sodom, and they started in their flight, but instead of keeping steadily on after once starting, Lot's wife turned to look back--evidently desiring the things left behind--and she was turned into a pillar of salt. The Apostle shows us that these lessons or examples were for the benefit of others. In other words, types and shadows of greater things. Space does not here permit us to discuss the type and anti-type.
SOUL--Can It Die?
QUESTION--Can the soul die? I read in the Bible such expressions as these, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Eze. 18:4), "Every soul that will not hear the voice of that Prophet shall be DESTROYED from amongst the people (Acts 3:23), etc., yet on every hand the doctrine of "The Immortality of the soul" is being taught and nearly every one believes that the soul cannot die, but is doomed to live on forever. I am much confused in regard to this matter.
ANSWER--Some years ago this question was discussed by theologians and others, and at that time, having the general thought or teaching in mind, which was supposed to be the truth, many were led to investigate along this line and were vastly surprised to find that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is entirely of heathen origin and nowhere taught in the Bible. Under the glare of the increasing light of our day, many ministers have come to a recognition of this fact and are now engaged in preaching that which the Scriptures teach, viz., that it is the soul (the living, intelligent being) which enters into death. The soul is "asleep," "dead" and will remain in that condition of unconsciousness until resuscitated at the time of the resurrection of the dead. Immortality is conditional. By examining the following Scriptures, it will he seen at once that immortality is a reward that will be conferred upon those who are faithful and obedient to the commands of the Lord and who prove their worthiness to receive this "Crown of Life" (Rom. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:53,54). See also 1 Tim. 6:15,16.
SOUL--Does It Sleep When Body Dead?
QUESTION--Does the soul of man sleep when the body is dead? (J.H.L.)
ANSWER--Various have been the theories as to the condition of the soul after death. The Bible teaching regarding this much discussed question is very clear and simple, and there need be no confusion of mind at all if we are willing to accept what the Scriptures teach. In the case of [Q835] the first man who sinned, let us see what it was that sinned, and what it was that suffered the penalty for disobedience. The account of the creation of man mentions three things--body, soul, and spirit. The body was formed of the dust of the ground. God breathed into its nostrils "the breath (spirit) of life, and man became a living soul." Man did not receive a soul, but he became a soul." The union of the life or energizing principle, the breath with the body, produced the living intelligent being--the soul. What was it that sinned? Surely it was not so much dust, the body. Neither was it the "breath of life" that disobeyed, but it was the soul, the living being, Adam, that sinned against the Lord. Then what was it that died? Hear what the Scriptures declare--"The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Eze. 18:4.) It is, therefore, according to the highest authority in all the Universe, the soul that sinks into unconsciousness at death is to awaken on the resurrection morning.
SOUL--Does Woman Have One?
QUESTION--Has woman a soul? We read that man "became a living soul," but nothing is said about the woman having a soul! Hence my question. (L.B.)
ANSWER--As the Scriptures are silent on this subject, and as much as the gentler and fairer sex is to be admired, to be in harmony with the Bible, and to answer the question therefrom (however painful it may be to state the fact) it is necessary to set forth the awful truth that women do not have souls! But what is still more painful to relate, according to the Bible, man does not possess a soul, either! Some good, well-meaning people who have read their Bibles, but not with careful thought, have been rather careless in the use of language when referring to Scriptural matters. No one has a soul; but every living, breathing creature is a soul. In the quotation above it is stated that "man became a living soul" and not that he was given a soul. The breath of life, the energizing principle imparted to the body alone is the soul. It was the union of the two, the life and the body, which produced the intelligent creature--the soul. Woman, therefore, is as much a soul as man.
SOUL--Is It a Part of Man?
ANSWER--For Ages, one of the most momentous questions, and one most frequently propounded has been "What is the soul?" The Bible answers the question so directly and simply that students of the Scriptures are now marvelling that this question should ever have perplexed any in the past. The life-giving quality, the energizing principle, in union with the organism, or body, forms the living, intelligent being. This being, whether sheep, elephant, horse, man, angel, or devil, is the soul. For proof of this in the Scriptures, carefully note the following citations, the first two in the marginal readings of the Authorized Version. (Gen. 1:20,30; Gen 2:7.) The word soul in this connection, [Q836] is from the Hebrew nephesh which means literally "a breathing creature." Man does not possess a soul, but he is a soul. The entire being is the soul. Job's expression must be understood in the poetic sense, and signifies that man would suffer and mourn from his inmost being, "from the bottom of his soul," as is sometimes said in the vernacular. Statements have appeared in the public press from time to time, emanating from some reputed authorities, to the effect that the "soul" has been weighed and photographed. This can easily be accomplished by any amateur photographer equipped with a camera and a pair of freight scales!
QUESTION--Will you please tell me what is the soul? (N.U.M.)
ANSWER--The Bible gives the correct definition to your question. We read, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul." (Gen.2:7.) God did not give a soul to man, but He created man a soul or being. The word soul is translated from the Hebrew word "nephesh," which means "a breathing, sentient being." That is to say, God formed Adam of the dust of the ground, the body was not the soul; neither was the breath of life which God breathed, or blew into his nostrils the breath of life and the result was a living, breathing, animate being, then for the first time properly termed a soul. The word soul is not applied to man only. Animals are souls. In the first, second, and ninth chapters of Genesis, the words "living soul" are applied in the Hebrew language to the lower animals nine times. Man as a soul is different from the lower animals or souls by reason of his higher organism; he has superior mental endowments. He is the highest order of animal creation.
SOUL--What Becomes of it at Death?
QUESTION--What becomes of the soul at death? Is it put into the grave with the body, or does it fly away in a disembodied state, and go soaring around through space, waiting and longing for the time to come when it can get back into its body (put on its clothes again, so to speak) at the resurrection? (J.A.G.)
ANSWER--There is much confusion of thought regarding this matter. Many are disposed to express the matter wrongly by saying that they have a soul in place of saying that they are a soul. There is considerable difference in having a cow and being a cow! All living beings are souls from the Scriptural standpoint. (Gen.1:20-30. Margin.) When father Adam disobeyed the Lord, it was not his body, the dust of the ground that sinned. Neither was it the energizing principle, the breath of life, that sinned. But it was Adam himself, the living intelligent being, the soul, that sinned. Therefore, it was the soul that died, as the Scriptures declare, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Eze. 18:4). In the resurrection, it is the soul that is to be resuscitated. "Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades--the tomb"--was spoken of our Lord Jesus. [Q837]
SPIRIT--Is it Same as Soul? 1 Thes. 5:23
QUESTION--St. Paul, in 1 Thes. 5:23, prays God..."Your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless," etc. If not, kindly enlighten fully (J.W.C.)
ANSWER--In his prayer, St. Paul evidently distinguishes between spirit, soul, and body. We should bear in mind that his letter was addressed to the Church collectively, and not so much to individuals. We can be quite sure that the Apostle did not refer to individuals, for whatever interpretation we may put upon "soul and spirit," we are in the singular, not the plural number. St. Paul expresses his earnest desire that until the Lord's return the Church might be preserved entire, without schism, in the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace. In Acts 4:32, we read that "The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul," and in Eph. 4:4, the Apostle points out that there is one BODY AND ONE SPIRIT. As in the creation of Adam, with the entrance of the breath of life, man became a living soul, an intelligent, sentient being, so with the New Creation. Inspired with the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, the members of the Church, which is His Body, should work in unity and harmony in doing the will of the Lord and witnessing to the truth of the Gospel.
SPIRIT--"Shall Return unto God Who Gave it."
QUESTION--Do you mean to say that the spirit of the Thief, who died upon the cross when the Lord Jesus was crucified, remained in the grave with his body? If so, do the spirits of our dear friends, who turned to Christ in this life, remain with their bodies in the grave until the Lord's return? (D.D.)
ANSWER--The inspired writers of the Bible tell us just what became of the spirit of the thief who died upon the cross. And they also tell us what becomes of the spirits of those who were devoted followers of Christ and were faithful even unto death. It would not do for us to say what became of these spirits. Too many so-called leaders of religious thought have theorized and speculated as to what became of the spirits of the departed dead and have set forth the results of their vain imaginings. Let us not add to the awful confusion by presenting ideas of our own, but let us hear what the Scriptures declare, recognizing that the Lord God is surely able to guide us into the knowledge of the Truth. We read, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." (Eccl. 12:7.) This text reminds us of the original sentence of death pronounced upon Adam for disobedience. He had been formed of the dust and therefore he should forfeit his life and return unto dust. He died. The breath of life (the spirit), the energizing of life principle, was removed from the body and returned to God, who is the source or fountain of all life. The living soul, the intelligent being, died. As the Bible says, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." (Eze. 18:4.) From these scriptures it is evident that the spirit of the thief and of all who die returns to God. This animating principle [Q838] (spirit), called life, is to be given to all of the faithful and obedient in the resurrection.
SPIRIT AND BRIDE--Meaning of Rev. 22:17
QUESTION--What is meant by these words, "The Spirit and the Bride say come?" (Rev. 22:17.)
ANSWER--The Spirit clearly refers to Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom. His Bride is to be the Church glorified. (See Rev. 21:9; Rev.19:7-9.) The marriage, or union, referred to in the last Scripture, takes place at the second coming of Christ (John 14:3). The reign of Christ (Bride and Bridegroom) follows, and then the message will go forth to the world, inviting all to come and obey Christ and receive eternal life; and the obedient shall live. And the obedient will be privileged to repeat the invitation to others, that "whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely." The Church of Christ in its present condition of development is referred to by the Apostle as "the chaste virgin, espoused to one Husband" (2 Cor. 11:2). She will not become the Bride of Christ until at the time of the Bridegroom's presence, when the marriage of the Lamb shall take place and the marriage supper shall follow (Rev. 19:9). Evidently, from the fore-going, it is manifest that the expression "whosoever will does," not apply to all at this time, and will not be true until the wedding is consummated.
SPIRIT BEING--Explanation of.
QUESTION--What is a spirit being?
ANSWER--According to the Scriptures, it is a creature, or personality, inhabiting the spiritual plane of existence, a higher plane than that of the human or earthly creatures. Just as the Divine nature, the nature of God, is the highest order of the spiritual realm, so man is of the highest order of the animal or earthly existence. Angels are spirit beings (Psa. 104:4) and we read that man was created "a little lower than the angels." (Psa. 8:5.) A change of nature is promised to all of those who will be of the Church of Christ; those who "make their calling and election sure" and who eventually will be associated with their Lord and Savior in the glories of the Kingdom as His "joint-heirs." This "change" of nature is wonderfully described by the Apostle in the fifteenth chapter of 1 Cor. 15:42-52. Those who will experience this transformation of nature are said to be "born of the spirit" and this will take place in the resurrection. These then will be powerful, and invisible to mortal eye, just as the angels are all around and Jehovah's messengers in past ages, yet unseen. Jesus described this matter of the "wind" to picture the condition of those who shall be born of the spirit in the resurrection morning, John 3:6-8.
SPIRITISM--"Empty as Hollow Gourd."
QUESTION--Has Spiritism ever benefitted the members of the race of mankind in any way? If so, how? (Victim.)
ANSWER--The value of Spiritism to the world is summed up in the words of a well-known author as follows: "According to the theory of Spiritualists there are a hundred [Q839] times as many disembodied spirits about us as there are men in the flesh. Among them are all the poets, authors, orators, musicians and inventors of past ages. They know all they ever knew when they were in the flesh, and have been learning a great deal more since; and with their added powers and extended experience they should be able to do what mortals have never done before. They have had free access to the public mind and public press, with no end of mediums ready to receive their communications and thousands and thousands of anxious inquirers who have questioned them, and earnestly desired to obtain information from them. They have talked and rapped, they have tipped and rattled, they have fiddled and scribbled, they have materialized and dematerialized, they have entranced and exhibited; they have told us many things which we knew before; many things which we do not know yet; and many other things which it was no matter whether we knew or not; but when we come to real instruction, reliable information, or profitable and valuable knowledge, Spiritualism is as barren as Sahara, as empty as a hollow gourd."
SPIRITISM--Mediums Communicating With Dead.
QUESTION--Do Spiritualist Mediums really communicate with the spirits of the dead?
ANSWER--Spiritualism is a rapidly growing movement, numbering several millions of people, among which are some of the brightest minds of the day. There is no question as to many of the facts clearly established in the rites and ceremonies of Spiritism. Many of the phenomena produced, with the aid of spirit mediums, have been pronounced as beyond all controversy supernatural. The Bible tells us exactly to what these phenomena may be attributed. A clear account is given of the fall of some of the angels from Divine grace because of disobedience. These are restrained "in chains of darkness" (the darkness of the night--manifestations can take place only in the dark), until the judgment time. These demons or fallen angels have impersonated the dead and represented that they wished to communicate with their friends through the aid of mediums. Evidently it is displeasing to the Lord for any of His people to communicate with these demons. (See Isa. 8:19,20). The Superintendent of one of the largest insane asylums stated recently that fully one half of the insane patients were obsessed by evil spirits.
SPIRITISM--What is a Witch?
QUESTION--"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."--Exo. 22:18. From this expression would we not understand that the writers of the Scriptures believed in the existence of witches? What is a witch? (F.C.)
ANSWER--Throughout the world today there are thousands and millions of people who firmly believe in what is known as "Spiritism." Among those who thus believe are some of the brightest minds of the day--doctors, lawyers, judges, professors, etc., a class of people who would not be deceived by mere sleight-of-hand performances, or by hallucinations. These know that it is possible to communicate with beings of the spiritual realm, through the aid of [Q840] spirit mediums, clairaudiants, clairvoyants, and the like--the modern wizards and witches. Few recognize that every one of these spirit beings who thus communicate with members of the race of mankind are of the demons, or fallen angels--evil spirits--whose sole aim and purpose is to deceive the members of the race by impersonating the dead, and representing that they are the spirits of the departed ones. The Sacred Writers certainly recognized the existence of the demons, and of the witches (spirit mediums) of their day.
SPIRITS--Familiar, and Wizards.
QUESTION--Please explain Isa. 8:19-22, where the Prophet speaks of "familiar spirits," and "wizards" that work in the dark. (A.B.S.)
ANSWER--The "familiar spirits" are the demons that infest earth's atmosphere, and who are busily engaged in impersonating the dead, representing that they are the spirits of the departed ones, and thus confusing and deceiving many, who have not given heed to the instructions of the Scriptures to the effect that the dead are dead, and will not be alive or conscious until the awakening time in the resurrection. The "wizards" are the mediums who act as the agents of these and mutter and work mysteriously in the dark, in place of working out in the open where all may be clear and plain. The powers of righteousness do not have to labor in the dark and in an underhand way, as they have nothing to conceal. The "hungry" ones are those who have neglected "the law and the testimony"--God's Word--and are giving heed to the doctrines of demons. They are dissatisfied and suffer the pangs of regret and remorse, because there is nothing to satisfy their cravings in the direction in which they are seeking to be enlightened. Theirs is a deplorable condition of darkness and anguish of mind, as they have neglected the only real source of comfort and consolation--the Scriptures.
SPIRITS IN PRISON--Who Are They?
QUESTION--Who are "The spirits in prison?" (1 Pet. 3:19.) (Secretary).
ANSWER--The "spirits" or spirit beings, are the ones referred to by the Apostle in the following verse as having been disobedient during the antediluvian period of time, in the days of Noah. Turning back to the early records of the Scriptures, we find that in Gen. 6:1-4, it is narrated how and in what manner these spirit beings disobeyed, and why they were cast into prison. Note the contrast in the expression, "The sons of God (the angels--Job 2:1) saw the daughters of men." These spiritual sons of God left their habitation, the spiritual realm, and materializing as human beings, took unto them wives of the daughters of men. In this way the "men of renown," "the mighty men," the "giants in the earth," were brought into existence. This was contrary to the Lord's arrangements, and therefore we read that those angels were deprived of their liberties under certain limitations: "And the angels which kept not their first estate (their spiritual state) but left their own [Q841] lasting chains, under darkness (the darkness of the night, for they can operate only under the cover of the night or conditions of darkness), unto the judgment of the great day." (Jude 6.) The Apostle Peter also refers to them when he says, "God spared not the angels who sinned, but degraded them, and delivered them into chains of darkness." --Corrected Translation. (2 Pet. 2:4.) All history, both sacred and secular, is replete with instances of obsession, or demonizations, by these demons, or fallen angels. It was to these "spirits" that our Lord, by His death and resurrection, Preached a powerful sermon in pantomime.
SYMBOLIC FIGURES--"Heavens"--"Broken Cisterns"--''Water."
QUESTION--Please explain Jer. 2:12,13. What are the "heavens" referred to; and what do the "broken cisterns that can hold no water" represent? (B.S.A.)
ANSWER--Evidently the Prophet is using highly symbolic language to convey his thoughts. The larger portion of the prophecies of the Bible are put forth in figurative expressions and in parables and dark sayings, for they were not intended of the Lord to be understood until at the time of their fulfillment. The "heavens" would symbolize the powers of ecclesiasticism and the "fountains" would symbolize the truth, the Lord's word. The time would come, therefore, as foretold by the Prophet, when the Lord's professing "people," Christians, would forsake the Lord and His Word, and would "hew" out or fashion for themselves "cisterns" or receptacles to hold the muddy waters of the traditions of men. The creeds and religious systems are in a very dilapidated and broken state and wholly incapable of holding the waters of the truth. The old effete systems of the past are breaking up and are absolutely useless so far as holding the waters of the truth are concerned.
SYMBOLIC FIGURES--Sea and Waves Roaring.
QUESTION--What is the meaning of the words "the sea and the waves roaring?" (Luke 21:25.) (R.H.)
ANSWER--The murmuring of the rising wind is distinctly audible to the ear. The sea and the waves of the troubled masses of humanity are already beginning to heave and toss and foam. The increasing winds of strife are driving the great sea of mankind into a frenzied state of revolt against the present social order--"the world that now is"--wave on wave, mounting higher and higher and rolling in upon the rocks and cliffs. The sullen thunder and roar of the sea as it breaks in ever increasing fury upon the shore, jarring and shaking the mountains to their center, forecasts only too well the on-coming of the cataclysm that is foreordained to overwhelm the entire world. The "earth" (society) and the "mountains" (kingdoms and governments) will be removed and carried into the midst of the sea (the turbulent and raging masses of humanity). (Psa. 46:2,3.) The great "waves" (nihilism, communism, socialism, and anarchism) are sweeping with irresistible force against the bulwarks of present institutions. [Habitation (the spiritual realm), He hath reserved in age]?? [Q842]
SYMBOLIC FIGURES--No More Sea.
QUESTION--Is the Scriptural statement, "and there were no more sea," to be taken literally? See Rev.21:1.
ANSWER--In the Scriptures the word "sea" is used, not merely as a name for a body of water, but also symbolically, as representing lawless, restless, dissatisfied, discontented humanity. In His great prophecy (Luke 21:5-36) our Lord tells us that in the time of trouble, with which the Millennial Age will be introduced, the sea and the waves will roar; and in Psa. 46:1-3, is pictured, that the symbolic mountains, or kingdoms, of earth will go down, overwhelmed by the symbolic sea, in an anarchistic storm. When once the Messiah's Kingdom shall have brought order out of the present confusion, after it shall have established the world's interests upon a proper basis of equity, there will be "no more sea," in the sense that there will no longer be a restless, dissatisfied element amongst the masses of mankind.
But while many of the prophecies have had both a literal and a symbolic fulfillment, yet we are not wise enough to say whether or not this one will have a literal fulfillment. We feel sure, however, that it will have a symbolic fulfillment as already suggested. Even if the literal sea should continue, we know of no reason why the continents of earth might not be united by the raising of submerged lands to connect them. However, it is best for us not to indulge in speculation along this line, of which we have no absolute knowledge.
SYMBOLIC FIGURES--Woe Unto Them With Child.
QUESTION--Will you kindly explain the seemingly harsh Bible statement, the expression of the Savior, as given in the 24th chapter of Matthew, the 19th verse-- "And woe be unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days?" (J.G.D.)
ANSWER--This expression is a portion of our Lord's great prophecy relating to events and conditions that would develop in the last days of the Christian dispensation. As with all prophetic expressions it is in highly figurative language. The clue to the understanding of this prophecy is found elsewhere in the Scriptures. A woman is used as symbolical representation of the church. Thus the true Church of Christ is referred to as the "chaste virgin" and also in another picture as the "Bride the Lamb's wife" (2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 21:9). The false churches are represented as corrupt and debauched women (Rev. 17:1-5), compare these five verses with Rev. 21:9-11. The "mother church" is represented as a lewd woman, and also as the great mystical city of Babylon. Her daughters, the ecclesiastical systems that are the offspring of the parent system, are likewise represented as being babes both embryonic and new-born. They have need of the milk of the Word as the Apostle says (Heb. 5:12-14) they are not sufficiently developed in knowledge and grace to assimilate the strong and important doctrines. It will be a special time of sorrow for the false religious systems in that day, "those who are with child," and also to those who are dispensing the milk--in other words "giving suck." [Q843]
QUESTION--Kindly explain Matt. 25:29; "From him that hath NOT shall be taken away even that which he hath." (E.M.)
ANSWER--This verse occurs in the Parable of the talents, and if we supply the word increased after not, the thought is clear. During the Gospel Age--that period between the going away and the coming again of Christ Jesus--His servants have been entrusted with the Gospel of the Kingdom. All professing Christians have obligations and responsibilities to tell out the "good tidings of great joy," according to their knowledge and opportunity. Those who improve their talents increase them, and because faithful to the light and privileges granted to them, will receive the "Well done" of the Master. All who neglect to use their talents for the blessing of others will not have the Lord's approval. On the contrary, they will lose not only the light they once enjoyed, but also the reward of faithfulness. Let us then heed the exhortation of our Lord, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
TEACHING--Does God Teach Directly?
QUESTION--The Scriptures declare, "They shall be all taught of God" (John 6:45). Does God teach each one of His children directly through His Word?
ANSWER--God uses various instrumentalities for communicating His instructions. Thus the Lord Jesus Himself is called the Father's "Word"--the Message, the Logos (John 1:1; Rev. 19:13). St. Paul speaks of him saying, "God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son" (Heb. 1:1,2). This message has been repeated by the Apostles. We read that when our Lord "ascended up on high He--gave gifts unto men," and these gifts are still with us. He explains these gifts to be Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ, until we come unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:8;11-13'). So we see that the instructions of God may come through His disciples, teachers, evangelists, etc.; but they must all be recognized as emanating from the Father through the Son.
TEACHING--Survival of the Fittest.
QUESTION--Is the doctrine of "survival of the fittest" true; and is it in harmony with the teachings of the Scriptures? (Troglodyte.)
ANSWER--The combined testimony of the evidences in nature, aside from the inspired revelations of the Scriptures, is opposed to the theory of the best surviving the worst. In the realm of vegetation it is universally recognized that the finest flowers, fruits and vegetables, are produced only by the utmost care in training and cultivation. These fine varieties, if left to themselves, quickly deteriorate in quality, or else are entirely overcome by the weeds, thorns and briars. Does not this same principle hold in the animal kingdom? High-bred horses, dogs, and cattle, if left without the guiding hand of man, quickly degenerate [Q844] into lower breeds, or else are entirely destroyed by inferior species of animals. This same principle is true with the races of men, as all history demonstrates, and as foretold in the Scriptures. Beginning with the Babylonian Empire, when it had reached to the very zenith of its glory, it fell in one night, yielding to the inferior kingdom of the Medes and Persians. These in turn yielded to the Greeks. Then Greece with all her learning succumbed to the inferior Latin races. And who is not familiar with the history of Rome which arose on the ruins of Greece? In the shattered remains of the Roman Empire, the modern nations of Europe and America, another mighty civilization, has reared its crest to a vast height, and is doomed to destruction. (See Dan. 2:31-45.) This present evil world, with its conditions of "the survival of the worst," is to pass away; and on its ruins will be established a new order of things, called "The world to come wherein dwelleth righteousness," in which "the survival of the fittest" will be absolutely true.--2 Pet.3:13.
TEACHINGS--Following One Man's.
QUESTION Is it right to follow the teachings of any ONE MAN, or should we expect to be individually taught through the study of the Bible?
ANSWER--The Scriptures answer, "One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren" (Matt. 23:8). We should not follow man, nor manmade creeds or systems. God exercised the supervising care over His consecrated people; as we read, "Now hath God set the members, every one of them, in the Body, as it hath pleased him" (1 Cor. 12:18); therefore He advises Christians to come together to assist in building each other up in the most holy faith (Heb. 10:24,25). He directs the church to select elders--not Lords, nor Masters, nor Reverends (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:5-9). These are "overseers" to feed the flock of God (Acts 21:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3). St. Paul says, "Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ." The most faithful have been followers of the Apostle, who followed in the footsteps of Jesus. This is not following man, but following the Divine leadings through the Lord and the Apostles. Similarly today we note God's leadings through His servants. In this we are following Jesus Christ, not man.
Individual study of the Bible seems indispensable to proper Christian development, and is commendable, just as individual study of Geology would be commendable; but one must not ignore the aids to Bible study which God has providentially furnished; to do so would be as unwise as for a pupil in astronomy to ignore the astronomical instruments and findings of others who have preceded him in the study of the same science. "Study to show thyself approved unto God (not unto men); rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
THIEF ON CROSS--Difference Between Paradise and Heaven.
QUESTION--How could the repentant thief on the cross go to Paradise THAT DAY, with Jesus, when Jesus did not [Q845] ascend to Heaven until forty days after His resurrection on the third day?
ANSWER--The word "Paradise" signifies, "a delightful garden, park, or pleasure ground." The garden of Eden was the original Paradise, where man dwelt before disobeying the Divine command. Because of disobedience he lost this Paradise. (Gen. 3:22-24.) When the race of mankind comes again into harmony with the Creator by becoming obedient to the Lord, the "earth will become as the Garden of Eden," and mankind will be restored to that Edenic condition. (Acts 3:19-21; Eze. 36:35.) "The desert shall bloom and blossom as the rose and springs shall break forth in the wilderness, and the solitary place shall be glad for them--the happy world of mankind. (Isaiah 35.) Such conditions will take place when our Lord "comes into his kingdom." The thief asked to be remembered "when Thou comest into Thy kingdom," and our Lord will come into His kingdom at His second coming. Our Lord did not go to Paradise that day, but went to the tomb, as the Scriptures declare, from which he was raised the third day. The passage with the punctuation properly made, placing the comma after the word "today," clears the matter up. "Verily I say unto thee today (now), thou shalt be with Me in Paradise"--at My second coming, when the Kingdom of Heaven shall be established in the earth. Punctuation is a modern invention, dating from the year 1515 A.D. The comma was placed in the text by the translators under King James, and it is evident that they made the mistake of placing it before instead of after "today."
THIEVES AND ROBBERS--All That Ever Came Before Me Are.
QUESTION--We read in the 10th chapter and the 8th verse of the Gospel of John the following words of the Savior--"All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers." Who are referred to by the terms "thieves and robbers?" (A.N.F.)
ANSWER--The Lord Jesus was narrating a parable illustrating certain arrangements and conditions. Every sheepfold must of necessity have a door or gate and this would be for the use of the shepherd and the sheep. As stated in verse 1, any person attempting to enter the sheepfold in any other way than by the door would be a thief and a robber. Our Lord Jesus, as the "Shepherd," by fulfilling the terms of the Law Covenant, entered the "door" and secured all the blessings and privileges which had been promised in the Law. The Scribes and Pharisees--"the thieves and robbers"--on the other hand, had been endeavoring to "climb up some other way," by a hypocritical observance of the letter of the Law, rather than by a heart observance and fulfillment of the spirit of the Law. Jesus, as the "Good Shepherd," laid down His life for the "sheep." The Scribes and Pharisees neglected the interests of the people and were engaged in seeking their own gain--wealth and fame--while piously posing as religious leaders. [Q846]
TIME--How Long Was a Time?
QUESTION--What is the meaning of the expression found in Dan. 12:7--"Time, times and a half?" How long was a "time?"
ANSWER--A year, or "time," according to the old Hebrew method of preserving chronological records, was ordinarily a year of twelve lunar months of approximately thirty days each, or 360 days. In the symbolic prophecies of the Scriptures, a day stood for a year. (See Eze. 4:1-8; Num. 14:33,34.) A "time" therefore, of three hundred and sixty days in a prophetic sense, would signify 360 years. In the expression under consideration there are three and one-half times, or 1,260 years. The same period is mentioned in the book of Rev; in chapter 12:14, it is called three and one-half times (360 x 31/2 = 1,260); in chapter 13:5, it is termed forty-two months (30 x 42 = 1,260); and in chapter 12:6, it is called twelve hundred and sixty days. Bible scholars in general have reached the conclusion that these twelve hundred and sixty years came to an end in the year 1799 A.D. Noting the fulfillment of this prophecy at that time, and following this clue, a number of students of prophecy are expecting that the "seven times" (Lev. 26:17, Lev. 18, 24,28) or 2520 years, in which the Jewish people were to be subject to the Gentile powers and kingdoms, will terminate in the year 1914 A.D. as their kingdom was overturned and destroyed in the year 606 B.C. "Seven times," or two thousand five hundred and twenty years, bring us to the date 1914, when the Jews will be restored to their own land, to have a government or kingdom of their own, which will be the nucleus of the coming universal government so frequently referred to in the Scriptural prophecies.
TRINITY--Is Expression "The Triune God" Scriptural?
QUESTION--What is understood by the expression, "the triune God?" (E.S.M.)
ANSWER--Some have thought this to be a scriptural expression, but it is not to be found in the Bible. It is believed to have originated in the heathen mythologies of the Hindoos in ancient India. Webster defines the term "triune" as three in one--"an epithet used to express the unity of a trinity of persons in the Godhead." We know of but one passage in the Bible that actually teaches the doctrine of a "triune God." But this passage is now conceded to be spurious by all Bible scholars. The words found in 1 John 5:7 ("in heaven the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one; and there are three that bear witness in earth"), are not contained in any of the oldest Greek manuscripts. The Religious Dictionary, page 944, says: "It was not until the fourth century that the Trinitarian view began to be elaborated and formulated into a doctrine, and an endeavor made to reconcile it with the belief of the Church in one God . . . Out of the attempt to solve this problem sprang the doctrine of the Trinity . . . Trinity is a very marked feature in Hindooism, and is discernible in Persian, Egyptian, Roman, Japanese, Indian, and the most ancient Grecian mythologies." [Q847]
TRINITY--Metaphysical or Ethical Sense?
QUESTION--Is the oneness between Jesus Christ and God, the Heavenly Father, ethical or metaphysical? (R.A.H.)
ANSWER--In the early history of the Church, after the Apostles had fallen asleep, many bitter controversies were engaged in over this very question. But now in these latter days when knowledge is increasing along all lines, and particularly so as regards the knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures, the solution of the matter is clearly seen. There is not a single passage of Scripture to be found in which it is set forth that the Lord Jesus and the Father are one in the metaphysical sense. Two texts are usually relied upon to support the metaphysical view, but it has been wrongly translated and the other is spurious as it is not contained in any of the old Greek manuscripts. The first of these, John 1:1, should read--"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (ho theos) the God, and the Word was (theos) a God. The same was in the beginning with (ho theos) the God." The Logos was a God (mighty one) and was with the God (the Almighty One). The spurious passage is found in 1 John 5:7, and consists of the words, "in heaven the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth." As showing that the oneness of the Father and the Son is in the ethical sense we need only to quote a portion of the Lord Jesus' prayer--"I pray not for the world but for them which Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine . . . neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us...that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one."--John 17:9,20-23.
TRINITY--This is My Beloved Son.
QUESTION--If Christ was God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; how could a voice from heaven say--"This is My beloved Son," when He was a man on earth? (Diogenes.)
ANSWER --This is an age of general enlightenment. Knowledge is increasing along all lines, and specially so in regard to the teachings of the Scriptures. The superstitions and theories of the darker past are fading away in the light that is gradually widening out unto the perfect day. The shadows of ignorance and prejudice are still lingering here and there; but those minds of bolder sway that have burst the bonds and shackles of the creeds and traditions of former times, are rejoicing in the glorious liberty that comes to those who know the truth. God's Word has been woefully misrepresented both by friends and foes, and because many have been taught to believe that the absurd theories found in the creeds are contained in the Bible; these, in the light of our day, are rejecting the Bible as the inspired Word of God in place of studying the Scriptures to ascertain what they really teach. The expression of the creeds, contained in the question, is nowhere found in the Bible. Our Lord Jesus never claimed to be "God the Father" but always said that He was the Son of God. [Q848] "My Father is greater than I"; "God sent His Son into the world." Our Lord Jesus was not His own Father; but as the Scriptures declare He "was the beginning of the creation of God." The voice from heaven to the Son on earth proves absolutely, unless we deny our reasoning faculties and become unreasonable, that the Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus are two distinct personalities.
QUESTION--Can you explain the first six verses of the fifth chapter of James (Jam. 5:6)? (J.G.S.)
ANSWER--This is a prophecy relating to "the last days" (verse 3) and is contrary to the expectations of many Christian people who are anticipating the world's conversion to Christianity before the second coming of the Lord. This is a clear-cut statement of the Apostle describing the conditions that would exist in the last times. Had he been living in these times he could not have described the situation of affairs in the world more accurately or concisely. Is it not true that "treasures have been heaped together?" It is said that one man controls directly and indirectly more than $16,000,000,000 and that another individual has given away over $200,000,000 and yet has not touched the principal of his wealth. Are not the "rich men" living in pleasure; and are they not "wanton" (extravagant-luxurious) in their ways of living? (Verse 5.) Expensive palaces, yachts, automobiles, jewels, balls, banquets, and various forms of amusements are aggravating the poor and the unemployed to such an extent that they are crying out; and these "cries" (verse 4) have swelled into a mighty volume and find expression throughout all the public press. Do not all intelligent people know that the vast accumulation of wealth has been brought about mainly by "fraud" (verse 4)? It is the farming class, "the laborers who have reaped down your fields," that are the real wealth producers of the world, and these are the ones who have been defrauded the most by the political and financial frauds of the times. Pity the poor rich (verse 1) in the coming "time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation" (Mat. 24:21), for theirs will be a season of special sorrow and anguish of mind when all the accumulated wealth will become valueless. Verses 2 and 3.
TROUBLE--Time of, Worldwide.
QUESTION--What is meant by the Scriptures which declare that in the last days there would be a fearful time of trouble (Dan. 12:1; Mat. 24:21,22)? Has this any reference to the industrial and social crisis that is now developing throughout the world?
ANSWER--There have been seasons of severe trouble and destruction at various times in the history of the race, such as the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, when about a million and a quarter of Jews were slain, and the French Revolution, when vast numbers were slaughtered by the mobs and by the troops--a reign of terror indeed--but the "time of trouble" in the end of this age (not the end of the world for "the earth abideth forever"--Eccl. 1:4) is represented as being more dreadful than any preceding [Q849] experience, in the sense that it will be world-wide and not a local disturbance as were the previous seasons of destruction. (See Rev. 16:14; Luke 21:25; Zep. 3:8,9.) The Scriptures clearly indicate in what way the trouble will be developed, after the nations, kingdoms and governments have become associated together, forming a general community of interests, such as we see existing now, when all are brought together by financial, political, and social ties, treaties and alliances. It will be an industrial and social conflict that will involve all classes and be terrible when the climax is reached. The battle lines are already sharply drawn. Organized capital on the one hand and organized labor on the other are the two forces arrayed against each other in deadly conflict. The Apostle James writes almost like a Socialist in describing some of the phases of the impending struggle--Jam. 5:1-5. After the "trouble" is over conditions will be established on a new basis, and an era of peace and prosperity be ushered in-- Hag. 2:7.
TROUBLE--What Advantage Knowledge of God's Plan?
QUESTION--Of what practical advantage is a knowledge of the truth of God's character and plan of salvation, to one in time of trouble, disappointment, sorrow, etc.? (We refer particularly to one who is already converted--a member of the Church.) (E.W.)
ANSWER--The knowledge of God, the Creator, that He is wise and just, loving and all powerful, and that He is our loving Heavenly Father, one that we can draw nigh unto with confidence and trust in every time of need, through the merits of the Anointed Savior, is a wonderful source of comfort and consolation, and is of far more practical benefit than all that earthly wealth or fame could possibly bestow. After all; real advantage or benefit is that which brings peace and happiness to the heart. Those who have the consciousness that they are the children of the Most High God, and that He loves them, and is over-ruling all of the affairs of life to their interest and welfare as spiritual children; ah, these have that inward peace and joy and happiness, that not all the storms, and trials and afflictions of life can mar or take away. The knowledge of the plan of the ages, brings unspeakable joy to those who thus know what God has in reservation for those who love Him; and not only for these, the Church of Christ, but also for all the families of the earth--the world of mankind. In view of the high exaltation to glory, honor, and immortality, at the right hand of the Majesty on high, promised to the Lord's faithful people; how trifling and insignificant must seem the trials and hardships of life! And thus the Apostle Paul expresses the matter saying "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
QUESTION--The Lord Jesus taught the Christians to pray, "Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth." Does that mean that all Christian people should join together and vote for the election of only Christian men to office in order that God's will might be done on the earth? [Q850]
ANSWER --The true footstep followers of the Lord Jesus are called to a "heavenly calling" (Heb. 3:1), to the "high calling of God" (Phil. 3:13.) They are running for the office of joint heirship with Christ Jesus in His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul was one of these runners. He realized that a man cannot well run for two offices at the same time. He said, "Do not be conformed to this world." (Rom. 12:2.) That is to say, do not become entangled with the things of this world. Again he said, "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13,14); and in harmony with this Jesus said, "Ye are not of this world"; and again, "My kingdom is not of this world," meaning this present evil order of things; therefore we come to the conclusion that the chief duty of the Christian is to avoid entangling alliance with worldly systems, and to devote himself to preparing for the kingdom of our Lord when He comes. All good citizens should desire righteous men in office, but a righteous government cannot be established by imperfect men, hence the hope of the Christian is in the Bible teaching that Christ Jesus, the great Messiah, will, in God's due time, set up His kingdom, and establish righteousness in the earth.
WEATHER--Does God Control It?
QUESTION--Does God give orders for the weather every day?
ANSWER--No; nor does He every day order the stars in their courses, nor the earthquakes, famines and pestilences. At the present time, because of sin, the entire course of nature is permitted to be out of joint, so far as this earth is concerned. Our weather is not ideal at all times; God knows this and permits it as a part of the penalty of death upon Adam's race. Present conditions are not what God would have provided for Adam and his posterity had sin not entered into the world. Extremes of heat and cold, floods and droughts, death-dealing tornadoes and cyclones are the world's portion as criminals under death sentence; they are parts of the curse. Christians are not exempted from these, but are required to walk by faith, sharing the world's experiences; yet by this faith and the Holy Spirit to recognize themselves as "sons of God without rebuke" (Phil. 2:15), learning through all life's experiences lessons which will fit them for their future work of glory with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom. God's promise is that then there shall be no more curse--no more dying, no more crying. Instead, the time will come for the restitution of man and his earthly home to the perfection of grandeur of the Edenic condition (Acts 3:19-21.) Thus God will make the place of His feet, the earth, "glorious." Paradise lost will be Paradise regained.
WILL--Guides for Discerning God's Will.
QUESTION--I am sure all Christians want to do God's will, but how can we determine his will in our affairs?
ANSWER--If we have not wholly become God's people by consecration, His message to us is, "This is the will of [Q851] God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3). If we are His people we are to search His Word, which has been written for our benefit. In it He says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Pro. 3:5,6). When we are perplexed we should go to Him in prayer, resting content with whatever He may permit, study His Word and seek to be guided thereby. He has said to us, "All things shall work together for good to those who love God, to those who have been called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28). We will, if we follow this course, soon learn to appreciate the fact that all the precious promises in the Bible are for the guidance and benefit of the Christian. Exercising faith in these, we should use our best judgment to follow the Lord's will in all things, carrying no anxious thought respecting the future and watching for His providential leadings.
WOMAN--Seven Take Hold of One Man.
QUESTION--"And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man." (Isa. 4:1.) What is the meaning of this Scripture? (Interested.)
ANSWER--In the symbolisms of the Scriptures a "woman" represents a church. Just as the Church of Christ is said to be the "Bride, the Lamb's Wife." The false churches or anti-Christian religious systems are symbolized as wicked women. (Rev. 17:5.) The number seven is always representative of fullness, or completion, in the expressions of the Bible. Therefore, we have the picture before our minds of a time when the full number, or all of the churches (in this case the false churches) would be seeking to be called by the name of the "one man"--Christ--in order that their reproach might be taken away. These churches, which in reality are worldly organizations, as they are filled with a worldly spirit, and supported by worldly individuals, are being reproached more and more because of their worldliness; and recognizing this, they are strenuously claiming to be "Christian Churches." The "seven Women" are taking hold of the "One Man," but He does not recognize them, as He has but the one Bride, the true Church.
WOMAN--Suffrage Movement and the Bible.
QUESTION--May I ask your views on the "Woman's Suffrage" question? Should women have equal rights with men? What is the attitude of the Bible toward this momentous subject? I use the term "momentous" advisedly because the Suffrage Movement is extending around the world, and to my mind is one of the most important phases of the general conditions existing in these hyperbolical times. (F.E.W.)
ANSWER--It is very evident to the close observer that men and women, the world over, are more and more approaching a condition of equality. This is largely due to the changing state of affairs in the industrial and social realms. Women are entering in upon every line of accomplishment in the commercial world, and in the realms of art, science, and literature. They have been driven into the world of business and industry by the harsh competitive [Q852] system of the day, and having taken their position side by side with men in every other walk of life, it is the logical sequence in the trend of events that they should enter in upon conditions of equality in the political arena. This is well, and is certainly in agreement with what the Scriptures indicate will be brought to pass in the "times of restoration" (Acts 3:19-21) the thousand years in which the race of humanity will be restored to the perfect conditions represented in the first man, Adam, before Eve had been formed from his side. Adam combined in himself the masculine and feminine qualities, and when Eve was formed for the purposes of propagation, the feminine qualities were incorporated in her personality. When the race has multiplied sufficiently to fill the earth (Gen. 1:28) propagation will cease and the members of both sexes will become as Adam was before Eve was formed. See Mat. 22:30.
WORLD--Conversion to Christianity.
QUESTION--Have we any reason for anticipating the World's conversion to Christianity before long?
ANSWER--We have every reason to expect the world's conversion to Christ not many years hence, but perhaps this work will be brought about in an entirely different way and manner than is usually supposed. The Scriptures clearly foretold that the world would be far from being in harmony with the Lord and His righteous laws at the close of this present age or evil world. (Rev. 11:17,18; 2 Tim. 1:5; Mat. 24:37-39.) And that it would not be until after our Lord's second advent that all the nations would be brought to a knowledge of the truth, the way of salvation, and then converted to Christ and His rule of love and kindness. Meantime an election is taking place which when completed will result in the formation of a special class of the Lord's earnest devoted followers who when glorified and united with their Lord in the spiritual or heavenly realms will constitute the governing body, the Kings and Priests, under whose righteous administration, the nations shall all be taught of God and learn righteousness. (Isa. 26:9; Isa 54:13.) It will require all of the thousand years of Messiah's reign to subdue all unrighteousness and bring into subjection all evil and error. "For He must reign until He has placed all enemies under His feet even death the last enemy shall be destroyed." 1 Cor. 15:25,26.
QUESTION--When will the world come to an end? (P.W.L.)
ANSWER--According to the Scriptures the term "world" signifies age or dispensation. Three great worlds are outlined in the Divine Plan of the Ages, as revealed in the Bible. (See 2 Pet. 3:5-13.) The first "world" or dispensation passed away at the time of the Flood. The second "world," or "present evil world," is likewise to pass away, in a fiery time of trouble--not a literal "fire," but a destructive season of lawlessness that will destroy the "elements"--labor, capitalistic, etc., etc., that go to make up the present social order. "The world to come wherein dwelleth righteousness" will never come to end, but is to [Q853] continue throughout eternity. The world that now is" (Titus 2:12) is already being violently shaken, and is beginning to crumble away financially, politically, socially, and ecclesiastically. The evidences about us, in the fulfillment of the Scripture prophecies, are clear and strong that within the next decade, the new and better order ("the world to come") will be established in the earth.
WORLD--Is It Growing Worse?
QUESTION--Is the world growing worse? If not, what does the Apostle Paul mean by the words, "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived"? (2 Tim. 3:13.)
ANSWER--In some respects the world was never better than it is today. We know of no time in history when the public press so fearlessly and boldly exposed wrong doing as now. Education has helped to bring about better moral conditions. Of course a great deal of this morality is on the surface, as it was in the closing days of the Jewish Age, when Jesus told the chief religionists that they were whited walls, outwardly beautiful, but inwardly corrupt. The Apostle, in the Scripture to which you refer, evidently had in mind the deceivers and leaders astray in the Church. These, in the end of the Age, will become more bold; as foretold, their deceptions will become strong delusions, following which many will believe a lie (2 Thes 2:11). "They shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1). Many theological teachers today are denying the Bible and advancing strong arguments in favor of Higher Criticism, Evolution, etc., thus growing worse and worse in repudiating the "faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3,4), "deceiving and being themselves deceived."
QUESTION--"Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?"--1 Cor. 6:2. Does this signify that the world is not now on trial for eternal life? (C.J.W.)
ANSWER--This Scripture is in conformity with the united testimony of the teachings of all the Prophets and the Apostles to the effect that the world's judgment day, or trial time, is not in this present Christian Era, but is yet future--"God hath appointed a day (a thousand year day--2 Pet. 3:8) in the which He will judge the world in righteousness." (Acts 17:31.) Those who, in association with Christ, shall judge the world in mercy, justice and love, are now being qualified for that high office, by having developed in them saintly, Christlike characters. These "saints," who have learned to love their neighbors as themselves, and who even love their enemies, are the ones who, in the future age, will offer every inducement to the world of mankind to come into harmony with the gracious requirements of the Divine Law of love and justice and receive eternal life. The fact that the followers of Christ are not judging now proves conclusively that the world is not on trial for eternal life at the present time. The judgment day, in place of being a time of terror, distress and sorrow, is represented in the Scriptures as being a special time of joy and gladness for the world.--Psa. 96.