this is txt file this is txt file Z1906 January
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January 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

SEMI-MONTHLY.
VOL. XXVII.JANUARY 1, 1906No. 1


CONTENTS

Thoughts for the New Year3
How Shall We Pay Our Vows?4
"Lo, I Am With You"5
"God Bless You"--19066
Views from the Watch Tower6
The Crisis Nearing6
Church Union in Great Britain6
Results of Russian Struggle7
Russia's Three-Sided Melee7
Berean Bible Study--"Prayer"8
Reports from Foreign Branches8
Our Pathway (Poem)10
The Glorious Proclamation10
Gifts to Our King14

I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me. Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. -- Luke 21:25-28, 32.

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THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

THIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
 
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.




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TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR AS FOLLOWS:--

Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER, will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.


ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.

THIS JOURNAL IS PUBLISHED IN THE
FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, DANISH AND ITALIAN LANGUAGES.
SAMPLE COPIES FREE.



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YOUNG'S AND STRONG'S CONCORDANCES.


There is a little "war" of prices at present, and so long as it lasts we can sell these valuable works at specially low prices, viz.: Young's, in cloth binding, at $4.00, plus postage, 55c. Strong's at $3.00, plus 65c postage. The latter is a wonderful bargain. We scarcely expect the prices to go lower. [R3694 : page 2]

THE PITTSBURGH DISPATCH.


Most of the subscriptions to the Pittsburgh Dispatch expired with November. Please note the date tag and let us know if you wish us to renew for you. We have a special clubbing arrangement by which we can supply this cosmopolitan newspaper for $3.00 per year, or just half price. This supersedes previous notices. The Dispatch proposes more space for Brother Russell's discourses every Monday hereafter. page 2

WATCH TOWER BINDERS.


These are substantially made of stiff cloth boards, and can hold two years' issues of the WATCH TOWER. They prevent soiling and loss. Price, postpaid, 50c.


German booklet on the Law and the Sabbath, 72 pages, postpaid 5 cents each.



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THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW YEAR.

THE dawn of another new year is properly a time for solemn reflections, both retrospective and prospective. In the retrospect how abundant is the cause for thanksgiving! We who have been blessed with the richest favors of divine grace in that knowledge of divine truth which reveals to us the high privilege of becoming sons and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for the called and chosen and faithful according to his purpose, have a never-failing cause for deepest gratitude. Great indeed was the favor which revealed to us the hope of everlasting life as justified, human sons of God--of full restitution to the divine favor and likeness, as was at first possessed by our father Adam. And great was our joy when first, by faith, we appropriated this precious promise and realized that legally, through merit of the precious blood of Christ shed for our redemption, we had passed from death unto life, and that in God's appointed time the everlasting treasure with all its attendant glory and blessing would be ours. But beyond even this are the "exceeding great and precious promises" to those of this justified class who have been called, according to God's purpose, to become the bride and joint-heir of his dear Son.

Then, in addition to all these blessings of hope and promise, was the blessed realization during all the year, and with some of us for many years past, that though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, as the Psalmist aptly represents the present life, our blessed Shepherd's rod and staff have been our comfort and our safeguard. How often has the friendly crook of the Shepherd's staff stayed us from wandering off into bypaths and kept us in the narrow way; how his chastening rod has from time to time aroused us from dreamy lethargy and urged us on our way. And at such times we have recalled the comforting words: "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons."-- Heb. 12:5-8.

"THOU SPREADEST MY TABLE IN THE MIDST OF ENEMIES."

Spiritually, we have feasted on the bounties of divine favor; while in things temporal, under whatsoever circumstances we have been placed, having the assurance that all things work together for good to them that love God, we have realized that godliness with contentment is great gain, having promise of the life that now is [so long as God wills to have us remain here], and also of that which is to come. Wherefore, we can and do most heartily "offer unto God thanksgiving." And shall we not render unto him, not only the praise of our lips, but also the incense of truly consecrated lives, throughout the year upon which we are just entering? Dearly beloved, consecrate yourselves anew to the Lord today --not in the sense of invalidating the consecration made once for all, possibly many years ago, but rather in the sense of re-affirming and emphasizing that covenant. Tell the dear Lord that you consider yourselves entirely his, and that it is still your purpose to keep your all upon the altar of sacrifice during this new year and until it is wholly consumed in his service. Then let us proceed with studious care from day to day to pay these, our vows of full consecration, unto the Most High.

As we look back and with sorrow view the imperfections of even our best efforts, and then forward and see the lion-like difficulties that seem to obstruct our onward course, we will need greatly to reinforce our waning courage with the special promises of divine grace to help in every time of need. We have the blessed assurance that "the Lord will give strength unto his people." "Call upon me in the day of trouble," he says, "and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." As soldiers under our great Captain, we have enlisted in no uncertain struggle, except our own faint-heartedness or unfaithfulness should make it so. We are fully supplied with the whole armor of God, and will be amply protected against all the fiery darts of the adversary if we accept it and carefully buckle it on; we are forewarned of all the snares and dangers that beset our onward way, so that we may avoid and overcome them; we are fully [R3695 : page 4] informed as to the policy and course of the Captain under whose banner we have enlisted, and of the part we are to take under his leading. We have his constant presence with us, even to the end of our course. His inspiring voice may always be heard above the clash and din of battle--Fear not, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom! Be of good cheer; I have overcome! Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid! Greater is he that is for you than all they that be against you. If we are weak and incline to faint-heartedness we have only to remember the blessed promise, "The Lord will give strength unto his people;" and by our faithfulness in the service we shall glorify God and he will deliver us gloriously from all our foes, both seen and unseen.

HOW SHALL WE PAY OUR VOWS?

This is an important question with all the truly consecrated, and one surely of paramount importance. Let us consider, then, that when we consecrated ourselves fully to the Lord, we thereby signified that we would hold nothing back for self. That consecration included all our possessions, our time, our physical energies and our mental attainments. And it implied the sacrifice of all our former earthly ambitions, hopes and aims, so that we should no longer pursue them to any extent. This, and nothing less, is what our vow of full consecration signifies. But it signifies, further, that these possessions or personal qualifications, which the Lord terms talents, are not only to be released from the service of the worldly ambitions, etc., but that they are to be so released, not for aimless inactivity, but for the purpose of being utilized in an opposite direction--in the service of God, of his plan and of his children.

In the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30) the Lord illustrated very clearly how we are expected to pay our vows of consecration to the Most High. He says: "It is like a man who, intending to travel, called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to [R3696 : page 4] another one; to each according to his respective capacity; and straightway took his journey."

TO EACH ACCORDING TO ABILITY

This master had important and valuable interests to leave in charge of his servants; and as these servants had all engaged to serve him, he had a right to expect of them a sincere and faithful interest in the work. Yet he did not expect more of them than they were severally able to accomplish. He rightly expected larger returns from the one who had five talents than from those who had one or two talents. And in the reckoning, it will be observed that the servant who had doubled his two talents was just as highly commended as the one who had doubled his five. The reply to each was the same--"Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." And had the servant with the one talent been similarly faithful he would have received the very same commendation. Notice also that the parable does not represent the obligations of the world of mankind in the use of their talents, but merely of "his own servants"-- the consecrated believers only. And notice also that no servant was left without some talent of usefulness and responsibility. Each servant had at least one talent; and for the right use of that one talent he was just as accountable to his master as were those who had more.

But the professed servant with the one talent was unfaithful to his master, and yet he evidently wanted to be considered a servant still, and probably thought he was worthy of commendation and reward for not perverting his Lord's money to other uses. He had taken good care of the talent; he had not turned it in opposition to the Lord, but he had simply buried it--failed to use it. At the reckoning time, he who had received the one talent said, "Lord, I knew thee, that thou art an exacting man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not scattered. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth; lo, there thou hast thine own."

"His Lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not scattered; thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers; and then at my coming I should have received mine own with interest." It will be observed that this servant was not what men would generally call wicked. He was simply an idler, willing, if he could, to draw a servant's approval and compensation, but lacking any real, active interest in his master's business. He had no ill will toward his master; he was probably very glad that the other servants kept the business from going to wreck and ruin; he did nothing to hinder them from using their talents, but he did not feel the responsibility he had assumed in becoming a "servant," nor take a proper interest in his master's affairs. Yet, as a faithless, slothful servant, he was really a covenant-breaker, and therefore "wicked" and certainly unfit to be trusted with still greater responsibilities on the master's return.

But let us remember that this was not a real case: it was simply a parable used to illustrate real cases. And if the illustration fits your individual case, let it not lose its effect upon you. The very object of the parable is to arouse such to a sense of their short-comings, and to recover them from the lethargy into which they have relaxed, by reminding them of their responsibilities. Activity in the Lord's service to the full extent of our ability or talents is what the Lord has a right to expect of all who profess to be his servants; and it is what he does expect. Therefore, if you have but one talent, do not bury it, but cultivate and use it; do what you can, and all you can, in the great work to which we have already consecrated our lives.

MUCH GIVEN, MUCH REQUIRED

And those who have several talents, let them see to it that they too are faithful to the extent of their abilities, not being content to do merely what the one-talented man can do or ought to do. Such a one would not be a good and faithful servant, and could not expect the Master's approving "Well done!" His approval will be given to those only who are faithful to the extent of their opportunity.

Those who find the truth and make the consecration before they are encumbered with the cares of this life, who have no families dependent upon them and who have a reasonable degree of health, have at least two talents--time and health--which can and ought to be utilized in the service to the best possible advantage. Then there are those who have a money talent, or a [R3696 : page 5] business talent, and such should consider how these are being used. Are they largely swallowed up in luxuries, or a superabundance of the good things of this life, for either self or family? Or are they being laid up as treasures upon earth--in banks, store-houses and investment securities, to enrich and to cultivate the spirit of pride in friends or children, and for them to quarrel over after you are dead?

Our talents for use in the Lord's service consist of all those things and opportunities which are over and above what we need for the necessary and reasonable maintenance of ourselves or our families, if we have families, and the reasonable provision against distress in case of a sudden calamity or approaching old age, etc. Aside from these, all we have should be in active service, be they many talents or few. If we have five talents and are using only one or two, how can we expect the Master's "Well done, good and faithful servant"? Did we not covenant to give and to use all for him?--all our money, all our time, all our influence, all our mental activity, all our physical ability? How faithful have we been during the past year? How do we stand at the bar of our own judgment? And how faithful will we be during the coming year? After providing things decent and honest for ourselves and those dependent upon us, let us judiciously appropriate our talents to what we profess to consider the chief business of life. Here are the testing points of true loyalty and devotion. Let us ponder them well, and not lightly set them aside.

FORMER OPPORTUNITIES LOST

But observe further what the Lord has to say about this "wicked and slothful servant." He says: "Take the talent from him and give it unto him which hath ten talents; for unto every one that hath [made use of his talents] shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not [made use of his talent] shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." The outer darkness here referred to is in contrast with the inner light of the holy place of favor and communion and instruction from God, symbolized in the Tabernacle. The testing comes on the return of the Master. Then the faithful servants shall enter into fuller joys and privileges and blessings, while the unfaithful will go into the outer darkness of error and ignorance concerning God's plans and ways, which envelops the world in general, and their neglected opportunities for more abundant service will go as a reward to those who are already earnest and active, and whose earnest and faithful labors will in due time be abundantly rewarded.

As we thus view our Lord's teaching, we see that our only security as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ is in activity in the service of the truth. Well, says one, I see very few doing that. Very true: only a few will do it. But that precious few are the Lord's jewels. Are you one of them? Ah, that is the point to be considered. No matter how few they are, or whether you ever saw or knew of any such, that does not alter the conditions of our calling. "This is the way: walk ye in it." One, at least, has trodden it before. Look for his foot-prints and follow him, and "He will give strength unto his people," even though they walk alone, as he did, without the cheering companionship of fellow-travelers.

"LO, I AM WITH YOU"

But think not that you are traveling alone in this narrow way. The Lord has now a consecrated people, a faithful band of servants who, with every talent consecrated, are steadily pursuing their course in the narrow way. We know some of them by name and by character and by their steady and progressive activity in the blessed work. Not many of them have five talents, but a good many have two or three, and some only one. Quietly and unobtrusively they go about from day to day preaching the wonderful words of life, and God is with them and is leading them on. Their hearts are full of joy and hope and they are kept securely amidst all the perils of this evil day. None are so clear in their apprehension and appreciation of truth as those who are fully enlisted in its service. Let all who would run the race successfully look well to their zeal and activity in the Lord's work. If we bury our one or our many talents under a weight of worldly cares and encumbrances which might be avoided or set aside; if we bury them under worldly ambitions for either self or family-- whether this be by wasting consecrated time upon science, philosophy, music or art; or upon business, politics or pleasures; or in pampering pride and appetite --then as unfaithful servants we will sooner or later go into outer darkness, by being caught in some of the snares of this "evil day," and will be led farther and farther into error and away from truth.

Mark well that it is not a case of such unfaithful servants being liable to get into outer darkness, into error: it is a case of must. The Master's orders are peremptory and decisive: "Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness." The light now shining is not for the unfaithful, but for the faithful servants; and no matter how clearly the unfaithful may have seen and understood the deep things of God, and no matter how he may have enjoyed them, if he has not loved them [R3697 : page 5] so as to serve them and sacrifice his conveniences for them, he is unworthy of them and must go out into the outer darkness of the world in general. With these as with the world the disappointment of theories and plans in the great time of trouble will ere long bring the weeping and gnashing of teeth foretold.

FAITHFULNESS IMPLIES ACTIVITY

It is indeed a notable fact that in no single case have we seen one drift away from the truth into the snares of these perilous times who was very active and fully enlisted in the Lord's work, whose one aim and endeavor was to herald the truth and to bless others with it. To such the Lord says, "My grace is sufficient for thee"--"Ye shall never fall, for so an abundant entrance shall be ministered unto you into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Let us, then, dearly beloved, have for our watchword during the year the word "devotion," and let each of us write upon his heart the gracious promise-- "The Lord will give strength unto his people." Let us be faithfully "his people," and let us earnestly desire and faithfully use the strength promised. Faithful is he that hath promised, who also will do it. So, then, if you lack the strength to use faithfully your talent, the fault is yours, not God's. You either have not his service close enough at heart or else do not make use of the strength he provides. "The Lord will give strength unto [R3697 : page 6] his people"--his trusting, faithful servants--those who are using to his praise the talents consecrated to their Master, however many or few those talents may be.


1906 / "God Bless You" / 1906


Our New Year's greeting is, "God bless you." It applies primarily to those nearest and dearest in the bonds of Christian fellowship in Present Truth; secondarily, to all who trust in the precious blood, in the merit of which alone there is forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God and a basis of Christian brotherhood; thirdly, to the world in general, still blind and deaf to God's great salvation, but heirs of the great oath-bound covenant, "in due time;" fourthly, to those who oppose us and say all manner of evil against us, falsely, for Christ's sake--because we are heralds of his truth and grace.

For all of these our wish is God's blessing, which, if received, maketh truly rich, and addeth no sorrow. If for our enemies and the world in general we pray opening of the eyes of understanding, surely with the Apostle we may offer the same prayer also for all the "brethren" and for ourself--a wider opening of our eyes of understanding. The Apostle's words are, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father...that ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge."-- Eph. 3:14-19.

We suggest as our motto for 1906 the words upon the motto cards designed by Sister Seibert (advertised in our issue of Nov. 15 last), viz., "In Due Time."


"In Due Time."
--I TIM. 2:6--

"Be patient, therefore, brethren."


We hope that the motto cards representing these sentiments so fully will be in all of our homes to assist us in the development of the grace of Patience, without which other graces of the Spirit cannot be matured. We cannot pack and mail a single motto for less than 10c, but conclude to offer 5 in a tube, postpaid, for 25c, to the intent that all may have them. We can endure many things with patience if we can but keep in memory that "in due time" that which is perfect will have come, ushering us into the joys of our Lord, and establishing peace on earth and good will among men.



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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER

THE CRISIS NEARING


THE Federation of Religions, now fairly launched, we have been waiting for ever since we published our interpretation of Revelations, chapter 13, in 1881. We there showed that Protestantism would federate, that the Evangelical Alliance of 1842 was the start of it, and that it would be in full bloom when the Episcopal body should associate and lend the dignity of its claimed "Apostolic ordination."

This combination is made ostensibly as the outcome of greater love amongst the Lord's followers, but really is the rolling together of the one end of the symbolic "heavens" for self-defense and to make an impression on the worldly.

Really, this is a step toward political power. The masses are becoming too logical to be dealt with as formerly, and religion to be popular must assume a new role. The old-time preaching, "Ye must be born again" to "enter the Kingdom," backed up by the horrible dogma of the dark ages, that all not "born again" must go to a hell of eternal torment, can no longer be preached--the world will not accept it. The new gospel must be something which will appeal to the worldly wise as "practical religion," namely, good morals--in politics, in finance, in society, in the family. Everybody can understand and appreciate that much of religion, and everybody will support it, and the churches will thus pose not as representatives of Christ and the Bible's teachings as a whole, but merely representatives of Christian morals. The effect will be a growth of Christian-Phariseeism which will make clean the outside of the cup or platter, leaving the inside still unclean--unregenerate.

So popular will Federated Churchianity become that to even criticize it will be a "crime" worthy of crucifixion in some form--socially and financially, if not physically.

Politicians will quickly realize that their bread is buttered on that side, and be ready to enact legislation of any kind desired by the Federation. Mammon-worship will take on new forms temporarily, but power will soon debauch the unregenerate mass and drive out the regenerate faithful who may temporarily be misled by the great "Union" movement in the name of Christ, but without his Spirit or authority.

The Scriptures clearly show that anarchy will speedily swallow up everything--social, financial, political and religious --in the great "time of trouble" with which, as the Scriptures everywhere show, this age is to close and the Millennium of our Lord's reign of righteousness to be ushered in. Socialism, already growing, undoubtedly is the seed out of which anarchy will develop, though many Socialists are no doubt hoping to the contrary--misled by their failure to appreciate the power of selfishness, which will exhaust every means and battle to the death on both sides of the question --to get wealth and to hold it.

CHURCH UNION IN GREAT BRITAIN.


Ardor for Church union in Great Britain has cooled considerably of late over the law which practically turns over the public schools to the care of the Church of England-- the Episcopal Church. All other Protestant denominations there are known by the general term, "Nonconformists," because they refuse to conform to the services of the Church established by the law of the land. These now are bent on an attempt to secure the disestablishment of present Church and State union. The hope has been expressed that with all churches on an equal footing a general Church Federation of Protestants will follow.

Now, a new suggestion is offered by Canon Henson of Westminster Abbey, namely, that an easier and a more popular course would be for the Government to recognize all [R3697 : page 7] Christian denominations (with certain limitations, possibly) putting all on a parity with the Episcopal Church. His suggestion is that this would be a practical union, and he favors it as a possibility. He says in a lengthy article:--

"Clear the fiction of Apostolic Succession out of the way and Establishment will be no barrier to reunion. Leave that fiction paramount in the minds of the English clergy, and Disestablishment will only give freer play to the intolerance it inevitably generates. The deeper forces of our time are not moving in the direction of that severe individualism which would reduce the action and responsibility of the State to the lowest measures; rather we move toward a larger view of State action and State responsibility.

"The logical goal of modern tendencies is not toward Disestablishment, but toward a fuller and worthier Establishment. Why should not the nation draw into its service all the organized Christianity instead of limiting itself to a single denomination? I rejoice to observe a beginning made in this direction by recent legislation, which has recognized for certain civic purposes the status of Nonconformist clergymen, and I would venture to hope that the final solution of the problem of religious education in the State schools may be reached by an extension of the principle of establishment.

"If, even at the eleventh hour, more temperate counsels could prevail, and a resettlement of the educational difficulty [R3698 : page 7] could be arrived at by the combined efforts of the just and peace-loving men on both sides, it does not seem to me impossible that the cause of home reunion should receive a great impetus from this very educational conflict, which, for the moment, seems to put back by at least twenty-five years the hands of the clock which were slowly, very slowly, climbing toward union."


***

Can it be that thus the two-horned beast [Great Britain] may give "life," energy, the effect of Apostolic succession, to the Protestant "image of the [Roman] beast"? (Rev. 13:15.) A very few years will demonstrate; but this appears to us a very likely course of fulfilment.

RESULTS OF RUSSIA'S STRUGGLE.


Matters are in a sad condition in Russia, but probably not one-fifth as bad as the majority of people surmise. In times past rioting has occurred in many cities of the United States, the details of which were learned by fellow-citizens only through the same channels as by the remainder of the world--through the newspaper dispatches. Doubtless the same is true in Russia, except in the immediate vicinity of the troubles.

What is now occurring in Russia is awakening that stolid people marvellously. Even when order shall have again been fully restored the people will have gained such a knowledge of this power as will prepare them for the great climax which, according to prophecy, we believe will be reached by 1915.

"The Internationals," extremists of the Socialist class, are credited with the chief direction of the Russian revolution. They have shown great skill thus far and may be esteemed as getting a schooling with the most stupid of "Christendom," which will prepare them for the great struggle to occur at the close of "the times of the Gentiles."

RUSSIA'S THREE-SIDED MELEE


The telegraphic reports from Russia are confusing to many. One time we read of the Socialists and students rioting and in conflict with the troops; again we read of massacres of Jews, to which the Government employees seem to give assent and secret aid. These seemingly conflicting reports can only be understood when we remember that there are three parties more or less in conflict:

(1) The Socialists, mechanics, students, etc., who are moving for liberty--some for a constitution and a congress composed of the people's representatives, and some for out-and-out Socialism.

(2) The old government party, sometimes styled the Bureaucracy. Amongst these are many of wealth and culture, who believe that any concessions to the growing discontent will surely lead up to further discontent and eventually disrupt Russia. This party is charged with being responsible for having brought on the Japanese war. They are influential and close to the Czar.

(3) A third party is everyway conservative. It desires reform and peace under a midway government--neither autocratic nor liberal. Count Witte is at the head of this division.

The Czar is credited with sympathy for this third class of his subjects, but has been closely pressed by the influentials of the second party until recently, when, under fear of the first party, he formally put Witte in office and issued a decree, or ukase, granting a constitution and congress. Had he followed this course sooner matters would have gone more smoothly, for at one time party number three was of considerable size. Many have deserted it for party number one--some because they have imbibed the theories and spirit of Socialism and some because they doubt the Czar's honesty or ability in respect to his ukase.

Witte and his associates of the third party are obliged to operate largely through present office-holding governors and generals, whose sympathies lie with the second party--across Witte's path of governmental reform. It is these who have secretly sanctioned or aided the riots which have killed so many Jews--because the Jews are of the first party, namely, Socialist sympathizers and abettors.

LATEST REPORTS

As we write, the dispatches seem to imply that the Czar is in great perplexity, because the masses refuse to accept his ukase of freedom and are, by strikes and increasingly revolutionary methods, more than ever menacing the Social structure. He doubtless feels that he must do something and that quickly; and that his "olive-branch" ukase having been rejected he can do nothing now but fall back upon the second party and use force to crush the rebellious into submission or into death. Matters may not yet have reached this extreme, but if it has we doubt not there will be strenuous times in Russia before Socialists are reduced to submission.



[R3698 : page 8]

BEREAN BIBLE STUDY FOR JANUARY

--FOR EXPLANATION SEE PREFACE OF WATCH TOWER BIBLES AND WATCH TOWER, MARCH 1 1905--

PRAYER

1. What is prayer? "Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed." Z.'98-27 (1st col. par. 2); F.680, par. 2, (1st sentence).

2. What is the privilege and power of prayer? Z.'95-213 (1st col. par. 1); Z.'96-161 (1st col. par. 1).

3. What is the object of prayer? Z.'96-161 (1st col. par. 2); Z.'98-29 (1st col. par. 2); F.679, par. 1.

4. What is the necessity for prayer? Z.'96-161 (1st col. par. 3); Z.'99-184 (1st col. par. 2); Z.'00-268 (1st col. par. 1,--"Manna," July 24); Z.'05-297 (2nd col. par. 2).

5. What is the necessity for persistency in prayer? Z.'96-162 (2nd col. par. 3,4); Z.'01-270 (2nd col. par. 2); Z.'05-342 (2nd col.) and 343 (1st col. par. 1.)

6. To whom and through whom should we pray? Z.'98-28 (2nd col. par. 1); E.468, par. 2, (last sentence).

7. Before whom may we pray? In secret, Matt. 6:5-9. Before believers, Jno. 17; Jno. 11:41,42; Matt. 18:19. Before believers and unbelievers, Lu. 3:21; Jno. 12:27-29; Matt. 27:46. In the public assembly of the saints, Acts 12:12; 1:14; I Cor. 11:4,5; 14:13,14. Z.'98-27 (1st col. par. 5) to 28 (1st col. par. 2).

8. What should be our manner of approach to God in prayer? Z.'95-213 (1st col. par. 3, 4); Z.'98-27 (1st col. par. 3,4); Z.'04-118 (2nd col. par. 3).

9. What should be our position in prayer? Z.'99-184 (1st col. par. 1); Z.'05-297 (2nd col. par. 2).

10. What are the conditions of acceptable prayer to God? F.679, par. 2, to 681, par. 2; Z.'95-213 (2nd col. par. 1, --"Manna," June 10); Z.'05-343 (2nd col. par. 3,4) to 344 (1st col., par. 3.)

Study Continued



[R3698 : page 8]

REPORTS FROM SOME OF OUR FOREIGN BRANCHES

BRITISH BRANCH REPORT

--1905--
Total copies "Millennial Dawn" sold at cost...........25,640
  "   Booklets                  "       "  ........... 6,075
  "   "Dawns" in magazine form, "       "  ........... 2,022

                    *  *  *

Total Tracts, etc., sent out free..................1,129,000
These represented in tract pages..................27,112,790
***
Letters received...................................... 6,230
   "    sent out...................................... 7,742

          FINANCIAL--1905--STATEMENT
                                                    L. s. d.
Preaching, Pilgrim and Convention expenses........ 164 15 01
Cost of tracts, freight, postage, and all other
 office expenses.................................1,133 18 10
                                                 ----- -- --
                                                 1,298 13 11

             TRACT FUND DONATIONS

London..............................L. 88 12  0
The Provinces.......................  554  7  2
Special donations...................  400  0  0  1,042 19 02
                                      ---------  -----------
Deficit for 1905...............................  L.265 14 09
                                                 ===========
London, N.W., England, November 14, '05
Dear Brother Russell:--

The season of the year when the annual report and review of the work is made has again come round, and I have pleasure in giving you the working of the British Branch for the year ending October 31, 1905. As on previous occasions, we have had the privilege of reporting an advance in every branch of the work; though the pleasure in this is modified a little by the fact that the onward march is not quite as rapid as last year. I speak just now particularly of the sale of the "Dawns," in which, though we report an increase [R3699 : page 8] in circulation of nearly 2,000, we have not progressed as much as last year, when we advanced 4,000. Our total issue of "Dawns" and booklets is 33,741; truly a goodly total, and one for which we praise the Lord. It has happened this year that several of our colporteurs have had to relinquish the work for a time; some because of their own ill-health, and some for domestic reasons. We thank the Lord for the noble band of colporteurs, co-laborers in the harvest field. Their sacrifices, as well as their difficulties and trials are many, and we constantly remember them at the throne of grace, that they may be strengthened as they go from door to door or from place to place. We are often cheered and encouraged as we read their letters full of cheery optimism or of courage to pursue the work. We have yet much ground to be covered and we are still praying "the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the vineyard."

The Volunteer work, as you know, was started late in the season, and though of necessity we have not sent out as much ammunition as usual, of tracts in general we have circulated 1,129,000, a larger number than ever. The ammunition for this season is very fruitful of inquiries and we hope for much result from it. The demand is still strong.

The "Tower" list continues to grow all the time at one uniform rate. Yet, judging from the pleasure which the "Tower" gives when once it becomes a regular visitor, we imagine there are many who would be glad to have it did they know of it and of the generous provisions through which it may be obtained, even by those unable to pay for it.

The receipts of the Tract Fund are considerably in advance this year. I have already informed you of the chief reason for this. One of the Lord's dear children, wishing to free the British Branch from the burden of debt, gave liberally of that which the Lord had given. As is generally the case, there are not many with us who are able to give largely, but the many smaller items swell into a good total by the end of the year, and give cause for rejoicing as the Lord prospers his work.

With yourself I appreciate the cooperation of all the dear brethren, whether it be shown in the colporteur work, volunteer work, or by donation to the Tract Fund. Many who are unable to donate are able to distribute the literature, and all may be co-laborers with the Lord and with each other. The Pilgrim visits of Brothers McPhail and Edgar were very much enjoyed.

Of the general work I could say much. The interest is getting more widely spread over the United Kingdom; and Ireland, through the labors of the few brethren there, is getting her opportunity to hear the "glad tidings." The meetings of the brethren in the various towns and villages are, [R3699 : page 9] generally speaking, making progress. Naturally the work grows most and goes forward the quickest where the attention given to the interests of the Kingdom is not divided with any personal interests. We could mention the labor of many, and, were it convenient, would gladly do so as an encouragement to them and to others. Many are laboring for the Lord unknown to the brethren at large, often with little apparent result; yet we are assured that of all work done for him, "Your labor is not in vain in the Lord." As we are not without signs of the coming "Confederacy," and of the growing political and social power of Non-conformity, there is need that we busy ourselves with the work that has been placed before us. Ours is a better cause than that political religious combination which proposes to amend the world. We know that amendment cannot come until the Kingdom comes into power. We wait to heal the world's woes, but in the meantime we can be preparing to "cast up the highway, gather out the stones and lift up a standard for the people," and there is no better way of doing these desirable things than by putting the Truth into the hands of the people.

Praying the Lord's blessing upon all his dear children, and for you that you may have grace and strength in abundant measure.

I am, dear brother, yours as ever, in Him,
J. HEMERY.


GERMAN BRANCH REPORT

--1905--
Copies of "Millennial Dawn" sold at or below cost..... 2,979
  "    Booklets,             "     "     "    "  ..... 3,770
  "    Dawns in magazine form......................... 3,250

                    *  *  *

Letters received......................................  3181
   "    sent out......................................  3220

                    *  *  *

Free sample tracts and Towers, represented in tract
 pages............................................21,074,400

             FINANCIAL STATEMENT

Expended for Pilgrim service......................  1,108.90
The total amount expended for printing, postage,
 freight and all other expenses of the work....... 18,202.28
                                                   ---------
                                                   19,311.18
Tract fund donations..............................  3,125.57
                                                   ---------
Deficit for 1905............................*Marks 16,185.61

*The statement of this in dollars would be about one-fourth the amount in marks, a mark being equivalent to 24 cents of U.S. money.

Elberfeld, Germany, Nov. 11, '05 Dear Brother Russell:--

I now have the pleasure of sending you a statement of the work of the German branch during the year just ended.

We might have reason to wish for a more rapid spread of the Truth on the continent of Europe, especially in the Protestant countries of Germany, Holland and Switzerland, but we are assured "the Lord knoweth them that are his" and who are hungering for a clearer insight into his plans and purposes, and that he will "seek and find" his own sheep. We have various evidences of how the Lord is doing that very thing and rejoice therein.

As the accounts show more particularly, we have been enabled to circulate 21 million tract pages of free literature and ten thousand "Dawns" and booklets. We may hope that some of the seed will ultimately show some fruitage in the gathering of the Lord's people to the Lord and his feast of fat things from his Word. We are constantly securing addresses of earnest Christians, many of whom may be of the class who do not really bow their knees to Baal.

Our Pilgrim service this year has not been very extended. The Colporteur service has thus far proved itself impracticable for Germany, or it may be we lack capable and experienced colporteurs. It seems to be a fact, though, that poor circumstances of a large proportion of the people, the spread of infidelity and socialism, together with the large percentage of Roman Catholics in this country, the ever-increasing prices of food and taxes, and perplexities innumerable of the small merchant, etc., and the fight with carnal weapons of Protestants against the encroachments of Catholicism on the one hand and the loss of faith in the virtue and supremacy of Protestantism over Catholicism on the other hand, as manifested in the Rome-ward leanings of the Kaiser himself--that all these things are creating and have created a general contempt for religion of every kind.

May the Lord grant us wisdom to let the light of the Truth shine as the only guide to a place of refuge from the storm and tempest for all who are truly his, as the poet has said:--

"When the storms of life are raging,
Tempests wild on sea and land,
I will seek a place of refuge
In the shadow of his hand."

With much love from us all, in loving sympathy for all the Lord's people in every land, in every clime, and commending ourselves to their and your prayers for our heavenly Father's and our dear Master's leading, I am,

Faithfully yours in Christ and his blessed service,
O. A. KOETITZ.

P.S.--The mutiny of the Russian soldiers is evidently driving the Kaiser to desperation. He fears the bad example. The Socialists claim the sympathies of the great majority of the soldiers, officers and men, whether in the standing army or in the reserves. To the Socialists their regime or a republic seems within sight, and it must seem folly to them to hear the Kaiser talk of the soldiers as belonging to him personally, to whom they are compelled to give the oath of allegiance.

As true soldiers of the cross we may even get some inspiration from the words of the Kaiser to his soldiers respecting soldierly qualities. I translate as follows:--

THE KAISER'S SPEECH TO RECRUITS

"Recruits! Since you have now rendered me the oath of allegiance you no longer belong to yourselves alone. Through it you have been received into the great family, whose calling it is to protect the Fatherland when it is in danger. By this oath which you have rendered in view of these glorious field-emblems you have become mine! You have thereby taken upon yourselves [under stress] a great responsibility toward the highest lord [of the empire]. I expect that you will be conscious of this. I greet you as my soldiers! Wherever it may be, remember what a privilege it is that you may belong to my corps of Guards, with its great and glorious memories from the times of your fathers. Many are jealous of you for this privilege, and you may well be proud of it; therefore always remember your oath. Remain true to it, even as your comrades who, in a far country, far from home, have now for twelve months been subject to all kinds of deprivations, doing their duty and fighting a hard battle for the Fatherland and for German culture. This is the special trait of the German soldier, that he willingly follows the call of his king, without murmuring and hesitation, all in faith and confidence in his king, and in confidence in his God, who will not forsake the upright. Therefore [R3700 : page 10] continue steadfast in prayer, for the calling upon God gives strength, even in the most difficult hour when one is inclined to give up, not to despair but to look forward with courage. Thus do your duty in obedience and you will not fail to receive acknowledgment from your superiors. Practise self-control and never grow weary of today's promise. May this day be to you all a constant source of soberness and a stimulation to zeal, for your entire life, especially since his majesty the King of Spain has so highly honored and distinguished the Guard corps by his presence. To his majesty the king of Spain, Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!"

"Berlin, Nov. 13.--According to the 'Local News,' the Kaiser yesterday, after receiving the oath of allegiance from new recruits in Potsdam, addressed them as follows: 'You see here an altar, upon it a cross, the emblem of all Christians. As such you today gave the oath in support of the flag. I wish and hope that you will always remember this oath. Just now a memorable event comes to my mind. When Emperor Leopold of Austria delivered the supreme command of the army to Prince Eugene, handing him the marshal's staff, Prince Eugene grasped a crucifix and held it high with the words: "This shall be our supreme general." Such an attitude I expect of you. I want pious, brave soldiers in my army and no mockers. You have the privilege of service in the Guards of Potsdam, where you will be constantly reminded of the great soldier-king who not far from here has his last resting place, and of the most glorious history of Prussia. Show yourselves worthy of this special distinction by special cultivation of the soldierly virtues and set a good example to the others in godly fear, faithfulness and obedience."


OUR PATHWAY.
Our lonely hours
In meditation sweet,
Our nothingness to own
In his grace complete.

The narrow way,
Our path, from day to day:--
Gently he leads,
Tho rugged be the way.

He went before,
And Sorrow's cup did drink:--
His father's will
His ministry fulfil.

A Priest is he,
In mercy he doth feel:--
The weak and lonely,
By grace he'll ever shield.
--John LaDow



[R3700 : page 10]

THE GLORIOUS PROCLAMATION.
--LUKE 2:1-20.--JANUARY 7.--

Golden Text:--"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord."

THE message of the angels to the shepherds on Bethlehem's plains sounds more and more precious to each child of God in proportion as he grows in grace and knowledge. As his eyes and ears of understanding open more widely to the lengths and breadths of God's great plan of the ages, that prophetic message is the more highly esteemed as an epitome of the entire Gospel. Nor can our attention be too frequently called to the great event which lies at the foundation of that message--our Savior's birth.

It matters not that December 25th is not the real anniversary of the Savior's birth, but probably the anniversary of the annunciation by the angel Gabriel, the anniversary of the Virgin Mary's conception, our Lord being born nine months later on the calendar, or about October 1. One so great, whose birth, death and resurrection from the dead means so much to the human family, may be remembered and celebrated any day, every day, by all who appreciate what he has done for our race. Since, then, the majority of Christian people have become habituated to the celebration of December 25th as our Lord's birthday, we need make no protest, but join with all in celebrating that day with rejoicing of heart, giving gifts and remembrances one to another, thus copying divine favor, which gave to mankind the Son of God as a gift of mercy and love for our redemption.

For four thousand years and more the promises of God, clothed in more or less of obscurity, had been given to mankind, intimating that ultimately the great curse of sin and death which had come upon the world through father Adam's disobedience in Eden would be rolled away, and instead of a curse, a blight, would come a blessing of the Lord with life-giving refreshment. In various types, figures and shadowy promises this lesson had come down through the ages to the time of our Lord's birth, especially amongst the Jews, who were the divinely favored and covenanted people. And since the Jews were of a commercial spirit, many of them were to be found in all parts of the civilized world; and thus amongst every people the faith in the one God and the hope of Israel through a Messiah were more or less made known, so that at the time of our Lord's birth we read, "All men were in expectation" of a soon-coming Messiah. Doubtless this expectation was built upon the interpretation of Daniel's prophecy, which we now see clearly marked the year of our Lord's majority, when he was thirty years of age and made his consecration to his work and received the begetting of the holy Spirit, his anointing as the great antitypical High Priest and as the great antitypical King over Israel and the world.

FROM BETHLEHEM TO NAZARETH

In olden times there were honorable cities and mean cities. Nazareth was generally recognized as one of the latter, while Bethlehem was distinctly one of the former--the City of David, Israel's beloved king. The Scriptures explain to us that Mary, our Lord's mother, and Joseph, her husband, were both of the lineage of David, and that in a seemingly accidental manner the prophecy was fulfilled which foretold that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.--Micah 5:2.

The Roman empire at that time bore rule over the whole world, the Jews being subject to it, but waiting expectantly, restlessly, for the coming Messiah, who would deliver them from being subject people and make of them the ruling caste in his Kingdom, the dominion of the world. Rome's great emperor, Caesar Augustus, was in power at this time, and had sent forth his decree for a polling or census of the whole world for purposes of taxation, etc. Luke informs us that it was in response to this royal decree that Joseph and Mary [R3700 : page 11] went up to their native city to be enrolled, and that thus it was that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and on account of the great concourse of people at the same time and for the same purpose, accommodations being scarce, the stable of the inn, or khan, was used by some as a lodging. Joseph and Mary, being of the late comers, were forced to occupy these humble quarters, and thus it was that the King of glory, whose Kingdom is by and by to rule the world, was in the time of his flesh born in a stable and cradled in a manger.

THE ANGELS AND THE SHEPHERDS

Noble shepherds those must have been to whom the Almighty sent the angelic message respecting the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, which has rung down the ages and reached our ears--the message which thrills us the more in proportion as we are able to grasp its meaning. First a single angel appeared to the shepherds and allayed their fears, saying, "Fear not; behold I bring you good tidings." It would appear that fear is one of the dominating impulses of the human mind, especially in conjunction with any revelations from the Lord. Men realize--even the best of the race-- that they are imperfect and that the Almighty and his laws are perfect. Instinctively the world seems to realize that a curse or condemnation of the Almighty rests upon it, and instinctively it fears a further curse and further condemnation, realizing its continual and increasing sinfulness. The same is true today with all except the comparatively few who are well informed respecting the divine character and plan. Thus the subject of religion is generally obnoxious to the world in general--a subject which they prefer to avoid, because of a feeling of guilt and a dread of further knowledge and condemnation.

It is for the true children of God today, as it was for the angels at that time, to assure the world that God is better than all their fears--that God so loved the world as to redeem [R3701 : page 11] them from the just sentence of death, the curse that came upon all as inheritors of Adam's imperfection and sentence.

"Good tidings" is another translation of our word "gospel." How beautiful the thought that the gospel is really and truly good tidings. Alas, for the misrepresentations of God's plan, under which so many of his professed people misrepresent his character and his Word, and apply the term "gospel" to their various messages from the dark ages, teaching purgatory and eternal torment as the portion of the race. Let us get away from this false thought and get the truth that the gospel is good tidings. The angel elaborated, saying that his message was good tidings of great joy, which should be unto all people. Ah, thank God, his plan is wider and deeper and higher and grander than anything we had ever conceived. The gospel message is not merely to be good tidings to the comparatively few that now have ears to hear and eyes to see its beauties, but in God's due time it is to be good tidings of great joy to all people.

As every member of Adam's race shared in his fall and in the curse of death which came upon him as a result, so every member of the race was included in the great redemptive sacrifice which our Lord Jesus offered and which was finished at Calvary. God's plan in Christ, as it is being worked out and shall ultimately be accomplished, will mean great joy for all people, and the tidings of this were given at the very moment of our Lord's birth, because he was the one through whom all the glorious things of the divine purpose and plan shall ultimately be accomplished.

THE CAUSE, THE LOGIC, OF THE MESSAGE

The message took cognizance of the fact that it was to reasonable people, who would want to know why the unchangeable God, who had once pronounced a curse, should at any time so amend and alter matters as to supplant the curse with a blessing. The messenger states the philosophy of the divine plan, "Unto you is born this day a Savior, which is Christ [Messiah] the Lord." There we have the key to the entire Gospel statement of how God could be just and yet be the justifier of sinners who accept Jesus. The word "Savior" here signifies life-giver, and how beautiful is the thought that as death is the wage of sin, the curse upon the race, this Messiah who was born is to be the one who will rescue the race from the sentence by giving them life again. The explanation of how he would give life was not given, nor was it necessary at that time; but now, in the light of developments, and with the explanations furnished through the Spirit in the New Testament, we see how that our Lord's voluntary sacrifice of his life, dying the just for the unjust, settled the claims of divine justice against Adam and thus incidentally against all who shared his sentence.

Truly the more we see of the divine plan for our salvation, which began to take shape in the birth of Jesus, the more we feel like shouting with the angelic choir praises to the God of heaven, thankfulness for his mercy to the children of men. It mattered not that the babe born in Bethlehem was the Savior only in prospect, that he could not even be anointed to do his work until he reached manhood's estate thirty years later; it mattered not that even then it would be necessary for him to lay down his life gradually through three and a half years of his earthly ministry, to be finished at Calvary; it mattered not either that the resurrection was still three days after that, and his ascension forty days later, [R3701 : page 12] and that the blessing in general would be deferred for nearly nineteen centuries thereafter. As the angels could sing and rejoice at the first budding of the divine plan of salvation, so also can all who have faith in the ultimate outcome rejoice with joy unspeakable and give praise to God in the highest and to his Son our Lord.

"SAVED BY HOPE"

Although nearly nineteen centuries have rolled away since that angelic message was delivered, it has not yet been fulfilled except in a limited measure by faith to those who have the eye of faith and the ears of faith, in all a "little flock." But the tidings of great misery for nearly all people has been spread abroad in the name of Christ, much to the discredit of the divine plan and to the dishonor of the divine character. Instead of carrying joy the message has very generally carried grief and sorrow, especially to the kind hearted and more generously disposed. Indeed we may say that no message of the Lord Jesus, either true or false, has ever reached all people. Even today, after nineteen centuries of propaganda, only a comparatively small portion of the human family have ever heard of the only name given under heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved --"nor is there salvation in any other."--Acts 4:12.

What, then, shall we say of the salvation which is come to those who have truly accepted Christ as their Savior, and who are today rejoicing in him as such, and who by faith are seeing the salvation of God begun in their own hearts and yet to be fully accomplished under the whole heavens? This the Apostle calls the salvation by hope. His words are, "We are saved by hope." (Romans 8:24.) We are not saved actually; we are still surrounded by sin, pain, sighing, crying and dying; the curse is not yet rolled away. All that the best of the Lord's people have received is salvation by hope, by faith. Yet this anticipation of the future salvation, of the resurrection from the dead, of a participation in the glory, honor and immortality of the divine nature promised to the faithful, is so strong, so clear, that those who possess it are enabled to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, even in the midst of trials and difficulties and weaknesses and unfavorable conditions incident to the curse which still rests upon the race.

A PROPHECY OF GOOD THINGS

Yes, the angelic message was a prophecy of good things to be accomplished for the Church and the world during the Millennial age. The Church is to have the first blessing. The first resurrection is to be composed only of the blessed and holy who shall live and reign with Christ during the Millennium, the thousand years in which Satan shall be bound, and when the good influences of truth and righteousness shall enlighten the whole earth. The declaration of the Scriptures is that the deliverance of the Church will come early in the morning of that Millennial day, as the prophet declares, "God will help her early in the morning." --Psalm 46:5.

But much as we rejoice in the glorious hopes of the Gospel set before us who now see, who now believe, who now rejoice with joy unspeakable, we are glad that the divine mercy and love are of such lengths and breadths and heights and depths as to encompass the whole world of mankind, and to provide a blessing for every member of Adam's race through him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.

It will be during the Millennial age that this prophecy of the angel will have its fulfilment, and the great Savior who has already redeemed us by his sacrifice will stand forth as the King, the glorified Messiah, and establish his dominion of righteousness in the world for the blessing and uplifting of every member of the race. In harmony with the words of the Apostle, those will be times of refreshing, "times of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:19-21.) If the Lord had based the hope of the world upon some works of merit or righteousness of the world's doing, then indeed we might have feared--indeed the more we know of the world the less hope we would have. But, on the contrary, the Lord has based the entire proposition for the future blessing, not upon our worthiness, but upon the worthiness and sacrifice of his Son--To you is born a Life-giver, which is Messiah the Lord.

How it adds to our enjoyment of the coming age blessings to know that the trials and difficulties of this present Gospel age are subject to the divine supervision in the interest of the little flock that is now being gathered in advance from amongst men--the "elect," the Church. We see how the present trials and difficulties are the chiselings and polishings necessary to our development in the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit in the character-likeness of God's dear Son, our Lord, our Hope, our Bridegroom. How joyful the thought that soon the elect number called from the world to be the Bride, the Lamb's wife, will be completed and enter into her glory. How precious the thought that then they shall be privileged with their Lord and Master to extend the divine favor of blessing and uplift to the world. What higher honor or privilege or blessing could possibly come to any?

THE ANGELS' SONG

It was after the giving of the message of good tidings and great joy by the heavenly one that a host of angels appeared to the shepherds, saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men." This, too, is a prophecy. It is not yet true, but will be fulfilled in every [R3701 : page 13] particular in God's due time, which we believe is now nigh, even at the door. Not yet does God receive glory in the highest, not yet is there peace amongst men. Quite to the contrary. God's name is blasphemed, not only by those who vulgarly and in ribald jest take the divine name in vain, and not merely by the heathen who worship devils and think they are gods, but even by Christian people God's name is blasphemed every day. For be it known that blasphemy is any dishonorable misrepresentation of another. God be merciful to us, for at some time or other every one of us doubtless has blasphemed the holy name in this manner--by misrepresenting the divine character and divine plan, by picturing the God of love and mercy and justice and truth as the originator, the planner, the perpetuator of the eternal torment of the great mass of his creatures, born in sin and shapen in iniquity, born to sin as the sparks to fly upward.

But the Lord had mercy upon us because we did it ignorantly. And we also should have compassion upon others who still ignorantly misrepresent our God, and our energies [R3702 : page 13] should be continually bent to their assistance, that the eyes of their understanding might open more widely to perceive the lengths and breadths and heights and depths and know the love of God which passeth understanding.

Noting that peace on earth and good will to men have not followed the Savior's birth thus far, and discerning that this is a prophecy of what is to be accomplished during the Millennium, many have been inclined to change the translation of this verse so as to have it read, "On earth peace amongst men, in whom he is well pleased." However, by thus changing it the statement would not be true, for even the Lord's people have no peace on earth. Whatever peace they have is in their hearts, and based upon their faith in the Lord and in the glorious things which he has promised. Our Lord himself and the apostles testified to this, assuring us that whosoever in this present time would live godly should suffer persecution, that a man's foes would be they of his own household, etc. (2 Tim. 3:12; Matt. 10:26.) Let us not confuse ourselves nor abridge the testimony of the Word, but with the eye of faith look forward to the day of Christ in which all these glorious things shall have their fulfilment, in which peace shall indeed fill the whole earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, bringing divine favor and rolling away the curse from the entire groaning creation, as pointed out by the Apostle.--Rom. 8:22.

Not even with the inauguration of the Millennium will this prophecy be fulfilled: not until its close, when the human family shall have been lifted by the Kingdom regulations out of sin, sickness, pain, sorrow and death, up, up to all that was lost in Adam--not until then will there indeed be glory to God in the highest, not until then will there be peace amongst men. Nor are we to understand that the entire race will be appreciative of the divine love and favor even after they have fully seen the righteousness of God in Christ manifested. On the contrary, the Scriptures seem to clearly teach that there will be a class who will then prove unfit for life eternal, unappreciative of the divine favor, and it is with pleasure that we learn that all such shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people in the Second Death. Thus eventually, by the close of the Millennium, Satan and all wilful wrongdoers having been destroyed, the time will come as declared in the Scriptures when all voices in heaven and in earth and under the earth shall be heard praising God, him that sitteth upon the throne, and the Lamb forever and ever. Hosanna! Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good will to men! will be the final shout of a redeemed race when the great plan of salvation shall have been fully outworked according to the divine plan set forth in the Scriptures.

FROM GLORY TO A MANGER.

The time of our Lord's birth is quite clearly fixed. We have gone into the subject in detail in "Dawn" Vol. II., and will not here repeat. The notable census made by order of Caesar Augustus included the civilized world of that day, and according to Jewish custom each family and tribe were enrolled therein. Both Joseph and Mary, being of the Davidic line, went to the city of David--Bethlehem. The city is a small one on a hillside. Nearly all of it appears to good advantage in the cut on preceding page.

The inns or hotels of that land are very different from ours: they are neither hotels nor drinking saloons, but entered from a court-yard, as in the cut. Various large unfurnished rooms are at the service of the traveller, who carries with him his wraps, in which he sleeps, and his food and utensils for such light housekeeping as he may choose to do. Stalls for horses, camels, etc., are provided on the ground floor, and in the event of a crowd, as on such a census occasion, it is no uncommon thing for people, finding the upper large rooms all crowded full, to make themselves nearly as comfortable in the stabling department. Thus it came that the Lord was ushered into the world, which as the Logos he had made (John 1:2), in a most humble manner.

It was there that the shepherds found the babe, as predicted by the angels, and went forth proclaiming the fact; but Mary made no boasts but waited for God's due time.



[R3702 : page 14]

GIFTS TO OUR KING.
--MATTHEW 2:1-12.--JANUARY 14.--

Golden Text:--"My son, give me thine heart."--Prov. 23:26.

OUR lesson is concerning the wise men of the East, who came seeking the new-born Jesus, the King of the Jews, with presents of myrrh, frankincense and gold, and doubtless we shall be able to gather from this incident some valuable suggestions respecting our obligations to the great Messiah, and the propriety of renewing these and increasing them now at the beginning of another year.

The wise men--according to tradition, three in number --arrived in Jerusalem and began making inquiries respecting the newly-born Jewish King. The news soon spread, and the holy city was in commotion because, according to the prophets, Messiah, promised for centuries, was due to appear about that time; and we read again, "All men were in expectation of him." This expectancy naturally would be heightened by the coming of the wise men or magi from a far country--supposedly Persia--to show homage to Messiah. The news spread, and finally reached the royal palace and King Herod himself. The latter, doubtless on his own account, felt a kind of jealousy toward any being who would be likely to share in any measure the royal honors and dignities and thus to detract from his own importance. But additionally, no doubt, he felt that as the representative of Caesar's government, the protege of the Roman Empire, it was his duty to see to it that no king should arise in the land under his jurisdiction, whose title or claims would in any measure conflict with those of the Caesars.

THE BRIGHT MORNING STAR

Herod, therefore, sent for the wise men. Feigning a deep interest in their quest, he made a critical inquiry of them how they knew about Messiah in their far-off country, how they knew where to look for the babe. They replied that they had seen his star in the east. The eastern magi were astrologers, and affected to read in the stars the history [R3703 : page 14] of nations and individuals--they were astrologers rather than astronomers. To what extent the Lord may have written the history of nations and of men in the arrangement of the stars, we will not attempt to decide, but assuredly for the world in general the starry heavens have been the great book of God, as the Psalmist explains, "Night unto night showeth knowledge." With the written Word of God in our possession now we neither have need of traditions of men nor of old wives' fables nor of astrologers' guides, because "we have the more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts."--2 Pet. 1:19.

Without attempting to determine how much or how little truth attaches to astrology, we have the assurance that there was a truth connected with the manifestation of a special, peculiar star which guided the wise men of the east to know of Messiah's birth and to know to which country he belonged, so that they came to the capital city of that country. Moreover the Lord may have given them some additional explanation of the matter, even as he subsequently warned them in a dream. Herod cunningly affected to be deeply interested in the wise men in their search for Messiah. He called the wise men of Judea to assist. These were not astrologers, but men learned in the Law and in the prophets --chief priests and scribes. Thus he put the wise men of Israel into conjunction with the wise men of the east, inquiring where the prophets had foretold that the Messiah should be born. They promptly answered, "Bethlehem of Judea," and for that city, only six miles distant, the eastern magi set out, with the promise that they would return again and identify to him particularly the babe king and where he might be found, ostensibly that the king might also go to worship at his feet, but really that he might improve the opportunity and use such knowledge for the destruction of the babe Jesus.

En route for Bethlehem the miraculous star which they had seen in the far east appeared to them again, apparently as a ball of light or of fire travelling near the earth, and serving as a guide until they had rejoicingly reached the very house and found the babe and his mother. Professor Charles A. Young, LL.D., of Princeton University, asserts that it is not a rare occurrence for stars to suddenly blaze up in the heavens and for a time to be the brightest, and then suddenly fade in a year or two; and that such a star was observed in 1901. Our thought, however, is that the latter was merely the appearance of a star, a bright electrical luminous spot.

WISE MEN OF THE EAST

"We are informed by Tacitus, by Suetonius and by Josephus that there prevailed throughout the entire east, at this time, an intense conviction, derived from ancient prophecies, that ere long a powerful monarch would arise in Judea and gain dominion over the world."--Farrar.

"Virgil, who lived a little before this, says that a child from heaven was looked for, who should restore the Golden Age and take away sin."--Jacobus.

"Confucius had prophesied the appearance of such a deliverer; and a deputation of his followers going forth in search of him were the means of introducing Buddhism into China."--Abbott.

"But the clearest of all these prophecies was one by Zoroaster. The Nestorians say that Zoroaster was a disciple of Jeremiah, from whom he learned about the Messiah and talked concerning him to his disciples."--Persian Missionary.

In this connection we should remember that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were at this time princes of Persia and intimate with the wise men of that country, which was at that time the principal nation of the world. It is easy to see how traditions would be handed down through that channel, and especially may we suppose that Daniel's prophecy respecting the time of Messiah's birth would be well known to the disciples of Zoroaster, Persia's wise men. Furthermore, there were Jews scattered abroad throughout that country who still more or less kept alive the thought of Israel's hope for the great Messiah so long promised of God, prophesied of as the bringer of blessings not only to Israel but through them to all the families of the earth. [R3703 : page 15]

MYRRH, FRANKINCENSE AND GOLD

God chose as messengers of his good tidings not only wise men but reverential men, men of faith; and his choice of these messengers from the east to arouse the people of Judea and Jerusalem and to be heralds of the great King was not an exception to the rule. Although heathen men, in the sense of not being of the nation with which God had thus far dealt and to whom he had thus far confined his gracious promises, they were, nevertheless, good men, reverential men, who delighted to know of the coming blessing of peace on earth and good will amongst men through whatever channel or nationality the Lord should be pleased to find his representative and messenger.

In one respect many of Christendom could learn numerous important lessons from these wise Gentiles. No false patriotism stood in their way to hinder their appreciation of any manifestation of divine favor to the children of men. And when they found the Savior they were nothing daunted by the fact that his home surroundings were of the humbler sort. They worshiped him in three senses of the word: (1) They fell before him, prostrated themselves, thus physically expressing their reverence. (2) They worshiped him in their hearts and with the tongue gave expression to their rejoicing and confidence. (3) They opened their treasure-box and presented to him three gifts appropriate to royalty: the myrrh representing submission, frankincense representing praise, gold representing obedience.

"PRESENT YOUR BODIES LIVING SACRIFICES, HOLY, ACCEPTABLE UNTO GOD, YOUR REASONABLE SERVICE."

The reverent spirit of these noble heathen men who had so little light, so little knowledge respecting the great Messiah and his work, will bring to our cheeks the blush of shame as we reflect that, favored with still brighter light to guide us to the Lamb of God, having seen his star in a still better and truer sense, having been guided to him by the prophecies, having found him not only a babe, but one that in prospect would bear our sorrows and carry our griefs and make his soul an offering for sin, that we by his stripes might be healed, what manner of oblation should we pour at the feet of him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood? With what deep reverence have we bowed the knee, prostrated ourselves, given outward evidence through our bodies of full submission to our great King, of whom we not only know but of whose gracious provisions for us and for the world of mankind we have heard, not uncertainly, but with the voice of him who speaketh from heaven? Have we offered our myrrh? Have we shown a willingness for service even to the extent of bitterness, a joy to honor the King to the extent of suffering with him? Have we worshiped him in heart, not with an outward form of godliness without the power--in other words, have we offered him the frankincense of heart adoration, appreciation, and gratitude?

Have we laid at his feet our earthly substance--our gold? Have we realized that all that we have and all that we are are offerings far too small to be worthy of acceptance by the great King Immanuel? Is this our present attitude? and will it be our attitude through coming days even until the end of the present pilgrimage?

The Apostle's words, "Present your bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God, your reasonable service," apply not only to the primary consecration of our hearts to the Lord, but are, as the Scriptures express it, a covenant of sacrifice, an agreement to die daily to self and to be alive daily more and more in the Lord's service, to glorify him in our bodies and spirits which are his. If this has not been our attitude in the past shall it not be our future course? Shall we not in any event continue to grow in knowledge, to grow in love, in service, in worship and in the privilege of laying our little all at the feet of him who is our gracious heavenly King, whose Kingdom is so soon to be established and who has invited us to sit with him in his throne, to share his glory, to be participants as spiritual Israel in the great work of pouring out blessings upon the world of mankind, every kindred, people, nation and tongue?

"MY SON, GIVE ME THINE HEART"

Our Golden Text is well worthy of our remembrance here. It is not applicable to sinners, who are not sons in any sense of the word. There is a message to sinners, namely, a call to repentance, to the forsaking of sin and to the acceptance of the justification secured by the precious blood. But it is only to those who have repented of sin and who are seeking to live a repentant life and so far as possible to make restitution for wrongs of the past, and who are trusting to the precious blood of Christ--reconciled to God through the death of his Son--it is to these that this Golden Text is applicable, "My son, give me thine heart."

When we give our hearts it includes all that we have and are in the highest and noblest and fullest sense--that which was illustrated by the three gifts of the wise men is all represented in this brief statement, "Give me thine heart." Whoever gives his heart to the Lord fully and unreservedly, gives his body, gives his worship and reverence and praise, and gives his earthly treasure, time, talents, influence, money--all--to be used in joyful service for the glory of the King. [R3704 : page 15]

To those who have never taken this step we urge a prompt acceptance, irrespective of the gracious hopes we have of a transcendent reward of glory, honor, immortality. As the Apostle declares, it is our reasonable service. Reasonable people ought to be glad of the knowledge that God is willing to accept our service, and of the opportunity to present themselves under the covering of the merit of the dear Redeemer's robe of righteousness.

To those who have already accepted the Lord's favor, who have already presented their bodies living sacrifices, who have already given the Lord their hearts, we urge a remembrance of the fact that the sacrifice once put upon the altar must remain there, and that the longer it remains the more joyful should be the service, the more appreciated every opportunity for sacrifice, the more thankful should be the heart and the more rich should be the experience in the peace of God which passeth all understanding, ruling in our hearts and preparing us more and more through the graces of the Spirit for the glorious things which God hath in reservation for them that so love him and so reverence his Son.



page 17
January 1st

ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

SEMI-MONTHLY.
VOL. XXVII.JANUARY 15, 1906No. 2


CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower19
Three Churches Unite in Canada19
For Great Church Union19
The Passover Memorial, April 8, 190620
The Satisfaction of Justice22
"It Behooved Christ to Suffer"22
Reconciliation Through His Death23
Three Views of the Sacrifice24
"Our Sufficiency is of Christ"25
The Mediatorial Work26
Time in the Satisfaction of Justice27
"Holy, Harmless, Perfect"28
Preparation for the Kingdom30

I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me. Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. -- Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 18

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

THIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
 
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.




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CLUBBING WITH THE "DISPATCH."


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OUR CROWDED MAILS


Our mails are very heavy--some days as many as 350 letters. During the holidays we did our very best to fill the orders contained in these, accurately and promptly, but it taxed our capacity everyway. If errors occurred we will cheerfully do our best to rectify them if reported. Our Bible House helpers are perfect in intention, but not actually perfect. Each does his best to serve your interests, gladly--as unto the Lord.

We have been unable to reply as we would have liked to all of your kind letters, telegrams and cards. Please accept our greetings of last issue in lieu of personal letters. You will be glad to know that all the indications for the new year 1906 are favorable. Never before have we experienced so general widespread zeal for the cause and its service as now.



[R3704 : page 19]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

THREE CHURCHES UNITE IN CANADA


PRESBYTERIANS, CONGREGATIONALISTS AND METHODISTS AGREE

Toronto, Ont.--The central committee, composed of representatives from the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches throughout the Dominion, have agreed upon a code of doctrines that will unify the three denominations into one great Church, which, it is proposed, should be known as the "United Church of Canada." The revised confession of faith of the American Presbyterian Church will be used. The new Church is to be governed by the "General Conference," after the Methodist form, with a president as the chief officer. Below is to be a council, after the Congregational idea, with a chairman at the head. The next body is to be a "Presbytery," governed by a moderator. The plan will be submitted to the several denominations throughout Canada for approval, which it is expected to receive.

FOR GREAT CHURCH UNION


Concord, N.H.--A number of the Episcopal clergymen of the diocese of New Hampshire have made preliminary arrangements for the formation of an association which will have for its ultimate object the union of the Anglican Church with the Orthodox Church of Russia and other ancient churches of the East. The organization is the outgrowth of the thanksgiving service at Christ Church, Portsmouth, which followed the signing of the treaty of peace between Russia and Japan, and at which priests of the Episcopal and Russian churches officiated. The new organization will follow the lines of the "Eastern Church Association" of the Church of England and will have branches in all dioceses of the Episcopal Church in this country, if the plans of the promoters are successful. It is said that within a half dozen years the relations between the Russian and Episcopal churches have been growing closer, but until the thanksgiving evensong held at Portsmouth, there had been no general participation in one service by both Russian and Episcopal priests.


***

Items such as the above quoted in these columns are not thereby endorsed. We print them as news--as showing the fulfilment of prophecy. We could more nearly endorse the following article from the "New York Tribune":

THE INTER-CHURCH CONFERENCE

Cooperation on a far-reaching scale seems to have been the main object of the recent Inter-Church Conference on the Federation of American Churches, held in New York city, and the eminent men and delegates of the conference, with hardly a single exception, predicted, as the result of Christian unity and denominational fellowship the ushering in upon the world of a reign of universal peace and righteousness, in fact, the setting up of the Kingdom of God.

The writer notes that this most excellent state of affairs is to be brought about by potent forces and activities introduced in the realm of civil law, and using "the gateway of politics." No doubt those who are so enthusiastic for a vital unity agreeable to all sects, for a confederated power that shall reach to and be felt "in all Christendom," are well meaning; still, it must seem to some like only an iridescent dream; an attempt to reorganize society and introduce a "new order of things" by and through the aid of the civic power, instead of the apostolic process of the "new birth" and the operation of those powers which belong exclusively to the spiritual.

One is led to inquire whether the proposed federation of all the churches into a substantial organization that shall make itself felt in the religious, the social and the business worlds is not, after all, a Church "trust." And if a Church "trust" will not its methods be something after the order of the methods of the great trusts and combines of the financial world? Will it not find a way to do away with competitors or those who do not believe in its principles and refuse to cooperate in its purposes?

Surely it would be but a step to find the heretics, and likewise find a way to punish them. And whoever ponders the history of the fourth century and studies the acts and words of the great religious councils of those early days must see in the recent congress of religionists in New York an exact parallel; and the significance of a movement that will lead, as was clearly indicated by several of the speakers, to a world religion, must not be under-estimated.

Back there, there was a cooperation and a federation on a magnificent scale. And the sure result was the ushering in of the scenes of the Dark Ages. It was a minority that lighted up the splendid gardens of Nero for the chariot races, their bodies soaked in petroleum, providing fuel for the lurid flames: it was a minority that underwent the tortures of the thumb-screw, the rack and the fagot, that endured the Spanish Inquisition and the exquisite punishments of a praying Torquemada rather than yield "the faith." It was the majority, the cooperative majority, that defined the civil and religious duties of man and provided punishments to fit the crime. [R3704 : page 20]

Shall history repeat itself? We hope not. But let this federation or combination of all churches pursue its course to the last analysis, and we tremble for the results. Let ministers of the gospel strive for forgiveness of sin and regeneration, and legislators attend strictly to the business of providing punishment for crime. And let a wide distinction ever be made between sin and crime. There will then be little likelihood of religious persecutions.

In the name of liberty to worship God "according to the dictates of one's own conscience," I want to enter a public protest against a federation or organization of churches that seeks to use the civil power to attain an end that allows only of spiritual methods, and to recommend to all the study of the life and trials of Roger Williams, the hanging of the Quakers, the whipping of the Anabaptists, the story of Daniel in the lions' den and the Hebrew worthies in the fiery furnace.

All this was accomplished by a religious federation, which is only another name for a Church trust. Instead of a demand for a world religion that compels, let there be a plea for a genuine religion that implores. --JOHN S. WIGHTMAN.

THE WORLD'S PERPLEXITY.


On the opposite page we copy from "Doctor" Dowie's publication a cartoon which fairly well represents the present situation of "Christendom." But should not Doctor Dowie also be represented in the crowd, shouting, "I am for myself, as 'First Apostle,' 'Elijah,' and the 'Messenger of the Covenant'"? It would seem so!

Possibly some unfriendly critic may say, "Yes; and you are another who is adding to the Babel of confusion, forming a new division, 'the sect everywhere spoken against,' the no-name sect."

Not so, we reply. It is not we but the Truth which causes the division, even as our Master foretold and exemplified: "I am not come to send peace, but a sword." As present truth did a separating work between the wheat and the chaff in the Jewish "harvest," so now present truth will be used of the Lord to separate the "wheat" from the "tares" in the present "harvest" of this age.

It is true that our quiet, effective presentation of God's Word and plan does cause commotion and a great din, as all sects and parties at once shout against the faithful presentations of God's Word of "good tidings of great joy unto all people," as presented in MILLENNIAL DAWN. But that is Babylon's noise, not ours. It is their effort to obscure the [R3706 : page 20] light of the dawning new dispensation. It is their unavailing effort to drown the voice of the great Shepherd, who is now calling his true sheep out of every earthly pen to himself and the liberties and rest and food of the true fold.

We preach not ourself but Christ. We substantiate nothing except by his Word. We make no laws, formulate no creed, deprive no sheep of his full liberty in Christ; but merely on every question quote the Word of the Lord, through the apostles and prophets. We boast nothing, claim nothing of ourself. We are content to serve the Lord and his flock to the best of our ability--exacting no tithes, no "honor of men," no confession of authority, no compensation; hoping merely for the love of the Lord and of those who are his children and have his Spirit.

So far from forming or desiring to form a new sect, we ignore all sectarian systems and their claimed authority; we recognize only the "one Lord, one Faith and one Baptism" of the Scriptures and fellowship as a "brother" every person of decent morals who confesses faith in the "redemption through the blood of Christ," and especially all of this class who profess a full consecration to the Lord's will and service,-- whatever sect they may be in, or outside of all.

The word "Catholic" signifies general or universal. We know of Greek Catholics, Roman Catholics, Anglican Catholics, etc., but we know of no other company of Christians which recognizes every Christian in the whole world in the same complete sense that we do, as stated foregoing. Hence to us the term Catholic, or Universal, most fitly belongs.

Our Lord's petition for his "members"--"that they all may be one even as thou, Father, and I are one," was never meant to apply to sects and parties as is being attempted by the Federation movement now in progress. The Father and the Son are one in a very different sense from that. On the contrary, we occupy a position to which every true child of God can come if he chooses. And the best, the truest of all the sects and of those outside all sects are now being gathered to the Lord and to us, and all truly the Lord's in faith and in practice.



[R3706 : page 20]

THE PASSOVER MEMORIAL, APRIL 8, 1906

FOR the benefit of our readers in foreign lands we make early announcement of the date for the celebration of the death of our Passover Lamb. Again we have the choice of two dates. All almanacs to which we have access show the date for the new moon after the spring equinox to be March 24th. If we calculate from that date, the Memorial night of the 13th of Nisan would fall on April 6th. On the other hand all the almanacs, so far as we are aware, show that the moon will not reach its full until April 9th. As we have already pointed out, the moon in the Scriptures is the symbol of the Jewish nation, and the intention evidently was to represent that the full measure of Israel's opportunity and test was reached at the time of our Lord's crucifixion, and that from that time the light of that nation began to wane.

Unable to account for the discrepancy, or to see how it would require sixteen days for a new moon to reach its full, we made inquiry of the Allegheny Observatory astronomers, who seemed unable to account for the matter and merely confirmed the facts as given in the almanacs. They in turn referred us to the United States Naval Observatory at Washington, D.C., from whom also we received confirmation of the almanac dates, but they could give no explanation of the peculiarity of the discrepancy--why on this occasion it requires sixteen days for the moon to reach its full, while ordinarily it requires fourteen days.

U.S. Naval Observatory,

MR. C. T. RUSSELL, Washington, D.C.

SIR,--I am in receipt of your communication of the 31st ult. in which you state that you find in some 1906 almanacs the statement made that a new moon appears March 24, 6.52 p.m., and that it fulls April 9, 1.12 a.m., and also that it occurs to you that there must be some discrepancy in this, as the time would amount to 15 days and six hours.

In reply I beg to advise you that the data given above are [R3706 : page 22] correct, the time being given in eastern standard time. By reason of the great eccentricity of the moon's orbit it not infrequently occurs that the time between the two above-mentioned lunations exceeds 15 days.
Very respectfully,
WALTER S. HARSHMAN,

Professor of Mathematics, U.S.N., Director Nautical Almanac.

Although we went to so much particularity to ascertain exactly the proper date for the celebration of the Memorial we do not wish to give the impression that the exact date is of importance. We are not under the Law, but under grace. Our observation of the Memorial Supper is a privilege and opportunity rather than an obligatory command. The principal thing would seem to be that we have a uniform time for its celebration and that we celebrate it with the right thought in mind, viz., as a memorial of the fulfilment of the type of the Passover lamb with the death of Jesus, the Lamb of God, the ransom price for the world. Christ our Passover is slain for us, therefore let us keep the feast. This and not something else we do in remembrance of him, and in confirmation of our covenant to be broken with him and to give our lives with his in the sacrificial services open to us as members of his body in the present time. We conclude that the most appropriate time for the celebration of the Memorial will be Sunday night, April 8th. The Jews adopt this same reckoning, celebrating Tuesday, April 10th, as the beginning of the Passover feast or fifteenth of Nisan. On this same reckoning the fourteenth of Nisan would be Monday, April 9th, and according to Jewish reckoning that day begins the previous evening, namely, Sunday evening, April 8th. On this date, therefore, let us unitedly celebrate the Memorial Supper.



[R3706 : page 22]

THE SATISFACTION OF JUSTICE.

"That God might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth on Jesus."--Rom. 3:26.

EVOLUTIONISTS, and all those who deny the Scriptural narrative of Genesis, confirmed by the New Testament records--that man was created in the image and likeness of God, and that he fell from this perfection through disobedience into depravity, the fallen and imperfect condition--all such deny that justice needed any satisfaction. Their claim is that God is the author of all the sin and imperfection which we see about us, in that he created us in the blemished condition, but one remove from the brute, and that whatever improvement over the brute we have made is to our credit as a race, hence that neither as a race nor as individuals have we done anything to require divine condemnation. There could, therefore, be no depravity, and consequently no justice in either requiring or providing a redemption from the fall and condemnation--if, as they hold, neither of these ever took place.

The Scriptural proposition is the reverse: that man, created perfect and upright in the divine image, was responsible for his conduct, and that his disobedience justly merited his loss of life; that the divine sentence, "Dying thou shalt die," is a just and reasonable one; that Adam's posterity, inheriting from him the weaknesses and frailties of the fallen state, have more or less increased continually the depraved constitutions, the variations which we see all about us in the physical, mental and moral conditions. As none of the race is perfect, none is worthy of eternal life under the divine arrangement, and the death sentence rests upon all. Thus the Apostle explains the matter, "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world, and death as the result of sin, and thus death passed upon all men because all are sinners."--Rom. 5:12.

The Bible proposition is that, since the death sentence is against every member of our race, none of them could justly be released from that sentence without a substitute, a ransom, an atonement for the sin, a satisfaction for the penalty. This is so universally the testimony of the entire Scriptures that time and space would fail us to quote the many instances both in the types and the literal statements on the subject. Nor is this necessary, for all Bible students are familiar with the numerous references to the Redeemer, the ransom, the sacrifice for sins, the "shedding of blood, without which there is no remission."

"IT BEHOOVED CHRIST TO SUFFER."--Luke 24:46.

We see, then, that from the Bible standpoint it was absolutely necessary that as by a man [Adam] came death, by a man also [Christ] should come the resurrection of the dead. (1 Cor. 15:21.) So then it is evident that in the divine order there could be no resurrection without the ransom sacrifice being first given. This may seem to some to be contradicted by the facts, as they point us to certain individuals brought out of death before Christ came, and others awakened by him before he had paid the ransom price. But we reply that these exceptional cases were not violations of the rule in any degree, for these awakened ones were not really made alive. [R3707 : page 22]

From the divine standpoint the whole world is in a dying and dead condition, and those who were awakened from unconscious death to a small measure of life common to the world were not resurrected, were not raised out of death, but were still in death, still under the curse, still under the sentence, "Dying thou shalt die." They were merely temporarily resuscitated. To have resurrected them would have meant more than an awakening: it would have meant that after their awakening they should be raised completely out of death into the fulness of life--such, for instance, as Adam enjoyed before the penalty came upon him. The Scriptures assure us that Christ was the first who should rise from the dead, and that his brethren, the Church, will be next in order, and that none others can be fully resuscitated, none others can have life in the absolute sense until the Church shall have received its higher life through the first resurrection.

MANY CONFOUND SCRIPTURAL TERMS.

When it is seen that the penalty against sin is not dying but death, and that it is not death for a moment or a year or a million years even, but death everlastingly, then it will be clearly seen that in order to have any future life it was necessary that the penalty pronounced by divine justice against our race should be cancelled before it could be blessed with the life eternal which the Lord has promised to those who believe and obey him.

In referring to so complex a subject, the Scriptures, of course, use quite a variety of terms, and the difficulty of many is that they do not recognize the divine [R3707 : page 23] plan with sufficient clearness to distinguish between the shades of meaning properly attaching to these words. For instance, we have the words ransom, redemption, sin-offering, atonement, reconciliation, etc. It is true that these are all related to this great subject, but it is equally true that they do not mean the same thing, that they touch the subject from different standpoints. Only by gaining a clear Scriptural view of the whole matter of sin and atonement for sin and reconciliation of the sinner to God can we hope to have this entire matter clear and distinct before our minds, with the proper meaning attached to each word--the proper thought intended by the Lord in these words, which explain his plan.

JUSTICE, WISDOM, LOVE AND POWER.

Most people are so unmethodical in their own thinking, in their conduct of their own lives in respect to themselves and in respect to their dealings with others, that it is difficult for them to think of the heavenly Father, who is absolutely perfect in every quality of his being, and who preserves each of his qualities intact without allowing them to interfere the one with the other as being systematic and methodical in the administration of his government. Thus, with the Almighty, justice is declared to be the very foundation of his throne, his government. Nothing can ever be done by the Almighty that can violate his justice. Whatever his wisdom and love and power may plan must all be brought into full accord and alignment with this fundamental element of his character, of his government--justice. He cannot exercise love at the expense of his justice, but only in harmony with it. We must remember that in thinking of the Almighty we cannot measure him by ourselves, because we are fallen creatures, and the image of God originally granted to our race has been largely lost; hence only as we measure the Almighty by his own statements, his own declarations, can we get proper conceptions of the harmonies of his character.

The divine word is immutable, unchangeable, as the Scriptures declare; hence the divine sentence of death was an unchangeable one. True, God might have put a different sentence upon our race. He could have sentenced us as a race to be cut off in death up to a certain time, decreeing that then the penalty should be considered as being paid in full and all the culprits be released. In that event no ransom sacrifice for sinners would have been necessary. But God purposely made his plan as it is in order to furnish the necessity for a Redeemer, and in order that his Son might have the honor of manifesting his loyalty and obedience to the Father even unto death, and in order that this obedient one might then be glorified before angels and men, exalted to the highest place next to the Father. Likewise the Lord purposed that a certain little flock should be selected from the world to be the Bride of Christ, and thus to be, through relationship to Christ, members of the seed of Abraham and heirs of the great Oath-Bound Covenant made to Abraham, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord in the inheritance of the Millennial Kingdom which is to bless all the families of the earth.

THE DIVINE PROGRAM.

As it was optional with the Almighty what the penalty should be for Adam's sin so long as it was in line with justice, so also it was optional with him how that penalty should be met so long as no principle of justice would be violated. He has chosen a method which most wonderfully exhibits divine wisdom, divine love and divine power. He has purposed the reconciliation of the world to himself through Christ (2 Cor. 5:19.) This reconciliation is in two parts: first, he arranged for the reconciling of his own justice, the meeting of the demands of his own justice; and, second, provided that those who should come to a knowledge of this gracious arrangement might turn their hearts from sin to righteousness, to God, to be reconciled to him, to submit themselves to his will, to come back into harmony with him, forsaking sin.

So far as the world is concerned this reconciliation is still future--God is not yet reconciled to the world, and the world is not yet reconciled to God. That the world is not in a reconciled condition needs no argument in proof; that God is not reconciled to the world can be equally substantiated by the Scriptural statements, which declare that only believers have yet escaped the "condemnation which is on the world." The world is represented as still being aliens and strangers and foreigners, without God, and having no hope. (Eph. 2:12.) The curse is still represented as being against the world, but the promise is given us that by and by, when the divine plan shall have been unfolded still further, the time will come when there shall be no more curse, no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, because the former things shall have passed away. (Rev. 21:4.) So long, therefore, as divine condemnation, the curse, the sentence of death, rests against the world, it is evident that God is not yet reconciled to the world nor the world to him.

RECONCILIATION THROUGH HIS DEATH.

The Apostle assures us that we (true believers) were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. That is, Christ before we were born effected a work for believers on account of which they are no longer reckoned a part of the world nor under the world's condemnation. We have escaped the condemnation which is upon the world, we are justified toward God by his grace through the blood accepted by us in faith. Because of this reconciliation, this justification, the Lord counts us as holy, ignoring and covering from his sight all the blemishes and weaknesses we have received through heredity. And when such justified ones present their bodies living sacrifices to the Lord's will and service, they are acceptable, the Apostle tells us.

This class throughout this Gospel age have experienced the first step of regeneration, namely, the begetting of the holy Spirit; the second step, the birth, to the faithful, comes in the first resurrection, when like our Lord we shall be born from the dead as his brethren, under another figure his body members, under another figure his Bride and joint-heirs. To this class, to whom divine justice is already reconciled, and who are already reconciled to God in that they have given up their wills to him and are seeking to walk after the Spirit--to this class the Apostle declares God has "committed the ministry of reconciliation."--2 Cor. 5:18.

That is to say, all such are recognized as God's ambassadors in the world, and are commissioned to tell the good tidings in the world in accord with our text, that God, while still just and without violation of his own justice, is able to justify those who believe in Jesus, because Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for every man, and gave the ransom price in his great sacrifice finished at Calvary. But while we are thus [R3707 : page 24] God's ambassadors telling the story, the Lord assures us that not all will hear it--that only a certain class have ears to hear the message, and that only those who have faith to believe the message can receive the blessing which we announce. These who now believe and enter into rest through faith are but a few, "not many wise, not many great, not many learned hath God chosen," but "chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of the kingdom"--a "little flock."-- 1 Cor. 1:26; Jas. 2:5; Luke 12:32.

DECLARING THAT GOD IS RECONCILED.

This ministry of reconciliation which consecrated believers are now privileged to engage in as members of the body of Christ, as his representatives, is a costly ministry or service. Although the message is good, the darkness hateth the light, and the light-bearers, we are assured, must expect to suffer persecution, must walk in the footsteps of the Captain of their Salvation. Those who will not take up their cross to follow him cannot be counted in as his ambassadors. The trials, the difficulties, the oppositions, the persecutions encountered are all parts of the test which the Lord requires of these, as demonstrating their loyalty to him and to the principles of justice and mercy and love--represented in him and his laws.

However, the Lord has a provision for the world-- those now deaf and blind--in the next age, and the divine arrangement is that those who now suffer because of their loyalty to the Lord and because of their pleasure [R3708 : page 24] in the privileges of ambassadorship, shall be the divine representatives before the world in the coming age. The conditions will then be so changed that these ambassadors and their message will no longer be misunderstood. The special testings and trials of the narrow way will by that time have selected all the elect, the Bride of Christ. Then the way and glorious opportunities will open before the world, that all may have the eyes of their understanding opened wide and their ears unstopped, that they may know positively respecting divine wisdom, justice, love and power, and that these are all operating through Christ for the blessing of all the families of the earth. That period is called the "day of Christ" in contrast to the present period, which is represented as being the night of sin, under the darkness and influence of the prince of this world, Satan.

"In that day" the work of reconciliation will go grandly forward, for undoubtedly the great majority of mankind, as soon as the curse shall be removed, as soon as the difficulties and obstructions to faith shall be out of the way, will be glad to know of opportunities for coming back into harmony with their Creator. And then all the willing and obedient shall be uplifted to full perfection of life, to full restitution to all that was lost, with added blessings, while the wilfully disobedient or goat class, followers of the example and spirit of Satan, will with him be destroyed in the Second Death.

CHURCH AND WORLD DISTINCT.

From the foregoing all should be able to see how distinctly separate in the divine plan are the Church and the world--that atonement, reconciliation, has already been effected for the Church, for believers, for the household of faith and for none others, but that the world is to have a rolling away of the curse in fullest measure as an outcome of the great redemption work of Christ--in God's due time.

If, now, we have the matter clearly before our minds--if, looking into the divinely appointed types of the Old Testament and their corroborations in the New Testament, we find that God distinctly outlined these separate dealings with the Church and with the world, our faith and obedience and joy in the Lord will be increased. We have already set this matter forth in detail in a pamphlet entitled Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices. All of the interested doubtless possess it; and any too poor to purchase may have it free, on application. In it we call attention to the fact that the great and important event in Israel's history known as the Day of Atonement typified, illustrated the whole work of this Gospel age.

The sin offerings of that typical Day of Atonement were two, first the bullock, second the goat. The bullock represented our Lord Jesus, the goat represented those who walk in his steps, the little flock. The sacrifice of the bullock was for a specific purpose and effected that purpose; the sacrifice of the goat of the sin offering was for a different purpose and effected that purpose. The bullock with its fatness well represented the man Christ Jesus in his perfection sacrificed on our behalf; the lean, wayward goat with little fat well represented the leanness, the poverty, the natural unfitness of the Church to be associated with her Lord and to present herself a living sacrifice with him upon the altar, to have fellowship in his sufferings, that in due time she might have fellowship also in the glories that are to follow in the Kingdom.

THE PRIEST SACRIFICED THE BULLOCK.

Be it noted that our Lord Jesus was typified both by the bullock and the priest; that the bullock represented him as the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all; that the priest represented the new mind, the holy Spirit, by which our Lord was begotten again at the moment of his consecration. During the three and a half years of our Lord's ministry he was the priest, and his body was the sacrifice, reckoned dead. In the type the priest went immediately into the Holy of the Tabernacle, which represented his standing before God as now no longer a man but a New Creature. The first vail represented his consecration to death, and his rising on the other side of it to newness of life as a spirit being begotten of the holy Spirit.

As a "New Creature" our Lord spent the three years and a half of his ministry in the holy, enlightened by the light of the golden candlestick, divine truth, fed by the shew bread, the divine promises and blessing, while he himself ministered at the golden altar, offering up his two handsfull of incense upon the fire, the fragrance penetrating beyond the veil, the second veil, into the Most Holy, as a cloud resting above the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat. That offering of the incense by the priest in the Holy represents to us the light in which our heavenly Father viewed his Son and his offering of himself in the trials and difficulties of his life during the three and a half years of his consecration. As a whole it was sweet incense to the Lord, a fragrant incense, holy and acceptable.

THREE VIEWS OF THE SACRIFICE.

At the same time that the incense was being offered in the Holy the fat was being offered on the brazen altar in the Court, and those who saw the fat consumed upon the altar and how rapidly it was consumed because of the fatness could appreciate that a great and fat sacrifice was offered to the Lord. Those in the Court [R3708 : page 25] who thus beheld our Lord's sacrifice from the human standpoint were believers, those in sympathy with him, the apostles and others. But there was still another class who looked to Jesus and who saw his daily sacrifice and who viewed his course in a different light--the Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, who were in opposition to him. To these his very sacrifices spoke foolishness, they were a stench in their nostrils, and their standpoint of view is also represented in the type by the burning outside the camp of the hoofs, horns, entrails, hide, etc., of the bullock. Here we have the three-fold view of our Lord's sacrifice: that of his opposers, that of his followers and that of the Father. When our Lord died all three of these fires, so to speak, were finished, his incense was all offered, the fat was all consumed, the world's detestation of his good works, the hatred with which they of the darkness hated him who was of the light was at an end--he troubleth them no more.

BEYOND THE SECOND VAIL.

The next step of the priest was to pass under the second veil. This represented our Lord's death at Calvary. He was under that veil parts of three days and rose on the other side the veil, a perfect spirit being, born of the Spirit. And it was only a few days thereafter that he ascended on high and approached the Mercy Seat, there to appear in the presence of God for us, as the Scriptures declare. Bear in mind that he did not appear for the world but for us, for believers. He is not the world's advocate before the Father. We have an advocate with the Father, he is our representative, he now speaks for us. (1 Jno. 2:1.) In the type this is shown by the statement that the priest sprinkled the blood upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat in the shape of a cross, the head of the cross being on the Mercy Seat, the lower end of it pointing and extending toward the veil.

The Apostle tells us that Christ offered up his own blood, but by this we do not understand him to mean that any of the literal blood of Jesus was taken into heaven, but rather as the blood shed represented the sacrificed life of the Lord, so in the antitype our Lord presented before the Father the evidences of his death, applying a measure of that benefit, a measure of the merit of his sacrifice on behalf of the Church, his body, and all the household of faith, but none of it on behalf of the world, none of it outside the household of faith. This is clearly shown in the type, for the priest, we are told, made an offering for himself and his house. His house, the Levites, typified the household of faith, himself represented his sons the underpriests, and in the antitype represented the Church, the members of the body of Christ under Jesus as the Head, as it is written, "God gave Jesus to be the Head over the Church, which is his body."

The statement of the type is most explicit: that the atonement made for this sacrifice, by the sprinkling of the blood of the bullock, was an atonement not for all the people but merely for a limited, special class of them, all belonging to one tribe, the Levites, who represent here the household of faith. (Leviticus 16:6,17.) It will be noticed that this is in full, in absolute accord with what we have already seen, to the effect that the reconciliation has not yet reached the world but merely believers, and that the world still, as the Apostle says, lieth in the wicked one. (1 John 5:19.) The whole world lies under the curse, the sentence; they are not yet released, the curse has not yet been rolled away. Only we, only believers, have escaped the condemnation; only we have passed from death unto life; only believers have gotten free from the curse, the sentence, and are no longer aliens, strangers, foreigners from God's covenant promises.

SACRIFICING THE LORD'S GOAT.

Now note the second sacrifice. After finishing the one part of atonement, as already noted, the priest continued the work of the day's atonement and made another offering, namely, the goat. It is not true that Christ after having gone into heaven, into the Most Holy, came out again, sacrificing himself again as a man, making another sacrifice for sins in his own person. Indeed he had only the one human nature, and when it was sacrificed the work of Calvary was finished. Hence this second sin offering is not another offering of the man Christ Jesus, but it is an offering of his body. Nevertheless, in harmony with the divine plan, Christ [R3709 : page 25] accepts and the Father accepts all those who come unto the Father by him through faith in his blood, and who in harmony with the call present their bodies living sacrifices. These all are counted as members of the body of Christ; so the work of this Gospel age has been the sacrificing of the members of the body of Christ. It was the Head that did this sacrificing as represented in the type, as represented also in the figure of baptism. We give ourselves to the Lord, we receive his mind, and in proportion as his spirit dwells in us richly, in that proportion we are glad to be "living sacrifices." Thus by his spirit upon us he wills in us "to will and to do the Father's good pleasure." And the Father's good pleasure respecting us is the same as respecting the Only Begotten, namely, that we should show our devotion to his will, to his plan, to his righteousness, by such faithfulness as will bring us in the present time tribulation and cost us self-sacrifice, even as a similar course cost our Lord his life.

Not that all the members of the body of Christ will necessarily suffer on the cross, nor that they will all necessarily suffer some public, shameful death. On the contrary, in the figure of the Scriptures all the members of the body of Christ are beheaded, not literally, for not even the apostles so suffered death, but figuratively beheaded--each must lose his own self-will, his own headship, and must become members of the body of Christ, knowing no head, no will but the will of his Lord. All who thus sacrifice their wills are accepted of the Lord as members of his body, and these are represented in the sacrifice of the goat, which he has been offering as a part of himself, as a part of his own sacrifice throughout this Gospel age.

"OUR SUFFICIENCY IS OF CHRIST."

The making of these two sin offerings does not imply that the first offering was insufficient. On the contrary, the Scriptures assure us that the whole merit of redemption resides in the Lamb of God, whose sacrifice takes away the sin of the world. But as our Lord's testing was necessary as a demonstration of his loyalty to the Father even unto death--was a consideration in respect to his high exaltation to the glory, honor and immortality--so in the Father's plan none can ever reach that same plane and be his joint-heirs in the Kingdom except as they shall demonstrate that they are possessed and controlled by the same spirit as that of their Redeemer. Hence the arrangement has been made that while Christ's death was a full value for the [R3709 : page 26] redemption of Adam and all his race, and full value for the sin, and atonement for the whole world of mankind, God has been pleased to apply that merit in an indirect way of first imputing righteousness to the Church and allowing the Church thus to be adopted as members of the body of Christ, and as members of his body permitting the Head to see to our sacrificing as parts of his own sacrifice, that he might thus offer us up as acceptable sacrifices, as a part of himself, that we might ultimately be with him partakers of his divine nature and sharers of his glory.

"IF WE SUFFER WITH HIM."

In this view all the Scriptures agree, that the sufferings of Christ are being filled up by the Church, which is his body. This, the Apostle tells us, was what was prophesied in olden times, namely, "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that would follow." The glory has not yet come, though we believe it is near. The reason for the long delay of the glory has been that the sufferings of Christ might be completed. Had it been the Father's plan that only Jesus was to suffer and only Jesus was to be glorified, then indeed the glory might have come more than eighteen centuries ago. The delay of the glory is in our interest, that, as the Apostle declared, "We might fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ."--Col. 1:24.

In harmony with this statement are all the promises and encouragements of the New Testament; for instance the Apostle's statement, "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him," "if we be dead with him we shall also live with him." (2 Tim. 2:12; Rom. 6:8.) After pointing out that we are heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, the Apostle adds the conditions, namely, "If so be that we suffer with him." In expressing his own hope of a share in the Kingdom with our Lord the Apostle declares that he counts all things but loss and dross in comparison with the privilege of knowing him and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death, that he might also know, experience, the blessed honors and favors of our Lord's resurrection, the first resurrection, to glory, honor, immortality, the divine nature.

Coming back to the type, we see that the sacrifice of the goat was identical with that of the bullock in every particular: The priest shall do with the goat as he did with the bullock. The little fat of the goat was placed upon the altar, its small hoofs, horns and skin were burned without the camp, and represented the opposition of the world to those who are the Lord's true followers; and the High Priest again, as representing this class, the members of his body, offered incense upon the golden altar, and at the conclusion he again went into the Most Holy with the blood of the goat, which he sprinkled as he had previously done with the blood of the bullock, but not for the same purpose. The Lord's members have no share whatever in any atonement for themselves, no power to do aught to cleanse themselves from any sin or stain or to lift themselves out of condemnation; all that was done for them before they had any privilege of sacrificing. This second sacrifice of the Day of Atonement, we are specifically told, was to "make atonement for the sins of the people"--Israel in general outside the priestly tribe representing the world outside the present household of faith.--Lev. 16:15.

Throughout the Day of Atonement all the Israelites, representing all the families of the earth, were excluded from divine favor. They were under sin, under the curse, and conducted themselves in a manner to correspond with this thought. They fasted and wore sackcloth and ashes and humbled themselves in the dust, waiting for the completion of the Atonement Day sacrifices, which would reconcile them to God and bring his blessing. They continued so until the second sacrifice of the Atonement Day had been completed, until the blood of the goat had been offered for the sins of the people. Then the High Priest came out of the Tabernacle. He had finished the work which he went in to do. He changed his garments. Laying aside the white linen garments of the Day of Atonement he put on the garments of glory and beauty, his usual habiliments, and went forth to the people at the altar, and raising his hands gave them the blessing of the Lord Jehovah, which represented the forgiveness of the sins of the world, the rolling away of the curse or the sentence of death, the bringing of the whole world back into relationship to God. Then the people arose from the dust and gave a shout of thanksgiving. These pantomime doings were all typical.--Heb. 9:24,28.

Throughout this Gospel age, the antitypical Day of Atonement, the whole world has been under condemnation except the few who have heard of the grace of God and accepted the same, and who thus have become reckonedly of the favored, antitypical tribe of Levi, the household of faith. As for the remainder of the world, the Apostle explains their condition of sackcloth and ashes, saying, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now--waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God."--Rom. 8:22.

In the type Natural Israel waited for the great High Priest, in the antitype the world waits for the great High Priest Jesus, the Head of the Church, and the members of his body--the glorified sons of God, who at the second advent of Christ and the establishment of his Kingdom will be revealed to the world in power and great glory, to give them knowledge of the remission of their sins, and to give them every assistance in uplifting them and in restoring all the willing and obedient to harmony with the Lord.

THE MEDIATORIAL WORK.

To rightly understand the foregoing is to discern that our Lord Jesus in his own person has been the Mediator between the Father and the household of faith during this Gospel age, and that in the divine order he is now selecting the members of his body, who with him and under him as the Head will be the Mediator between God and the world in the age to follow this--during the Millennial age.

We are not to lose sight of the fact that all the responsibility is with the Head, and that the Lord requires of every one who shall be accepted as a member of the body of Christ that he shall lose his own headship, his own individuality, and shall accept instead the will and mind of Christ. As the Apostle says, "We have the mind of Christ," who is our head. --1 Cor. 2:16.

From this standpoint Jesus is always the Mediator --just as a man weighing a hundred pounds might fill an office, and if afterward he took on flesh and weighed two hundred pounds or more, he would still be the [R3710 : page 27] same man; what he added to his bulk would in no wise interfere with his individuality. So it is with Christ, he merely adds on these members. His own individuality is maintained, however many members may be added. It is still Jesus, still the Christ, who would be thought of and addressed, and the whole work accomplished is still the work of Christ. This is merely the divine method by which a little flock from amongst men are privileged to become associated with Jesus, in suffering with him now, in being glorified with him by and by. This is marvelous in our eyes, and none but our God would or could have conceived so broad and deep and high and glorious an arrangement.

JESUS A RANSOM FOR ALL.

Several texts come to mind, as, for instance, "By a man came death, by a man also comes the resurrection from the dead," "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man," "He gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:6.) How do these texts fit in to what we have found to be the established testimony of God's Word respecting the relationship of the Church to her Lord in the sufferings as well as in the glory to follow?

They all fit perfectly when rightly viewed. They declare that the whole merit of the world's salvation was through Jesus--that is, centered in his death. Every Scripture so teaches; not a single Scripture implies that there is merit or efficacy in the sacrifice of the body members of Christ aside from the merit which those members received first through the sacrifice of Jesus. It is the merit of Christ, therefore, that reaches the world, that blesses the world, that is the ransom price for the world, although it is made to come through a circuitous route instead of going directly to the world. A portion of the world receives the blessing first, the believers; but the blessing does not stop with them, but does flow through them to all the families of the earth. These texts are all in full accord in ascribing the whole merit of salvation and the complete satisfaction of Justice to the merit of our Lord's sacrifice finished personally at Calvary, but by divine consent continued indirectly through his adopted members.

TIME IN THE SATISFACTION OF JUSTICE.

Let us inquire respecting the time of the satisfaction of Justice. Was Justice satisfied when the Lord left the glory which he had with the Father and was born a babe? No! Was it satisfied when he reached manhood's estate and had presented himself, the man Christ Jesus, at the time of his baptism, consecrating his life? No! for although the Father there accepted the sacrifice, and evidenced the acceptance by the giving of the holy Spirit, the sacrifice itself was not yet complete. Was Justice satisfied at the close of the three and a half years' ministry, when on the cross he cried, "It is finished?" No! Satisfaction was not yet accomplished, though the means of satisfaction was now in our Lord's hands. Was satisfaction of Justice accomplished when our Lord ascended up on high and appeared in the presence of God for us? Yes, we answer. Justice was satisfied so far as the "us" class was concerned, but not beyond the "us," the believers, the "household of faith." As already shown the curse still rests upon the world, which is still declared of the Lord to be under "condemnation."

Does the sacrifice of the Lord's people throughout this age down to the present time satisfy Justice? No! All the members of the body of Christ are counted in as one, and the sacrificing of the body members is not yet completed. Will Justice be satisfied when the last member of the Church shall have suffered as a member of the body of Christ? No! it will still be necessary for the "Head," after having supervised the sacrifice, to present the "members"--to present before the Father the evidence that these adopted members followed in his steps, completed their consecration even unto death faithfully. Thus he will present us before the Father "blameless," "irreproachable." (Phil. 2:15.) Then the merit of this adopted portion of our Lord's sacrifice will be presented on behalf of the world, and, as shown us in the type, the Father is sure to accept it and to grant the full blessing, which will mean the rolling away, in every sense, of the sentence, the curse now resting upon the race.--Col. 1:26,27.

"EVEN SO, FATHER, FOR SO IT SEEMED GOOD IN THY SIGHT."

Was it necessary for God to arrange the matter thus that the Church might have fellowship in the sufferings as well as in the glory of Christ, might be a part of the sin offering of the Day of Atonement as members of the body as well as his members in the throne? We answer that nothing was necessary except as God had previously determined to make it so; but, as the Apostle declares, this is a part of the mystery hid from previous ages and generations, that we should have fellowship, participation, with the Messiah in the sufferings as well as in the glory.

As we have seen, the fact that any atonement sacrifice was necessary was merely of the divine arrangement. God could have put a penalty upon Adam and his race that would not have required a redemption sacrifice. He chose the redemption plan because it would the better illustrate his government and the laws of his empire, that it might illustrate his wisdom, justice, love and power, and he added this feature of allowing the Church as members of the body of Christ to be participants with him as a further illustration of the same divine wisdom, justice, love and power. From God's standpoint the whole transaction of redemption is one, divided into two parts.

If the Day of Atonement were represented by the personal sufferings of our Lord Jesus' sacrifice, the antitype would be three and a half years at least; but when we see the full meaning of the divine plan we perceive that the Atonement Day lasts for nearly nineteen centuries, and that the "times of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began" are delayed, until at the conclusion of this Atonement Day the great antitypical Jubilee shall be fully ushered in.



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HOLY, HARMLESS, PERFECT.
--LUKE 2:40-52.--JANUARY 21--

Golden Text:--"Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man."

ONE peculiarity of the Bible, which differentiates it from all other religious books, is its candor, its faithfulness to facts. Without specially preaching against them it mentions the weaknesses, the blemishes, the failures of the various heroes which it draws to our attention: Mother Eve's deception, father Adam's disobedience without deception, Abraham's error in not properly acknowledging his wife, Moses' mistake in respect to the smiting of the rock the second time, the shortcomings of Eli, Samson, Saul, David, Solomon and others of Old Testament times. The New Testament similarly mentions the strife amongst the apostles as to who should be the greatest, the wrong spirit of James and John in connection with the Samaritans, Peter's denial of the Lord, the dispute between Barnabas and Paul respecting John and Mark, etc. This faithfulness of the Word of God in pointing out that there is none righteous, no not one, amongst all the race of Adam--that all need forgiveness, reconciliation to the Father through the atoning sacrifice--proves the reliability of its testimony.

Noting that the Scriptures were written by various pens during a period of sixteen centuries, and that they all manifest the same uniformity, honesty, impresses upon us all the more the full import of their declarations respecting Jesus-- that he was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." This was in accord with the predictions of the prophets respecting Messiah, also with the narrative of his birth, boyhood, youth, manhood, to his resurrection and ascension to glory. Angels and men declare to us that he was separate from sinners, that his life came not from the impaired and condemned Adamic stock, but was a transference from a spirit existence previously enjoyed. His perfection, his keeping of the divine law, his acceptance with the Father, were fully demonstrated and assured to us in that "God raised him from the dead on the third day."--I Cor. 15:4.

THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS

Our lesson (v. 40) declares that prior to his reaching his twelfth year he had been growing in stature and in strength and was gradually being filled with wisdom. We are not to forget that he was separate from sinners, nor to expect that other boys at his age should manifest the same degree of wisdom. Quite to the contrary--inheriting blemishes, mental, physical, moral, they would not belong to the same class at all. Our Lord Jesus is not a pattern for the natural man, and in harmony with this thought he is not introduced to us as our exemplar until he reached the age of manhood, consecrated his life to the doing of the work which the Father had committed to him, and had begun his ministry under the anointing of the holy Spirit.

Nor is his earthly ministry nor his teachings the example or pattern for the world: these are merely for his footstep followers, his disciples--those who, justified through faith in his blood, have similarly made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice, by full consecration of themselves to live not unto themselves but unto him who died for them. Doubtless there is heavenly wisdom in connection with the limited description given us of the childhood and youth of our Savior. These were not our examples, and indeed any attempt to measure the ordinary boy or youth by that glorious and perfect standard would have undoubtedly been discouraging --perhaps to an injurious degree. Let us not, then, attempt to imagine with particularity what the Lord has seen fit to cover and not reveal. Let us content ourselves with the simple narrative, with the meager testimony of the Gospel on this subject--that Jesus developed in wisdom as well as in physical strength. [R3711 : page 28]

THE GRACE OF GOD UPON HIM

The word "grace" signifies that which gives pleasure, as loveliness of form or character, or the most admirable virtues. Hence the grace of God signifies his favor, that Jesus as a child was such a one as the Father had pleasure in, and, reversely, such a one as reflected in his form and character the grace, perfection, the beauty which is of God. John, speaking of our Savior, says, "We beheld his glory, --the beauty of the only begotten of the Father." All this speaks perfection in its most absolute sense, and would be very discouraging not only to other children but to their parents also were it understood that the boy Jesus was given of God to be a pattern or model for others. On the other hand it is important for us to know this, as corroborating the testimony that he was undefiled, separate from sinners, holy and acceptable to the Father from infancy to manhood.

In divine providence our Lord was not only born under favorable religious influences, but trained in that way. His mother and her husband were pious, reverent, and evidently disposed to be obedient to every feature of the divine Law to the extent of their ability. In accord with the demands of the Law they went annually to Jerusalem to the feast of Passover, the great religious gathering which called the typical people from one end of their land to the other to a special worship of the Lord, to a special remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt, to their adoption as his people and incidentally to the observance of a type of the coming blessings through the killing of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, and whose flesh is meat indeed and whose blood is drink indeed--symbolically.

JESUS A SON OF THE LAW

It had been the custom of Joseph and Mary to go to these feasts every year, and doubtless Jesus, as he grew older, went with them. The one mentioned in our lesson was noteworthy above the others because of our Lord's conduct on this occasion--different from what it had previously been and what it subsequently was. Under the Jewish custom a boy at twelve years of age was supposed to make some kind of a consecration of himself, some kind of a special recognition of the Law, on account of which he was called a "son of the Law," a child of the Law.

The wisdom in which our Lord had been growing up to that time, like all other things pertaining to the Jewish system, was intimately interwoven with the Law and the prophets. He recognized himself as being not the son of Joseph but the son of God, and knew that he had come into the world on a special mission, and it was a preliminary step on his [R3711 : page 29] part to gain wisdom respecting the work he was to do as it had been outlined in the promises, in the Law, and through the testimonies of the prophets. Wise far beyond his years because of his perfection, his mind doubtless seized upon the custom of the twelfth year: doubtless he wondered if this custom of becoming a son of the Law did not in some sense of the word imply that he at that age should become in some measure identified with the Law as a student, or in some other capacity.

Of winsome manner, in favor with man as well as with God, and wise hearted, Joseph and Mary found little necessity for keeping close watch over his doings. He was apparently, for a child of his age, especially well able to take care of himself. Hence it was that on returning from the feast they went a full day's journey before noticing that he was not with any of their company, and had evidently been left behind at Jerusalem. It required a day to return to Jerusalem, and on the third day seeking him they found him in the Temple. They were amazed to see a child of twelve years seated amongst the doctors of the Law, listening to their discussions and asking questions. We are not told of the nature of the questions of those three days, but we may be sure that they all pertained to the Law and the covenants and the prophets respecting Messiah and his work.

Jesus, having already pondered these matters in his own mind, was now seeking all the wisdom he could secure from those who would naturally be best informed on these subjects. Doubtless a part of his inquiry was at what age Messiah could in any measure begin his work, and whether or not the custom of considering a boy the son of the Law at twelve years of age was founded upon anything in the Law or was merely a human tradition. Apparently he would have been glad to have found something in the Law to have justified his entrance upon some department of the Father's business, but found nothing, as this was merely a provision of the Talmud and not of divine authority.

In response to their gentle chiding that he had caused them worry, uneasiness, and that they had been seeking him, Jesus replied, "Why need you have sought me? Did you not know that I would be somewhere about my Father's house?" We prefer this free translation, in accord with the revised version, to the one given in our common version. We may be sure that those days spent in the Temple, studying the exceeding great and precious promises of God's Word, were a feast to that wonderful child's expansive and expanding mind. Apparently he had reached the solution of his queries, and determined that it was not in accordance with divine providence that he should in any sense of the word begin his ministry or public work at this time. In harmony with this conclusion we read that he returned with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them--did not attempt to begin his heavenly mission.

"TRAIN UP A CHILD"

We cannot encourage imperfect parents to expect to rear imperfect children full of wisdom and the graces of perfection, but we can assure them that very much indeed depends upon the way in which they train their children as to what kind of men or women they shall become, and whether they shall bring to their parents happiness or unhappiness, sorrow or joy. It is a sad fact that many parents train up their children in the way they should not go--plant in them the wrong sentiments, which subsequently bring forth characteristics of which they are ashamed, for which they reproach and reprove the children, and against which the children when grown may be obliged to battle for the remainder of life. What a blessing it would be both to parents and to children did the former rightly understand how early the training and disciplining is necessary--that it should begin in the parent before the child is born; that discipline, obedience, insisted upon with firmness and kindness, should be inculcated from the day of birth persistently.

Where a child has been reasonably well born, has been reared under the influences of a Christian home, in which the Bible is the recognized standard, in which one or both the parents are consecrated to the Lord, in which prayer is a constant testimony to that parent's faith in the Lord and trust in his providential care, in which the parent not only seeks to exemplify the fruits of the Spirit--meekness, gentleness, patience, long suffering, brotherly kindness, love--but seeks to inculcate these in the children, the child so trained under such experiences would, we believe, very generally be ready at the age of twelve years to make a consecration of himself to the Lord--to seek after and strive to follow the instructions of the divine message.

The promises to those who early give their hearts to the Lord are known to us all, and many have proven their wisdom--"They that seek me early shall find me;" "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Prov. 8:17; 22:6) Train up a child to sow wild oats, to go thoughtlessly, irreverently, selfishly through the world, and when he is old it will be very difficult indeed to turn him out of the ruts of selfishness into the highway of decency, consideration and love for others.

We will admit that ours is a very difficult day in which to properly rear children. Nevertheless, instead of making the parent lax and indifferent in respect to his obligations, it should lead him to the greater diligence and to the more earnestly seeking of wisdom from on high, that he may so discharge his duty toward the child as to bless it for life with a proper foundation of character laid in the proper cement of appreciation of justice, righteousness, mercy and truth.

ADVANCED IN WISDOM

The statement that Jesus progressed in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (v. 52), relates to the period of his life from twelve years of age upward to the time of his presentation to Israel in his thirtieth year as the Lamb of God. Apparently not Mary only kept the things which she had heard and seen in her heart, pondering how they would develop and how the words of the angel Gabriel would be fulfilled in her son, but Jesus also kept the whole matter a secret with himself up to the proper time, when he entered publicly at the earliest moment upon his ministry. Undoubtedly this was the course of wisdom; he was not yet anointed to preach, hence had no authority so to do.

Similarly all who hear the good tidings now would best not begin to minister the truth to others by explaining it until first they have received of God the unction from on high-- the anointing of the holy Spirit. Before they begin their [R3711 : page 30] ministry they should make the consecration whose acceptance by God would bring them unto the place of adoption and anointing, and qualify them for the telling of the good tidings of great joy which ultimately shall be unto all people.



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PREPARATION FOR THE KINGDOM.
--MARK 1:1-11.--JANUARY 28--

Golden Text:--"Prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only."--I Sam. 7:3.

JOHN THE BAPTIST was our Lord's forerunner, foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures, as indicated by the opening statements of this lesson. He was the messenger of Jehovah to announce Messiah and to do a work amongst the Jewish people, which is prophetically described as making straight or ready the path before him. We are not to confound this reference to a messenger of Jehovah preparing the way before Jesus with the title given to our Lord himself, the "Messenger of the Covenant." Both John and Jesus were messengers or representatives, but the latter, on a far higher scale, was the Messenger through whom God's covenant with mankind was about to be established --the Messenger or Mediator of the New Covenant, sealed through the precious blood, and to become operative to the world in general during the Millennial age.

HERALDING THE MESSIAH

As the Scriptures point out, John was just six months older than Jesus, and as both began their ministries at the age of thirty, it follows that John had been preaching just six months when Jesus came to him for baptism at the opening of his ministry. What kind of a work did John do during those six months? The answer is given us in verses seven and eight. He announced himself the forerunner, the trumpeter as it were, of the great Messiah, and declared that it was necessary that the people should come into a condition of heart-repentance if they would be ready for the Messiah and prepared to enjoy the blessings and favors of God which Messiah would dispense. John made no pretensions of being the Messiah himself, but humbly declared that the one who would be shortly made known to Israel as Messiah was so much greater that he (John) would not be worthy to stoop down and loose the fastenings of his shoes--his sandals. He proclaimed that those who would be ready for Messiah and the Kingdom should not only renounce sin and reform their lives but should publicly declare the same--symbolizing it by a baptism in water. And yet he assured them that this baptism which he performed for them was as nothing compared to that greater baptism which Messiah would give to the faithful --a baptism of the holy Spirit; yea, also, to some a baptism of fire.

John's prophetic message was most distinctly fulfilled. Those Israelites indeed who received Jesus as the Messiah were in due time, at Pentecost, baptized with the holy Spirit from the Father as members of the body of Christ. Moreover, a work of grace was continued with the Jewish nation, and for over thirty years the apostles and other believers sifted thoroughly that people for every true grain of wheat and gathered them into the Gospel garner--into the anointed body, the Church. Then, all the true wheat having been found, the fire came upon the remainder of that nation--the fire of trouble which consumed and destroyed their national polity, causing indescribable suffering and scattering the remainder of that people throughout the earth. Some were baptized with the holy Spirit and some with fire.

GOD'S UNPRETENTIOUS SERVANT

John the Baptist is described as the last of the prophets. With him the old dispensation terminated, as with our Lord the new dispensation began. Apparently adopting somewhat the manner and dress of Elijah of old, his prototype, John, was conspicuous amongst the people by reason of the simplicity of his dress, which indicated that his entire life was devoted to the special service of the Lord--that he was not seeking to serve earthly or selfish interests in any respect-- comparatively he had nothing, wanted nothing, needed nothing. The messenger of Jehovah, he could have been provided for sumptuously; but as God would speak not merely to the great but especially to the humble and lowly, his representative or messenger appeared amongst men under humble conditions. And it was the most humble that had the hearing ear for the Lord's message. Nevertheless we are informed that great multitudes went out, and excitement prevailed amongst the people--a revival service. John and his disciples were kept busily engaged telling the people that Messiah was near, that the Kingdom would shortly be set up, that they must repent of their sins if they would be ready for a share in that Kingdom, and baptizing those who, turning to God, confessed their sins.

When Jesus came to John and requested baptism another account tells us that John demurred, declaring that our Lord had no sins that he needed to repent of--that if either one needed baptism it was John himself. The inference is that John did not urge any to be baptized, except such as realized themselves to be transgressors against the Law, who had not been living up to its requirements to the extent of their ability, and that himself and others who had been living consistent lives did not need this baptism. We are to remember the Apostle's words, that the whole nation of Israel had been baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud when they left Egypt. (I Cor. 10:2.) They were still in Moses, cept as they had neglected the Law Covenant which he established. John's baptism was intended to bring the hearts of the people back into accord with the Law, into accord with Moses, that thus they might be ready for transfer from Moses to Christ--from the typical house of servants to be made the antitypical house of sons. "For Moses verily was faithful as a servant over his house, but Christ as a son over his house, whose house are we if we hold fast."-- Heb. 3:5,6.

HOLY, HARMLESS, SEPARATE FROM SINNERS

The Lord did not say to John, "You are mistaken, I am a sinner," for he never denied what the Scriptures [R3712 : page 31] everywhere set forth--that he was holy, harmless, undefiled and totally separate from the race of sinners. Indeed he did not explain to John why he was baptized nor what his baptism signified. John could not have understood, none could understand our Lord's motives until after Pentecost. In the light of the New Testament we see that our Lord's baptism was a new thing, totally distinct from John's baptism; that it symbolized or represented a baptism unto death --a burial of the will into the will of God, and the beginning of a reckonedly new life as a reckonedly new creature, symbolized by the rising from the water.

Thus our Lord's baptism into water symbolized a baptism into death, a consecration to death; and this consecration he fulfilled in the subsequent three and a half years of his ministry, which ended on the cross with his cry, "It is finished." And this is the baptism which belongs to us his followers--not a washing away of sins, not a returning to Mosaic covenant relationship as Jews but a consecration of our justified selves, the presentation of our mortal bodies, living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, our reasonable service --to be completed in our natural death and in our resurrection beyond the vail.

"MY BELOVED SON"

An account of this same baptism of our Lord in another Gospel represents John as saying, "I, John, saw and bare record"--respecting the dove, etc. This lesson merely recites the fact that the heavens were opened and the Spirit like a dove descended upon the Lord, and a voice from heaven said, "Thou art my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased"--without saying he saw the dove or heard the voice. Our thought is that John the Baptist alone witnessed this testimony to our Lord's relationship to God, that he alone saw the messenger of divine favor, and that he and Jesus alone heard and understood the voice. It was not necessary that others should see and hear. John was to be the witness, and this evidence was given him in order that he might declare, as he did, that the Lord had previously given him an assurance that the one upon whom he should see the holy Spirit descend and abide was the Messiah, and that this prediction was fulfilled upon the person of Jesus.

Similarly throughout this Gospel age the world knoweth us not: it sees not our anointing of the holy Spirit. It merely knows that the claim is made for the Church that, as the body of Christ, its members are recipients of the same holy Spirit that came upon Jesus the Head --that we are all baptized by the one Spirit into one body. (I Cor. 12:13.) All that the world can see is the fact of this baptism. The effect upon the Lord was his devotion to his Father's work, the ministry of the Truth, even at the cost of the sacrifice of his life. And so with the Church also; it has a ministry of the Truth even unto death--laying down our lives for the brethren. The world recognizes a difference between this spirit and the worldly spirit, and yet knows not, appreciates not, but thinks rather of the Lord's faithful as they thought of Jesus and the apostles--that they are unwise, foolish, in spending time, influence, talent, means, in what the world regards as the "foolishness of preaching."

We have seen in previous lessons that while John was a partial antitype of Elijah on a limited scale, he by no means fulfilled the entire type. He was, we might say, an antitype on a small scale to the little nation of Israel. The Kingdom was indeed offered to natural Israel, but only a remnant of that people had heartily repented of sin and were truly ready to welcome Messiah, and the rest were blinded, while the few were received of the Lord at Pentecost and became the nucleus or foundation of the Kingdom which, during this Gospel age, has progressed in development in embryo--unborn, unseen of the world, unknown. Soon the completed embryo will be born in the resurrection, and thus the Kingdom will be fully established in power and great glory--the Christ.

Not only are we called of God to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom which is soon to be established under the whole heavens, but, additionally, [R3713 : page 31] we are privileged of the Lord now to be the antitypical Elijah, the antitypical John the Baptist. Throughout the entire Gospel age the Church in the flesh has been doing toward the world a work similar to that done by John to the Jewish nation--announcing Messiah, not in the flesh, but the glorified Christ, Head and body, and the Kingdom which he will set up. This greater John the Baptist or greater antitype of Elijah, the Church in the flesh, has exhorted the world, or as many of them as have had ears to hear the message, to repent of sin, to reform their lives, to come near to the Lord in heart, that they may be prepared for the great changes that are imminent, when Messiah shall now shortly take unto himself his great power and reign.

Those who accept the message are urged to make a consecration of themselves to the Lord and thus to prepare their hearts for his Kingdom. Our announcement also is that the great Christ of glory will shortly appear on the scene and that all in harmony with him will then receive a blessing of the holy Spirit--not the first fruits but the completed blessing, the resurrection to glory, honor and immortality --while to the remainder of mankind will come the great time of trouble spoken of by the mouth of the holy prophets from the beginning, a time of discipline and purification, that the whole world may learn the lessons necessary to their harmony with the Lord, that they may be ready to receive the blessing which his Kingdom will put within their reach.

Let us, dear brethren and sisters, who are privileged to be heralds of the coming Kingdom, be earnest, zealous as was John the Baptist, giving comparatively little heed to the customs and formalities of the world, and giving very diligent heed to our appointed work, to show forth the praises of our heavenly Bridegroom, to announce him to all, to make known to all the terms and conditions of his favor and to bear witness to his presence now in the harvest time of this age, that his fan is in his hand, that he will thoroughly purge the threshing-floor of all chaff, that he will gather the wheat into the garner of his Kingdom, and that the great majority of Christendom will soon enter the great time of trouble. If faithful in this ministry as the antitypical Elijah on this side the vail, we may feel sure of our acceptance as members of the body of the Anointed One on the other side the vail, and thus have participation in the sufferings of the present time and in the glories and dignities of the future.



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