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VOL. II. PITTSBURGH, PA., NOVEMBER, 1880. NO. 5.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER and Herald of Christ's Presence
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"Watchman, What of the Night?" "The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11
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"CAUGHT UP IN THE CLOUDS."
"The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thes. 4:17.
The scene here described is undoubtedly the same event, as shown by the same Apostle in 1 Cor. 15:51,52, where he calls it our change from a natural, corruptible, weak, earthly body, to a spiritual, immortal, powerful, heavenly body. Those members of "the seed" (of God), Christ, who lie in death's cold embrace, shall arise spiritual, immortal, etc., but we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. These descriptions seem to portray the change of all who have part in "the first resurrection," the victors overcomers --who had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark. Because changed to immortal (incorruptible) beings, "on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Rev. 20:4-6.)
This must be a description of the change of the "little flock" or "bride" since the second or great company are not called overcomers, and do not overcome the beast, image and mark, but are subject to their power, until they (beast, etc.) are overthrown in the time of trouble already commenced upon them. It is the "body of Christ" who are the overcomers. "To him that overcometh, I will grant to sit with me in my throne even as I overcame." "He that overcometh shall inherit all things." Now notice that it is this class only which is mentioned in our text--"The dead in Christ" (members of "the body") and the living of the same class, who are "caught up"--more properly "caught away." (So rendered in the Diaglott.)
The change in our being which takes place in connection with our catching away as shown in the corresponding passage of 1 Cor. 15:51,52, viz.: from natural, earthly bodies to spiritual, heavenly bodies, would seem to indicate to us that this change is itself the catching away referred to--"and so shall we ever be with the Lord." When changed-- "made like unto Christ's glorious (spiritual) body"--we will from that instant be as invisible to fleshly beings as He is, and as Angels are. Our Lord we recognize as invisibly present, and Angels are said to be "ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation," and to "encamp round about them that fear God," though we see them not.
This change from the natural to the spiritual life and body will be our "second birth." We were begotten of the flesh, and in due time were born of the flesh--a fleshly, human body, in the likeness of the first Adam. This was our first birth. Again we were begotten of God with the word of his truth, that we should be (future) a kind of first fruits of his creatures (Jas. 1:18.) and we will reach that condition when "born of the spirit"--into the full likeness of the "second Adam"--the Divine spiritual life and body. Thus we have even now become new creatures in Christ Jesus, and partakers of the Divine nature, and our change will be this new life completed. Then what Jesus said of all spiritual bodies will be true of us also. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.... The wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit--invisible, incomprehensible to humanity. "So shall we ever be with the Lord."
Our text says we are "to meet the Lord in the Air." The Greek word here used for air, is in three other places used symbolically to represent government or controlling power over Earth (Eph. 2:2, Rev. 9:2 and 16:17.) We believe it to be used in the same way here: When changed --made like him and united with him we are associated in power and it becomes our work "to execute the judgments written: This honor hath all his saints." (Psa. 149:9.)
As to the time of our change, that it is at, (or during) the sounding of the "last trump,"--the "seventh," Rev. 10:7, and 11:15-18--and after the Lord himself has descended is plainly stated. We need not here repeat the evidences that the "seventh trump" began its sounding A.D. 1840, and will continue until the end of the time of trouble, and the end of "The times of the Gentiles," A.D. 1914, and that it is the trouble of this "Great day," which is here symbolically called the voice of the Archangel when he begins the deliverance of fleshly Israel. "At that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince. (Archangel) which standeth for the children of thy people, and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." Dan. 12:1. Nor will we here, again present the conclusive Bible proof that our Lord came for his Bride in 1874, and has an unseen [R153 : page 1] work as Reaper of the first-fruits of this Gospel Age, (Rev. 14:16) in separating between wheat and tares and gathering the living into a condition of readiness for their change. The final preparation is made when the Bridegroom comes, and they that are ready for union, go in with him to the marriage--into the "guest chamber" where they may finish the last touches of personal adornment. Then comes the inspection and casting out of one not having on a wedding garment; after which the marriage takes place, for his wife will have "made herself ready." (Rev. 19:7.)
Jesus himself does not make the Bride ready, but the knowledge of his presence, and the thought of the coming union with him when ready, make her zealous in the use of the agencies already provided for her preparation --the Spirit and the Word of truth.
We have seen that in his days of presence it will be as it was in Noah's days--The world will know not. (Matt. 24:39, Luke 17:26.) We are told that the day of the Lord is a day of trouble, a day of clouds and thick darkness. (Zeph. 1:15. Joel 2:2.) We are told also that "as the lightning which shineth" (not as the shining, but as the invisible electric fluid which causes the shining) "so shall the Son of Man be in his day." (Matt. 24:27. Luke 17:24.) Now if he is to be as lightning and his day, a day of clouds as the above texts assert, are they not in harmony? In the natural storm when we see flashes from lightning and hear peals of thunder, it gives evidence to us that atmospheric changes are taking place, that the vitiated and corrupt "air" is to be changed and we rejoice that it will be pure after the storm.
We now find a harmony in the account of our gathering. As we long since found "the voice of archangel" and "the trump of God" were symbols of the closing epoch of this age and its troublous events, so now we find "the clouds" to symbolize the gathering of the trouble in that epoch; "the lightning" to symbolize or illustrate our Lord's presence "in His day," and that "air" is used as the symbol of the spiritual throne from which Satan ("the prince of the power of the air") is to be deposed, and to which our Lord and His joint-heirs are to come.
The great time of trouble as a storm has been and continues gathering over Earth. The air (the spiritual "powers of darkness," surrounding and ruling over "the present evil world," under the direction of "The Prince of the powers of the air," (Eph. 2:2,) "the Prince of this world"--age,) becomes more and more vitiated until the storm breaks. The Prince of darkness now works in the hearts of the children of disobedience to the accomplishment of his own will--viz: in oppressing and opposing justice and truth to the affliction of mankind. The clouds are gathering and men's hearts are beginning to fail for fear of the approaching storm--"for fear of those things that are coming on the Earth." Soon it will break in all its fury. But though it fills all hearts with fear and dread, in its final results, it will prove a great blessing to the earth (mankind), displacing the present "powers of the Air" ("powers of darkness,"--spiritual wickedness in high-controlling-places") and giving place to Earth's rightful ruler--Jesus and his Bride, also spiritual beings (powers of the air.) So after the storm shall the "Sun of righteousness rise with healing in his wings," and the kingdom of darkness shall give place to the kingdom of light, and mankind will rejoice in the pure air and cloudless sunlight of that perfect day.
Notice also that the flashes of lightning come from among the clouds, and become more and more vivid as the storm increases. How the various scriptures interpret each other: "As the lightning, so shall the Son of Man be in his day." "Behold he cometh with clouds." "The day of the Lord is a day of trouble, of clouds and thick darkness." "He maketh the clouds His chariot; He walketh upon the wings of the wind." Psa. 104:3.
Israel at Mount Sinai was a type of the world receiving instructions from God during the time of trouble. They saw the fire from the Mount enveloped in clouds, so in the time of trouble, the world will learn of the Lord's presence by the judgments [fire] issuing from the kingdom [mountain] though obscured and enveloped by the clouds and [R153 : page 2] darkness [trouble] of that time. Yes, "He shall be revealed in flaming fire." (2 Thes. 1:8.)
Moses describes the scene when the people did exceedingly fear and quake, &c.: "Thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb when the Lord said unto me--Gather me the people together and I will make them hear my words and they shall learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the Earth." So during the day of wrath, God will plead by judgments with all flesh and they will learn a lesson never to be forgotten. "And the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds and thick darkness. And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire. Ye heard the voice of words but saw no similitude." As they learned the lesson and knew of Jehovah's presence, &c, but "saw no form," so during the time of trouble it will be also "Behold he cometh with clouds and every eye shall see [optomai, recognize] him." All will indeed recognize his presence as indicated by "the great day of his wrath having come," but none but the Saints shall "see Him as he is" for, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Israel said "Behold the Lord our God hath showed us His glory and His greatness and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. If we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more then we shall die." And they entreated that Moses should be thereafter a mediator to communicate God's will and they would obey Him. (Deut. 4:11.)
Get the reality of which that was but a shadow and we can see how "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh see it together," and yet none but the Holy see the King and none but those born of the spirit--spiritual bodies can see the Kingdom of God. (Jno. 3:3.)
Psa. 97:1-6, describes the establishment of the Kingdom of God: "Jehovah reigns,...clouds and darkness are round about him... fire goes before him and burns up his foes on every side. His lightnings enlightened the world, the earth [people] saw and quaked. Mountains [Kingdoms of Earth] melted like wax at the presence of Jehovah, at the presence of the Lord of the whole Earth and all the peoples saw His glory." [New trans.]
How this harmonizes with all the other pictures of the day of wrath. First, the clouds of trouble; second, the presence of the Lord (as the lightning) whose presence is manifested to the world by flashes of light and knowledge which will more and more disclose to the world His power and glory and reign, and this fire of judgment consumes all opposition to the reign of righteousness.
We conclude then that if "He cometh with clouds" of trouble, etc., we shall be "caught away in clouds" of the same sort; that is after he has come. If we are prepared, we shall be caught to meet him during the gathering of the trouble, before the storm bursts.
David [anointed] was doubtless a type of the church in her deliverance, as pictured in the song (2 Saml. 22) in which he says (vs. 10) "He bowed the heavens also and came down and darkness was under his feet....He was seen upon the wings of the wind, and he made darkness his pavilion round about him...and thick clouds of the skies....He sent forth and took me; ...He delivered me from the strong enemy" [death]. Yes our Lord when he has come and made trouble and darkness his pavilion lifts his bride--delivers her from the strong enemy of the fleshly nature, into the perfection of our new nature like unto Christ glorious body. Lord help us to be ready for the change that we may be thus "caught away.""Forever with the Lord,
Amen, so let it be,
Life from the dead is in the word;
BEYOND THE VAIL.
In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle frequently refers to a vail. He is writing to those who were familiar with the earthly tabernacle, its arrangements and services. The Apostle endeavors to show that it was only a type or figure designed to illustrate spiritual truths.
There were three curtains, two of which were called vails. Let us see: If we had visited the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the first object to meet our attention as we approached would have been the white linen curtains which completely surrounded everything (both Tabernacle and its court) so high that we could not see over it, and reaching to the ground so that we could see nothing under it. All the work within is hidden from our eyes. This is "the curtain" or vail of ignorance and unbelief. This vail now prevents the world from understanding the work of sacrifice for sin, etc., now going on inside (in the church). This curtain now covers the hearts and minds of the heathen and the Jews. "The vail is upon their heart," "the same vail untaken away." This vail of ignorance and unbelief obstructs their view during this gospel age, while God is taking out a people as the body of the High [R154 : page 2] Priest, etc., and receiving through this High Priest the "sin offering." But soon their full ransom will be complete and accepted, and then "the vail shall be taken away." (2 Cor. 3:14-16.) This is the same thought given us by the Prophet when he declares, God "will destroy in this mountain [kingdom, the glorified church] the face of the covering [death] cast over all people, and the vail [ignorance and unbelief, etc.] spread over all nations." (Isa. 25:7.)
But now, for the purpose of developing a peculiar people, this great temporary barrier is allowed to remain, and there is only one way through it called "the gate." This gate represents belief in Jesus as the way of approach to God. Once seeing the gate we may look in and see the altar and laver, indicating to us that His sacrifice paid the price of our ransom. We are still of the world, but seeing the love of our Creator and of Jesus as manifested in our purchase, we are impressed with the thought of the "exceeding sinfulness of sin," and realizing for the first time, the "great love wherewith he loved us," we say, Lord we can never repay your goodness and love, but let us do something which will show our appreciation. The Father says to us: Have you heard the call of my word? It is that any of you, may, if you will, enter by this road which my only begotten Son trod, into full sonship, partake of the Divine nature and have spiritual bodies, etc.
We could not understand all that was meant. Our ears were dull of hearing, but we felt grateful and desired to show it, and went forward. We entered in through faith. We are no longer without, among unbelievers, but within, among "the household of faith"--the Levites. We look at the altar, and are told that it represents sacrifice, and that God expects self-sacrifice. We look at the "laver" full of water, and are told that it represents the word of God, and that we are to use it and put away sins--be "clean through the word." We make some trifling sacrifices upon the altar, and splash a little in the water, and feel perfectly contented. We act and play and dally very much as those do (the world) who are yet beyond this "curtain"--in unbelief. But God has sent to us heralds, who, coming in among the company, proclaim, "We beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God"--if you feel gratitude for the manifest love of God, and desire to please Him and enter into the blessings to which you are called--"your high calling"--that you do more than you have yet done. If you would follow the example of our Lord, as you have agreed to do, you must not only lay these toys upon the altar, but your all. I beseech you that "you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service."
Some heed not the voice, they are so much engaged with the earthly toys. But some are aroused. They leave those earthly trinkets, and give their attention to following the example of Jesus and the apostles, presenting themselves to God as living sacrifices, and "reckoning themselves dead indeed to sin" and to the "world." They have now undergone a complete change. They have now entered from the "court" into the "tabernacle" itself, passing through "the first vail." (This word translated vail is from a different Greek word from that translated vail in 2 Cor. 3:14-16, referred to above, as representing the "curtain.") Those who pass through this first "vail" into the "holy place" are the ones who fulfill their "covenant by sacrifice," called saints. All believers coming through the "curtain" are "called to be saints," but only those who obey the call and yield themselves sacrifices "make their calling and election sure."
Thus this first vail represents clearly our death to the world. The flesh is left outside, voluntarily given over to death and destruction, while we as new creatures in Christ, go beyond this vail, and enjoy a newness of life. Thus we fill two pictures: our earthly nature has been given up, deprived of life, and is being taken without the camp to be destroyed, while our new nature is at the same instant within the first vail, not as men, but as members of the High Priest's body. We are not only dead with Him, but also alive with Him. "We are buried with Him by baptism into death" (Rom. 6:4), "wherein also ye are risen with Him." (Col. 2:12.) The natural body is no longer we, for "we are not in the flesh, but in the spirit." (Rom. 8:9).
We claim then that our going through this first vail represents the death of the natural fleshly will or mind, and that our entering the inside of the Tabernacle represents our entrance to the condition of the spiritual or new nature. "For ye are dead," (as men.) "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above; set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth, for ye are dead." (Col. 3:1-3.) For God "hath raised us up, (in the spirit of our minds,) and made us sit together in heavenly places (spiritual conditions) in Christ Jesus. [Eph. 2:6.]
Progressing in our new nature we come to the second vail, but we cannot go through this vail until the flesh has been entirely destroyed-- represented by the burning of the body of the sin-offering without the camp. But remember that the flesh of "the goat of sin-offering" represents the fleshly bodies of all the members of Christ, and its destruction ("burning") requires all of this gospel age. Though Paul's body was yielded up and destroyed long ago, he must wait; he cannot enter through the second vail until all we who are fellow members of the same body, likewise have the body of flesh destroyed, for "They without us shall not be made perfect." [Heb. 11:40.] Consider for a moment what it will be for us to be made perfect. Would it be the perfecting of the fleshly nature? Oh, no! We gave it up to destruction as a sacrifice, before we passed the first vail, and the life that we now live and seek to have perfected is the spiritual, Divine life. Having begun in the spirit and progressed thus far, could we be perfected through the flesh? Certainly not. We now have the "mind of Christ," "the spirit of Christ," "the spirit of adoption," "our new nature," and enjoy it much. What we lack of being perfect is a spiritual body in harmony with our "spiritual mind," new nature. And this is what we are waiting for, this condition of perfection. "When that which is perfect is come that which is in part shall be done away." Now we are in part natural, but the natural part will soon give place to the body which God has promised us--a spiritual--like unto Christ's glorious body. "I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness."
We have seen that there are two stages to the second birth; first, the begetting of the spirit when we get our new life in the old body, where it develops at the expense of the body; second, our birth by the resurrection, when we shall be "born from the dead." So now, we see the same general lesson taught by the two vails of the Tabernacle. To enter the presence of God--the plane of spiritual or Divine life--both of these vails representing the flesh must be passed. Beloved brethren, you have all come in through the outside "gate," through the curtain, you are believers in Jesus, know of his having ransomed us. You among many have been called to be saints and heirs of God. Are you making that calling sure? Have you made the covenant to die with Jesus--"The covenant of sacrifice?" Are you doing according to your covenant, walking in newness of life, obeying the law of your new nature--Love? If you are, I need not ask, I know that the result is the crucifying of the "old man."
If you are within the first vail, thank God and take courage, remembering that to "keep your body under," you must have all the spiritual strength and light to be derived from the unleavened bread and the golden candlestick. Let us press on close up to the second vail, and there at the golden incense altar offer an offering acceptable and of sweet savor to God through Jesus Christ.
Put on thy Beautiful Robes, Bride of Christ.Put on thy beautiful robes, Bride of Christ,
For the King shall embrace thee to-day;
Break forth into singing; the morning has dawned,
And the shadows of night flee away.
Shake off the dust from thy feet, Bride of Christ;
For the Conqueror, girded with might,
Shall vanquish the foe, the dragon cast down,
And the cohorts of hell put to flight.
Thou art the Bride of His love, His elect;
Dry thy tears, for thy sorrows are past;
Lone were the hours when thy Lord was away,
But He came with the morning at last.
The winds bear the noise of His chariot-wheels,
And the thunders of victory roar;
Lift up thy beautiful gates, Bride of Christ,
For the grave has dominion no more.
Once they arrayed Him with scorning; but see!
His apparel is glorious now:
In His hand are the keys of death and of hell,
And the diadem gleams on His brow.
Hark! 'tis her voice: Alleluia she sings,
Alleluia! the captives go free!
Unfolded the gates of Paradise stand,
And unfolded forever shall be.
Choir answers choir, where the song has no end;
All the saints raise hosannas on high;
Deep calls unto deep in the ocean of love,
As the Bride lifts her jubilant cry.
GATHERING TO CHRIST.
"Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." Psalm 1:5. [Should be Psalm 50:5 - site Editor.]
This gathering is not at death, nor continuously before and during the Gospel age, but takes place after and in consequence of the Lord's return. This is one of several things to transpire after the Lord's coming, as indicated by the context. From the third to the fifth verse inclusive, is evidently a prophecy of that to which Paul refers in 2 Thess. 2:1: "The coming; of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him."
This is one of the evidences that what is foretold in the Old Testament that God will do, is fulfilled by the Son of God, and which proves the unity of their work.
That this refers to the second coming is evident because the first was in the past when Paul wrote. That it does not refer to His final coming, or manifestation to the world, is clear, because when He thus comes "all the saints" are to come with Him. Zech. 14:5. Their gathering to Him must precede their coming with Him. Jesus says: "I go to prepare a place for you; [the church as represented by the twelve] and...I will come again and receive you to myself." Jno. 14:2-3.
It is evident that the object of Christ's second coming is to receive or gather His church to Himself. Because of this and because neither [R155 : page 3] Christ nor Paul mentions any interval of time for work between the coming and the gathering, it is most commonly supposed that the gathering is immediately after His coming. So when we speak of the Presence of the Bridegroom, and express our conviction that He has come to deliver His own and gather them into the heavenly Canaan, we are met with the objection, "If He has come to gather us, why are we not gathered, and why do all things continue as before, and we are left to toil on in the enemy's land?" From the standpoint of the objector our claim is a seeming absurdity; and for those who have never seen the evidences there is room for great sympathy. When a position is not understood it is readily perverted, and we need patience when we are misrepresented.
Whoever will read the passage from which our text is chosen, will see that there is a fiery scene, or some kind of judgment, [fire means judgment,] and therefore an interval of time, either long or short, in which that work of judgment is to be done, between the coming and the gathering. The fact that this interval is not mentioned by Christ and Paul, in the passage referred to above, is certainly not proof that such an interval does not exist. The whole truth is seldom, if ever, found in one connection. In Luke 19:15 and onward is an account by the Lord Himself, of a work of examination after He had returned, and before the reward. As the reward is to be with Him and like Him, (these two things being included in each other,) this is evidence that there is an interval of time between the coming to gather the saints and the gathering itself. Of course we believe that the intervening work is in reference to the gathering, that being the object for which He came.
There are facts associated with the deliverance of Israel from their bondage in Egypt, which we offer as having a bearing, typically, on this subject of the Lord's coming and the deliverance of the church. In that picture it appears that the nation of Israel represents the whole church, or household of faith, including not only the saints,--a "little flock,"--but also "them that fear His name, small and great,"-- "a great multitude,"--while Aaron represents that portion of the church called "saints," who are to be most directly associated with Christ as a Great High Priest, and in the work of executing judgment. The gathering of the saints unto Christ, is doubtless foreshadowed by Aaron going to meet Moses in the Mount of God. And, it will be observed, this event had reference not only to the execution of judgments on the Egyptians, but also through the plagues to the deliverance of Israel.
In the third chapter of Exodus we have the record of the Lord appearing to Moses at Horeb, or Sinai, --"the Mountain of God." Ver. 1. The Lord appeared in the burning bush. There is no reason to suppose that Moses saw the Lord. He was present yet invisible, but Moses had evidence that the Lord was there, by His word. This is one of the evidences that a spiritual being can be present and yet be invisible. The ground was holy.
After announcing Himself, the Lord said: "I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them." Verses 7-8. Here are stated the fact that He had come and the object for which He came, and yet we know it was a considerable time after He came to deliver them, before they were actually delivered. The relation between the Lord's coming then, and the deliverance of Israel, is as intimate as the relation between the Lord's coming now, and the gathering of the church. "I am come down to deliver them" is as closely connected as "I will come again and receive you to myself." Now we know that there was time between that coming and deliverance; will not our readers admit the possibility, yea, the probability, of there being an interval of time between this coming and deliverance? To enforce this thought, put yourselves in place of the Israelites, toiling on under the terrible Egyptian bondage. If Moses should come to you with the statement, "Be of good cheer, comrades, the Lord has come to deliver you," would there not be as much reason to dispute the claim as there is to dispute the one we make, and for the same reasons: "We are not delivered and all things continue as they were?"
There was, of course, a longer time between the coming and the deliverance of the whole nation, than between the coming and the exaltation of Aaron. All was done on time and order. "Aaron, the saint of the Lord," (Psalm 106:16) escaped the plagues, and assisted Moses in their execution as a means to the salvation of Israel--the Lord's son, even His first-born. Exod. 4:22. And here some are to be accounted worthy to escape the things coming on the earth; (Luke 21:36) as overcomers to sit with Christ [the prophet like unto Moses--i.e. the antitype] in His throne, and have power over the nations to break them, (Rev. 2:26-27 and 3:21,) "To execute vengeance upon the nations, and punishments upon the people. ...To execute upon them the judgments written: this honor have all the saints." Psalm 149.
The double statement, "Vengeance upon the nations" and "punishments upon the people," may have more importance than might be supposed. The record is given of ten plagues upon Egypt, three of which came on both Egypt and Israel, but from the "seven last plagues" all Israel were exempt. To appreciate fully the above statement, one must read six chapters in Exodus, beginning with the seventh. It is when the fourth plague is threatened that the Lord says: "I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarm of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to-morrow shall this sign be." Chap. 8:22-23.
In describing the scenes associated with the deliverance of the church down here, John the Revelator speaks of "seven last plagues" also, which we may reasonably expect to stand in the order foreshadowed in the type. "Seven last plagues" implies that others preceded them, as in the type.
We think the same order of events is to be found in the antitype as in the type. In Rev. 14:1 we see 144,000 overcomers with Christ on Mount Zion. "These are they which were not defiled with women" [churches, only corrupt churches would defile,] and are "the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb." Verse 4. We believe this company are the saints as represented by Aaron; and as Moses and Aaron went together in their work, so these "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth." These went up to meet Christ, their brother, in Zion--the Mountain and City of God. (Heb. 12:22, Emp. Diag.)
If it be asked "If Sinai was the place of meeting of Moses and Aaron and was called the Mount of God, why do the saints meet Christ at Zion instead of Sinai? We answer: All we have to deal with are the revealed facts. Sinai was the Mount of God in the legal and typical dispensation, and from it the Lord shone forth in the thunderings and lightnings of the law. But we have Paul's assurance that "ye are not come [or coming] unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire...but ye are come [or coming] to Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, &c. Heb. 12:18-22. From this we learn that Zion is the Mount of God in the Gospel age and onward; and we learn, too, that it is a heavenly and not an earthly mountain.
Heavenly and spiritual are used interchangeably in the Bible, as in 1 Cor. 15:44-49. From the fitness of things, it is safe to reason that the inhabitants of a spiritual mountain will themselves be spiritual, and therefore that the saints meet Christ in the spiritual condition--the ideal of Christian perfection. "Be ye also perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." This is a heavenly and not an earthly ideal.
This thought is clearly illustrated by the fact already mentioned that Moses stood as God [a spiritual being] and not as a man, in his dealings with both Aaron and Pharaoh. Moses came the first time as a man and was rejected, but when he came as a God he delivered his people. What was true of Moses is true of Christ, for Moses is a type of Christ. It is evident that Aaron was as surely a type of the spiritual saints, as Moses, in the exercise of the great power, was a type of the spiritual Christ. Coming in glory does not necessarily mean shining with a literal light. The judgments and deliverance then, were because Moses and Aaron came with the glory of their power. So also will it be of Christ and the saints.
The 144,000 being the first fruits to the heavenly or spiritual life are, or represent, God's temple in heaven, as the living, mortal part of the church has always been, or represented God's temple on earth. And in the judgment scene that follows, and harvest of the earth, (not of the first fruits) as described in Rev. 14:14-20, the angels, or messengers, are said to come out of the temple which is in heaven.
It seems that after the exaltation of the "little flock," and contemporary with the above-named judgment scene, there goes forth the message, "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of his judgment is come, &c." Verse 7. This language seems to be addressed to the "great multitude" who, at the time the "little flock" are exalted, are found in adulterous union with the [R156 : page 3] world, and therefore defiled with corrupt churches, as the "little flock" were not. Verse 4. Because of the confusion they are called Babylon. The object of this message and the attending judgments "or punishments upon the people" is to cause the downfall of Babylon, by producing a complete separation between Christians and the world with whom they have been united and under whom they have suffered as slaves. Never did the Israelites serve the Egyptians more slavishly than is the nominal church serving the world. They dare not as yet assert their independence.
But there must come a change. The standard of Christianity must be exalted. The "great multitude" must wash their robes, and make them white. Rev. 7:14. Had their garments not been "defiled" they would not have needed washing. Christ gives all His people clean robes, but the mass have suffered their garments to become spotted with the flesh and by contact with the world. [R156 : page 4]
We suggest that this exaltation or washed state of the church is foreshadowed by the complete separation of Israel from Egypt in the land of Goshen, and that the three first plagues represent the means by which the change is to be brought about. We understand that washed and separate state to be the "Sea of glass" condition. Rev. 15. If it was a victory to be exempt from the "seven last plagues" in Goshen, it can be no less so now. Surely no one will say that it will not be a great victory when the "great multitude" of Christendom shall rise from bondage to the Beast, His Image, &c. It will be a glorious victory for them, for truth and for God. One of meager interest in comparison, was the type. Coming to our own day we can see another shadow of it in the judgment that broke the shackles from four millions of human slaves. But the victory that will bring men to the "sea of glass" is as much greater than those, as spiritual things are greater than natural things.
Remember the ones addressed by this judgment message is a motley crowd,--a world church. Those who obey the call get the victory; and those who do not obey it but continue on the world's side, or continue to worship the beast after the message is given, will suffer the full expression of wrath as represented by the "seven last plagues." This terrible fate is expressed by the third angel.
As the exemption from the seven last plagues in Goshen preceded the final deliverance from Egypt, so it seems that the "sea of glass" condition which is "mingled with fire" precedes the final entering of the temple in heaven of this "great multitude" of victors. Though protected from the plagues, yet "No man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled." Rev. 15:8.
The real "sea of glass like unto crystal" is before the throne (Rev. 4:6) and is not mingled with fire. This of Rev. 15, which is "mingled with fire" is "as it were, a sea of glass." The people protected in Goshen were, "as it were," saved, but not actually saved from Egypt until after the plagues, when the Lord brought them out, that they might serve Him. Ex. 4:23.
That the great multitude who are protected from the plagues on, "as it were, a sea of glass," do finally enter the heavenly temple and take their places as servants "before the throne" which is the locality of the real "sea of glass like unto crystal," seems evident by comparing Rev. 4:6 and 7:9-15. The sea of glass is "before the throne" and the great multitude serve "before the throne" in the temple. If we are now occupying, "as it were, a sea of glass," it seems as if it would prove that the throne had been already established before which the sea of glass is located. We confess our ambition has been and is to have a part with Christ in His throne, and not to occupy the sea of glass before the throne,--i.e., to rule and not merely to serve. The condition on which this high position is to be gained has been ably presented by others, and of the responsibility involved in the sacrifice more may be said in another article. "If we suffer we shall also reign with Him."
J. H. P.
COVENANT BY SACRIFICE.
Who are the saints? According to the above, none are saints who make no sacrifice. It is clear that the New Testament makes a distinction between saints, and them that fear [reverence] God's name, small and great. Rev. 2:18. And yet, as has been shown, this "great multitude" are to find a place before the throne in the heavenly temple. "And He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Rev. 7:15-17.
These evidently see the Lord, dwelling as they do in His presence, and yet Paul tells us that "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Heb. 12:14. Now if this great multitude do see the Lord, it proves that, when they see Him they are holy and therefore saints. How can we explain this seeming paradox? We are brought to this conclusion that all who ever enter the heavenly city either as Kings or as servants--i.e. as the government, or as citizens-- must be holy or saints, but that there is order in their development. The King and priest company are the first ripe, and therefore the throne of the heavenly city is established first. Rev. 4:2. This is "the throne of God and of the Lamb;" and also of a company represented by twenty-four elders with crowns of gold. Rev. 4:4, 5:6, 7:17 and 22:3.
At the time of the establishment of the throne, or rather perhaps the exaltation of the "little flock," or those who are ready for it, to the throne, the great multitude are not saints proper, and, like unripe grain, are left to ripen; and there is a difference also in the means or process of ripening. The little flock are out from the world, in voluntary obedience to the injunction. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice" and "Be not conformed to this world;" (Rom. 12:1-2.) while the multitude are living in close conformity to the world and are only separated from it at last, as was Israel from Egypt, on account of special acts of judgment. "Those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice" seems definitely to refer to the faithful few--the "Non-conformists."
In presenting some thoughts on this subject of sacrifice, we wish to indorse in part what has already been presented in our paper by other brethren. We have been slow to accept this view, and cannot yet accept all the conclusions which have been drawn by the brethren. And we would here say that we honor as one of the chief Christian virtues the spirit that differs in opinion and yet lives in harmony; keeping "the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace." Eph. 4:3. That [R157 : page 4] is the kind of bondage under which we are laboring.
We call attention first to the tenth chapter of Hebrews. The first verse speaks of "those sacrifices which they offered year by year," during the typical service of the earthly tabernacle. Notice, first, it is not one sacrifice, but plural--sacrifices. Second, these were not the daily sacrifices, but the yearly, or the sacrifices of the tenth day of the seventh month--the atonement day. This is confirmed by the third verse. "But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year." This is still further confirmed by the fourth verse, in which is mentioned the kind of sacrifices-- "bulls and goats." By turning to Lev. 16, it will be seen that such were the animals offered by the high priest on the annual day of atonement.
It has been clearly shown that the tenth day of the seventh month, or atonement day under the law, was a type or shadow of the whole gospel age, including the closing work of our Great High Priest, as well as the opening work. This being true, let us mark this point, that the sacrifices of this age were not typified by the daily offerings of the lower order of priests, but only by the annual offerings of the high priest. And as there were daily offerings for the people after as well as before the atonement day, so there will be offerings for the people after as well as before this atonement day--the gospel age. It is also evident that the provision of mercy by the sin-offerings on the atonement day was the basis for all other offerings, both before and after. Let this be specially noted by any who are in doubt as to the application of the benefits of the atonement after the gospel age.
Looking at the sacrifices--bullock and goat--of Lev. 16, in the light of facts given in the New Testament, there are reasons for believing that the bullock represented the body of Christ, which was prepared for sacrifice (Heb. 10:5), and that the goat which was slain represented the bodies of the saints, which they are called upon to sacrifice. Rom. 12:1. This is in harmony with the idea that the gospel age is an age of suffering, beginning with the personal sufferings of Christ, the Head, and not being complete until we, as the members of His body, have filled up what is behind of the afflictions of Christ. Col. 1:24. When the sufferings of Christ are ended, the glory will follow (1 Pet. 1:11), and "if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. 2 Tim. 2:12.
Christ, our Head, is our example in suffering as in other things, and it is a remarkable fact that it is Christ in us that enables us to make our bodies a sacrifice--to "mortify the deeds of the body." Rom. 8:10-13. These facts seem clearly foreshadowed in the type.
Let it be borne in mind that it required both priest and beast to represent our Lord Jesus Christ in His two natures, and that the beast in the type, and the body of Christ in the antitype, were the offerings. In Lev. 16:6 and 10, we learn that the bullock was for, or represented, Himself; i.e., the high priest. Not that the priest was doomed, and had a substitute in the beast, but illustrating, as best the type could (not being the very image of coming good things Heb. 10:1), the relation of the two natures of Christ, as both Priest and Sacrifice.
The same two verses tell us that the bullock was to "make an atonement for himself, and for his house." We do not think it is safe to make the second "himself" mean any more than the first "himself," in the same verse. They both refer to Aaron himself, and Aaron's house clearly means the whole tribe of Levi, of which Aaron was the representative or head. The tribe of Levi in this picture clearly represents the church of Christ, or household of faith, while the camp of Israel as clearly represents the world of mankind, as distinct from the church.
The two goats are taken from the congregation of the children of Israel (ver. 5), and they were as a sin-offering for the people (not for Aaron's house, as was the bullock), "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel." Verses 15,16. This was fully accomplished by one dying and the other being a scapegoat. Verses 21,22.
Now, in harmony with the idea that the church follows Christ in sacrifice, we find the goat on whom the Lord's lot fell, followed the bullock in sacrifice in every particular. This has much force in our mind. The theory that has not room for all these facts cannot be a perfect theory, however much may be claimed for it.
What was done with the bullock? First, he was slain; then, the high priest carried its blood, not the body, or sin offering, either dead or alive, but the blood, which was the evidence of its death, into the most holy place, and sprinkled it "upon the mercy seat eastward, and before the mercy seat," or in the form of a cross--a symbol of death. Verse 14. And the fifteenth verse tells us that he did precisely the same thing with the blood of the goat. And so the same disposition was made of their skins, their flesh and their dung-- they were carried "without the camp," and burned with fire. This similarity seems in force between Christ and the faithful. "Let us go forth, therefore, unto him without the camp bearing his reproach." Heb. 13:13.
We would consider somewhat
THE ORDER OF SACRIFICE.
The sixteenth of Leviticus, like much more of the word, is written somewhat obscurely, and were it not for the fulfillment, it would be more difficult to apply. Much as has been written to show that it was after the death and resurrection of Christ that He put on the "holy linen garments," or what was represented by them, we calmly and earnestly express our conviction that neither Christ nor His type-- the high priest under the law--had any right to make a sacrifice until dressed with the priest's garments appointed for that work.
It seems clear that Christ's body was not fully prepared for the sacrifice until He was thirty years of age--a perfect man being needed to represent all humanity in Adam. When the body was prepared, He came and was baptized, saying, "Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." Matt. 3:15. This act was doubtless foreshadowed by the high priest washing himself with water, and so putting on the holy linen garments. Lev. 16:4. Clean linen is the symbol of righteousness. Rev. 19:8.
This simple linen attire of the priest during the day of sacrifice and atonement should not be confounded with the garments for glory and beauty worn by the priest on other occasions, and described in Exodus 28.
We are satisfied that the work of Christ, from His baptism onward, cannot be understood until we recognize His two natures, or double life. We would say, also, we believe that the three apartments in the holy ground--the court, the holy [R157 : page 5] place, and the most holy place-- represent the three conditions of Christ, the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial--the immediate presence of the Deity. Until His death, He was bodily in the court, but in spirit He was serving as a priest in the holy place. In this, Christians are like Him. We live a double life--natural and spiritual. Actually or bodily, we are natural, or in the flesh, but are counted in the spirit, because the Spirit, or Divine nature, dwells in us. Rom. 8:9. Without this double, neither He nor we could be both priest and sacrifice, and we know that human nature will not crucify itself, and cannot be subject to the law of God.
Christ was strengthened to live, and in spirit served in the unseen, and, while He was denying Himself, it was a sweet incense ascending to the Father. This, too, was a necessary prerequisite to the death of the offering, and was represented, we believe, by the high priest putting the incense beaten small on the censor full of burning coals before the Lord. Lev. 16:12,13. This was an emblem of a life well pleasing unto God, which was necessary in order to the acceptance of the sacrifice. Outwardly, He was doing good to men, spending His life for them, and, therefore, inwardly, it was sweet incense to the Lord.
The living sacrifice we are to make, which Paul says is our reasonable service, seems to be of the same character. What truly blesses men is pleasing to God. The real sacrifice of Christ might properly be said to include this service. Paul seems to express this thought when of Christ he says: "And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Phil. 2:8. His last act was as much, and no more, a part of His obedience, than His first. Isaiah seems to express the same thought, "Because He hath poured out His soul [life] unto death." 53:12. That is, He kept giving until He had given all He had.
When the body was dead, the law had no further claim (the life had been shed), and, in the resurrection, it was changed that it might be adapted to the spiritual life. Before, He was bodily visible, but spiritually in the sanctuary, as Christians are now; but after the resurrection, He was bodily in the sanctuary, or holy place. The Spirit had conquered, and therefore made Him a spiritual body. In this risen state, the world saw Him not, but for special reasons He was manifested to His disciples.
This sacrifice of the Head was to make an atonement for the church; and when Christ ascended into the celestial state, or immediate presence of God, and, like the high priest, presented the evidence of all He had done, the fact that the Father was well pleased was proved by the descent of the Holy Spirit, as the representative of both the Father and Son, to espouse the virgin church, and also to enable her, as [R158 : page 5] represented by the goat, to do just what He had done--make the needed sacrifice, and so, in due time, to share his glory.
That the Holy Spirit is Christ's representative in His church is shown in Jno. 14:16-26; 15:26, and 16:7-15. And that it is by the indwelling of this Spirit, or Christ in us, that we are counted members of Christ, and, therefore, appointed priests that we may overcome the flesh, putting it to death, thus making our bodies a living sacrifice even unto death, is the general teaching of the New Testament.
The period of Christ's earth life was to Him what the gospel age, from Pentecost until this sacrifice of the church is complete, is to us. His life, devoted to God, on account of man, was sweet incense in heaven. So as we follow His example, our lives are sweet incense in heaven. As His sacrifice was not complete until He was dead, so ours is not complete until we are dead (or its equivalent for those "who are alive and remain"--the Lord saying "It is enough"). As the blood of the bullock (representing its death, or a complete sacrifice) being sprinkled in the form of a cross on the mercy seat, was not fulfilled until the ascension of Christ into the Holiest, does not analogy require, if the goat represents those who are faithful in sacrifice even unto death, that its blood, being sprinkled in the form of a cross on the mercy seat, should be fulfilled after the resurrection and ascension of the saints? If not, we would ask, why not?
As Christ's sacrifice was complete and accepted before the salvation of the church began, for whose benefit it was directly made, so the sacrifice of the church must be complete and accepted before the salvation of the world begins, for whom it was made. Christ, the Head, gave Himself for the church, that He might present her spotless; Eph. 5:23-27; so the sacrifice of Head and Body complete reaches the world.
Nothing seems clearer than that this sacrifice and victory are represented by baptism, the real death to sin and mortality and the resurrection to holiness and immortality being represented by the symbolic death and resurrection. The symbol is the form of the sacrifice, but to make the sacrifice itself is a life work. This is the real baptism. Christ said "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straightened until it be accomplished." He evidently referred to His death. He had a cup to drink; it was the cup of death. This cup He also pressed to the lips of His disciples, "Drink ye all of it." He drank it to the very dregs. Shall not we drink it by being "faithful unto death." To such is promised the "crown of life." In that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. 6:10,11.
Many promise to drink this cup and die this death by obeying the form; but only those who pay their vow unto the Lord, and thus make the covenant by sacrifice, are counted saints and are to be gathered unto Christ, as represented by Aaron meeting Moses. Only such seem truly represented by the goat that was slain.
J. H. P.
[Oh that the deep import of the matters presented above could be fully realized by all the dear flock. What a change it would make in many lives. How many, who have covenanted with God to sacrifice the earth life and spend it with all its talents and powers in His service are really spending it for self. Instead of self-sacrifice the rule of life and action seems to be self-protection; instead of self-denying it is self-gratification. Truly our lives are much like the world's; they have only the natural life to care for and so spend their time and every effort in seeking earthly good but we are seeking heavenly riches--things above. We may deceive ourselves but "Be not deceived, God is not mocked." If we covenanted to sacrifice and take up our cross and follow the example set by Jesus "we should walk in His footsteps." We well know how he spent his life, not in self-gratification nor in any other selfish way, but for others.
The fleshly nature will oft suggest to us: You cannot do as Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc., did. Let our new nature answer: I may not be a vessel to as much honor and as much used by the Master as were the apostles, yet in my sphere, be it ever so humble, I can be as completely consecrated and as anxious to be used and spent in the Lord's service as they were."A broken and emptied vessel,
For the Master's use made meet."
If I am ready for the service and He does not use me, then it will not be my fault. But we feel assured that there is not one in all God's family who is ready and emptied of self the Master would not use. The reason we are not more used, seems to us to be, that we all have more or less of self in which keeps the Lord and his service out. Lord, help by the grace promised for every time of need, help us to empty ourselves completely of self-conceit, self-reliance, self-concern, self-will, selfishness, and give us instead, concern only to know and do Thy will; to rely only upon Thy strength; and to be imbued with the Divine principle Love, that we may love Thee with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. The above article of course does not need our commendation, but we heartily indorse its sentiments and would bespeak for it a careful and prayerful second reading by you all. Notice especially that while the house of Levi represents the household of faith only the priests, those associated with Aaron in making the sacrifice are reckoned as members of his body. The church of the first-born--the heirs--members--all follow the example of the head. The many brethren come after, but the first-born is heir and inherits all things. Oh, that is the prize we are wanting! Let us remember that it is not the knowledge of the prize, which gives it to us, but the laying aside of every weight...and so running as to obtain. It is not our making the covenant to die, etc., which makes us overcomers, but our keeping it makes us heirs, "Heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord if so be that we suffer with Him." Rom. 8:17.--EDITOR.]
THE TABERNACLE, No. 3.
[We have been hindered for some time from following up our series on this subject, and gladly take it up again.]
We have already looked at the court and its gate. We have entered, and, so to speak, have passed the altar and the laver. And now, having been consecrated as priests at the laver, having brought our sacrifice --our flesh life--and laid it down with Christ on the altar of burnt offering--crucifying the flesh; being made conformable unto his death-- we are prepared to go on unto perfection.
We stand at the door of the Tabernacle. Like the gate of the court, it is made of snowy linen curtains. We look at it closely. It is radiant with blue and purple and scarlet, and covered with needlework. We have already seen, when looking at the entrance to the court, that Christ is the door; and now again we discover
"'Tis the very same Jesus." In admiration we gaze at the beautiful colors, symbolic of his faithfulness, his majesty and his saving grace. We see him as the faithful and true--one who sticketh closer than a brother--as our glorious King and Head and as our Saviour who redeemed us with his own precious blood. The needlework appears to symbolize those Christian graces which, though slowly developed, and perfected through toil and suffering, make a garment of beauty at last.
Shall we enter this mystic lodge? Are we desirous of seeing its light, and of learning its mysteries? Do we obligate ourselves to walk in obedience to its teachings, and obey --even unto death--the mandates of its Royal Master? We may do it with safety. There is no dark unhallowed work here, fearful of the light. Yes! we have taken the obligation, we have passed through the ceremony of initiation, we have been clothed with its spotless regalia-- the beautiful garments of the Royal priesthood, the robe of Christ's righteousness, without which none can enter. Shall we then, bidding farewell to the light and sunshine of this world, enter the secret place of the Most High? Without is sin and suffering and death; within is life and light and holiness.
This is the highway of the overcomers; this is the path of the just, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Within are mysteries and beauties which those without who serve tables know nothing of. The Levites must not even look at the glories within; they are hid from their eyes.
We enter. A new and heavenly light--spiritual light--breaks upon us. We gaze around, and lo, the blue, and purple, and scarlet is above our heads and all about us on every hand. We are covered and hidden beneath a weight of glory. It is the glory of the Master: Jesus and his righteousness. We have believed into Christ now "we are in him that is true, in the Son, Jesus Christ." Jesus prayed the Father for his disciples "that they also may be one in us." "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever." Psa. 125:2. Not only so, but, pictured on the snowy curtains above and on every side, are the cherubim: no flaming sword in their hand now. We realize that we are surrounded by God's messengers. We have come to "an innumerable company of angels." [R159 : page 5] Heb. 12:22. We remember that it is written, "the angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. Ps. 34:7. Like Jacob at Bethel we discover that "this is none other than the house of God;" and "are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation." Heb. 1:14."In God I have found a retreat,
Where I can securely abide;
No refuge, nor rest so complete,
And here I intend to reside.
Oh, what comfort it brings,
My soul sweetly sings:
I am safe from all danger,
While under his wings."
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. ...Because thou hast made Jehovah, which is my refuge, even [R159 : page 6] the Most High, thy habitation. There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." Ps. 91:1,9-11.
Having come so far on our journey, what are our privileges? Firstly, we may walk in the light; for are we not in the presence of "the true light that lighteth every man (in due time) that cometh into the world?" Jno. 1:9. And "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7. God is light, and in him there is no darkness." Not only have we light upon our pathway, but strength for the journey is provided. An abundant supply of living bread--always fresh and sweet --is spread before us. And whether we sing for very joy, or pray for needed grace, the sweet incense of Jesus' merits rising in a perfumed cloud makes our presence acceptable, and our prayers and praises fragrant as they ascend before "Our Father."
W. I. M.
[To be continued.]
CLEANSING THE SANCTUARY.
"And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat; and Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat," &c. Lev. 16:20,21.
It seems that "reconciling the holy place," &c., is the same as "cleansing the sanctuary," and the above text clearly locates that work after the blood of the goat had been sprinkled on the mercy seat, as the blood of the bullock had been before it, and immediately preceding the laying of hands on the head of the scapegoat. If our view be correct, this locates the cleansing of the sanctuary after the ascension of the saints--the "little flock"--as represented by Aaron, who went up into the mount of God to meet Moses, and received power with him to execute judgment and deliver Israel.
And we would here urge the point, that, if the sprinkling of the bullock's blood on the mercy seat was fulfilled after the ascension of Christ, and if, as now seems clear, the slain goat represents those who follow the Lord in sacrifice, then we ought not to expect the fulfillment of the sprinkling of the goat's blood until after the ascension of the saints whom the goat represents. The acceptance of Christ's complete sacrifice secured to him the power requisite to the performance of His work from Pentecost forward; so the acceptance of the complete sacrifice of the saints will secure to them the power to execute the judgments which are to follow their exaltation, for the deliverance of the "great multitude" that fear, or reverence, God's name. And it seems that just as certain as the slain goat represents the little flock, the cleansing that takes place after their ascension cannot have any reference to the saints, but to a work for others, in which, after their exaltation, the saints are to be the assistants of Christ.
What can that work be? From facts already mentioned in other articles, we are led to the conclusion that the cleansing of the sanctuary will find its fulfillment in the separation of the great multitude of the church from Babylon, under whom they have been in bondage, and by contact with whom they had been defiled. This cleansing, or coming out of Babylon, we understand to be the washing their robes and making them white, and that it was foreshadowed by the separation of Israel from Egypt, and their consequent exemption from the seven last plagues, which came on Egypt. This exemption in Goshen we understand to be the foreshadowing of the state of the washed ones, or who have gained the victory over the corruptions of Babylon, as they stand on "as it were, a sea of glass, mingled with fire." Then a thousand shall fall at their side, and ten thousand at their right hand, but it shall not come nigh them.
If, as seems clear to us, the scapegoat represents Babylon, or those on whom the seven last plagues are to come, then this separation, or washing of the great multitude, stands in the right place to fulfill the type of cleansing the sanctuary; i.e., after the exaltation of the little flock, and just before the seven last plagues.
Our position, briefly stated, is, first, that the sacrifice of the bullock represented the sacrifice of the body prepared for Christ, and that the sprinkling of its blood on the mercy seat represented the presentation of Christ's complete sacrifice before the Father when He ascended on high.
Second: That the sacrifice of the Lord's goat represented the sacrifice of our bodies, as we, by the power of the Spirit, which is Christ in us, are made conformable unto His death; and that the sprinkling of the goat's blood on the mercy seat represented the presentation of the complete sacrifice of the saints before the Father, when they ascend on high.
Third: That the "reconciling of the holy place," or "cleansing of the sanctuary," which took place after the sprinkling of the goat's blood on the mercy seat, represented the separation of the "great multitude" of the household of faith from Babylon, by washing their robes from the defilements of Babylon, in both doctrine and practice, and that the separate, or cleansed state, is, "as it were, a sea of glass, mingled with fire."
Fourth: That laying hands on the head of the scapegoat represented the pouring of the seven vials of wrath upon Babylon, after the great multitude are separated or cleansed.
Fifth: It is further evident that this scapegoat work must be accomplished before the complete ending of the gospel age, or antitypical atonement day, the closing work of which brings not only the reward of prophets and saints, but also of them that fear God's name, small and great, and the destruction of them (Babylon) that destroy, or corrupt, the earth. Rev. 11:18.
Sixth: The fact that no man of these, on, "as it were, a sea of glass," is permitted to enter into the temple in heaven until after the plagues are fulfilled (Rev. 15:8), seems clearly represented by the statement in Lev. 16:17. "And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel." This necessitates the scapegoat work as well as the things that precede it. Vs. 10.
The reason we present these things is the apparent harmony, to our minds, between the facts of the gospel dispensation elsewhere revealed and the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus. We have endeavored to find in the picture an illustration of the landscape, so to speak. We do not present these thoughts in the spirit of dogmatism or concision. We are sure that the Lord will do all things after the counsel of His own will, whether we understand that will or not, but we believe it is our duty and privilege to search and learn all we can about His ways. Even the effort to learn is beneficial, if we do not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think; and if we have been, or may be, able to discern truth, all credit is due, not to us, but to the Spirit of truth.
One thing we wish to emphasize: not so much those who understand the philosophy of the sacrifice are to be sharers with Christ, as those who make the sacrifice; as not those who understand the process of digestion are benefited by the food, but those who digest it. If our view of this work of sacrifice be right, we are sure it has not been commonly known, but we are as sure that many, during the age, have been conformed to the will and death of Christ. It is not supposable that the woman who cast two mites into the treasury understood this view of the sacrifice and things associated, yet Jesus assures us she did more than the many others, because she gave her all. All that we have--our life, time, talents and property--are the Lord's, and we are stewards for Him. "Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are His."
J. H. P.
AARON AS A PRIEST.
Whom does Aaron as a priest represent? In brief, we answer, Christ; but Aaron with Moses as an administrator of judgment represents the saints with Christ. In the deliverance of Israel he is administrator of judgment; while in the work of atonement, as revealed in Lev. 16, he is priest.
But if Aaron as priest represents Christ, in order to understand the subject, it is necessary to answer the question, Who is Christ? This may seem to some a strange question, but to us it is very important. We think it has been shown that the Christ of the Scriptures is a compound being. Divine and human, and that there are two stages of His existence after his birth in the flesh, first the natural, afterward the spiritual. In the first He was a Divine being in human form, and in the second a human being in Divine form. He is "the root and the offspring of David" since His exaltation as well as before. Rev. 22:16 and Rom. 1:3-4. The mystery of Godliness includes His being exalted to glory as well as the manifestation in the flesh. 1 Tim. 3:16.
It has also been shown from time to time that the Christ of scripture is a complex being, presented to our minds by the figure of a man-- Head and Body;--Jesus Himself being the Head and believers being the many members of the one Body. This being true it follows that there is a progressive development of Christ from Jesus in the flesh, until the last member of His Body is exalted to glory. What was true of the Head is also true of each member of the Body, first a manifestation in the flesh, and afterward an ascension to glory.
Because the Head was exalted to glory at the beginning of the gospel age, and the Body is not so exalted until the end of the age, it follows that Christ is represented as acting in both Heaven and Earth at the same time during the gospel age. It is that same Divinity which, dwelling in the humanity of Jesus, constituted Him the Son of God, which dwelling in us constitutes us the sons of God. In Him it was native, while we derive it from Him, as branches derive their life from the vine. The Spirit of truth manifested in the church is Christ's representative, was given as an evidence of the acceptance of our Head and the completeness of His work, and is termed Christ in us. Rom. 8:9-10, Gal. 2:20 and 4:19, and Col. 1:27.
In this last verse He is called, "the hope of glory,"--the only hope of success. As He conquered by virtue of the Spirit, so it is only by the Spirit that we can overcome and reach glory. Paul says, "I can do all things, through Christ that strengtheneth me." Phil. 4:13.
All this work of the gospel age is the antitype of the work of the atonement day,--the tenth day of the seventh month--under the law. And as Aaron made the sacrifices then, and as Christ either in Himself or in us, makes the sacrifices in this age, it follows that at the beginning of the atonement day Aaron represented Jesus Himself; in the sacrifice of the goat he represented Christ in the saints, who follow the Lord in sacrifice; and in cleansing the sanctuary and laying his hands on the head of the scapegoat, he represented Christ and the saints, who execute judgments and deliver.
It seems as if this principle of growth must apply as surely as the idea of Christ is progressive. As Aaron's work of that day represents the whole work of the gospel age, we cannot escape the conclusion that at the beginning he represented the Head, and at the end represented the whole Body, or perfect Christ.
The closing work of Aaron,--the change of garments and the washing of his flesh,--we have purposely left unmentioned until now. The consideration of the work of the atonement day--both type and antitype --has changed our ideas of this washing. We will endeavor to present our present view of the subject, without reference to the past. An increase of light on any subject modifies former ideas. We think this subject of the washing has never been presented in the light of the true character of Christ as the Divine in the human, and as progressive in development. We will not claim perfection of thought, but present our ideas with the assurance that truth will stand the test, and imperfect ideas will be pruned by further investigations.
We believe further, that this subject of washing can only be understood in connection with a right view of baptism. We think our readers have had placed before them of late a very clear view of this subject. There is a symbolic baptism, and a real one. The symbolic is a sinking into and rising from the water. The real baptism has two phases--first the denial of self and living to God, or, as Paul expresses it, dying to sin and living to holiness; (Rom. 6,) and second, dying to mortality and living to immortality.
These two phases of the real baptism [R160 : page 7] are the real "washing of regeneration" without which it is not possible to enter the heavenly kingdom. Christ Himself was the first to pass through the process of regeneration. The symbolic baptism represents the real, and when any person submits to the form, loyally, he is counted what he is to be-- clean or holy. The symbolic baptism stands at the entrance of the earthly phase of Christian life. Regeneration complete, is the second birth, or entrance upon the perfect and independent spiritual life.
As Aaron at first represented Jesus alone, so the first washing of Aaron's flesh was fulfilled in that phase of baptism which introduced our Saviour to the work of the ministry, with the "holy linen garments" or, representing Him as a righteous servant. And all who follow Him in the voluntary sacrifice of self and the world, are counted as dead with Him, buried with Him, and risen with Him. This one baptism, or washing, carried to its legitimate consequences, brings both Christ and the saints into a state of immortality. Then why should Aaron wash his flesh a second time? Because the "great multitude" of the household of Christ, represented by the house of Aaron, and for whom atonement was made by the first sacrifice, have failed to present themselves a voluntary sacrifice, and are therefore not entitled according to the original arrangement to the Divine life and a place in the kingdom.
It is true that before this second washing they have been separated and washed their robes, and thus have done what is involved in the first phase of the real baptism, but it is not with the "great multitude" as with the "little flock"--a voluntary sacrifice; they are driven to it, so to speak, under the influence of peculiar judgments. So the first washing could not properly represent them.
It is evident that Christ Himself and the saints once washed and glorified need not the second. We have seen that before the second washing of Aaron the blood of the goat had been sprinkled, representing the ascension of the saints; the sanctuary was cleansed representing the separation of the "great multitude" from Babylon, giving them a position on, "as it were, a sea of glass;" and the hands laid on the scapegoat, representing the pouring of the seven last plagues on Babylon. Now all that remains to be done for that multitude is their complete deliverance from the world, as Israel were delivered from Egypt after the plagues. These are the only part, (and they are the great part) of Christ's body who at that point of time remain unwashed. When that is done, all are rewarded, --Christ his saints and the great multitude who are to serve before the throne.
That the great multitude are Christ's in the sense we have presented seems evident even from the fact that they have robes; that is, they had been counted holy, or had Christ's righteousness imputed to them. But they had defiled their garments by contact with Babylon, and therefore their loss of the crown, and the need of the judgments to separate them.
Christ is acting as priest in all who are possessed of His Spirit; and that work of the Spirit cannot be complete until all the household are immortal.
The garments worn after the first washing were the "holy linen garments," representing the righteous servant; and this is the condition of every member of the body, from Jesus down, during the period of sacrifice, or other earthly work. But the garments worn after the second washing, are "the garments for glory and beauty" or the ordinary garments of the high priest, except on the day of sacrifice. Language is unmeaning if the garments "for glory and beauty" described in Exodus 28 are the same as the simple attire of the priests during the work of sacrifice. We know that the holy linen garments were worn only on the day of atonement, or tenth day of the seventh month, but in Ex. 28:29-30 we learn that the glorious garments were to be worn before the Lord continually.
We know that if Christ had not been a priest during His earth life, He could not have offered the sacrifice, and we know also that He wore the robe of righteousness, but not the robe of glory until His ascension. And we have the assurance that if we wear the robe of righteousness, and follow Him in sacrifice, we shall be glorified with Him. From which it is evident that the garment to be worn after the second washing is the glorious garment.
The work of the high priest under the law was an annual repetition in type, of what Christ does only once, and he would not have been a type of the Christ if, when he had gone through with the service of the tenth day of the seventh month for the first time, he had after the second washing put on his old clothes. Of course, if, as we believe, he wore the glorious garments "continually," that is all through the year, except on the atonement day, it would follow that when he came to the first washing of all succeeding atonement days, he would lay aside [R161 : page 7] the glorious garments to begin again the work of sacrifice, and put them on again after the second washing.
When once the perfect Christ is glorified, it is evident that they will not lay that glory aside until the work is done which was represented by a whole year under the law, and it will never need repetition. The one perfect sacrifice lasts forever. Heb. 10:12. His priesthood will be as endless as His mediatorial reign, and that continues after His coming until all His enemies are subdued.
But some one may ask: "If, as you claim, He was a priest when He was here in the flesh, and will continue to be a priest after His return during His reign, how will you harmonize Paul's statement: "If He were on earth, He should not be a priest." Heb. 8:4. If any one will carefully read the context, he will see that Paul is contrasting the typical priesthood of the tribe of Levi, and the antitypical priesthood of our Lord, who sprang out of Judah. The typical is the earthly, and the work of the antitype is the heavenly. The statement of Paul is equivalent to saying: "If this service were the typical, our Lord who sprang from Judah would not be a priest, for there are priests of the tribe of Levi, who offer according to the law." Please read the context for yourselves. Whoever is determined, in spite of the context, to force the idea that Christ could do no part of His work as a priest on earth, must either deny that Christ is a "priest forever after the order of Melchizedek," or that He will return to earth until that "forever" is ended. All Christ's priestly work is heavenly, though part of it is performed on earth, because He is a priest by virtue of His Divinity or heavenly nature. And what is true of Christ the Head is true, in turn, of each member of the body. Christ in us, to perform the work of sacrifice, is the hope of glory. How significant then the exhortation of the apostle, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure." The Divine in the human is the only hope of humanity.
J. H. P.
ISAAC AND REBECCA.
We have already seen that many of the narratives of the old testament aside from being historical, have a special interest to us from the fact that the persons and acts described are often used as types of spiritual truths now due to us.
The Apostles, especially Paul, often referred to these types. In Romans 9:7-8, and Gal. 4:22-31, he shows that Abraham was a type of God; that his wife Sarah, was a type of the Gospel Covenant; that Jesus Christ (and we in him) is the offspring of that covenant, which "is the mother of us all." Hagar the bond-maid typified the Law covenant and her offspring, the fleshly Israel, and all whose relationship to God comes not of grace, but by keeping the law, are the offspring of that covenant. [There are people to-day whose claim is that they are God's children through keeping the law-- the seventh day, Sabbath, etc.] Abraham had "a seed" by Sarah in whom centered the promises of blessing to all the families of earth. So in the antitype God has "a seed" through the gospel or grace covenant in which seed all promises of blessings center; "which seed is Christ" "and if ye be Christ's [body, bride] then are ye Abraham's seed [God's seed] and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29.)
We have heretofore looked at some of the typical features of the getting of Isaac's bride--Rebecca, believing it to be a picture of the taking of Jesus' bride, but a closer examination reveals some points not heretofore noticed. Let us therefore re-examine it. Isaac chose not his own bride, but Abraham chose for him through his servant, illustrative of the fact that God the Father, through his spirit (the servant) is choosing the bride of Christ. (Jno. 17:2-24.) As the servant represents the Spirit, so we understand that the camels upon which he came to Rebecca (which also carried the presents) represented The Word of God. When the servant arrived he sought the virgin who when asked to entertain him, would voluntarily offer respect to his camels. Just so, we must "gladly receive the word" if we would be accepted as the bride. As the servant kept secret the account of the riches of Abraham, and Isaac's being the only heir, and his errand being to select a bride for him, until Rebecca had received the camels, so the Spirit does not communicate to us the news of "our high calling in Christ, until we entertain the word as well as the Spirit. When Rebecca had thus received the camels, etc., the servant gave her a face ornament of gold and gold bracelets for her hands, so when we receive the spirit and word of God our faces show it, and our hands also, (Gold symbolizes Grace.) We cannot be blessed of the Spirit without its affecting our lives and in whatever our hands find to do we will be constantly showing the graces (presents) of the Spirit.
Rebecca "ran and told them of her mother's house these things." So, when the bride of Jesus has received even a few of the gifts of the Spirit she "loves to tell the story." Rebecca's brother when he saw the adornments entertained the servant and camels. So many of the bride's moral friends rejoice at her adornments of a meek and quiet spirit, &c., and because of these receive the Spirit and word as a visitor, but not as she receives them, viz.: as guide and helper on to Isaac.
When entertained, the servant declares his mission; Rebecca accepts the invitation to go and receives further presents, this time both silver and gold (knowledge and grace), and to her friends who did not hinder her going, he gave "precious things." So with us, it is not when we first receive the Spirit and Word but when they are lodged with us as our guests, that the wonderful news of our high calling is declared to us. When we accept of it and its conditions--leaving our "Father's house, etc."--we receive further blessings of the heretofore hidden treasures, both knowledge and grace and come to possess and learn some of "the deep things of God."
Rebecca starts at once on her journey, so must we; the Spirit has a work to do and will not delay; if we are the bride we will want to start at once for our new heavenly home--and joyfully forsake the earthly; its attractions do not for a moment compare with those of our heavenly Father's house. Rebecca followed the guidance of the servant and rode on the camels. So we are led of the Spirit, and supported and carried forward by the word of God. Rebecca's "damsels rode upon camels" also, and followed her, consequently they were also under the guidance of the servant. So we are told of a "great company" following the bride of Christ. "The virgins, her companions that follow her," (Ps. 45:14). All are bound for the same Spiritual heavenly condition, but only the bride is to be joint heir, inheriting all things. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things."
Now they near the end of the journey. Soon Isaac and Rebecca will meet and our interest increases as we realize that what has so far been so clearly a picture should give us an idea of how we shall meet our Lord. Isaac comes out and meets Rebecca on the way and himself leads her into the mother Sarah's tent. So our Lord is to come to get His Bride and will lead her into the full possession of things pertaining to the Sarah covenant. For us to enter into and possess all things pertaining to our covenant will include our "blessing all the families of the earth," and though we expect very soon to be united to our Lord, yet we expect to journey with him until A.D. 1914 (End of "Gentile time") before we can share with him all the blessings promised us, by our covenant --fully enter in to the mother's tent.
We read that Isaac "came by the way of the well, Lahai-roi." Has [R161 : page 8] the name of this well anything of special significance, or why is it so particularly mentioned? Hagar gave the well this name, "For she said: Have I also here looked after Him that seeth me. Wherefore the well was called Beer (well) Lahai-roi." (Gen. 16:13,14.) She realized that the Lord had been present, seen and talked with her, yet she had not seen Him, though she had "looked after [for] Him." The mentioning in this type that Isaac came by this well may have a significance, if so, we should suppose it meant to teach that our Lord, when coming to meet us, comes by way of the unseen presence.
The servant informs Rebecca as to the presence of Isaac, and immediately she leaves her virgin companions, putting on a vail which hides her from their sight. She alights from the camel, and is with Isaac.
"Forever with the Lord! amen, so let it be." Now, what does this feature of the type teach us? We believe that we are still going forward on the word. The Spirit is still our leader and instructor. He is now telling us of Him who comes by way of unseen presence that He is here present. Some members of "the bride" have already heard, others are hearing daily. When all have been instructed, the next step in order will be our leaving the second company--disappearing from their sight--going beyond the vail of the flesh--entering the perfect spiritual condition; changed in a moment from mortal to immortal; from natural to spiritual; made like unto Christ's glorious body. Then "we shall see Him as He is," for [R162 : page 8] "we shall be like Him." Glorious hope, joyous moment. Soon the new nature will be freed entirely from the restraints of the fleshly body and have "a body as it hath pleased Him." Soon we shall alight from the camels, and leave the servant's guidance when we pass under the vail. When that which is perfect is come, we will have no further need of the sustaining and helping promises of the word, nor of the guidance of the comforter, for "we shall know as we are known," and "see as we are seen."
We seem to be very near the time of our change. Seek to keep it ever in mind. It will help you over the hard places of life, cheer your heart, and help you "to keep your body under." See, also, to be as much as possible used as the mouthpiece of the Spirit to inform the "espoused virgin" church of the Lord's presence.
WILL THE SPIRIT BE WITHDRAWN?
It has been a theory with many dear brethren looking for our approaching change, that when the "bride"--"little flock," is changed in a moment, withdrawn from the world, the Spirit of God will leave the earth, and that those left will be without the comforter. We have before this expressed our belief that this view is erroneous, that the second or "great company" which does not escape the time of trouble but go through it and "wash their (world-spotted and stained) robes and make them white, etc.," though not overcomers, and therefore not permitted as part of "the first-born" to sit in the throne and be joint-heirs, are nevertheless Children of God, and as such are entitled to the seal of their sonship the Spirit, and that it will be necessary that they be clean and white, and he sent messengers to have the Spirit to guide them during and through the time of trouble.
We now see by the above type of Rebecca, the servant and her maids, a strong support for this view. Notice that when Rebecca passed under the vail she left the maids with the servant, while Isaac conducted her to his home. So when we pass beyond the vail (our change) the spirit remains with the great company while our Bridegroom conducts us to His throne.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
Q.--Does the Scripture to your understanding teach, that Saints who constitute the bride of Christ, will be made perfect as natural beings before being "changed" to spiritual bodies?
A.--We do not so understand the Scriptures. You cannot find a text in the Bible which says that the Saints will be restored to perfection of the flesh. We were reckoned as justified to life by Jesus' death, but this life to which we were entitled, we covenanted to give up and make a sacrifice of. Are we to take back that which we sacrificed? By no means. God's arrangement with us is, that if we give up the natural a sacrifice, He will give us instead, the spiritual. We accepted the conditions, have already received a spiritual mind instead of the natural, and are now only waiting for the change of our natural body to the spiritual-- the completion of God's promise. Read carefully article--"Restitution for whom?"--in August (1880) No. of Z.W.T., page 4.
A.--The baptism of the Holy Ghost is treated of in an article in this paper. To understand John's words we should reflect that he addressed mixed classes of the Jews. "There came out to him all Judea and Jerusalem to be baptised." The scribes and pharisees also came. John came as the introducer of Jesus and the gospel, and looking forward he prophetically foretells the result. Some will receive Jesus, and these will be baptised with the Holy Ghost: Others will not receive Him and their house (Jewish) will be left desolate and baptised with fire--the judgments which did come upon them as a people after their rejection of Jesus. Verse 12 is but a repetition of the same thing in other words. He says of Jesus-- "whose fan is in his hand and he will thoroughly purge his floor." This shows the work of Jesus during his three and a-half years ministry. As a winnower he separated the wheat of the Jewish people from the chaff. "He will gather the wheat into His garner [gospel dispensation] but burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire"--the dreadful trouble which wiped them as a people from national existence.
Q.--I read with deep interest an article in last month's paper, called "Anti-Christ," and heartily agree with it. Now I want to inquire whether we can, properly speaking, call any church the church of Christ which does not possess the gifts of the Spirit as we are told the first church had them?
A.--Among the gifts of the Spirit mentioned by Paul is that of Apostles. Now this gift was never intended to be continued to the church except as we have it, viz: We have them present and teaching the church now through their writings. But there were only to be twelve apostles, and they are promised [when the Kingdom takes possession of Earth] twelve thrones; none but the twelve are to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel. Again, Jesus said when addressing them, that he had chosen them who were witnesses, as the apostles of the church. Then none since Jesus' day could be apostles, since none but they were witnesses of His resurrection, &c. When Judas lost his place as one of the twelve, Peter found the scripture (Acts 1:20-25,) which stated that another should take his place (Bishopric-- office of bishop or apostle) and the eleven met together and selected one who had seen Jesus, etc., as a witness of his resurrection. They cast lots upon two and selected Mathias to be one of the twelve apostles. But they evidently were mistaken in their actions [the spirit was not yet given]. Jesus had his own plans for selecting the twelfth apostle and fulfilling the prophecy. Jesus chose Paul and ordained him to be an apostle (Rom. 1:5.) and since all of the apostles must be eye witnesses of his resurrection, Paul was caused to see him--"last of all he was seen of me also...who am not meet to be called an apostle." [1 Cor. 15:9, see also, 2 Cor. 11:5, and 12:11, and Gal. 1:17 and 19.] Thus we see that God never recognized any but twelve apostles. And that it was never designed there should be any more, we see from Rev. 21:14, where the names of the twelve apostles (no more) are mentioned in connection with the foundations.
The apostle tells us that there are differences of administration, but the same Lord. So we see it to be; for instance, as to the apostles' method of teaching the church. God has seen fit to continue, to some extent, these gifts. We have in the church "teachers, evangelists, pastors," &c., but many of those gifts have passed away under a "different administration." Tongues prophesyings, &c., have ceased, as Paul said they should (1 Cor. 13:8), probably, because not now necessary.
The church is, to our understanding, one body, from Jesus, the head, down to the last member bearing the same fruit of the vine. Its life lasts on earth during the gospel age and until every member is clothed with its heavenly body. While on earth, any two or three of the members may assemble themselves as the body--the church--and will be so recognized by the head, who says He will meet with them.
A STRANGE THOUGHT.
A contemporary whose editor does not believe our Lord now present, says it believes that when Jesus comes he will spend some time washing his bride before the marriage. Truly, this is a peculiar thought, strangely out of harmony with earthly usages and customs. We suggest the thought that the Bible never uses an illustration which involves an absurdity. Let us glance at the Scriptural way of stating the matter.
Jesus espoused to himself a virgin clad in filthy garments of her own unrighteousness; He left her robes of righteousness, of his own purchase, telling her that she must put on these robes (by faith) if she would be His. He did not put them on her. The robes he gave her were sages to her by the Apostles that she should abstain from all defiling things while she waited for him; that she should put away her former filthy habits and live henceforth according to the Spirit and not after the flesh, and keep herself "unspotted from the world." He left his word as a purifier and cleanser if ever she got a soil upon her robes, that so he might though absent himself thus arrange for her readiness, and "sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that he might present her to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." And the Apostle exhorts us to make use of these agencies and be sanctified--holy--through the truth.
"Wherefore, beloved, seeing ye look for such things, be diligent that [R163 : page 8] ye may be found of him in peace without spot and blameless." (2 Pet. 3:14.) Mark that he says not, that he shall wash you when he comes, but you shall be found of him so cleansed. Let us, dearly beloved, give diligence to this subject and see that our robe is spotless, remembering always that "without holiness (purity--separation) no man shall see the Lord." Those whose robes need washing must do it for themselves, either now or during the time of trouble. (Rev. 7:14.)
OUR TRIP NORTHWARD.
Friends at Danville, N.Y., may expect us Thursday evening, Nov. 4th; at Honeoye, N.Y., Sunday, Nov. 7th; and at Brockport, N.Y., Nov. 11th. We expect to make three other stops, but hold no public meetings except at the above named places. As per many requests, Sister Russell will accompany me.
Brother B. W. Keith Danville, N.Y. Brother Ira Allen Honeoye, N.Y. Sister J. G. Heath Brockport, N.Y.
Any friends in the vicinity of these places who desire to attend the meetings, are cordially invited to do so. Some arrangement for your entertainment will be made.
We have read letters, etc., from parties in the East--New Jersey, Delaware, etc.--who supposed our journey would bring us near them; but it does not. To such we would say that we hope to have an Eastern trip about January, 1881. Would like to go sooner, but expect to see some of the dear ones West in December.
C. T. RUSSELL, Editor.
WHAT TO DO.
Several have written to us that they have carefully read article in September number, 1880, on "Importance of Baptism," and would like to fulfill the outward sign of the death of the fleshly nature, as symbolized by immersion into water, but are at a loss how to accomplish it.
We would suggest that if you live near any of those whose names appear in first column of our paper, write to them; if not, if there are several of you, baptize one another; or if you live near any of the officiating brethren of the Christian Disciple church, they would doubtless serve you. (Ministers of the "Baptist Church" are not permitted by their creed to baptize any except those who join their church.) We only throw out these suggestions. If you earnestly desire it, you will find that God has some open door for you.
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