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VOL. II. PITTSBURGH, PA., JUNE, 1881. NO. 12.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER and Herald of Christ's Presence
ROCK OF AGES
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A RANSOM FOR ALL
"Watchman, What of the Night?" "The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11
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HE ON THE HOUSETOP.
"In the day that the Son of man is revealed; in that day, he which shall be on the housetop and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away; and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." Luke 17:30-33.
The description is relative to matters due to take place after the Lord has come. The six preceding verses explain how he will be present in his days as the lightning--invisible, its presence recognized only by the thunder and the flashes of light which come from it. Present while mankind will be eating, drinking, planting and building; present, but unrecognized; but not long will it be so; his presence will soon be made known; he will be revealed in this day so that all shall recognize his presence and power.
First to recognize him will be the "little flock" soon to be made His Bride, otherwise called his friends, from whom he hides no good thing, but reveals to them all things and shows them not only things present but also "things to come." These will know first the blessed news of the presence of the heavenly Bridegroom; then by-and-by as the judgments begin to come, first on the nominal church and then on the world, all men will come to know of his presence, for He shall be "revealed in flaming fire." (Great and notable judgments.) We find from our lamp--God's word--that the Bridegroom has come, is now present, consequently the revealing of his presence has commenced; it is revealed to us through the "sure word of prophecy" and we do not wait to see in the light of flaming judgments. Seeing, then, that we are living in the day of revealing, it is due time that we should understand our text which treats of matters due to transpire here and now; let us therefore give heed to our text and obey its teachings. [Read it again.]
We first inquire what house is referred to, and find that the nominal church is meant. There is a sense in which only the overcomers are spoken of as the house--"Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we if we hold fast," etc. Again the Jewish Church and the entire nominal church of wheat and tares are called houses, and we read that Jesus shall be for "a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to both the houses of Israel." Isa. 8:14.
This is the house referred to in our text--the nominal Gospel house-- which we elsewhere read is to stumble. They in the house are the members of the nominal household; they on the housetop represent those nearest heaven--the most devoted and consecrated ones--the jewels which the Lord says he will gather; "the stuff in the house" represents the individual interests centered in the organizations, such as honor, respect, family ties, friendships; these are valuables indeed; we all love these things, but the Lord says that in this day, as soon as we discern his presence we must flee and escape from the house--the house is stumbling and about to fall. A terrible gale is coming on; we know it is just at hand, for we see the flashes from the dark clouds of trouble which indicate the presence of him who is as the lightning.
It is the same message which is put in other words in Rev. 18:2. "Babylon is fallen; come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues." But how loathe are the inmates to leave their old and comfortable home; they will not believe that their house can fall--these will not obey the voice; they will be buried in the ruins. "Woe unto them that are at ease in Zion."
But there is another class which cries and laments for Zion's transgressions, who are not at ease. Some of these housetop saints hear and believe the call, but some stay and try to prop up the shaking house and hope against hope; some of them take the alarm and attempt to escape, but loving their stuff (goods) seek to take it with them; this involves delay, and is dangerous. It is this danger our Lord warns us against, saying: "Let him not go down to take it away. And let him that is in the field likewise not return back." Those who have got out of the house and are fleeing from the coming storm let them not think it a false alarm and return, for the destruction of the house (nominal church) lingers only until such sheep as hear the shepherd's voice, "Come out of her, my people," and are obedient, shall have had opportunity to escape; then will come the crash and fall.
Now mark the illustration given: "Remember Lot's wife." In the days of Lot they of Sodom ate, drank, etc., as usual, but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. We all recall the story, how Lot was called out of Sodom before sunrise; how he endeavored to get his relatives, who were wedded to Sodomites, to flee with him; how his words seemed to them like idle tales; how even Lot and his family were so tedious that the angels laid hold of their hands and urged them out. They had hardly escaped when the destruction came upon the city. So here God pronounces certain judgments upon the world and on a worldly church. He tells his "friends" (represented by Abraham), who live separate from the world--from under the influence of Sodom, of what is coming upon Sodom, and delivers the class who have become almost overcharged with the cares of this life--if they will hear his voice, obey and come out into separateness of life.
But Jesus called special attention to Lot's wife, who, when on her way out, began to remember her goods, and slacked her pace for a moment to sorrowfully look back. Let us see the application of this to those who are now called in this day of the revealing of the present Lord to come out from the Gospel "house." He that loveth houses, or lands, or reputation, or relatives, or friends, more than the Bridegroom is not worthy to be of his Bride; let him stay with his stuff, and they will; but let each one who has consecrated all to the Lord remember that he has [R229 : page 1] nothing of his own, and let him leave all and obey the voice, "Come out of her."
Here the test seems to be entire consecration; every interest of life and comfort draws and binds you to remain in the now condemned house. [We understand that the nominal church was given up in 1878, the exact parallel of time to the giving up of the Jewish house when Jesus said to them: "Your house is left unto you desolate;" as he now says to this house: "Because thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth;"--my word of truth and knowledge will no longer be uttered through you. We believe also, as previously shown that there are three and one-half years of favor to those in the house, during which the Lord is revealing his presence to the saints and calling on them to come out-- that this three and one half years of individual favor ends with October of this year, and by that time "the voice of the Bride will be heard no more in the Babylon (confusion) house. Hence we would urge, Flee out of Sodom; "flee out of Babylon;" stay not in all the plain--leave the stuff--sacrifice it in obedience to the Lord's word.
Yes, it will test you sorely--"every man's work shall be tried so as by fire." He that loveth his life, (honor, reputation, friends, etc.,) shall lose it, and he that sacrifices all these elements of the human nature, shall find that which God hath promised to the overcomers, viz: The crown of life"--immortality.
ONE SHALL BE TAKEN AND ANOTHER LEFT.
Continuing the above discourse on the things due during the day of the revelation of his presence, Jesus says: "I tell you in that night (before the day has dawned yet a part of that day) there will be two in a bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two will be grinding together; the one will be taken and the other left." [Diaglott.]
A bed is a place in which to rest; it is here used, we believe, to represent the resting place of the church--the belief or creed. The same bed is here referred to as that mentioned last month described in Isa. 28:20. The prophet is speaking of the stumbling of the church (v. 13) and of the flood of trouble coming upon them (v. 18), and says (see margin): "When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it; from the time that it goeth forth it shall take you (The trouble will commence with the church); for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night (increasing like a flood of waters); and it shall be a vexation only until he shall make you to understand doctrine. [The church has largely substituted doctrines of men for those of God, and they will be vexed and perplexed by the spread of Infidelity, etc., until they come to understand God's word and plan. Then their perplexity and trouble will be at an end, for they will see [R229 : page 2] that the whole plan is working out gloriously to the praise of God and the good of his creatures.] For (the vexation is because) "the bed (creeds --belief) is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it." The creeds cramp any who have any degree of development. When we were babes we could rest in them, but by reason of growth in grace and knowledge some are coming to find themselves in a very uncomfortable place-- no rest there now; it will be quite a relief to get out of such a bed.
It is from this short bed that some will be taken in the day when the Son of man is present turning the light of truth upon error, and bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness. During this time before the sore vexation of the falling house comes, some will awaken and get out of such a short, uncomfortable man-made bed, into the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, and some will be left; some will be so short that they will feel no inconvenience, and others so sleepy and drowsy as to not notice the matter, and will so remain until the Gospel house, beds and all, become a mass of ruins; then these will "come out of great tribulation."
"Two will be grinding together." Grinding is the preparing of food for the household--this, then, seems to refer specially to the teachers in the church; some of these will be taken and some left.
The disciples inquired where they would be taken to, and Jesus answered: "Where the body is there will the eagles be assembled." The ones taken from the bed and from grinding are likened to eagles; they live high up above the world, in the mountains, far-seeing; having eyes adapted to looking at the light (How they represent the intelligently earnest Christians). What causes the assembling together of the eagles from various quarters? It is hunger, and because they see the prey--the food--a long way off--the food attracts them; they come to eat the carcass--the food.
Now look at the wonderful figures Jesus has given us. First, he will be present invisibly, as the lightning, and men will eat, drink, and know not in the days of the Son of Man; second, in this day all that are on the house-top should escape before the storm destroys the house (nominal church) and injures many in it; third, in the night, before the day has fully come, some, both of grinders and of those not at ease in the short bed will escape; fourth, these thus attracted away, will be like eagles; fifth, the thing which takes them away is a desire for food; sixth, such as thus seek food find it and meet the others similarly hungry and feed together.
How true this picture is; the church has more preaching and teaching and forms than it ever had, yet no food is found by the "eagle class"--the eagles are hungry, and it is their hunger which takes them away, and every such hungry one thus separated, the Lord will feed, and as they come to feed, they find others of "like precious faith" and character, who have forsaken all for truth--the food.
Thus the "gathering" of the ripe wheat--of the jewels--of the eagles is now in progress, and bye and bye these will be glorified with their head --Jesus--changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye from human and mortal conditions, to spiritual and incorruptible. Let us say in the words addressed to Lot; "Escape for thy life, look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain lest thou be consumed."--Gen. 19:12-17.
FLEE BEFORE WINTER.
The above subject (Luke 17:31) is found with other connections in Matt. 24:17-21, viz: "Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house...and woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter (neither on the Sabbath day) for then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be."
This has been very generally applied as having its fulfillment with the Jews, after their house was given up and at its destruction, which followed the end of its seven years of favor. We believe that they did have a fulfillment there, but that they apply to the end of this age especially--in fact as we have seen, everything which occurred to them during their harvest was a shadow of what occurs now during this harvest. To the Jew, it was literally fulfilled; they fled from literal Zion, left literal housetops, fields, beds and mills, and Josephus tells us that mothers ate their own offspring in those days.
But we are looking for the substance there shadowed; we have found the meaning of the "bed" and of the "grinding mills" and of the "house-top," and now let us see who in Zion are they that give suck and are with child in these days. We suggest that Paul and Peter and Isaiah tell us who the children are. Written to new converts, we read: "As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby." (1 Pet. 2:2.) Again, written to those who made slow progress in divine grace and knowledge, we read: "I have fed you with milk and not with meat--even as unto babes." (1 Cor. 3:2), "for when for the time ye ought to be teachers [suck givers] ye have need that one teach you again, which be the first principles [milk] of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk [first principles only] is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age [men--it is when grown to this full age and size of manhood in Christ, that the bed is found too short--that a man cannot stretch himself on it] even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised." Heb. 5:12.
In Isa. 28:9 we read: "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine [the deeper elements of his Word and plan]? Them that are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts."
The nominal church to-day is composed largely of those who give no evidence whatever of being begotten of the Spirit--consequently are not even (embryo) babes in Christ, and have neither part nor lot in spiritual things; and of those who are spirit-begotten, how few have reached any degree of growth--how few are men--nearly all are babes in Christ. We love babes--new-born [R230 : page 2] babes especially, but we feel disappointed, and disposed to chide them (as Paul did), when for the time they ought to be teachers and still have need that one teach them the first principles. They themselves are much to blame that they are "unskillful in the Word," for the strength comes "by reason of use." We should not confound these babes with the class referred to as babes by Jesus, unto whom he says God reveals his plans, hidden from the prudent. There is a sense in which we always should be babes--in meekness and simplicity; we should always be Christ's "little ones." Paul defines the distinction between the two classes of babes in 1 Cor. 14:20.
If now we have found that nearly all the true Christians of to-day (like the Corinthian church of Paul's day) are babes not weaned from the milk, but still needing it, who shall we suppose to be those who give suck in these days? We answer, they are the ministers, class leaders, and Bible class teachers of the church. They almost all boast of giving only first principles--milk; and they seek by all means to prevent those in their charge from wandering off and getting even a morsel of meat--from hearing anything which would cause their "senses" to be exercised.
As we progress into the time of the church's trouble, (Zion's travail) when truth and error are both attacking her and causing her pain, until all of God's true children are delivered out of her--the brunt and severity of anguish will come mostly upon those that "give suck." They will find (and even now are beginning to be alarmed) that not only will the babes cease to come into her, but many (yes, ultimately all) of those now being fed with milk will be weaned and learn to eat meat or die of starvation. "It shall be for a vexation only until He shall make you to understand doctrine" --or to eat meat. Isa. 28:19, margin.
One day is with the Lord as a thousand years. (2 Pet. 3:8.) The seventh thousand (or Sabbath--"the seventh day is the Sabbath") commenced in 1873, consequently we are now in the Sabbath day of our text: Pray (desire) that your flight be not on the Sabbath. The Jewish law placed restrictions upon the people on the Sabbath, and hindered them from journeying as much as they might desire--therefore, if bound by those laws it hindered flight. How is it now? Is there any special hindrance to escape from nominal Zion since we entered the seventh day? We answer, Yes; those who stood fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and were not entangled by any yoke of bondage or creed of men, were in a favored position-- those who get weaned now and eat the strong meat of present truth (See Matt. 24:45,46--which shows that "meat in due season" will be given when the Lord shall have come and is present), and hear the Lord's word, saying: "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues." If they now attempt to obey they will find such laws in force in Zion as will make it difficult to get out quickly unless those man-made laws are disregarded.
During the last seven years nominal Zion has sought by every means to prevent escape from her house; it is easy, very easy, for almost any sort of creature to gain admittance, but vile indeed must be the one she casts out; but be you ever so faithful a child of God, and attempt to go forth in obedience to His call, you will find your way wondrously hedged up, and unless your senses have been exercised--unless God has taught you knowledge and made you to understand true doctrines, you will be unable to make your escape. You will first be fawned upon, told how indispensable are your services, how much good you are doing, how you would be throwing away all your Christian influence, how you would lose your social standing, etc. You will also be reminded of the extent of learning (worldly wisdom) of the church and her ministers, of the comparatively few "peculiar people" who hold these views, etc. And, unless you have had your spiritual senses exercised in the Word [not by merely reading, but by searching] you will be unable to force your way against these barriers. Unless possessed of a knowledge of the Word you will be unable to test their ministers by the evidences of heavenly wisdom--the understanding of God's Word, as shown in Isa. 29:10-14. You will be unable to prove whether or not they are the Lord's friends by the tests of John 15:15, and 16:13. Unless you have laid all on the altar, you cannot break away from the social ties and flattering influences; but if you have you can say: "We ought to obey God rather than men." Yes, you must say:"The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only Thee."
And not only say, but do it. You will be severely tested, for if you have been blameless before, an example in conduct, and insist on withdrawing, your character will be carefully examined, and if possible some pretext will be found to let you down and out-- as though you had been expelled.
But we read: "Pray that your flight be not in winter." How shall we understand this? We believe that we are now in the "harvest," that it is composed of two parts, or as shown in Rev. 14:14-18, two harvests. The first seven years of gathering the "first fruits of the wheat" and a succeeding period of (33 years) harvesting of the "Vine of the Earth." The first a time of favor, the latter a "time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." It is with reference to this first (7 years) harvest (which ends we believe in Oct. this year,) that we understand all reference and exhortation to the Bride or "little flock" stands related: it is her harvest time and if we rightly interpret the Word all who will have part in that company and be overcomers will come out of "Babylon" before this harvest ends. Harvest always comes in summer and is followed by the destructive frosts of winter and in the figure used by our Lord we believe that the second harvest or time of trouble stands to the first harvest soon to end, in the relation of winter. With this thought see the force of Jesus' words pray (seek, desire) that you may get out before winter--in season to be an overcomer.
We know that some will say: "The harvest is past--the summer is ended and we are not saved." "Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment [dealings] of the Lord. How do ye say, we are wise and the law of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made He it. [They use very little of it]....The wise man is ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo they have rejected the Word of the Lord and what wisdom is in them?" (Jer. 8:7-9, 19-22.) No, Zion knows not the time of her visitation, and soon, when the harvest and [R230 : page 7] summer are ended, it will also be true that the Lord is not in Zion--there is no king in her, there is no balm in Gilead--no physician there and those then in Zion will have lost the "especial" salvation, the prize of being made the heavenly Zion.
This "winter" time coming, is the time of Zion's travail when the great majority of her children will be brought forth but those who will be members of the first-born will come forth before the travail [and we know not how soon thereafter, they will be "changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye."]
Thus we read "Before she travailed she brought forth; before her pain came she was delivered of a man child [the overcomers]. Who hath heard such a thing?...for as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children" [the great company.] Isa. 66:7.
In view of these things can you wonder that Jesus says escape from the house before winter? The harvest is nearly over; the summer will soon be ended, and the winter of trouble will soon be here--"Come out of her my people."
GOD KNOWS.God knows--not I--the devious way
Wherein my faltering feet must tread,
Before into the light of day
My steps from out this gloom are lead,
And since my Lord the path doth see,
What matter if 'tis hid from me?
God knows--not I--how sweet accord
Shall grow at length from out this clash
Of earthly discords which have jarred
On soul and sense; I hear the crash,
Yet feel and know that on His ear
Breaks harmony--full, deep and clear.
God knows--not I--why, when I'd fain
Have walked in pastures green and fair,
The path He pointed me hath lain
Through rocky deserts, bleak and bare.
I kindly trust--since 'tis His will--
This way lies safety, that way ill.
His perfect plan I may not grasp,
Yet I can trust Love Infinite,
And with my feeble fingers clasp
The hand which leads me into light.
My soul upon His errand goes--
The end I know not--but God knows.
EVIDENCE OF FRIENDSHIP.
"Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth, [his plans, etc.] but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." John 15:15.
The end of Jesus' earthly ministry was come; during those three and a half years he had uttered truths which served to test his followers, which proved to some causes of stumbling, to all who were not "Israelites indeed:" --truths which had brought the opposition of the nominal Jewish church, and of which even some of his followers, had said: "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" and walked no more with him. But now this work of separating was all over; even Judas had gone out, and Jesus and the eleven are alone. He has been telling them some things regarding their new and high privileges, their new relationship toward God about to be purchased by his death, into the enjoyment of which they should enter after he should ascend to the Father, and His work as ransom be recognized as perfect. Then would come the "power from on high"-- the Spirit which would endue them with ability to understand spiritual, or heavenly things.
It may have escaped the attention of some that at this time the disciples were not begotten of the spirit, though they were justified by faith-- justified human beings, but not begotten new creatures, consequently Jesus' teachings contain little reference to the highest things except in parables; he explained little concerning the "high calling" of the Bride, but said: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth." How this corroborates Paul's statement: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God," "neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14. Though justified men, they must be begotten of the Spirit to comprehend things above the human plane.
After telling them of the future unfolding of truth and of his words he tells them why his revelations are for them, viz: because he will henceforth treat them as friends and reveal all things to them.
There are two important lessons conveyed in these words of the Master, as applicable to us as to the eleven Apostles: first, the rule by which He judges who are His friends--"ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you." If we submit our wills completely to his will, thus becoming dead to the world and alive toward God--then he reckons us friends; second, the rule by which we may judge whether he reckons us among this class of special "friends," viz: If he reveals his work and plans to us, even all things which he has heard of the Father.
Now apply these rules to yourself. If you can say, "Not my will but thine be done"--not my plan of saving the world, not my plan relative to the preaching of the Gospel--not my will regarding the nominal church--not my will regarding myself and what I shall do or be--but "Thy will be done" in all these things, then you are a "friend" in this special sense spoken of by Jesus. Now try the other rule, have you evidence that you are a special friend? Is the Spirit leading you daily into more and more of an understanding of his words and plan--revealing more and more of the "mystery" kept hid in former ages, and showing you "things to come." Do you say yes? Very good, then yours is the blessed experience of heavenly wisdom, which at the same time is a proof that you are a special "friend." Continue and if possible increase your consecration, and you shall continue to abide in his love and to have fresh evidences of his friendship by growth "in grace and in knowledge."
If the Word and plan of God are not opening before you: [The Spirit often uses human agencies for communicating truth.] If you are not being led of the Spirit into all truth-- if he is not showing you "things to come," (John 16:13.) then it looks indeed as though you were not of the special friends, and it should be your first work to gain this divine friendship by self-surrender--consecration.
All who believe themselves acceptable servants of our Master should look for and not be satisfied without this witness of the Spirit that they are Christ's friends.
THE CREDIBILITY OF THE SCRIPTURES.
Extracts from an Address Delivered by Dr. J. H. Thomas before the "Liberal League" (an Infidel Society), of this City and published in the Restitution.
[We have selected these from among other able arguments, thinking they might be of interest to our readers, though probably most of them you are already familiar with.--ED.]
If then we believe those things that are unaccountable by law, and contrary to our experiences which are the discoveries, and works of men, why should we discredit those things that are the work of God, as evidenced by competent and creditable witnesses? Again I ask in the words of Paul, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead?"
We believe there was a time when man did not exist. We know he exists now. What has been, may be again; therefore, if man ceases to exist, he may exist again, which would not even be contrary to our experiences. I contend, therefore, that the Atheist and Infidel, in accordance with their own reasoning are bound to accept the testimony of the apostles that Jesus rose from the dead, whereby the divinity of the Scriptures is proved: for, if God raised Jesus from the dead he was divine; and as he acknowledged the authority of the old Scriptures, and they testified of him, they are divine.
Having noticed a few of the arguments that might be adduced under this head, I call your attention to the New Testament prediction of an apostacy and its fulfillment as another reason why I believe the Bible to be the word of God.
If the New Testament prediction be divine authority, there should be to-day not only an apostacy from the faith once delivered to the saints, but there should be a dominant Christianity (at least so-called) political, tyrannical and corrupt. As proof of this we call your attention to the predictions.
Says Paul (Acts 20:28): Take heed to yourselves, and unto all the flock over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers; feed the flock of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood; for I know this, that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you not sparing the flock; also of your own selves, shall men arise and speak perverse things.
Again, writing to Timothy he says: The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.
This is a plain prediction of a departure from the truth as proclaimed by Christ and his apostles; and before the apostles had finished their work this departure from the truth, or apostacy had commenced, and we find Paul writing to the Galatian believers, saying: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the favor of Christ unto another gospel; which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ."
We see the predicted apostacy had commenced in Paul's day. This was to go on and grow into a political form and become in the world an ecclesiastical system supported by the sword. This is clearly predicted by Paul. The Thessalonian believers had become anxious about the return of Christ as an event about to happen, but Paul writes them, saying: "Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God showing himself that he is God."
Paul further says: "This wicked one the Lord shall consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming."
According to these predictions then, there ought to have been in the past an extensive departure from the faith, a corruption of Christianity, developing a pretender to divine authority, lording it over the kings, and governments of the earth.
I ask if this prediction has not been fulfilled--realized in every particular? What has been in the past, and what is to-day the most notable feature of European history? Is it not a man at the head of an ecclesiastical system exhibiting himself as an object of the highest homage upon earth, and in the name of Christ claiming the highest authority, and the right to lord it over the kings and governments of the earth?
I contend then that the developments of this apostacy--a prominent feature of which is a union of church and state --is an exact fulfillment of Paul's prediction, and is therefore a good and valid reason why we should believe the Bible to be the word of God. What human being unassisted by divine inspiration could have predicted 1800 years ago with such clearness of vision--such accuracy of detail an apostacy such as now exists, headed up in Rome and extending nearly, if not quite, to every inhabited part of the globe, and embracing every false system of religion--teaching [R232 : page 3] for doctrine the commandments of men, and which is fully ascribed in the apocalypse and symbolized by a woman sitting upon a scarlet colored beast, upon whose forehead is written: "Mystery, Babylon the Great. The mother of harlots and abominations of the earth."
This is symbolical and expressive of all names and denominations of the great apostacy, from the church of Rome to the most extreme division of Protestantism who make void the truth by their traditions, and so fill up the measure of Paul's predictions, which is evidence that Paul spoke not of himself but as he was instructed by the Holy Spirit.
We call your attention to the wonderful fulfillment of prophetic history in relation to the Jews, or Jewish nation, and their distinct racial existence at the present time as another reason why I believe the Bible to be the word of God.
That a race of people with no national organization, no centralized power, banished from their own land, scattered among every nation under heaven, despised, cast out as evil, down-trodden, robbed again and again of their wealth, should still exist as a distinct people is a remarkable thing, unaccountable from any human standpoint. A people massacred by tens of thousands, yea more; in A.D. 70, 1,300,000 perished at the destruction of their city and temple, and 97,000 were carried away captive. Sixty years after, in attempting to return, half a million were slaughtered. A.D. 135, the Emperor Adrian destroyed 50 castles, 800 cities, and slew 530,000. Under King John of England 1,500 were massacred at York in one day. Under Ferdinand and Isabella 800,000 by a single decree were forced out to sea in boats, and the most of them perished. And still they live.
Does the history of the world record another case like it? Over 3,000 years ago going down into Egypt a family of 70 persons and in 430 years coming out a great nation. They saw the proud Egyptian perish in the Red Sea. They witnessed the fall of great Babylon and the rise and fall of the mighty empire of Medo-Persia --in the words of another: "They out-lived the Caesars and the terrible visitation of the dark ages, and here they stand to-day as distinct as ever; occupying no country of their own, scattered through all lands; identified in their immemorial physiognomy, earth's men of destiny, before the venerableness of whose pedigree the proudest escutcheons of mankind are but trifles of yesterday."
We return to the works of creation; to the world of liberal-minded, to the Atheist, or Infidel for an explanation. Tell us how it is that such a remarkable race of Jewish people, in whose days nations have been born, kingdoms established, empires formed, great and magnificent cities builded, and passed away, leaving no sign of their glory, and scarcely a relic to show that they ever had an existence; while this people, persecuted, [R232 : page 4] banished from place to place, massacred, robbed, and cruelly deprived of their wealth by almost every government on the earth, still live a powerful people, distinct in their facial and racial peculiarities, and still hold the wealth of the world?
We read no answer in the Infidel's revelation--the works of nature--to such a question, and we contend that apart from the Bible--apart from a revelation from the Deity no answer can be given.
How different has been the course of the other people! What Englishman can say with a certainty to-day he is from Briton, Roman, Saxon or Norman stock? But find the Jew where you may, in Russia, Germany, England, or our own great republic where English, Irish, Germans and all nations amalgamate like metals in a furnace, and he is a Jew still claiming Abraham as their father, clinging to Moses, holding fast their traditions, looking toward Jerusalem, longing for their Messiah, as when their fathers trod the vine-clad hills of Judah's land--wandering for centuries, weary and foot-sore, in every land but their own; surviving the greatest persecutions ever inflicted upon a people; suffering enormous and almost incredible butchery again and again for over eighteen centuries, they have risen again as a great power among mankind. Holding the money power of Europe, among the foremost in science, literature, or government, you find the Jew the marvel of nations, the standing miracle of the world's history, which no human tongue untouched by spirit power has ever been able to explain apart from that book, the Bible--that book from whose divinely inspired pages comes the solution of the mystery in the words of Jeremiah, the prophet:
"Fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, neither be dismayed, O Israel, for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee; though I make a full end of all nations, I will not make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished."
Surely there are none so blind as not to see a solution of the mystery and the voice of God in this prophetic announcement:
"O Israel be not dismayed, for though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee; for lo! the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it; for lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity, and Jacob (or Israel) shall return and be at rest, and none shall make him afraid."
From this book, the Bible, then, we learn why the Jews still exist, why they still retain a distinct racial identity, why they are a power among mankind, why they hold the wealth of the world!--because God hath said he will not make an end of them, but will deliver them from their captivity and bring them again to their own land, where they shall have rest.
I contend, then, that the Israelitish people are a living testimony of the divinity of the Bible--of the spoken word of God. Like the bush of Moses--ever burning yet never consumed-- an unanswerable refutation of the blasphemous sophistry of that class of Atheists who, like Col. R. G. Ingersoll, dare to speak with solemn mockery of the word of God, and defy Yahweh the Elohim of Israel, who hath said again, by the same prophet:
"Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off: Say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth.... I will say to the north give up, and to the south keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth (Isa. 43:6.), for I am a father to Israel and Ephraim is my first-born."
Let me assure you that as certain as this prophecy has been fulfilled in the preservation of down-trodden Israel in all lands, so certain will it be fulfilled in their restoration to their own land. Even now the Jews number 30,000 in Jerusalem and vicinity, and every day increasing. I ask what better reason need we give for believing the Bible to be the word of God?
But no greater reason is the one I have just advanced than the one which follows why I believe the Bible to be the word of God. I refer to the prophecies in general and the wonderful and marvelous accuracy of their fulfillment.
How different from the vague, incoherent predictions of the Greek and Roman augurs, and the doubtful, hesitating utterances of diviners, soothsayers, psychologists, and false prophets of all ages. The latter, speaking from the inspiration of nature and an intuition common to an animal creation, there is no certainty of their predictions coming to pass; while the prophecies, being accurately fulfilled, compel us to believe that they spoke as they were moved by the spirit or inspiration of God.
The prophets, being inspired by Him who knoweth all things, and who hath said to the world by the prophet Isaiah: "I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."
Their predictions are always fulfilled. I contend that if we carefully consider the prophecies and their fulfillment the evidence of the divinity of the Scriptures is overwhelming.
Take for instance the prophecies concerning the Jews. It is admitted by Atheists and Infidels that the Jews are an ancient people, going back at least 3,000 years, that they have documents which they regard as those of Moses, and hold as divine.
We turn, then, to Moses and read what is written, and we find that God informs Moses that after he has brought Israel into the land, which he swore unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey, and when they shall have eaten and filled themselves and waxed fat, then will they turn unto other gods and serve them, and "provoke me, and break my covenant."
And Moses was required to write the words in a book as a witness against them, and tell the words to the people. Moses did so, and you will find them in the 31st chapter of Deuteronomy, and Moses said to the people: "I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you, and evil will befall you in the latter days, because you do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands."
Then follows a prediction of the evils that should fall upon them in the latter days of the Mosaic constitution of things which was then being laid or founded. Some of the evils predicted [R233 : page 4] are as follows: "I will scatter you among the heathen, or nations, and will draw out a sword after you, and will bring a nation against thee from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flieth, a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand, a nation of fierce countenance... and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst throughout all thy land: and thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters ...in the siege, and in the straightness wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee."
I ask you to read the history of the passing away of the Mosaic constitution of things at the destruction of Jerusalem, and you cannot help being awed by the accuracy of the fulfillment. The Roman eagles were planted upon her walls, and in the midst of the siege so great was the distress that women took their babes from their breasts and roasted them for food.
Every line and word of the prophecy by Moses was fulfilled with awful reality. One million three hundred thousand Jews perished and ninety-five thousand were carried away captive; and so the Jews were scattered among all nations. Jerusalem was laid in the dust, not one stone of their magnificent temple was left standing upon another, and to-day Jerusalem continues to be trodden down by the desecrating footsteps of the Mussulman and Turk. A marvelous fulfillment of that prophecy of Jesus when he stood and cried:
"These be the days of vengeance that all things that are written may be fulfilled: for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people, and they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Jerusalem to-day is a standing fulfillment of this prophecy.
Don't tell me this prophecy was written after the event, for the preponderance of evidence is against you. There is little if any doubt that this prophecy was written as early as A.D. 50. But it matters not when it was written, as it is testified by the apostles that it was spoken by Christ, and their testimony has never been impeached. Not only so, but the prophecy is in course of fulfillment before our eyes, and speaks for its own divinity; the Jews are still scattered, Jerusalem still trodden down. Why? Because the times of the Gentiles are not yet fulfilled.
But we turn to other prophecies equally remarkable. Of the city of Tyre, once the stronghold of the Phenicians, that stood a thirteen-years siege by land and water, and even then not conquered, it is said:
"Behold! I am against thee, O Tyre! and will cause many nations to come up against thee: and they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers. I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock, and it shall be a place for the spreading of nets, for I have spoken it."
History informs us that Alexander scraped the ruins from the site of the old city. The Infidel, Volney, states that it is a place where fishermen spread their nets. It is evident, then, that the prophecy was the voice of God, and not man.
Again the prophet says concerning Samaria: "I will make Samaria as an heap of the field and as a planting of a vineyard, and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof." Was this fulfilled? Says Dr. Keith: "The people of the country, in order to make room for their fields and gardens, have swept away the old houses and poured the stones down into the valley. The hill is left like the plantings of a vineyard. Every clause of the prophecy has been fulfilled with awful minuteness.
Do we need a better reason for believing the Bible is the word of God? Could a man whose lips were not touched with the inspiration of Deity have spoken with such unerring certainty? Every man of sense, of culture, of reason, must answer "No."
The same is true of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman kingdoms. Their rise and fall were accurate fulfillments of prophecy. Even the Roman empire to-day, in its divided state, fills the prophetic vision.
But for a moment we must call your attention to prophecies that relate to our own times; and what are they? I answer, it is declared in the prophecies that "in the latter days"-- mark, it says in the "latter days"-- that the land of Israel shall be "brought back from the sword," and numbers of the Jews are to return, having been gathered out of the nations, and settle in agricultural colonies, dwelling in unwalled villages, dwelling safely, without bars or gates, possessing much wealth in cattle and goods, under the protection of a foreign power easily recognized as the British power. That the Ottoman or Turkish power must pass away. That it will be accomplished or brought about by Russia, in conjunction with other powers. That she will be led on with a view to take great spoils from the Jews. That she will plant her standards at Constantinople and take Egypt. That she will be opposed in her onward march by the British lions, who will say to her: "Hast thou come to take a spoil?" That it will result in all the nations of Europe being gathered together in the great battle of Armageddon. That the armies of the nations are overthrown, the kingdom of God established upon the mountains of Israel, the nations subdued, and a reign of righteousness and peace given to the world.
These are prophecies that relate to our own times. I ask what of the outlook? Are they being fulfilled as evidence that God has spoken? Most assuredly they are.
The Jews are slowly but surely turning their wandering feet toward Jerusalem. The Anglo-Turkish Convention opened the way for their return with a freedom that has never been granted before. England has thrown her protecting arm over Asiatic Turkey, which makes the British power, in fulfillment of the prophecy, the protectorate of the Jews.
When the protectorate was officially announced the Jewish Chronicle wrote thus: "There has dawned in the East--the cradle of our race--a light which deepens in effulgence as the day advances."
The result is, numerous schemes are being put forth to further the return of the Jews and establish them in agricultural colonies, which is an accurate fulfillment of the prophecy. Of these I may mention the great humanitarian scheme of the Sir Moses Montefiore Testimonial Fund, the object of which, says the Jewish World, is to better the condition of the Jews of Palestine by the introduction of industrial and agricultural pursuits. But lately, the Testimonial Fund Committee advanced L2,600 to a building society in Jerusalem, of which societies there are several. I may also refer to Mr. Oliphant's book which has just appeared advocating the formation of a Jewish settlement in the land of Gilead.
Of this work, the Jewish Chronicle writes:
"We are inundated with books and pamphlets on Palestine; the air is thick with schemes for colonizing the Holy Land once more, but none of the projectors are more enthusiastic, or more practical than Mr. Oliphant."
THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS.
If we follow in the exact footsteps of another we always arrive at the same destination. Our text informs us that the steps in which Jesus trod, and in which he calls upon us to follow, were steps of suffering. But why does he call upon us to endure suffering? Because of the great love wherewith he hath loved us, and because as he prayed (Jno. 17:22-24), he would have us with him that we may behold his glory, and be joint heirs with him to all that glory.
For the joy set before him he endured that suffering, despising the shame. What was that joy that nerved to such endurance our suffering Lord? Paul says because "He was obedient unto death. God also hath HIGHLY EXALTED him and given him a name above every name, etc." Phil. 2:9. If he was highly exalted after and because of his obedience to death, he had more glory and honor then than that which he had with the Father before the world was. Was he immortal then? No, for the Scripture saith that the King of kings and Lord of lords who, in his times, Jesus will show to be the blessed and only Potentate, and to whom he will deliver up the kingdom of earth, after that he has subdued all things unto him, this one, the Father, Jehovah, is the only one who hath immortality: (1 Tim. 6:16)--"life in himself"-- independent of any support outside itself, subject to no conditions, incorruptible, exhaustless, unlimited, eternal. Now when Jesus was highly exalted he became partaker of the same Divine, immortal nature, for we read "As the Father hath life in himself, [R234 : page 5] so hath he given to the Son that he should have life in himself. John 5:26.
This partaking of the Divine nature, becoming the Son of God, the "only begotten Son" on this divine plane was a part, but only a part of the joy set before our Lord. He was also to redeem from death and restore to perfection a glorious race of beings, once created in the image of God, so that "every creature which is in heaven and on earth will say, blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
O, what a joy that will be to his glorious benevolent nature. But that is not all. Having been found in fashion as a man (a perfect man) he loved humanity with all the devotion and tenderness of a perfect affection. And as some of the race come to realize and appreciate his great love and so much so as to forsake all and follow him, he longs to have these with him where he is that they may behold and share his glory. This joy was also set before him--the joy of bringing many sons (other Sons begotten of God) to glory--to the same Divine plane. O, what wonder that for such glory, and honor, and blessing, he should bear the cross, despising the shame.
And this same joy--this exceeding and ETERNAL WEIGHT of GLORY is set before you who are called to follow in his footsteps. Now weigh it if you can; measure it if you can-- the breadth, the length, the height, the depth. Oh, can you? Eye hath not seen nor ear heard it, neither hath entered into the heart of (the natural) man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But he hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.
We are called to be joint heirs with Jesus, heirs of immortality, partakers of the divine nature, part of the divine family, far above men and angels. We as the bride of the Lamb are to have a name that is above every name, since we are the people for his name. The Bride shall bear her husband's name, and she shall be like unto his glorious body.
Wherefore holy brethren (reckoned holy since purchased from sin and death), partakers of the heavenly calling, consider Jesus. "He was rich," (a glorious spiritual being before the world was) yet for our sakes he became poor (transferred his life from a spiritual to a human form, then sacrificed that) that we, through his poverty, might be made rich (partakers of his high exaltation).
Let us look for his footprints. We find that his first step was consecration. "A body hast thou prepared me (not prepared until it had reached its maturity--thirty years, according to Jewish law). Then said I, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God." Heb. 10:5,7. "Not my (human) will but thine be done." He then symbolized by his burial in, and resurrection from, the water, his entire consecration, his willingness to be immersed-- swallowed up in death--and his faith in God's power to raise him to a new life. Have you followed him here? Immediately after, he was led into the wilderness, away from human sympathy, human society, and human pursuits. Are you there, or are you clinging to a worldly church for sympathy, society, and worldly ambition? There he was tempted and tried in all points; so must you be. He was armed with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, wherewith he was able to quench all the fiery darts of the enemy. Are you thus armed?
His entire consecration separated him from all human sympathy and friendship. He was a man, with the same natural desires and necessities as other men; consequently, when these were all laid on the altar of sacrifice: "He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." The purity of his life and teaching condemned the teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees, (and brought upon him the anathema of the church of his day.) He was counted a fanatic, an impostor, a teacher of false doctrine, as one possessed of a devil. The religious teachers to whom the people looked for guidance denounced him and finally stirred up the people to have him crucified. It separated him from his earthly relatives, "for neither did his brethren believe on him." (They were doubtless ashamed of the stigma which his peculiar and unpopular course brought upon them as a family.) It would seem that he was an outcast from his mother's home, for he said: "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head." As a citizen he was despised by his fellow citizens, counted an enemy of Caesar's, and one who sought to usurp kingly authority. His conversation was in heaven, and earth understood it not.
Has your consecration so sanctified --set you apart from the world, the nominal church, your former worldly friendships, etc.? Have you followed Jesus here? Has your name been so cast out as evil? It will be if you follow Jesus closely. If they hated me, said Jesus, they will hate you also, and whatsoever they have done unto me, they will do unto you also. But if they do so cast you out, Jesus will hear of it, as he did of the blind man whose eyes he had opened, and as then, he will find you and show himself to you, and talk with you and open the eyes of your understanding, causing your heart to burn within you while he opens up the Scriptures. Blessed communion: What a friend we find in Jesus!
This was the victory whereby he overcame--even his faith in God, for he looked not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen--eternal. Are you so doing? When he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, he opened not his mouth. Do you seek to imitate that uncomplaining, patient meekness in the everyday trials of your wilderness life, and will you by his grace do so until he says it is enough? Step cautiously, plant your feet just in his prints, and you cannot mistake the way. Don't think to reach the same end by avoiding some of the most difficult steps. You cannot do it; you will lose your footing and fall. Neither should you hesitate when you find the steps leading through a thorny and difficult way. O no: the time is too short. RUN with patience.
Ah, dear brother, sister, it is no easy road; but do you think the end justifies the means? Now look again at the prize; keep your eye of faith fixed on that. Give up your human will, your human ambition, etc., as Jesus did, and commit your new spiritual life to him who is able to keep it. If you let Him, God will work in you to will and to do of his good pleasure, and Jesus says: "Fear not, little flock; it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
THE TIMES WE LIVE IN.
The present is a momentous crisis. All sects are shaking. The religious world is convulsed. Atheism has opened her batteries, and unsheathed her sword. Skepticism is big with hopes. Catholic and Protestant Popery are plodding and plotting for the supremacy. The little and the great Popes are on tiptoe. Saints are praying for the millennium; myriads are laboring for its introduction. The Bible and the creeds are at war. There is no truce. Such is the present.--Christian Baptist.
"ART THOU HE THAT TROUBLETH ISRAEL?"
These were the words of Ahab, king of Israel, to Elijah. Ahab, it will be remembered, was the husband of Jezebel, the wicked woman, who persecuted Elijah, and from whom he fled into the wilderness for three and a half years. (See 1 Kings 18:17.)
We have heretofore seen that all three of these Jewish characters were types or figures of classes in the Gospel age, and that their actions were such as to illustrate the actions of those classes which they represented: Elijah represented the church--the true and earnest teachers of God's Word; Jezebel is used to represent the false church, Papacy, and which came into power by marriage with the Roman Empire, which is represented by Ahab.
As Papacy used the Roman army and power to persecute the true teachers of the Lord (and slew many) for three and a half symbolic years, or twelve hundred and sixty symbolic days; so Jezebel used Ahab's power to persecute Elijah and slay the Lord's prophets for three and a half literal years. During those years there was great drouth in the land; so, too, during the 1260 years of Papal persecution, ending in 1798, there was a great spiritual drouth and "a famine, not of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord." Amos 8:11. Then the false teachers of Baal (Papacy), being refuted, an abundant shower has come; Jehovah is again recognized. But Jezebel and her daughters still hate the Elijah class and seek their destruction.
It is about this time that Ahab said to Elijah: "Art thou he that troubleth Israel?" Elijah troubled them because he was a true prophet and opposed their sins; so too with those now who remain true to God, who will not bow to the forms and customs of this perverse age, but rather reprove them. Sorely vexed by these reproofs, those at ease in Zion use almost the words of Ahab to Elijah: "Art thou he that troubleth Israel?"
Yes, we would trouble Israel. God has said: "He that hath my word let him speak my word." "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet and show my people their transgressions...yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways [R235 : page 5] as a nation that did righteousness and forsook not the ordinances of their God." This was applicable to fleshly Israel (the "shadow") and to the nominal Gospel church as well. There never was a time in which the Jewish laws and ordinances were more faithfully observed than during the seven years of their "harvest." Every form and ceremony and tithe was scrupulously remembered. The Temple just finished by Herod was the grandest in which they had ever worshiped. Their religious system was gaining a worldwide reputation. Missionary enterprises were on foot for Judaising the world, and so zealous were they that Jesus said of them, "Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte." Yet of all this grand display--zeal, pomp, and seeming success--it was said, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Matt. 15:8. Of their religious observances Jesus said: "Ye make clean the outside--like whited walls and sepulchers clean and beautiful outside, but full of decay and corruption within. [R235 : page 6]
That church, that age and that "harvest" were but the shadows of this age, church, and harvest. As then so now, prosperity and seemingly great success attends both at home and abroad the church's efforts. Magnificent temples of worship, grand music and costly apparel, seem to stamp the present time as one of unparalleled success; yet now as then, it is mostly on the outside that the beauty is seen, for inwardly the church seems daily to become more corrupt and worldly. "Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away." 2 Tim. 3:1-5.
Jesus said the converts to Judaism were really injured by being brought into that corrupted church, and we believe that the same thing is true here since the degeneracy of the Gospel church. The man of the world is injured more than benefited. While of the world he was open to conviction of sin, but the church has said to him: You are a moral man, and hence not a sinner; if you have any secret vices let them go, and come join our church, then you will be one of us in "good and regular standing." The man is surprised at the liberality of the view, always thought he was as good as the majority of the church members and better than some, and is pleased to know that the church recognized his worth; pleased, too, perhaps, to enter into organized respectable society. He joins the church, and is now a church member in name. He is benefited by being kept from some outward and shameful sins, but he is injured in as much, as he is now persuaded by the church that he is a Christian while in reality he has neither part nor lot in the matter.
He is injured by getting the form without the power of Christianity. He now falls fast asleep--at ease in Zion; he awakes only when a criticism of the church is made; he then feels himself a "defender of the faith."
And not only is the man injured, but the church is injured yet more, for who can estimate the weight and effect of every such "tare," every such sham Christian, every such self-deceived deceiver? But the Lord's wheat field (Matt. 12.) is overrun with such tares, which choke the wheat and almost hide it from view. Now that we are in the "harvest" and the sickle of truth is doing its work, what wonder if there be some commotion?
Zion is at ease and self-satisfied, and when we cry aloud and spare not, but show God's people their sins and their forms of godliness without the power thereof, they become enraged and complain that we are troubling Israel. When this same charge was made against Jesus, our head--that he was opposing and hindering the God-appointed leaders and teachers, the Chief Priests, Scribes and Pharisees, he said: "Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword [Truth is a sword]. For I came to set...at variance...and a man's foes shall be they of his own household...and he that doth not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." (Matt. 10:34.)
TRUTH NEVER HAS LED
the majority, during this time when evil is permitted to reign, and hence always has had as a large part of its work to reprove darkness. Reproof is never pleasant, but is especially unpleasant to those who most need it. [Of the saints it is written: "Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them."] It was because he thus reproved sin and error that Elijah was hated and called Israel's troubler; for the same reason Jesus was denounced, and for the same reason all who will live Godly are similarly offensive.
But if any man will reprove, let him speak as an oracle of God, and let nothing be done or said, through bitterness, strife, or vain glory; but let him by a meek and quiet spirit show forth in love the power, as well as the form of Godliness to the praise of Him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Jesus in his day called the attention of the Jews to the judgments of God about to come upon them, saying: "These be days of vengeance that all things written should be fulfilled." (Luke 21:22.) Elijah gave warning of the death of Jezebel and Ahab, that dogs should lick his blood and eat her flesh. So here it becomes our place to speak the word of God as declared by him, that Ahab and his successors (the Roman and succeeding empires) shall be slain--i.e. destroyed. (Dan. 2:44.) Also, that Jezebel shall be "eaten by dogs" (the degraded), i.e. Papacy, and in fact the nominal church, as it represents the same church and world-united system, shall be cast down and consumed.
Elijah further represents the "little flock" of despised ones, by being highly exalted, caught up in a whirlwind. Oh, that we may be among the little company now separating, who shall soon be changed in a moment into the perfect likeness of our Lord and head!
PRUDENT OR IMPRUDENT, WHICH?
Wisdom and prudence are good things in their place, and when not overdone or abused; but there is such a thing as being over-wise, or "wise above that which is written," and there is, we think, such a thing as being prudent above that which is written.
We have been somewhat exercised upon this thought by the expressions and looks of some of our friends, when their attention has been called to the subject of Restitution.
The thought that men are to be restored to natural life again, to live again in the flesh as men, that they are in fact to be restored to all they lost through Adam, or because of the sin of Adam, seems to many to be the height of presumption, but they would not apply the same rule of reasoning to other matters, we think. Take Rom. 5:18-19: "As by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Now if these words were used in the same way regarding anything other than the relation between God and man, who would think of making the second part of each statement mean less than the first?
Now without asserting positively that man will live again in the flesh, restored to Adamic perfection, let us consider our attitude in connection with the fact, (if it be a fact) and who would be likely to know it.
First, then, those would be most likely to know it who are in a condition to receive the truth whatever it be. Not that the truth can be anything but the truth, but it may be very different from what we had supposed it to be, owing to previous education and training; but if we are willing to receive it because it is truth, it is presumptive evidence that we shall be likely to recognize it when brought to view.
Again, having recognized the truth, and having become acquainted with it, we should be likely to love it, and of course to receive it; for we cannot suppose one would reject a thing they loved (unless indeed they love something else more, and that something antagonize this). Then having recognized, loved and received this truth, what more natural than that they should proclaim it?
It is hardly supposable that one could become acquainted with a truth of such a deep interest to mankind as this is, and yet say nothing about it.
The subject is one so full of comfort, and one, too, which appeals to our sense of God's wisdom, justice, and love; and one which, from every stand-point, except of settled prejudice, gives us a view of God's attributes shining forth gloriously, which so entrances us as we gaze that we are constrained to cry out with the Psalmist (107-8): "O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men."
But if the doctrine of restitution be true (don't forget that there is a "much more" salvation), how nicely it would match with and explain this Scripture which has so long puzzled us: Ezekiel 16:53. In this chapter, God, through the prophet, is "causing Jerusalem to know her abominations," (2nd verse) and after speaking at some length upon the subject, says: "When I shall bring again the captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them." But says one: "That does not prove restitution; some commentators say that God did not intend [R236 : page 6] to bring again the captivity of either; he only says, when I do one, I will do the other, and he is speaking not of death."
We are not asserting NOW that it does prove restitution, only considering that if the doctrine is true, how easy you would get along with some Scriptures, and how you would not have to be so very "wise and prudent" with a good many passages of Scripture.
(55th verse): "When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, [they were dead and in their graves, you know,] then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate."
Opposed to the thought that this was an emphatic way of saying that he would do neither is the statement in the 61st verse: "And I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant--(i.e., the old covenant).
Again, if it is true, what light would be shed on the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:24, where in speaking of the privileges which Capernaum had failed to improve, he said: "But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of Judgment, than for thee." And this last would harmonize with the other quoted from Ezekiel. This view would lend some meaning to the words of Jesus in Luke 12:32: "Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world nor in the world to come." With this view we shall not wonder so much that Peter said (Acts 3:21) of Jesus: "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets which have been since the world began."
But say some: "Do not tell the people such things; if you do they will never repent, but will live right on in sin." My dear sir, who told you that?
If it is true, and God has been speaking of it by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began, as Peter says, shall we be prudent above that which is written? If we should, it would be equivalent to saying that God was very unwise to allow the prophets to utter such things, even though they were true, and that if he had the prudence of some of his creatures, he would never have allowed such writings as that in Ezekiel to be put before the world, together with many other careless (?) statements, lest men might guess that the Psalmist was right, when at the end of every verse of the 136th Psalm he says: "The mercy of the Lord endureth forever," and if they were to think that, just as likely as not the very next thing they would think would be that the punishment of the wicked would end some time; and if they should get that idea, they might find an explanation to some texts that prudence has said taught the doctrine of "endless torment;" and if they should become convinced that God did not intend to punish the wicked beyond the point of reformation, they might conclude that his name (Love) was very appropriate, and love him too.
Now, it is a noticeable fact, that those who do not believe in the doctrine of restitution are the ones who think it is imprudent to teach it. Query: Are they the ones referred to in Matthew 11:25? Jesus had been telling, how much more tolerable it would be for Sodom in the day of judgement than for Capernaum, and: "At that time Jesus answered and said: 'I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
And 1 Cor. 1:19: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." Is it not best, then, dear brethren, to give our whole attention to the "spirit of truth," and like prattlers (babes), tell it just as it is, and thus insure further revelations? For:"Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And He will make it plain."
If our Heavenly Father has not been prudent enough to guard his own character, we shall make a poor display of our wisdom to undertake to do it for him, and we cannot afford to lose the things that would be "hid" from us by so doing.
"I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."
J. C. S.
The desert rose, though never seen by man,
Is nurtured with a care divinely good.
The ocean gem, though 'neath the rolling main
Is ever brilliant in the eyes of God.
Think not thy work and worth are all unknown,
Because no partial pensmen paint thy praise;
Man may not see nor mind, but God will own
Thy worth and work, thy thoughts and words
N. B. Cobb.
THE PRESENCE AND HARVEST.
"What shall be the sign of thy presence and of the consummation of the age?" (See Emphatic Diaglott.)
This rendering sheds light on the relation between the presence of Christ and the Harvest. The Greek word parousia does not mean the act of coming, but the being present. So the Lexicons tell us. The word aion does not mean this globe, or this general order of things, but an era, or age.
This passage, it will be seen, gives no countenance to the quite popular conception of the relation between the coming of Christ and the "wreck of matter and crush of worlds." This false notion makes the subject one of dread.
The word suntelia, translated end, does not mean a point, but a period of time. The same word is used in Matt. 13:39: "The harvest is the end [suntelia] of the age." In verse 30 Jesus shows that the harvesting is a work done. "In the time [period] of the harvest." With these few facts before us, reading the text gives this as the substance of the question: "What shall be the sign [evidence] of thy presence and of the harvest of the age?"
The sign of the presence is the sign of the time of harvest--one sign (evidence in the aggregate) for two things. The worker and the work are related to each other. Whoever believes, on the strength of what he considers good evidence, that the harvest is come, ought to believe in the presence of Christ, as Lord of the Angel reapers. The presence and the harvest are related not only in the text, but in reason. Some who once consistently accepted both, because of their relation, now deny the presence, and inconsistently hold that He will not come until the end of the harvest. They will doubtless soon, in order to regain the balance of consistency, discard the harvest also. Matt. 24:3 must suffer violence, if it must be maintained that the harvest --the end of the age, and its work,--precedes the coming of Christ; and this is the position of all who deny the presence of Christ and yet teach that we are in the harvest time.
It would not be so inconsistent with the order of the text should it be claimed that the presence of Christ, for some preparatory reason, should precede the harvest, as it was at the first advent, from His birth to His ministry; but to invert the order and have the consummation of the age before His arrival seems absurd.
We have no desire to make parallels, but when parallels really exist between the closing work of the Jewish and Gospel ages, we are glad to accept them, and regard them as a strength to the argument on the equality of the "Two Dispensations." And it is strangely out of harmony with the pattern character of the Jewish dispensation to claim, as some do, that though Christ was present on the Jewish level to introduce the Jewish harvest, yet He will not come to the level of the Gospel church until the Gospel harvest is ended.
There can be no doubt that the cause of this inconsistency, and denial of the presence of Christ during the Gospel harvest, is a misapprehension of what the level of the perfect Gospel church is. Paul gives us the key when he says: "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." (Rom. 8:9.) The ideal of the flesh is a perfect flesh man, but the ideal of the Spirit is "the spirits of just men made perfect." (Heb. 12:23.) If a perfect flesh man has a flesh body, a perfect spiritual being ought to have a "spiritual body"--and such Paul assures us will be the case: "It is sown a natural [psukikon--animal] body; it is raised a spiritual [pneumatikon] body." The former, even when perfect, is, and must be, according to the law of the flesh; and the latter is by the law of the Spirit. So Jesus, knowing both laws, says: "That which is born of [produced by] the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of [produced by] the Spirit is spirit."
No wonder that those who deny the presence and yet believe the harvest is here, are anxious to ignore some of the parallels of the Two Dispensations. Losing sight of the parallel causes them to ignore also the contract; for the second coming is, [R237 : page 7] and should be, in harmony with the spiritual character of the Gospel dispensation, even as the first coming was in harmony with the fleshly character of the Jewish dispensation.
That spiritual beings are naturally invisible to mortals, has often been proved; and that they have power to appear when it is necessary. God is said to be invisible, and of Christ it is said: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature;" (Col. 1:15) clearly implying that as soon as creatures are born of the Spirit they, too, become invisible. Angels are naturally invisible to mortals, and yet on special occasions they have been seen, and men have the promise of being made like unto the angels, and also like unto Christ.
That the risen body of Christ was invisible to mortals, only when for special reasons He appeared, should be admitted by all who ever knew that truth, or who have read the account. That, though Christians are actually in the flesh until these bodies are changed, (Phil. 3:21) God does not count them in the flesh, but in the spirit, (Rom. 8:9) and therefore as "risen with Christ" (Col. 3:1) "through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead," (Col. 2:12) cannot be ignored with impunity.
As Christ risen is naturally invisible, as we have shown, so when we have attained His perfect state, we too will be naturally invisible to mortals; i.e., when we have actually attained that in which we are now counted, on account of our faith, and the new work begun in us by the Spirit. That new nature is spoken of as Christ in you; (Rom. 8:10, and Gal. 2:20) Christ formed in you; (Gal. 4:19) "the hope of glory;" (Col. 1:27) "the inner man;" (Eph. 3:16) and "a new creation," (2 Cor. 5:17). The last passage, with its context, shows that this new nature by which we are related to the second Adam, and not the old Adam, nature, is the basis of our recognition as Christians, and of our fellowship. It also shows that the reason we are so counted is because we are in Christ, and He is no longer known after the flesh.
In the preceding chapter, before mentioned and to which attention is now called, the two natures, or men, are contrasted;--the old being the outward, the seen, the temporal, the perishing; while the new is the inward, the not seen, renewed day by day, the eternal. Those who cannot see that the new creature is invisible to mortals, both in the pre-natal and perfect state, it is to be hoped, are not willfully blind.
Failing to apprehend the double relationship of the Christian, in all its bearings, has caused some to misapprehend our position as to the presence of Christ. As natural or mortal beings we are related to the first Adam, but in our new nature we are related to the second Adam. Now we are as new beings in an "earthly house," and so our bodies are said to be the "temple of the Holy Spirit." We do not, however, wish to be unclothed, but clothed upon with the heavenly house, or house from heaven. 2 Cor. 5:1-8.
There are two phases of service appropriately related to these two phases of life--an external service and an internal service. The "court" and the "holy place" of the tabernacle seem to represent these two phases of service. The court was open and visible, but all beyond the first vail was covered with dyed rams' skins, "and a covering of badgers' skins above that." Ex. 36:19. No eye could penetrate it. The only light there was from the lamps. The court (sometime also called the "holy place," (Lev. 14:13 and Ex. 29:11,31) was the place of sacrifice and of washing, and seems to represent our more earthly phase of life, and the disposition to be made of the flesh, by the indwelling Spirit. (Rom. 8:13.) But the "holy" or second apartment seems to represent our hidden life--in which "we walk by faith, not by sight." In this department and by faith, we eat of the hidden bread, walk in the light the world cannot see, and serve at an unseen altar. When we ascend to the perfection of spiritual beings we will see Him with eyes immortal; but while we walk by faith, we must receive His presence by faith, under the leadings of the Spirit. Nickname our view as men may please, to us it appears in harmony with the Law and the Prophets.
The philosophy of the plan, as well as the general statements of the New Testament, teaches the higher and spiritual and invisible character of the coming of Christ to receive His saints to Himself. To ignore that philosophy and those teachings is to ignore the relation of the natural and the spiritual as seen in the two Adams, the two Dispensations, the two Jerusalems, the two bodies and the two-- "First the natural, afterward the spiritual," in almost every element of the plan.
The fact that a sign of His presence was needed and given is evidence that the presence was to be invisible to the natural eye. The sign--(all the evidences)--is for the church. This is proved by the general plan. "Light is sown for the righteous." The world is to learn by judgments, which will doubtless be the appearing of the sign to them. There is doubtless import in the fact that the disciples came to Him privately, saying: "Tell us when shall these things be," &c.
The condition of the world--their excuse and ignorance--during the first part at least of the parousia--presence --of Christ--is stated by Himself. (See Matt. 24:37-39.) The word coming in this passage is not Erkomia, but Parousia. The Saviour compares the period of His presence to "the days of Noah"-- not to the flood, as some suppose, but to the "days which were before the flood," while the ark was preparing." (See verse 38 and compare 1 Pet. 3:20.)
In Luke 17:26, instead of "coming," we have a "phrase "in the days of the Son of man," which agrees with the idea of Presence. That this presence, in his days precedes, for a time, the rapture or taking away of the saints, is proved by the light given for them by the Saviour; and by the fact that the day does not come unawares on the watchers, because they walk in the light. (Luke 21:34-36 and 1 Thess. 5:1-5. Another evidence that He will be present for a time and that presence proclaimed, before the wise are gone, may be drawn from the contrast between the work of the "Faithful and wise servant" and the "Evil servant." (Matt. 24:45-51.) The evil servant says: "My Lord delays," and smites his fellow servant, who must be proclaiming the opposite, which is, "My Lord no longer tarries." Until he has come of course he delays. It is not so much the honest doubt that is to be condemned as the persecuting spirit.
This Suntelia--the end of the age, the harvest--agrees with Peter's "Last of the days," in which he says: "Scoffers will come with scoffing," and saying, 'Where is the promise of His presence?'" The scoffer's point is that nothing in the circumstances appeals to the natural eyes "All things continue in this way from the beginning." 2 Pet. 3:3-4. (Diaglott) "If your Christ has been present these seven years, He has done nothing"--an expression some use (and we give it free from its severity) sounds a little like the plea Peter mentions. If the harvest work has been in process, He has not been idle, for even though the Reapers are the Angels, He is Lord of the Angels as well as men. He is therefore the chief Reaper--the Lord of the Harvest. If there is no evidence of the presence, there is none of the Harvest,--the sign of the one is the sign of the other. To use the amount of evidence is great--coming by a combination of the prophetic periods, the parallels and the "signs of the times." There are doubtless unseen facts which, when knowledge is perfected, will be found in harmony with what we have seen. But there is so much evidence which appeals to faith, [R237 : page 8] that we are encouraged to hold fast. We think if Jesus were present in the flesh, as when he came to the Jews, He would say now as then: "Ye can discern the face of the earth and of the sky; how is it that ye cannot discern this time?" The clearer the understanding, the deeper will be the impression of the facts, and the sanctifying effect will be the greater.
J. H. P.
THE LORD'S AND OUR NEW NAME.
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." Rev. 3:12.
By the above it would seem that Jesus is to be known by a new name and a title different from that which He now bears; and not only will this be true of Him, but also of us; for if overcomers we shall bear His name, being his bride. We think a new name suggests the idea of a change in Christ's official position toward restored Israel and other of earth's nations in the coming age; therefore he should assume that position in the end of this age, for then Israel is to return to a position of favor; as: "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name [His bride] and to this agree...the prophets; as it is written, after this [after He selects His bride]: I will overturn and build again the tabernacle of David... and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up." Acts 15:14-16. In harmony with this we quote from the prophet, saying: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will [R238 : page 8] raise unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His day Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is His name whereby He shall be called: THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS!" It is evident that the above scene is laid at the time of favor to Israel, when God shall comfort them; for their double chastisement will then be complete, (Isa. 40:1-2) and the Lord shall be known by them in that day [now entered upon] as: "THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." This is His new name, and He shall be so recognized during his reign over the nations. Melchisedec, being a type of Christ, was: "First, being by interpretation, King of Righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of Peace;" (Heb. 7:2) and to this end (to be a king and reign in righteousness) was Jesus born. John 18:37. During the presence of Jesus Acts 15:16 will have a fulfillment, and also Acts 3:19,23: "Moses truly said unto the fathers: A prophet shall the Lord, your God, raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you." The change to Israel is gradual, and during that time the espoused of Christ is exalted (married) and receives His name; and so our text reads: "I will write upon Him (that overcometh) my new name." The city mentioned is the new Jerusalem, and this was shown John in vision as being a picture of the glorified church--the bride-- Rev. 21:2,9-11. We shall show you that the new Jerusalem is called by the same name in that day as our Lord, for says the prophet: "In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith SHE shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Jer. 33:15,16. How beautiful is this and how harmonious with all light we have had on this point. All who are acquainted with our position, know that we have claimed the church as now espoused to Jesus in order that we may be united as one; and as God called the first pair--after marriage--Adam (Gen. 5:2) so the second Adam includes His bride, and they united constitute the new Jerusalem, which will be the righteousness of the nations. This will be called: "The city of righteousness, the faithful city;" (Isa. 1:26) and those who constitute it will be known as: "Trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified;" (Isa. 61:3). "That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:7.) Then will (Isa. 32:1) be fulfilled: "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes (the saints) shall rule in judgment;" "And Saviours (Jesus and his bride) shall come upon Mount Zion: and the kingdom shall be the Lord's." (Oba. 21.) As we shall then rule Israel for their good we shall be to them: "The sun of righteousness," that shall arise with healing in his wings and they shall grow up as calves of the stall; (well cared for) and: "There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob;" (Rom. 11:26) or as David says: "Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion." (Psa. 53:6.) Then will be their time to shine; as the prophet says: "Arise, shine: for thy light (the bride) is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." (Isa. 60:1.) Yes friends, the marriage of the Lamb is the next great and important event for this world; next to the death of Jesus; for not until then will the enlightening and blessing of the nations come: (Rev. 21:24) and until then: "The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God;" (Rom. 8:19) and we will not be manifest to the world until we take upon us by glorification the name of Jesus. After the marriage of the Lamb people shall be judged by righteousness and: "The mountains (earth's governments) shall bring peace to the people,... He shall judge the poor of the people, He shall save the children of the needy:...and men shall be blessed in Him." (Psa. 72:3,4,17.) Christ (head and body). "With righteousness shall He judge (rule) the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:...They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea:" (Isa. 11:4,9.) "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever;" (Isa. 32:17) for "The Lord is exalted: for He dwelleth on high: He hath filled Zion (city of the living God, Heb. 12:22) with judgment and righteousness:" "Because He hath appointed a day, (1000 years) in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man (the Christ: head and body for we shall judge the world. 1 Cor. 6:2) whom He hath ordained." (Acts 17:31.) Though we shall rule the world it will be when in glory (Psa. 149) and: "If the ministration of condemnation (that under the law) be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness (that under the new covenant: in the next ages) exceed in glory." (2 Cor. 3:9.) The glorified Jerusalem being the bride, the Mount Zion, from her shall go forth the law; (Isa. 2:3) and by it the world will be blessed, for to the world we shall be as: "The Lord our righteousness." Beloved, seeing we shall bear such a name, and hold such an exalted position; let us be holy, and strive to overcome as Jesus overcame, for alone to the overcomers shall the new name be given. Strive, therefore: "That no man take thy crown." (Rev. 3:11.) He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it:" (Rev. 2:17) and true it is that no person knows our new name except they that receive it: for it is, "The Lord our righteousness."
A. D. J.
TO THE READERS OF THE WATCH TOWER.
BELOVED: It is fitting that new recruits should cheer, if nothing else presents that they can do. It is well that overcomers should continue to use the "word of their testimony." In the true life of faith there must be habitual obedience to the revealed will of God. The just shall live by faith. To the one that lives by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, it should not appear strange that God should present objects of faith one by one, and not all at once; neither should we stumble if our faith meets with higher truths than those first presented. Faith, like muscular organs, is strengthened by use--the whole gymnasium is open to the athlete; he would spurn the gentle and easy exercises of the invalids. But how often we rebel when this principle is used in the acts of faith: It is trying to the man who has arrived at the justified plane to be told about the entire consecration demanded of the "overcomer." For a week I have been instructed in the things of the Kingdom especially referring to the presence of Christ doing the separating work preparatory to the marriage. And most joyfully do I receive these teachings.
With shame I record that for three days I rejected these truths, almost wishing they were not scriptural and the very truth of God, instead of joyfully welcoming them with grateful heart. Following closely came another trial of faith and measure of my obedience and consecration, when I, as one of God's stewards, was urged to do the work of a steward and deal out these truths exactly in the measure of my ability to proclaim them. This meant for me the preaching service; the proclamation of truths so unwelcome to many up and down the land everywhere and always.
I ask pardon from the blessed Master --Christ Jesus, that I ever hesitated to accept His place in true humility, and the obedience of faith. I bring, not a parade of the Christianizing and civilizing elements to elevate and liberalize the world, and thus make it fit for a coming Messiah; but we proclaim: "The times of restitution spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began"--the glorious manifestation of the sons of God, now so near. Glorious body of Christ, take courage. "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea (the nominal church), and my service that I have for Jerusalem the Bride) may be accepted of all the saints." Rom. 15:30,31.
J. B. A.
It gives me pleasure to thus introduce to the readers of the WATCH TOWER one whom we have recently come to know as a very dear saint-- a brother in Christ. We first became acquainted about one year ago and his interest has been growing in the precious truths advocated in the TOWER. Again visiting this city, we have had very pleasant and profitable interchanges on the all important themes--the presence, the "high calling" and the "narrow way" of entire consecration by which it may be reached.
Our brother has concluded as the above letter indicates to give all that he has of time, reputation and ability for the Pearl of great price, the "Crown of life,"--immortality and joint-heirship. He leaves a profitable and increasing business paying about $1,500 [R239 : page 8] a year as well as other things--this might be considered a great deal to give but it is really nothing--nothing compared to the privilege of being an Ambassador and mouth-piece of the King of kings; nothing compared with the privilege of telling the "Glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people" causing men to know and love God and their Redeemer and refreshing the hearts of the Saints; nothing compared to the great riches and glory and honor promised of God to those who walk in Jesus' footsteps.
Bro. Robert Bailey, of Michigan, has also gone forth a proclaimer of the same "Glad tidings" entirely consecrated to the Lord and his work. He was with us as well as Bro. Sunderlin, of N.Y., (who has been in the work for three months) at the above mentioned conference. We trust that the studies of those days were profitable to each of us. May the Lord go with, and bless these brethren by using them abundantly in his service.
Some of them may call upon you in the course of their travels; we bespeak for them your kindest and warmest reception. In this connection it may be of cheer to some of you to know that the Lord is stirring up the depths of the hearts of his consecrated children and each seems desirous of doing what he can. Brother McGrannor, of Pennsylvania, has also gone forth recently to give his entire time and labor in the "harvest" field; may his labors also be crowned with such success as may seem good to the Lord of the harvest and gain finally the "Well done good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joys of the Lord."
Many other evidences less notable but equally acceptable to the Lord could be mentioned showing the power of truth to consecrate and separate from everything and to use humble efforts for the glory of our King, but these will suffice. Now let me ask-- are there others who as stewards (not bankers to pay when demanded but stewards) possessing talents, time, etc., consecrated to God, which he entrusts to them to be used in his service: are there more such who want to render to the Lord his own?--[EDITOR.]
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