[R1319 : page 113]
ZION'S WATCH TOWER and Herald of Christ's Presence
ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL
"Watchman, What of the Night?" "The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11
VOL. XII. SEPTEMBER, 1891. NO. 9.
VIEW FROM THE TOWER. PERILOUS TIMES AT HAND.
Realizing that we are now living in the very times referred to by the Apostle, some may inquire, How can this be? Are not these times, in comparison with times past, specially favorable to the prosperity of the Church? Time was when fire and sword and guillotine and rack were systematically employed to exterminate the true saints of God, when the Word of God was a book prohibited, and when the prison and the dungeon rewarded the faithful searching of the Scriptures. And is there not also more truth due and understood now than formerly, as well as full liberty--if a man is pleased to exercise it--to believe and teach, either in private or in public, whatever he believes to be truth?
Yes, such are the favorable conditions of our day. Never, in all the history of the Church, has there been a day of such privilege and blessing --such increase of knowledge and general intelligence, such facilities for the general diffusion of knowledge and such breadth of individual liberty--of conscience, of speech and of action as today. The spirit of liberty is abroad in the earth, and though the wily enemies that once fettered and handcuffed and imprisoned it still live, and would fain imprison it again, they regretfully realize that the soaring eagle is on the wing and may never be pinioned again. But hand in hand with all these advantages, strange to say, comes the Church's greatest peril. True, there is little peril to physical life, or earthly property; but these to the true saints are of minor importance, for they count not their earthly life dear unto them, if by any means they may attain the divine nature and glory to which they are called. The peril of these times is to the spiritual nature of the saints and to their valuable property in the exceeding great and precious promises of God, which are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus. Subtle influences are now at work seeking to dwarf and extinguish the spiritual life and to rob the saints of their glorious hope, to sap stealthily the very foundations of Christianity, and thus effectually to overthrow the whole superstructure of the Christian faith in the minds of many, causing them thus to stumble and lose their glorious inheritance as joint-heirs with Christ. The present besetments, being of this subtle character, are the more calculated to delude and ensnare, so that if one allows himself to be for a moment off his guard, the agencies of the adversary will gain an advantage and use it to entrap the unwary one. And God will permit such snares because those only who are loyal and faithful, and therefore ever watchful, are counted worthy to escape their strong delusion. "Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."-- Matt. 21:36. [R1319 : page 114]
The Apostle forewarns the Church, not only of the certainty of such perils, and of their character, but also of their manner of approach. On one occasion he said, "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [Such were the great and destructive papal powers.] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:29,30.) Some of these Paul and the early Church encountered in that day. Paul was often in perils among false brethren who, concerning the faith, had made shipwreck, and who greatly withstood his words --his efforts to build up the Church in the most holy faith. (2 Cor. 11:26; 1 Tim. 1:19; 2 Tim. 4:14-17.) And he shows that from such false brethren, brethren who have erred from the truth and become teachers of false doctrine, will come the Church's greatest peril in these last times. (2 Tim. 2:16-18; 3:5.) And in order that we might recognize and beware of them, he very minutely described them, though the clear significance of the warning is somewhat beclouded by a faulty translation, which reads as follows:--
"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,* truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good; traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
*The Sinaitic, the oldest and most reliable MS., omits the words, "without natural affection," they being no part of the original text.
The description as here translated, the reader will observe, is incongruous; for men of such villainous character could have no form of godliness. Read the description again and consider --How could a proud, covetous, boastful blasphemer, a truce-breaker, a false accuser, incontinent and fierce, a despiser of those that are good, a heady, highminded, pleasure-loving traitor, have any form of godliness whatever, or deceive any one in this respect. Such a fierce character and bold blasphemer could not possibly palm himself off as a child of God; nor would he attempt it. The fact is that our translators did not fully comprehend the Apostle's language, and in rendering it into English they put the heaviest possible construction upon the Greek words, and thus the picture of these persons is overdrawn. Thus, for instance, the Greek word here rendered "blasphemers" (verse 3 [verse 2 - site Editor]) is blasphemos, which signifies one speaking injuriously or an evil-speaker. Now, judging merely by the word, regardless of the context, we would not know whether in this instance the evil speaking is carried to the extent of revilings or not; but as it stands related to the context--in view of the after statement that these have a form of godliness (verse 5), though lacking its real power--we must conclude that those milder or more subtle forms of evil-speaking, which would be consistent with hypocritical forms of godliness, are referred to, and therefore that our English word blaspheme, though it means evil-speaking, is too strong a term by which here to translate the Greek word blasphemos; for the full and generally understood significance of the English word blaspheme is-- "To speak of the Supreme Being in terms of impious irreverence, to revile or speak reproachfully of God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit--to speak wickedly of, to utter abuse or calumny against, to speak reproachfully of."--Webster.
So also the word apeithes, rendered "disobedient," signifies not persuaded; and the expression "disobedient to parents" would consequently signify not of the same persuasion, or not of the same mind as were the parents. The word anosios, rendered "unholy," which signifies unkind or unholy, would likewise, in view of the context, be better rendered by the milder English term, unkind. The word aspondos, rendered "truce-breakers" (verse 3), signifies irreconcilable or implacable --i.e., stubborn or constant in enmity. The word akrates, rendered "incontinent," signifies, more properly, without strength, or without self-control. Though this thought is also in the English word "incontinent," a coarser meaning generally attaches to the word. The word anemeros, rendered "fierce," signifies not mild, savage. That is, it may be a great or a small lack [R1319 : page 115] of mildness, amounting in some cases to savage bitterness. But, again, the fierce or savage idea is not compatible with any pretentions to godliness, as intimated in verse 5. The word aphilagathos, rendered "despisers of those that are good," would thus be better rendered not friendly to the good.
Thus revised, the Apostle's language reads as follows: "For men shall be lovers of their own selves [selfish], covetous, boasters, proud, evil-speakers, not of the same mind as were their forefathers [i.e., devisers of new doctrines], unthankful, unkind, irreconcilable, false accusers, without self-control, not mild, not friendly to those that are good--traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God [i.e., preferring their own will or pleasure to the will or pleasure of God]; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth."
It should be observed also that the word men, in verse 2, is emphatic in the Greek text, as shown in the Emphatic Diaglott, thus indicating that a particular class of men is here referred to, which, according to the description, can be none other than those mentioned in Acts 20:29,30, viz.: men "of your own selves [men of your own company, men whom you have hitherto regarded as members of the body of Christ, and who still claim to be such], who shall arise speaking perverse things [perverting the truth. But why, you ask, should any one who had once received the truth desire to pervert it? The Apostle answers that their object is] to draw away disciples after them." And for this purpose, of leading away disciples after them, they keep up the form of godliness, although they deny its power--the only power by means of which any of the fallen race can be reckoned godly or righteous in God's sight-- viz.: the power of the precious blood of Christ, which cleanseth us from all sin, as long as we appreciate and accept this salvation through faith in his blood. [R1320 : page 115]
Well may we inquire, as we realize that we are living in the last days here referred to, Is there such a class of enemies to the truth and to the Church actually in existence to-day? Truly, the voice of prophecy has never set up a false alarm, or foretold an uncertain event. The perilous times have come and the foretold perils are all about us. Side by side in the same communities with the humble, faithful, consecrated saints--in the same little assemblings together of those who have escaped from the bondage of Babylon, in the same households, and often at the same table of the Lord, there has also been developing a class who are "lovers of their own selves [selfish], covetous [of honors and distinction and the praise of men--ambitious], boasters [as though the credit of the truth now due and received were in some way due to them, and as though they had a right therefore to alter and amend it at their pleasure], proud" [of that knowledge which should be received with only humility and thankfulness, and which can be retained only under these conditions].
Because the light of newly unfolding truth has dawned upon their pathway, they, in common with the faithful saints, no longer are of the same mind as were their parents; but the goodness of God thus manifested to them, instead of cultivating in them a spirit of thankfulness and co-operation, which is its design, seems to arouse a spirit of pride and ambition, which does not long hesitate to make merchandise of the truth for ambitious ends, however trivial and foolish those ends may be. And in pursuance of the ambitious policy, by degrees they become "evil-speakers [against the doctrine of Christ and those who believe and teach it] unkind, unfriendly to those that are good [who hold fast the truth in righteousness], and false accusers" [of such]. As they proceed in this way they seem to lose all former strength of Christian character. They become irreconcilable to the truth, so that neither Scripture, nor reason, nor the example of the faithful, has power to restore them. Loving their own wills more than the will of God, they grow more and more proud and boastful of their attainments-- high-minded and heady. Not submitting themselves to the Head of the body, Christ Jesus, they are ambitious to head new factions themselves, and thus they turn traitors to the truth.
They claim, too, to be very earnest students of the Word of God; and so they are, but they [R1320 : page 116] never come to a knowledge of the truth. They are after something new, some new and peculiar "find" in the mine of God that will attract the wondering gaze of many curious disciples. But, alas for their purposes! there are no such real curiosities in the blessed Word of God; but the zeal of these ambitious ones is equal to the emergency, and one after another the actual truths are beclouded, distorted and perverted to this ignoble end and presented as newly found truths. And the unwary receive them as such, not recognizing at first that they are subversive of the entire system of divine truth. Thus their faith in the truths already learned is unwittingly undermined; they are caught in the snare of the enemy; and as they continue to give ear to these seductive influences they become more and more entangled, until, having lost their anchorage, they find themselves adrift on a vast sea of unbelief, floating they know not whither. Like their leaders, they may retain the form of godliness but have lost its power.
But there is another feature of the description of these false teachers, whose ambitions place so many perils in the pathway of the saints, which should not be overlooked. Verses 6 and 8 describe, or rather illustrate, the manner in which the influence of such teachers will be brought to bear upon the Church. Their opposition is not expressed in bold, defiant terms, and emphasized and enforced with vehemency. As here intimated, their policy is crafty, deceitful, sly, under pretentions of godliness, love of truth, and zeal for the truth. Their influence will be exerted somewhat after the manner of a vile class mentioned in verse 6 who "creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins and led away by various inordinate desires." Not that such will be the actual immoral character of these teachers, but that their policy will be similarly seductive.
Their actual course is more particularly described in verse 8 thus: "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds [corrupted or turned aside from the truth], reprobate concerning the faith." Thus we are shown that the opposition to the truth will be manifested in a subtle, deceptive course similar to that of those opposers of Moses. They opposed Moses by doing something similar to what he did, thus confusing the people. God had given Moses power to do certain miracles in order to prove to Israel that Moses was his divinely empowered agent. And Satan forthwith empowered his agents to duplicate those miracles to some extent, though not perfectly, thus endeavoring to confuse the minds of the people and to unsettle their confidence in Moses and his leading and teaching.
Just so it is to-day: the studied effort of false teachers--false brethren developing in the very midst of the Church--is to offset the truth by plausible forms of error, to unsettle confidence both in the truth and in all teachers of the truth, thus to lead away disciples after them and their theories. And in consequence of the allurements of these false teachers, and of the unfaithfulness of many to the love and service of the truth which they have received, a class in the midst of the Church will give much encouragement to the ambitions of these false brethren; "for," says the Apostle (2 Tim. 4:3,4), "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own desires [desires for something new] shall they gather to themselves teachers, having itching ears [for new and strange things]; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
Nor will this class be only a small minority; for, in order that the faithful may not be discouraged when brought face to face with these things, they are forewarned (Psa. 91:7) that, before this conflict ends, a thousand shall fall at their side and ten thousand at their right hand. Thus realizing that God foreknew it all and that the accomplishment of his glorious purposes is not in the least endangered thereby, they may still have confidence and joy in view of the glorious consummation of his plan and of their promised position in it.
But how shall the faithful believers act towards these false brethren in their midst? Shall they take them by the hand as formerly and bid them God-speed? Shall they recognize them as brethren in Christ when they have denied the faith, when they have rejected salvation [R1320 : page 117] through the precious blood of Christ and now claim it of God as their just right, as the reward of their own righteousness after they have, as they say, slain the enmity that is in them? Are such indeed our brethren? are they owned of God as sons? and shall we indeed walk with them and be guiltless? What does the Apostle say we shall do? He says, "From such turn away." (Verse 5.) "Be not ye partakers with them; for ye were formerly darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light...and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Eph. 5:6-11). And the Apostle John (2 John 11) emphasizes Paul's counsel, saying, "If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God-speed; for he that biddeth him God-speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
Such "evil men," says Paul (verse 13), "shall wax worse and worse [more and more bold and aggressive, as they receive encouragement from that rapidly increasing class who will no longer endure sound doctrine], deceiving [others] and being deceived" [themselves--becoming more and firmly intrenched in the snares of their own weaving, so as to make it impossible to extricate them]. But, nevertheless, the time is coming when they shall proceed no further; for their folly shall be manifested unto all men, as was the folly of Jannes and Jambres, who could not forever withstand the teachings of Moses, the servant of God.--Verse 9.
Then Paul proceeds to call attention to the ground of Timothy's confidence in himself as a faithful teacher of divine truth, saying, "But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me." (Verses 10,11.) Such are always the marks of a true teacher. His doctrine will be that which the most thorough investigation of the Scriptures most clearly proves and establishes beyond all peradventure. His manner of life will be consistent both with his faith and with his consecration to the Lord. His purpose will be the building up of the Church in the most holy faith. His faith will be positive and clear--not mere guess work, but knowledge, based upon the sure Word of God, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. And his great love for the Church will be manifest as was Paul's, and as was Moses' love for Israel, by longsuffering, patience and meek endurance of persecution, both from an opposing world and from false brethren arising in the midst of God's people. And in such persecutions no true teacher will be lacking; for "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (Verse 12.) Such has been the experience of every true teacher that God has ever raised up to deliver and guide his people. Witness Noah, Moses, Paul and Luther.
But, beloved, our advice to you in these perilous times, when error is taking on its most baneful and deceitful forms, and when it is finding its most active agents amongst false brethren [R1321 : page 117] and sisters in your very midst, and when fidelity to truth, therefore, occasions the severing of some of the tenderest social ties you have ever known, even among those with whom you once held sweet converse as you walked together to the house of God--yes, in these times let us again urge the counsel of Paul--"Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;" for it is written (John 6:45), "They shall be all taught of God." Whoever the human agent may be that God has made use of to bring you to a knowledge of the truth, he was simply an index finger to help you trace it for yourself on the sacred page; and in humility and faithfulness he made no greater claim than this, assuring you that the holy Scriptures to which he ever and continually pointed are indeed "able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus;" and that "all Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
Therefore, dearly beloved, what you have learned concerning God's glorious plan of the ages, and concerning your privileged place in [R1321 : page 118] that plan, as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, his Son, and concerning the conditions upon which you hold this precious promise and may finally realize it, and concerning that great foundation doctrine of our redemption from sin and death through the precious blood of the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all, upon which fact rests the whole superstructure of the wondrous and glorious plan, hold fast these things, knowing of whom you have learned them. This precious truth is God's message to you, not man's. No such high and glorious hope could ever have entered the mind of mortal man, had not God revealed it by his spirit, as he has done through faith in his Word, in his own due time. It is all in that Word. Search and see for yourselves; and be not faithless but believing. It comes not to you on the miserable authority of vain imagination, or dreams, or doubtful visions, but on the authority of God's most holy and authentic Word. True, it is almost too good to believe, but is it not just like our God? Does it not gloriously illustrate the breadth of his mighty mind, the scope of his marvelous wisdom and power, and the depth of his love and grace?
Continue, therefore, in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of (having proved them yourselves from the Scriptures), and be not of them who turn away their ears from the truth and are turned unto fables. And observing those who have a form of godliness, but who, nevertheless, by their false teachings deny the power thereof, "from such turn away," and "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." We cannot serve two masters; we cannot espouse the cause of truth and the cause of error as well; nor can we retain the friendship of God and of the advocates of error also. Who is on the Lord's side? let them rally around the Lord's standard. All told, they will only be a "little flock." Like Gideon's band, the company now gathered by the proclamation of the harvest-message of truth must be tested and sifted until only the loyal, faithful, true hearted, brave and valiant soldiers of the cross remain; and to these, though their numbers be small, will the laurels of victory belong when truth and righteousness finally prevail. Let no man boast of numbers now when the highest interests of the elect of God are all bound up with the faithful few, to whom it will be the Father's good pleasure to give the kingdom."Count me the swords that have come."
"Lord, thousands on thousands are ready."
"Lo, there are too many, and with them are some
Whose hearts and whose hands are not steady.
He whose soul does not burn,
Let him take up his tent and return."
"Count me the swords that remain."
"Lord, hundreds on hundreds are daring."
"These yet are too many for me to attain
To the victory I am preparing.
Lead them down to the brink
Of the waters of Marah to drink."
"Lord, those who remain are but few,
And the hosts of the foe are appalling,
And what can a handful such as we do?"
"When ye hear from beyond my voice calling,
Sound the trump! Hold the Light!
Great Midian will melt in your sight."
"Temptations never give us notice. Can we expect them to do so? The sailor does not expect to have notice of every gale of wind that blows upon him. The soldier in battle does not reckon to have notice of every bullet that is coming his way. By what apparatus could we be kept aware of every advance of the evil one? The very essence of temptation often lies in the suddenness of it. We are carried off our feet before we are aware. Yet we must not say, because of this, 'I cannot help it;' for we ought to be all the more watchful, and live all the nearer to God in prayer. We are bound to stand against a sudden temptation, as much as against a slower mode of attack. We must look to the Lord to be kept from the arrow which flieth by day and the pestilence which walketh in darkness. We are to cry to God for grace, that, let the gusts of temptation come how and when they may, we may always be found in Christ, resting in him, covered with his divine power."
--C. H. Spurgeon.
WHAT OF THE NIGHT?
Watchman! watchman! what of the night?
"Shadows and darkness encircle me quite;
Earth is enshrouded in midnight gloom,
Black as the pall that envelopes the tomb;
Watchers are few, and mockers are bold--
The heavens are starless--the night-air is cold.
I am weary; O would that this night were gone.
I will watch for the day till the morning dawn."
Watchman! watchman! what of the night?
"In the east appeareth a glimmering light:
Faint it gleams--but 'tis rising now,
And streaming afar--'tis the morning's brow.
Shadows are passing--the Day Star is out,
The glory is flashing and leaping about,
And the golden tints that are poured o'er the earth
Foretell of the bursting morning's birth."
Watchman! watchman! what of the night?
"Day rushes onward all cloudless and bright.
And warmth, and light, and beauty are driven
To the farthest bound of the far-off heaven.
Flashing flames from the throne of God
Are bathing the world in a golden flood.
Seraph and cherub are crowding it on,
And the pure in their rapture are skyward gone."
Watchman! watchman! what of the night?
"Bursts on my vision a ravishing sight:
The Lord is in sight with his shining ones,
And the splendors of twice ten thousand suns.
He has come! Lo, the night-watch of sorrow is o'er,
And the mantle of midnight shall shroud me no more.
Pilgrim and Stranger, haste to thy home,
For the morning, the beautiful morning, has come!"
D. T. Taylor.
THE PROPHET LIKE UNTO MOSES.
DEUT. 18:15-22, AND ACTS 3.
In these Scriptures is to be found our subject. In the former is the prophecy of Moses, and in the latter Peter touches on its fulfilment. To find an apostle dealing with the fulfilment of prophecy is a great advantage, as it is one of our best safeguards against error and uncertainty. It is here, as it frequently happens elsewhere in similar cases, minute details are not dealt with: only broad outlines. Peter identifies the Prophet like unto Moses, and indicates the sphere and scope of his mission, together with its results. The likeness is not of a personal kind, either in nature or character; but is to be found rather in position and work. Nor is this likeness at all exact, being that of antitype to "type," reality to "figure," or substance to "shadow."
I. As "our Passover," Christ is the Prophet like unto Moses. When the Passover was instituted, "the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 'This month shall be to you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.'" There is an adequate reason for this. The life which man derives through the first Adam is condemned; and God has never entered into covenant with man on the basis of condemnation. In the institution and observance of the Passover, the people were typically passed over from death unto life. Their physical lives were preserved when others were destroyed; and that preservation is a type of a more widely extended and enduring one. In the treatment of the Passover lamb, there are at least two points which ought to be specially noted. First, as to the blood: "They shall take of the blood and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper doorpost of the houses wherein they shall eat it... and the blood shall be for a token upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the blood I will pass over you and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt" (Ex. 12:1-28). Very early the eating of blood was prohibited: "Flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat" (Gen. 9:4). This prohibition was frequently repeated, and a specific reason assigned for it: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Lev. 17:11). The shedding and sprinkling of the Passover blood is a striking "figure" of giving "life for life"--the requirement of [R1321 : page 120] divine justice before the condemned could be justified. It was only a "figure," however--the reality came afterwards: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18-19). The other point is as to the flesh: "They shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread, and with bitter herbs they shall eat it...with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord's Passover." Through the blood-shedding, the life of the Israelites was preserved; but the wilderness journey was before them, and they had to eat of the flesh as well. This feature, too, is a striking "figure" of the Lamb of God-- "our Passover." Through the shedding of his precious blood we have life. But that is not all. The journey of life has to be pursued, the enemies of life have to be overcome, the work of life has to be accomplished, and the discipline of life has to be perfected. In all this there is wear and tear--weariness and exhaustion; but [R1322 : page 120] our strength is renewed by heavenly food: "My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven: for the bread of God is he that cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world....He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth in me shall never thirst" (John 6:27-58).
II. As "the Resurrection," Christ is the Prophet like unto Moses. Typically, the Israelites were "bought" before they began their journey; but they did not travel far until they were brought face to face with another divine lesson. "The Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea." With the sea before them and Pharaoh's host behind, the children of Israel saw no way of escape, and in terror they cried out: "Because there were no graves in Egypt hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?" By divine appointment Moses had "bought" them with blood, and by the same authority he had to deliver them with power. He was not overcome, either by the faint-heartedness of the people, the power of Pharaoh, or the untowardness of the position: "Fear not," (said he) "stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord." He "stretched out his hand over the sea," "the waters were divided," and the children of Israel passed through "upon the dry ground." "The Egyptians pursued and went in after them." Moses again "stretched forth his hand over the sea," and "the waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the host of Pharaoh." "Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians" (Ex. 14). This transaction is a striking "figure" of the deliverance to be effected by Christ from the bondage and power of death, hades, and the devil. In reference to the "figure," the Apostle Paul says the people "were all baptized unto Moses, in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor. 10:2); and he teaches that baptism is an emblem of both death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3,4). Some theologians would have resurrection without ransom, others would have ransom without resurrection; but the Prophet like unto Moses is both: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise partook of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb. 2:14,15). Pharaoh held fast his captives until the typical lamb was slain; so, until the antitypical Lamb was slain, the devil held fast his captives. When the typical lamb was slain the power of Pharaoh was broken; so, the power of the devil was broken when the antitypical Lamb was slain; and complete matter-of-fact deliverance became a mere question of time. Ransom and Resurrection follow each other like cause and effect--just as sure as the one has been paid the other will be accomplished. "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues: O grave, I will be thy destruction: Repentance shall be hid from my eyes" (Hosea 13:14).
III. As "the Life," Christ is the Prophet like unto Moses. The order of events in the type is significant: first the Passover; then [R1322 : page 121] the deliverance from Egypt; and afterwards the giving of the law. So it is with the antitype: first the death of Christ for the life of the race; then the resurrection of the race; and afterwards the giving of "the law of the Spirit of life" to the race. In the type, Mount Sinai is the scene of the law-giving "glory;" in the antitype, Mount Zion is the scene of "the glory that excelleth." "For ye are not come unto the Mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of the trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more...but ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling which speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Heb. 12:18-24). In the type, one nation was delivered from Egypt, and led to Mount Sinai to receive the law; in the antitype, all nations are to be delivered from hades, and led to Mount Zion to receive the law. "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go, and say, Come ye, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:2,3). This feature of the likeness between Christ and Moses being of supreme importance, it is necessary to consider it somewhat in detail. The likeness between "figure" and reality very often runs into broad contrast; and in no feature is this more observable than in the present one. The Apostle Paul deals largely with it in his epistles; and perhaps no passage could be found more graphic or sublime than that in 2 Cor. 3. In that short chapter are crowded together more ideas than are to be found in some volumes; and it is our present purpose to enumerate and emphasize some of them.
1. The "figure" was written "in tables of stone;" the reality, "in fleshly tables of the heart." Stone is a fitting figure of human hearts petrified by sin. Of those upon whom the seed of the kingdom falls, a large proportion are found to be "stony ground." This condition of man was foreseen and provided for. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh" (Ezek. 36:26). Moses rehearsed all the words of the law unto the people; the Prophet like unto Moses not only rehearses the law, but opens the minds and the hearts of the people to receive it. The disciples were made aware of this soon after he rose from the dead. "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45); and this operation has been going on ever since, as all true believers can testify, of whom Lydia--"whose heart the Lord opened" (Acts 16:14)--may be taken as a sample. Moses carried the law to the people in his hands; Christ carries the law to the people in his heart. "Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart" (Psa. 40:7,8). Love begets love. If we would open another's heart, we have to lay bare our own. God acts upon this principle; and God manifest in flesh was an embodiment of it. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). This is the law of love, as it is "the law of faith" (Rom. 3:26); and faith "worketh by love" (Gal. 5:6).
2. The "figure" was ministered "in letter;" the reality is ministered in "spirit." The "figure" is the "old" covenant; the reality is the "new." Some theologians would fain find the reality of the present figure in the letter of the Gospel. Not so the apostles--they never used one letter as the figure of another; they used one letter--"the letter"--as the figure of a higher and much superior force--"the Spirit." "Our Gospel" (says Paul) "came not unto you [R1322 : page 122] in word only, but also in power, and in the holy Spirit, and in much assurance" (1 Thes. 1:5). "For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power" (1 Cor. 4:20). Change the form of the letter, or the word, as you may, and you do not assist man to break his fetters--you merely change the form of his slavery. He exclaims still, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:29). It is only through "the ministration of the Spirit" that man obtains freedom. "The Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Its ministration is "the perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25). "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified" (Isa. 61:1-3).
3. The "figure" was "the ministration of condemnation" and "death;" the reality is "the ministration of righteousness" and "life." The law of Moses is "holy, and just, and good" (Rom. 7:12). It is the ministration of condemnation and death to man because he is unholy, unjust, bad. That which is right must always condemn that which is wrong. The law could do nothing else. It never was intended to do anything else. In proportion to the information it gives, it condemns. "I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died" (Rom. 7:9). Man's radical need is Life. The law has neither promise nor power of life in it; and therefore it cannot meet his need. "If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law; but the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." (Gal. 3:21,22). "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" is the law of righteousness. The operation of this law accomplishes in man what the law of Moses could never do. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness [R1323 : page 122] of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:2-4). Some teachers who despair of obtaining righteousness by the law of Moses seem to think that it is obtainable by the law of conscience. That is a great mistake. The Jew has the law of conscience, as well as the law of Moses, and he has failed to obtain righteousness, either by the one or the other, or both combined. The fact is, the weakness of the law of Moses is through the flesh; and conscience in this respect is no exception to the other elements of the flesh--all are weak, and all are sinful. For righteousness, man must look much higher than himself. His only hope is in the Righteous One. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth: in his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby he shall be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jer. 23:5,6). Moses taught righteousness, and enforced it by sanctions; it is the Prophet like unto Moses "who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30). Moses imparted righteous words and righteous motives; in addition to these, the Righteous One imparts righteous life--the power which embodies righteous words in righteous deeds. Nor is this the power of imitation merely; it is the power of being. "He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous" (1 John 3:7). It is "the Spirit of life" permeating the "new man" as really as the blood permeates the "old."
4. The "figure" was "glorious;" the reality "excelleth" in glory. Moses was with the Lord forty days and forty nights "on Mount Sinai, and did neither eat bread nor drink water." When he came down Aaron and all the children [R1323 : page 123] of Israel saw that "the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him" (Ex. 34:28-30). Even the ministration of condemnation and death was given in glory. "But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance;... how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in that respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth." Our ideas of the glory of the Prophet like unto Moses, and of his ministration, are naturally contracted and very inadequate. We know something of the sufferings of Christ; but comparatively little of the glory which is to follow. Peter, James, and John, however, had a "vision" of it; and they tell us that "His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light" (Matt. 17:2). Saul of Tarsus, too, had a "heavenly vision," and after it he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink" (Acts 9:9). But, of all highly-favored ones, the saintly witness of Patmos stands pre-eminent, and his description of the Glorious One is graphic and sublime in the extreme: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last....I turned to see the voice that spake with me;...and I saw one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars; and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword; and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last, I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Rev. 1:10-18). That is an inspired conception of the present glory and majesty of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Perhaps we are to receive no fuller description of it until that day when we are to see it for ourselves. He is glorious in retinue, glorious in person, glorious in position, and glorious in power and authority. "All power (said he) is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18). The glory of Moses has been "done away," the glory of Christ "remaineth:" "For...the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government, and peace, there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9:6,7). The lawgiver of Israel put a veil on his face when he spoke to the people; and that veil was typical of the blindness of their hearts. "If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." "For God, who commandeth the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."--2 Cor. 4:3,4,6.
5. The "figure" was a present possession; the reality is an object of hope: "Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech." It would be well for us to note that "the ministration of the Spirit" is an object of hope. Many plume themselves with the conceit that they have that ministration now in all its fulness. Not so the apostles. Paul makes their position clear: "By manifestation of the truth (wrote he), commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." "In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God...by the Holy Spirit, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left." "In nothing am I behind [R1323 : page 124] the very chiefest apostles, though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds" (2 Cor. 4:2; 6:4-7; 12:11,12). Who is there in the present day that can show such a record? And yet to Paul "the ministration of the Spirit" was an object of hope. One of his statements to the Corinthian believers is somewhat enigmatical: "Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men." Mark: Believers are an epistle, that epistle is written in the apostle's heart, and it is known and read of all men. How can an epistle which is written in one man's heart be known and read of all men? It was Paul's hope that these believers would one day be "manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ," which was written in his heart. "Our hope of you is steadfast, knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also partakers of the consolation." "We are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus" (2 Cor. 1:7-14). "We, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire." "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming" (1 Thes. 2:17,19). These believers were not then "manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ," but it was Paul's hope that they would be so declared, and that hope was written in his heart. When is "the epistle of Christ" to be "known and read of all men?" When it becomes like its writer--the Christ: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). Why is the epistle to be like its writer? These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son that thy Son also may glorify thee....O Father, glorify me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world....I pray for them....Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me" (John 17:1-23). Mark: Christ prays that he may be glorified; Christ prays that believers also may be glorified; Christ prays that he and they may be glorified, "that they may be made perfect in one;" and Christ prays "that they may be made perfect in one, that the world may know" that the Father hath sent him. When that marvelous prayer has been answered--as answered it certainly will be --then will believers be "known and read of all men--manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ." Not written by that compound and antagonistic process which prevails at present; "but with the Spirit of the living God." Not in some crooked, cramped, contradictory, or undecipherable hieroglyphics--such as the best of us are; but in characters so clear that "the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err" in reading them. Not limited to one nation, like the figure; the reality--the epistle of Christ--is to be sent to all the "ends of the earth," and will be "known and read of all men."
6. The "figure," in its sanctions, did not extend beyond the first death; the reality, in its sanctions, includes the "second death." That [R1324 : page 124] there is to be a second death is clearly revealed: "The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8). As the first death terminates the first life, so the second death may terminate the second life. Some theologians teach that there will be two terminations to one life; as well might they teach that there have been, or will be, two beginnings to one life; the Scriptures teach no such doctrine. There is a radical difference between the law regulating the first death [R1324 : page 125] and that regulating the second. The first death comes upon the entire human race (Adam excepted) independent of individual will. "As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, in whom [margin] all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). On the contrary, the second death will reach no man independent of his will. When "the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready," an offer of the water of life is to be made to every man. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). The only obstruction, or limitation, to the enjoyment of life as then to be offered will be the will of the hearer--"whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." How very different that will be from the state of things prevailing now. Then will be in full force the law of life and death depicted by the prophets. "The soul that sinneth it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezek. 18:20). "And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:23). "The water of life freely" then unto everyone who "will" receive it; "destruction from among the people" then unto everyone who "will not hear that prophet." There are those who say, deliverance from the second death may be expected; but the Scriptures utter no such word. They give no uncertain sound as to deliverance from the first death; but touching deliverance from the second death they are silent. While we ought to be prepared to speak whatever the Scriptures speak, we ought also to be prepared to be silent on whatever the Scriptures are silent.
In conclusion: (1) It is simply impossible to compress "the ministration of the Spirit" so as to bring it within the limits of the present age. There is in that ministration a galaxy of life, and light, and liberty, and love, and power, and righteousness, and glory, and blessedness, which is altogether incompatible with the present state of things. The more determinedly the work of compression is driven, the more conspicuous becomes its failure; and therefore, of necessity, we have to look forward to post-resurrection times for the beneficent fulness of that ministration. As that is so, it may be asked: (2) Is there no part of the "ministration of the Spirit" now? Most certainly there is. "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name" (Acts 15:14). "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures" (Jas. 1:18). Those being taken out from the others now are the "first fruits." So is it as to the blessedness enjoyed now by those who are taken out. "In whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed by that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance" (Eph. 1:13,14). But, the "first fruits" are not the "lump," nor is the "earnest" the "inheritance." The "first fruits" and the "earnest" are indications of the nature of the "lump" and of the "inheritance," and pledges, too, that the "lump" and the "inheritance" will follow in due time. "For if the first fruits be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches." "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"--Rom. 11:16,23.
It is said that the Jewish population of Russia doubles its numbers in thirty years, while the native population doubles only in ninety years, and the population of Europe only in one hundred and fifty years. The Russians therefore fear the time when they will be outnumbered.
The Jews who are being driven by persecution to Palestine, although unable to understand each other's language, have all some knowledge of Hebrew, which, it is said, is rapidly becoming a living tongue in the Holy Land.
LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT ALLEGHENY.
Odessa, Bessarabia, Russia. August 1st, 1891.
TO THE DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS OF THE CHURCH AT ALLEGHENY:--Greeting to you all in the name of our Redeemer and King.
We are thus far upon our long journey and are feeling weary from so constant travel; but, thank the Lord, we both are quite well--spiritually and physically. We pray for you all the same heavenly blessings.
You will be pleased to learn that our journey is proving profitable to us, as hoped. I will not give details or particulars now (leaving that for a general report in the TOWER), but will merely say that we already appreciate the situation of Europe much better than before.
You will be glad to learn that during our journey we have met several who manifested a deep interest in God's great plan of the ages, and who said they would procure and read DAWN, and search the Scriptures to see whether these things be so presented therein. One of these was a Hebrew with whom we rode from Dresden to Vienna. The gentleman (a merchant) had a noble and intelligent face, and until he so informed us we did not surmise him to be a Jew. We had inquired of him respecting the laboring classes--their daily wages, etc., and conversation turned upon the proportion of Catholics and Protestants, and finally to the subject of true heart-religion. He remarked that although almost all the people of Austria, except the Jews, are counted as Roman Catholic Christians, yet a truly religious spirit is lacking. He said that there were strong evidences that a persecution of the Jews in Austria may soon break out which would lead to as great or greater affliction upon that race than is now being experienced in some parts of Russia.
We assured him that these things must so be; that God through his prophets had clearly pointed out that he would permit persecution in all lands in order to drive out the Jews and to give them no rest; and further, that the Scriptures showed that the time for this was now due; but that while Israel feels the trouble sharply, this trouble (Isa. 26:16-19) is really unlike all others of the past 1800 years upon that people--it is not a mark of divine disfavor, but, contrariwise, of favor; for by it the Lord would awaken them from present lethargy and contentment among the nations, to cause their hearts to long for the Promised Land as an everlasting possession, because his time has now come to re-gather in Palestine the faithful, longing Jews and to remove from their hearts the blindness of unbelief.
But, we inquired, what evidences do you see of a persecution of the Jews in Austria. "Very strong indications," he answered; "for instance, stories are being circulated among the ignorant to the effect that the Jews kidnap Christian children and kill them and drink their blood; and the same class is told that if it were not for the Jews they would all be prosperous, money plentiful, wages high, etc. Why," said he, "one labor agitator publicly declared recently that the only remedy for the grievances of the poorer classes is to kill all the Jews. He said, 'We must do with them as was once done with the French at Seville' (--massacre them). That man," he continued, "is well known as a bad man: he had already done penal service (once for making counterfeit money); yet so greatly was that man appreciated for his hatred of the Jews that he was elected to the Austrian Parliament by a large majority."
We then briefly pointed out the matters detailed in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., how that God's Word reveals his plan: that as Israel had 1845 years of favor, which terminated with their rejection of Messiah, Jesus, so they were to have 1845 years of disfavor (during which period the Gospel Church would be selected), after which favor would return to Israel and their blindness of unbelief in Messiah be removed. As we proceeded to quote and to [R1324 : page 127] cite the prophecies referring to this "double," our friend began to note the passages, saying, "I am greatly interested in all this, for I am an Israelite."
We assured him of our love for all who are Israelites indeed, and proceeded to point out that the "double" was completed in 1878; that in that very year a Jew was the leader in the Berlin Conference of Nations; and that there began the preparation for Israel's return to God's favor and to Palestine. We pointed out that as they as a nation were 37 years in falling, so [R1325 : page 127] they would be 37 years in rising again to nationality, and that the present and prospective persecutions in all lands were but parts of the favor of God to bring them as a people to a condition in which all sincere Israelites would be blessed by Messiah, the Truth and the Kingdom.
The Hebrew friend and another traveling companion from Ireland, who overheard the conversation, are to receive the DAWN, and at once begin careful studies of these things. May God's blessing be upon them as they search, and may the true light--Christ--enlighten them both in all things pertaining to his name and Kingdom.
One of the most interesting of our experiences thus far was our visit to Brother Joseph Rabinowitch at his home in Kischenev, Russia. He welcomed us warmly, as did all the family, all of whom are believers in the Lord Jesus. We had a pleasant and, we trust, a profitable visit, in which we learned what we could of the work, past and present, among the Israelites.
We found Brother Rabinowitch pleasantly and comfortably situated: his home, office and new hand press for printing tracts are alongside of, and connected with, a new and very neat house of worship, which will seat about one hundred and twenty-five persons. We were struck with the close correspondence in many particulars between his work among the Israelites and our work among Christians. He finds the Israelites looking for a Kingdom of God, but disbelieving in Jesus as the Redeemer and King. We find Christian people trusting in Christ Jesus as Redeemer, but ignorant and disbelieving concerning the Gospel of the Kingdom. He finds many Jews anxious, privately, to know about the Redeemer, but fearful to incur the odium of their co-religionists. We find the same yearning and fear among Christians concerning the Kingdom. Undoubtedly both parts of the work (for it is one work in the sense of being under the one Lord) are making greater progress than appears on the surface. A heart work is in progress, much of which will bear no fruit until the great time of trouble has further unsealed the vision and the understanding.
Brother Rabinowitch has the New Testament and quite a number of tracts printed in what he terms Hebrew-Russo-German jargon--the only language which the lower classes can fully comprehend. Kischenev contains about 50,000 Israelites, so he has an excellent location for his work.
We found him well acquainted with the teachings of DAWN and in deep sympathy with the same. We took sweet counsel together of the Lord's work and each other's experiences, and of the necessity for holding fast to the word of the Lord's testimony.
Fearing that he was inclined to preach Christ's first advent and his sacrifice for sin almost to the exclusion of the Kingdom, we urged that he forget not the Lord's instruction upon this subject --"This Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached in all the world for a witness." We urged that in presenting the subject to the mind of an Israelite, Christ Jesus the Redeemer of men would be much more acceptable, if presented from the standpoint of Christ Jesus the King, about to establish his long-promised Kingdom --to make which an everlasting Kingdom he died ("the just for the unjust") 1800 years ago.
Brother Rabinowitch replied that he well knew the truth of what we said, but that though he had not totally neglected the subject of the coming of Christ as the King, yet he had heretofore felt that the second coming of Christ and the Kingdom then to be established were subjects for those more advanced in Christian knowledge, and that, therefore, his discourses in the past had been chiefly in proof that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah foretold by the prophets. [R1325 : page 128]
Our advice to him was, that the Church had for eighteen hundred years preached thus, and to little effect; and that the Lord's Word now pointed out a new message for Israel, saying: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people: speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem and cry unto her that her appointed times are accomplished, for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." (Isa. 40:1,2.) We suggested that this meant a preaching to them of the return of divine favor to them as a people before they had believed in Christ, and that with this return of God's favor would come the opening of the long-blinded eyes to recognize in Christ Jesus the Sun of Righteousness whose beams of blessing were already shining upon them. While assenting to the proposition, that without a full acceptance of Christ there is no possibility of everlasting salvation for either Jew or Gentile, we urged that a measure of blessing was about to come to the people of Israel in order to reveal Christ to all who are Israelites indeed. We reminded him, also, of the Lord's declaration that the knowledge of the Kingdom about to be established constitutes no insignificant part of the Gospel which the Lord wished to have preached in all the world, but which so many Christians had lost sight of--"This Gospel of the Kingdom must first be preached in all the world for a witness." In this connection we related to him our experiences with the Hebrew merchant en route for Vienna, and his interest so keenly and so quickly awakened by the fulfilment of the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, now manifestly in progress in its due time. We believe that the Kingdom will, hereafter, have a still more important place in Brother Rabinowitch's preaching, and we doubt not that the results will proportionately increase, to the praise of the Great King, in the turning away of blindness from Israel.
At parting we knelt in prayer with Brother Rabinowitch and his family in the forepart of the Chapel, each committing the other to the love and care of the one Lord whose work we each serve, though in different spheres. We left, extending our warm thanks to all for the kind hospitality received, and with our best wishes for their future welfare, receiving the same good wishes from each of them. At the railway station we were again greeted by Brother Rabinowitch and his son John (a very promising young man of about twenty years, from whom we hope to hear very soon in the Lord's vineyard). They had come to see that we experienced no difficulty with our tickets and baggage, and especially for a final good-bye and "God bless you." Both father and son kissed me (a custom much more usual among men here than in America), saying, "Pray for us when you are at Jerusalem, the City of the Great King, and especially when on the Mount of Olives." We assured them that we would do so, and asked their prayers also with us.
And now, beloved in the Lord, Farewell. When at the Mount of Olives, as everywhere, be assured that the Church of Christ at Allegheny, as well as the saints everywhere scattered abroad, will be remembered and loved and prayed for by my beloved helpmate, Sister Russell, as well as by myself.
Truly your brother and servant, CHARLES T. RUSSELL.
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