page 65
March 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

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

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

SEMI-MONTHLY
VOL. XXVIIIMARCH 1No. 5
A.D. 1907--A.M. 6035


CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower67
Concerning Falling Stars67
"The New Theology"68
Religion in France69
"After the Order of Melchisedec"69
"Transformed" (Poem)71
Berean Bible Studies on the Tabernacle71
Isaac's Peaceful Career72
Rebecca's Faith and Its Reward73
"Blessed are the Peacemakers"74
Selling the Birthright74
Obtaining the Blessing75
Jacob's Deception of Isaac76
Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers78

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

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

page 66

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION

THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.

Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.

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

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

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

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




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All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied FREE if they send a Postal Card each June stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the Studies, etc.


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

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



[R3951 : page 66]

NEW TABERNACLE ILLUSTRATIONS


The Berean Studies of the Tabernacle has stirred up a great interest amongst the friends of Present Truth. To meet a growing demand we have prepared a good-sized diagram of the Tabernacle, showing the various parts and furnishments in colors. These are printed on fine paper and have metal mountings and hangers. Another sheet of fine paper shows the High Priest in "garments of glory and beauty," also in his sacrificial robes, also one of the under priests. These are printed in nine colors and are really quite artistic.

In the ordinary way of business the two illustrations would sell for not less than $1.00, but preparing them in large quantities we are enabled to supply both for 35c, postage included, in pasteboard tubes; 3 sets together, $1.00. Or by express at your charges, 100 sets for $25.00.

Orders may be sent in at once and will be filled in turn as received. page 66

SEND A MARKED COPY TO US


Slanderous and nonsensical reports respecting the Editor of this journal and our Society's work, etc., have appeared in various newspapers. Friends are requested on finding such to send us a copy of such papers--marked: not merely a clipping.


Colporteurs will please use our Order blanks and direct letters to "Colporteur Department."



[R3949 : page 67]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER

CONCERNING FALLING STARS


OUR SOCIETY'S London representative writes as follows:--

London is getting a stir-up over "The New Theology," as it is called. A Rev. R. J. Campbell, who took Dr. Parker's place in London, thinks he has a mission. Ritual and Dogma are nothing to him, and he is laboring to break them to pieces. Man and God are indivisible; God is the sum-total of the consciousness of humanity--whatever that may be! Jesus was a man as other men, and was born in the same way: the difference in him being that he had more consciousness of himself and of things. There is no need for the terms Unitarian and Trinitarian, since man and God are one. The teaching that the blood of the man Jesus Christ, who was killed nearly 1900 years ago, could in any way avail to cover a man from guilt and that through faith in it a man can find acceptance with God is both lamentable and mischievous. These are some of the things being said. Other wild things are that a company of actors giving their services to interest some poor cripples were doing such work as Christ did on Calvary, and that the songs they sung, though not as fine words as the Psalms, were beyond them in actual effort. At any rate, this is to be seen--that the preacher in turning so sharply on the creeds will do something towards the disintegration of churchianity.


***

The Rev. Campbell proclaims himself not merely a higher-critic infidel but an atheist as well; but he does this in refined terms so as not to alarm the flock he is misleading. To him God is either "it" or "him," with "it" first and the "him" merely added as a concession to the ignorance and superstition of his hearers and readers. Then, to give his atheism milder form than some, he objects to calling the Creator merely "blind force," preferring rather the vague term "consciousness."

And what think you! This avowed infidel and atheist occupying the most prominent pulpit in Great Britain is about to instruct the preachers of Great Britain along these lines--"at their request." They are to assemble in various cities in conventions to hear this reverend D.D. prove to them the wisdom of David-- "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." (Psa. 14:1.) What better evidence could we have that the harvest work is urgently needed? Do we not see that as between Infidelity and Atheism in the pulpits and Christian Science, Spiritism, fanaticism and demonism in the pews, only the "elect" can escape these "plagues,"--and that the elect need the Helping Hands and Bible Keys speedily?

We are fortunate in being able to quote Rev. Campbell's own words in the following extract from the New Haven Union:--
VIEWS OF THE REV. CAMPBELL--SAYS SAVIOR WAS DIVINE AND THAT EVERYONE IS.

"The great modifications in religious belief which are taking place throughout the Christian world have recently been manifesting themselves with especial prominence in England. The leader in radical revision of faith is R. J. Campbell, pastor of the City Temple and the recognized head of the English Nonconformists. He is about to make a tour of the country, addressing gatherings of provincial pastors at their request upon the 'Restated Theology.' Inasmuch as Mr. Campbell rejects many of the chief dogmas of the Bible, such as the story of the fall of man, it will be seen how radically different from the old is the new theology, which is supplanting the religious beliefs of a generation ago in England.

"Mr. Campbell states his views with the utmost frankness in the London Daily Mail, and inasmuch as he is almost as well known in America as in his own country they will attract equal attention on this side of the Atlantic.

"'We object,' he says, 'to the formal statements of belief which have distinguished the theology of the past. We object to ecclesiastical labels. Everyone knows that for the last twenty years there has been considerable uneasiness in the churches, due largely to the development of scientific knowledge, the progress of archaeology and the study of comparative religion. This uneasiness has affected every Church, even [R3950 : page 68] Rome. From the side of science the new theology is typified in the work of men like Sir Oliver Lodge. The lines of divergence between the old and the new go down deep, and there is great cleavage.

GOD AND HUMANITY THE SAME

"'The new theology in common with the whole scientific world believes that the finite universe is one aspect or expression of that reality, but it thinks of it or him as consciousness rather than a blind force, thereby differing from some scientists. Believing this we believe that there is thus no real distinction between humanity and the Deity. Our being is the same as God's, although our consciousness of it is limited. We see the revelation of God in everything around us.

"'The new theology holds that human nature should be interpreted in terms of its own highest; therefore it reverences Jesus Christ. It looks upon Jesus as a perfect example of what humanity ought to be, the life which perfectly expresses God in our limited human experience. So far as we are able to see, the highest kind of life that can be lived is the life which is lived, in terms of the whole, as the life of Jesus. EVERY MAN IS A POTENTIAL CHRIST, or rather a manifestation of the eternal Christ--that side of the nature of God from which all humanity has come forth. Humanity is fundamentally one; all true living in the effort to realize that oneness. This is the truth that underlies all noble efforts for the common good in the world today.

"'The new theology watches with sympathy the development of modern science, for it believes itself to be in harmony therewith. It is the religious articulation of the scientific method. It therefore follows that it is in sympathy with scientific criticism of the important religious literature known as the Bible. While recognizing the value of the Bible as a unique record of religious experience, it handles it as freely and as critically as it would any other book. It believes that the seat of religious authority is within (not without) the human soul. Individual man is so constituted as to be able to recognize, ray by ray, the truth that helps him upward, no matter from what source it comes.

"'The new theology, of course, believes in the immortality of the soul, but only on the ground that every individual consciousness is a ray of the universal consciousness and cannot be destroyed. It believes that there are many stages in the upward progress of the soul in the unseen world before it becomes fully and consciously one with its infinite source. We make our destiny in the next world by our behavior in this, and ultimately every soul will be perfected.

"'The doctrine of sin which holds us to be blameworthy for deeds that we cannot help we believe to be a false view. Sin is simply selfishness. It is an offense against the God within, a violation of the law of love. We reject wholly the common interpretation of atonement, that another is beaten for our fault. We believe not in a final judgment, but in a judgment that is ever proceeding. Every sin involves suffering, suffering which cannot be remitted by any work of another. When a deed is done its consequences are eternal.

"'We believe Jesus is and was divine, but so are we. His mission was to make us realize our divinity and our oneness with God, and we are called to live the life which he lived.'"

"THE NEW THEOLOGY"


Under this caption The Christian World (London) says:--

"It is an old saying that Englishmen have two interests, politics and theology. It would be more correct to make the duality a trinity, for if a census of tastes were taken it would probably show that sport is the largest preoccupation of our modern public. But that theology is in this country still a very live subject is sufficiently illustrated by the daily newspaper columns of the last few days. The latest press sensation is what is being everywhere called 'The New Theology.' Mr. Campbell, of the City Temple, its leading exponent, is the topic of the hour. His portrait is exhibited, columns are occupied with impressionist sketches of him, with interviews, with leading articles, and correspondence on his views. Presidents of colleges and well known preachers are being solicited for their opinions on the disputed points. There is the usual clash of diametrically opposite views which we have learned to look for as the Englishman's way of expressing himself on any subject of interest. The veterans shake their heads. Some declare that the new preaching is a denial of New Testament Christianity; others denounce the preacher as an ignoramus who has had no proper theological training. 'It is simple Unitarianism,' says one party. Another demands a resurrection of the City Temple trust deed and an arraignment of the preacher as violating its conditions. Meanwhile the crowd goes to hear Mr. Campbell, and both old and young, dissentients and disciples, agree that a crisis has arisen for the churches and pulpits of the land.

"Are we in for a new Reformation? Vinet, himself an evangelical theologian, said long ago that one was necessary and inevitable, and there are features about the present upheaval which remind us curiously of that old one of nigh four centuries ago. It is difficult for an age to recognize the meaning of its own doings. To us Luther's movement comes as part of our orthodox creed. But we have only to go back to the literature of the time to see the enormous strain it put upon the faith of the world. The translation of the New Testament and its diffusion amongst the people, to us so essentially religious a work, was to orthodox Churchmen the most dangerous and subverting of acts.

"The time is one of sifting, when each man must examine his own foundations. Let him not lose his temper or his charity in the process. The day of the odium theologicum ought to be over. We may leave the topic with another word of Milton which could hardly be bettered as a present admonition:--'A little generous prudence, a little forbearance of one another, and some grain of charity, might win all these diligences to join and unite into one general and brotherly search after truth.'"

LEAGUE OF "NEW" THEOLOGIANS


The Tribune, another English daily, under the above title, states that a meeting of ministers interested in the new theology was held at the City Temple, when the "New Theology League" came into definite existence. Its sub-title is as follows:--

"A society for the encouragement of progressive religious thought." The membership is to be confined [R3950 : page 69] to ministers and laymen in association with Congregational churches. The Rev. R. J. Campbell was elected president, and the Rev. T. Gilbert Sadler (Wimbledon) and the Rev. W. Evans Darby (of the Peace Society) secretaries. It is proposed to propagate the views of the League by means of pamphlets, but for the present at any rate no attempt will be made to formulate a creedal definition of belief. Those present considered it was wiser to focus a common outlook and attitude rather than attempt creed-making.


***

The Tribune publishes the names of sixteen ministers who have endorsed Rev. Campbell's position. Error grows much faster than does Truth. The people are more ready for it, and name and fame and salary are not thereby risked.

Meantime some one has created a sensation by the discovery that the trust deed to the London City Temple has a clause which restricts its use to ministers who teach as well as profess the Westminster Confession. Dr. Campbell and his followers are pained that they should thus be interfered with. They are willing to profess what they do not believe, but think the time ripe for telling the people of their unbelief.

The Express states that it is proposed to ask Parliament to pass a law voiding the restrictions of the trust deed. It says:--

"Mr. Campbell's 'New Theology,' as so far developed:--
"1. Denies the 'fall of man.'
"2. Rejects the Atonement.
"3. Denies 'final judgment,' and says that judgment is always going on.
"4. Denies the Virgin Birth of Christ.
"5. Says that sin involves suffering which cannot be avoided.

"Mr. Campbell is not entitled to preach the 'New Theology' as pastor of the City Temple, nor is it legal for the trustees to allow him to do so, as they are equally bound by the deed, and have no power to alter it.

"The position is so acute that it has been proposed to apply for parliamentary power to vary the deeds, and at a recent meeting of the Free Church Council Mr. Reckitt, M.P., a leading supporter of Mr. Campbell's Church, said, 'We must act, because it is competent for any one to raise the whole question, and for ministers to be ejected from every chapel.'"

[R3951 : page 69]

RELIGION IN FRANCE


In the days of the Empire the French coins bore the usual legend, declaring that the Emperor reigned "by the grace of God" (i.e., as authorized by the Papacy). When the Republic superseded the Empire the coins' inscription was changed and now reads: "God protect France." The French Congress has recently directed that this be changed, and new coins will instead bear the words, "Liberty, Equality and Equity."

This is quite proper. The Government no longer recognizes the Papacy or its appointees, and gradually the French are realizing that their Government is no part of the Kingdom of God, and that special divine protection is not to be expected. When will other nations similarly awaken? They are all "kingdoms of this world," under "the prince of this world"--Satan. Only when he shall have been bound by the new King of glory will the French and others be prepared to become Kingdoms of God's dear Son.

The bishops' mansions, the seminaries, etc., vacated by their former occupants because of their unwillingness to obey French laws, are to be fitted up for and devoted to educational and museum purposes.

Some Catholics, in accord with the new French law, began the organization of a "Cultural Association," so as to have the use of the Church edifices; but the bishop of that diocese, Mgr. Dizien, following instructions from the pope, ordered the withdrawal of their parish priest as a punishment--for this means to Catholics no one to forgive their sins, no one to help their dead out of purgatory, no one to baptize their infants or preserve those dying from an awful future.

Thus is the poor world staggering on out of the darkness toward the light, but still hopeless except as our Lord's prayer shall be fulfilled, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven."



[R3951 : page 69]

"AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC"

"Jehovah hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec."--Ps. 110:4.

A PRIEST, in the only true sense, is a mediator between God and fallen creatures, the object of such mediation being to restore and establish harmony on a legal basis.

The office of the priest or mediator between God and man is to restore to perfection and consequent harmony with God a race of human beings condemned to death or already dead or dying. Hence the priest of necessity must be "mighty to save." (Psa. 89:19.) He must have both the right and the power to recall the dead to life, and ability to instruct and discipline, and thus to lead every willing subject back to the perfect estate from which Adam and the race in him fell. To secure this right he must first satisfy the demands of justice, which required the extinction of the human race; and these demands of justice could only be met by a corresponding sacrifice--a human life for a human life. The life of Adam and all in him could only be redeemed by another perfect human being. And so it was--"Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead." (I Cor. 15:21.) By the sacrifice of a perfect human existence is secured the right of the priest to restore.

But beyond the right or privilege of restoring, the priest must have the power, and power would of necessity presuppose his own everlasting existence. He must have power to create, since to restore to being that which had completely lost existence is to re-create it, and is a greater work even than the first creation; he must also have perfect knowledge, both of God's requirements [R3951 : page 70] and of human necessities, as well as perfect ability to guide a race so destitute back to the glorious heights of perfection and blessed harmony and communion with God.

What an office! Who would presume to assume such a title? It belongs really and only to Jehovah's Anointed. Even Jesus, "the Anointed One, did not glorify himself to become a high priest," but he has "been declared by God a high priest according to the order of Melchisedec." (Heb. 5:4,5,10--Diaglott.) Jehovah honored him by inviting him to that position, and giving him all power to fill it. In harmony with God's plan, not only has Jesus, his Anointed one, been chosen as the chief, or high priest, but the "little flock," who follow him in sacrifice now, are called to be joint-heirs with him in the same honor. "If we suffer with him we shall also be glorified together." Jesus alone is the great High Priest; but the Gospel Church, redeemed by his death and associated with him now in sacrifice, and to be associated with him in divine power hereafter, is counted in with him, and, together with him, will constitute the great Prophet, Priest and King promised, to liberate and bless the groaning creation --the Seed of promise.--Gen. 22:18; 28:14; Gal. 3:29; Acts 3:20-23; Psa. 110:4.

From these considerations it should be plain to all that our High Priest is truly a King, in whose hands absolute power is vested. And in looking back to the types God has given us we find Melchisedec, to whom we are cited as an illustration of this priesthood both by the Psalmist and the Apostle Paul. (Psa. 110:4; Heb. 5:5,10.) They show that Melchisedec, who was a priest upon his throne, represented the Christ in glory and power, while in the Aaronic priesthood the special features of the redemptive sacrifice were shadowed forth--its perfection, its completeness, its acceptableness, as also the share which the Church has with Christ in that sacrifice.

Christ was not constituted a priest of the Aaronic order: that priesthood was only the type or figure. The Aaronic priesthood sprang from the tribe of Levi, while "our Lord [according to the flesh] sprang from the tribe of Judah, of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood"; and the members of his body, the Church, are chosen chiefly from among the Gentiles. As a man Jesus was not a priest, neither as men are the saints members of the royal priesthood; but as "new creatures" they hold and execute their office. Jesus as a "new creature," "partaker of the divine nature" (to which he was begotten at the time of his baptism), was the priest, and as a priest he offered up his perfect human nature an acceptable sacrifice to God. He consecrated or offered himself in sacrifice on becoming the priest, and he received a special anointing for the office which was necessary to enable him to accomplish the sacrifice as well as to apply its benefits to men. His human nature, when sacrificed, could do nothing more--it must remain a sacrifice forever; but the new nature, fully developed in the resurrection, has "all power in heaven and in earth."--Matt. 28:18.

The priestly office of the new nature is not of the Aaronic order; it does not trace its lineage to any human source. This fact is strikingly typified in the priesthood of Melchisedec, whose lineage and death are not recorded. He was a priest without having inherited the office from his father or his mother--thus typifying Christ's priesthood, which came not of the lineage of the flesh, as did the Aaronic priesthood, which Israel thought to be the real. Neither was Melchisedec's death recorded nor a successor named (Heb. 7:3, Diaglott), that thus might be typified the continuity of Christ's priesthood. In this type the work of sacrifice is not shown, as Melchisedec represents the Christ glorified and reigning after the work of sacrifice has been completed, and the divine nature fully perfected.

In Heb. 7:4-10 Melchisedec is declared to be greater than Abraham, thus showing that the divine Christ will be greater, and therefore able to bless every "friend of God" on the human plane.

"Wherefore he [Christ] is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing that he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, [R3952 : page 70] separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens [lifted higher than the highest--to the divine nature]." (Heb. 7:25-27.) And this blessed assurance of such a priest, so "mighty to save," is confirmed unto us by the oath of Jehovah. (Heb. 7:21; Psa. 110:4.) What strong consolation, then, may those have, who have fled to Jehovah's Anointed for refuge: "Jehovah has sworn and will not repent: Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." What believer, justified by faith, who has offered himself a living sacrifice, may not read his title clear to joint-heirship with the Head in that glorious anointed body? He is authorized and is able to save completely all that come unto God by him now, as well as all who shall hear and come in the Millennium.

"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;...for we have become associates of the Anointed, if indeed we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end."--Heb. 3:1,14, Diaglott.

We conclude then, that while the Aaronic priesthood furnishes typical illustrations of the sacrifices and sufferings of Christ and the blessings to follow, it did not completely illustrate the glorious, everlasting and unchangeable character of his priesthood during the Millennial age; and for this cause Melchisedec was presented as a type, that thus might be shown his glorious office of priest and king--a priest upon his throne. Here, too, the body of Christ is no longer shown as separate individuals, but as one, complete. In the work of sacrifice we have seen the head or chief priest and the under priests more or less separately sacrificing, as represented in Aaron and the under priests; but all will unitedly share in the future glory represented in Melchisedec alone. [R3952 : page 71]

"TRANSFORMED"
Through a cloud of earthly senses
Bursts upon my raptured sight
Such a vision of my Father
In his glory and his might,
In his justice and his wisdom,
In his tender, watchful care,
Manifested in my Savior,
Rich in blessings everywhere.

Oh, it thrills with love and longing
Every fiber of my soul,
To be with thee, in thy presence,
While the countless ages roll.
Then a voice, "This be thy pattern,
See that thou in all thy ways
Make according to the pattern,
To my glory and my praise."

Thou the pattern, blessed Savior,
How can I a copy be
Of that gracious, sweet perfection
Manifested, Lord, in thee?
"Keep thine eyes upon the pattern,
Look not thou aside, behind,
And beholding but my glory,
Thou shalt be transformed in mind."

Oh, my Father, in thy mercy
As I gaze with unveiled face,
Let me see, as in a mirror,
All thy brightness, all thy grace.
So in looking, so in longing,
Shall my homely features glow
With the radiance of thy glory,
And thy matchless beauty show;

All my days be crowned with gladness,
From the center of my heart,
Praise to thee that in the blessing
Thou wilt let me have a part.
So then, in a faithful service,
For the loving service' sake,
Changed from glory unto glory,
I shall in thy likeness wake.

I shall see thee in thy beauty,
I shall in thy beauty shine,
All the loving, all the longing,
Merged in purest love divine.
Satisfied with the full sweetness
Of the bliss of heaven above,
All my future spent in blessing,
All my being lost in love.
--Carrie Beatty.



page 71

BEREAN BIBLE STUDIES ON THE TABERNACLE

In the references below, Z. represents this journal and T. stands for Tabernacle Shadows. The references should be given to brethren and sisters for reading in the classes. Free comment should be permitted either before or after each reading.


THE FIRST ATONEMENT-DAY SACRIFICE

(Continued)

MARCH 10

30. What simultaneous work was progressing in the "Court"? and what did this typify? T.57, par. 1,2.

31. What was represented by the burning upon the Brazen Altar of the fat and inward organs of the bullock? T.57, par. 1,2.

32. What did the great volume of smoke typify? T.57, par. 2.

33. In whose presence was this done? and what effect was produced? T.57, par. 1,2.

34. What period of time in the antitype was indicated by the time spent by the Priest in the burning of the fat and vital organs, as well as in the burning of the sweet incense? T.56, par. 2; 57, par. 2; I Pet. 1:7.

35. While the sweet incense was burning in the "Holy" and the fat and vital organs were burning in the "Court," what work was going on simultaneously outside the camp? T.57, par. 3; Lev. 16:27.

MARCH 17

36. What was typified by the stench of the burning of the hoofs and hide and entrails of the bullock of the sin offering? Heb. 13:13. T.58, top of page.

37. When did all the sacrifices and sufferings of our Lord end? T.58, par. 1; Jno. 19:30.

38. What three pictures did our Lord thus portray during the three and a half years of his ministry? and to what three classes did these refer? T.58, par. 1.

39. By what act did the High Priest foreshadow our Lord's resurrection and entrance into heaven, "there to appear in the presence of God for us"? T.58, par. 2; I Pet. 3:18; I Cor. 15:44.

40. How long did our Lord tarry under the "second vail"? T.58, par. 2; Jno. 19:31-33; 20:1.

41. What was pictured in the High Priest's carrying the blood of the bullock into the "Most Holy" and there sprinkling it upon the "Mercy Seat" and also before it? T.58, foot of page, and 59, top of page. See also T.63, par. 3.

42. When and where was the work of atonement, accomplished by our dear Redeemer, completed? T.59, top of page; Heb. 4:14; 9:24.


THE SECOND ATONEMENT-DAY SACRIFICE

MARCH 24

43. What was typified by the two goats for a sin-offering? and why were two chosen? T.59, par. 2,3; Lev. 16:5-10.

44. Why were they presented at the "door of the Tabernacle"? T.59, par. 2,3.

45. Why was Aaron instructed to "cast lots" upon the goats? T.60, par. 3; 61, top of page; Rom. 8:17.

46. Could we think of any other means than the casting of lots, by which the Lord could as well have indicated that he made no choice amongst those represented by these consecrated goats--as to which should be the sacrificers of the "little flock"?

47. Why was the "scapegoat" presented alive before the Lord to make an atonement with him, while the "Lord's goat" was killed? T.59, par. 3; p.60; Heb. 2:15.

48. Why were both goats taken from the "Camp," from among the children of Israel? T.59, par. 3.

MARCH 31

49. Why were not the goats taken into the "Holy" instead of being presented before the Lord at the door?

50. Will all who make the consecration to be "dead with Christ" gain the "prize" for which they consecrated? If not, why not? T.60, par. 1; Matt. 16:24.

51. Was the same treatment applied to the "Lord's page 72 goat" as to the bullock? and why? T.61, par. 2; Lev. 16:14,15.

52. For whom was the "Lord's goat" offered in sacrifice? Lev. 16:15; T.61, par. 2.

53. Does a goat have as much fat as a prime bullock? and what is thus typified? T.61, par. 2.

54. Were any offerings save "sin offerings" burned without the camp? T.62, par. 1; Lev. 16:27; Heb. 13:11.

55. What did the burning outside the camp of the hide, flesh and offal of the goat typify? T.62, par. 2; Col. 1:21; Matt. 5:11.

APRIL 7

56. Must all who are footstep followers of Christ and who hope to share his glory expect to suffer the same experiences of disesteem and ignominy experienced by our "Head"? Matt. 10:24,25. T.62, par. 2. Quote corroborative Scriptures from memory.

57. How can we go unto him without the camp? T.60, par. 2,3; Heb. 13:13.

58. What class alone can fully appreciate the value of the sacrifice of the "Lord's goat" company? T.62, par. 2; I Cor. 2:9-14.

59. What other class can appreciate it to some extent? T.62, par. 2.

60. What lessons should we learn from these facts? T.62, par. 3; Heb. 4:1; Jas. 5:20; I Pet. 2:23.

61. Is it possible for those who have once entered the "Court" and also the "Holy" to leave or be cast out of either or both? T.63, top of page. Heb. 6:4-8; 10:26-31.



[R3952 : page 72]

ISAAC'S PEACEFUL CAREER
--GENESIS 26:12-25.--MARCH 10.--

Golden Text:--Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."--Matt. 5:9.

ISAAC, the child of promise, in whom centered for the time the riches of God's gracious provision for the world of mankind, was not remarkable, either as a boy or a man. His experiences were rather commonplace as a rule. But is it not so with the majority of the Lord's people? Not many great, not many wise, not many learned, not many noble, not many rich, hath God chosen, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the Kingdom. (1 Cor. 1:26-29; Jas. 2:5.) If all the characters of the Scriptures were notable, the majority of us would feel ourselves so commonplace as to excite our fears that the Lord would have no place for us amongst his elect. We are glad that in divine providence some have prominence, greatness, almost thrust upon them by the necessity or interests of the Lord's plan. We are glad also for those less prominent, in whose hearts the Lord works equally a work of grace, purification, strength of character, to make them meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. A lesson in this connection is that strong characters may be developed and high ideals attained in the heart and in deed amongst the lowly and obscure. The majority of the Lord's elect are of this kind--"Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight." --Matt. 11:26.

The name Isaac signifies laughter, yet it would appear to be a misfit so far as the boy and the man were concerned. Retiring, peace-loving, meditative, quiet, he had not the rollicking disposition that might be represented by the name. A probable suggestion is that the laughter connected with his name was the remembrance of the experience of his parents in that matter. (1) We read, for instance, in Genesis 17:17 that Abraham laughed at the idea of a son being born to those so old. (2) In Gen. 18:12 we read that Sarah laughed at the idea of her having a son in old age. (3) In Gen. 21:6 we read that Sarah laughed with joy at the birth of her son. Another thought is that as Isaac was a type of Christ (Gal. 4:28), and the joy typified by his name was a prophecy of the blessing that is yet to come through the glorified Christ to all nations, in harmony with the prediction of the angels--"good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people." (Luke 2:10.) But as Isaac was not peculiarly mirthful or joyous, neither was Jesus, his great antitype, nor yet the Church, the body of Christ. Nevertheless there are joys of the Lord which the world cannot appreciate--the experience of all of those who have the divine peace and blessing.

ISAAC'S YOUTH AND MARRIAGE

Of a very different character indeed was Isaac's elder half-brother, Ishmael--domineering, tyrannical. Not amenable to restraints and reproofs, he made life miserable for Isaac until Abraham, in harmony with the Lord's direction, treated him as an incorrigible, and refused to him and his mother the privileges of the home. (Gen. 21:12.) We are informed that Hagar also had a sneering spirit. (Gen. 16:4.) Separation was not only wise but necessary to the type, as St. Paul shows. Ishmael was 13 years old, or 18 if, as some think, this occurred in Isaac's fifth year. We are to remember the Apostle's explanation of this incident, that it was typical: that Hagar and her son Ishmael represented the Law Covenant and the Jews, while Sarah and her son represented the original Abrahamic Covenant and the Church of this Gospel age. The persecution of the Isaac class at the first advent was very manifest, and as a result the Ishmael class, the Jews, have been cast off from divine favor and have had a [R3953 : page 72] time of trouble ever since. It is with pleasure that we see in the type, as well as in the direct statement of the Apostle, that the time will come when God's favor shall return to them and they shall return to the Lord, and he shall abundantly have mercy upon them, and we rejoice that this time is now near at hand, even at the door.

When Isaac was forty years of age, according to the custom of the time Abraham selected a wife for him--not that this was an invariable custom of the time, either, for we find that Isaac's two sons, Jacob and Esau, selected their own wives; but as Isaac was intended to be the type of Christ, so the bride of Isaac was intended to be the type of the Church. Hence the selection of the typical bride must be after the manner of the selection of the antitypical Bride. Thus as Abraham sent his servant to select the bride for [R3953 : page 73] Isaac, so the Scriptures inform us the heavenly Father sends the holy Spirit to make selection of those who may constitute the Bride of Christ, for, as Jesus declared, "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him." The story of the selection is a beautiful one, and fits well to the calling of the Church, thus:--

The divine guidance was sought and had in the matter of the selection, and this guidance was along practical lines--the approved maiden showed herself hospitable and kindly disposed in that she proffered the drawing of water for the camels which Abraham's servant had brought. It demonstrated her physical strength as well as her quality of heart. So those who are drawn of the Father to the Son must have certain elements of character to begin with, however these may be afterwards shaped and polished. The kindly, the generous, seem always to have the divine approval; hence we all should be on the alert to cultivate these qualities in our hearts and lives, and as parents and preceptors of the rising generation we should endeavor to cultivate this same quality in those under our care, having in mind the fact that such will be the more likely and the more ready to receive divine blessings of various kinds.

REBECCA'S FAITH AND ITS REWARD

As soon as Abraham's servant recognized the character of Rebecca he perceived that she would make a suitable wife for his master's son--that the Lord had guided him to her. He at once rewarded her kindness with an earring and bracelets and went with her to her home, where the matter was related to the family, and where Rebecca, with the consent of her parents, accepted the marriage proposal. Thereupon the servant brought forth more jewels and presented them to her, and they came on the journey and met Isaac at the well Lahairoi.

As the limitation for Isaac's bride was that she must belong to the family of Abraham, so the limitation of those called to be members of the Bride of Christ is: (1) That they shall not be sinners, not of the world, but of the "household of faith." Sinners are called to repentance, but not called to be the Bride of Christ--only believers are honored by this call. (2) Only those who have something of generosity and amiability in their characters are approached. (3) The self-sacrifices of these bring blessings in advance from the Lord, typified by the earring and bracelets of Rebecca; for no one can receive the truth and render service thereto without experiencing a blessing from the Lord. (4) After this came the information respecting the riches of God's grace and the invitation to become members of the Bride, the Lamb's Wife. The acceptance of the proposition could not be possible if it were with hesitancy; it must be prompt and hearty, and then the servant, the holy Spirit, opens up further treasures and presents them to the betrothed, and the journey begins. (5) That journey not only represents the individual experiences of our lives as we travel on under the guidance of the holy Spirit, looking forward to the time when we shall meet the Bridegroom, but it represents also the experiences of the Church as a whole for the past eighteen centuries, approaching to and hoping for the meeting of the Bridegroom and the marriage feast, the joys and blessings that are to follow when we shall be forever with our Lord, the heavenly Bridegroom. (6) As Isaac went out and met the bridal party on the way, at the well, so Christ meets his Church at the end of the journey. (7) The account tells us that when Rebecca recognized Isaac she put on a vail and alighted from the camel. Applying this to the antitype we see that at the end of our journey the Church shall pass beyond the vail and alight from the accessories of the present journey, and be thenceforth under the direct guidance and blessing and in the presence of the heavenly Bridegroom. What joys, what blessings, what glories are implied in this! As Isaac had but one wife, so Christ has but the one Bride, and the present period is for the testing of those who will be acceptable for that position. Respecting the type, Rebecca, Doctor Abbott writes that "Rebecca's noblest monument is found in the fact that in the prayer-book of the Church of England in the marriage service is the statement, 'that as Isaac and Rebecca lived faithfully together, so these persons may truly perform and keep the vow and covenant between them.'"

ISAAC PROSPEROUS BUT PEACEABLE

The record shows that Isaac inherited the great wealth of his father Abraham, flocks, herds, gold, silver, servants, etc. And that he increased this considerably is shown in our lesson--"The man waxed great and grew more and more until he became very great: for he had possessions of flocks and of herds and a great household: and the Philistines envied him." At the time of this lesson a drouth had prevailed in the more southern part, and Isaac had moved his establishment to the vicinity of Gerar north to the Mediterranean coast, because of the better pasturage and water. The Philistines had recognized God's favor with Abraham in his great growth, and now they saw the same in respect to Isaac. Not wishing to encourage this growingly influential family they had stopped the wells that the herdsmen of the north should not come their way; but Isaac's herdsmen, not taking the hint, had dug the wells afresh, and this led the king or chief of the Philistines to come out plainly and request Isaac and his retainers to move to other parts, saying, "Go from us; for thou art mightier than we." They knew not when the strife between the herdsmen might mean a civil war, and in the interests of peace they urged Isaac not to remain too close a neighbor.

We see a similar spirit manifested in various parts of the world today toward the posterity of Isaac--Russians, for instance, use these very words to the Jews, "Go from us, for you are mightier than we." The Lord's blessing has been with the seed of Abraham in a very remarkable manner, notwithstanding their chastenings during this Gospel age. No wonder, then, that other men feel somewhat envious of them and desire not to sit under their shadow. If the Russians merely asked the Jews to remove it would not be so bad, so unjust, provided, of course, that they would purchase from them their property at a reasonable value. But, coming far short of the spirit of the Philistines, they are ready to kill, to rob, to destroy the Jews.

In compliance with the request, Isaac did change the seat of his encampment a distance down the valley, but again trouble broke out. The Philistines were still jealous and claimed the water wells found by Isaac's herdsmen. But [R3953 : page 74] the man of peace would not permit of strife and moved his home again. Still angry feeling continued, and again he moved still farther away, and rejoiced that although the country was poorer, less advantageous every way, nevertheless he had peace for himself and his possessions.

"BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS"

There is a lesson for the Lord's people here, a lesson of peace: Blessed are those who are peaceable and who are peacemakers--blessed of God. They may not always prosper as well in outward and temporal matters, but they surely will be prosperous in their hearts, in their heart experiences, in their relationship to the Lord; they surely will make the better progress in the fruits and graces of the Spirit, and be the better fitted and prepared for the glorious opportunities soon to come, when, as the antitypical Isaac, associated as members of the Prince of Peace, they shall engage in the work of uplifting and refreshing and blessing all mankind. True, there are times when "backbone" is necessary, when principle is involved, and when retreat would be absolutely wrong; but these cases are rare. Undoubtedly we can often yield, and, as Isaac did, in so doing may find a provision of the Lord for our prosperity. Had the requirement of Abimelech been that Isaac should renounce the worship of the true God we can readily see that the principle involved would have hindered Isaac from yielding; and so with us, we are to note carefully and stand by everything involving principle.

Had Isaac and his servants been less numerous than the Philistines there would have been less merit in his conduct. We are to remember that, according to the words of the Philistines themselves, Isaac's clan was greater than that of the Philistines. For the greater to be submissive, yielding, peace-loving, is peculiarly commendable. Too frequently it is the case that might makes right, and the stronger one declares to the weaker, "Go yourself," with the result of clashing, bitterness, resistance, etc. Let us as the followers [R3954 : page 74] of the Lord in such matters take the course of Isaac, and, as the Apostle exhorts, "So far as lieth in you live peaceably with all men"; do not stand upon your rights--be willing to sacrifice for the interests of others, or at least to preserve peace between yourselves and others.

"THE LORD HATH MADE ROOM FOR US"

The Scriptures exhort, "In all thy ways acknowledge him." This is a matter which we feel is too frequently neglected in our day, even amongst the Lord's consecrated people. But Isaac did not forget the source of his blessing --the naming of the well indicates this, "Now the Lord hath made room for us and we shall be fruitful in the land." Our blessings increase in value and in efficacy and in the joys they bring to us in proportion as we recognize that they come from above. Let us then more and more--in all the little affairs of life as well as in the great--look to the Lord for his blessing and guidance, and give him thanks and acknowledgment as we perceive his hand in our affairs. So doing we learn to trust him more, and to have blessing ourselves as well as become blessings to others.

It was at this time that the Lord appeared to Isaac in a vision, or through an angel perhaps, and assured him that the promise made to his father Abraham under divine blessing was sure to him, and he built an altar unto the Lord, rendering worship. Possibly Isaac was fearful that the course he was pursuing, the course of peace, was an unwise one, and that the Philistines thereby would be encouraged to more and more take advantage of him. Many in his place would have thought, However much we are disposed for peace we must give these Philistines a lesson, and let them know there is a limit to our gentleness--a point beyond which if they go they will find a stern resistance and serious injury. Such would have been worldly wisdom and quite probably such thoughts did come to Isaac. It was at this time, then, that the Lord manifested himself especially to him and gave him especial assurances of his protecting care, and that all the good promises made to Abraham respecting that land and his own posterity would be absolutely fulfilled.

ABIMELECH SEEKS A TREATY

To Isaac's surprise Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, with Phichol, the chief captain of his army, visited him at his new home. "Isaac said unto them, Wherefore art thou come unto me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?" "And they said, We saw plainly that the Lord was with thee, and we said, Let there now be an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; that thou wilt do us no harm, even as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the Lord."

What an illustration Isaac here had of God's overruling providence! By his course of peace he had not only gained the respect and friendship of those who were envious of him, but additionally he had honored his God and incidentally honored himself in that these men recognized the fact that the favor of God was with him. And is not this the case with the Lord's people who seek to follow the counsel of his Word? Is it not better that we should suffer some disadvantages at times and keep the peace and accept the Lord's Spirit, thus holding up a light before the world, than that we should give way to wrangling and quarreling and give evidences of a carnal spirit and of doubt of God's power to protect us? Surely we may learn a lesson in this, and appreciate more and more the Master's words, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."



[R3954 : page 74]

SELLING THE BIRTHRIGHT
--GENESIS 27:15-23,41-45.--MARCH 17.--

Golden Text:--"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are his delight."--Prov. 12:22.

TO REBECCA were born two sons, twins, Esau being by a moment the elder. They were the heads or fathers of two nations nearly as dissimilar as themselves. The family of Jacob became known as Israel, God's peculiar people, inheritors through their father of the great Abrahamic promise. Esau's posterity were subsequently known as Edomites, and are well represented today in the Bedouin tribes of Arabia. At the birth of the twins the divine prophecy [R3954 : page 75] was that the elder should serve the younger, and the Apostle Paul called attention to this as an indication of God's foreknowledge of the difference in the characters of the two, and which he would choose to be the one through whom the Abrahamic promise would descend.--Rom. 9:12.

The narrative seems to show that these were very different types of men--the one, a jolly hunter, evidently lived what might be termed at that time a fast life, associating with the heathen peoples surrounding, and, as the heir-apparent of two-thirds of his father's estate under the Hebrew custom, he was doubtless well received everywhere. On the contrary, we are told that Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents--that is, he was a plain farmer, who gave his attention to caring for the estate. When the brothers were thirty-two years of age an incident occurred which had a most important bearing upon the interests of both for all future time. Esau had been away on a hunting expedition, and returned ravenously hungry at a time when Jacob had just prepared for himself a dinner of red lentils, of which both brothers were very fond. Alexander White thus narrates the incident in graphic style, and we believe truthfully. He says:--

"Esau was a sportsman, boisterous, wild, clumsy, full of the manliest interests and purposes, and was a proverb of courage and endurance, a success in the chase....He had an eye like an eagle. His ear never slept, his arrow never missed the mark. A prince of men, a prime favorite with men, women and children--all the time more animal than man."

But his tastes and appetites, desires and pleasures, were surely of an earthly kind. He had little interest in his father's God and the great Abrahamic promise in which his father trusted. From this standpoint he had already sold his birthright--that is to say, it had already in his estimation lost all of its great value, it was not comparable with the sensuous pleasures in which he delighted. Jacob, on the contrary, inherited more of his father's disposition of steadfastness and earnestness, and had great respect to the Abrahamic covenant, deploring the fact that by the apparent accident of birth he had lost the birthright which his brother did not appreciate. Doubtless, too, he had heard through his mother of the prophecy that the elder should yet serve the younger, which implied that in some sense of the word it might be God's will that he should eventually become the heir of that promise.

GOD'S PROMISE APPRECIATED

How Jacob's heart dwelt upon the possibilities of so great an inheritance, the blessing of God, and that his posterity should be ultimately used of the Almighty in blessing all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues! Doubtless for years he had sought opportunity to purchase from Esau the birthright which the latter evidently did not appreciate. And now, when his brother was hungry and desired the mess of pottage, was not this his opportunity for giving his brother what the latter preferred and for getting from him what he did not appreciate, but which Jacob esteemed beyond all things of earthly value? On this Mr. White says: "Everybody knew that Esau's birthright was for sale: Isaac knew, Rebecca knew, and Jacob knew. Jacob had for a long time been watching his brother for a fit opportunity." This at last came when his brother returned hungry from the chase just at the time Jacob's dinner was ready. So when Esau said, "Jacob, I am ravenously hungry; figuratively speaking, I am famishing for some of those delicious red lentils of your cooking," Jacob's answer was in effect, "Yes, you may have them and I will go hungry, but on one condition: You are the elder, and therefore will have the right to inherit the birthright blessing. But what is that to you? What do you care for Grandfather Abraham's blessing? If now you want this pottage more than you want the blessing say so and it shall be yours. The blessing is a matter of faith, the pottage a matter of fact. I know you have little faith respecting the promise, and I know that you are quite hungry and quite fond of this pottage. I am fond of it also, but I will go without if you give me the birthright blessing in exchange."

Esau's retort was in effect, "Take it, Jacob; it may be good some day, though I confess I have not much confidence in it. It seems to me that these people round about that father Isaac calls heathen are good fellows, some of them fine neighbors, and I might say without prejudice to you, Jacob, that I think that your doting over that promise has had the [R3955 : page 75] effect of making you too sober, almost morose. Why do you not come out and have a good time with the rest of us? However, if you want my share in the Abrahamic promise for that soup you are welcome to it--give me the soup." "Wait a moment," said Jacob; "let us do this thing properly. Make an oath to the effect that this is a bona fide transaction for all time." "I will do it," says Esau; "here goes --now give me the soup." Thus was bartered the great oath-bound covenant of God and the wonderful blessings which it embraces, present and future. Neither man knew fully what he was doing, for not until this Gospel age has the mystery of God in respect to that covenant been disclosed; and now, as the Apostle tells us, it is made known only to the saints, to those who receive the holy Spirit of adoption.

OBTAINING THE BLESSING

Twenty-five years rolled around after the above barter of the birthright. Esau, still a hunter, still fraternizing with the heathen peoples about, and married now to two Canaanitish women, was, despite his profligacy, his father's favorite. Jacob was still a God-fearing man, hoping for the realization eventually of his purchase, so highly prized. Isaac was old and had become blind, and considered that it was the right time to put the management of the estate in the hands of the elder son, Esau. Accordingly he made it known that he was about to bestow the patriarchal blessing, and under his instruction Esau had gone forth to prepare some savory venison as a feast for his father before the formal pronouncement of the blessing. Rebecca remembered the prophecy that the elder should serve the younger, and Jacob confided to her the fact that he had purchased the blessing of his brother and taken the latter's oath. They watched to see whether or not Esau would regard his oath and the sale of the blessing, but finding that he was disposed to disregard it and to violate all of his obligations, mother and son determined to use their every power to secure the fulfilment of Esau's engagement respecting the blessing. But considering that Isaac would not hear to this, they conspired together to deceive him.

As Esau's name indicated, he was a hairy man: so [R3955 : page 76] they arranged that Jacob should put on Esau's fine raiment, speak as much as possible in his tone of voice, and present kid's flesh to his father and receive the blessing while Esau was still absent hunting. Lest Isaac should mistrust the deception, Jacob's neck and arms were covered with the fine hairy skin of a new-born kid. The deception was carried out, and Isaac--after saying, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau"--gave the blessing. Of course the unprincipled Esau, who, after selling the birthright and confirming the sale with an oath, was about to take it to himself, was angry that his brother should have outwitted him and obtained the blessing--not apparently that he cared so much for the Abrahamic promise and blessing thus entailed, but he feared that in some way his prominence in the family would be jeopardized and that he might perhaps lose the major part of the inheritance, the two-thirds, and get only Jacob's portion, namely one-third. Anger, malice, hatred, strife, envy, murder, were in his heart, and he said to himself, "It will not be very long until father dies; then will I slay my brother Jacob, and the entire inheritance will be mine."

JACOB A FUGITIVE BECAUSE OF HIS FAITH

Esau's murderous intentions reached the ears of Jacob's mother, who informed Jacob and advised that he go for a time at least and live with her father. Jacob, then over fifty-seven years of age, following this counsel, started out to carve his own fortune, leaving the entire estate in the hands of Esau, holding on only to the covenant promise. Here was another demonstration of his faith in God. He might have regretted his bargain, he might have renounced the blessing in Esau's favor. But, no; he would hold to this, cost him what it might--possessions, a home, family association. He would go out in the fear of the Lord; he would attest his devotion to God and his faith in his promise. Is it with any wonder that we read that in his journey the Lord appeared to him at Bethel and assured him that he would be his exceeding great reward? Jacob's faith and zeal were of the kind which God approves, the kind which he has blessed from Abraham's day until the present time.

JACOB'S DECEPTION OF ISAAC

Do we excuse Jacob and his mother, and approve of their telling lies to Isaac both by word and act? No, we cannot approve of this course, and yet it seems evident to us that we must not judge Jacob's actions according to the standards which we would apply to ourselves. We, as New Creatures in Christ Jesus, begotten of the holy Spirit, have and ought to have still clearer views of the Lord's will in such matters, still greater faith than Jacob exercised. But what more could we expect of a natural man than we find in Jacob's conduct? We must gauge our conceptions of right and wrong by the divine standard, and while we cannot suppose that God approved of the course adopted by Jacob and Rebecca, we must check ourselves and others from too rabid denunciation of Jacob's proceeding by noting the fact that, according to the record, at no time did God charge up this matter against Jacob or reprove or punish him for it. On the contrary, we find the Lord appearing to him and manifesting his favor in visions and revelations and assurances of divine protection and care, without mention of the deception by which the ends were gained. Where God keeps silence, is it wise for us to say very much in the way of reproof?

What better course could Jacob have taken? We answer that if he had possessed still greater faith he might have waited for the Lord and permitted divine providence to bring to him a blessing which he craved, which God had foretold should be his, and which he had purchased at more than its value according to the estimation of Esau, though at far less than its value according to Jacob's estimation. Some point us to the difficulties and trials and perplexities which came to Jacob as a result of fleeing from his father, declaring that these were God's punishments upon him. But we reply that Jacob did not so regard these; that the Scriptures remind us that whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and he particularly told Jacob of his love for him. So it is with the best and truest of the Lord's people today. The fact that they have trials and difficulties and disappointments and persecutions, so that sometimes they must flee for their lives, by no means proves that the Lord's favor is not with them; rather these things, as the Apostle assures us, are working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Similarly, Jacob's trials and difficulties and sorrowful experiences worked out for him a blessing of heart and character.

Here our Golden Text applies--"Lying lips are an abomination unto the Lord, but they that deal truly are his delight." Jacob was not one of those who made clean the outside of the cup while within it was impure. He was at heart of the character mentioned in the Golden Text, "They that deal truly." Neither can we say that he was graspingly selfish with his brother, for we find in his general character a breadth of liberality rarely met with. We recall that he never asked even for the younger son's one-third interest in the estate, but that returning later he instead proffered Esau a present of cattle, sheep, etc. If we must charge Jacob with the lying lips we can at least credit him with the honesty of heart. He lied in order to secure justice and because his faith was not sufficiently strong to permit him to trust the Lord implicitly respecting a matter which he so highly esteemed and was willing indeed to give everything but life to possess.

A lesson for the spiritual Israelite is that we not only should esteem as Jacob did the value of the divine promise and favor and blessing, but that to a similar zeal we should add still more faith, so that we could trust the Lord to give us the blessings he has promised. This was the example which Abraham set, but which Jacob evidently had not fully appreciated. Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his son Isaac, the heir of the promise, through whom the Lord had declared the promise should be fulfilled. Abraham's faith was sufficient, and in due time God settled the matter in that Isaac was received from the dead in a figure. (Heb. 11:19.) We cannot doubt that if Jacob had possessed a similar degree of faith God in some manner would have given him the blessing, despite his father's intentions to the contrary and Esau's dishonesty and violation of his oath.

THE APOSTLE'S APPLICATION OF THIS

The Apostle refers to the main incident of this lesson, the sale of the birthright, and in very round terms denounces [R3956 : page 77] the spirit of Esau--the spirit that is not appreciative of God's mercy and blessing which he has in reservation for them that love him. He speaks of Esau as that "profane person who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright." (Heb. 12:16.) He was profane in the sense that all the Gentiles or heathen were recognized as profane--godless, not reverent, unbelieving, preferring the things of this present time, the good and the bad, to the better portion of the future, which they have not the faith to realize nor the appreciation to enjoy. The fact that Esau was evidently birth-marked and by heredity a wild man, loving the more animal and natural things, so far from being to his condemnation is rather in his favor. If his failure to appreciate the spiritual things was the result of an inherited depravity of taste, then we can say that the redemption provided in Jesus' sacrifice covers that entire blemish and guarantees eventually to Esau an opening of the eyes of his understanding and an enlightenment of his mind to appreciate the better things--when in due time, during the Millennial age, the Redeemer shall be the Restorer. (Acts 3:19-21.) For Jacob to have taken the course of Esau would have been a much more heinous matter, because by nature he had a loftier mind, a more reasonable soul, less impaired by the fall.

So, too, when we apply this principle today we find that there are many natural men of the Esau type who have no interest in or appreciation of spiritual things: we sympathize with them rather than blame them, and look forward with pleasure to the time when the Lord's mercy shall be extended toward them in measure proportionate to the degree of their share in the fall--to assist them by the judgment of the Millennial age (its rewards and punishments) to see the right way and to learn righteousness therein, and eventually (if they will) to attain perfection and eternal life. On the other hand, if by the grace of God we have been favored in being better born, born the children of believers --especially if by the grace of God our eyes have been opened to an appreciation of the heavenly spiritual promises--how great is this blessing! What advantage we have every way over the others of the Esau type. What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness! Surely the Lord may expect much more of us, and we should expect much more of ourselves than of our Esau neighbors.

SELLING THE SPIRITUAL BIRTHRIGHT

Examining the Apostle's argument still more closely we find that he especially addresses the Church, not the world, in this exhortation that we appreciate God's grace and do not sell our birthright. The world has no birthright to sell at the present time: as children of Adam they were all themselves "sold under sin." The Lord addresses those who have by the Lord's grace escaped from this slavery, being justified by faith in the precious blood of Christ. We were in bondage, but are now made free--and "whom the Son makes free is free indeed." (John 8:36.) After being made free we received, as a further grace of God, an invitation to be heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant--the very one for which Jacob was willing to sacrifice everything. We come into this relationship, as the Apostle points out, by our acceptance of our Lord Jesus and our full consecration unto death with him. The point of the Apostle's argument is that all of the consecrated ones are in the position of these two sons of Isaac: the inheritance of that Abrahamic Covenant lies between us somewhere--some will get it and some will not.

The Apostle wishes us to see the character of this class that will inherit the promise--they must not be, like Esau, careless, worldly minded, thoughtless of God and unbelieving respecting the future provision. If they are thus disposed they will be sure to find opportunities for bartering their inheritance--it would surely slip from them to others who have a higher appreciation of its value, as the inheritance of this covenant slipped from Esau and was secured by Jacob.

"FOR ONE MORSEL OF MEAT"

True, Esau had a whole mess of pottage, yet the Apostle in speaking of it minimizes it, saying, "One morsel." He felt that what Esau got was of such trifling value that he could hardly express it in terms; it seemed as nothing, as merely a bite, though to Esau himself, doubtless, the pottage made a very good dinner for the time. So it is with us: from one standpoint we could sell our birthright for considerable, from the other standpoint we get practically nothing for it.

Let us notice various ways of selling the birthright, remembering that only those who have come into covenant relationship to God through Christ have the birthright at all, so they could dispose of it.

The Esaus amongst the Lord's people are those who love the world and the things of the world, who set great store by the pleasures of the present time. The enjoyment of these means the approval of the world, fine houses, fine clothing, plenty to eat. If in the Lord's providence such blessings come to us they would necessarily be trials, testings of our faith, because the world at the present time is in an undone condition through the fall and through the machinations of the Adversary. The testing time comes when we see duty and faithfulness to the Lord to be on one side of the question and either the rejection of these blessings or the securing of them on the other side. We cannot serve both God and Mammon, and we must then choose. Happy is he that chooses as Jacob did, to lose all earthly advantages that he may gain the heavenly promise. Unhappy it will be for him who loves the present world, its joys, its pleasures, its emoluments and wealth, so that he is willing to dispose of his birthright that he may have these. True, the seller does not always realize what he is parting with, nor perhaps intends to part with it at all, even as in the case of Esau, but the testing comes nevertheless, and each one must be prepared therefor.

Perhaps no class of the Lord's people have more temptation along the line of selling their birthright privileges than have the preachers. As the truth comes to them it brings responsibilities, and they realize these, and if then they allow love of ease or name or fame or wealth or standing to lead them to unfaithfulness the effect will be the loss of the inheritance. We do not say that they will be eternally tormented, God forbid! We do say with the Scriptures that the inheritance of this Abrahamic Covenant can only go to those who appreciate it and are willing to let it cost them everything to gain it. This is God's arrangement that he might test, might prove, every son whom he receiveth under [R3956 : page 78] this Abrahamic Covenant, every member of the body of Christ.

A little while and the clouds will pass, and we shall see clearly the riches of God's inheritance in the saints and the exceeding greatness of their reward; a little while, and how miserable appears the choice of those who, like Esau, have sold their birthright for business advantages, emoluments, honors of men, etc. O, how in the light of that glorious day all these things that are so highly esteemed amongst men will be counted as less than one morsel of meat--one moment of trifling earthly pleasure or satisfaction! Now is the time for all to choose of which class we will be; now is the time to lay aside every weight and every besetting sin and to fully count the cost, to lay everything on the Lord's altar, sacrificing all of the earthly interests that we may be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together.--Rom. 8:17.



[R3956 : page 78]

ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I desire to acknowledge receipt of route sheet. I cannot express how deeply I appreciate your kind words. I am well aware that the indicated necessities of the field govern the routes of the Pilgrims, and you may be assured that I am sufficiently grateful to the dear Lord for the privilege of the service that the place and the time are gladly left to the disposition of his will.

Beloved Brother Russell, the joy of this blessed service is more like such as one might expect to experience beyond the vail than that which would be known in the flesh. The Spirit of the dear Master as it is manifested in his true-hearted ones is seemingly becoming more and more precious and like that of the other side. If the closing scenes of our earthly experience are to be especially severe, surely he is preparing us for them by the abundant outpour of his blessings now.

As we often have painful examples of the power of a strong personality in doing evil among the classes it is most refreshing to observe the beneficent influence of complete devotion to the Lord. From every side come most heartfelt expressions of love and greeting to yourself, dear Brother Russell. My own deep love I earnestly desire to add to the large measure from the Lord's dear ones I am communicating, and my appreciation of the comfort and strength that the knowledge of your sympathy, your prayers and your love gives me.

In the sacred bonds of Christ, your brother in his service,
M. L. HERR,--Pilgrim.


page 78

DEAR PASTOR:--

It is with sorrow that I inform you that I will have to give up the colporteur work for the winter, on account of my health. Giving it up after being such a short time in it was like getting just a sip of water when one was thirsty and wanted a big drink; but I know and realize that "all things work together for good" to the Lord's children, and I am glad and thankful that I had the honor and privilege of selling 77 books for the Lord. Oh! that those who have strength and opportunity could realize what a privilege it is to spend it for the Lord in introducing his truth to the weary ones who are looking for something, they know not what; and could also realize what a blessing goes with this work!

I want everything to be just as the Lord would have it be and I praise him for all the wonderful help and enlightenment that is coming to me through the Bible by the means of the DAWNS and WATCH TOWER. The way is growing narrower and rougher, but it is also growing brighter, and my prayer is for you, dear Pastor, that you may be kept safe to the very end.

When you are so busy I don't expect an answer to this, because I know just how you sympathize with those who are set aside through no fault of their own. My determination is, by God's grace, to be on the lookout for every opportunity, no matter how small seemingly, to witness for the Truth and to send it to others; and I ask an interest in your prayers that I may be faithful in trading with the talents given me.

I remain, your sister in Christ,
__________, Ontario.


[R3957 : page 78]

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

After two years' walking in the light of Present Truth, may I add a few paragraphs to my glad testimony of its blessing? Recalling that from the Methodist hymnal we used to sing:

"We praise thee that the Gospel light

Through all our land its radiance sheds," and remembering that I then believed we were singing the truth and that Methodism was a very great factor in spreading that Gospel light, no wonder I esteemed mine a very happy experience. But, oh! to know God's glorious Plan of the Ages--to be able to discern as error what I once believed as truth, and consciously to turn away from blind misstatements having but a "form of godliness," and receive, in place of husks, the satisfying portion of God's meat in due season--is delight inexpressible.

And then, out in the great harvest field, to be counted worthy of association as laborers together with the great Chief Reaper, our Lord; to be privileged to bear his message, which is to garner the true wheat; to have, in contact with those "who oppose themselves," a little taste of enduring hardness and trying that it be "as a good soldier of Jesus Christ"; to know just the little, even, that I have been privileged to learn, of suffering with him; knowing also the great and precious promise of which our light affliction is the condition-- Oh, when I try to pin down, with pen or pencil, expression of these experiences, I feel how powerless I am!

To realize that one is making progress, instead of going over the same ground year after year, knowing no more at the close than at the beginning--the sordid matter of so many dollars raised for expenses being the acme of one's attainment, growth in grace and in knowledge of our Lord being only incidental matters, if not entirely omitted from consideration; or, at "revival time" to "work for souls," mainly for the purpose of their financial help--oh, what a relief to have forever laid aside such mockery of religion and really to have that knowledge that causes one really to grow in grace! What joy to experience that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith; that we may be rooted and grounded in love and be able really to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height and [R3957 : page 79] really to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge that we might be filled with all the fulness of God! This makes the narrow way bright with his radiance, for

"We are traveling home to God,
In the way our Savior trod."
Yes, and
"In the hour of trial we
Watch thy footprints, Lord, to see,"
because we are able to recognize God's loving purpose in even the persecutions that are heaped upon "this way," and find that their outcome is to bind us all more and more closely together and to him whose prophecies those persecutions fulfil.

Gratefully and lovingly remembering always that through you, dear Pastor, the exposition of God's great plan and of the real, true meaning of his wonderful Word of Truth, was given, as "meat in due season for the household of faith,"

Yours in his ever blessed service,
ELIZABETH GILLET,--Colporteur.


MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I have often thought of writing to you and asking if you would bear with me if I would tell you a little experience of how the Truth came into my life, and now I take this opportunity to carry out my intention, trusting that you will bear with me. About four years ago my most intimate friend got hold of Vol. I. She received it from a young Jewess who said she was not interested in it. My friend about ten years previously had united with the Baptist Church, and I did likewise the following year. She was very devoted to the Church until within two years of receiving "The Plan of the Ages," when she became cold and indifferent to everything connected with the Church and was determined to see some of the world. I prayed for her and did all that I could to get her back, but she seemed to think there was nothing there to hold her. Sunday after Sunday I stopped for her to go to Sunday School or Church service, and thinking I could get her to promise me she would go the next week, but all my efforts failed. After this dear sister got Vol. I. in her possession and began to devour its contents, I was the first to whom she told the "glad good news." We both lived in the country, and on Sunday afternoons as I came from Sunday School I would stop on my way home, and she would always walk part of the way home with me and carried "The Plan of the Ages" under her arm. As we came to the wood between our two homes we sat down and talked until dark, and I well recall the tears running down her cheeks as she explained to me God's glorious plan. She seemed completely carried away by its teachings, and I was led to question, Could this possibly be true? or is this dear acquaintance being led astray? The latter I believed to be the fact, but never criticised her to another because I saw her earnestness and believed it to be genuine. Well, she gave me no rest, kept at me continually, gave me Vol. I., and I read it to please her; then Vol. II. I read also to please her, and finally Vol. III. Then she began to question me concerning certain teachings. With some I could agree with the author, with some I could not; in fact, I had not studied them enough to know whether or not they were Scriptural; in short, I did not know what to do. I was very uneasy; we had been friends so long that I did not like to drop her, for I realized her worth. She talked some of going west with some friends; I was only hoping that she would decide to go and then I would be at my ease.

I thank our dear heavenly Father that now I rejoice in that comfort and ease of mind and that "peace which passeth all understanding." I believe it was through this sister's prayers and also the prayers of some others of the Lord's dear ones that I at last became interested and that the interest grew and still grows. It was while reading Vol. V. that I became alive to my duty of making an entire consecration-- presenting my body a living sacrifice, which is my reasonable service. But, oh, "the Adversary goeth about as a roaring lion, seeing whom he may devour." I ask you to pray for me, dear brother, that I may become more like our Pattern, the Lord Jesus.

Yours in the one faith,
(MISS) M. A. THOMPSON,--Pa.


DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--

The other day, having read the 15th chapter of Genesis, the 9th verse seemed to suggest that the years mentioned had some meaning, and, doing a little figuring, here is the result. In the 8th verse Abraham asked some proof that he should inherit the land promised him in the seventh verse. In verse 9 the Lord said to Abraham, "Take me an heifer three years old, and a she goat three years old, and a ram three years old, a turtle dove and a young pigeon." Now a bird is usually considered young up to one year old. So I figured three years each for the heifer, goat and ram--nine years--and one year each for the birds, eleven years in all. Eleven prophetic years of 360 days each equals 3,960. A day for a year gives us 3,960 years. On page 42, Vol. II., of the DAWNS we have the chronology as follows:

From the Covenant to the giving of the Law...... 430 years
To the division of Canaan.......................  46   "
Period of the Judges............................ 450   "
   "     "    Kings............................. 513   "
   "     "    Desolation........................  70   "
Thence to A.D. 1................................ 536   "
                                                ----
Total from the Covenant to A.D. 1...............2045   "

2045 taken from the 3960 years leaves 1915 years from A.D. 1, which seems to be the proof Abraham asked of the Lord whereby he should know that he would inherit the land. This seems at least to be a remarkable coincidence.

Wishing you God's rich blessing, I remain yours in the blessed Redeemer,
GEO. MATTHEWS,--Ohio.


DEAR FRIENDS:--

In our Volunteer work last year we put out 155,000 tracts, or over 3-3/4 tons. These, if laid out flat, tightly pressed, would make a pile 260 feet high, or 35 feet higher than Bunker Hill monument. This report encouraged the friends here greatly. All through the dark ages the truth has been kept down to earth, but now we can see where
Truth
Rises
Up
To
Heaven
in a glorious fashion, both in a figurative and a literal sense. About an average of fifty workers were in the field. Yours in his name,
JOHN R. JONES,--Mass.



page 81
March 1st

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

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

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

SEMI-MONTHLY
VOL. XXVIIIMARCH 15No. 6
A.D. 1907--A.M. 6035


CONTENTS

Views from the Watch Tower83
A Wall Street View of the Decline of Faith83
Comparative Failure of Christianity84
Hell a Failure, a Clergyman Says84
The Blood of Sprinkling of the Passover85
"As Oft as Ye Do This"87
"Drink Ye of the Same Cup"89
The Wine of False Doctrine89
The Table of the Lord versus the Table of Devils91
The Lord Knoweth Them that are His92
Responding to Divine Promises93
The House of God the Gate of Heaven94
Noting and Marking Blessings95

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

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

page 82

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION

THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.

Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.

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

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

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

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




LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND REMITTANCES
--ADDRESS TO--
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,
"BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
--OR TO--
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AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH--EQUITABLE BLDG., COLLINS ST., MELBOURNE

PRICE, $1.00 (4S.) A YEAR IN ADVANCE. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR AS FOLLOWS:--

All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied FREE if they send a Postal Card each June stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the Studies, etc.


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

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



BROTHER RUSSELL'S WEEKLY SERMONS


We generally give a discount rate on all journals that print Brother Russell's sermons, and are chiefly interested in encouraging the Pittsburg Dispatch. However, some who cannot subscribe regularly can help the cause by patronizing locally the journals which publish the sermons in the following cities: Fort Wayne, Ind.; Wheeling, W.Va.; Easton, Pa.; Scranton, Pa.; Greensburg, Pa.; Pictou, Nova Scotia. Encourage the publishers, too, by an occasional letter or card of appreciation.

THE MEMORIAL IN ALLEGHENY


The annual celebration of the Memorial Supper, commemorating our Lord's death and our participation therein, will be observed by the Church at Allegheny on Thursday evening, March 28, at 8 o'clock, in the auditorium of the Third Ward School building, cor. North Ave. and James St. (entrance on James and Third Sts.) The building can be reached by any "West View" or "East St. and Madison Ave." car.

At 2 p.m. of the same day there will be a baptism service in the Bible House Chapel, for the convenience of visiting friends who may desire to symbolize in water their baptism into Christ's death. For the benefit of any friends for whom the above baptism arrangements will not be convenient, a similar service will be held at Bible House Chapel, on the preceding Sunday (March 24) at 10 a.m. Robes and conveniences will be provided for both occasions.



[R3958 : page 83]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

A WALL STREET VIEW OF THE DECLINE OF FAITH


SOME striking editorials on the question of the decline of the belief in a future life have been appearing in recent issues of The Wall Street Journal (New York). From such a source the inquiry carries peculiar weight, especially to the type of mind which forms the majority in our commercial civilization. The articles in question, written by Mr. Sereno S. Pratt, the editor of that paper, expresses the "intense interest" of that journal "in the economic and political effects of any change in the thought, the habits and the lives of men." If there has been a decline in religious faith, Mr. Pratt asserts, that fact "alters the basic conditions of civilization," because a factor in the markets," "changes the standards and affects the values of things that are bought and sold," and "concerns the immediate interests of those who never had such a faith almost as much as it does the lives of those who have had the faith and lost it." Along this line Mr. Pratt continues:

"The question, therefore, of practical, immediate, and tremendous importance to Wall Street quite as much as to any other part of the world, is, Has there been a decline in the faith in the future life? and if so, to what extent is this responsible for the special phenomena of our time--the eager pursuit of sudden wealth, the shameless luxury and display, the gross and corrupting extravagance, 'the misuse of swollen fortunes,' the indifference to law, the growth of graft, the abuses of great corporate power, the social unrest, the spread of demagogy, the advances of Socialism, the appeals to bitter class hatred? To find out what connection exists between a decadence in religious faith and the social unrest of our time, due, on one side, to oppressive use of financial power, and, on the other, to class agitation, might well be worth an investigation by a commission of government experts, if it were possible for the Government to enter into such an undertaking."

Whatever may be a man's own personal beliefs, continues Mr. Pratt, "there is no one who would not prefer to do business with a person who really believes in a future life." If the world holds fewer men of such faith, it makes a big difference, and if faith is to continue to decline, this will require new adjustments. So the writer views the situation, adding these reflections:

"There are certainly, on the surface, many signs of such a decline. Perhaps, if it were possible to probe deeply into the subject, it might be found that faith still abounded, but is no longer expressed in the old way. But we are obliged to accept the surface indications. These include a falling off in Church attendance, the abandonment of family worship, the giving over of Sunday more and more to pleasure and labor, the separation of religious from secular education, under the stern demands of non-sectarianism, the growing up of a generation not instructed as our fathers were in the study of the Bible, the secularization of a portion of the Church itself, and its inability in a large way to gain the confidence of the laboring people. If these are really signs of a decay of religious faith, then indeed there is no more important problem before us than that of either discovering some adequate substitute for faith, or to take immediate steps to check a development which has within it the seeds of a national disaster."

The alternative of the "adequate substitute" does not recommend itself to the mind of Mr. Pratt, as may be seen from his view expressed in a more recent editorial, which deals with the materialism underneath both "the Socialism of Karl Marx and the financial concentration of which we may take that represented by E. H. Harriman as a type." Balancing the virtues of the two, Mr. Pratt sees in Socialism "the more attractive and impossible program," while "financial concentration" he believes to be "the safer for the social order and civilization." In neither, however, is the remedy adequate to the ill. He concludes:

"The supreme need of the hour is not elastic currency, or sounder banking, or better protection against panics, or bigger navies, or more equitable tariffs, but a revival of faith, a return to a morality which recognizes a basis in religion and the establishment of a workable and working theory of life that views man [R3958 : page 84] as something more than a mere lump of matter."-- Literary Digest.

COMPARATIVE FAILURE OF CHRISTIANITY


BY REV. W. GALBRAITH

(The following is published by the Toronto (Ont.) Methodist Publishing House):

"It [Christianity] has fallen far short of its divine purposes and marvellous capabilities. What is the reason of this comparative failure?

"We answer, first, that in the days of Constantine it was baptized with the spirit of heathenism, and these foreign and enfeebling elements, transfused through the entire Christian system, grew upon it like a parasite for more than a thousand years, and are still a formidable obstacle to its progress and achievements. Heathen doctrines, usages and habits still linger to a greater or less degree in all branches of the Christian Church.

"We answer, secondly, that Christianity at this hour is largely baptized with the spirit of the world. Worldly maxims, methods and motives have invaded the heritage of Jesus. These are eating out its life, and obstructing all its efforts.

"Great and grievous wrongs are still rank and rampant in the Church and in the world. The Church, by her individual members, and in her collective capacity, is doing a great and glorious work for God and humanity, but, unhappily, mediaeval religion protrudes itself into the last quarter of this nineteenth century.

"Fashionable and formal churches are found everywhere. The heathenish system of caste grows in Christian lands. Expensive churches, with heavy debts, popular preaching, artistic music, wealth and self-indulgence, have invaded the fair heritage of God. Mission churches have become a necessity to meet the needs and the condition of the poor. If Christianity were in its normal state there would be no mission churches.

"Goodness would be recognized as the only basis of true brotherhood, and the rich and poor would meet together.

"Intense, inveterate, stereotyped selfishness is crushing and blighting the world. It is seen everywhere.

"You cannot enter a street car, railway coach, shop, mart or stock exchange, church or legislative hall, but selfishness manifests itself in forms which must be offensive to a righteous God, and in striking contrast with the spirit and teachings of Jesus Christ. It forms immense monopolies and combinations on the one hand to grasp the wealth of the world. It forms protective associations and strong unions on the other hand for self-protection and to resist those grinding monopolies and combinations. It is manifested at both sides of the counter. On the one side, the would-be buyer wants goods at less than a living price, and drives the vender to deception and lying advertisements. Human beings, like wild beasts, prey on each other...

"What is known as the "sweating system" in industrial life is a disgrace to humanity, and should not be tolerated in any Christian land. Hard workers are often inadequately remunerated for faithful toil. Often on the other hand, the time is put in and wages demanded for work that was never performed. Paul's counsel to servants and masters (Eph. 6:5-9) ought to be placarded in every store, factory and workshop.

"Is pure Christianity, if rightly applied, competent to correct all these wrongs, and to bring society into loving, happy, righteous harmony? I have no hesitation in affirming that it is thoroughly competent for this work. It operates along two distinct, yet not conflicting lines --Gospel and law. The Gospel teaches what men ought to be, and how they ought to live. 'Provide things honest in the sight of all men.' 'Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.' 'Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.' 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.'

"The Gospel provides the example we should follow. In spirit and life all men should be like Jesus Christ. They should transact business just as Christ would do if he were in their place. 'He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk even as he walked.'

"The Gospel presents us with the highest motives to a merciful and righteous life. It offers as an inducement for obedience to its teachings, the highest, truest and most mature manhood here, and the fullest felicity and glory hereafter.

"The Gospel provides us with the necessary inspiration and power to live this life. In other systems of religion and philosophy, there is much excellent teaching, but there is no motive power. The strongest and best machinery is of no practical utility without an adequate power to put it in operation.

"All the proposed plans and schemes for the reformation of society, outside the Gospel, are utterly devoid of the necessary motive power. To expect them to transform society, correct its abuses and redress its wrongs, is to expect from the human what can only be effected by the divine."


***

The writer of the foregoing sees something, evidently,-- [R3959 : page 84] he sees that the nominal Church is not even approximating the divine standard. But he does not at all see the cause of the failure, for he proceeds to express post-millennial views--that the Church should convert the world! The trouble lies in the abandonment of the faith once delivered unto the saints respecting the second coming of Christ, the resurrection hope and the Kingdom then to bless the world. How strange that one could recognize the need of divine aid to overthrow the power of sin and death and Satan and yet expect this through humanity after 1800 years of trial and knowing that there are twice as many heathen today as there were a century ago.

HELL A FAILURE, A CLERGYMAN SAYS


St. Louis.--Fear as an incentive to righteous living has gone out of date, according to the Reverend Doctor Gifford, of Buffalo, who spoke before the Baptist Congress at the Second Baptist Church. He said:--

"Seventy-five years ago the preacher scared his listeners into obedience by opening back the creaking iron doors of an awful hell, where they saw the burning of the livid flesh. Then the motive was fear. Now if [R3959 : page 85] a preacher were to present such a picture his audience would sit and look at him with the same curiosity as they would examine an old dusty spinning wheel. There is not enough heat in hell to drive the machinery of foreign missions at the present time."


***

Is it not quite apparent that the preaching of a burning hell of eternal torture for ninety-nine out of every hundred of our race is a matter of policy? Ministers seem to guide their conduct by expediency rather than by conscientious conviction. Their query seems to be, not What is the Truth on this great subject? but, What will my congregation approve? What will bring me popularity and another call at a better salary? What will increase the membership of my Church? Each seems to "look for gain from his own quarter."-- Isa. 56:11.



[R3959 : page 85]

THE BLOOD OF SPRINKLING OF THE PASSOVER

THE Passover season draws near its beginning, as celebrated by the Jews, on the 29th of this month; but the interest of Christians centers especially in the slaying of the lamb, which preceded the Passover feast, and their celebration, therefore, properly begins on the evening of March 28th. We greatly regret, however, that while millions of Christians and Jews will in some formal ceremonies and in a perfunctory manner celebrate this great event of history, but few of either religion discern the real signification of the celebration.

THE PASSOVER INSTITUTED

Could their minds be awakened thoroughly to its true significance it would start a religious revival such as the world has never yet known. But, alas! as the Apostle declares, the god of this world has blinded the minds of many, and even some whose eyes of understanding are partially opened he describes as being blind and unable to see afar off, or holden and unable to see the deep things of God in respect to these ceremonies, which have been celebrated in the world for now more than 3300 years. And, by the way, it must be admitted even by the higher critics and agnostics in general that an event so prominently marked, so widely observed for so long a time, must have a foundation in fact. There must have been just such an occurrence in Egypt: the first-born of Egypt must have perished in that tenth plague, and the first-born of Israel must have been preserved free from it--all that observed the rule to remain under the blood--else this widespread celebration of the event would have been inexplicable.

We need not remind you of the particulars connected with the institution--that the Israelites were held in a measure of serfdom by the Egyptians, and that when the time, in the Lord's providence, arrived for their deliverance, their masters sought selfishly to maintain their bondage and refused to let them go forth to the land of Canaan. One after another the Lord sent during the year nine different plagues upon the people of the land of Egypt, relieving them one after another when their king craved mercy and made promises which he afterwards broke. Finally the servant of the Lord, Moses, announced a great crowning disaster--that the first-born in every family of Egypt would die in one night, and that in the home of the humblest peasant as well as in the home of the king there should be a mourning, as a result of which they would be glad finally to yield and let the Israelites go--yea, urge them to go, and in haste, lest the Lord should ultimately bring death upon the entire people if their king continued to harden his heart and resist the divine mandate.

The first three plagues were common to all in Egypt, including the district in which the Israelites resided: the next six plagues affected not the district occupied by the Israelites; and the last, the tenth plague, was declared to be common to the entire land of Egypt, including the land of the Israelites, except as the latter should show faith and obedience by providing a sacrificial lamb, whose blood was to be sprinkled upon the sides and lintels of their doorways, and whose flesh was to be eaten in the same night, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, the eaters standing staff in hand and girded ready for the journey --with full expectancy that the Lord would smite the first-born of the Egyptians with death and make them willing to let the Israelites go, and with full faith also that they would share in this calamity were it not for the blood upon their door-posts and lintels.

"WHEN HE SEETH THE BLOOD THE LORD WILL PASS OVER THE DOOR AND NOT SUFFER THE DESTROYER TO SMITE YOU."--EXODUS 12:23

The Israelites were commanded to celebrate this as the first feature of the Jewish Law and one of their greatest memorials as a nation. As a matter of fact, we find that in some degree the Passover is celebrated by Jews in all parts of the world--even by those who claim to be agnostics and infidels. They still have a measure of respect for it as an ancient custom. But is it not strange that, with the bright minds which many of them possess, our Jewish friends have never thought it worth while to inquire the meaning of this celebration? Why was the lamb slain and eaten? Why was its blood sprinkled upon the door-posts and lintels? Because God so commanded, of course; but what reason, motive, object or lesson was there behind the divine command? Truly a reasonable God has reasonable commands, and in due time will be willing that his faithful people should understand the significance of every requirement. Why are the Hebrews indifferent to this subject? Why does prejudice hold their minds? It is for them to answer, and, answering, to get light and joy from the knowledge.

Although Christianity has the answer to this question we regret that the majority of Christians, because of carelessness, would be unable to give a reason and [R3959 : page 86] ground for any hope in connection with this matter. If the Jew can realize that his Sabbath day is a type or foreshadowing of a coming epoch of rest and blessing and release from toil, sorrow and death, why can he not see that similarly all the features of the Mosaic Law institution were intended by the Lord to be foreshadowings of various blessings, to be bestowed in due time? Why can it not be discerned by all that the Passover lamb typified, represented, the Lamb of God? that its death represented the death of Jesus, the Just for the unjust? and that the application of its blood symbolizes, represents, the application of the merit of the death of Jesus to the entire household of faith? Blessed are those whose eyes see that Jesus was indeed "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world"--that the cancellation of the world's sin is effected by the payment of man's penalty--that as the whole world lost divine favor and came under divine sentence of death, with its concomitants of sorrow and pain, it was necessary before this sentence or curse could be removed that a satisfaction of justice should be made, and that therefore, as the Apostle declares, Christ died for our sins--the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us back to God. Thus he opened up a new and living way--a new way to life everlasting.

"A KIND OF FIRST-FRUITS"

Those familiar with the Bible have noticed that therein the Church of Christ is called the Church of the First-born, and again a kind of first-fruits unto God of his creatures. (Heb. 12:23; Jas. 1:18.) This implies others ultimately of God's family later born; it implies after-fruits. Christian people seem to have overlooked these Scriptures so far as making application of them is concerned, and have generally come to believe that only those who are of the first-fruits will ever be saved and that there will be no after-fruits. But let us look at this type of the Passover--let us notice that it was God's intention to save all Israelites, and that as a nation they represented all mankind that will ever come into harmony with God and be granted eternal life in the land of promise. Let us notice that there were two passovers: a great one, when the whole nation by divine power was miraculously delivered by the Lord and led by a sandbar across the channel of the Red Sea especially prepared for them by the accentuation of winds and tides.

That picture or type shows the ultimate deliverance from the power of sin and Satan of every creature who will ultimately come into accord with the Lord and desire to render him worship--not an Israelite was left [R3960 : page 86] behind. But that passover at the Red Sea is not the one we are discussing particularly on this occasion--not the one we are about to celebrate. No, the event which we celebrate was merely the passing over or sparing of the first-borns of Israel. Only the first-born were endangered, though the deliverance of all depended upon the salvation of the first-born. Applying this in harmony with all the Scriptures we see that the little flock, the first-fruits unto God of his creatures, the Church of the first-born alone, is being spared at the present time--being passed over, provided they are under the blood. We see that the remainder of mankind who may desire to enlist and to follow the great antitypical Moses when he shall ultimately lead the people forth from the bondage of sin and death are not now endangered--merely the first-born.

"THE CHURCH OF THE FIRST-BORNS"

The first-born--the "Church of the First-Born"-- are those of mankind who in advance of the remainder have had the eyes of their understanding opened to a realization of their condition of bondage and their need of deliverance and to God's willingness to fulfil to them his good promises. More than this, they are such as have responded to the grace of God, have made a consecration of themselves to him and his service, and in return have been begotten again by the holy Spirit. With these first-born ones it is a matter of life and death whether or not they remain in the household of faith--behind the blood of sprinkling. For these to go forth would imply a disregard of divine mercy. It would signify that they would do despite to divine goodness, and that, having enjoyed their share of the mercy of God as represented in the blood of the Lamb, they were not appreciative of it. For such the Scriptures declare, "There remaineth no more a sacrifice for their sins"; they are to be esteemed as adversaries of God, whose fate was symbolized in the destruction of the first-born of Egypt.

We do not mean to say that the first-born of Egypt who died in that night and any of the first-born of the Israelites who departed from their homes contrary to command and who died therefor, have gone into the Second Death. Quite to the contrary: we understand that all these matters were types, figures, illustrations, foreshadowings of matters on a higher plane, and that the realities belong to the Church of Christ during this Gospel age since Pentecost. If we sin wilfully after that we have received a knowledge of the truth, after that we have tasted of the good Word of God, after that we have been made partakers of the holy Spirit and thus members of the Church of the First-born, if we should fall away--it would be impossible to renew us again to repentance--God would have nothing further for us, our disregard of his mercy would mean that we would die the Second Death. From this standpoint the Church of the First-born, through the begetting of the holy Spirit and the greater knowledge and privileges they enjoy everyway, have a greater responsibility in the world, for they are the only ones as yet in danger of the Second Death. This is the lesson of the type and applies to Christians only.

By and by the night will have passed, the glorious morn of deliverance will have come, and the Christ, the antitypical Moses, will lead forth, will deliver all Israel --all the people of God--all who when they shall know shall be glad to reverence, honor and obey the [R3960 : page 87] will of God. That day of deliverance will be the entire Millennial age, at the close of which all evil and evil doers, symbolized by the hosts of Egypt, will be utterly cut off in the Second Death.

"AS OFT AS YE DO THIS"

The Apostle clearly and positively identifies the Passover lamb with our Lord Jesus, saying, "Christ our Passover is slain for us; therefore let us keep the feast." (I Cor. 5:7,8.) He informs us that we all need the blood of sprinkling, not upon our houses but upon our hearts. (Heb. 12:24; I Pet. 1:2.) We are also to eat the unleavened bread of truth if we would be strong and prepared for the deliverance in the morning of the new dispensation. We also must eat the Lamb, must appropriate Christ, his merit, the value that was in him, to ourselves. Thus we put on Christ, not merely by faith, but more and more to the extent of our ability we put on his character and are transformed day by day to his glorious image in our hearts. We are to feed upon him as the Jews fed upon the literal lamb. Instead of the bitter herbs, which aided and whetted their appetites, we have bitter experiences and trials which the Lord provides for us, and which help to wean our affections from earthly things and give us increasing appetite to feed upon the Lamb and the unleavened bread of truth. We, too, are to remember that we have no continuing city, but are en route as pilgrims, strangers, travelers, staff in hand, girded for the journey, that we may ultimately reach the heavenly Canaan and all the glorious things which God hath in reservation for the Church of the First-born, in association with their Redeemer as kings and priests unto God.

Our Lord Jesus also fully identified himself with the Passover Lamb. On the same night that he was betrayed, and just preceding his crucifixion, he gathered his disciples in the upper room, saying, "With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." It was necessary that as Jews they should celebrate the Passover Supper on that night--the saving of the typical first-born from the typical prince of this world--but as soon as the requirements of the type had been fulfilled our Lord instituted a new Memorial upon the old foundation, saying, "As often as ye do this [celebrate the Passover--annually] do it in remembrance of me! (I Cor. 11:24,25.) Your Jewish neighbors, whose eyes of understanding have not been opened, will not appreciate the matter in its true antitypical sense, but you--who recognize me as the Lamb of God, who in God's purpose has been slain from the foundation of the world--you who recognize that I am about to give my life as the world's redemption price, you will note this Passover with peculiar and sacred significance, different from all others. Henceforth you will not celebrate any longer the type but memorialize the antitype, for I am about to die as the Lamb of God, and thus to provide the blood of sprinkling for the Church of the First-born and meat indeed for the entire household of faith.

"THIS IS MY BODY, BROKEN FOR YOU"

That the Lord's followers should no longer gather as the Jews had done previously to eat the literal lamb supper in commemoration of the deliverance in Egypt our Lord shows by choosing new emblems--"unleavened bread" and the "fruit of the vine"--to represent him as the Lamb. Thenceforth his followers, in accord with his injunction, celebrated his death as their Passover Lamb every year until after the apostles had fallen asleep in death, and a great falling away had confused the faith of nominal Christendom, producing the epoch known as the "dark ages." Even during the "dark ages" the teaching that Christ was the antitypical Passover Lamb persisted, though the celebration of his death in the Passover supper which Jesus instituted fell into disuse. It was crowded out by that most terrible blasphemy which has deceived and confused so many millions of Christendom--the Mass, introduced by Roman Catholicism. This in the Scriptures is called "the abomination of desolation," because of the disastrous influence it has had upon the faith and practice of the Lord's people. Although Protestants in general have repudiated the Mass, as being wholly contrary to the teachings of Christ and the apostles, nevertheless the practices of Protestants are largely influenced yet by that terrible error, from which they have only partially escaped.

THE MASS IS NOT THE EUCHARIST

Many Protestants will innocently ask, Is not the Mass merely the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper, under another name? O, no! we answer--it is wholly different. The Lord's Supper celebrates the death of Christ accomplished at Calvary; the Mass represents a new sacrifice for sins made every time it is performed. Our Roman Catholic friends believe that when the priest blesses the wafer it becomes the actual body of Christ in his hands for the very purpose of sacrificing him afresh. High Mass is a particular sacrifice of Christ for a particular sin by a particular individual. Low Mass is a sacrifice of Christ for the general sins of a congregation. Roman Catholics claim to believe in the merit of Christ's sacrifice at Calvary--that it covered original sin, general sins that are past; but they claim also that the daily sins, shortcomings, blemishes of every individual, require to be cleansed by fresh sacrifices of Christ from time to time. Thus, from their standpoint, as represented in the Mass, and as practised by the Roman Catholics and Greek Catholics and high Church Episcopalians, Christ is being sacrificed afresh all the world over every day. This in the Scriptures is called an "abomination" in God's sight, because it disregards, sets at naught, the statement of the Scriptures that Christ dieth no more, that by one sacrifice he hath perfected forever all who come unto the Father through him.--Rom. 6:9.

It will be readily seen that the repeated sacrifices represented in the Mass would have the general effect of nullifying and minimizing the value of the great sacrifice at Calvary represented in the Passover and its Memorial Supper. How could those who had come to [R3961 : page 88] look especially to the Mass for the cancellation of their sins be expected to look with as deep concern and as high an appreciation as otherwise, back to the antitypical Passover? While, therefore, the celebration of Good Friday has continued, the celebrations of the Memorial Supper preceding it fell into disuse long ago.

As for Protestants, repudiating the dogma of the Mass as wholly unscriptural, they have abandoned it and returned to a celebration of the Lord's Supper. Meantime, however, accustomed to the frequency of the Mass, they have considered it merely a matter of expediency how often the Lord's Supper should be celebrated; hence we find some celebrating it every four months, some every three months, some every month, and some every Sunday. This general laxity and failure to reach a common ground of conformity is due to two things: (1) Because Christian people generally have overlooked the fact that our Lord's death was as the antitypical Passover Lamb, and that its celebration is the antitypical Passover Supper; (2) Because they have misunderstood our Lord's words, "As oft as ye do this," to mean, Do this as often as you please, whereas the words really signify, As often as you, my disciples (all of whom are Jews and accustomed to keeping the Passover), keep this Passover Supper, keep it in remembrance of me--not in remembrance of the literal lamb and the typical deliverance from typical Egypt and its bondage through the passing over of the typical first-born.

Those who celebrate the Lord's Supper weekly consider that they have Scriptural precedent for so doing, because in the Bible we read that the early Church met together on the first day of the week and on such occasions had the "breaking of bread." It is a great mistake, however, to confound such breaking of bread with the Memorial Supper, for the former was merely an ordinary meal. There is absolutely nothing whatever in the record to indicate otherwise; the wine, the fruit of the vine, is not mentioned in connection with it, and it is never said to represent the broken body of our Lord. It was a cheerful social custom in the early Church to celebrate our Lord's resurrection on the first day of the week, and this common social custom helped to unite the bonds of brotherhood and fellowship. In many places the Lord's people follow this custom still. The Bible House congregation at Allegheny has such a breaking of bread every Lord's Day between the afternoon and the evening services--as a convenience for those living at a distance, especially as a desirable opportunity for extending fellowship amongst the Lord's people.

THE DATE OF THE MEMORIAL SUPPER

As we all know, the Jews used the moon more than we do in the reckoning of their time. Each new moon represented the beginning of a new month. The new moon which came closest to the spring equinox was reckoned the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, and beginning the fifteenth day of that month the Feast of Passover lasting a week was celebrated. That week of seven days represents the joy, the peace, the blessing, which result from the passing over, and typified the complete joy, peace and blessing which every true Christian experiences through a realization of the passing over of his sins through the merit of Christ's redemptive sacrifice. All true Christians, therefore, in their hearts have a celebration of this feast of Passover continually--the completeness of the matter being represented in the seven days, seven being a symbol of completeness. Not seeing the matter from the same standpoint, the Jew thought less of the killing of the Passover lamb and the eating of that supper than he did of the week following it; but our Lord emphasized the importance of the killing of the Passover lamb when he announced himself as its antitype and when he invited us to celebrate his death on its anniversary until, at his second coming, our entrance into the Kingdom would signify the complete fulfilment of all blessings.

It would be a great blessing, doubtless, to many Christians if they could see this subject in its true light, lay more weight upon the value of the death of Christ, and join more heartily in its celebration on its anniversary, instead of at various other times and seasons, irregularly and without special significance. However, there have sprung up all over the civilized world little groups of the Lord's people who are taking heed to this subject, and whose delight it is to celebrate the Master's death according to his request--"As often as ye do this"--annually--"do it in remembrance of me." We believe that such a celebration brings special blessing to both heart and head. The nearer we come to the divine requirements the greater is the measure of our blessing, the more closely are we drawn to our Master and Head, and to each other as members of his body. The date of this celebration this year will fall on March 28 after 6 p.m., because at that hour begins the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, according to the Jewish reckoning. We urge upon all of the Lord's people everywhere to gather as may best suit their convenience in little groups or families to do this in remembrance of our Lord's great sacrifice. The fact that it is the anniversary makes the matter more impressive.

"LORD IS IT I?"

We recall the circumstances of the first Memorial, the blessing of the bread and of the cup, the fruit of the vine, of our Lord's exhortation that these represented his broken body and shed blood, and that those who are his followers should participate--not only feeding upon him but being broken with him, not only partaking of the merit of his blood, his sacrifice, but also in laying down their lives in his service, in cooperating with him in every and any manner. How precious these thoughts are to those who are rightly in tune with the Lord. Following this they may think of the course of Judas, who, though highly favored, loved filthy lucre to the extent that he was willing to sell his Master, but who was bold enough even while his treachery was being exposed toward the Lord to cry, "Is it I?" [R3961 : page 89] The very thought that any who had companied with the Lord could thus deny him and betray him to his enemies causes a proper loathing of such conduct, and should properly fill us with caution if not with fear lest in any sense of the word we should for the sake of honor or wealth or any other matter sell the Truth or any of its servants, the members of the body of Christ.

Let our minds, then, follow the Redeemer to Gethsemane's Garden, and behold him with strong cryings and tears praying to him who was able to save him out of death--expressive of the Master's fear of death lest in some particular he might have failed to follow out the Father's plan and therefore be thought unworthy of a resurrection. We notice how our Lord was comforted by the Father through the angel with the assurance that he had faithfully kept his consecration vow and that he would surely have a resurrection as foretold. We behold how calm he was thereafter, when, before the High Priest and Pilate, and Herod and Pilate again --as a lamb before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth in self defence. We see him faithful, courageous to the very last, and we have his assurance that he could have asked of the Father and had more than twelve legions of angels for his protection; but instead of petitioning for aid to escape his sacrifice, his petition was for aid to endure it faithfully. What a lesson for all who are his footstep followers!

On the other hand we remember that even amongst his loyal disciples the most courageous forsook the Lord and fled, and that one of them even in his timidity denied his Master! What an occasion is this for examining our own hearts as respects the degree of our faith and courage and willingness to suffer with him who redeemed us! What an opportunity is thus afforded for us to buttress the mind with resolutions that we will not deny our Master under any circumstances and conditions--that we will confess him not only with our lips but also by our conduct. Next we are shocked with the thought that it was the Lord's professed people, the Jews, who crucified the Prince of Life! Not only so, but that it was the leaders of their religious thought, the chief priests, scribes, Pharisees and Doctors of the Law rather than the common people. We hearken to the Master's words saying, Marvel not if the world hate you, for ye know that it hated me before it hated you; and we see that he meant the religious world in our case.

DRINK YE OF THE SAME CUP

The lesson to us, then, will be that we shall not be surprised if the opposition to the Truth and the persecutions to the light-bearers in the footsteps of Jesus should come from the most prominent exponents of Christianity. This, however, should neither cause us to hate our opponents nor those who persecuted our Lord to the death: rather we are to remember the words of the Apostle respecting this matter--"I wot that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers." Ah, yes! ignorance, blindness of heart and mind, are at the bottom of all the sufferings of Christ--Head and body. And the Father permits it to be so now, until the members of the body of Christ shall have filled up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. With the completion of the membership of the body, the very elect, and the completion of their testing as to faithfulness unto death, will come the conclusion of this Gospel age, the resurrection change of the Church to be with and like her Lord. Then, as our Master declared, those who now partake of his broken body and are broken with him in the service of the Truth, those who now participate in his cup of suffering and self-denial, will by and by with him drink the new wine of joy in the Kingdom--beyond the vail.

With that glorious morning will begin the great work of the world's release from the bonds of sin and death--the great work of uplifting, or, as the Apostle calls that great epoch, "The times of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:19-21.) The thought [R3962 : page 89] before the minds of those who participate in this Memorial should be the Apostle's words, "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him"; "If we be dead with him we shall also live with him"; "for the trials of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." (Rom. 8:17; Rom. 6:8.) With these thoughts respecting the passing over of our sins of the First-born through the merit of the precious blood we may indeed keep the Feast of the Passover with joy notwithstanding trials and difficulties. So doing, continuing faithful as his followers, very soon we shall have the great privilege of leading forth the Lord's hosts--all who ultimately shall hear and know and obey the great King--out of the dominion of sin and death, out of Egypt into Canaan. Yes, dear brethren, in the language of the Apostle, "Christ our Passover is slain, therefore let us keep the Feast."



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THE WINE OF FALSE DOCTRINE
--ISAIAH 28:7-13.--MARCH 24.--

Golden Text:--"Wine and new wine take away the heart."--Hosea 4:11.

THE Scriptures refer to two kinds of drunkenness--with both the results are disastrous. It would be quite unjust to charge all the troubles of the world against intoxicating liquors, and yet when one considers how far reaching are the baneful effects of alcohol it certainly does appear to be one of the worst foes of the human family-- even though it be, as one of the latest scientific discoveries shows, the integral part of the heating or stimulating influence of the blood in all animals. Evidently nature has provided in her own laboratories for the proper amount, and all additions thereto are dangerous. We like to hear young people, and especially young men, able to say that they [R3962 : page 90] have never tasted a drop of intoxicating beverages. Such a testimony does not, of course, prove them to be saints, but it does demonstrate that in this one particular they have good judgment. He that never tastes can never be injured by this adversary. Before leaving this phase of the subject we quote words credited to the great agnostic, Robert Ingersoll, as follows:--

"I believe that alcohol to a certain degree demoralizes those who make it, those who sell it and those who drink it. I believe from the time it issues from the coiled and poisonous worm of the distillery until it empties into the hell of crime, death and dishonor, it demoralizes everybody that touches it. I do not believe that anybody can contemplate the subject without becoming prejudiced against this liquid crime. All you have to do is to think of the wrecks upon either bank of this stream of death--of the suicides, of the insanity, of the poverty, of the ignorance, of the distress, of the little children tugging at the faded dresses of weeping and despairing wives, asking for bread, of the men of genius it has wrecked, of the millions who have struggled with the imaginary serpents produced by this devilish thing. And when you think of the jails, of the almshouses, of the prisons and of the scaffolds upon either bank--I do not wonder that every thoughtful man is prejudiced against the awful stuff called alcohol."

OUR LESSON GENERALLY MISUNDERSTOOD

In our judgment those who provided the present lesson failed to grasp its real import as part of Isaiah's prophecy. We do not dispute that there may have been drunkenness of a most literal kind in Palestine at the time the Prophet Isaiah uttered these words. But we certainly do doubt that the drunkenness was so general as to justify this language except in some hypothetical and prophetic sense. Undoubtedly those of Isaiah's day were ready to accuse him of gross exaggeration in his statements--for instance, that all tables were full of vomit and filthiness, so that there was no place clean. It is only when we apply this chapter as a prophecy relating to the harvest time of the Jewish age, and again to the parallel time of the harvest of this Gospel age--only then do we begin to see that the Prophet's words were strictly true to the conditions they detailed.

The Apostle Paul, in 1 Cor. 14:21, quoted the eleventh verse of our lesson and applied it distinctly to the "gift of tongues," which, in apostolic times, the Lord used in connection with the establishment of Spiritual Israel--to demonstrate divine power to natural Israel and to instruct those who would hear respecting the glorious message of salvation through Jesus; and again, in Romans 9:33 and 10:11, the Apostle quotes from this chapter (Isa. 28:16), and continuing his argument he quotes Isa. 29:10 in Romans 11:8. So surely as the Apostle was right in this application of this lesson, we are correct in claiming that it was not originally merely a temperance lesson to certain profligates of Isaiah's day.

At the time of our Lord's first advent Israel knew not the time of its visitation, and because outwardly moral, respectable, godly, they drew nigh to the Lord with their mouths while their hearts were far from him, having the form of godliness but denying its real power. (2 Tim. 3:5.) We have no reason to think that alcoholic intoxication was a special feature of that time amongst that people, but we do know that they were drunk and blind and stumbled and were out of the way through the strong drink of false doctrine. Our Lord declared that they made clean the outside of the cup and platter, but that inwardly it was full of all manner of corruption: he cautioned the disciples to beware of the leaven, the corruption, of the Pharisees and Sadducees --that their teachings were not supported by their lives. He declared that they made void the law of God through their traditions--they were drunken with the traditions of the ancients--so stupidly drunken that they knew not the time of their visitation, and that when the Redeemer came unto his own his own received him not, but crucified him.

The Apostle Paul, in Rom. 9:10, shows that in their blindness the Lord allowed the Jews to stumble, and in Rom. 11 he assures us that this stumbling would continue until the full election of Spiritual Israel, after which the Lord would bless them and pour out his Spirit upon them and upon all flesh through the elect of this Gospel age. It was because of this intoxicated condition of their hearts that the Lord's messages were line upon line, precept upon precept, so that it was necessary to speak to them in other tongues in the early Church, to gather out the less intoxicated, those who had any ear to hear the message of divine mercy. As the last verse of our lesson declares, and as the Apostle Paul corroborates, all the messages of the Lord failed because of this drunken condition--"And they did fall backward and were broken, snared and taken." Thank God that the time of their deliverance and the opening of their eyes is near at hand!

APPLICATION TO SPIRITUAL ISRAEL

We have heretofore seen that the Jewish dispensation was a type or parallel of the Gospel dispensation, only on a lower plane. It is proper, therefore, that we should expect in the present harvest time similar conditions of drunkenness, similar stumblings in nominal Spiritual Israel. Is it not written that the Lord would prove to be a stone of stumbling or a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel? Do we not see how the first house stumbled because of intoxication with the wine of false doctrine? and do we not hear the Lord's messages in the symbolical book of Revelation telling us of the intoxicated condition of nominal spiritual Israel?--all nations made drunk by the wine of Babylon's fornication, corruption, misapplications of the blessings and mercies and privileges granted in this time. It is in full harmony with this that the Apostle urges that the Lord's people have the right kind of wine, the right kind of joy, the right kind of stimulation, saying, "Be not drunken with wine, wherein is excess, but be ye filled with the Spirit"-- the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of the Truth, the spirit of righteousness, the spirit of a sound mind--quite contrary to the spirit of error, the spirit of deference to the traditions of men, the spirit of Antichrist, the spirit of superstition.

The application of the lesson to the Jewish harvest is eminently proper. It is quite evident that the harvest of this Gospel age, being in many respects much more important, the application should be made here with still greater force, and we have so done--as will be seen by noting the references to the various volumes of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series and ZION'S WATCH TOWER in the margins of our special Bible. [R3963 : page 91]

"THEY ERR IN VISION, THEY STUMBLE IN JUDGMENT"

The prophecy that great Babylon would make all nations drunken with her false teachings (Rev. 18:3) has been most literally fulfilled. The professed followers of the Lord of every nation and kindred seem to be under the delusions of these false doctrines; hence they err in vision, they cannot see the riches of divine grace: the nightmare of eternal torment at the hands of demons is vividly before their minds as the truth, so that they really blaspheme the gracious Creator unintentionally, misrepresenting his glorious arrangements for the redemption and recovery of the children of men. Many of them so stumble in judgment that they preach, as did Jonathan Edwards, that the eternal torment of the great majority of the race was foreknown and premeditated by the Almighty before Adam was created, and that such treatment of his creatures must be recognized as just--yea, more, as loving--so that the Lord's true people, with all this in mind, should praise God the louder and should consider that his justice was thus made manifest. Alas! what erring in vision, what stumbling in judgment, what inculcation in the spirit of Antichrist and the "doctrines of devils."--1 Tim. 4:1.

"TABLES FULL OF VOMIT"

Today as never before this Scripture is fulfilled--"All tables are full of vomit"--not literal tables, but symbolical tables of the various denominations. Each denomination has gathered together at the table of the Lord, to be fed of him upon his words of truth and grace, "Wonderful words of life." But today, having gotten rid of some of the ignorance and superstition of the "dark ages," the Lord's people of various denominations, as they gather at their respective tables, feel sickness, nausea, as they contemplate the spiritual food provided for them and which they have pledged themselves to eat. The various dishes are garnished with choice rhetoric, and the table is grand with flowers of lovingkindness, mercy and benevolence. Few eat at all, but all gather regularly as a matter of duty. The odor of the dishes is sufficient, and even this is occasionally so strong as to produce nausea and vomiting--the rejection by the more enlightened of the doctrinal monstrosities and horrible misrepresentations of divine justice and love, inconsistent and unpalatable to the last degree.

Truthfully the Prophet says, "All tables are full of vomit." Of which creed is it not true? at which denominational table do we find intelligent Christians gathering and really feasting upon that which they declare to be the divine revelation of the divine purposes toward the children of men? Surely it is true that each denomination is ashamed of its own table. Surely it is true that no one will be found in any denomination willing to defend in public the sectarian creed which he has professed. Is it any wonder that the whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint amongst the Lord's nominal people? The wonder rather is that these sick and disgusted ones do not rise and repudiate the tables at which they can no longer eat and be nourished and comforted, and that they seek for the true table of the Lord, of which the Scriptures tell us, "Thou hast furnished me a table in the presence of mine enemies." Respecting which the Scriptures again assure us that our Lord at his second advent will gird himself as the servant of his true people and come forth and serve them, presenting to them things new and old from the storehouse of grace and Truth. O, surely all who are of the right character of heart, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, will find the true table of the Lord and will be satisfied, filled thereby.

THE TABLE OF THE LORD VERSUS THE TABLE OF DEVILS

The Lord does not hold himself responsible for the false doctrines that were so generally received during the "dark ages" and which the Apostle describes as "doctrines of devils." All the while he has had the true table for those who were of true heart, for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, but he has permitted also that the great Adversary prepare a table for those who are not of the spirit of the truth. It is the Apostle who asks, "What communion hath light with darkness? and what accord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an unbeliever?" (2 Cor. 6:14-16.) It is the same Apostle who again points out the distinction, separateness of those who are truly the Lord's people, saying, "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and of the table of devils."--1 Cor. 10:21.

True, the various tables of the various sects of Christendom were started as tables of the Lord, and adorned to some extent with food from his storehouse, the Word. But the great Adversary placed upon these tables various errors, delusions, doctrines of devils, which have blemished them as a whole; wherefore it is appropriate now to apply to them the words of the Scriptures, "Come out from amongst them and be ye separate, touch not the unclean thing." "Babylon is fallen, is fallen [rejected of the Lord], Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues." (2 Cor. 6:17; Rev. 18:4.) Surely she shall fall utterly, as a great millstone cast into the sea of anarchy.--Rev. 18:21.

"WHOM SHALL HE TEACH KNOWLEDGE"

Ah, here we have it! The knowledge of the truth contrasted with the confusion and drunkenness of the error in the present condition, with the Lord's people gathered around various sectarian tables, failing to recognize that there is but one table of the Lord as there is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all. Under these conditions the Lord through the Prophet inquires, "Who can receive instruction?" Who would be ready for the Truth? Evidently only a few is the implication--peculiar people, more zealous for the favor of the Lord than for name and fame amongst men or earthly honors and emoluments. These and these alone are in the attitude of heart to be taught of the Lord, these he will teach knowledge. And he is teaching them; the saints are being gathered from one end of heaven to the other, away from the various tables of men to the spiritual food and refreshment which the Lord himself is providing at this time according to his promise. Amongst these never was there such rejoicing, such feasting, such pleasure--at last they have found the meat in due season for the household, the Lord's provision, and they find it strengthening and joy-inspiring.

As a further part of the question, as an explanation of the kind of teaching, of the needs of the hour, the Apostle says, "Whom shall he make to understand doctrine"--the message of the Lord? The majority of those who have [R3963 : page 92] already vomited, rejected, the creeds of men feel so great a disgust for everything in the way of doctrine that they can barely endure to hear that word. They are inclined to say, "We have had enough of doctrine for the rest of our lives, let us hear no more of that, let us think nothing in particular, decide nothing in particular, know nothing in particular, merely hope something, hope that in some way unknown to everybody God will eventually do for the human family that which it really needs." No wonder, then, the Prophet inquires, "Whom shall he teach doctrine?" with the implication that few will be ready or willing to receive doctrine at this time when the creeds of Christendom are being rejected by all thinking people--at heart, if not outwardly.

But our dear friends go to an extreme. It is not the doctrine of God and his Book that is wrong; it is not the divine plan that is in error; it is the teaching of the Adversary, which he combined with the Word of God, that caused the drunkenness and subsequently the sickness, the nausea. What need there is to realize that the defilement came from the Adversary, from human traditions, and that then while rejecting human traditions we must learn to go to the Word of God, the real storehouse of food and Truth, the real table of the Lord, with greater zeal, hungering and thirsting for the Truth that we may be filled. We have need to look to the great Master himself, who promised to be present in this time and to send at the hands of his servants the things new and old to the tables of his people. We need to scrutinize all that we receive, lest we ever be taken again by the delusions and hallucinations of the Adversary, the doctrines of devils.

"WEANED FROM THE MILK"

The Prophet describes the class that will be ready to receive the Truth--that they must pass the stage of infancy and be ready for the stronger meat of the divine Word. In this connection we notice that while theologians have prepared the malodorous doctrines of devils as the standards, they have for some time been withholding these from the people and endeavoring to have them, as "babes," use merely the "milk of the Word." This certainly is better than partaking of the adulterated, sickening, doctrinal presentations of the various sects; but, as the Apostle here intimates, it will not be sufficient in this time that one should be a babe in Christ and use merely the milk of the Word. In order to be an overcomer he must grow in grace and knowledge, and possess the fruits and graces of the Lord's Spirit, and this cannot be obtained merely through the milk of the Word. As the Apostle declares, we have need of strong meat, that as men we may be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. This strong meat that he refers to is the strong doctrines, the strong teachings, the deep things of the divine Word. Only those who are weaned from the milk, drawn from the breasts, who have ceased to be babes and made some development--only these will be prepared for the instructions that the Lord now has to give, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little.

As in the harvest of the Jewish age the Lord took the unlearned and gave them foreign tongues and inspirational powers for the dissemination of the Truth then due, and did not use the tongues of Scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees, [R3964 : page 92] so in the present harvest time he is also using other tongues than those which had previously been used. The table of the Lord will not be established within the lines of sectarianism, but outside of them, and those who listen merely for the voices of the doctors of divinity will miss the instruction which the Lord will give in this time, and which will be given by other tongues outside of Babylon entirely. Thus it is written, "In her [Babylon] shall be heard no more the voice of the Bridegroom and the Bride." The Bridegroom's voice is outside, and all who have the Spirit of the Lord and who are therefore true virgins, eligible to be his Bride, will hearken to his voice and speedily come out of Babylon, in harmony with this declaration. But this will be but a little flock as compared with the mighty hosts of nominal Babylon; for the latter the same blinding, rejection, stumbling is as certain as it was to natural Israel in its harvest time. "He shall be for a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to both the houses of Israel."--Isaiah 8:14.



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"THE LORD KNOWETH THEM THAT ARE HIS"
--2 TIMOTHY 2:19.--MARCH 31.--

THIS lesson is intended as a review for the quarter-- from the Creation to Jacob. The Golden Text which we have chosen as the caption gives the key-thought of this lesson, namely, that the Bible, while incidentally dealing with many things that appertain to the earth and its people, mainly has reference to those who manifest a reverence for the Lord and to whom he correspondingly manifests his favor in various ways in various ages, cooperating with them for their present joy and their everlasting welfare.

The Scriptures everywhere represent the Almighty Creator as benevolent, generous, kind toward his creatures, desiring their welfare, and, where punishment is necessary, inflicting it merely with a view to their recovery out of wrong conditions or to make examples for others who may thus be deterred from wrong doing. True, the Scriptures do also present Satan and the forces of evil, but always picture them to us as adversaries of the Almighty and of all who are good and in harmony with righteousness. Thus the Bible is in many respects a history of the conflict between good and evil, and it faithfully shows us, as an artificial record would not, that the general tendency of our race is sinward--that the smaller proportion escape the delusions of the Adversary, develop a reverential love for the Creator, and manifest loyalty and obedience. However, the Scriptures are very explicit in their assurances that it shall not always be thus: that the time for the triumph of right over wrong, of God over Satan, is arranged for, its time fixed, and its accomplishment certain. Everywhere also they point us to the fact that the reign of righteousness could never be accomplished without divine assistance--that our race is so impaired and weak through the fall that perfection is a matter of impossibility on our part, and hence that our help cometh from the Lord.

It was this promise of a coming blessing that worked so marvellously in the hearts of the patriarchs, fixed their minds upon the Lord and separated them from the ways of [R3964 : page 93] evil. And it is the same gracious promise which, in proportion to our faith in it, helps us of today as it helped the patriarchs of old. "According to thy faith be it unto you," is still God's rule, and those who have much faith and loyalty of heart to the Lord are sure to be blessed of him, for "the Lord knoweth them that are his." Moreover, it is the high reward which God has promised to these his faithful ones that constitutes a large proportion of the incentive which strengthens us in our battle with the world, the flesh and the Adversary. It was so with the patriarchs and so it is with us of this Gospel age.

"AS THE HEAVENS ARE HIGHER THAN THE EARTH"

It is when we get the grand sweep of the divine plan that we can see God's ultimate purpose of vanquishing sin and blessing all the families of the earth with the knowledge of his goodness and with a favorable opportunity for reformation --when we come to see that the election of the Jewish age and also of this Gospel age are but means to that grand end of blessing the world. Then we begin to discern how high are God's ways above man's ways and God's plans above man's schemes, and to discern the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of God's love and provision for the blessing of the world. And proportionately as we look upon this glorious picture we are strengthened by his might in the inner man, and lifted out of our narrowness and selfishness, and more and more constituted images of God's dear Son, and thus also images of the heavenly Father. O, then, that we might each and all be of those who are known of the Lord as the "very elect"--of those whom he will use in the present time in connection with his present work of electing the little flock, and will be used by and by in his great work of blessing all the families of the earth. What trials and difficulties we might well endure with such a prospect!

If from five to twenty years are counted a reasonable portion for the education of children for the duties of a life of half a century, how much education would be reasonably appropriate for an eternal life? Nay, more, how much of an education would be necessary for the kings and priests who will be the teachers and judges of the world of mankind to develop them for eternal life? We are lost in amazement of thought, and wonder how any can be developed in the brief space at our disposal. How valuable, then, is every moment, every day, as it sweeps past, for the development of this character which our Lord seeks for, the learning of the lessons so necessary to our present joy and our everlasting usefulness in the Master's service. Let us heed the Apostle's exhortation to lay aside every weight and every besetting sin and to run with patience the race set before us in the Gospel, looking unto Jesus, the Author of our faith, until he shall become the Finisher of it.



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RESPONDING TO DIVINE PROMISES
--GENESIS 28:1-5,10-22.--APRIL 7.--

"Behold I am with thee and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest."--Gen. 28:15.

JACOB, perceiving that his esteem for the Abrahamic blessing and his perseverance in procuring it, had brought upon him the ill will of his brother Esau, showed that it was not the elder son's share of his father's possessions that he sought, and proposed a journey to the home of his mother's brother. Rebecca, in sympathy with the program, urged it upon Isaac, saying that she was vexed by the heathen wives of Esau and desired that Jacob should select his companion from amongst their God-fearing relatives. To this Isaac assented, and when Jacob was ready for the journey blessed him and confirmed to him again the Abrahamic blessing, saying, "And God Almighty bless thee and make thee fruitful and multiply thee that thou mayest be a multitude of people, and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee and thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land of thy sojournings which God gave unto Abraham."

The journey was undertaken on foot and alone. Jacob, after the custom of the people of that country even today, at night wrapped himself in his outer garment and slept in any convenient place, using a stone for a pillow. On the evening of probably his third day from home he slept in a place near to the town of Luz, and was there granted a vision or dream in which he saw a ladder extending from earth to heaven and on it holy angels ascending and descending, and at its top the Lord himself, who spoke to him precious words of encouragement. Thus did the Lord comfort one who trusted in him--one who had so great respect for the divine covenant made with his grandfather Abraham that he esteemed it of more value than all earthly riches and comforts. It was largely on account of his faith in the Abrahamic Covenant that Jacob was now practically an outcast from his home, fleeing in reality through fear of his brother Esau. It is not wonderful that God rewarded such a heroic faith, neither does it surprise us that it was because of the lack of this faith that God took the inheritance of this Covenant from the unbelieving Esau, "profane Esau," as the Apostle describes his sacrilegious disrespect to the divine Covenant.

It is so still: God always honors faith. Those who now for his sake and because of their respect for the divine promises suffer the loss of earthly home and privileges and comforts may be sure that these testings of their loyalty to God will not go unrewarded. The Lord seeketh such to [R3965 : page 93] worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth, only with such is he well pleased, only to such does he let down the golden ladder, only to such do the angels of heaven minister, for we read, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14.) That golden ladder fitly pictures our dear Redeemer, who is the Way to God as well as the Truth and the Life. His own words are, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." Upon this Mediator between God and man all the blessings of God descend to us, and through him our prayers and our offerings are acceptable to the Father. And as the Father spoke to Jacob from the farther end of this ladder, so with every one of us: it is the Father's drawing, the Father's message, the Father's love that our dear Redeemer has revealed to us, and brought us into contact with every good and every perfect gift coming down [R3965 : page 94] from the Father of Lights. All things are of the Lord, and all things are by the Son.

THE PROMISES RENEWED

From the further end of the ladder Jacob heard the Lord's voice saying, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham thy father and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest to thee will I give it and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold I am with thee and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."

Here was the very comfort and encouragement that Jacob needed; here he had the assurance not only that his grandfather Abraham had a covenant with God, and that this had not passed to Ishmael but to Isaac, and that now it had not passed to Esau but to himself. He was content with the loss of all things else since he still had the divine favor and was thus acknowledged of God as being the heir of this wonderful promise, the full import of which he could but faintly appreciate. And so it is with all who have heard the Father's voice and been drawn or attracted by his promises, and who have surrendered all other ambitions in life that they might attain to the divine favor and chief blessing as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord. No conditions under such circumstances could really be heard; hence, as the Apostle says, we are enabled to rejoice even in tribulation, knowing that even our tribulations are working for us patience and the various experiences of life necessary to our preparation for the glorious position to which we have been called of God. With the Apostle then we can say, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ and be found in him.--Phil. 3:8,9.

AS THE STARS AND AS THE SAND

It will be noticed that in this blessing the Lord likens the seed of Jacob to the dust of the earth, but not to the stars of heaven. We remember that in the divine promise to Isaac (Gen. 26:4) the reverse of this is stated: the posterity like unto the stars of heaven is mentioned, but no illustration of the dust of the earth, while to Abraham God used both of these illustrations, saying, "Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven and as the sand of the seashore for multitude." In the Abrahamic promise both the spiritual seed, likened to the stars of heaven, and the natural seed, likened to the sands of the seashore, are properly mentioned, because both the heavenly and earthly seeds and the heavenly and earthly blessings proceed from that original Covenant. We remember in this connection the Apostle's statement, "We, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise": we are the spiritual Seed of whom in the First Resurrection the Prophet says, "They shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and as the stars forever and ever." (Dan. 12:3.) The Apostle refers to the same class as celestials, comparing them to the stars--"as one star differeth from another star in glory, so also is the [first] resurrection of the dead--it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." (1 Cor. 15:40-44.) Similarly Jacob is referred to by the Apostle as a representative of natural Israel: for instance, telling us of the blessing that shall come upon natural Israel at the end of this Gospel age, when the Spiritual Israel shall have been glorified, he says, "A deliverer shall come out of Zion and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my Covenant with them when I shall take away their sins."-- Rom. 11:25-30.

Not only did the Lord assure Jacob that he was in the right way as an heir for the promise, but, further, that whatever his experiences might be he should remember that the Lord was with him and would not let go of him until he had fulfilled toward him all these gracious promises. What a force, what a power, this experience and the Lord's testimony must have been to Jacob in future years! And it still appertains to natural Israel. The Lord has held that people under his care nor let them go for over thirty centuries, and as surely as it is here written he will accomplish for them the promised blessing and will yet make them a blessing to all nations. Nevertheless, as Jacob had trying experiences in the interim, so his posterity have had and will have until the blessing of the Lord under the New Covenant shall come to them at the hands of the great Mediator of the New Covenant, the glorified Christ Jesus and the Church, which is his body--Spiritual Israel.

A comforting lesson comes to all of us who are Spiritual Israelites also, for we reflect that it is the same unchangeable God who has given us the chief blessing, which the natural Israelite failed to receive, as it is written, "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." We, the elect, Israel spiritual, may feel sure that if God's promises to natural Israel are all to be fulfilled his promises to Spiritual Israel are yea and amen in Christ. To us he has also promised that, into whatever situation we may be brought in his providence, he is able to make all things work together for our good, and to bring us off conquerors, yea, more than conquerors, through him that loved us and bought us with his precious blood.

THE HOUSE OF GOD--THE GATE OF HEAVEN

When Jacob awaked from this refreshing vision, dream, he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not. What a place for awe is this! It is none other than the house of God, the gate of heaven." He was awe inspired, and if the dream inspired the future patriarch with awe, what should the knowledge of the reality bring to us, we who with the eyes of faith see Jesus as the ladder reaching from our humble, fallen condition clear to the heights of the heavenly glory and presence! With what reverence should we look up and hear the Father's voice coming to us through him. How little we should feel ourselves to be, how great the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Surely, as Jacob said, the resting-place of this ladder must be the house of God, the place where we may meet with our Almighty Creator. It was this that was symbolized by the Tabernacle of old, which was called the tent of meeting, not because the Israelites entered it, but because Jehovah could enter and there meet with the people through their representative, the priest, the Lord's presence being indicated by the light on the Mercy Seat, the Shekinah glory. [R3965 : page 95]

Similarly the Temple was a house or meeting-place between God and his people, and similarly now with Spiritual Israel--Christ at the lower end of the ladder is the meeting-place between God and man. This meeting-place for the present time is not a building made with hands--is not a Temple nor even a tent, but a house or household of faith, the house or Church of God. Wherever this may be is "Bethel,"--"wherever two or three of you are met in my name there am I in the midst"; there the ladder, at the upper end of which is the Father, touches the earth. And every such assemblage is truly a gate of heaven. What wonder, then, that the Scriptures encourage the Lord's people to meet in his name, to have fellowship with the Father through him, and to have their petitions borne upward to the Father and the blessings to come down from the Father upon them. What wonder that the Apostle exhorted that we should not forget the assembling of ourselves as the manner of some is, and so much the more as we see the day approaching.--Heb. 10:25.

"And I knew it not," said Jacob. And so with us. We knew not at first about the Lord's gracious arrangements and provisions for our blessing. It was only after we had heard his voice and come to an appreciation of his grace and forgiveness that we learned to love him, and that perfect love casts out our fear. The fear or reverence, however, which we had at the beginning of our experience, was a proper and useful one. Whoever comes not to the Father through a reverential fear does not appreciate the privilege of relationship and contact with the great King of the Universe.

NOTING AND MARKING BLESSINGS

After he had awakened, thought over his dream and experienced reverential sentiments, Jacob arose, although it was still early, before the breaking of day. He must take time to acknowledge the divine favors he had just received. He did this in three ways:

(1) He took the stone upon which his head had rested and set it up as a monument at that spot and poured oil upon it as signifying honor, distinction and appreciation; [R3966 : page 95]

(2) He gave the place a name, calling it Beth-el, the house of God, in commemoration of the blessing.

But this was not enough: he said to himself, Although I have been a follower of the Lord, and am even now here because of my faith in the divine promise to Abraham, yet now that God has personally favored me with these assurances of his presence with me and his assistance along the journey of life and his ultimate fulfilment in me of all these promises, what should I render unto the Lord for all his benefits? He resolved that he would (3) make a vow, a covenant of fidelity to the Lord. It was this: Since God will be with me and will keep me in this way which I go, and provide me bread to eat and raiment to wear, so that I shall return hither again in peace, and in view of this promise he shall be my Lord, my God, which signifies that I shall be his servant, his creature. The stone set up as a monument served as a corroboration, a witness to the vow, and additionally Jacob vowed that of all that God gave him he would surely give a tenth part to the divine service.

We consider such a consecration of himself and of his income as the reasonable proper course on Jacob's part. The man or woman who receives blessings from the Lord or from anyone without thought, desire and wish to make returns according to his ability, shows thereby his degradation, because surely every noble-minded person would be prompted to consecration by a realization of the Lord's favors and privileges. So the Apostle declares respecting the Spiritual Israelite, that we have received of the Lord exceedingly great and precious promises. Having come to this place where we are at the foot of the ladder and in touch therewith, and recipients of the blessings from heaven and the privilege of this association, we should consider it, he tells us, a reasonable service to present our bodies living sacrifices to him. --Rom. 12:1.

We should esteem it a great joy, a great privilege, to be the Lord's servants. We do not become his servants in order to get his blessings, but his blessings have been conferred upon us conditionally: we are pleased to present our bodies living sacrifices to his service. Jacob vowed one-tenth of his income to the Lord's service, and this proportion seems to have been in general recognized at that time and probably previously, as we know it was subsequently incorporated in the Mosaic Law. Abraham gave a tithe, one-tenth, of the spoils to Melchisedec, and the king of Sodom made a similar offering to Abraham, which the latter rejected, preferring to receive gifts from the Lord only.

Theoretically the Christian gives his all to the Lord, and theoretically the Lord accepts our all of time, talent, influence, money, all. But actually, when we consider the time necessary for rest and for the reasonable care of our earthly interests, we are fortunate indeed if we are able to give directly to the Lord one-tenth of our time. Similarly with all of our gifts, privileges and opportunities--so many of them are necessary to ourselves, our reasonable well being, the providing of things honest in the sight of all men, it is doubtful if very many, therefore, give to the Lord much more than one-tenth of all their substance. And surely if this was a command to natural men, we, as New Creatures, would feel ashamed to proffer the Lord less. We certainly should set apart at least one-tenth for the Lord, and then add thereto as much as possible according to the Lord's blessing and the possibilities of the case. We, too, should set up pillars or memorials as marking this special blessing received of the Lord.

A provision has been made for us along this line by our Lord. Has he not provided the Memorial season, in which annually we are privileged to celebrate our Bethel?--that we are the house of God because with us is the Son of man, the Ladder, the connecting way between earth and heaven, between us and the heavenly Father. How earnest we should be to perpetuate this Memorial, and how we should appreciate the fact that its recurring lessons are amongst the most helpful that could possibly be our experience. And did not our Lord provide for us another Memorial, and set us the example in the use of it, too, when he symbolized his consecration to death by baptism into water? How glad we are that we can set up this Memorial also, that it is our privilege to be symbolically buried and symbolically raised as a manifestation and expression of our faith and our hope and our joy. Whoever neglects the vow of consecration, and whoever neglects to set up this Memorial, is thereby to this extent evidencing a carelessness and a deficiency in the spirit that is pleasing to the Lord; and in the same degree he fails to have the witness that he pleases the Lord and is making his calling and election sure. Let us, then, like Jacob, arise early. We may set up these memorials and make these vows of consecration. Those who have done these things early in their Christian experience-- early after coming to the foot of the cross, the foot of the ladder--have received proportionately the greater blessing as they have gone on in life's pathway.



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