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May 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. XXIXMAY 1No. 9
A.D. 1908--A.M. 6036


CONTENTS

Views from the Watch Tower131
Capitalists Warned by Miners131
Ministers of Christ Hypnotists131
The Egotism of Higher Critics132
Will Episcopalians and Greek Catholics Unite?132
"In My Father's House"132
The New Way of Life133
"Greater Works Shall Ye Do"134
Yearly Requests for Pilgrim Visits135
The Holy Spirit Promised136
"He will Reprove the World"137
Our Lord Betrayed and Denied139
"The Hour of Temptation that Shall Try"140
Berean Studies on the Atonement143

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

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

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THIS JOURNAL AND ITS 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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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.



[R4164 : page 130]

NEW POSTAL REGULATIONS


A new postoffice ruling should be known to all our readers. Hereafter newspapers and magazines will not be allowed to keep on their lists the addresses of expired subscriptions --except for a few months: semi-monthlies, such as the WATCH TOWER, three months; quarterlies, such as the Old Theology, six months. If your papers stop coming you will know the reason why.

Subscription lists hereafter must contain the addresses of only those who (1) have paid their money, or (2) have definitely asked for credit, or (3) whose subscriptions have been paid for them at their request. The majority of our subscriptions come under either the first or second of these rules, and we here remark that the publishers are at liberty to extend a credit for another and another year, if the subscriber so requests, but not otherwise. As for the third class; these subscriptions of the Lord's poor are paid for them gladly by Tract Fund donations of those more favored financially. But do not forget that these also under the new regulations must write us yearly requesting this. Look at the address label on your paper and note thereon the time of expiration of your subscription and act accordingly. We prefer to have the "Lord's poor" write us in May each year. As paid subscriptions come at the close of the year this helps to divide the office labors. Remember that we like to have on our List the names of all the interested. Those who donate to the Fund which pays your subscription are delighted to have the privilege of thus serving the fellow-members of the Body of Christ. Therefore let no feeling of false modesty hinder you from making request under these terms if you need so to do. You can no more afford to do without the spiritual food than to starve naturally.



[R4163 : page 131]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER

CAPITALISTS WARNED BY MINERS


THE United Mine Workers' Journal, of February 25th last, under the caption, "A Portentous Outlook," says:--

"No one who is able to read the signs of the times can fail to be impressed with the portentous features that loom up from all sides of the industrial horizon. It does seem that the 'captains of industry' are determined to force a crisis in the affairs of this nation.

"Those who look behind the superficial, see in all this an attempt to punish the laboring classes, thus striking President Roosevelt over their heads, in order to discredit his policy. If in order that industry shall go on unchecked the food poisoner, the bank and railroad wreckers must be permitted to carry on their schemes unchecked and unopposed that fact cannot be too quickly known. The ruthless reduction in wages, the provocative methods employed to exasperate the working-men into strikes seem to point, as true as a needle to the pole, to the fact that we are facing an industrial and political crisis.

"They are making the mistakes of their lives. They are but a drop in the bucket, as they will learn to their sorrow, should they press this matter to a head. It is well for these men to remember that the creature is never greater than the creator. If they knew what was fermenting under the surface they would come to their senses at once, a thing they should do before it is too late."


***

In publishing this item, the WATCH TOWER is not to be understood to endorse all of its statements. Much can be said on both sides of every controversy, and not infrequently both sides are extreme and wide of the truth, which lies between their extremes. The rabid, bitter utterances of many laboring men are much to be deplored. Calmer words and arguments and votes at the poles would be the more sensible course. Likewise, capitalists are sometimes credited with very unwise and provocative language, calculated to stir up strife. But what can we expect? These people, rich and poor, are listed on the world's census reports as "Christians" of various denominations; yet but few of them know even the first principles of the doctrines of Christ. How can we expect of them the fruits of God's holy Spirit--meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness, love?

A brother, a railroad engineer, who is in close touch with fellow-laborers, tells us that the spirit of unrest and of bitterness toward the wealthy is growing. He cited as an illustration the fact that while one department of the railroad business was closed recently to curtail expenses, and although the employees were given work at another place, nevertheless, the official in charge of the transfer so realized the spirit of animosity prevalent that he took two trusted men as a guard each visit while superintending the transfer.

MINISTERS OF CHRIST HYPNOTISTS


"Faith and hypnotism will be used by the Rev. Dr. Robert MacDonald, pastor of the Washington Avenue Baptist Church, Brooklyn, to cure hysteria, insomnia, neurasthenia, drunkenness, religious melancholia and suicidal mania.

"Dr. MacDonald announced his intention to his congregation and will begin his work today.

"The faith-in-God-hypnotic-suggestion idea was given to Dr. MacDonald by the Rev. Dr. Worcester, of Boston. Dr. Worcester has accomplished some almost miraculous cures by this method, and he explained it to Dr. MacDonald, who spent ten days with him."--N.Y. Journal.


***

We cannot prove our fears that hypnotism is a demoniacal power, but as previously set forth in these columns, such is our belief. All so-called "psychic powers" by which wonders can be worked associate themselves more or less distinctly with Spiritism, respecting the source of which we have no room for doubt.

This does not signify that the ministers above named (and all others who practice hypnotism), are intelligently serving satanic interests. God forbid! Our thought is that "the god of this world has blinded their (mental) eyes." We are, as our readers well know, expecting wonderful developments along all "occult" and "black art" and spiritist lines during the next few years, as a part of the great "hour of temptation that shall try them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth."-- Rev. 3:10.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Too great carefulness respecting every word and act and plan is not possible. Temptations may come along the line of [R4163 : page 132] our natural weaknesses, but may be even more effective against us along the lines of our greatest strength of character, because less carefully guarded. The Apostle says, "When I am weak, then I am strong"--because more carefully leaning on the everlasting arms in the face of such besetments. Let us consider it the reverse way--when I am strong, then am I weak, because less likely to be on guard and to be relying on our Lord's assistance. "Without me ye can do nothing."

THE EGOTISM OF HIGHER CRITICS


The editor of a local journal, without pretending any special skill as a theologian, sees clearly one thing at least, that the Higher Critics are quite conceited when, although unable to agree among themselves, they invite the world to allow them to make a new Bible out of the old one. They claim that what others do not possess in the way of spiritual intuition, they each do possess: not only enough for their own needs, but a supply, also, for the whole world. He says:

"Either Higher Criticism is a good thing or it is not-- either desirable or undesirable. At any rate it has become the great issue of the day in theology. Disturbing or otherwise it is too prominent in the thoughts of the world for a paper that pretends to reflect public opinion to ignore it. Our exchanges almost without exception contain letters and editorials upon this most important subject. In the meantime, what are we to do with it? It is being said more and more by clergymen that only the technically proficient are at all qualified [R4164 : page 132] to express an opinion upon the correctness or otherwise of criticism high or low.

"With the Higher Critics and their followers the development of man is still proceeding. What it may result in is not yet foreseen. So far, however, it has resulted in a critical attitude toward a book called the Bible, out of which by dint of paring and padding they propose to make the real Word of God. They feel themselves inspired so to do by the inward unfolding to them of the Divine purpose. The lower critics regard all this as presumption, as an extra-biblical attempt to give to the world a true revelation.

"There is no one to say, however, where it should at any time end. The reason of the individual reader, these critics maintain, is necessarily that reader's final court of appeal. Yet, as we remarked before, even this does not seem to be permitted by them, since they also maintain that the individual reader may not be qualified. We have then in the last analysis a constituted hierarchy of Higher Critics who do not agree among themselves and cannot agree farther than to say that their theory in manner of interpreting is identical, even if their interpretations prove contradictory."

WILL EPISCOPALIANS AND GREEK CATHOLICS UNITE?


The Toronto Mail and Empire prints the following report and sees in it a prospect of a great church union:

"The first organization of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Union in this country was perfected at an enthusiastic meeting held this afternoon at the parish-house of the Transfiguration and attended by many well-known Episcopalian churchmen and laymen, and has, it is understood, the entire sympathy of Bishop Potter and other high Church officials, and is said to be the culmination of a movement which originated in the house of the bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church. It follows closely upon the return to this country of the Rev. Dr. Charles C. Grafton, Bishop of Fond du Lac, Wis., who made an extended trip through Russia and the East, carrying the greetings and kindly expressions of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America.

"The Church at large, which is not advised of the deliberations of the House of Bishops, has always understood that Bishop Grafton was sent abroad to learn the attitude of the Eastern Orthodox Churches toward closer union with the Protestant Episcopal or Anglican Church. Since Bishop Grafton's return he had made it plain that his reception from the high officials of the Russian and Greek Catholic Churches was most cordial, and that their sentiment was strong in favor of closer union."



[R4164 : page 132]

"IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE"
--JOHN 14:1-14.--MAY 3--

Golden Text:--"In my Father's house are many mansions."
AFTER the Lord had washed the disciples' feet, and had given the sop to Judas, who then went out, and he had told the disciples that they all would be offended that night because of him, and had answered Peter that he would deny his Lord thrice before the cock crew, we may well suppose that the hearts of the eleven were heavy, disturbed, troubled with fearful forebodings. Had they indeed been deluded or had they misunderstood the Master when he told them that he was the Messiah, the heir of the Kingdom, and that they should sit with him in his throne? How could they interpret his language, seeing that only five days before he had received the hosannas of the multitude as the Son of David, the King of Israel, when riding on the ass? What could it mean that the Master was now "exceeding sorrowful" and spoke of betrayal, and of their dispersion and of his own death?

It was in answer to these their troubled thoughts that our Lord spoke to them the beautiful words of comfort and consolation recorded in the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th chapters of John's Gospel, beginning--"Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."

The apostles were already consecrated to God as his servants, before they came in contact with Jesus; they already believed in God, trusted in him, were Israelites indeed without guile. This is testified to further by our Lord's prayer, in which he says, "Thine they were and thou gavest them me." The trouble in their hearts was not in respect to the foundations of their hopes, for these were all established. They not only knew and trusted God, but knew and trusted also the promises of God respecting the Kingdom and the blessing that should come to all the families of the earth through it. The whole question before their minds was respecting Jesus: Was he indeed the Messiah, or had they built some false expectations upon his wonderful words and deeds? How should they understand it if now, after three and a half years of ministry, he should die at the hands of his enemies, instead [R4164 : page 133] of establishing his Kingdom and subduing all things to himself, as they had expected? He had said that he was going away, and that whither he would go they could not come. How could they understand these matters and harmonize them?

"YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN"

They had not yet learned the meaning of the words which, early in his ministry, our Lord had addressed to Nicodemus--"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God"; "Except a man be born of water and of spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." (John 3:3,5.) But these were spiritual truths, and could not be appreciated until Pentecost would bring them the anointing of the holy Spirit, and permit them to "comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths" of the divine plan. But they did need some comfort, and the Master proceeded to give them the best and the strongest spiritual food, instruction, that they were able to receive. He had many things to tell them, but they could not bear them then, could not understand them, until the anointing of the holy Spirit should prepare their hearts.

Our Lord began by reviving in them their faith in the Father and in his plan, saying, Ye believe in God, --believe also in me: recognize the fact that all of the Father's plan will be accomplished, and inasmuch as you have seen my loyalty to the Father in word and in deed, and inasmuch as you have seen the Father's power unto good works manifested in me, let faith's anchor hold; continue to trust me, continue to have confidence, and you shall have a blessing; wait for the development of the divine plan, and it will more than satisfy your highest expectations. You are perplexed because I said that I am going away--going to the Father, but let me explain to you that my going is in your interest: I go to prepare a place for you in my Father's house of many apartments; and as surely as I do this I will come again and receive you unto myself, that we may henceforth be together forever.

Thus, in a few words, the Master declared the work of the Gospel Age, pointing to his second advent and the glorification of the Church at the end of the age. He did not here stop to give them detailed explanations of the trials of faith and of patience through which they must pass; this he had done on other occasions, warning and cautioning them (Matt. 24); now their hearts were troubled, and he would merely console them with the assurance that his going away was necessary, that his second coming would be certain, and that the gathering of all to everlasting fellowship with him in the mansions prepared was assured.

THE FATHER'S HOUSE IS REALLY THE UNIVERSE

Figuratively speaking, heaven is God's throne, the earth his footstool. Divine providence has made abundant arrangement for the everlasting blessedness of all the sons of God. In the divine arrangement a provision had been made for man when in harmony with God, before the fall, but by reason of sin all of man's rights to a place in the everlasting abode of the just had been forfeited, and at the time of our dear Redeemer's discourse he was in the world for the very purpose of redeeming man and all his forfeited rights and possessions. (Luke 19:10; Eph. 1:14.) The purchase had not yet been completed--our Lord intended to finish the arrangements therefor at Calvary within a few hours. But this would cost the sacrifice of himself--the full surrender of the man Christ Jesus as a man, and he could be with them no longer as a man. The hope was that by his obedience to the divine will he should not only redeem Adam and his race by the sacrifice of himself, the man Christ Jesus, but that he should be raised from death to a new nature on a higher plane-- the divine nature. Thus it was necessary that he should go away from them as the man Christ Jesus, and that they should see him no more as a man, but that in due time, at his second coming, they also should be "changed" from human conditions to spirit conditions, and "be like him and see him as he is."--I John 3:2.

It was necessary also that, after laying down his life, he should ascend to the Father and present his sacrifice on man's behalf--as man's ransom--and this he did: the Pentecostal blessing was the divine attestation that the sacrifice for sins was accepted of the Father on man's behalf, and that the blessings which came forth upon all who accepted Jesus as their Redeemer were the result.

The interim between our Lord's death and his second advent is not long from any standpoint of faith. (1) It is not long from God's standpoint, for, as the Apostle Peter declares, "A thousand years are as one day" with the Lord. (2 Pet. 3:8.) (2) It is not long from the standpoint of true believers, for to none of them is the average of life and waiting above fifty years. We are not to take the longest and most incongruous view of this period--not to feel as though we had been living for eighteen hundred years in expectancy: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," and sufficient to each individual is his own share in the trials, polishings and preparations for the coming of the Bridegroom to receive him unto himself. While it is an affair of the Church as a whole in one sense of the word, it is an individual affair in the most important sense of the word to each of the Lord's followers.

THE NEW WAY OF LIFE

"And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." For three years our Lord had been making himself known to his disciples, and also making them acquainted with the Father's character; and hence, when he now informed them that he was going home to the Father, they were to feel that they knew the Father better than ever, and could better than ever appreciate such a home of righteousness and true happiness as he would provide and maintain. Moreover, their experience with the Lord, including his instructions and leading, had made them acquainted with the way to God, even though they did not recognize it as such. Hence our Lord's declaration, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life--no man cometh to the Father but by me."

Our Lord was the "Way" in that only through his [R4164 : page 134] sacrifice, the "ransom," imputing his merit to sinners, could they be made acceptable to the Father or be received back again into fellowship with him. He was the "Truth" in the sense that only through his words, his instructions, his guidance, could there be any hope of coming into harmony with the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth. He was the "Life" in that all the race was dead, under divine sentence--had forfeited the rights of life--and none could come again into life conditions except through him, through the life which he gave for ours. Thus he is our Ransom or Way; our Teacher or Instructor in righteousness, in the truth, and our Life-giver--"Neither is there salvation in any other." "No man cometh unto the Father but by me" --no man need hope for any place in any of the mansions of the Father's house by any other way, by any other truth, by any other life.--Acts 4:12; John 14:6.

And so also Christ will be the Way, the Truth and the Life to the world of mankind in the Millennial Age. And as the Lord, by his sacrifice and offering, opened for the Gospel Church, his Bride, an abode in the heavenly division of God's mansion or house, so by the same sacrifice he redeemed and will restore and give to mankind (to as many as obey him--Acts 3:23) a home in the earthly divisions of the Father's house, which will then again become a Paradise of God.

Much as the apostles esteemed the Master, it was difficult for them to grasp the thought of his perfection --that he was the very image of God in the flesh. (I Tim. 3:16.) They had heard him tell, and indeed knew also from the Law, that "God is a spirit"--not flesh, and hence not visible. They had heard him declare previously, also, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son,...he hath revealed him." (John 1:18.) But they had never grasped the thought that in seeing Jesus they saw the most that was possible to be seen of the divine character--its likeness, its perfect image in flesh. It was therefore necessary that the Master should call their attention to this fact, saying, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." He did not mean them to understand that he was the Father, for this he had distinctly disclaimed repeatedly, telling them that the Father was greater, and that the works which he did were done by the Father's power. (John 14:28,10.) Nor did he mean them to understand that in seeing him they had seen an invisible being, as God is invisible. He did mean them to understand that in seeing his character, his motives, his love, they had seen a true expression that most faithfully represented the Father in all these particulars.

He would have them understand the unity subsisting between the Father and himself; his will was buried into the Father's will, he would have no other: "Not my will but thine be done." He would have them understand that the Father, by his power, by his Spirit, dwelt in him also, so that his words and works fully and completely represented the Father. He declared to them that the works which they had witnessed during his ministry fully attested this power of the Highest resting upon him and operating through him. And this seems to have fully satisfied the apostles, and to have brought rest to their hearts.

"GREATER WORKS SHALL YE DO"

As a further explanation of the necessity for his going to the Father, our Lord declares that as a result of his going his followers should do greater works than he had done. It may perhaps be proper to think that some of these "greater works" will occur after the Kingdom has been established--the great work of awakening the world of mankind from the sleep of death and restoring the willing and obedient to the full perfection of human life. That, truly, will be a greater work than our Lord Jesus accomplished at his first advent, for then his greatest work was the awakening of some sleeping ones without bringing them to the full perfection of human nature.

But in our opinion this is not the only sense in which the Lord's followers are to understand that their works shall be greater than those of the Master. The Lord's works were on a fleshly plane as a matter of necessity. The holy Spirit had not yet come--could not come until after he had given the ransom price and had presented it to the Father, and it had been accepted. Consequently, those to whom he ministered (even his disciples, not being begotten of the Spirit) could not be instructed from that standpoint. Their ears were heavy as respected earthly things, but in regard to heavenly things they could understand nothing; for, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." It is since Pentecost that "God hath revealed them [spiritual things] unto us by his Spirit," which "searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God."--I Cor. 2:10,14; John 3:12.

In the midst of the house of servants--none yet begotten of the Spirit, none yet granted the privilege of sonship (John 1:12)--our Lord could do and teach on no higher plane than the earthly, except as he "spoke unto the people in parables and dark sayings," which in due time the Church should understand, under the leading of the holy Spirit. It was in consequence of this that our Lord's miracles were all physical, and that his plain, understandable teachings were all on a plane appreciable by the natural man.

But when the holy Spirit was come, after Pentecost, the Lord's people, in his name and as his representatives, began to do greater, more wonderful works than those which he himself had performed. Did the Lord open the eyes of the blind? His followers were privileged to open the eyes of men's understanding! Did the Lord heal the physically sick? His disciples were permitted to heal the spiritually diseased! Did the Lord cure physical leprosy? It was the privilege of his followers to heal spiritual leprosy, sin. Did our Lord revive the dead? It was the privilege of his followers to preach a Gospel by which many "passed from death unto life" in a much higher sense. And the privileges of these still greater works are yet with the [R4164 : page 135] Lord's people. Blessed are those who appreciate their great privileges, and are about the Father's business with energy, with zeal! But those who, having received a talent of the Lord, bury it in the earth--in business, in pleasure, in society--cannot expect to be received of the Master at his second coming, nor to hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord."

As indicating how fully he would still continue to be the active agent of the Father in all things relating to the Church, our Lord assures us that such things as we ask of the Father he (Jesus) will do for us, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. The Father hath committed all things into the hands of the Son; nevertheless, in everything the Son acknowledges the Father and gives glory to his name.



page 135

YEARLY REQUESTS FOR PILGRIM VISITS
WE request a careful consideration of the following suggestions by all who are desirous of securing the services of our "Pilgrim" brethren during the ensuing year. The "Pilgrim" branch of the work is increasing in importance each year, and we find it necessary to husband carefully our resources and use the best information obtainable in order that we may secure the best results.

The brethren chosen for this service are not sent forth as perfect, though the Society considers them worthy brethren in every way--ensamples to the flock in doctrine and practice. They travel continuously, as per announcement on last page of TOWER, all their expenses being met by the Society. They do not solicit money or anything else, either for themselves or for the Society. The service is free, the expenses being borne by the contributors to the Tract Fund. We seek divine guidance as to who shall be engaged in this service and where it shall be rendered.

The routine of the "Pilgrims" is in circuits arranged in harmony with the interest shown and requests received, and, since many changes occur during a year, we desire that requests for "Pilgrim" visits be made yearly in May. Please answer the following questions, or as many of them as apply in your case. These responses are filed for our information for twelve months. If you have already written us this year requesting "Pilgrim" visits, we should be pleased to have you repeat your request in harmony with the following questions. As new conditions arise we find it advisable to alter slightly the questions in order that we may be properly advised as to the condition of each locality as far as possible. You need not repeat the questions, but merely indicate them thus, (a), (b), etc. A postal-card will serve our every purpose and can be readily filed for reference. Please attend to this matter at once, in order that there may be no disappointment should a "Pilgrim" be coming your way. All letters referring to "Pilgrim" work should be noted on envelope, thus, "Pilgrim Department." (a) How many Bible students reside in your vicinity?
(b) Are weekly meetings held?
(c) How many are usually in attendance?
(d) Where do you now meet? (Give full street address.)
(e) At what hours are the Sunday meetings held?
(f) Was a vote taken on the "Pilgrim" invitation?
(g) How many voted for the invitation to be sent?
(h) How many, if any, voted against the invitation?
(i) Would a suitable place be found for a public meeting?
(j) What attendance do you think could be secured for the public session by such notification and advertising as your class would give?
(k) Would a suitable place be found for semi-private meetings for the interested?
(l) Have the members of your class chosen leaders in accordance with DAWN,
VOL. VI., chaps. 5 and 6? If so, give names and full addresses of each.
(m) Give full names and full addresses of the two (2) to whom notices of a coming "Pilgrim" should be sent, and notify us as to any change or removal.
(n) If your town is not on a railroad give the name of proper railroad station at which to stop.
(o) How many miles from station is meeting place, and which direction from station?
(p) Would "Pilgrim" be met at station?
(q) If not, how could "Pilgrim" get from said station?
(r) Give writer's full name and address.
(s) Any additional remarks.



[R4164 : page 135]

THE HOLY SPIRIT PROMISED
--JOHN 16:4-15.--MAY 10--

Golden Text:--"I will pray the Father, and he will send you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever. --John 14:16.
OUR Lord, on the way to Gethsemane on the night of his betrayal, gave the discourse of this lesson to his disciples. He had been telling them what they must expect as his followers; that they would be misunderstood, persecuted, reviled, because of their faithfulness to him and to the brethren whom he represented--"But these things have I told you that when the time shall come ye may remember that I told you of them." (v. 4.) He had not told them of all that they might expect, intimating this when he said, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now." The same may be said to be true of all that ever become the Lord's disciples. They see a sufficiency of light for one step at a time, but the trials and difficulties future are graciously held from them that they may not be overwhelmed by them. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." This was not deception, not the alluring of his disciples into doing something contrary to their wills. At the very outstart the Master assures us that unless we take up our cross and follow [R4164 : page 136] him we cannot be his disciples. If we take this step honestly and sincerely we see plenty of difficulty in connection therewith, without knowing particulars of the troubles to come. Indeed, if we knew of our future trials we should be unjustly overwhelmed thereby, since at first we could but imperfectly appreciate the meaning of our Lord's words, "My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in your weakness," and the assurance that he will not suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able, but will with every temptation provide a way of escape. (2 Cor. 12:9; I Cor. 10:13.) Hence, as the Lord's people take one step after another they find these promises quite true; they find themselves sustained, they find they have no more than they can bear, and that although their trials are indeed severer than at the beginning of the way, yet these can be overcome, because of growth in grace and knowledge.

The power by which the Lord would grant his aid to his persecuted followers during his personal absence was something difficult for them to understand. In our lesson the Master makes the matter as plain as possible, calling the power, the influence which he would exert on their behalf the holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the truth. As the influence thus to be exerted upon them would be sustaining and comforting, the Lord denominated this Spirit or power a comforter, a sustainer, a helper. He did not say that he would send another person to deal with them; no other person could deal with them better than himself. It was a spirit, an influence, a power which he would send, and this would fully represent the Father and fully represent himself, so that in having the holy Spirit they would be having the fellowship of the Father and the fellowship of the Son. This holy Spirit is properly enough spoken of in the masculine, even as the Father and the Son are represented in the masculine. As it stands the propriety is obvious.

THE HOLY TRINITY

During the "dark ages" a great deal of confusion of thought prevailed and the clear teachings of the Scriptures were lost sight of. Indeed, the Bible for a time was little in use. The Bishops were credited with being the equals of the apostles in inspiration, under the doctrine of the Apostolic Succession. Hence, when these met in councils their vote or decision on a doctrine was accepted as apostolic, authoritative. Seemingly [R4165 : page 136] it was overlooked that the Lord chose but twelve apostles and said nothing about any successors to them, and that in Revelation he intimated there would be no successors when he pointed out the New Jerusalem with twelve foundations only, and in those twelve foundations the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.--Rev. 21:14.

Quite early in the second century the influence of the Grecian philosophy upon the Church is quite noticeable, and various errors became prominent. One of these especially related to our Lord, practically putting him on a par with the Grecian philosophers, Socrates and Plato, and denying his special birth and his pre-human existence. In combating those errors some, loyal to the Lord, went to the other extreme and declared him, contrary to his own words, equal to the Father. (John 10:29; 14:28.) Next came disputation respecting the holy Spirit, and these same extremists took the ground that there are three gods, the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit, "equal in power and glory."

Peculiarly enough, after claiming that they were equal, which implies that they are not the same in person, but different persons, the claim was made that they are really one in person. Of course, such unscriptural, illogical reasoning cannot support itself, and hence those taking this position were driven to various expedients and subterfuges of argument. At times some of them claimed that there are really three Gods in one person, while others claimed that there are really three persons in one God, and not being able to explain either of the nonsensical statements, they have resorted to that word so useful to error and superstition, namely, "Mystery," "Mystery." They tell us that the matter of the Trinity is so mysterious that neither they nor anyone need to understand it. If they do not understand it they, indeed, should not discuss it; but this should not hinder others who can understand it, and who see most clearly that the entire mystery is of their own making; that the Bible teaching on the subject is most clear, simple, harmonious and satisfactory.

When the Apostle discusses the question of God he says to us, There is one living and true God, not three! He proceeds to say that this one living and true God is the Father; then he adds that there is one Lord Jesus Christ. (I Cor. 8:6.) As we have already seen this same Apostle declares that the Father highly exalted the Lord Jesus and gave him a name which is above every name; that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. (Phil. 2:9,10; John 5:23.) This means that there are two persons, for in no other way could one exalt and honor another; and if the Son is to be honored as is the Father it follows, as other Scriptures show, that he is now partaker of the divine nature and that he was exalted to this high honor and dignity--"far above angels, principalities and powers"--as a reward for his obedience to the Father's will, in having come into the world and redeemed mankind at the cost of his own life in pursuance of the divine purposes. This we have already seen from John 1:1--that our Lord, before he came into the world, before the world was made by him as the Father's agent, was the Logos, the Word, the Messenger of the God, Jehovah, and that he was a God, a mighty one, superior to angels, the one "by whom all things were made that were made; and without him was not anything made that was made."

It will be noticed that the Apostle, in speaking of the Father and the Son, refers to them as separate persons, and that he does not refer to the holy Spirit as another God, nor as the third part of God. Not that the Apostle ignores the holy Spirit however, for throughout all of his epistles it is recognized as the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of the Son, representing both Father and Son in the Church. Nor are we to understand that the holy Spirit is a spirit being--as when we read, "God is a spirit"--but that the word used signifies the spirit of a being, the power, influence, will, purpose, strength or whatever proceeds from the person. The holy Spirit is said to proceed from the Father and from the Son as an influence or power, and this influence or power in the Church of consecrated believers operates in turn upon those with whom they mingle. It is always a good and holy spirit or influence, and is thus clearly distinct from the spirit of the world, [R4165 : page 137] the disposition of the world, the influence of the world, the spirit of sin, the spirit of anti-Christ, etc.

"THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS NOT YET GIVEN"

Our Lord gently broke to his sorrowing, bewildered disciples the news of his prospective departure to the Father who sent him. They did not ask where, for they believed his word, that he had come forth from the Father and that he would return to the Father who sent him. But sorrow had filled their hearts. What would they do without the Lord! How could the promise of the Kingdom ever be fulfilled if he went away! Had they been following a delusion for three years? They would not doubt the Lord, but they were perplexed. Our Lord, therefore, explained that if they understood matters properly, it would relieve them of much of their distress, as it really was to their advantage, in their interest, that he should go away. Had he not gone away it would have been impossible for the Father to beget them of the Spirit and recognize them as sons of God; hence it would not have been possible for them ever to be more than human beings, ever to become spirit beings or partakers of the divine nature, together with its glories and honors. Indeed, without the departure of our Lord it would have been impossible for them to attain even to human restitution, for the entire work of salvation, both as respects the Church and the world, was dependent upon our Lord's fulfilling the demands of justice. On the following day, as the Lamb of God, he died for the sin of Adam, which rested upon the entire race, and on the third day the Father raised him up by his own power. In this great transaction on our behalf a most important work was accomplished; but the benefits of that work, under the divine arrangement, could not come either to the Church or to the world, until first our Lord would ascend on high and appear in the presence of the Father and present the merit of his sacrifice as an oblation on behalf of his people. Had Jesus remained with his followers all through this age, even as a spirit being (as he was with them during the forty days), no one could have been begotten of the holy Spirit. It was necessary for Christ to ascend and present the merit of his sacrifice before we could be accepted and adopted, before we could receive the holy Spirit.

When the apostles received the holy Spirit at Pentecost, they said, "This is that which was spoken of by the Prophet Joel"--not, This is he who was spoken of by the Prophet Joel. They called it a baptism with the holy Spirit! A baptism with a person is not a conceivable or proper thought; nor could it be a proper thought that the holy Spirit as a person is personally present in each believer's heart! Whenever we attach the thought of personality it implies place. Thus we see that God is a spirit, not that God is spirit; but we do not speak of the holy Spirit as being separate, as though it were a person separate and distinct from the Father and from the Son; it is referred to in the Scriptures as the Spirit of God, belonging to God, emanating from God; a Spirit of Christ, emanating from Christ; a Spirit or influence or power which is all pervasive, which can exercise itself in any place or in any number of places at any time and perform any kind of work or mission. How much more satisfactory is the true thought respecting the holy Spirit than the absurd and unscriptural ones! We might remark in this connection that the word "him" of verse 7 in the Greek could, with equal propriety, be translated "it"--"I will send it unto you" --nevertheless, we have no objection whatever to urge against the use of the word Him, since this holy Spirit or influence is of or from him, the Father. Similarly the word "he" in verse 8 could, with equal propriety, according to the Greek, be translated "it."

NOT THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD

Among the various false ideas of the operations of the holy Spirit is one which claims that the holy Spirit as a person has been busy going hither and thither all through this Gospel Age convincing people of sin and converting them to righteousness. Some go so far in the erroneous thought as to tell us that no one could be converted from sin unless God's holy Spirit miraculously operated upon him. If these thoughts approximated the truth in any degree they would imply that God alone is responsible for the fact that the world is not converted today, because the holy Spirit has failed to do its part in converting and reproving and convicting. But all this is a serious mistake.

The holy Spirit does not operate at all in the hearts of the world; but, as our Lord declares, It shall be in you, his disciples, the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit or disposition of the Son, the spirit of the truth, the spirit of a sane mind, the spirit of holiness to the Lord. None of these qualities of the holy Spirit is found in the sinful world; they belong to and are intended only for the "sanctified in Christ Jesus." The power of God operates upon the hearts that are fully consecrated to him, energizing them, cleansing them, separating them from the spirit of the world and using them in the divine service. The spirit of the world is the spirit of sin and selfishness; the Spirit of the Lord is the spirit of holiness and consecration to the divine will.

"HE WILL REPROVE THE WORLD"

How, then, will the holy Spirit in you reprove them? We answer that all of the Church, begotten of the holy Spirit and thus enlightened, are to let their light so shine before men that it will reprove the world. That which reproves the world is the holiness [R4166 : page 137] of the Church. The Spirit of the Lord, the disposition of the Lord in his people, brings reproof to those who are living in sin. It was so in our Lord's case, as he declared. The Father's Spirit was imparted to him in this special sense at the time of his baptism; as John testified, "I beheld the holy Spirit descending and resting upon him and abiding." He received the Father's Spirit without measure, without limitation, for, as the perfect one, in the image and likeness of God, he could receive the Spirit of God in full measure. We, on the contrary, imperfect, defective through the fall, can receive the Spirit only in limited measure because of our defects--some more and some less; but, thank God, it is the privilege of each to be more and more filled with the holy Spirit and sanctified by it as the days go by. Our Lord's light, which he let shine before men, was a great one. Our lights are feeble in comparison; but we are to emulate our Lord's example, and be more and more filled with the spirit of the truth, the light of [R4166 : page 138] the truth, and let it shine forth with wisdom upon all those who are in range of our influence.

The effect of this will be three-fold, as stated in verses 8-11.

(1) "It will reprove the world of sin"--that is to say, it will make the world conscious of its sinful condition; it will show to the world more and more the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Many of the world have so lost the image of God and are so devoid of conscience that they cannot with great distinctness discriminate between honesty and dishonesty, between truth and falsity, between righteousness and sin. The world has been in the habit of measuring itself with itself; but now in Christ and his Church the Lord has established a new standard for the world; and the Church, not only by its words, but also by its actions, is to uphold the glorious standards of the Lord's words along the lines of justice and love.

(2) It is not enough that the world be convicted of sin; it needs to understand something about righteousness, the opposite of sin; that a considerable measure of righteousness is possible and that the difficulty in attaining it is due to the fallen nature. The world is to be convinced that righteousness is the proper standard, the only one which God could recognize, and that in his wonderful plan he has arranged for eternal life to be granted only to the righteous. In this connection it is unavoidable that those who give the instruction, the spirit-enlightened ones, will find it necessary to make clear that no one can come into accord with the Father through any works of righteousness of his own, but that the forgiveness, the covering for sins provided through the merit of Christ's sacrifice is necessary.

(3) The Spirit of the Lord in his people will convince their neighbors, all who come within the range of their light and their message, that the present life is not all that there is, that there is a trial purposed in God's arrangement for the whole world of mankind, a judgment, a test. Whoever hears this message must concede its reasonableness, and it becomes a basis for joy and hope to all those who desire eternal life. Such as are rightly and deeply exercised by these convictions will seek the Lord and his various means of grace in the present life that they may also have their judgment and trial as part of the Church. But such as are not thus exercised or influenced are to be instructed through the Church; in proportion, however, as they have light or knowledge they have responsibility. In God's plan he has provided a day of judgment in the future for the world, in which all shall have full opportunity of being judged, of being tested along the lines of their loyalty to the Lord. Nevertheless their conduct in the present life has to do with that future judgment or trial. In proportion as they may disobey their conscience and fail to follow the leadings of the truth in the present time, they will have stripes, difficulties to overcome in the future, and to whatever extent they now seek to live in accord with righteousness they will lay up for themselves a blessing which shall assist them in that day of judgment.

"BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED NOT"

The holy Spirit of truth in the Church will make known to the world that their continuance in the attitude of sinners, "children of wrath," is because they do not believe in and accept of Christ and his meritorious sacrifice for sin. The holy Spirit in the Church will make known to the world that there is such a thing as righteousness, an imputed righteousness which has been secured by our Lord Jesus through his sacrifice, which he presented before the Father. The holy Spirit in the Church will instruct the world that the present order of things cannot continue, that a new order of things will be ushered in at the second advent of our Lord, as he has already redeemed the world, thus securing the legal right to dispossess Satan, the prince of the present order of evil.

"HE WILL SHOW YOU THINGS TO COME"

Our Lord prepared his followers for a still larger amount of instruction after his ascension than they had received from him during his presence. He explains that the necessity for this was their unpreparedness until they should be endued with power from on high. Until this they would be natural men, and, as the Apostle points out, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." This is the explanation, then, of why our Lord Jesus did not present as deep teachings along spiritual lines as did some of the apostles. It was not inability on his part to present them, but those truths would have been meat out of season to his disciples, which might have choked them, injured them. Hence the deeper things of our Lord's teachings were stated considerably in parabolic form, which would not hurt them at the time and which later they would come to appreciate and understand. Thus he said again, "I have told you earthly things and ye believed not [are unable to receive them], how would you believe if I told you of heavenly things?"--John 3:12.

But the spirit of truth, when it shall come, will guide you into all truth, yet it will be only a channel and not an authority, for it will make known to you various features of the divine plan and these will include things not yet made manifest to you, but which in due time will be brought to your attention through the Word and through the influence of the holy Spirit. I shall be glorified by this holy Spirit, for it will be my things that will be shown unto you, for all things that the Father hath are mine; therefore, said I, that he [it] shall take of mine and shall show them unto you. Note in this statement the prominence of the Father. All things are of the Father, but the Father hath made the Son joint-heir with him, his associate, and nothing is said to belong to the holy Spirit, because it is merely the divine channel or agency through which communications, blessings, instructions, etc., will be communicated. The holy Spirit is not a person, but the spirit or influence or power of the Almighty God and his everlasting Son, our Lord. For a full discussion of this subject see SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. V., Chap. VIII.

"GIVE YOU ANOTHER COMFORTER"

Our Golden Text is beautiful, helpful. Indeed, our Lord explains that the holy Spirit as a comforting influence, as a guide, as an instructor and helper to the Lord's people in the narrow way would be a gift from the Father. This agrees with the Apostle's statement in the record of the Pentecostal blessing. Explaining [R4166 : page 139] the matter, the Apostle Peter said that our Lord, having been exalted to the right hand of divine power, received this holy Spirit, power, from the Father and shed it forth or sprayed it forth upon his followers at Pentecost. These descriptions fit well to the right view of the holy Spirit, but are very much out of line with the wrong view, that the holy Spirit is a person. How could a person be sprayed or shed forth! How could one equal in authority pray to another that a third one equal to either of them should be shed forth as a gift! The inconsistency of the error is very manifest as soon as our eyes open to its falsity. But how beautiful is the true thought; that as soon as our Lord Jesus had appeared before the Father as our Advocate and had presented at the Mercy Seat the merit of his sacrifice on our behalf, the Father was well pleased to grant his holy Spirit, his holy influence and power upon us, and adopt us into his family and treat us as sons!

How precious is the thought that the Pentecostal blessing was not merely for those who received it, but for the entire Church, as shown in the type! The kings, as well as the priests, in the olden times were anointed, set apart to special service, and Christ and his Church are the true kings and the true priests of the Melchizedec order, through whose ministries as kings and priests all the families of the earth will be blessed. Our Lord is the Head, we are his members in particular. The coming of the holy Spirit upon him to fit and prepare him to be the King, to fit and prepare him to be the Priest of the Melchizedec order, was symbolized in the type by the anointing of oil. Thus the Prophet speaks of this anointing as being poured upon Aaron's head and running down his beard even unto the skirts of his garments. This, as we see, represents the adoption of the holy Spirit, which came upon our Lord Jesus the Head at his baptism, and which was shed forth at Pentecost upon all those who were ready and waiting to be accepted as his members, and we who since have believed on him through their word have come into membership in the same Body and have received of the same anointing; and "this anointing which ye received of him abideth in you," and shall be in you. This anointing did not represent a person, but an influence and blessing.

What a satisfaction, what a comfort has come to the Lord's people through their privilege of being used by him and adopted into his family by the begetting of the holy Spirit, the adoption of the holy Spirit, the anointing of the holy Spirit, the holy influence, the [R4167 : page 139] blessing of the Father and of the Son, guiding our judgments, guiding our hearts, opening to us the Scriptures, causing our hearts to burn within us as we are brought to a still greater appreciation of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of our Father's glorious plan of salvation for ourselves and all the families of the earth!

This abiding was not to be a temporary matter, for a day, a month, a year, but to the end of the age, age-lasting, for the entire period. How glad we are that this is so, and how blessed are the instructions and guidance which we have enjoyed! Truly, as our Lord said, the holy Spirit shows us things to come, and explains to us things that are past. How many of our blessings are along the line of appreciation of coming things--the Millennial Kingdom, the times of restitution, the uplifting and strengthening of all the families of the earth!



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OUR LORD BETRAYED AND DENIED
--JOHN 18:1-27.--MAY 17.--

Golden Text:--"Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men."--Matt. 17:22.
TODAY'S lesson constitutes one of the saddest chapters in history. It reveals to us the depths of human ingratitude, selfishness, weakness, and fear to a remarkable degree. Nevertheless, it is a most helpful lesson to those who are in the right attitude of heart to receive it, because it warns against weaknesses more or less common to all and against dangers to which all are exposed. It emphasizes our Lord's words to the twelve apostles, words which are applicable also to all of his followers--"Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." And in respect to the Apostle Peter's experience and our Lord's magnanimity in dealing with him, the lesson gives encouragement to others who, like Peter, have strayed from the right path unwisely.

To get the proper bearings of this lesson we go back to the early hours of the same evening when Jesus and his chosen twelve met to eat the Passover Supper. For three years our Lord had been training those twelve men, preparing them to be his representatives in the world, his mouthpieces to the Church. They had seen his power, known his teachings and themselves had exercised the power of healing and casting out devils, his power operating through them. He had been on the alert to instruct them as to the need of humility; that they must become as little children, simple, earnest and obedient in order to be fitted for the Kingdom which they were called to share with him. On several occasions he had been obliged to call to their attention the necessity for meekness and humility, as he perceived the spirit of ambition and rivalry amongst them. On this last evening which he would spend with them in the flesh he had noted with regret that when assembling for the Passover Supper they had neglected the usual hospitalities of the time not only toward each other but also toward him, their Leader, their Master whom they professed to believe was the special Son of God, the Messiah. They had neglected to wash one another's feet and his feet, a custom, almost a necessity to comfort in that dusty land, where sandals are worn instead of shoes.

"I, YOUR LORD--SERVANT OF ALL"

Forgetful of his own weight of care and sorrow, and anxious for the welfare of his followers, Jesus improved the opportunity to teach them all a great lesson in humility. He took water in a basin and a towel and did the feet-washing, while the disciples, ashamed, confused, [R4167 : page 140] knew not what to say or do under the circumstances, except Peter, who protested that he could not thus have the Master act as his servant; but when Jesus explained that there was a symbolical meaning to the matter, Peter also was anxious for the washing. Lest they should fail to get the lesson, our Lord, after he had finished, explained it, saying, If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, have displayed humility and willingness to serve any of you in the most menial capacity, you surely ought to be willing to follow the same example with one another, and to perform the most menial service for one another, even to the extent of washing one another's feet, as opportunity may offer.

It was not long before this that Jesus, talking to the apostles, told them plainly that he would be delivered up to the authorities and that the disciples would all forsake him. This seemed a hard statement to the apostles; an intimation that Jesus lacked confidence in them, and it was the impulsive Peter who spoke up and declared that although all should deny the Lord and forsake him he would never do so. It was then that our Lord prophetically told him that before the second cock crowing at night he would deny his Master, and assured him that Satan desired to capture him, but that he was praying for him that his faith would not fail. Surely these statements were of value to the Apostle in his hour of temptation; surely they helped to put all the apostles on guard against what was to be expected.

"LORD, IS IT I? LORD, IS IT I?"

Proceeding further in his cautioning our Lord declared, "Verily I say unto you, one of you shall betray me!" What consternation must have prevailed! Could it be that amongst those who were so highly favored of the Lord and so long associated with him there could be one so base as to deny his Lord?

Let us not lose the force of this lesson; let us remember that the Lord's disciples down through the Gospel Age have been as the Apostle here declares of the twelve, "Men of like passions with you," men from the common walks of life, neither above nor below the average standard of human imperfection! Let us remember that the same Lord who cautioned those twelve respecting the trials coming upon them is still mindful of his Church, his flock, and we may suppose especially mindful of all who are in any prominent place of responsibility amongst the brethren. He still guards us, warns us, seeks to keep us from falling under the power of the Adversary. He still prays for his faithful, those who at heart are loyal to him, but who have weaknesses of the flesh which are liable to make their temptations more severe. As our Lord's interest in and efforts for the apostles increased as they neared the special hour of their temptation, so we may be sure that it is also with respect to his Church in general today, when the last members of his Body, the "feet of him," are approaching the crucial hour, "The hour of temptation that cometh upon the whole world to try them."--Rev. 3:10.

The Master does not speak to us in audible tones, as he did to those twelve, but has he not spoken to us with equal force and earnestness? Do not the words and actions of the Lord to those disciples come to us today with the same lesson and with as much force as they bore to them? Have we not, in addition to these examples and warnings, special declarations of the Scriptures respecting the end of the age? Did not our Lord, in the parable of the suitable and unsuitable fish, explain to us that in the end of this Gospel Age there would be a separation of those in the Gospel net? Does he not again in the parable of the wheat and tares tell us of the separation due to take place in the harvest time of this Gospel Age, when only the true and the ripe wheat will be gathered into the barn? Does he not through the Apostle forewarn us that in the end of the age perilous times shall come because men will be lovers of their own selves--selfish, ambitious-- lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? (2 Tim. 3:1,2.) Does he not tell us that it would be at the time in the divine plan when God would send [permit] strong delusions, so that all might believe a lie who shall not have received the truth in the love of it and with zeal? --2 Thess. 2:11.

"THE HOUR OF TEMPTATION THAT SHALL TRY"

Does he not also tell us that the temptations of this hour will be such as would, if it were possible, deceive the "very Elect," but that in their case it will not be possible because of their love, their zeal and the consequent blessings and privileges that divine favor will provide for them! And if to Peter special encouragement was given--"I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not"--have we not a full equivalent of this in the Scriptural assurance, "Lo, I am with you alway," "My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in your weakness"? (Matt. 28:30; 2 Cor. 12:9.) Surely we have much advantage every way over the apostles in their trial, and this advantage is emphasized in the fact that their trial came upon them before their anointing with the holy Spirit, whereas our testings come to us at the time we are of the anointed Body. When we now look out into the future and hear the message, "The morning cometh, but a night also" (Isa. 21:12), we may well be forewarned as to what to expect in that short night of trouble which will affect the consecrated followers before it reaches the world in general. We must expect in this hour of trial that "a thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee"; yet we must remember that this promise is limited to the class specified, to those who have made the Lord, even the Most High, their refuge and habitation; for no evil can come nigh their dwelling place. (Psa. 91:7,9.) Therefore, dearly beloved, putting on the whole armor of God that we may be able to stand in this evil day, we will need to watch unto prayer for ourselves and for those over whom the holy Spirit hath made us overseers, that we may feed the flock of God, which he hath purchased with the blood of his own Son.--Acts 20:28, Diaglott.

As the eating of a meal together was a pledge of [R4168 : page 141] faithfulness, so for the Master to dip a special sop was a special mark of favor, and this was given to Judas at the supper to indicate the one who would betray the Lord. We can better imagine than describe how the apostles, in various tones, asked the Lord, "Is it I?" and how Judas likewise asked the same question! We can imagine the look of our Lord's eye as he gave him the sop, saying in action and look, Judas, why do you resist the loving kindnesses which I have bestowed upon you? You have professed to be my friend and disciple; I surely have done the part of a friend toward you. That glance and that sop should have overwhelmed the selfish Judas, but as the mercy of the Lord, in the taking away of the plagues from Pharaoh had so much the more hardened Pharaoh's heart, so every additional manifestation of our Lord's humility and kindness seems to have had the effect of hardening the heart of Judas. In answer to our Lord's glance and sop Judas, so far from repenting, was more embittered, more determined to carry out his program. It shone in his eye; our Lord read his thoughts and answered in the words, "What thou doest, do quickly."

Let us not lose the lesson in its application and bearing upon the Lord's people of today. If any amongst the consecrated are cultivating selfishness and personal ambition, they are preparing themselves for such a termination as that of Judas. The influence of the spirit they are cultivating will lead them further and further from sympathy with the Lord's cause and the faithful brethren until, like Judas, they shall be ready to sell the truth for a little personal advantage. And when such a condition of heart has been reached by those who were once enlightened and have tasted of the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, no power will hinder them from going to the limit of their evil course. Their minds become so poisoned against the truth that the very sops of favor animate them the more toward evil. As in Judas' case we read that then Satan entered into him, so with a similar class here; we may expect the Adversary to get fuller power and control over them.

THE LESSONS OF GETHSEMANE

One would think that the impressive lessons of that night would have so filled the minds of the apostles and made them so alert that sleep would have been far from their eyes. But not so; they scarcely understood how to take the Master's words; he had said so many remarkable things which they did not comprehend; it seemed so incomprehensible that he who had come to be the Messiah and reign should be betrayed and crucified, and that they whom he had promised should sit with him in his throne should all forsake him and flee. Hence the repeated instruction that they should watch and pray made little impression. Even the three special friends of Jesus, the ones whom he made his special confidants and took with him to the Mount of Transfiguration on another special occasion without the others--even these three slumbered, except as from time to time the Lord visited them and awakened them and they noted certain incidents which they recorded for us.

"LEST ANY ROOT OF BITTERNESS SPRING UP"

How is it now? The night of trouble nearing, the hour of trial that shall try all that dwell upon the face of the whole earth coming close, and with the many warnings of the Master through the Word that we should watch and pray lest we enter into temptation!--how is it with us? Alas! many of those who, like Peter, James and John, have been specially favored of the Lord, especially near to him, fail to realize the importance of the time in which we are living, fail to realize that the foretold temptations are about to come upon them and that, like Peter, they will be in great danger of being swept away, sifted out from amongst the Lord's faithful.

We can imagine our Lord's condition to some extent. His great hour of trial was upon him; he realized it to the full; it meant not only that his own faithfulness, past and present and on the day following, would decide respecting his loyalty to the Father and his right to obtain the high reward of glory, honor and immortality, but it meant additionally that the interests of the whole world of mankind were in the balance! Victory would mean eventually the deliverance of all the prisoners in bondage to sin and death; failure would mean the loss of everything! Can we wonder that his soul was exceeding sorrowful, and that in his intensity of feeling bloody perspiration oozed from his pores? Ah, dear Master! Well was it written of him, "Of the people there was none with me." Even his most intimate and most beloved disciples failed to appreciate the conditions and to render him the sympathetic aid which he craved. What would those disciples afterward not have given to have had back the opportunity of ministering to their Lord in his hour of trial! What a privilege they let slip! There is a lesson here for us also, for although the Master is not in the flesh and will suffer no more, some of his members are still in the flesh, some who must suffer with him if they would reign with him. Our sufferings are not all just like those of the Master, nor are they just the same with each of us; each has his own experiences to prove, to test, to fit, to polish him that he may be made meet for the Master's use. Have we, each for the other, that sympathy, that yearning love which would lead us to help one another and to bear one another's burdens and thus to fulfil the Law of Christ, the Law of Love? or have we the Judas spirit to injure? or have we the spirit of slothful indifference and lack of appreciation which would lead us to slumber while the interests of others of the Body are at stake, while the brethren are suffering and are in trial? Our practical answer to these questions the Lord is looking for, and his love and his favor will be upon those who manifest most of his Spirit. To us much has been given, in that the hour of testing along these lines comes to us after we have received the anointing of the holy Spirit. Of us correspondingly more will be expected [R4168 : page 142] --"We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren."

AN ANGEL MINISTERED UNTO HIM

When our Lord in his agony prayed the Father, "If it be possible let this cup pass from me," we are not to suppose that he meant the cup of death, for he had already explained to his disciples that this death was necessary, and that he had come into the world for this very purpose. What, then, was the cup which he asked might pass from him? We reply that quite probably he referred to the particular ignominy which would be associated with his crucifixion; which would attach to his execution as a blasphemer against God and between two thieves. Another Scripture gives us to understand that the severity of our Lord's anguish was in respect to his own faithfulness, upon which depended his resurrection. If he failed in even one little item, one jot or tittle of the Law, his own life would have been condemned and forfeited as much as was Adam's and as a result he would have had no resurrection and no future life, and the whole work, for which he had come into the world, would have been a failure. The Scripture we refer to says, "Who in the days of his flesh offered up strong crying and tears unto him who was able to save him from [out of] death. And he was heard in respect to the thing which he feared." Although none of his disciples gathered around him to assure him that he had been without spot and blemish and that every act of his life had been in full conformity to the divine will, God more than made up to him such encouragement by sending specially an angel, who ministered unto him, who served him in respect to the thing which he feared, who therefore must have given him assurance from the Father that he had been faithful, that he was approved.

On the strength of that assurance our Lord arose firm, calm, strong for all the coming events of that night and the next day up to the moment of his death. And so it should be with us: Properly there should be some anxiety in respect to the future; the Lord will not be pleased if we are careless as respects the matter of making our calling and election sure. We are to appreciate life, and particularly the life more abundant which has been promised to us if we prove faithful. We are so to appreciate this that our eyes will be toward the Lord for such ministrations of his love and favor as will give us assurance that we are still his and that the glorious hopes and promises are still ours. And his assurances or comfort may not come through earthly ministrations; the Lord himself will see to it that every member of his Body who is deeply earnest and anxious on the subject will have the proper witness of the Spirit, the proper testimony to his heart of his continued acceptance and faithfulness.

JESUS BETRAYED WITH A KISS

Treachery is universally despised and properly so, hence Satan, the traitor to God, and Judas, the traitor to our Lord Jesus, stand out prominently as representatives of that condition of mind and heart which should be shunned by all, the condition of heart which the Lord declares merits and shall have the Second Death, everlasting destruction. From the various Gospel records we find that Judas, leaving the company of the Lord and the eleven apostles, went again to the Chief Priests, with whom he had already been in conference. He finished the bargain and became the guide of a band of temple guards or temple policemen and their followers. These, armed with their clubs or maces, took with them lights needed for the searching of the foliage, although the moon was at its full. From the [R4169 : page 142] standpoint of the rulers the midnight hour was the most favorable because a large concourse of people then in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover included many who knew Jesus and had been witnesses of his miracles and his arrest in day time might have led to a tumult. Our Lord probably went to the Garden because it belonged to a friend and because in the open his disciples would have a better opportunity for escape from arrest; though it does not appear that there was any special endeavor to make an arrest, except that mentioned by Mark of a young man who followed with the crowd as they led Jesus away and who had on a long, loose garment, and when they laid hold upon it he fled from them naked. This is supposed to have been John Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark, and that he lived on the premises of which the Gethsemane Garden was a part.

Our Lord's agony, prayer and comforting at an end, he returned to the apostles, saying, "Sleep on now, and take your rest." Your opportunity for watching with me or speaking a word of comfort has passed; your opportunity for waking your own hearts and minds to prayer as a safeguard against coming trials and testings is past. Behold the band of those who will arrest me! A little ahead of the band came Judas, who indicated the Master by the traitorous kiss, which John, for very shame, did not record. Judas, finding his deception recognized as the Master said, "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" left him and joined the band who had come for his arrest, while Jesus, coming out of the cover into the open, said, "Whom seek ye?" After he had answered their reply, saying, "I am he, let these my friends go their way," we read that the men went backward and fell on the ground. This was doubtless the result of a power our Lord exercised upon them, the power by which he might have resisted them entirely had he so desired. What he did was sufficient to show them and his apostles that his surrender was not one of necessity, but that the Father's will might be done.

Awhile before Jesus had said that they should have some swords, and, finding that there were two, he said they were enough. The Apostle Peter was evidently the bearer of one of these and as the armed men approached the Lord, Peter used the sword and smote off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest. This incident was evidently of the Lord's intention to show that his surrender was not because of cowardice on the part of the disciples or himself. It also furnished the opportunity of healing an enemy by our Lord's touch and the opportunity of saying to Peter, [R4169 : page 143] "Put up thy sword; they that take to the sword shall perish by the sword"; in other words, My followers are not to fight with carnal weapons, my Kingdom is not to be established in this manner.

Annas had been the High Priest for a number of years and had been followed in the office by several of his sons and now his son-in-law, Caiaphas, filled the position. Nevertheless, Annas in a certain sense was recognized and hence our Lord was first taken before him. Annas questioned him but did not attempt a judicial investigation. This was had before Caiaphas and apparently in another part of the palace of the High Priest.

It was apparently while our Lord was being examined by Annas that Peter, who warmed himself at the fire, was questioned three times respecting his identity with our Lord as one of his followers, and three times he denied and directly the cock crowing began. Peter heard it, and our Lord, while being led from the presence of Annas to the judgment seat of Caiaphas, looked upon Peter. What a sermon there was in the glance toward Peter! He who had boasted of his courage that he never would deny the Lord had failed. How much weaker he was than he had supposed! How the Lord's prophecy had come true, Before the second cock crowing thou shalt deny me thrice! He went out and wept bitterly, sick at heart and thoroughly ashamed of himself, resolving, no doubt, that he would be less boastful in the future and do more of the watching and praying which the Master had enjoined.

We know not how close parallels to some of these experiences may lie before some of the Lord's dear people now. But let us hope that if any of us should come so sadly short of our own hopes and privileges that the Master would not only pray for us, as he did for Peter, but that he would turn upon us also his glances of reproof, of chiding, and also such glances as would remind us of his sympathy and love that we might not be overwhelmed with our own sense of weakness and shame, but that our repentance, unlike that of Judas, should be like that of Peter, sincere and acceptable to the Lord.



page 143

BEREAN STUDIES ON THE ATONEMENT
THE TEXT BOOK USED FOR THIS COURSE
IS SCRIPTURE STUDIES, SERIES V. (E)

Questions on Study II.--The Author of the Atonement.

JUNE 7

(29) Examine the tenth proof-text--Isa. 6:1--and demonstrate what is and what is not its true signification. P.47, last two pars., and P.48.

(30) How should we view Isa. 8:13,14? P.49, par. 1.

(31) Proof-text number 12 is Psalm 110. Examine it and demonstrate the truth respecting its teachings. P.49, pars. 2,3,4.

(32) Since our Lord Jesus is styled the "Great Teacher" and since it is written, "All thy children shall be taught of Jehovah" (Isa. 54:13), is or is not this a proof that our Lord Jesus is there referred to as Jehovah by name? Pp.50-54.

JUNE 14

(33) Find and read one or more Scripture texts containing the word Trinity.

(34) Is it supposable that the doctrine of Trinity is taught in the Bible and yet no such word can be found in it?

(35) Quote the strongest text in the Bible which seemingly implies that there are three Gods instead of one. Compare I John 5:7 with Deuteronomy 5:6-11.

(36) What is the teaching of Trinitarianism--that there is one God who sometimes assumes three distinct manifestations, or three Gods equal in glory and honor? Did you ever know anybody able or willing to give a positive answer to this question? P.54, par. 1.

(37) Explain the force of the Trinity doctrine in the passage, "The head of the woman is the man, the head of the man is Christ and the head of Christ is God." (I Cor. 11:3.) P.55, par. 1.

(38) What objection can be urged against I John 5:7? Does it teach three Gods in one person, or three distinct Gods?

JUNE 21

(39) Were the translators of our Common Version Bible to blame for the insertion of the spurious text? Why not? P.56, par. 1.

(40) Do scholars of all denominations acknowledge that the greater part of I John 5:7 is not a part of the original Bible, but a spurious addition without right or authority? P.56, par. 1.

(41) Which words in that text are spurious?

(42) Would the passage make as good sense or better if the interpolation were omitted? Read the passage corrected. P.56, par. 2.

(43) Mention some of the versions of the New Testament that omit these words and cite the comment by the "Improved Version," also Lang's comment. P.57.

(44) Name some prominent Bible scholars who have pronounced the passage a spurious interpolation. P.57, last par.

(45) Quote Dean Alford's words. P.58, par. 1.

(46) Quote Dr. C. Tischendorf on the subject. P.58, par. 2.

(47) Quote Prof. T. B. Wolsey. P.58, par. 3.

(48) Quote Dr. Adam Clarke on this passage. P.58, par. 4.

(49) Quote John Wesley on this subject. P.58, last par.

(50) Why was there more excuse for misunderstanding on this matter a century or two ago than now? P.58, last par.

JUNE 28

(51) In what sense is there a unity or oneness between the Father and the Son? P.59, par. 1.

(52) Are the Father and the Son spoken of in the Scriptures as equal, in the sense that neither has nor ever had a superiority over the other? P.59, par. 1.

(53) What is implied in the terms Father and Son? P.60, par. 1.

(54) Are all things of the Son and all things by the Father, or vice versa, and what does this statement imply? P.60, par. 1.

(55) The doctrine of the Trinity is called a mystery. Why? In what sense is it mysterious? P.60, par. 2.

(56) Would Satan over-honor Christ? Why, then, would he propagate this error? and what has he effected? P.61, pars. 1,2.

(57) How old is the error on this subject, and how did it get so firm a footing in Christendom? Pp.62, 63.



page 145
May 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. XXIXMAY 15No. 10
A.D. 1908--A.M. 6036


CONTENTS

The Editor's British Tour147
The Memorial Celebration148
Why Our Lord was Crucified149
"They Condemned the Just One"150
A Look at the Crucified One151
Seven Words from the Cross152
"It is Finished!"153
Broken-Hearted Literally153
"He That Liveth and was Dead"154
"He Descended into Hell"155
Cemeteries--Sleeping-Places155
Resurrection Hopes and Joys156
"Become the First-Fruits"156
"Preached to the Spirits in Prison"158

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 146

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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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.


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



[R4164 : page 146]

NEW POSTAL REGULATIONS


A new postoffice ruling should be known to all our readers. Hereafter newspapers and magazines will not be allowed to keep on their lists the addresses of expired subscriptions --except for a few months: semi-monthlies, such as the WATCH TOWER, three months; quarterlies, such as the Old Theology, six months. If your papers stop coming you will know the reason why.

Subscription lists hereafter must contain the addresses of only those who (1) have paid their money, or (2) have definitely asked for credit, or (3) whose subscriptions have been paid for them at their request. The majority of our subscriptions come under either the first or second of these rules, and we here remark that the publishers are at liberty to extend a credit for another and another year, if the subscriber so requests, but not otherwise. As for the third class; these subscriptions of the Lord's poor are paid for them gladly by Tract Fund donations of those more favored financially. But do not forget that these also under the new regulations must write us yearly requesting this. Look at the address label on your paper and note thereon the time of expiration of your subscription and act accordingly. We prefer to have the "Lord's poor" write us in May each year. As paid subscriptions come at the close of the year this helps to divide the office labors. Remember that we like to have on our List the names of all the interested. Those who donate to the Fund which pays your subscription are delighted to have the privilege of thus serving the fellow-members of the Body of Christ. Therefore let no feeling of false modesty hinder you from making request under these terms if you need so to do. You can no more afford to do without the spiritual food than to starve naturally.



[R4169 : page 147]

THE EDITOR'S BRITISH TOUR

Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.
TO THE DEAR BIBLE HOUSE FAMILY, ALLEGHENY, PA.

As my train left the Pittsburgh depot your waving handkerchiefs greeted my eyes, assuring me of your Christian love--and that it would go with me. And the echo of your songs stays with me still--"God be with you till we meet again" and "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love." Your parting greetings and songs commingled with my prayers for you and all the dear Israel of God, and my thanksgivings to the Great Giver of all good beautifully blended into sweet dreams and refreshing sleep.

The next day, Sunday, April 5th, we reached Lynchburg, Va., where we were met at the depot by about two dozen of the dear brethren and sisters of that vicinity, and soon we were at the Opera House, where a great throng came to hear "The Bible Defended." About 1,000 were present, and it is said several hundred were turned away. We had close attention, and have reason to hope that some received a blessing.

The evening meeting was not advertised, and the audience, therefore, was chiefly of the interested--including some who had come from Norfolk, Suffolk, Richmond and other cities. The discourse on that occasion you already have in the Dispatch and other papers publishing the sermons.

We left at 2.10 Monday morning, and reaching Washington City were surprised to find a delegation representing the Washington ecclesia in the depot, expecting us to change cars there and bent on having us take breakfast with them, which we did. The hour spent in their company was a delightful one, reminding us afresh of what are the usual characteristics of the "Church of the First-born"--everywhere, viz., love and zeal for the Lord and for all who are his.

Six hours later we were with the New York friends. A delegation of four had been appointed to meet us and greet us in the name of the Church, and to provide for our entertainment. Assuring them that such kindness was neither expected nor deserved, we nevertheless were persuaded not to spoil their pleasure by declining the arrangement, and accepted it most heartily. Their arrangements included an evening discourse at Judson Memorial Church. We spoke to an audience of about 600 on the significance of the Passover Memorial, from the text, "Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, ye have no life in you."

After the service we greeted the congregation at the door. About one-half of the number were friends of the Truth--of New York, Brooklyn and nearby cities as far east as Boston and as far south as Philadelphia. The next morning about forty of these bade us "Good-bye" again on the pier, and sang "God be with you till we meet again." These many demonstrations of Christian love by the dear friends everywhere have an humbling effect, as we feel our unworthiness of so much of their kind attention; and it has a stimulating effect, too, in that it encourages us to endeavor still more earnestly to attain the perfect ideals set before us in the Scriptures.

Our first day on this great vessel has been a delightful one, clear, sunshiny, cool, bracing. We have rested, read letters brought from home, tried to get acquainted, and above all have enjoyed sweet fellowship with the Lord--allowing our heart to overflow with thankfulness on our own behalf and on behalf of all the dear Church of Christ, especially those who had asked to be remembered in prayer. With a hot salt water bath we will retire, wishing you all "Good night!" and visiting you in memory as we pray for you each by name and remember what we know of your special needs.

At 3 p.m., April 13th, we reached Plymouth, our landing place. Our journey across the ocean was rather uneventful--apparently nobody seriously seasick. We enjoyed a splendid rest, exercised moderately, slept well and ate with good relish--our zest being enhanced by a large bouquet of handsome flowers beside our plate, the kind gift of our dear Brother Pierson as we started. Brother Zink's company has also added to our enjoyment of the trip. How gracious are the provisions of our Father, "who daily loadeth us with mercies." "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." England.

Our steamer, "Kaiser der Grosse," was some eight hours late at Plymouth, England, where we took the Express for London, arriving there safely at 9 p.m. [R4170 : page 148] and finding eighteen dear brethren and sisters at the depot waiting to welcome us. And a hearty welcome we received there and also at the Society's depot, where a goodly company gathered. Short speeches were made welcoming us, and we were handed as a donation for the Tract Fund a draft for L.230 ($1,115), a thank-offering to the Lord. We were assured that our objection to collections and solicitations had been duly kept in mind, and that the sum was purely a voluntary one, the result of mere suggestions passed amongst the brethren of the British Isles, and that the amount but feebly expressed the sentiments of the givers, and that it would have been much larger had not many of the dear friends already undertaken all they were financially able in connection with the rent of halls and advertising for the meetings we were to address. We acknowledged our surprise, as well as our deep appreciation of so practical a demonstration of the loving zeal thus manifested. We appropriated to ourself the Apostle's word, assuring them that we had not come seeking a gift, yet we had much pleasure in accepting it, well knowing that the voluntary sacrifices thus undertaken for the Truth's sake would be to the Lord a sacrifice of sweet savor acceptable through our Redeemer, and that corresponding blessings would flow to the givers.

The following night we celebrated the Memorial Supper with 450 friends from London and vicinity, as elsewhere reported. We had a most blessed season of communion with our Lord and each other.

Wednesday, April 15th, we arrived at Bristol, our train being met at the depot by about twenty of the dear friends, who gave us most cordial greetings. We were the guest of Brother Ford and his family and were treated most hospitably. In the afternoon we addressed the interested to the number of about 100, which included probably 50 from neighboring cities. The evening service was for the public specially. It was held in the Y.M.C.A. chapel. Nearly 1000 were present and close attention was given us on "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire."

We left Thursday morning, speeded on our way by the voices of the friends on the railway platform singing, "God be with you till we meet again." Our train stopped at Gloucester, and on the platform we soon found dear ones anxious to grasp our hand and content that we had passed by their request for a meeting because such seemed the providence of God. At Birmingham we had a change of cars and found about a dozen of the friends waiting to greet us and to show us our other train and to tell us that they were preparing for our meetings with them later on.

Yours in the bonds of love divine, C. T. RUSSELL.



[R4170 : page 148]

THE MEMORIAL CELEBRATION
FOR the first time in thirty-five years the Editor celebrated the Memorial Supper apart from the Allegheny congregation. But we had a blessed season of fellowship and communion of the holy Spirit with the dear friends in London (England), which we will long remember. We reviewed briefly the time from the institution of the Passover more than 3500 years ago to the change from the type to the antitype nearly 1900 years ago, when the Memorial of the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine was instituted amongst spiritual Israelites as a reminder of the broken body and shed blood of our dear Redeemer--"The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." We recognized not only our Lord's redemptive work, but also that the drinking of his "cup" signified our pledge to suffer with him for the cause of truth and righteousness as a condition precedent to our sharing with him his Kingdom honors and privileges, according to his promise. We also remembered the Jewish Law to the effect that all leaven must be destroyed, burned, before the Passover could properly be observed; and we saw from the Apostle's words that the antitype of this to us is the cleansing of our hearts from anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife, and all works of the flesh and the devil. Then we partook-- about 450--sang a hymn, and went to our homes full of solemn thankfulness, but still feasting on our Lamb and resolved to suffer with him that we may also reign with him.

The total number so far reported as having participated in the Memorial this year is 8,393. Those that reported 15 participants or over are as follows:--

New Philadelphia, O.; Weatherford, Tex.; Carbondale, Pa.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Healdsburg, Calif.--15.

Windsor, Ont.; Decatur, Ill.; Abilene, Kans.; Annapolis, Md.; Dundee, Scotland; Cromwell, Conn.; Pt. Huron, Mich.; Tacoma, Wash.; Shawnee, Okla.; Waterbury, Conn.--16.

Oil City, Pa.; Joplin, Mo.; Waukesha, Wis.; Santa Monica, Calif.; Big Sandy, Tex.; Sacramento, Calif.; Spokane, Wash.; Whittier, Calif.; San Rafael, Calif.; Mahaffey, Pa.; Dormantown, Pa.; Easton, Pa.; Butler, Pa.; Ogden, Utah--17.

Chatham, Ont.; Niagara Falls, N.Y. and Ont.; Oakland, Md.; Oldham, Eng.--18.

Rock Island, Ill.; Lima, O.; Nashville, Tenn.; So. Sharon, Pa.; Greenwich, N.Y.; Camberwell, Jamaica; Wermelskirche, Germany--19.

Gloucester, Eng.; Valdosta, Ga.; Rochester, N.Y.--20.

San Jose, Calif.; Medford, Ore.; Omer, Mich.; Auburn, Ind.; Chicago, Ill. (Polish)--21.

Grand Rapids, Mich.; Port Limon, Costa Rica--22.

Everett, Wash.; So. Knoxville, Tenn.--23.

Norfolk, Va.; Omaha, Neb.; Preston, Ont.; Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Vancouver, B.C.--24.

St. Petersburg, Fla.; Lancaster, Pa.; Mansfield, O.; Dallas, Tex.; Jackson, Mich.; Port Clinton, O.; Johnstown, Pa.--25.

Hartford, Conn.; New Brighton, Pa.; New Brunswick, N.J.--26.

Bloomington, Ill.; Tampa, Fla.; Worcester, Mass.; Iola, Kans.--27.

Cedar Rapids, Ia.; Galveston, Tex.; New Albany, Ind.; Milwaukee, Wis.--28.

Harrisburg, Pa.; Muncie, Ind.--29.

Liverpool, England; 30; Edinburgh, Scotland, 30; Sherman, Tex., 30; Cumberland, Md., 33; Birmingham, Ala., 33; Allentown, Pa., 34; Youngstown, O., 35; Springfield, Mass., 35; Autryville, N.C., 35; Hamilton, Ont., 36; Lynn, Mass., 37; Binghamton, N.Y., 38; Wheeling, W.Va., 39; Richmond, Va., 40; San Antonio, Tex., 41; Buffalo, N.Y., 42; Pasadena, Calif., 42; Houston, Tex., 42; Newark, N.J., 43; Tiffin, O., 44; Altoona, Pa., 47; St. Joseph, Mo., 48; Canton, O., 48; Stockholm, Sweden, 49; Denver, Colo., 50; Kansas [R4170 : page 149] City, Mo., 51; San Francisco, Calif., 60; Copenhagen, Denmark, 63; Cincinnati, O., 69; Toronto, Ont., 74; Ballard, Wash., 75; Scranton, Pa., 76; Providence, R.I., 85; Indianapolis, Ind., 90; St. Louis, Mo., 91; New York City, 95; St. Paul, Minn., 103; Cleveland, O., 109; Barmen, Germany, 110; Los Angeles, Calif., 150; Washington, D.C., 155; Philadelphia, Pa., 175; Boston, Mass., 216; Chicago, Ill., 225; Glasgow, Scotland, 263; London, England, 450; Allegheny, Pa., 493.


DEAR BRETHREN:--

Last night two hundred and forty-six of us met together in an upper room in Glasgow and partook of bread and wine in commemoration of our dear Lord's suffering and death and of our participation in the same. In addition, seventeen brothers and sisters, who were prevented by sickness from joining us, were served in their homes. We felt it a solemn occasion, more particularly as we remembered that so few Memorial Suppers can now be held by the Church in the flesh. We called to mind that since the last occasion several of our number have passed beyond the vail, and we rejoiced to know that the time of our own deliverance from this world of sin and sorrow is now so nigh. Pray for us, as we do for you, that we may be found faithful.

The knowledge that our dear Brother Russell, to whom we owe so much in the Lord's providence, was at the same time partaking of the Lord's Supper so near to us, gave us great pleasure. We are praying that our dear Brother's visit may be greatly blessed of the Lord, not only to himself and to us, but also to many who are hungering for the Truth.

With much love in the Lord, yours in the blessed hope,
JOHN EDGAR,--Scotland.


DEAR BRETHREN:--

I take great pleasure in sending the report of the Memorial observance at Cleveland. There were 107 participants assembled; two, through infirmity of the flesh, were unable to meet with the others--making in all 109. As each Memorial draws nigh there seems to be a greater appreciation of this blessed privilege and a greater desire that we all assemble at one place, and not be separated into companies for the commemoration of the Lord's broken body and shed blood for the sake of the Church and the world. Truly, "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love." And may the Lord grant to each and every one of his children more of his holy Spirit and love, binding our hearts into closer union and fellowship with himself and the brethren.

In our Lord and King,
W. K.,--Cleveland, O.


DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I want to tell you that the little Church or gathering in this place, ten in all, partook of the emblems of our dear Redeemer's flesh and blood. We considered the nearness of the time when, if faithful, we shall be [R4171 : page 149] with our dear Lord and see him as he is. We considered also our part in the sin-offering; how our dear Lord bought us, how we presented ourselves to him, and finally how he, as our High Priest, will offer the blood of the finished sacrifice before the Mercy Seat.

There was one dear brother present who was reared a Roman Catholic, and this was the first time he had commemorated our dear Lord's death. It was good to see him. His face shone with love. It was good to be there. We also remembered our dear Brother Russell and all the dear ones gathered at that time. I think we were all made much stronger in the Lord. With much Christian love,

Your brother,
G. A. D.,--Conde, S.D.



[R4171 : page 149]

WHY OUR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED
--JOHN 19:17-42.--MAY 24--

Golden Text:--"Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures."--1 Cor. 15:3.
ONE of the most remarkable facts of history is that the most intelligent people of the world, the most highly civilized, recognize as their Leader, their Prophet, Priest and King, one whom they admit was crucified as a malefactor nearly nineteen centuries ago! Still more remarkable is the fact that the doctrines promulgated in his name by his followers lay stress upon the fact that his crucifixion was a part of the divine program; more than this, that his crucifixion was necessary; that by the blood of the cross, by the death of the crucified One, atonement is effected for the sins of the Church and of the world--"He is the propitiation for our sins [the Church's sins], and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (I John 2:2.) Indeed, by divine providence we see that the cross of Christ (not the pieces of wood, but the sacrifice made thereon and represented thereby) is the very center of the great salvation which God had prepared for our race before sin entered the world, foreknowing that it would come. The divine sentence was death, and this rested upon Adam and all his posterity. None of the condemned could redeem himself or his brother, hence the divine provision that the Logos should leave the heavenly condition and become a man, that he might redeem man.

The death of the man Christ Jesus in any form would have been a sufficiency to offset the original sentence; but God was pleased to test our dear Redeemer's loyalty to him by arranging that the death should be a peculiarly trying one, a disgraceful one, so that the loyalty of Jesus should thereby be the more particularly demonstrated, both to angels and to men; and so that the Father could be fully justified in rewarding him with the highest exaltation--far above angels, principalities, powers and every name that is named-- that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. It was for this reason, then, that the [R4171 : page 150] death of the cross was intimated in the Scriptures as being the most ignominious--"Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." The Apostle implies this added ignominy of the cross in his account of how the Lord left the glory which he had with the Father, humbled himself, took upon himself the form of a servant and was found in fashion a man--"And being found in fashion a man he humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him." (Phil. 2:7-10.) So far, then, as our dear Redeemer himself was concerned, this disgrace of the cross, which would have been so trying to any noble son and particularly to the Perfect One, became to him a stepping stone to glory, honor and immortality, the divine nature. As for us, it certainly has already exalted our dear Redeemer in the estimation of all truly his and guided by the Word of the Lord. These glory in the Master's faith and obedience thus demonstrated to the last degree. We are aware, however, that the Higher Critics and Evolutionists have no sympathy with any such thought. Considering themselves wise they neglect the wisdom from above, which instructs us that only by this sacrifice of himself our Redeemer presented to the Father the ransom price for father Adam's life and for the lives of all his posterity, forfeited through his disobedience; and that only by this ransom could any of these attain to a resurrection and opportunity for eternal life in harmony with God.

"THEY CONDEMNED THE JUST ONE"

Our lesson does not include the trial of our Lord by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, nor his presentation to Pilate's court, then at Herod's and his return to Pilate and the endeavors made by that Roman governor for his release. It was only when a riot was feared that Pilate consented that Jesus should be crucified and gave the order therefor, at the same time washing his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am guiltless of the blood of this just person." It was then that the multitude cried out, "His blood be upon us and upon our children," and Jesus was led away for crucifixion.

Jerusalem has several times been destroyed and rebuilt since then, and the levels of some of the streets are quite different from what they then were; yet the Via Dolorosa, or the "sorrowful way," is still pointed out, and also a portion of the archway known as the Arch of Ecce Homo, reputed to have been the place where Pilate stood when, pleading for our Lord's release, he said to the rabid throng, "Behold the man!"--as though he would say, Do you really wish me to crucify such a noble sample of humanity and of your race? Look at him! decide now and finally on the subject! That these traditions are well founded is shown by the fact that in quite recent times excavation made for the foundation of a house on the supposed site of Pilate's palace revealed at a considerable depth an extensive portion of a mosaic pavement of fine work such as would have probably been connected with a palace; and this identifies itself through the statement of John 9:13, which refers to the judgment seat as being in a place "called the Pavement." Herewith we publish a small diagram of the city, from which can be judged the route taken by our Lord and the Roman soldiers who were to crucify him while they went to the "place of a skull" called in the Hebrew language Golgotha, and in the Latin, Calvary. The supposed site is on a hill near Jerusalem, which in the distance has the general contour of a skull, with hollows corresponding to the eye-sockets. Modern scholars are well agreed as to this site, which answers well to the general requirements of the Gospel narrative--outside the city walls, nigh to the city, in a conspicuous position, near a frequented thoroughfare, and still called by the Jews the "place of stoning." Christian tradition from the fifth century fixes this as the place of the stoning of Stephen.

"Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?"

It was a part of the custom of these crucifixions that the culprit must bear his own cross; and so we read that Jesus bore his until, faint from the nervous strain of the preceding twenty-four hours, without sleep and probably with but little nourishment, and under great strain and exhausted from the beating, he sank under the weight of the cross. If on the one hand we think of the fact that he was perfect, we might suppose that he would have had more strength; but on the other hand we should remember that man in his perfection was not necessarily a giant in size or a Hercules in strength. Quite to the contrary; these abnormal conditions are the expressions, the results of imperfections. We may suppose that a perfect specimen of our race would combine the best qualities of mind and body represented in both the male and the female, and that delicacy, refinement and elegance with moderate strength should be nearer to our conception of perfection. Thus with fruits and vegetables; the largest fruits are frequently the coarsest; the perfect are neither over-sized and coarse-grained nor dwarfs. Our race seems to have left perfection to such a degree that the majority are either too delicate or too coarse. Furthermore, in our Lord's case we are to remember that he had been sacrificing his life for three and a half years; [R4171 : page 151] that vitality had been going out of him for the healing of all kinds of disease. This loss would tend to weaken him. In other words he had been dying for three and a half years and was now on his way to Calvary to finish the matter of surrendering his life in harmony with the Father's will.

Some of our Lord's disciples were onlookers (John, at least, was one), and truly they would have been glad to bear the cross for him. We must suppose that they were hindered from proffering their services by fear of being considered as interfering with the officers of the law. However, in the emergency the soldiers found a countryman on the route whom they compelled to bear the cross after Jesus. This expression might have meant to walk after him, to relieve him of part of the load; or it might have meant for him to carry all the load while the Lord walked on before. But we do know that this enforced task upon Simon was a very precious privilege. How many of the Lord's followers since have almost envied him the opportunity enjoyed! Tradition says that Simon ultimately became a Christian, [R4172 : page 151] that his name was known to the Apostle John and also the part of the country whence he came. The mention of the names of his sons gives strong corroboration to the tradition.--Mark 15:22.

While sympathizing with our Lord and thinking how we should have enjoyed helping to bear his cross, we should not forget in this connection two privileges which he has provided for us. First, he tells us that if we would come after him as his disciples we may share with him in the bearing of the cross of this present time--"Whosoever will be my disciple let him take up his cross and follow me." Then, after believing on the Lord, and being justified by faith, and having peace with God, and realizing the forgiveness of our sins, we are invited to make a full consecration of ourselves, to take up our cross--to cross our own wills and to do the will of the Lord, which is the will of the Father which sent him. Do we appreciate the privilege enough thus to take up our cross daily? Are we still bearing the cross? Is it our resolution that by the Lord's grace we will continue to bear it to the end of the journey, until like him we shall be able to say, "It is finished"--the work given us to do, the privilege of bearing witness to the Word of truth by word and by daily conduct?

The second way of crossbearing is to help others who, as members of the Body of Christ, are his representatives about us in the world. When we see any of these with crosses too heavy for them to bear, crosses under which they will likely sink or have already sunk, let us think of the Master and of how we coveted the privilege of helping him to bear his burdens, and let us hear his voice assuring us that what is done unto one of the least of his disciples in his name is done unto him. Oh, how many helpful words this would mean to many of the burdened and the weak of the Lord's Little Flock! Oh, how many cups of kindness it would imply! How much it would bring of cheer and comfort to some of those whom the Lord recognizes as members of his Body! As one member of our body assists another member in distress, so in the Body of Christ. All the members are to bear one another up, strengthen one another, comfort one another, refresh one another, and generally to make one another ready for the glorious consummation of our hopes in the Kingdom.

A LOOK AT THE CRUCIFIED ONE

Numerous details connected with the crucifixion are enumerated. The time was the third hour, nine o'clock, according to Mark, but the sixth hour or noon according to John. The discrepancy is accounted for by the oriental lack of exactness; or Mark may have referred to the fact that the sentence was pronounced in the third hour, while John's record has to do with the time when our Lord was actually on the cross-- after the slow journey, the fastening to the cross, and the making out and attaching the board indicating the charge against our Lord, "This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews," and then the subsequent raising of the cross with Jesus on it, all of which would occupy quite a considerable period of time, probably nearly or quite three hours.

The Jewish leaders were disappointed with the placard which appeared on the cross, indicating the crime for which the culprit had been executed. They protested about it, denying that Jesus was the King of the Jews. But the Governor refused to alter the matter; and doubtless he worded it especially as a rebuke to them, for he perceived that for envy, malice, they had delivered Jesus to him for death. He would now shame them. The multitudes could all read the inscription: for according to custom it was written in three languages, in Hebrew, the language of the people; in Latin, the language of the government, and in Greek, the language of the educated of that time. Thus in spite of his enemies, the crucified Jesus was proclaimed the Messiah. Yet how strange! A crucified Messiah! How different are God's ways and means of accomplishing an object from man's ways! Truly, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than our ways. Had Jesus not died, had he not redeemed us from sin, the most that he could have done as a ransomer would have been to assist man to more reasonable and better lives--but not to eternal life, which had been forfeited through Adam and which could not be recovered except through a redemption. Under the divine plan, however, he who humbled himself to redeem the world is now highly exalted by the Father to his own right hand of power and dignity, and shortly, as the King of Israel and the King of all the world, he will reveal himself to the overthrow of wickedness, to the uplifting of righteousness, and to the assistance of the weak and the poor and the ignorant, for the blessing of all the families of the earth according to the promise.--Gen. 12:3.

Our Lord was made a companion of robbers. The two crucified with him, one at either side, were probably members of the band of Barabbas, and were [R4172 : page 152] probably considered by the people as more or less of heroes. At all events we are not informed that any jests or jibes were hurled at them by the people. Thus it must be with the Lord's followers to this day. We must remember that our Master and his cause are unpopular; that the learned and influential of the world will be opposed to us, as they were to him, and that this is according to his Word and to the principle upon which the divine plan is being worked out, namely, that if we would reign with him, we must also suffer with him. Crucifixion particulars are not given, and we may be glad of it, for the picture which suggests itself to the mind is horrible enough without any incidental details, and the fact that four writers recorded the main features of the execution, but gave none of the details of the crucifixion itself, is in full accord with the general treatment of such matters in the Bible so different from what would ordinarily be the course of a narrator. Ian MacLaren suggests:--

"There was no death so cruel as that of crucifixion, because the prisoner died not from loss of blood nor in a short space of time, but through the lingering agony of open wounds, the arrested circulation at the extremities, the tension of the nervous system, and the oppression of heart and brain. For five long hours Jesus endured this pain of torn nerves, of intense thirst and of racked body and throbbing brain!"

SEVEN WORDS FROM THE CROSS

It is not to be expected that anyone under such conditions would have much to say. It is quite probable, therefore, that the recorded words or messages of our Lord were the only ones he uttered. These words represent faithfully some of the most important features of our Lord's character and teaching.

What is generally known as the first of these words from the cross is recorded in Luke 23:34. Then said Jesus, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." We have no doubt at all that our Lord's heart was full of a forgiving spirit, but for several reasons we doubt if he ever uttered these words: (1) They are not found in the Greek MSS., Codex Vaticanus, No. 1209 (fourth century), and Codex Alexandrinus (fifth century). (2) These words would not seem to be appropriate, for those who were guilty of our Lord's death were not repentant, and our understanding is that the Scriptures clearly indicate that repentance is necessary to forgiveness. (3) Those who were guilty of our Lord's death did not believe on him nor trust in his merit, and the clear teaching of the Scriptures is that forgiveness must be preceded by faith. (4) It is not recorded that they were of repentant and contrite hearts and that they had turned away from sin; and the clear teaching of the Scripture is that no one is forgiven unless in this attitude of repentance. (5) Our Lord had not yet finished the work of sacrifice, nor had he yet ascended to the Father and presented that sacrifice even on behalf of believers, and hence the Father would not be prepared to forgive the sin. (6) We have no evidence that the sin was forgiven, but every evidence that the prayer of the Jews themselves, "His blood be upon us and upon our children," was answered in the time of trouble which came upon that nation, of which the Apostle says, "Wrath is come upon them to the uttermost."--I Thess. 2:16.

The reputed second word from the cross, "Verily I say unto you today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise,"* is apparently authentic. It was the Lord's message to one of the robbers who confessed his sin and desired the Lord's favor and clemency when he would come into his Kingdom. Our Lord has not yet fully come into his Kingdom; hence the time has not yet come when the thief desired to be remembered. Notwithstanding the dark day and the apparent eclipse of our Lord's life and hopes, he assured the penitent one that he was able to answer his petition and would do so. The fulfilment of that request, as the Scriptures show, will come at our Lord's second advent, when he shall take his great power and reestablish Paradise in the earth, the Paradise which was lost on account of sin, but which was redeemed by the precious blood. Then the penitent thief will come forth; yea, the Scriptures tell us that all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man and shall come forth; and this call will include the other thief also. They will come forth to the favorable conditions of the Millennial Kingdom; but we may be sure that the penitent one will have an advantage over the other and a special reward, too, for ministering a word of comfort to our Redeemer in his dying hour.

*Note corrected punctuation. See DAWN-STUDIES, Vol. VI., p.667

"BEHOLD THY SON!" "BEHOLD THY MOTHER!"

Mary, our Lord's mother, and John, his beloved disciple, evidently were standing not far from the cross, doubtless weeping and surely sorrowing. But [R4173 : page 152] our Lord, so far from thinking of himself and his own anguish, was thinking of others. As during his ministry he had gone about doing good, so in his dying hour here he thought of the good, the welfare of others, and in the above words committed his mother to the care of the loving disciple. Beautiful is the lesson! How it shows us the largeness of our Lord's heart and sympathy, and how it teaches us not to be entirely engrossed with our own trials and difficulties, large and small, but rather to be burden-bearers of others, allowing our sympathies, our thoughts and our plans to be active for the blessing of all those who in any measure are under our care in matters temporal or spiritual!

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" These words are known as the fourth word or message from the cross. They mark to us the depth of our Lord's anguish. He was dying as the sinner's redemption price, as the substitute, in order that God might be just and the justifier of all who believe in Jesus, and that he might grant them in due time a resurrection from the dead and a return to the Father's favor and to eternal life--to all that was lost in Adam. To be our substitute he must in everything suffer all that we were doomed to suffer as sinners. This included not only his loss of life, but also his cutting off from all fellowship with the Father. A moment, as it were, would [R4173 : page 153] do; but there must come that moment of darkness, of separation, and we may readily understand that this was the darkest moment in all of our Lord's experiences, still darker than Gethsemane, which was merely a foreshadowing of this experience. How glad we are that we can see the philosophy, the reason why this experience came to our Lord! And as we realize this, may it more and more fill our hearts with appreciation of the blessings which are ours through Christ; the privilege of return to the Father's fellowship and love, so that we can apply to ourselves the Master's words, "The Father himself loveth you." (John 16:27.) There is nothing in this dying word of our Lord that would suggest insincerity on his part, and surely nothing in it that would suggest the doctrine of the Trinity! It is in perfect keeping, however, with all that he said on the subject of his relationship to the Father.

The fifth word: "I thirst." This expression calls forcibly to mind several facts: (1) Exposed to the heat of the sun, with but slight covering and under nervous excitement and pain, thirst must have been one of the principal elements of torture to the crucified. (2) When we think of the fact that our Lord had been the active agent of Jehovah in the great work of creation of all things, including water, the Master's voluntary humiliation and resignation to thirst--yea, to die on behalf of the rebels of the realm--is a remarkable illustration of his love for mankind. This cry of thirst, we are told, was uttered when he knew that all things had been finished, when all of the work which had been given him to do had been accomplished--and not until then might he refer to his own condition. Even this cry was in fulfilment of the prediction of Psalm 69:21. Our Lord had refused the stupefying draught, but now accepted the refreshment given him from a sponge lifted to his lips on a reed, probably two and one-third feet long. As we think of this matter let us remember that our Lord hungered and thirsted that we, with all for whom he died, might have the water of life and the bread of life--might attain eternal life!

"IT IS FINISHED"

This sixth word was one of triumph. He had finished the work which the Father had given him to do; he had been loyal from first to last, self-sacrificing. He was glad, surely, that his earthly course was at an end, glad because it ended in victory and because this meant ultimately the blessing of the world of mankind and their release from the power of sin and death and the Adversary. It might be said in this sense of the word that our Lord began his work when he left the heavenly courts and humbled himself to take the human nature; and that it progressed during the period of his attaining manhood's estate, thirty years: however, Scripturally considered, the work that was finished was the work of sacrifice which began at Jordan when he was baptized, when he made a full consecration of himself even unto death. Just before his crucifixion he had said, "I have a baptism to be accomplished and how am I straightened until it be finished." Three and a half years was the period of his baptism into death, and now the final moment had come--"It is finished."

"Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." This is supposed to have been the last word, the last act of our Lord's earthly ministry, its finishing touch. How appropriate that he who had sought to do the Father's will at any cost should have absolute confidence that in his death his spirit of life would be in the Father's care and keeping, and that he should thus express himself! And this should be true of all who are his followers. Having resigned our all to the Lord we should so fully appropriate his gracious promises as to be without fear as we go down into death. Death in our Lord's case, however, must have meant far more than it could possibly mean to any of us. We not only have the Lord's assurance of a resurrection, but we have in our Lord's own case an illustration of the divine power. It was he who raised our Lord Jesus from the dead whose power will be exercised through him in bringing us forth to glory, honor and immortality. Our Lord was the forerunner; none before him had ever been raised from the dead, either to the perfection of human life or to the perfection of the divine nature.

BROKEN-HEARTED LITERALLY

St. Luke informs us that he cried with a loud voice, a testimony and witness to all that were near of his hope in God and in a resurrection. Some modern writers regard the cry as the utterance of one dying of a ruptured heart, the supposition being that this was the immediate cause of our Lord's death. It is admitted that there is such a thing as an actually broken heart. We might attribute the cause of this rupture to the ignominious circumstances surrounding our Lord's betrayal, denial, condemnation, scourging and crucifixion; and no doubt all of these would tend to depress him in spirit. But in our judgment the primary cause of his heart rupture was the grief mentioned in the fourth cry, the withdrawal of divine fellowship, the loneliness which was his during his last hour.

The technical explanation of the reasons for supposing that our Lord died of a heart rupture is thus stated:--

"The bloody water that burst from Christ's side when pierced by the soldier's spear evidenced this. The blood exuding from the heart into the pericardium had separated into red clots and a water serum. Jesus died literally from a broken heart."

It does not surprise us that in the divine order nature is made to manifest a sympathy with our Lord by the peculiar darkness which came over the land at the time Jesus hung on the cross. One ancient MS., treating of the subject, says that "many went about with lamps, and the darkness lasted until Jesus was taken from the cross." A great earthquake is mentioned also as having taken place at this time, in connection with which the heavy curtain of the Temple, separating the Holy from the Most Holy, was torn from the top to the bottom, symbolizing thus, as the Apostle suggests, that the way into the Most Holy was now made manifest, made possible through the suffering and death of [R4173 : page 154] Christ. According to Mark, Joseph of Arimathea went "boldly" to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. From all accounts he must have been a noble character. Matthew says "he was a rich man"; Luke says, "a good man and a righteous...who was looking for the Kingdom of God"; Mark says he was a "counsellor of honorable estate," that is, a member of the Sanhedrin. "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of heaven," said Jesus. It is hard for them, because they have much more to overcome proportionately than if they were poor. Had this Joseph of Arimathea not been a rich man he probably would have been fully a follower of Jesus. We are pleased, however, to know that so many good things could be said about him, and that his courage and boldness increased, instead of diminishing under trial. May we not hope that ultimately he became a disciple and footstep follower in the fullest sense? Geike remarks respecting him:--

"It was no light matter Joseph had undertaken: for to take part in a burial at any time would defile him for seven days and make everything unclean which he touched (Num. 19:11); and to do so now involved a seclusion through the whole Passover week with all its holy observances and rejoicings."

How Joseph's natural, hewn tomb was honored by the Master's burial therein!

With pleasure we find Nicodemus, another wealthy and influential ruler of the Jews, associated with Joseph in caring for our Lord's body. We may be sure that these men received at the hands of the Lord special blessing because of the courage and zeal which they exhibited on this occasion. We may be sure that those who are so fearful as to hold back when opportunities are offered for service to the Lord are unlikely to be approved of the Master and unlikely, therefore, to gain the great reward which he is now offering to victors. To us the lesson in all this is to be bold for the right, for the truth, for the Lord, for the brethren--at any cost. Indeed, the more our courage and faithfulness to privilege and opportunity may cost us, the greater will be our reward, both in the present life and in that which is to come. This is the third mention we have of Nicodemus in connection with our Lord's ministry. First he visited Jesus by night, as recorded in John 3. [R4174 : page 154] Second, he cautiously interposed on Jesus' behalf when an attempt was made to seize the Lord, as recorded in John 7:44-52. And now, as some one suggests, he "improved a last opportunity for service with the bitter consolation of having failed where he might have done much." He was a rich man and brought an hundred Roman pounds (67 lbs. our weight) of myrrh, resin and pounded aloewood, aromatic and preservative, supposedly used by the Jews in wrapping up the dead. A lesson for us is that we should not be content with neutrality in connection with the truth and its service. We should be positive as far as possible; we should take our stand for righteousness and do with our might on behalf of the Lord's cause and the Lord's brethren; while using wisdom and discretion, we should nevertheless be courageous. We should bring our flowers to cheer and comfort in life and not wait until death has prevented an appreciation of these.

Newman Hall suggests:--

"Golgotha! There is a legend that it was the very center of the earth's surface, the middle point of the habitable globe. We think nothing of the legend, but very much of the truth which it suggests, for the cross of Christ is the true center of the Church where all believers meet, of all tribes and nations."

Another says:--

"How shall we dare, with the cross in our view, to lay out our lives for self-blessing and self-indulgence? How shall we make the possession of this world's honors, its wealth, or its favor or its high places, the main end and scope of our lives? taking no part in the sufferings of Christ, choosing ever the feast and never the fast?"

Phillips Brooks wrote:--

"You have your cross, my friend. There is pain in the duty which you do. But if in all your pain you know that God's love is becoming a dearer and a plainer truth to you, then you can triumph in every sacrifice. Your cross has won something of the glory and beauty of your Lord's. Rejoice and be glad, for you are crucified with Christ."

OUR GOLDEN TEXT

In closing this lesson let us remember the important truths of its Golden Text, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." He did not die because death was natural, because he was sinful like other men, nor to show us how to die; he died for our sins, because of our sins; because the penalty of our sins was a death penalty, and because we must be redeemed in order to have any future life on any plane. Hence:--

"In the cross of Christ we glory,
Towering o'er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime."



[R4174 : page 154]

"HE THAT LIVETH AND WAS DEAD"
--JOHN 20:1-18.--MAY 31.--

Golden Text:--"I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive forevermore."--Rev. 1:18.
THERE is no more important lesson in connection with the Gospel than that of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. The death of Jesus indeed exhibits to us his love, and the love of the Father on our behalf. But in the divine plan, in order for the proper benefit to come to man from the death of Jesus, he must rise from the dead; he must become the Captain of our salvation, as well as our Ransomer. A dead Christ could not be our Savior; as it is declared, "Because I live ye shall live also." (John 14:19.) A proper appreciation of this subject assists materially in straightening out various theological kinks which have troubled the Lord's people for centuries.

(1) We must have the proper thought; that our [R4174 : page 155] Lord really died, that there was no sham about it, that he was not, as some erroneously suppose, more alive than ever while apparently dead. Our Golden Text expresses this thought in our Lord's own words, "I am he that liveth and was dead." He was dead in the same sense exactly that Adam was dead, for he died as Adam's substitute, to take his place under the divine sentence or curse of original sin, thus to make possible the release of Adam and all of his posterity from that sentence. As Jesus did not in death go to a place of eternal torment, neither did Adam go to a place of torment, nor was anything of the kind implied in the sentence upon him, all the creeds of Christendom to the contrary notwithstanding. Let God be true though it make every creed a lie!

"HE DESCENDED INTO HELL"

This expression is found in the so-called Apostles' Creed. It is in full accord with the statement of the Prophet David, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in sheol" [the tomb, translated thirty-one times hell and thirty-one times grave and three times pit]. The Apostle Peter confirms the same, quoting the Psalmist's words in the Greek; he says, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades" [the grave, the tomb, the state of death]. And the same Apostle, speaking under the inspiration of Pentecost, on the subject of our Lord's resurrection tells us that the Prophet David spake not these words respecting himself, that they were not true of him, that his soul was left in sheol, in hades, and that his flesh did see corruption. St. Peter says of David, "His sepulchre is with us until this day." It would not be his sepulchre if he had risen. The Apostle says these words were spoken of our Lord; that his soul, being, was not left in the tomb; that he was raised from the dead on the third day. There is no excuse for the confusion usually presented to the minds of inquirers on this subject by their teachers. The Scriptures are plain enough in their declaration that the Lord was dead, not alive. To prevent any misunderstanding they make very plain that not merely was our Lord's body dead, but his soul was dead; as we read, "He poured out his soul unto death," "He made his soul an offering for sin"; and again, "He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied." (Isa. 53:10-12.) And again in the text above examined, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell," in sheol, in hades, the tomb, the state of death. To suppose anything else than that our Lord was actually dead would be to suppose that Calvary was all a mockery, a farce, and that our Lord as a spirit being stepped out of the mortal body and deceived his executioners, allowing them to suppose that they killed him, while he was more alive than ever. Scriptural declarations are quite to the contrary of this, and we must stand fast by the Word of God to avoid confusion. During the "dark ages" the theory was foisted upon the Church that a man appearing to die did not do so, but became more alive than ever. Upon this false premise various delusive errors have been built-- Spiritism, Theosophy, Purgatory, means for deliverance from Purgatory, praying for the dead, etc., etc.

All scholars are aware of the truth of what we here set forth, but few of them are willing to undertake to combat the error which has become so firmly lodged in the human mind, fearing the loss of influence, honor amongst men and salary. As an illustration of what we say we call attention to a pocket-card bearing the impress of the Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath School Work, 1319 Walnut St., Philadelphia. This card has on the one side printed the ten commandments and on the other side the Apostles' Creed. It is in the latter, respecting Jesus, that we read, he "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead." Beside the word "hell" there is an asterisk referring to a footnote, which is herewith given: "*i.e., continued in the state of the dead and under the power of death until the third day." This shows conclusively that the Presbyterian Board of ministers recognize the fact that Jesus was dead and not alive during the period of his entombment. He was in neither a hell of suffering nor a heaven of bliss. He was dead, as he himself declared in our text. His resurrection was his coming to life--and again we are told that he was raised from the dead by the Father's power.--Acts 2:24,32.

CEMETERIES--SLEEPING PLACES

Our common word cemetery signifies a sleeping place, and the thought thus conveyed is in full accord with the teachings of the Scriptures on the subject. They teach that the penalty of sin is death, and that death would have meant complete, absolute, perpetual destruction had it not been for God's mercy in providing for our redemption from that sentence and a resurrection from the dead through Jesus. And it is because of our faith in God's promise of a resurrection of the dead that we, in common with the Biblical writers, speak of death as a sleep. Thus, "Abraham slept with his fathers," all the prophets and kings "slept with their fathers," Stephen "fell on sleep" to await the awakening time in the resurrection morning, at the second coming of his Redeemer for the establishment of his Kingdom. Similarly the Apostle speaks of the dead in Christ being awakened in that glorious morning, and he even calls our attention to the fact that the whole world may be properly said to be "asleep in Jesus," because our Lord by his death redeemed the whole world of mankind and broke their death sentence and will in due time awaken [R4175 : page 155] them all in the resurrection morning. Hence the Apostle, in writing to the Church respecting their dead and dying friends, both in and out of Christ, says, We sorrow not as others who have no hope, for if we believe that Jesus died [on behalf of original sin on the whole race] and rose again [to be the deliverer of the race from the bonds of sin and death] let us believe also [the logical consequence] that those who sleep in Jesus [whose death through his merit has been changed to a sleep] will God bring from the dead by him. [R4175 : page 156] (I Thess. 4:13,14.) This is in harmony with the Father's arrangement that there shall be a resurrection both of the just and the unjust, and that this work shall be accomplished by the Lord Jesus, his honored representative.

The word cemetery, therefore, rightly understood, the sleeping place of the dead, teaches a volume in itself to those who have the ears to hear. It is in full accord with the facts as we know them, and better still in full accord with the divine revelation that the "wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"--by a resurrection from the dead. (Rom. 6:23.) In this connection let us remember our Lord's words, "Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth," those who shall have passed their trial successfully unto life eternal, instantly perfected, while those who shall not have been approved will be brought forth that they may have the opportunity for rising up out of sin and death conditions by the judgments, chastenings and corrections of the Millennial Age. Our special attention for the moment is called to the word "graves" in this text. We have already seen that sheol in the Hebrew signifies the death state and that hades is its Greek equivalent, but the word here rendered "graves" is a different one, namely, mnemeion, which signifies "remembrance." The proper thought is that although our friends and neighbors of the world of mankind are passing to the tomb at the rate of 90,000 every day, nevertheless they are not blotted out of existence, but are still in divine "remembrance" and subjects of divine power and will eventually be released from the great prison-house of death by him who bought us all with his own precious blood.

RESURRECTION HOPES AND JOYS

It is in full accord with the Scriptural presentation that joy thrills our hearts as we come to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus and also as we think of the resurrection morning of the Millennial day and the promise that therein and thereby the Lord God shall wipe away all tears from off all faces, and there shall be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, because all the former things shall have passed away. But notwithstanding this natural, proper sentiment the resurrection does not hold its proper place in the minds of the majority of Christian people for the same reason that the second coming of Christ has lost its proper relationship to their faith. The fault lies in the fact that unconsciously another hope than that of the Bible has been instilled, a hope that men do not die but pass immediately into glory or immediately into anguish eternal. To those who thus misread their Bibles the word resurrection can have but little real significance. To all such it is not only a needless and useless proposition but a very inconvenient one. They ask, "Why have a resurrection for those who have gone to heaven and who hope that its joys are eternal? Why have a resurrection for those who have passed into eternal torment? What is to be gained?" Very true, we answer! Under such conditions undoubtedly a resurrection would be of no value and would have no place, but those are not the conditions. The dead are dead; they have neither joy nor suffering while they sleep. They know nothing of the lapse of time; the awakening moment to each will be the next in consciousness to the one when they died. From this standpoint the resurrection is all important, without it there could be no future life or bliss. Hence the Apostle looked forward to the resurrection and pointed us forward to the same event for the culmination of our hopes--and our dear Redeemer indicated that the blessing of the world was dependent upon their hearing his voice and coming forth from the prison-house of death, the tomb, to hear the good tidings, to be judged or tested thereby as to their willingness to be obedient to their Creator. All who will obey the commands of the great King shall by his judgments then abroad in the earth be brought to perfection and life eternal, while those who will decline to be obedient at heart shall ultimately be destroyed in the Second Death.--Acts 3:23.

"BECOME THE FIRST-FRUITS"

The Apostle Paul found the spirit of the Greek philosophers intruding upon the teachings of the Gospel even in his day, so that in the Lord's providence it was proper for him to write a wonderful chapter (I Cor. 15) fully setting forth the doctrine of the resurrection and what would be our fate without the resurrection. He says, If there be no resurrection of the dead, our hope is vain, our preaching vain, we are yet in our sins; and those who have already died are perished, and our fate will be the same. If God has provided no resurrection for the dead then our future is hopeless and we might as well eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.--Vs. 12-18.

The Apostle was writing to those who believed in the resurrection of Jesus, but who disbelieved in the necessity for their own resurrection, and so he adds, If the dead rise not then Christ did not rise, and if Christ did not rise, the basis of all your hopes and faith drops out; and if Christ did rise from the dead you must logically believe that the resurrection of his followers will be like his. Indeed, as the Apostle again says, the resurrection of the Church is spoken of as being Christ's resurrection, having a share in Christ's resurrection; because in coming forth the Church will share the same kind of resurrection as our Lord, be like him--put to death in the flesh they will be quickened in spirit, sown in corruption they will be raised in incorruption, sown in weakness they will be raised in power, sown animal bodies they will be raised spiritual bodies. All who now are transferred from Adam to Christ and accepted of God as members of the Body of Christ, members of the Bride of Christ, have his new nature, are begotten of the Spirit and will in the resurrection be spirit beings like their Lord and Head. The remainder of mankind in the resurrection will be like their head, Adam. As is the heavenly one, such will they be who attain to his nature; as was the earthly one, such will they [R4175 : page 157] be who in this Gospel Age do not experience the begetting of the holy Spirit. As to the remainder of the natural seed, their resurrection will be to earthly conditions, a gradual uplifting to the full perfection of human nature, all that Adam had originally, plus experience.

If our Lord became the first-fruits of them that slept, did he not sleep? And do not the others sleep? And if he was awakened, raised from the dead by the Father's power, must not all be awakened and lifted up? A first-fruits implies after-fruits. The Scriptures point out that the Church is included with the Lord as a part of the first-fruits, "a kind of first-fruits unto God of his creatures." (Jas. 1:18.) Thus the resurrection of the Christ began with the resurrection of our Lord and will be consummated with the change of the last member of the Church, which is his Body. "Christ, the firstfruits," will then be complete. But this will not consummate the divine plan, for it is God's intention to have the after-fruits, a great harvest, which will be gathered during the Millennial Age. To this the Apostle refers, saying, Afterwards they that are Christ's during his parousia. Our Lord's parousia will continue for a thousand years; he will be present in the world, present for the very purpose of ascertaining how many of the world, under favorable conditions of knowledge and opportunity and assistance, will be glad to go up on the highway of holiness to perfection, to full recovery out of sin and death. That noble company will be the after-fruits of the divine plan. Earth as well as heaven will be filled with the glory of God when all evil doers shall have been cut off; and then every voice in heaven and earth shall be heard praising him that sitteth upon the throne and the Lamb for the grand consummation of the divine plan!

THE NARRATIVE OF OUR LESSON

Those who get the proper grasp of the importance of the resurrection of Jesus will perceive the necessity for the very explicit description thereof given us in the Gospels, because without faith in the resurrection of Jesus we must be without faith in the merit of his death, in the sufficiency of his sin-offering on our behalf and consequently uncertain in respect to our own resurrection, the salvation which shall be brought unto us at the revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (I Pet. 1:13.) This accounts for the minuteness of detail. Moreover, not only is it to be remembered that the apostles and the five hundred brethren, converts to our Lord's teaching at the time, were natural men and needed such proofs as would appeal to the natural mind, but it should be remembered also that the message of our Lord's death and resurrection would go to natural men all the way down the Gospel Age and must be so plain and distinct as to be understood by all. After the apostles received the holy Spirit they understood matters connected with our Lord's death and resurrection which they did not understand before. It is similar with us; when we receive the holy Spirit we come to a deeper appreciation of the features of divine truth.

"PUT TO DEATH IN THE FLESH--QUICKENED IN SPIRIT"

Our Lord took our nature not with a view to keeping it to all eternity, but merely that he might be able to present the ransom-sacrifice on our behalf; that he might die as the man Christ Jesus for the man Adam and his posterity involved with him in his sin. The death of Jesus finished the work which he came to do, as his dying words show--"It is finished." There was [R4176 : page 157] no reason why he should be raised a human being, but every reason to the contrary. As a human being he would have been circumscribed in his power, talents, dignities, honors and thus have been forever humiliated as the result of the great work which he accomplished in obedience to the Father's program. This would be quite the contrary of what the Apostle points out when he declares that God raised Jesus from the dead and highly exalted him far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named. (Phil. 2:9; Eph. 2:21.) Most evidently, then, he does not now have a human nature, but, as the Scriptures declare, a divine nature, for the human nature, instead of being far above that of angels, is a "little lower than the angels."--Psa. 8:5.

So, then, our Lord was put to death in the flesh-- not quickened or made alive or resurrected in the flesh --but as the Apostle declared, he was quickened, raised in spirit, a spirit being of the highest order, "changed" from mortal to immortal, because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God."

TWO LESSONS WERE TAUGHT

We see, then, that two great lessons were to come to our Lord's followers: (1) That their Master was no longer dead but alive, risen from the dead; (2) that he was no longer the man Christ Jesus, but Jesus "changed," glorified. "Now the Lord is that spirit."-- 2 Cor. 3:17.

How could these two great and important lessons be taught to the disciples then and since, seeing, as our Lord says, that they were slow of hearing because they were natural men with natural minds, naturally disposed to think of things only upon the earthly, fleshly plane? The method adopted by our Lord was, first, to make very distinct to their natural sense the fact of his resurrection by the removal of his body from the tomb, by the vision of angels speaking of our Lord as risen, by the clothes and napkins lying in their places as though they had been laid aside by one awaking from sleep. To emphasize this lesson our Lord, although a spirit being, appeared to the disciples in bodies of flesh which on one or two occasions he permitted to be touched. But lest they should get the idea that he was still man, lest they should lose sight of the fact that he was a spirit being appearing as a man, as the angels had frequently done in the past, our Lord appeared in various forms, once as a gardener, once as a stranger traveling to Emmaus, once as a stranger on the shore of Galilee calling to the fishermen and directing them where to cast their nets, twice in the upper room, where he demonstrated that he was not a man by coming into their midst while the doors were shut and, after a brief conversation, vanishing [R4176 : page 158] out of their sight while the door was still shut. In these various ways the Lord demonstrated the double lesson, and remained with his disciples forty days that these lessons might be well learned--first, that he was risen; secondly, that he was changed and was no longer the man Christ Jesus.

No wonder that the early Church, appreciating the value of our Lord's resurrection and the fact that they were no longer Jews under the Jewish Law, gradually changed the day specially set apart for divine worship from the seventh day to the first day of the week--but not with any law or command, simply of good will and of choice, since to the Christian every day is a Sabbath, a holy day in which he is not to do anything which would be wrong or displeasing to the Lord. The custom is a beautiful one and all who love the Lord and appreciate the value of his resurrection must esteem the first day of the week on that account. It was made sacred by our Lord's resurrection; it became, therefore, to his followers the day of hope.

Joining the various accounts of the resurrection morning we find (Mark 16:1) that Mary Magdalene, mentioned in our lesson, was one of the first at the sepulchre while it was yet dark; that with her were Mary, the mother of James and Salome, and (Luke 24:10) Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward. On their way they had been wondering who would roll away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre that they might enter with their spices to complete the embalming work which was discontinued two evenings before because of the Jewish Sabbath then beginning. To their surprise the stone was already rolled away. They tarried awhile wondering, and then in the dim light they perceived that the Lord's body was not there. Perplexed by their further loss Mary hastened to the home of John, with whom Peter was lodging, and related these facts. The two apostles ran to the sepulchre. John, the younger, outrunning Peter, arrived there first. But by this time the other women had departed to communicate the news to the other disciples. Awestricken, John had stooped down and looked in, but Peter, on arrival, still more courageous, went in followed by John. They found things as Mary had described them, the body gone, the linen cloths there. Troubled and perplexed they went their way. Although the indication is that they both believed, their belief was not that the Lord had risen, but that Mary's story was true, that his body had been removed, "for as yet they knew not the Scripture that he must rise again from the dead."--V. 9.

Mary returned to the tomb filled with sorrow; she was weeping and saying in her heart, They might at least have left us the body of our Lord. She looked again into the sepulchre. Ah, now she saw something different. Two angels were present, who said, "Why weepest thou?" intimating that there was no cause for weeping and thus no doubt helping to prepare Mary for the next step of our Lord's revealment. A noise or perhaps a shadow called her attention backward and she saw a man who she supposed was the gardener and she appealed to him, Sir, if you have borne him hence tell me where you have laid him and I will see that you are not further troubled in the matter, for myself and his other friends will care for his remains. Then Jesus, who had hidden his identity by appearing in "another form," like a gardener, in different clothing from that which was parted amongst the soldiers, and different also from that in which he had been shrouded, revealed himself through the tone of his voice which she so well knew, uttering her name only. In a moment the truth flashed upon her mind and she cried, Rabboni, my Master, my Lord!

With us as with Mary sorrow sometimes fills our hearts and we see not the streams of joy and everlasting blessing which the Lord has for us; not until we hear his voice, his word, do we appreciate the truth. But all who know the Master truly know his voice, know his message, know his spirit, his disposition; as he himself expressed it, My sheep hear my voice and they follow me, they recognize not the voice of strangers.--John 3:5.

"I AM NOT YET ASCENDED"

In her ecstasy Mary was apparently about to grasp the Lord by the feet. Her thought evidently was, This is a vision, which will pass away and I will see my Lord no more; I will hold him tightly; where he is I must be. But Jesus taught her otherwise, and the lesson is a good one for us also. He would have her remember that he had already said, "It is expedient for you that I go away." Why, then, should she detain him? Besides, she was not ready to go with him, she had lessons to learn, experiences were to still further develop her character, to fit and prepare her for the Kingdom blessings. He must go, she must stay. She must learn submission, confidence in him and have a realization that he is able to make all things work together for good to those who trust him. Our Lord gave Mary a message for the apostles, a service she could render him and them--and the intimation is that she should rather have been thinking of such a service instead of holding him by the feet; she should be exercising faith and accepting divine providence and hastening to spread the good tidings of his resurrection to others. The lesson for us is obvious. We, too, have heard of the death and resurrection of Jesus and additionally have learned of God's grace through him, and it is our privilege to carry the message to all of the brethren wherever they may be, to all who have the hearing ear.

Our Lord's declaration, I have not yet ascended to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God, emphasizes the fact that he went not to heaven when he died, but into the tomb, into the state of death. It emphasizes also the fact that he is our Elder Brother, our forerunner into the Father's presence and into the glories which God hath in reservation for all those that love him, that love him to the extent of willingness to follow in the footsteps of Jesus at any cost along the rugged narrow way.

"PREACHED TO THE SPIRITS IN PRISON"

We refer to these words of the Apostle Peter because they are so generally misunderstood. Some suppose [R4176 : page 159] that our Lord went to Purgatory or to some other place of torment and delivered some discourses during the period of his death. Here we find the error respecting the meaning of life and death still further confusing; we ought to understand that when our Lord was dead he could not preach and that the dead of mankind could not hear; as the Scriptures declare, "In death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave [sheol] who shall give thee thanks?" (Psa. 6:5.) "There is no work nor device nor knowledge in the grave [sheol] whither thou goest," whither all mankind go. (Eccl. 9:10.) What, then, is the signification of the words of St. Peter quoted above? We reply that he is referring to those angels who sinned in the days of Noah--the fallen angels. They are the spirits in prison, under restraints, "chains of darkness," until the judgment of the great day. True, mankind in general are said to be in prison also; the tomb is the great prison-house [R4177 : page 159] to which our Lord referred, quoting Isaiah's prophecy and assuring us that ultimately he will open the prison-doors and bring forth the prisoners. Again he assures us that he has the key to this prison, the "key of death and of hades"--the tomb. But men are never referred to as spirits; angels are so referred to; they are spirit beings; man is not, he is a human or earthly being. True, we sometimes speak of the spirit of life, the power of life in man, but we do not speak of it as a thing that could be preached to; it merely refers to his vitality. Every spirit that can be preached to must be a spirit being and must be alive and not dead, in order to be able to receive the preaching.

With these points in mind it is very easy to see that the Apostle was referring to our Lord's preaching in a figurative sense in much the same way that we are in the habit of saying, "Actions speak louder than words." Our Lord's sermons to the fallen angels, the spirits in prison, restrained from liberty in the days of Noah, were along this line of action, not of words. When cast out by our Lord, some of these spirits who had obsessed humanity cried out, "We know thee who thou art!" They knew Jesus was the Logos, the Father's representative who had created them; they knew that he had left the glory of the Father and humbled himself to take the earthly nature instead; they knew that he had consecrated his human life to death as a sin-offering for mankind. In all this they beheld a wonderful lesson, yet we cannot suppose that they any more than the apostles understood that our Lord would be raised from the dead. When, however, he was raised up by the Father's power on the third day and they beheld him again a spirit being of the highest order, it must have been a matter of astonishment and wonderment to them. It preached a lesson, namely, that obedience to God is profitable. It must have preached another lesson also, that God who punishes evil doers is sure to bless and reward all those who seek to do his will.

It was a sermon along still another line, namely: it taught the love of God, his compassion toward sinners, and it gave the fallen angels room to reflect that if God had such compassion upon the poor, fallen human race, he might ultimately have as much compassion upon them and grant them some opportunity for escaping from the punishment which had come upon them for their sins. Theirs, indeed, was a different penalty from that upon man, but why might they not hope that the same God who was rich in mercy upon Adam and his race would have compassion also upon any of those who would have the heart desire to come back into harmony with him. It is our thought that this was a powerful sermon, and we shall not be surprised to find by and by that as a result of this sermon some of those fallen angels repented and did thereafter strive to live in harmony with the Father, hoping that some time divine mercy might be extended to them for their release and their restoration to fellowship with the holy angels. And this very hope is held out by the Apostle when he tells us that the Church shall judge not only the world of mankind but shall also judge angels. This means a judgment or trial time for the fallen angels, the holy angels needing no judging or trial.

IT IS SOWN--IT IS RAISED

Before leaving this subject we call attention to the words of the Apostle descriptive of the resurrection change of the Church. (I Cor. 15:42,43.) He says, "It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown an animal body, it is raised a spiritual body." And since the Church's resurrection is really a share or part of Christ's resurrection, the First Resurrection, these words must also describe our Lord's resurrection. The question we raise is, What is it that was sown and that was raised? We answer that it was our Lord's soul or being. When he was thirty years of age he was simply the perfect one, a man separate from sinners. But when he consecrated himself at baptism and was begotten of the holy Spirit he was then a New Creature in embryo. It was our Lord the New Creature who was the heir of all things, the High Priest whose privilege it was to sacrifice. He sacrificed his flesh, his earthly nature, which he covenanted to the Lord at his baptism. He finished the work of sacrificing at Calvary; for parts of three days he was dead, but when the resurrection moment came and the Father raised him up by his own power, he raised up not the sacrificed flesh but the New Creature, the "it" to which the Apostle refers, the "it" which was sown, buried in the flesh, in dishonor, with the wicked and the rich. It was raised the third day to glory, honor and immortality, the divine nature. In other words the New Creature was perfected by being given a new body. Thus seen all of the Lord's people, as was their Lord, are dual beings. They as New Creatures have a reckoned existence while their mortal bodies are reckoned dead. By and by when the mortal flesh is actually dead the New Creature will be perfected by being granted a new body, a resurrection body. Let us remember the Apostle's words and apply them to ourselves, I do count all things but loss and dross that I may win Christ...that I may know him and the power of his resurrection [sharing it], being made conformable to his death.--Phil. 3:8-10.



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