ZION'S WATCH TOWER and Herald of Christ's Presence
ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL
"Watchman, What of the Night?" "The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11
VOL. XXXIV NOVEMBER 1 No. 21 A. D. 1913--A. M. 6042 CONTENTS
The Dawn of the Morning 323 Signs of the Dawning 324 "The Last Day" 324 How to Overcome Fleshly Weaknesses 325 Religious Intoxication 326 Our "Cup of Blessing" 327 "Drink Ye All Of It" 327 Church's Part in the One Loaf 327 Unforfeited Earthly Life Right 328 Significance of Eating Our Lord's Flesh and of Drinking His Blood 328 Most Valuable Food and Drink Known 329 How Israel Crossed Jordan 329 Entering Into Canaan Rest 330 The Fall of Jericho 331 "Captain of the Lord's Host" 331 Mammon the Principle of Selfishness 332 Holiday Remembrancers 333,334 Some Interesting Letters 335 Berean Questions in Scripture Studies 335
“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.
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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WACO, TEXAS, CONVENTION
--NOVEMBER 14, 15, 16--
The Waco Cotton Palace Exposition will secure very special railway rates; and the brethren of that vicinity are anxious to take advantage of the cheap rates and hold a Convention November 14, 15, 16. Brother Russell had expected to be present; but, finding this impossible, he has delegated two of the Pilgrim Brethren to represent the Society. One of these will act as Chairman at the Convention.
We trust that this will be a very profitable Convention, full of spiritual power--the spirit of the Truth. It will be convenient for considerable numbers, we believe. We suggest that Brethren who are unable to attend give the Convention the support of their prayers at the Throne of Heavenly Grace.
The Young Men's Business League has granted us the use of their hall during the Convention. It is located at 711-1/2 Austin Ave., convenient to all the railway stations.
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THE DAWN OF THE MORNINGFOR A long time the world had been more or less in darkness, in sin, in ignorance, in superstition. By one man's disobedience sin entered the world. This darkness still continues. "Darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people." The Bible accounts for this condition of things by explaining that man by heredity is born in sin, and that additionally Satan takes advantage of the situation, with a view to further alienating mankind from the great Creator, and thus, if possible, preventing any reconciliation that might ever be undertaken. "The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness."--Romans 13:12,13.
Satan is called the Prince of Darkness, and he is working in the children of disobedience. The children of disobedience being far more numerous than the children of obedience, it follows that the present is a dark time. The Bible tells us that God will not leave mankind always in this darkness; but that the curse shall be rolled away and all the darkness shall be dissipated, and instead, shall come His blessing, His light. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep. (Isa. 11:9; Hab. 2:14.) Provision for this recovery was made in the Divine Purpose, before the foundation of the world.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
About nineteen hundred years ago God began to take steps to bring to pass the things which He had promised. The first step was the sending of His Son, that He might be the Redeemer of man. Our Lord is spoken of as being a great Light, in the same sense that the Heavenly Father is called the Father of Lights. Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world." Mankind, under the influence of Satan and their own imperfect judgments, became twisted in their minds, and are in a state of darkness, so that they cannot reason correctly. The majority are not able to see the desirability of the Truth, and so they live in darkness--"darkness covers the earth."
However, we have every reason to believe that there are a choice few in the world, who love righteousness and hate iniquity. And this class God desires to take out first. The selection of this class has been going on throughout the Gospel Age. The majority of the world would doubtless prefer right rather than wrong if all the conditions were favorable. If they could be as comfortable financially, as popular socially, etc., by serving the right as by serving the wrong, they would much prefer to serve the right.
These are really good people. They have a preference for the right. They are very moral, very just. And yet their preference for the right is not so strong that they would be willing to lay down their lives for the right. It is one thing to say, I love the cause of God; and it is another thing to say, I will devote my time, strength, fortune, all, to it.
But it is only the latter kind that God is calling now-- those who are willing to take up the cross in the interest of Truth and righteousness. And to these God gives encouragement, assuring them that He appreciates their love of righteousness: and that if they persist in the course of faithfulness they will be made associates with Christ in His Kingdom. He tells them that He is seeking just such a class. And these are encouraged and inspired to keep on, as God sets before them the glorious hope of the Gospel--the Divine nature and glory.
RESPONSIBILITY PROPORTIONATE TO LIGHT
But all this is going on in the night time; for, although Jesus came into the world, and is to be the Light of the world, this Light has not yet illumined mankind, nor scattered the darkness. The Jewish people had the light of the moon, in the sense that the Law Covenant and its promises were like the moon, which shines with a light reflected from the sun, a light not its own. They had the light of the moon, if they wished to walk in its light. But they often went from the light of their Law and walked in the shadows. The Jews also had stars-- Abraham, David and the Prophets. These were luminaries that shed more or less light upon their pathway.
But when Jesus came, He was the great Light of the world; i. e., He was the one chosen of God to be the Light of the world. But Jesus as a man was not this light to all. The Light that shone from Him while He was in the flesh was very local. And even to many of those upon whom it shone, His light was obscure, because of their ignorance, blindness. Jesus intimated that some could see the light and others could not: "Blessed are your eyes, for they see!" (Matt. 13:16.) He also intimated that some of the Jewish leaders saw to some extent, and were responsible for what they saw.
Our Lord presented to them the true light. They had been hoping to attain the blessing God promised in His Covenant with Abraham. They knew from the teachings [R5338 : page 324] of the Law that they must be holy. But they did not realize how high is the true standard. Consequently they thought they could keep up a certain standard of outward conduct, and thus become the Seed of Abraham. And when Jesus said to them. You are so careful to keep the letter of the Law that you would strain out a gnat from your drink, and swallow a camel, He intimated that they were very careful about the small things, and would let great matters, important things, pass by!
Jesus told them they would devour widows' houses; that is, that they would take advantage of this or that technicality of the Law to take possession of a widow's substance. And in thus doing, they were violating God's Law, which is a law of justice and love and mercy. It was only the few, therefore, who were Israelites indeed. And these would be the true Seed of Abraham--the select few of that nation.--Rom. 9:6; Gal. 3:16,29. [R5339 : page 324]
THE TRUE LIGHT-BEARERS
So the selection went on, and the faithful ones, having the right spirit, the same spirit that Christ had--love for justice, love for God and God's Law--these were selected--the Elect of that people. These not being a sufficiency, God continued to select others from different nations. To His disciples Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men"; and again, Put not your light under a bushel; but put it on a candlestick, that it may be seen of others. And so all of God's people have been lights. Those who have the Holy Spirit are the only true light-bearers in the world. Others may have various lights-- science, geology, chemistry--but much of their light is darkness. Our Lord, however, was referring only to the light on God's Plan.
Some who have light on morality, say that they will not become intoxicated, will not use profanity, etc. They may have light in those directions, but this is not the true light. Much of the true light has been lost on the whole world, though they have still some of the original light remaining, as is evidenced in man's conscience and moral sense. Saul of Tarsus had some of this light, and yet persecuted the Church. Conscience is not a sufficient guide. We need the light of God's Word.
The Holy Spirit is the light of the Church, by which we are being specially guided into the Truth. St. Peter tells us that we have a more sure Word of prophecy, whereunto we do well that we take heed as unto a light that shineth in a dark place. (2 Peter 1:19.) The light on the path of the just "shineth more and more unto the perfect Day." We are still in the dark place, and shall be until the darkness gives way and the Day is here. And so, as St. Peter says, we have need of this Word of prophecy "until the Day dawn." Thus we find that one Scripture helps to elucidate another.
Apparently many of our Christian friends have the thought that the Apostle meant that the Lord might come at any hour, on any day. But when we come to understand the Scriptures, and know that God has fixed times and seasons, and when we learn more about God's Plan, we see what He has revealed respecting the length of the night and the time for the dawning of the morning. The Apostle had sufficient knowledge to realize that the morning was coming and that the night would then have an end. He knew that Christ at His Second Coming would be the Sun of Righteousness. We also know this. He knew that Christ would be the Light of the world. We likewise know this; and that the glorified Church will be, with Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, which will arise with healing in its beams, and will enlighten the world, and lift it up and bless it.
SIGNS OF THE DAWNING
We know something of God's times and seasons. There is a great difference, however, between knowing the day and the hour and knowing the times and the seasons. You might know that your Pastor intended to go sometimes this season to Great Britain. When the season arrives you might say, Well, this is the season. Yes, but you would not know what steamer he would take. You say, We know the time he will reach London, but do not know just the day the boat sails. And thus the Lord has guaranteed that His people shall not be left in darkness-- that we shall have light and knowledge sufficient--that we shall not be in darkness with the world.
Just so surely as we are of the Brethren, just so surely that Day will not come upon us as a thief. We shall know how to expect it. We shall know about the time. Those who think that the Apostles had no knowledge of the matter have, we think, taken a superficial view of some of the Scriptures. Take, for example, the text under discussion. "The night is far spent, the Day is at hand." They have thought this meant that this Day might dawn that very year, or the following year.
ST. PAUL HAD SPECIAL INFORMATION
The Apostle evidently had no such idea; for he goes on to explain, in one of his Epistles, how that Day would come, and that there would be a time of trouble, and that the Lord would permit a strong delusion; that the man of Sin must first be revealed. He assured the Church that the Day would not come until first there was a great falling away. He reminded them: You have been told about an evil system arising. Know now that this Day of the Lord absolutely cannot come, until the Abomination of Desolation has been set up, as noted in the prophecy of Daniel. And he warned, "Let no man deceive you by any means."--2 Thess. 2--entire chapter.
In one of his Epistles to the Church at Corinth, St. Paul said, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." (I Cor. 15:51,52.) The early Church thought that St. Paul meant that they would not sleep. But St. Paul was referring to the Church as a whole--instructing them that some of the Church would remain until the Day of Christ. St. Paul and St. Peter both intimated that they were not of those who would remain to be changed in a moment from the earthly body to the Heavenly.
So, coming back to our text, we are to recognize that the Apostle Paul had special information from the Lord. He tells us so. He says he had visions and revelations more than all the other Apostles. And he declares that the Lord revealed to him things not proper to be uttered at that time. He must not explain these visions; their meaning was a secret intrusted to him. (2 Cor. 12:4.) The Apostle's mind being thus illuminated, he was able to write with great intelligence, clearness and power, so that we, with the increasing light upon the Holy Scriptures now due, might be able to see a depth to his writings, and get a grasp on the Truth, not otherwise possible. And we do. Nearly all of our knowledge of the deep things comes from St. Paul's Epistles, because he had this light and it permeated all that he wrote. So we today are able to explore and to understand many things which were secrets, known only to the Apostle Paul in his day.
"THE LAST DAY"
The Day spoken of in our text is the Last Day. Martha said of Lazarus, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (John 11:24.) Which is the Last Day? It is the great Seventh Day. This Day will not be a time of darkness, but a time of [R5339 : page 325] daylight. That being so, the other six Days represent the night of darkness and sin. In the morning of the new Day, the reign of the Prince of Darkness is to be overthrown by the Prince of Light; and thus the Day will be ushered in. From this standpoint of the six great Days of a thousand years each, we are to remember that the Apostles and the early Church were living in the Fifth Day--there was only one more Day to intervene before the Seventh Day, and then would be due the great shining forth of the glory of the Lord. From this standpoint the Apostle's words are clear.
During the Dark Ages God's people were permitted to have only a measure of light, a measure of knowledge. Yet they had certain great landmarks. And so when the Papacy was developed, God's people said, This is that Man of Sin--this is that falling away which was predicted. Thus they could locate themselves. We see that in the Dark Ages there was quite a clear understanding that the Papacy was the Man of Sin. Still it was not God's intention to guide the Church into the fulness of Truth until the due time. And we are not claiming now that we know the day (the day in the shorter sense) and the hour of the setting up of the Kingdom. But we are not ignorant of the times and seasons.
"PUT OFF THE WORKS OF DARKNESS"
In view of this knowledge of the wonderful Day about to dawn, how shall we who are hoping to be of the Kingdom class of that Day deport ourselves now? How shall we live? Ah! says the Apostle, if we are "children of the Day," we are to show it. We are God's representatives and ambassadors. We are to tell the people about the light and knowledge and glory of God that is to come so soon, that will fill the whole earth, by and by. We are to help them to contrast the present with the glorious conditions that will then exist, so that all who love the light may take heed to the Word of God and get ready to be members of that Kingdom class.
What must we do? We must put off the works of darkness, everything that is selfish and sinful--for that which is selfish is sinful, and that which is sinful is selfish. We are to put these off because we belong to the new order of things. The works of darkness would be any works whatsoever that would not stand the fullest investigation; that would not stand approved in the light of the New Dispensation, if it were fully ushered in. Let us remember that we belong to the New Dispensation, and not to the old, and should, therefore, live in accordance with our citizenship and our responsibilities toward the Prince of Light and in opposition to the Prince of Darkness, his works and his ways.
"PUT ON THE ARMOR OF LIGHT"
We have enlisted with Christ, and we will fight against the enemies of our new nature. We will be worthy children of God and strive earnestly, that we may be associated with the Lord in His Kingdom of Righteousness. And when we have put off the darkness, what must we do? We must put on the armor of light. What is the armor of light? It is the armor which protects from the darts of the Adversary, and includes the helmet of salvation --the protection of our intellects through a knowledge of the Truth, from the attacks of our great foe.
As the Apostle urges, let us "Stand therefore, having our loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and our feet shod with the preparation [R5340 : page 325] of the Gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, wherewith we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." (Eph. 6:14-17.) This is the armor with which we are to withstand the attacks which appeal to the evil tendencies of the fallen nature, that we may come off "more than conquerors" through Christ, that we may be of that glorious band of overcomers who will be made kings and priests of God in that glorious Day--in the dawning of the Morning.
LIGHT MANIFEST IN PURITY OF INTENTION
The Apostle continues the figure of speech which refers to the on-coming Day, in contrast with the night time of sorrow, sin and death, during which evil and sin have prevailed. The Scriptures declare that evil-doers prefer that it be dark, in order that their real aims and objects be not known; for they do that in secret which they would not wish to have known in the light and open to the public in general.
Then the Apostle discusses what should be the attitude of the Church. "Let us walk honestly, as in the Day"--honestly, in the sense of conscientiously, openly-- having nothing that we would need to secrete from the whole world, if they were able to understand our motives. They would know we had no evil purposes, but only pure, honest, good intentions. Our Lord was the great Light of the world. But He was misunderstood and misrepresented. So all of His followers, in proportion as they are light-bearers, will be subject to attacks from Satan, who seeks to perpetuate his hold upon mankind.
Nevertheless, whether it cost us much or little, our whole course of life is to be honest, upright. Our lives are to be devoted to the cause of righteousness--we are to see to it that we do nothing contrary to the principles of righteousness. Sincerity, honesty of purpose, should make all our life as open as the Day when everything wicked is to be disclosed. By showing the right and exposing the wrong deeds, thus making known the character of these, the Lord will put men on test as to which they love.
For those who love evil, wickedness, after they see it in its true colors, after they see where it leads and all its consequences, and shall have had full opportunity to know and to choose between right and wrong, light and darkness --for such God's portion will be death--Second Death. The only final reward and punishment for evil is destruction. "All the wicked will God destroy."
So during the Millennial Day, the Day of Christ, the Day of the Lord in the largest sense, the light will prevail, and all the hidden things of darkness will be exposed. Those who love these things are the ones who will suffer disadvantage; while all who love the light will be blessed and will make progress toward human perfection.
HOW TO OVERCOME FLESHLY WEAKNESSES
Those of the Church--those who are hoping to be kings and priests and to reign with Christ and to be judges of the world--their conduct should be as far as possible in accord with God's standard. Everything should be open, honest, subject to the investigation of the Lord or of anybody. In thus living we shall be proving our faithfulness to the Lord. We must demonstrate our loyalty to Him by being willing to suffer rebuffs and adversity. We must strive most earnestly to overcome our human weaknesses and imperfections, and thus manifest our love for righteousness and for God. We see that our Lord Jesus is the embodiment of these glorious principles for which God stands; and we are to be like Him, our Pattern.
We are to be so in love with God's gracious character and God's methods that we shall greatly prefer to be on His side, under the banner of light, rather than to be children of darkness, whatever its present reward. So [R5340 : page 326] let us walk as the children of the light--the children of the Day, and thus we shall be laying up treasures above, and shall prepare ourselves for the glorious things which the Lord has in reservation for those that love Him--for those who are seeking to walk in the Master's footsteps."He will never fail us, He will not forsake;
His eternal Covenant He will never break;
Resting on His Promise, what have we to fear?
God is all sufficient for the coming year.
Onward, then, and fear not, children of the Day,
For His Word shall never, never pass away."
GROSS FORMS OF RIOTING AND DRUNKENNESS
The Apostle's use of the first person--we, our, us-- in the verses preceding our text, would seem to indicate very clearly that he is speaking to the Church, including himself. Indeed, the introduction to the Epistle shows this to be the case. St. Paul is here showing what should be the course of the Church, as in contrast with the attitude of the world. When he says, "Let us walk," he means, Let us daily progress--walk not along the lines of rioting and drunkenness. He does not say that the Lord's people may not occasionally be overtaken in a fault. But if they are thus overtaken, they are to know that they are not then walking in the footsteps of Jesus, but are for the time being walking in the opposite direction.
We are to remember that the Church are at this time imperfect, in an embryotic state--not fully developed. The New Creature has as yet no body of its own, but is merely given possession of this earthly body, which is an enemy of God. The New Creature is obliged to use this instrumentality. As a New Creature, he will ultimately be judged, not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit, for the Lord will make up for unintentional blemishes. But these bodies which have been the instruments of sin, are to be put into the service of righteousness. All of our present experiences must be in the flesh, because we have no other instrument of service.
Now, the Apostle says, we are to beware of rioting and drunkenness, for all excesses are of the world. We are living in a time when the bacchanalian orgies of the past are disapproved by the community in general. Many may continue to practise some of these in secret, but they think that it is not wise to let it in any way be public. And those who sympathize with liquor interests, brewers, saloon-keepers, etc., realize that they can no longer do as formerly--they can no longer continue to sell liquor to a person until he has reached the condition of beastly intoxication. All of these evils will be banished when the new Kingdom shall have sway.
THE LORD'S SPIRIT A SPIRIT OF SOBRIETY
The true Christian has the mind of the Lord, and the Lord's mind is thoroughly in opposition to anything in the nature of drunkenness of any kind. The Spirit of the Lord gives a sober mind, a thoughtful mind, a reasonable mind. All rioting and drunkenness are the result of inebriation, befuddling the mind. We are not to suppose that any New Creature would have any sympathy with anything of the kind. The Apostle's suggestion is not that some New Creatures may think this the proper course, but that some New Creatures may become careless in their walk. As the New Creature grows and has more experience, he should learn that the only proper course is to avoid all places and conditions tending to excess and to worldliness. He should study to have new entertainments for his mind, study how to turn his mind in a new direction, toward Heavenly things.
While it is true that we have comparatively few of the orgies of olden times, it is also true that the world today has a more refined kind of rioting and drunkenness. There are social functions that might be called riotous, in the sense that they are unreasonable and disorderly. We might apply this criticism even to nominal Christianity. There is a certain kind of rioting mentioned in Revelation. We read that great Babylon made drunk the inhabitants of the earth with her wine. This might, in some cases, be a stupefaction of the mind; in other cases, a crazed condition.
We once believed many things without any real ground at all for believing. For example, we have believed in fire-proof devils, eternal flames, the roasting of humanity, etc. Now we find that we were merely having the hobgoblins of nightmare. God is not using His mighty power for the injury and useless torture of His creatures. We find that we were very seriously intoxicated with the wine of false doctrine. We are now becoming sober. The people are beginning to wink and blink, and to try to overcome the effects of the stupefying drafts of error.
Some have gotten out of these errors. But there are some who still have a kind of frenzy of mind, and some of these are attacking us. They launch forth as though they would demolish us, and they battle for the error as though it were the Truth. In their warfare they use the weapons of slander, malice, hatred, strife, and various other works of the flesh and of the Devil. Their choice of weapons is a proof that they are under a delusion, blinding them through false doctrine.
Sometimes there is rioting, even to the extent of hilarious conduct in meetings. We were once present at a religious meeting where there were all sorts of rioting, evil spirits and demonism. Yet the people were apparently sincere and honest. This occurred some years ago. The preacher hammered the pulpit, while two or three men tried to pray, etc. It was a regular pandemonium. The young people would go there and eat peanuts and snicker and giggle, seeming to consider the service a kind of circus. These people were evidently "drunk"--it was from a bad kind of "liquor," too. [R5341 : page 326]
This principle might apply to some of those who have gotten free from the errors of the past. There is a spirit of anarchy, a lack of orderly behavior with some who have come into the Truth. Sometimes it will manifest itself in one of a Bible-Class, who will try to have his own way and to override the rest. He is simply rioting; he has not gotten rid of the wrong spirit; he has not applied the principle of righteousness--the Lord's Spirit, the spirit of a sound mind--to his conduct.
Then sometimes it is the leader of the Class who shows a riotous spirit. The Scriptures very clearly set forth what would be proper in such a case. Each has a perfect right to his own opinion on any subject, but no one has a right to override others and try to force his opinions on them. To do so is contrary to the Lord's Spirit. We should not walk that way. We should walk prayerfully and carefully along the lines of the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we would that they should do unto us.
Let us walk as becometh saints, showing forth more and more "the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous Light."
"Watchman, tell me, does the morning
Of fair Zion's glory dawn?
Have the signs that mark its coming
Yet upon thy pathway shone?
Pilgrim, yes! arise! look 'round thee!
Light is breaking in the skies!
Gird thy bridal robes around thee;
Morning dawns! arise! arise!"
OUR "CUP OF BLESSING""The cup of blessing, for which we bless God, is it not a participation of the blood of the Anointed One? The loaf which we break, is it not a participation of the Body of the Anointed One? Because there is one loaf, we, the many, are one Body."-- 1 Cor. 10:16,17.--Diaglott.THE CUP of blessing, for which we bless God," is indeed a cup of blessing in many respects. It represents the blessed privilege of suffering with Christ, and the blessed things which will come as a reward of those sufferings. The Lord declares that the promise will have fulfilment in the Kingdom, when we shall share the Kingdom joys.
The Church is represented as being a part of the great Vine which God has planted; as Jesus says, "I am the Vine, ye are the branches." (John 15:5.) Our Lord tells us of the precious fruit of this Vine, the development of which represents the sorrowful part of our experience. There is a sense in which the cup represents the joy which we shall have when we shall have passed beyond the sufferings of this present time and shall have entered into glory. (Matt. 26:29.) The expression, "for which we bless God," may be understood to mean, for which we give thanks and praise to the Lord. Whoever receives the cup without thankfulness of heart, without appreciation, will not get the great reward. In order to receive the blessing designed, we must receive the cup with thankfulness for this great privilege of suffering with Christ.
In considering this question of the Apostle, "is it not a participation [common union] in the blood of Christ?" we should have a double thought before our minds: first, of the literal cup to which he refers, the literal fruit of the vine, which represents the blood of Christ; and second, the fact that we have the privilege of partaking of His cup, the sacrificial cup. We have the privilege of sharing in His death, sharing in His sufferings. This thought is borne out in other Scriptures--that Jesus is the Head of the Church which is His Body, etc. He is to be the great Prophet, Priest, King, Judge and Blesser of the world.
According to the Scriptures, the great Head was glorified, after having endured the sufferings even unto death, after having laid down His life for the world. And He has adopted us as His members--members now in the flesh, to be His members shortly in glory. We use the word members in the sense that we speak of members of the House of Parliament. The body of Parliament has many members, and so the Body of Christ has many members. The terms on which they may make their calling and election sure are that they shall believe in Christ and shall give themselves to God. Then our Lord will adopt them as His members, members now on earth and afterwards members of Him in glory.
"DRINK YE ALL OF IT"
On condition, then, that we drink faithfully of this cup (Matt. 26:27), we shall make our "calling and election sure." (2 Peter 1:10.) The injunction, "Drink ye all of it," had a double signification: first, it must all be drunk before the end of the Gospel Age; and secondly, all who would be members of His Body must drink of it. St. Peter spoke of the sufferings of The Christ, Head and Body, which have now been going on for more than eighteen centuries, and of the glory that shall follow. (I Peter 1:8-12; 4:1; 5:1.) As soon as the last member shall have passed into the Heavenly condition, all the sufferings of The Christ will be over, and none others will have the privilege of sharing in the "sufferings of Christ," even as some others will have the privilege of sharing in His glory and becoming His "Bride, the Lamb's Wife."
It is one cup, though it contains the juice of many grapes; and it is one loaf, though made from many grains. The grains cannot retain their individuality and their life if they would become bread for the world. The grapes cannot maintain themselves as grapes if they would constitute the life-giving spirit. Thus we see the beauty of the Apostle's statement that the Lord's people are participants in the one loaf and the one cup. There is no other way by which we may attain the new nature than by accepting the Lord's invitation to drink His cup, and by being broken with Him as members of the one loaf; by being buried with Him in baptism into His death, and thus attaining with Him a resurrection to glory, honor and immortality, attaining unto the First Resurrection.
THE CHURCH'S PART IN THE ONE LOAF
The loaf represents primarily the Lord Jesus' body, which is broken for us and for the world in general. In a larger sense it includes all the Body of Christ, all who become His members. Thus the breaking of the loaf, the breaking of the Body, has continued for more than eighteen centuries.
We read that in the institution of the Lord's Supper Jesus broke the loaf. As a matter of fact, He was the only one at that time who could break the loaf. All others of mankind were unjustified in God's sight until Jesus by His sacrifice and exaltation made good the deficiency of a certain class. So Jesus was the first to break the loaf. Today, as the unleavened bread at the Memorial season is passed to each of us, and as each takes a portion of it, he breaks it for himself.
The fact that our Lord first broke the bread does not mean that we should not have our individual part. We recall that the Heavenly Father had to do with the breaking of our Lord's body. As it is written, "It pleased Jehovah to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief." (Isa. 53:10.) This was not done against our Lord's will. While the Heavenly Father had to do with His breaking, so, in harmony with the Divine arrangement, the breaking of our share of the loaf.
The Apostle's statement in the succeeding chapter, "Ye do show forth the Lord's death," applies exclusively to the death of Jesus. The setting of the words indicates that it is the Lord Jesus personally who is mentioned: "As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till He come." (V.26.) "He is thy Lord, and worship thou Him." (Psa. 45:11.) The Church is never spoken of as the Lord.
Furthermore, we are to remember that Jesus said, "This do in remembrance of Me." (Luke 22:19.) He did not say, This do in remembrance of yourselves--in remembrance of your own share in the sacrifice. We are to be dead with Him. We remember that we must share with Him in the sufferings of this present time if we would share in the glories to follow. The Father gave Him to be the Head--"God blessed forever."--Heb. 3:1; Rom. 8:17,18; 9:5.
THE LIFE IS IN THE BLOOD
The Scriptures say that the life is in the blood. (Lev. 17:11.) In harmony with that statement, the Jews were bidden to always refrain from eating the blood. The animals must be bled before they were permitted to eat the flesh. Nor was any stranger sojourning with them to eat any blood. (Lev. 17:10-14.) In this way, God would [R5342 : page 328] seem to say that life is a very sacred thing. This life principle that He gave to man, seems to reside in the blood. As long as the blood is passing through the organs of circulation, there is life; but when the blood is shed, the being dies.
When our Lord laid down His earthly life, He did not retain a right to that earthly life in the sense of using it for Himself. He tells us in the parable that all who would gain "the pearl of great price" (Matt. 13:45,46), must sell all that they have; that is, all that they enjoy of earthly life or privileges. Our Lord had a perfect earthly life. He gave up that life. "He poured out His soul [life] unto death." (Isa. 53:12.) On what basis? On exactly the same basis He has put before us; if we would live, we must die; if we would reign, we must suffer; we must be dead with Him. (2 Tim. 2:11,12.) So we who follow in His steps do the same that He did.
If we, as His disciples, lay down our life for the brethren, we are doing what Jesus did. This is all to be applied for the world. He took that earthly life, not to keep it, but to turn it over, eventually, to all mankind. The right to human life is still in His control. He is the One who, as the great Mediator, will give to the world of mankind the life He poured out.
He now imputes His merit to the Church, that we may share with him in His suffering and in His glorious Kingdom, on the spirit plane. This cup, then, represents the full renunciation of earthly life and of all claim thereto. Our Lord's earthly life was not forfeited, but merely laid down. (John 10:17,18.) The intention in laying it down was to abandon it, personally, forever, that humanity might get it. He has not yet accomplished this, in the sense of turning life over to them, but He gave up His life with that purpose in view.
UNFORFEITED EARTHLY LIFE-RIGHT
Our Lord undertook to accomplish the Divine will in the redemption of the world, and He has proceeded in the accomplishment of it, but has not yet completed the purpose. He laid down His life, but did not forfeit it. When He was raised from the dead He still had a right to that earthly life, with the understanding, however, that He was not to use it for Himself, but that He would give that life to all the world who were willing to receive it, assigning it to them at the end of His Reign of a thousand years, during which His Church will Reign with Him.
So then, His life was not taken from Him; for His life could be taken from Him only by His disobedience. (Lev. 18:5; Ezek. 20:11; Luke 10:28; Rom. 10:5.) He laid it down voluntarily, in harmony with the Divine will. He laid it down that it might become an asset in the hands of Divine Justice, so that when the time should come He might use that asset for mankind.--John 6:51.
In the beginning it was the Divine purpose that our Lord's human life should be laid down forever, that He should not take it again. He consecrated His life at Jordan and finished the sacrifice at Calvary. Throughout the Gospel Age He has been sacrificing His Mystical Body. Just as soon as He shall have finished the sacrificing of all these Body members, then their life-right, which belongs to the great High Priest, will be used for the purchase, the redemption, of the world, by the sealing of the New Covenant. Immediately after this, His Kingdom will be established. This further application of His merit, His life-right, which will not be made until the whole Church has passed beyond the veil, is symbolized by the sprinkling of the Mercy Seat with the blood of the goat. The blood of our Lord and the blood of His Body, is all one blood. It is one Priest of many members. It is one Atonement for all--for the sins of the whole world.--I John 2:2.
The blood represents not only the death of Christ, but also the death of all the members of His Body, to whom merit is imputed. This the Apostle expresses in the same connection, saying, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [common union, or participation] of the blood of Christ? The bread [loaf] which we break, is it not the communion [common union, participation] of the Body of Christ?" that is to say, a union in common with Him, a partnership, as represented in the cup and in the bread [loaf]. The whole matter has its origin in Him. But we are celebrating also our own individual share as members of the Church in the sacrifice of the flesh, in our participation in the sufferings of Christ.
SIGNIFICANCE OF EATING OUR LORD'S FLESH AND OF DRINKING HIS BLOODIN THIS chapter the Lord is addressing the Jews, who believed not on Him, but murmured because He told them He was the true Bread from Heaven. His expression, "eat the flesh and drink the blood," had a deep spiritual significance which none but Israelites indeed could receive. And this is still true today. The world, when dealt with in the next Age, by Jesus, will indeed have the opportunity to eat of His flesh-- to appropriate the merits of His sacrifice; but they will have no opportunity of sharing in His Cup--of drinking His blood. Symbolically, the Cup signifies the sacrificed life. The world will have no share in the sufferings of Christ, represented in the Cup. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you."--John 6:53.
Our Lord's words imply, If you accept My proposition of the Gospel Age, you may have life, and have it more abundantly than man has ever had it or could have it. You may have inherent life--"life in you."
THE TWO SALVATIONS PICTURED
There is a difference, we believe, maintained in the Scriptures between the bread, which symbolizes the Lord's flesh, and the wine, which symbolizes His blood. The Church, in order to be accepted of the Lord as members of His glorified Body, must share in both of these by participation. The loaf, as the Apostle explains, not only represents to us our Lord, as the Bread of Life necessary for us, but it also represents us as His members to be broken as our Lord was broken; and the wine represents not only our Lord's blood, but also the blood of the Church--that we are sharers with him in His sacrificial sufferings.--I Cor. 10:16,17.
The privilege of sharing our Lord's Cup is not for the world. They will not share in the sufferings of Christ, because all opportunity to share in His sufferings and glory will have ended when the Church is glorified. The Lord said, "Drink ye all of it"--drink it all. There will be none for the world to drink. And we who are of the Church class "fill up that which is [left] behind of the afflictions of Christ."--Col. 1:24.
"The flesh of the Son of Man" represents Restitution to human privileges, i. e., the means to its attainment, and [R5342 : page 329] restores to man the life which he had forfeited--the life lost in Adam--human life, earthly life. It will be the gift of God through Christ. But the supplying of this Bread will not be sufficient. The world will need to eat of the Bread and to have the assistance the Lord will give them through His Kingdom. Jesus said (V.51), "I am the living Bread which came down from Heaven; if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever."
From one viewpoint the world may be spoken of as not dead. They have lost their right to life, but God has made arrangements through Jesus by which that life will be restored. It was lost in Adam, but will be restored through Christ, the second Adam. During these six thousand years the world has been in a starved and fallen condition. But God has provided this Bread and it will be for them in the Millennial Age.
It is not shown symbolically anywhere in the Scriptures that the world will partake of the blood, and thus participate in the sufferings of Christ. Only a few are represented as partaking of the blood. This is shown in Leviticus 16. The blood sprinkled the second time on the Mercy-Seat is for all the people, thus satisfying Justice. This represented the release of all humanity from the sentence of death, giving all an opportunity to eat of the Bread and not die.
In another picture, we find the blood used representing man's acceptance of the Divine arrangement. In the sealing of the Law Covenant, which is a type of the New Covenant, Moses first sprinkled the books of the Law, representing the satisfaction of Justice. Then with the same blood he afterwards sprinkled all the people. (Heb. 9:19; Exod. 24:8.) The sprinkling of the books of the books of the Law required only a few seconds; but the sprinkling of the people required a long time.
At the beginning of the Millennial Age--as soon as the Church is joined to her Head beyond the veil--the blood will be sprinkled to satisfy Justice for the world. Then, as the Mediator, Christ will proceed to do a work for all who will receive it. And that work is symbolically represented as sprinkling the people with the blood. In other words, every member of the race will be privileged to come into Covenant relationship with God through the Mediator, by accepting the terms which He will hold forth during the Millennial Reign.
MOST VALUABLE FOOD AND DRINK KNOWN
If they meet the requirements during Messiah's Reign, by the close of that period they will be perfect; and He will present them before the Father, and all will be received into full covenant relationship with Him, who endure faithfully the test then applied.
In our context (V.54), we read, "Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life." Our [R5343 : page 329] Lord's statements in many instances are made so broad that they cover, not only the Little Flock, but the Great Company as well, and therein show great wisdom. In this verse the Lord does not say, "hath eternal life" in him; for of those who now make a Covenant of sacrifice, and become sharers of the Cup as well as of the Bread, there are some who will not attain to inherence of life--immortality --but who will come through great tribulations and attain life on a lower spirit plane. They will not have inherent life, though it will be everlasting life. Those who attain immortality will have eternal life, on the highest plane. Those of the Great Company will have eternal life, but not immortality--not life in themselves.
When our Lord said, "For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed" (V.55), we understand Him to mean that this is the most valuable food and drink ever known. No other bread has such value, and no other drink could be so precious as this, by the partaking of which one may attain to glory, honor and immortality --the Divine nature, life in itself.
ANTITYPICAL SHOWERS OF MANNA
The Bread from Heaven was our Lord's flesh, which He was to give for the life of the world. And Jesus explains this to be what was typified by the manna that fell in the wilderness. He said, "Your fathers did eat manna [in the wilderness], and are dead. He that eateth of this Bread shall live forever." He also said (John 12:24), "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." And He did fall into the earth and die. And we become sharers with Him in His death. We participate in His sufferings and death, which the world will never do. They share in its outcome.
All the work of this Gospel Age, is the getting ready of the food for the world, and of the blood which will be sprinkled upon them. But the Message of our Lord in our text was not intended for the world. As He tells us, "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven."
It is only a special class who could know anything about the Mystery of God all through these nineteen hundred years--the two millenniums. These things have been hidden from the world in general. But now we believe that the time is here when they are to be given to the world, making the world conscious of the blessing that God has in store for them soon. The Scriptures tell us that the Mystery will be unfolded during the sounding of the seventh trumpet--which is now sounding. This making of these truths known, therefore, would seem to be the showering of the manna.
HOW ISRAEL CROSSED JORDAN --NOVEMBER 30.--JOSHUA 3:7-17.--UNDER Divine direction, the hosts of Israel removed from the high bench of the Jordan Valley down to the river three days in advance of the time appointed for the crossing. The Jordan River, as usual at this season, was overflowing its banks. Ordinarily about ninety feet wide, it is supposed to have been about five hundred feet wide at this time. "Fear thou not; for I am with thee."--Isaiah 41:10.
The Canaanites in general and the people of Jericho in particular, although expecting an invasion, would not expect it at a time when the river was impassable and when bridges were little known. The Israelites, too, must have had various opportunities for exercising faith or doubt in respect to soon entering Canaan. The fact that nothing is mentioned respecting doubts or fears or murmurings implies that their experiences in the wilderness had taught them valuable lessons of faith in God and trust in Divine appointments.
The crossing day came, and Joshua, by Divine instruction, directed the priests to bear the Ark and to go before the people, proceeding to the brink of the river until their feet were in the water. As their feet touched the water, it began to recede and they to advance, until finally they [R5345 : page 330] stood in the middle of the stony bed of the Jordan, still bearing the Ark of the Covenant, which represented the Divine promise under which they had left Egypt and were hoping for grand results.
The hosts of Israel, lining the banks of the Jordan for miles, crossed over from Moab to Canaan. Thus the crossing was entirely accomplished. Twelve large stones, representing the twelve tribes, were taken from the bed of the Jordan and piled on the shore as a monument or memorial of God's aid, while twelve stones from the shore were placed in the bed of the river as a similar memorial. Finally the priests followed the people to the Canaan shore, and shortly thereafter the waters began to return to the river bed, as before.
HOW THE MIRACLE WAS DONE
The fact that we may now know with considerable certainty just how this miracle was performed should not in the least detract from its value. With God nothing would be a miracle, since He of His own power is able to accomplish His will in every respect. Many things are miracles simply because we do not understand the Divine processes. We are miracles ourselves, fearfully and wonderfully made. The growth of the plant, the flower, or even a blade of grass, is a miracle to us--something wholly beyond our power, and in a general way considerably beyond our comprehension as a process.
The account tells plainly that the heaping up of the waters was in the direction of Adam. This place has been located with considerable certainty by Prof. Wright as situated seventeen miles above Jericho, on the Jordan. The waters became in a heap, a lake, the Professor assures us, by reason of a land-slide which choked the narrow passage in the river, where there were steep banks. The character of the soil in that vicinity would be favorable to the blocking of the narrow channel of the Jordan there by the slipping of the hillsides. Indeed, history tells us that a similar slide took place in the same vicinity in A.D. 1267, damming up the Jordan for several hours and leaving the bed of the river below quite dry, the waters draining off to the Dead Sea.
Prof. Wright says, "So striking is this conformity of the facts to the conditions indicated by the Biblical account, that geologists can find but little difficulty in believing the written record. At the same time the written record is so precise itself, and so free from fantastic elements that the literary critic cannot well consider it as anything but the original, unvarnished tale of an eyewitness."
The marvel of the story is that the Divine marching orders were so timed as to suit the circumstances and conditions exactly.
THE LESSON WAS IMPRESSED
The memorial stones were to bear witness to future generations of this great act of Divine providence on behalf of Israel. Joshua admonished, "When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up from before us, until we were gone over: that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty; that ye might fear the Lord forever."--Joshua 4:21-24.
ENTERING INTO CANAAN REST
St. Paul, in Hebrews 4:5-8, gives us the suggestion that Israel's entrance of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua typified the entrance of the Church into the rest of faith and special privilege under the leadership of the antitypical Joshua, Jesus. The Israelites had rest from their wilderness journeyings. It was a wonderful change for them, a blessed change, yet it was not the full realization of all that God had promised them. That full realization will be attained only in Eden itself, and as a result of Messiah's glorious work of Restitution. Following the Apostle's lead, we perceive that the experiences of Israel up to the time when Moses died represented the Law Dispensation, which ended at the Cross. The Gospel Dispensation, beginning at Pentecost, is typified by the crossing of Jordan and the taking possession of the land, Canaan signifying rest.
"We who believe do enter into rest"--in proportion to our exercise of faith. He who exercises much faith may have much rest, and may conquer, and possess quietude. He who has less faith will have less rest and will be able only partially to enter upon his privileges. The storming of Jericho and the other cities of Canaan typified the warfare of the New Creature, begotten of the Holy Spirit, against the things of the flesh, the desires of the flesh, the weaknesses and depravities of the flesh. The Lord's word to those who would enter into His rest is, "Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed. The Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest."
Those lacking faith entered not at all into Canaan, but died in the wilderness. So we read, "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the Election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." Only the faithful will constitute God's Elect. Only these can pass from the old to the new conditions. Only these pass from death unto life without actually dying. Throughout this Gospel Age, God has been making up Israel's deficit by calling a similar class from all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues. Each one is called upon to exercise faith and cross over Jordan, in the sense of beginning a new life--a life of devotion to God, a life of warfare against sin and the entrenched weaknesses of his own flesh.
We agree with the Apostle's words that "We who believe do enter into rest." All of God's consecrated people can testify that they have a rest, a peace, a joy, a blessing, which the world can neither give nor take away-- and this in proportion to their loyalty and faithfulness. Yet even all this is not sufficient. God has in reservation something far better. Respecting this the Apostle declares, "There remaineth, therefore, a rest for the people of God."--Hebrews 4:9.
That Heavenly rest will be entered by the perfecting of the New Creatures in the First Resurrection. Their loyalty and faithfulness having been demonstrated in fighting the good fight of faith against the world, the flesh and the Adversary, the Lord promises them a glorious change, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye"-- a share in His own resurrection to the perfection of the Divine nature, "far above angels, principalities and powers" and in association with Himself in the glorious Messianic Kingdom, by which the world of mankind is also to be blessed.--Luke 12:32.
THE SABBATH OF THE LORD
St. Paul intimates that the seventh day of the Law Sabbath typified the present condition of the Lord's people enjoying rest, peace and Divine favor even under imperfect conditions; but the true Sabbath will come for us when we shall have experienced our resurrection change. Then we shall have rest from sin. We shall also have rest from our own weaknesses and imperfections; [R5346 : page 331] for all of these will be gone. The New Creatures will be beings without flaw, blameless and irreprovable. "It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body."
The weaknesses of others will no longer cause us unrest. The rest of the glorified condition of the Church will be perfect. But before we can enter into that rest, we must here show our worthiness by fighting the good fight of faith and by laying hold on eternal life, upon the conditions which are offered us, walking faithfully in the Master's footsteps.
THE FALL OF JERICHO --DECEMBER 7.--JOSHUA 6:8-11,14-20.--
"All things are possible to him that believeth."--Mark 9:23.
JERICHO was a walled city situated about five miles from the Jordan. It was small, as cities are now estimated; but its wall was a necessity, owing to frequent incursions from Syria on the one side, and Egypt on the other; and because it was situated on one of the main lines of travel leading to a mountain pass. It is described as having been very rich, not only in precious metals, but also in expensive fabrics, clothing, etc.
The Lord's decree in respect to Jericho and all the other cities of Canaan was that they were devoted-- cherem. The Israelites were not led into Canaan to do a pillaging work. They were to be the executioners of the Divine decree against the people of Canaan, who were divided up into little principalities, each city constituting the center of a principality. According to history, they were continually at war with each other, and atrociously corrupt, after the manner of the Sodomites. They were to be destroyed as no longer advantageous in the conditions in which they were living, either to themselves or others. God took them away as He saw good.
In the great prison-house of Sheol, the tomb, they would wait for the more favorable time of Messiah's Kingdom and the release and assistance out of degradation and death promised to all mankind through Abraham's seed: "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
The Israelites, as executioners of the Divine decrees, were to destroy the cities of Canaan and all their inhabitants, their animals and all their property. The exceptions were the things of metal; and these were not to be appropriated by the Israelites to their own use, but were consecrated in advance to the Lord for the furnishment and adornment of the Tabernacle and the Temple.
"CAPTAIN OF THE LORD'S HOST"
After crossing Jordan, the Israelites encamped about midway between the river and Jericho, the latter city having shut up its gates tightly, expecting to endure a long siege. Joshua was aware that the first place of attack was Jericho, but evidently was not aware of the character of the siege and of the way in which it would be overthrown. While reconnoitering in the vicinity of Jericho, he came upon an armed soldier, and at once inquired whether he was a friend or a foe to Israel. The answer was that he was the Captain of the Lord's host. One of the angels had been commissioned to materialize--to appear as a human being and to wear human garments and armor--for the purpose of communicating the Divine plans to Joshua.
We are to remember that the Bible relates frequent manifestations of this kind--spirit beings hiding their personality while assuming human bodies, human clothing, etc., in which they ate, talked, etc., as men. We remember that it was after this same manner that the Lord Jesus after His resurrection appeared to His disciples in various forms, sometimes similar to His crucified body, but more often otherwise--as the gardener, a way-farer, etc. Similarly, three spirit beings appeared to Abraham on one occasion--not only in human bodies, but wearing human apparel. And they ate and talked with Abraham (Genesis 18:8,9), and he knew not that they were angels until subsequently they revealed their identity.
Through this Heavenly messenger the Divine plan for the capture of Jericho was revealed to Joshua. He immediately put it into execution. Every day there was a solemn procession around the doomed city. First went a military escort from the various tribes. Next followed a company of priests blowing rams' horns, making shrill noises. Then came a further procession--a rear guard-- presumably warriors. In harmony with explicit directions not a voice was raised, not a threat nor a shout. Everything connected with the matter was most solemn and funeral, except the blowing on the rams' horns, which were the same as were used in announcing each new year, but especially and peculiarly used in the Jubilee year.
These solemn funeral processions encompassed Jericho once every day for six days. Then on the seventh day they went about the city seven times, the last time vociferously shouting--the seven priests blowing upon the rams' horns. When they had made the seventh circle of the city they stopped in front of it, still blowing; and forthwith the wall of the city crumbled and fell. The translation of our Common Version, "down flat," seems too strong a statement to represent properly the original. The walls of the city crumbled and fell immediately in front of the Ark. But not all the wall fell; for the account tells that the portion of the wall where Rahab's house was built did not fall. (Cf. Joshua 2:15-19.) The wall fell to such a degree that Israel's soldiers were able easily and quickly to surmount it and accomplish the work of destruction which the Lord had commanded.
Is it suggested that such an event would be preposterous? If so, we reply that everything in the Divine purpose can easily enough be accomplished under the Divine supervision. Quite probably the tremor of an earthquake, under Divine direction, caused the fall of Jericho's wall in front of the Israelites. When we consider all the circumstances as related in the Bible, it does not seem at all impossible that God thus intervened for the carrying out of His own purposes.
Prof. Wright declares, "The 'mediate' cause of the fall of the wall was some subterranean earthquake, which shook down the walls of the part of the city where the men were standing, or undermined them so that they sank. This is easily possible in that region of earthquakes." Prof. Lawson describes similar results from earthquakes near San Francisco, saying, "The earth waves which passed through the highly elastic rocks swiftly with a small amplitude seem in this material to have been transformed into slow undulations of great amplitude, which were excessively destructive."
Prof. Wright adds, "All the chimneys of the place [Oakland] were thrown down, and the bricks were scattered [R5344 : page 332] around over the yard as grains of wheat would be when falling from the hands of the sower. The record is that at the appointed time the walls [of Jericho] fell; and we are free to believe that the catastrophe was connected with an earthquake, which was made to synchronize with the final blasts of the rams' horns. In the light of history and geological conditions of this region, the story bears every mark of being a genuine and authentic account of an event so remarkable that it could not have been modified by tradition without rendering it fantastic and incredible. To the geologist who believes in God, it is perfectly reasonable. To the textual critic, the freedom from fantastic comment marks it as having been unadorned by tradition."
There seems to be a typical significance connected with the capture of Jericho. In a sense it is made to represent all the cities of Canaan as their capital. The six days of the quiet marching around the city, with nothing accomplished except the witnessing, represents the six great Days of the larger Week--each Day a thousand years long. During the world's history, Sin has been entrenched and impregnable. The Lord's people have merely given witness against it--blowing the trumpets --giving forth the Bible Message that ultimately Sin shall be destroyed--"All the wicked will God destroy." They shall perish "like natural brute beasts." "They shall be punished with everlasting destruction"--"the Second Death."--Psalm 145:20; 2 Peter 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:14.
But little has resulted from all the witnessing. We are waiting for the great Seventh Day--the thousand years of Messiah's Reign. In it the citadel of evil will be surrounded seven times, or completely. The shout of victory will go up; and the strong walls of sin and error, of Satan's falsehood, of human deception, will fall. Satan shall be bound a thousand years, to deceive the world no more, and every evil thing and principle and all who love sin will be forever destroyed in the Second Death. Thus will be ushered in the glorious epoch for which we so long have waited and prayed, in which there shall be no more curse, no more sighing, crying or dying.
That victory will be under the guidance and direction of Immanuel, the Captain of the Lord's host, the Captain of our salvation. Christ and the Church will then be beyond the veil in the glory of the Kingdom on the spirit plane; but there will be representatives of the Kingdom on the earthly plane, though their rule and direction will be under the guidance and instruction of the spiritual ones--of the glorified. The Scriptures are very clear in their indication that none will belong to the Heavenly company in the resurrection except such as have been begotten of the Holy Spirit during this Gospel Age-- beginning with Pentecost.
The glorious characters who preceded Jesus and the Church, like John the Baptist, may be friends of the Bridegroom and friends of the Bride class, but themselves belong to another class. Since no one was begotten of the Holy Spirit before the Sacrifice of Calvary, none could possibly be born of the Spirit previously. St. Paul declares that glorious blessings are coming for all those noble characters of the past, such as Moses and others whom he enumerates in Hebrews 11. He concludes the story of their life and blessing by assuring the Church that these Ancient Worthies apart from us (the Church) shall not be made perfect. God has provided some better thing for us (the Church). Our better portion is the attainment of the spirit nature, like unto the angels, but far above angels, sharers with our Redeemer in His glory and immortality.
The reward of the Ancient Worthies, however, will be glorious. Brought back from the tomb perfect as human beings, they will be grand ensamples to the world of what Restitution will mean to all who will come into harmony with Messiah's Kingdom. And their portion and honor will be to represent that Kingdom as Princes or Rulers in all the earth.--Psalm 45:16.
How munificent are the Divine arrangements! Our great Creator is the Fountain of blessings, pouring out His mercies and favors on every hand. Our Lord Jesus, the great Captain of our salvation, who manifested His loyalty to the Father even unto the death of the cross, has already attained the highest position, next to Jehovah. The faithful Church, walking in the footsteps of the Redeemer in the narrow way of self-sacrifice, will be next to Him in His glory and Kingdom. Then, on every man in his own order, the Divine blessings will shower for a thousand years, to the uplifting of all out of sin and degradation back to the perfection of Adam in his Edenic home. The result will be "glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will amongst men"; for all contrary-minded shall be destroyed from amongst the people in the Second Death.--Acts 3:23.
MAMMON THE PRINCIPLE OF SELFISHNESSA MAN may endeavor to serve two masters, or more, but no one can be a satisfactory servant to more than one master. No two interests are so completely one that the service of either would not more or less detract from the service of the other. The Lord explained this matter in His Sermon on the Mount. He tells us that one of the masters to whom He refers in our text is God, the Heavenly Father, and the other is Mammon--selfishness and sin, together with all that is connected with unrighteousness--everything contrary to God and His righteousness. "No man can serve two masters."--Matt. 6:24.
As a matter of fact, we are born in slavery to Sin. The Scriptures inform us that we were sold into this slavery by the disobedience of our first parents. Sin, therefore, has a hold upon the entire world of mankind. They are all slaves. It is impossible for them to deliver themselves from the thraldom of this slavery; for it is everywhere--the world around.
Some are loyal to the interests of evil; but the great majority are at heart disloyal to Mammon, realizing that in serving self they are opposing God. But at the same time, those who serve Mammon, selfishness, get the best in the political sphere, the best in the ecclesiastical sphere, the best in the social sphere, and the best in the financial sphere. Selfishness succeeds at the present time. All human arrangements are along the lines of selfishness. Whoever, then, works along these lines serves himself better than if he were not selfish. Otherwise he would have his fellow-creatures in opposition to him, misunderstanding him, etc.
But Jesus inaugurated a new order of things. He declared that God is ready to receive back to Himself those who forsake sin and believe on Him. He tells them that He will redeem them; and that as many as will [R5344 : page 333] accept His gracious arrangement will be set free. "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
SELFISHNESS CHARACTERISTIC OF SATAN
Most people have selfishness so ingrained in their own natures and so mixed up in all with which they have to do, socially and otherwise, that to the majority of those who heard our Lord the Message seemed foolish. It was foolishness to them that our Lord should lose His life, that He should waste His life, and accomplish nothing. Consequently they thought it a waste of energy for any to become His companions, and they continued to serve Mammon, not knowing that they were serving the Devil.
The Mammon principle, the selfish principle, is of Satan. But he carefully hides his cloven foot, and makes himself to appear as an angel of light. When he is inviting people to take his way, the way of selfishness, he is at the same time misrepresenting God. And all those who take our Lord's way are held up to ridicule; for the Prince of this world has much power. Those who serve him cannot see that any other way would be reasonable or proper. Hence the difference between the children of light and the children of darkness.
Satan sets himself up as an angel of light; but his servants cannot see this, and thus he has them continually at a disadvantage. He says, "You need not serve Mammon; but be moderate in your course. Serve the present things. Do a little on this side and a little on that." And they say, "We will really in our hearts serve God; but outwardly we must serve Mammon. Otherwise we shall have trouble in continuing to be worldly-wise--if the world sees that we are serving God." Many have attempted this double course. This principle has been manifested all through the Gospel Age. If there had been no cause for Jesus to use these words, we may be sure He would not have used them. Jesus is here telling us that we cannot be faithful and acceptable servants to the world if we would be loyal to God; and we cannot be satisfactory to God if we give our hearts to Mammon.
The majority of Christian people are in this attitude today. They try to serve God; and yet they try to be worldly-wise, and to shape their conduct and their affairs of the present life in harmony with the present order of Mammon. The Lord would have them know that it is impossible to serve God and Mammon. He has promised to pay wages to those who serve Him. They must know that there can be no middle course, so far as God is concerned. Mammon might be willing to give a partial reward for partial service. But so far as Jesus is concerned, our service must be undivided.
Whomsoever the Son makes free will be free indeed. In the world they will have tribulation. But they will have the peace which passes all understanding. Others cannot appreciate their blessings, their real condition. If any one should try to serve two masters, his heart would go [R5345 : page 333] out to the one or to the other; for he would more and more detest his condition. If he were liberated by the Son, and fully enlisted in His service, he would come more and more into sympathy with the Divine arrangement, with the Justice, Wisdom and Love exercised by the Heavenly Father in His gracious Plan; and the appreciation of this would more and more fill him, so that he would have no time for worldly things.
OUR gifts should in some sense of the word always represent ourselves. All who recognize themselves as New Creatures should have this in mind at this season of the year. We refresh your memories by the following brief announcements of items we carry in stock, additional to our general stock of Bibles and Bible Study Helps mentioned on the reverse side of this page of THE WATCH TOWER:
"Studies in the Scriptures." India paper edition, fine leather binding, gold edges, light, small, beautiful, $4.80 (1L), postpaid.
"Studies in the Scriptures." Morocco, over boards, gold edges, but on paper the same as the ordinary cloth edition, suitable for book-shelf, $3.60 (15s) per set of six volumes, postpaid.
"Studies," Volume I., with Pyramid Chapter added. This special edition is very suitable for presentation to uninterested friends. Many have had their interest awakened by the reading of the Pyramid Chapter. We recommend this Volume for gift purposes. Postpaid 50c. (2s 1d), but, to stimulate its wide circulation, we offer ten copies for $3.50 (14s 7d), postpaid.
"Poems of Dawn." Nearly three hundred very choice poems topically divided, the very thing each should have near him for a leisure moment. The value of these as spiritual stimulants is inestimable. They can be appreciated by all Christians, though of course especially by those possessing a knowledge of Present Truth. Postpaid in cloth binding 25c. (1s); leather-bound 50c. (2s 1d).
"In the Garden of the Lord." This little booklet is a choice poem from the pen of Sister Seibert. It contains sixteen colored illustrations, twenty-four pages. Postpaid 6c. (3d) each; per dozen 65c. (2s 8d).
"The Sweet Briar Rose." A poem by Sister Seibert, with a commendation of "The Divine Plan of the Ages." Postpaid 2c. (1d) each; per hundred 50c. (2s 1d).
Choice Motto Cards for home embellishment and spiritual refreshment.
Packet Mz, containing fifteen small cards with different texts, postpaid 50c. (2s 1d).
Number Mv, containing eight small and three large-sized cards, 50c. (2s 1d).
Number Ma, containing fifteen small and six a little larger sized cards, $1 (4s 2d).
Number Mb, containing six small, six a little larger and three medium-sized motto cards, $1 (4s 2d).
Number Mc, containing six small and six medium-sized cards, $1 (4s 2d).
Number Md, containing six small, six a little larger and three large cards, $1 (4s 2d).
Number Me, containing four large cards, $1 (4s 2d).
Where $5 (L1 10d) worth of these are sent to one address the saving in package and expressage would be 50c., making the price $4.50 (18s 9d). Order by number only.
Postcards. Assorted mottoes and designs, 15c. (7-1/2d) per dozen; $1.15 (4s 10d) per hundred.
Memory Cards. We have two different sets of these-- No. 1 and No. 2. Colors of the cards indicate the topic. As for instance, purple represents royalty and the Kingdom, garnet represents the redeeming blood, etc. On one side of the cards are texts appropriate to the color. On the reverse side of the card is the citation of where it is found. Fifty cards to the pack, 25c. (1s 1d) per pack, postpaid. These can be used personally or with a company of friends. The design is to commit the text to memory and its citation. Many have found these very useful.
Jerusalem Remembrancers of Olivewood. Brother Russell purchased a quantity of these on the occasion of his last visit to Jerusalem. We still have some remaining--paper knives and paper weights made of olivewood highly polished. Postpaid 10c. (5d) each. In quantities, 80c. (3s 4d) per dozen.
ASSIST US BY REMEMBERING TO:
Write your letters and your full address very plainly.
Write your orders on a separate sheet of paper.
If answering a letter marked File A, File R, or otherwise, refer to it in the opening paragraph of your letter.
The Editor thanks you for clippings received from time to time, but requests that in every case the articles be marked to indicate the name of the paper in which they appeared, and the date.
"I.B.S.A." BIBLES AND OTHER BIBLE STUDY HELPS
First in this list we mention the several volumes of "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES" SERIES [SEE OVER] We commend also, as aids, the following publications (not all our own), which we supply at specially low prices because of the assistance they lend to the study of God's Word. We mention these somewhat in the order in which they seem to us to be desirable aids.
OUR SPECIAL "I.B.S.A." BIBLE
Hereafter to distinguish our own special edition from other Bibles, we will refer to it as the "I.B.S.A." Bible. This Bible is becoming more and more indispensable to all readers as they learn how to use it. The translation, of course, is not at all different from that of other Bibles of the Common Version. We specially recommend it for its smallness of size, lightness of weight, and good-sized print, and above all for the helps to Bible students and teachers bound with it; printed on India paper; excellent press work. Its special feature, distinguishing this Bible from all others, is
BIBLE TEACHERS' MANUAL. Part I.
Biblical Comments from Genesis to Revelation, with references to the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and others of our publications showing the page where the text is more fully discussed and elaborated. We can scarcely imagine anything more helpful than these for Bible study. It is so easy to turn to the reference and ascertain if the matter has been treated and where and how. It represents four hundred and eighty-one pages of matter.
Part II. INSTRUCTORS' GUIDE TEXTS.
This is a topical arrangement of Bible subjects specially convenient for those who have opportunity for teaching others the Divine Plan of the Ages. Its various Topics are arranged under distinct headings and the various texts bearing upon the subjects are collated. With this help a novice has at his command, well-furnished, "the Sword of the Spirit." It is in condensed form, very convenient, and consists of eighteen pages solid matter.
Part III. BEREAN TOPICAL INDEX.
The Berean Topical Index, alphabetically arranged, presents a large variety of subjects showing references to the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and others of our publications treating the same. This feature covers twenty-eight pages.
Part IV. DIFFICULT TEXTS EXPLAINED. SPURIOUS PASSAGES NOTED.
In this, specially difficult texts are brought to the attention and references given showing where they are treated in our publications. Following this is a full list of various interpolations and spurious passages of the Scriptures not in the original MSS., as proven by the oldest Greek MSS.--fifteen pages.
These four features, representing five hundred and forty-two pages, are not to be found in any other Bibles on earth and, in our opinion, they are of almost priceless value. One of our interested readers if he could not procure another would not sell his copy for a hundred dollars--many of them surely would not take thousands for it.
All of our "I.B.S.A." Bibles contain the above, and some of them, the numbers of which end with a nine, contain additionally Bagster's Bible Study Helps, including an alphabetical index of proper names and Bagster's Bible Concordance and Maps--a total of one hundred and eighty-six pages.
We not only supply these Bibles at cost price, but, because of the large quantities ordered at a time, we are enabled to secure a cost price which is really phenomenal. The very low prices must not lead you to think that these are manufactured in any slipshod manner. They are first class in every particular. The prices are, many of them, less than one-half of what you pay for such books almost anywhere else.
So great is the demand for these "I.B.S.A." Bibles that hereafter we purpose carrying no others in stock except pocket Bibles and large type Bibles for the aged. We will still, however, be pleased to serve anyone who desires other Bibles. We can procure for these wholesale rates, usually twenty-five per cent. off, plus postage.
DESCRIPTION AND PRICES--"I.B.S.A." BIBLES
1918, price $1.65, postage prepaid, is a beautiful book. It is small and light. Size 4-3/4 x 6-3/4 inches. It has minion type, red under gold edges, divinity circuit, French Seal. Looks like the genuine sealskin, but it is in reality good sheepskin.
Number 1919, price $1.75, postage prepaid; the same book, the same Bible; the same every way except the addition of Bagster Helps, Concordances, etc., making this size a trifle larger.
Number 1928, price $2.65, postage prepaid. This is the same book exactly as number 1918, except that it has genuine morocco binding; leather-lined.
LITTLE LARGER, IONIC TYPE, SELF-PRONOUNCING
Number 1939, price $1.95, postage prepaid. This is the same book as 1919, the same binding and contents, but it has a coarser print and is a little larger book. Size, 5-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches.
Number 1959, price $3.65, postage prepaid. This is the same book as 1939 except that it has splendid morocco binding, is calf-lined and silk-sewed. Bibles similar in quality and finish are listed in many catalogues at $8.
The sale of these books is not restricted to WATCH TOWER readers. They are valuable aids in Bible study, and open to the public.
Remit with order. We can secure such prices only by paying spot cash and must sell on the same terms. Registry, 10c. additional.
Anyone ordering patent index on any of these Bibles should so state and should add twenty-five cents to the price. Should any desire other Bibles we will be pleased to supply publisher's catalogue, giving full description and prices. We are usually able to secure a discount of 25 per cent. on the publishers' list prices.
BIBLE STUDY HELPS (BOUND SEPARATE)
These are the same as in the latest "I.B.S.A." Bibles, described above. Leather, $1; postage prepaid.
DAILY HEAVENLY MANNA FOR THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH
The demand for this publication increases year by year.
Our present edition of the "Manna" contains the same texts and comments as all former editions. Every alternate leaf is blank-ruled, for use as an autograph and birthday record. Its value increases as additional autographs of friends are secured. It is printed on fine bond paper. We now have it in three different grades of binding, at very reasonable prices, considering the class of workmanship.
The following wholesale rates postpaid are granted to all WATCH TOWER subscribers:Purple cloth, silver embossed....................................$0.35 Dark blue cloth, silver embossed, German......................... .35 Leatherette, gold edges.......................................... .50 " blue edges, Swedish................................. .35 " gold edges, " ................................. .65 Genuine Morocco, gold edges...................................... 1.10
We hope this little book will find a place at every breakfast table; that spiritual refreshment may thus be enjoyed with the natural food.
THE EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT
This very valuable work, published under the author's copyright by Fowler & Wells Co., New York City, has been sold by them at $4 in cloth and $5 in half leather binding. For several years a friend, an earnest Bible student, desirous of assisting the readers of our Society's publications, has supplied them through us at a greatly reduced price; now he has purchased the copyright and plates from the Fowler & Wells Co., and presented the same to our Society as a gift that the poor of the Lord's flock may have this help in the study of the Word.
REDUCED PRICES.--These will be sold with THE WATCH TOWER only. In cloth binding $1.50 (6s. 3d.)--includes postage and, as a Premium, one year's subscription new or renewal, to THE WATCH TOWER. On thin paper, in full morocco leather, divinity circuit, red under gold edges, silk sewed, leather lined, $2.50 (10s. 6d.)--includes postage and one year's subscription to THE WATCH TOWER.
THE TISCHENDORF NEW TESTAMENT
This is the ordinary Common Version in cloth binding. As footnotes it gives the reading of the three oldest Greek MSS., Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrine, wherever these differ from the Common Version. This is a very valuable little work, published in Europe, which we specially import. Price, 50c., including postage.
LEESER'S TRANSLATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
This is the standard translation amongst English reading Hebrews, by one of their own rabbis. It is not perfect, but is a valuable aid in critical study of the Old Testament. Our special price, in leather binding, including postage, is $1.10.