page 129
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

VOL. XXXVMAY 1No. 9

A. D. 1914--A. M. 6042


CONTENTS

Views From The Watch Tower131
Forebodings of the Duke of Bedford131
Proper Perspective of the Situation131
The Nations Hurrying to Armageddon132
We Fulfil Our Promise132
Waters of Euphrates Drying Up133
"Now is Our Salvation Nearer"134
Chronology Based Upon Faith134
A Scripture to Be Fulfilled135
Who Commits the Sin Unto Death--Part II136
Esau's Loss a Warning to the Church136
Who Commits the Unpardonable Sin136
"Where Are the Nine?"139
Messiah's Kingdom to Be Invisible140
"Days of the Son of Man"141
Saints on the Housetop142
Creation Photo-Drama142
Memorial Supper Celebration143
Renew Requests for Pilgrim Visits143

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 130

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.




FOR SCANDINAVIAN FRIENDS

We learn that the Svenska Folkets Tiding has contracted with the Newspaper Syndicate for the regular publication of a full report of the Pastor Russell Sermons and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Bible Studies. This should prove a means of interesting some of your friends in Present Truth. A six-months' subscription may do it. The price is one dollar a year. Send your subscriptions to us.


"SCRIPTURE STUDIES"--POCKET EDITION

We have the Karatol edition of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES in stock, 25c. each, postpaid.

We have a new edition also on thin paper, red cloth binding, 35c. per volume--$2.00 per set of six, in neat cloth holder. The set with THE WATCH TOWER for one year to any address, $2.65.

Colporteur rates the same as on our regular cloth edition.


1914--VOLUNTEER LITERATURE READY--1914

All Classes desirous of engaging in the regular volunteering are invited to send in through their Secretaries information as to quantity of literature desired and proper place of shipment--not forgetting to mention the population of their city, and, if suburban towns are to be included, their population also. The quantity of literature should rarely exceed in number one-sixth of the population of the district, to give one paper to each English-speaking family. This Volunteer literature is provided free, including delivery charges. It furnishes a door of opportunity for the service of the Gospel to those who are seeking one.


CLINTON AND COLUMBUS CONVENTIONS.

The PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION will be presented each evening at both of these Conventions. Baptism symbolization opportunities at Clinton will be on June 29th, and at Columbus June 30th and July 3d.

Brother Russell will be at Clinton on June 28th, 29th and 30th; and at Columbus on July 3d, 4th and 5th.

The Columbus Convention will hold over for July 7th to give three full presentations of the DRAMA there.



BETHEL HYMNS FOR JUNE

After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for June follow:

(1) 179; (2) 101; (3) 25; (4) 94; (5) 43; (6) 72; (7) 305; (8) 160; (9) 47; (10) 28; (11) 259; (12) 155; (13) 274; (14) 129; (15) 22; (16) 333; (17) 307; (18) 170; (19) 4; (20) 376; (21) 283; (22) 38; (23) 279; (24) 130; (25) 113; (26) 178; (27) 12; (28) 188; (29) 77; (30) 240.



[R5448 : page 131]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER

"IN UGLY TEMPER"

FOREBODINGS OF THE DUKE OF BEDFORD


IN A LETTER of apology for absence from the dinner of the Bletchley (Bedfordshire) Working Men's Unionist Association, the Duke of Bedford says:

"The prospects with which 1914 opens are nowhere encouraging. Unrest prevails in every quarter of the habitable globe-- from China to Peru. The difficulties of Great Britain are as great as, if not greater than, those of her neighbors, and her means of defense are less, for her Constitution has been deliberately destroyed to serve the cause of party.

"The House of Lords is only retained to supply the Radical Party with money for electioneering purposes. The House of Commons is muzzled and gagged, and the salaried representatives of the constituencies serve the electorate or earn their salaries, not with their brains or their judgment, but with their legs; they walk into the voting lobbies whenever the Government Whips give them their orders. Legislation is a mere question of shoe leather.

"When constitutional safeguards are swept away and no guidance is forthcoming, the only method of expressing discontent which remains is civil war. This is what we are now finding.

"Now a new danger looms before us. It looks as if the problem of naval defense would be shirked, that a body of men led by persons with ostentatiously German names may continue the support of the Radical Party. And meanwhile by assiduous appeals to envy, hatred and greed, Ministers have spoiled the temper of the nation. The nation is not only out of temper, but in an ugly temper."--London Daily Mail.


***

The foregoing shows some of the troubles of worldly princes and aristocracy. We cannot avoid a feeling of deep sympathy for the aristocracy in their present conditions. Jesus long ago foretold the conditions of our day, saying, especially of the rich and titled, "Men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth"--upon society. Special privileges have so long been enjoyed by the aristocracy that it is only natural that they should feel that these privileges are theirs by Divine right.

On the other hand, the world of mankind are learning how the control of the earth came into the possession of so few people in olden times. They are learning that in less civilized times the better educated and more influential gradually gathered property and titles into their own hands. These have been transferred to their children from generation to generation, and laws have been framed which recognize their titles, until now any other laws which in any measure abrogate the title, or limit the special privileges, are felt to be unjust, ungodly --robbery.

Much could be said on both sides of the question. It is ours to consider God's view of the situation and the relationship of the whole to the Golden Rule--the Divine Law. Viewing matters from this standpoint, the majority can agree that even if there was an excuse in the past for the usurpation of titles, privileges and possessions of land, those privileges would cease with changed conditions. In other words, if there was in the past a time when the masses of the people were too ignorant or too superstitious to appreciate self-government and to exercise it properly, and if at that time it was in the interest of all that the land and the privileges were seized by the more fit of the race for the general welfare, this did not mean that matters must so continue forever. It did mean, rather, that with general education and general fitness for self-government all such privileges should be relinquished or abrogated.

THE PROPER PERSPECTIVE OF THE SITUATION

To state the matter in different terms: If the educated in times past believed that they followed the Golden Rule in seizing land and authority, the same Golden Rule would demand that their power be used in the public interest and welfare--that the public be educated and that, as the masses became capable of self-control, power and authority should be gradually delivered to them. The whole question, according to this standard of the Golden Rule, would therefore be, Have the masses yet attained that degree of development which would permit them to handle their own, or should the aristocracy continue to handle it for them under the plea that the public is not competent--not wise enough to manage its own estate?

Whenever the majority of the people reach the conclusion that they are competent to manage their estate, and whenever they learn that God gave the earth and its fulness not to the few, but to the many--then the people will take up their own inheritance and exercise their own control; and in that proportion the titles of lords, nobles, dukes, kings and emperors will be merely empty reminders of a darker time. Thenceforth, either by Parliaments or Congresses, the people will manage their own affairs, using the ballot for that purpose.

This condition of things, which has been coming upon the world gradually, is evidently quite right, quite in accord [R5448 : page 132] with the Golden Rule. True, it would have appeared nobler had the titled aristocracy voluntarily surrendered to the people their rights. But we must remember that all mankind are innately selfish, and hence disposed to look upon matters from the standpoint of their own personal interest and that of their families. It has been fortunate for the world's peace that this turning of their rights over to the people has been proceeding gradually, rather than by violent revolution. Inch by inch the people have been taking back their rights, in proportion as they became intelligent enough to appreciate them. Perhaps sometimes in their zeal, they desired too much or sought to grasp too much, or at least sought to grasp more than they were qualified to use wisely.

No wonder if many of the aristocracy feel deeply grieved, as does the Duke of Bedford. No wonder if many of them have dark forebodings respecting the future. No wonder if it seems to them as if justice is being violated. They have lost the proper perspective of the situation. They fail to see that as elder brothers to the remainder of the race, they should recognize that the masses are no longer "like dumb, driven cattle." They should recognize that a great awakening has come within the last century, and they should be as anxious to turn over the inheritance to their brethren as the latter are anxious to receive it.

THE NATIONS HURRYING TO ARMAGEDDON

The political battle which has been in progress in Great Britain in recent years, and especially within the past two years, is exciting the astonishment of the world. Kings and princes and nobles are in alarm, fearful of the results. The Bible alone makes the situation clear. It alone shows us that the wonderful changes of our day are incidental to the transfer of the kingdoms of this world to become the Kingdom of God's dear Son.

We should not be misunderstood, however: We have no thought that the change of parties or of party leaders or of party policies in Great Britain, or in any other nation, will make that nation a holy nation, a member of the Kingdom of God. Indeed, we have no reason to believe that Socialists as a whole would or could give the world the blessing of perfect earthly government, establish human rights, etc. On the contrary, we are to remember that while kings and princes have ruled sometimes with a heavy hand, nevertheless, in recent years at least, they have found it necessary to give the people and their interests greater consideration than ever before; and that their experience and their education doubtless qualify them above the average of their fellows for the management of large questions of national import.

Besides, the sudden change would involve not only great hardship to these lords of the land, but probably great distress and hardship to the masses as well. Indeed, this is just what the Bible points out to us. We are living in the time of Christ's presence. The selection of the Church of Christ to be the Bride-Consort in the Kingdom is nearly completed. The Kingdom will, therefore, soon be established. But those possessed of the power and authority, not realizing this, are holding fast to all that was seized by their forefathers under different conditions.

To our understanding, the Bible teaches that this conflict of interests is about to precipitate a great Time of Trouble, the like of which never was before. (Daniel 12:1.) Nobody wants the trouble, everybody will be injured by it, and yet everybody is rushing toward it. Both the aristocracy and the masses are goaded on by fear. The former fear the loss of their earthly all; the latter perceive that the money of the world, and the land, the basis of all wealth, are in possession of the aristocracy.

The masses realize that, with the bountiful blessings which God has been pouring out upon the world during the past century through increase of knowledge and invention, the world is becoming fabulously rich; and that these riches are gravitating toward the same hands that control the land. They are fearful that if they do not improve the opportunities now passing, they or their children will in time again become slaves or serfs. Hence the turmoil of speech and the conflict between classes, which are hurrying us toward the vortex of the great Armageddon.--Revelation 16:16.

MAN'S EXTREMITY GOD'S OPPORTUNITY

Although we are powerless to hinder either party, we are deeply interested in both, and sympathetic toward both; our own best consolation and the best which we can [R5449 : page 132] offer to either party of the strife is that which we get from the Bible. It tells us that in the darkest hour, when human passion will have reached its climax in anarchy, there still will be hope--the brightest of all hopes. Following the dark hour of trouble will come the glorious sunrise of the Millennial Kingdom, scattering earth's ignorance and superstition. Then the Kingdom, taking a firm hold upon the race, will properly conduct humanity to the full heights of perfection lost in Eden, but redeemed for all at Calvary. With such a hope we may well possess our souls in peace, awaiting so glorious an outcome of the Divine Plan.

Although we are not to be active in the strife on either side, we cannot be without deep interest in both sides; and we must, to the extent of our opportunities and influence, tell the good tidings of the coming Kingdom to as many of the warriors in that battle as may have the hearing ear. To whatever extent they shall be able to hear, to believe, they will have blessing, peace, comfort. It is the portion of the Church to be faithful to the principles of the Divine character and to make known the Divine Program, to bind up all the broken-hearted with the blessed Message of Divine mercy and to teach all the lesson of patient endurance, loyalty and faithfulness. It is ours, as the Apostle says, to "do good unto all men, but especially unto them who are of the Household of Faith."

Whether or not the climax of this trouble should be reached in 1915, is not for us to say. We should even have no wish on the subject, except that God's will shall be done. As we note the rapid changes which have taken place in the public sentiment in Great Britain within the past year, we cannot doubt that if the Gentile Times expire with the close of this year, 1914, a very short period might accomplish the full inauguration of the Day of Wrath, in which, as foreshown in Bible imagery, the ecclesiastical heavens and the political earth will be consumed in a wild revolution of human passion, which will thoroughly melt, or disintegrate, the elements composing the present order of things--the social element, the political element, the financial element, the ecclesiastical element. We know, however, that the great God of Love is so wise that He has known long in advance every feature of the great conflict and conflagration; and that His arrangements are ample for the arrest of the trouble in due time, by the establishment of the Kingdom of His dear Son with great and glorious power.

WE FULFIL OUR PROMISE

We had expected that if the Gentile Times should end with the present year, this would surely mean that all the Bride class would participate in the First Resurrection change from earthly conditions to Heavenly conditions before the end of the present year. Although this was not stated positively, it was pointed out to be the logical conclusion. [R5449 : page 133] Now it does not look so. We see Scriptures which are not yet fulfilled and which, we are convinced, could not find accomplishment before the end of this year.

Of course, our conviction along this line is no stronger than it previously was in the opposite direction. Of course, with God all things are possible. Of course, the Scriptures most distinctly tell us that the catastrophe will come suddenly--"as travail upon a woman with child"--at a moment as unexpected to the mother as to others. Hence it is not impossible that all of our expectations may be realized before the end of this year. We consider, however, that this is highly improbable. We desire all of our readers to know this, whatever influence it may have upon their plans and arrangements.

As for the Editor, he will be just as pleased to have the Lord's will done in the one way as in the other. Indeed, if allowed to have a voice in the deciding of the matter, we would feel afraid to exercise such a privilege. The poet has expressed the thought, saying:

"We are afraid to touch
Things which involve so much."

If the year shall pass without a special manifestation of Divine favor toward the Church in the way of resurrection change from earthly to spiritual nature, we shall know that we erred in judgment in respect to the time when this glorious event might be expected. The great fact would still remain, however, that the hope of the Church of God is the resurrection change, "when this mortal shall put on immortality"--"changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." If it be the Divine arrangement that we should remain longer this side the veil, we doubt not that He will have some service for us to perform here. And whether our service be on this side of the veil or on the other side, we should be fully content, knowing that He is too wise to err; nor should we lament our misunderstandings. Rather, we should be glad and rejoice, and continue active in the Divine service, as glad to serve on one side of the veil as on the other, with the assurance that God's will is being done in us.

There is still a possibility that we have made no mistake in respect to the time, but have erred in respect to the things expected. For instance, it may be that the Times of the Gentiles do expire with the present year, but that the Lord will not dispossess them nor take from them their earthly dominion so quickly as we had anticipated. Considering that they have been in power for 2,520 years, dispossession in one year might seem very sudden--indeed, to accomplish it in five, or ten, or twenty years, might seem not an unreasonable time.


WATERS OF EUPHRATES DRYING UP

REVELATION 16:12.

CHURCH LIFE IN GERMANY

Germany is being overwhelmed with a deluge of infidelity, unparalleled in its entire history. The Monist Federation is endeavoring to draw together the cultured strata of the people into a solid phalanx against Christianity. The Social Democrats are pushing the general masses into a fanatical hatred of Church and State, and in the pulpits a Liberalism is spreading, which is almost utterly devoid of the Spirit of the Gospel.

While in believing circles earnest efforts are being put forth for individual salvation, and Mission Work is being done amongst the people, to stem the destructive tide, it becomes more evident every day, that "the State Church is doomed in her struggle with Infidelity."

General strike against the Church is the latest slogan. The "No-Creeders" (Monists) in league with the Socialists, convened mass meetings in Berlin, Brunswick and Saxony, in which every means of incitation was employed in an appeal toward a secession from the State Church. At these meetings over 1,300 persons signed a declaration announcing their intention to secede from the Church. Four thousand more followed, and according to judicial court-records received towards the end of December, 17,000 secessions took place in December up to the 23d, and the day after Christmas 8,000 more announced their intention. These are alarming figures!

To the Socialists the Church Boycott is a political campaign issue. They aim at depriving the Church of her revenues and thus result in her overburdening the State.

The following press reports may serve as a typical illustration of the mode of procedure in such meetings. Said Dr. Liebknecht: "The Church (especially the Prussian State Church) is not a religious, but a purely political Institution. She constitutes a blasphemy against the claims of early Christianity. She does not aim at the closer Union and Development of man with man, but is a conscious instrument of the Ruling Class for the oppression of the Masses, and blandly supports the Capitalistic Element under the protection of the State. As such the Church is additionally a bulwark of militarism. On the other hand, the so-called Christian Prussian State is merely a state of Classes, reared upon the canonization of those 'treasures which moth and rust corrupt.' To belittle this Prussian State is therefore our aim. One means to that end is a strike en masse, which is inevitable.

"In the meantime, however, the 'Church Boycott' is a still more convenient and none the less effective means as a political onslaught. Thereby the Church can eventually be starved financially. Whoever has severed with the Church at heart, and continues to remain in her, is a hypocrite. Come out of the Prussian Military Church! Away from the Church and thus from the Prussian Feudal State!" Thundering applause followed this reasoning.

The second Socialist speaker of the day summed up the matter thus: "Whoever does not secede from the Church, with which he has nothing in common, is a scoundrel! Every Socialist must secede, for the Church combats Socialism by every available means."

The Post writes: "We attended one of the twelve Mass Meetings convened by the 'No Creeders.' We looked forward beforehand to an uncomfortable evening. Nor shall we say anything respecting the vitriolic remarks of the two speakers, who had not a single commendatory word for the Church, and seemed to know only Clerics, but no Ministers. The painful fact was more than apparent, that Socialism is merely another name for Infidelity. But one thing really horrified us: Such a degree of vulgarity, such degeneracy of mind, we had not deemed possible! Without exception, every one who even by vague allusion, ventured to take a stand for his Church was howled down, hissed from the rostrum and subjected to filthy invectives. While appealing to the true, inner sentiments of man, supposing that every man must at least hold a faith in something higher, 'Whew'! burst from a thousand throats, piercing whistles were given, and loud hoots and guffaws greeted such an accession. It seemed as if one were in an assembly of criminals, and not amongst men of feeling and sense.

"To illustrate: When a minister ascended the platform, the following was heard, 'He looks it'! 'Old Sky-pilot'! And from another part of the hall the same evening we heard the following words aimed at the ministers: 'Damned Rags'! 'Pig-priests'! A gentleman who interrupted was yelled at 'Rous mit the Parsonface'! At one time a vulgar interjection reached our ears, one from the 'underworld,' wholly unfit for print. [R5450 : page 134]

"The ministers had been invited. A few courageous men ran the gauntlet, and undertook the difficult task of obtaining a hearing amidst these roaring waves. Then one of them ascended the rostrum, a spirited character, whose mild facial expression alone invited reconciliation; with quiet, well-weighed words (Pastor Le Seur from Gross Lichterfeld, Berlin), attempted to make clear to the assembly the seriousness of the problem, with which unscrupulous agitators were here playing football. He frankly admitted that the State Church manifested serious faults. He withdrew amidst a flood of derision, ridicule and insults. Then came a woman of the working class. She yelled to the ministers, who stood close to the speaker's chair: 'I can believe in ten thousand devils in this world, but not in your God, Sir Pastor!' And the masses yelled applause."

In the Vossische Zeitung, Prof. Oswald, President of the Monist Federation, expressed the aim which he pursues in the Secessional Movement, as follows: "Thus far all attempts for emancipation from Church Rule through Science have been confined to the comparatively small 'Upper Strata' of the cultured. The present movement is characterized, in that it takes hold, not only of the influential, but an exceedingly large number of our people, amongst Organized Labor. If the present movement assumes the proportion of an avalanche, which is very probable, in a short time it will be no more a question of thousands or tens of thousands, but of millions."

In an article, "Decay of the State Church," Die Welt writes in conclusion: "The rule of the 'Liberals' incites the 'Positives' to leave the State Church. While on the other side, 'Indifferents' are leaving in ever-increasing numbers. As a result, we may finally reach a state of things in Berlin, when the State Church will collapse."-- Translation from Der Apologete, Cincinnati, Ohio.



[R5450 : page 134]

"NOW IS OUR SALVATION NEARER"

ST. PAUL WROTE, "Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed." (Romans 13:11.) God's people of today are surely justified in expressing the same sentiments. The salvation of the Church through the glorious "change" of the First Resurrection is nearing every day, we are sure, even though we do not know exactly how many days still remain before that glorious consummation. So also the world's salvation--the world's rescue from Satan, sin and death --is nearing every day, notwithstanding the fact that we cannot say positively just what day or hour Satan will be fully bound for a thousand years and the Messianic blessings begin to supplant and to roll away the curse which for six thousand years has rested as a great pall over humanity--a dark night, soon to give place to the glorious Millennial Day and the bright-shining of Messiah's Kingdom.

Nothing could shake our faith in the Divine Plan of the Ages epitomized in God's great Oath-bound Covenant made with Abraham, confirmed unto Isaac and Jacob and Israel. There is absolutely no ground for questioning that all the families of the earth will eventually be blessed. There is no room to doubt that God has laid a broad foundation for that blessing in the sending of His Son, who became man's Redeemer. There is no reason for questioning the fact that the Church for more than eighteen centuries has been called out of the world to be sharer with her Lord in the sufferings of this present time and in the glories that are to follow.

There is absolutely no question about the fact that "faithful is He who called us, who also will do it." We have His promise that "if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ" our Lord. We have the Divine Word that Jesus the Head and the Church His Body, Jesus the Bridegroom and the Church His Bride, constitute the antitypical Spiritual Seed of Abraham, through whom, when glorified, God's blessing will be poured upon humanity. "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the Promise" (Galatians 3:29), which promise reads, "In thee and in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."--Genesis 12:3; 28:14.

There is absolutely no ground for Bible students to question that the consummation of this Gospel Age is now even at the door, and that it will end as the Scriptures foretell in a great Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation. We see the participants in this great crisis banding themselves together under the leadership of Capital and Trusts, Labor and Trade Unions. The great crisis, the great clash, symbolically represented as a fire, that will consume the ecclesiastical heavens and the social earth, is very near.

But when we have said this we have said about all that it is safe or proper for us to say. We have never claimed inspiration nor prophetic vision. All that we have ever claimed is that "Wonderful things in the Bible we see," and that the dearest is the love of the Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Lord Jesus, and that the time for the establishment of the Kingdom is very nigh.

CHRONOLOGY BASED UPON FAITH

We remind our readers here that in these columns and in the six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES we have set forth everything appertaining to the times and seasons in a tentative form; that is to say, not with positiveness, not with the claim that we knew, but merely with the suggestion that "thus and so" seems to be the teaching of the Bible. The Berean Lessons are running now in Volume Second of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES in order that all of our readers may have fresh in mind the Bible chronology as furnished there in Chapter II. We have pointed out that the chronology is the basis of nearly all the suggestions of prophetic interpretations set forth in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. We have pointed out there that the chronology of the Bible is not stated with great clearness, that fractions of years are ignored and that there are certain breaks in it.

We have suggested that ordinarily the chronology would be quite insufficient as evidence and that our acceptance of it is based on faith--on the supposition that God wished to give us a chronology, wished that we might have some knowledge of the times and seasons, and yet wished that it might be so obscure and indefinite as to require faith on the part of His people. We pointed out further that we could not exercise that faith were it not for the fact that this chronology seems to be interwoven and interlocked with numerous prophecies --and these prophecies, in turn, interwoven and interlocked with other prophecies and fulfilments not dependent upon the chronology. Having thus set the matter before the minds of our readers, we asked each to judge for himself as to how much faith he would repose in the chronology and in the application of the prophecies connected with it. We announced that to our own mind it seemed reasonable to accept the chronology and the prophecies from this viewpoint.

Having laid this broad foundation, having put all of [R5450 : page 135] our readers on notice to use their own judgment, we proceeded to use this chronology in connection with the various prophecies, drawing various hypotheses and conclusions. We did not in any case remind the reader afresh that all these conclusions were based upon the chronology, and that the chronology is admittedly supported by faith. We assumed that all intelligent readers realized this, and that all such were using their own judgment, not ours, in respect to the chronology and in respect to the applications of the prophecies along the lines of that chronology. We ask you all still to do this.

The chronology still seems as strong as ever to the Editor. He sees nothing to alter or amend. Nevertheless, the Editor wishes to put all THE WATCH TOWER readers on notice, as he already has done twice this year, that to his judgment it now seems unreasonable to expect during the present year all that he had anticipated, as suggested previously. He sees no possibility that the Church Federation will reach its climax of organization and power, and then reach its fall, during the remaining months of this year. And he surely looks for this to occur prior to the full ending of this Gospel Age and the glorification of the last members of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

This does not prove the chronology wrong, nor does it prove that the Times of the Gentiles do not end with this year. It may be that Gentile Times will end before the ecclesiastical oligarchy attains sacerdotal power. We must wait and see. The Lord is still our Shepherd. No good thing will He withhold from those who follow Him as His sheep, harkening to His Voice and ignoring the voice of strangers. His promises will stand sure, and [R5451 : page 135] these, as all other things, shall work together for good to those who love Him--the called ones according to His purpose.--Romans 8:28.

A SCRIPTURE TO BE FULFILLED

The Lord declares through the Prophet David (Psalm 149:5-9): "Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgments written. This honor have all His saints." Heretofore we had not questioned that this description of the glory of the saints applied to them beyond the veil --beyond the completion of the First Resurrection. But a more careful investigation of the words forewarns us that we may not be too sure in such a supposition. We suggest as a bare possibility that a time may come when a part of the saints will be in glory beyond the veil, and when those on this side the veil in the flesh will enter very fully into the joys of their Lord and into participation in His work.

If we interpret the statement, "let them sing aloud upon their beds," in harmony with the significance of similar statements elsewhere in the Scriptures, the expression would signify that the saints in glory will be telling the good tidings of great joy--singing, presenting in melodious cadences the messages which none can learn except the one hundred and forty-four thousand. But the word beds here, in harmony with usage elsewhere in the Bible, would signify a rest of faith--that these saints were at rest in the midst of conditions to the contrary. This could hardly be the case if the reference be to those who have experienced the First Resurrection "change." Theirs will not be a rest of faith, but an absolute entering into rest.

Again, while the high praises of God are in their mouth they have the two-edged sword in their hand, according to the prophecy. This "two-edged sword" is evidently, as elsewhere, the Word of God. We can scarcely imagine the saints beyond the veil as handling the Word of God. On the contrary, this would seem to imply that the saints described are on this side of the veil, using the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, in connection with the showing of high praise to God--clearing His name from the dishonor attached to it through the ignorance, superstition and creeds of the Dark Ages.

The next statement, that these saints will use the "sword" to execute vengeance upon the Gentiles and punishments upon the people [of Israel], seems to imply that these saints, whatever their condition, will be in authority; for the Scriptural injunction to them elsewhere is that they should "judge nothing before the time." This Psalm, therefore, describes the time when they are to do a judging work in respect to the world in general, as well as in respect to Israel, God's people.

A SOMEWHAT SIMILAR SCRIPTURE

A somewhat similar description of The Christ in glory is given us in Revelation 19:11, where He that is called "Faithful and True" goes forth in righteousness to judge and make war. The Heavenly armies follow Him (V.14), and out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations.--V.15.

We know not why this prophecy speaks of Heavenly armies--in the plural. We merely suggest that the Heavenly army may possibly be in two divisions--one on this side of the veil, the other on the other side of the veil. We are waiting to see, and merely watching while we wait, and noting with possibly still greater care our Father's Word. We may be sure that if any commission be given to the Lord's people to execute judgment this side of the veil it would be so explicit as to leave no room for doubt, remembering that the Divine requirement throughout the Age has been that the saints of God shall be subject to the powers that be. Any change from this order to the effect that we should execute judgments upon them will need to be very positively and very clearly understood before being executed.

Just how the kings and nobles--financial, political and social--will be bound, and just what kinds of fetters of strength will be used, we may not know until qualified; but the outworking of all these will be, as expressed in Psalm 149:9, "to execute upon them the vengeance written; this honor have all of God's saints." Whether we participate in this work on this side of the veil or on the other side makes no difference to us. In any event, whatever we shall do at any time under the guidance of the Lord's Holy Spirit will be in harmony with justice and all the time intermingled with sympathetic love. None except those possessing and controlled by this, the Holy Spirit of God, will ever be permitted participation in the Kingdom glories and power.


"Be patient and submissive--strength is given
For every step along the weary way.
And for it all thou'lt render praise to Heaven,
When dreary night gives place to Perfect Day.

"Yes, Perfect Day, the day of God eternal,
When not a shadow shall flit o'er the scene
In that fair land where all is bright and vernal,
And we will be with Christ and naught between.

"Wait, then, dear heart; control thy sad emotion;
God will subdue each angry wind and wave;
And when the voyage ends across life's ocean
Within the haven of sweet rest will save."



[R5451 : page 136]

WHO COMMITS THE SIN UNTO DEATH?--PART II

BESIDES the two classes of those who are saved among the spirit-begotten, there is a third class--those who go into the Second Death. The "sin unto death" is not only a failure to do something which is good, but a positive doing of something which is evil. The Great Company do not turn to wallow in the mire of sin; but this class now spoken of is a class of spirit-begotten ones that gradually turn from their Covenant until they fall away entirely. They become covenant-breakers. They have covenanted to lay down their lives, and then they break that Covenant, and turn again to sin and to hopeless darkness. This course, being a sin against clear light and knowledge, is a sin unto death.

Who or what is it that sins the sin unto death? "Whosoever is begotten of God doth not commit sin [wilfully]; for His seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin." That which is begotten of God is the new mind, the new will; and the person having that new will, desiring to be in harmony with God, cannot sin the sin unto death as long as he has the mind, the will, the Spirit, of God. As long as his will is in harmony with God he cannot sin with wilfulness and desire. He cannot be in harmony with sin. The new mind cannot consent to sin. If there be a consent to sin, it is an evidence that the old mind has taken control.

We may understand the subject more clearly, perhaps, by considering the action of Congress. Suppose that the Republicans represent the natural man, and that the Republican party had had domination for a long time. Then there came a change of administration. There was a new sentiment, a new mind, there were new aspirations. Another party was in power, and the majority of Congress became Democratic. What made the change in the action of Congress? It was the new vote. The majority carried the day, and decided upon a Democratic form of government to control our Legislative Body. But if Congress should again change and vote the old way, it would no longer be Democratic.

Just so the New Creature came into control of our mortal bodies. Then if the new will should again change, [R5452 : page 136] and advocate as before the things of the flesh, the New Creature is changed again into the old creature. It is not the New Creature, however, that is wallowing in sin. The will has committed the sin unto death. THE NEW CREATURE IS DEAD.

ESAU'S LOSS A WARNING TO THE CHURCH

The illustration used by the Apostle Paul of Esau's seeking vainly with tears to regain his lost birthright, has a lesson of deep interest for us. It may be applied in one way to the condition of the Jewish people, who, having lost the great privilege, or opportunity, of becoming the Spiritual Israel of God, could not get again, as a people, that lost opportunity. That privilege had gone from them; they could not recover it, although this would not hinder any individual Jew from becoming repentant and from becoming personally a member of the Church class.

However, the Apostle's words (Hebrews 12:16,17) seem to apply especially to the Church, and to our danger of losing our birthright, as New Creatures. Esau, "for one morsel of meat sold his birthright." He typified those Christians who barter their glorious inheritance as prospective heirs of the Divine nature and the Messianic Kingdom for the enjoyment of the fleeting pleasures of the present life--"a mess of pottage!"

WHO COMMITS THE UNPARDONABLE SIN

As to the general proposition respecting unpardonable sin, we have endeavored to point out in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES that sins are unpardonable in proportion as they are wilful. The only ones, however, who can commit a fully unpardonable sin are those who have come into the Church--who have made a consecration of their life and have been begotten of the Holy Spirit. If such should fall away, it would be a final matter.

Before coming into Christ, before receiving the Holy Spirit, transgressions might have been committed, but these transgressions would not have the same degree of responsibility as would those of a consecrated Christian; for after one has come into the Lord's family, there is an increase of light and knowledge, and therefore there comes increased responsibility. The Lord said that those who knew His will and did it not would receive many stripes; but those who knew it not and did it not would receive fewer stripes. Many of the Lord's people have committed more or less wilful sins, and have received stripes more or less severe.

The Scriptures tell of a degree of wilful sin that would be unto death, and such sin is mentioned as a sin against the Holy Spirit. This, we understand, is a sin against clear knowledge--a perception of the wrong, and a transgression of God's Law wilfully, deliberately. The Jews who crucified Christ sinned against light and had great responsibility. However, the Apostle Peter says, "I wot, brethren, that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers." (Acts 3:17.) They realized not that they were crucifying the Lord of glory. But if any begotten of the Holy Spirit should join in any similar crime, we understand that this would be a different matter. The penalty upon such spiritually enlightened ones would be nothing short of the Second Death.

The Apostle Paul points out why the Church can sin this sin unto death. He says that if we sin wilfully, after we have received a knowledge of the Truth, and have tasted the good Word of God, and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit--if then we should fall away (not if we should stumble, but if we should completely fall away, turning again to sin), it would be like a sow that was washed which returned again to wallow in the mire. In such case, the transgression would be to the full.

DID ADAM SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT?

In answering this question we need to have a clear conception of what constitutes the Holy Spirit. The Scriptural answer is that the Holy Spirit, in one of God's intelligent creatures, is the spirit of sonship. The brute creation do not have this spirit of sonship. They were not made in the moral image of the Creator. The angels have the spirit of sonship. Adam was created in the moral image and likeness of his Creator--a son of God. Therefore we should understand that he had this Spirit of the Father, the Spirit of sonship.

When Adam became disobedient, it meant a forfeiture of the Spirit of sonship, and the casting of him out from all relationship to the Father. And this relationship to God was forfeited for all his posterity. But God has made an arrangement by which Adam may come back to Him--and all his children may come, if they will. This operation of uplifting and restoring mankind is in the Scriptures spoken of as an impartation, or pouring out, of the Holy Spirit.

This has not yet come to the world, but is now fulfilled in the Church. The Church, accepted to a new nature, under certain special conditions are, during this Gospel Age, begotten to sonship and are classed as sons of God. This receiving of the Church into the relationship of sons now, and the blessing of the world later, is referred to in the prophecy of Joel. There the Prophet [R5452 : page 137] speaks of the Lord as "in those days," pouring out His Spirit upon His servants and handmaids; and he declares that, afterwards, He will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh--that they also may come back into sonship, into relationship with God.--Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-18.

Adam had the Spirit of God. It was received in a natural way; and had it not been for the fall, this condition would have been maintained, just as with the holy angels. These angels, not having forfeited this relationship, need not a special impartation of the Holy Spirit.

COULD ADAM HAVE REPENTED?

Would it have been possible for Adam to repent, after committing this wilful sin? The word repentance may be used in two different ways. We frequently use the word to mean penitence, sorrow over a fault, etc., but this common use of the word is not its full import. It means to get back, to return to a former condition; or to take an opposite course from that in which one has been going. Adam could have repented in the sense of being penitent; but he could not have repented in the sense of getting back to the place where he was before he sinned. That would require the paying the price of his sin by another. St. Paul said of Esau, that he was a "profane person," and "that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." (Hebrews 12:17.) Esau found plenty of opportunity to cry and to be sorry; but he did not find an opportunity to get back that which he had forfeited. And so with Adam.

But such inability to repent is entirely different from what the Apostle means in speaking of the Church. He says, "If we sin wilfully, after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." (Hebrews 10:26,27.) There could be no repentance for these. Their hearts have become too hardened. They cannot be renewed unto repentance. (Hebrews 6:4-8.) But the provision for Adam is God's arrangement that Christ should taste death for him. But now, Christ dieth no more; therefore, whoever receives once the benefit of Christ's death and misuses it, comes under the sentence of death a second time, and from this, the Second Death, there is no recovery.

GROUNDLESS FEARS OF SOME

We believe that the majority of people who think they have committed the sin unto death are merely being tormented by fears; and that in most cases they need only to have better instruction respecting the Lord, His character and arrangement. We have had people come to us in great terror of mind, believing that they had committed the sin unto death, and that there was no hope for their reconciliation to God. Sometimes they have merely told us of their fears, and we were puzzled; for their apparent penitence and regret were favorable signs. In some instances, where they have told us the facts of the case, we have been able in five minutes to relieve them entirely, and to show them that they had altogether misunderstood the matter. This gave them much peace. One person told us that the trouble had lasted for eighteen years. Since then this person has been rejoicing in the Lord and serving Him very acceptably.

But the proper thought is that one could not be brought back if he were of the kind that have wilfully and deliberately renounced the Lord. God is looking for a loyal people; and if any show wilful, intentional disobedience, they would not be fit to live at all. However, when we see repentance, we may take a hopeful view.

SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT UNFORGIVABLE

We are to recognize a difference between a sin against the Holy Spirit and the sin unto death. In other words, a sin against the Holy Spirit may be of various degrees of heinousness in the sight of God. We might think of small sins and of great sins against the Holy Spirit. No sin against the Holy Spirit is forgivable. But some of these sins might be punished with stripes, and others with death.

The Holy Spirit of sonship was not possessed by the Pharisees, to whom Jesus directed His words. But they had some knowledge of the light of the Holy Spirit in our Lord's person. The Holy Spirit was manifest in Him in a remarkable degree. The Jews were in different degrees of condemnation, in proportion as they had the eyes of their understanding open. Those who received a little knowledge, and refused that little, had less responsibility than those who saw more and refused it. And [R5453 : page 137] those who misrepresented Him were not so much sinning against Him as against the Holy Spirit in Him.

Our Lord said that all manner of sin and blasphemy would be forgiven men except a sin against the Holy Spirit. This would not be forgiven them. The Pharisees, not having been received into God's family, nevertheless had a large measure of light, and therefore a large measure of responsibility. And when they, with much light, misrepresented it, this showed a measure of wilfulness on their part which, Jesus said, would be sure to have punishment. Very few, we may say, at that time, had so full a knowledge that they could be culpable in the fullest sense.

THE SIN OF JUDAS

The sin unto death is a full sin against the Holy Spirit, the sin against full light and knowledge, deliberate, wilful sin. We know of only one person who had such full light and full opportunity prior to our Lord's resurrection and the coming of the Pentecostal blessing; and that one person was Judas. His special light consisted in that he not only saw Jesus, and saw His miracles, and was a witness of His noble character, but Judas had himself received of this holy Spirit by impartation from Jesus, and had used it, casting out demons, etc.

Jesus said, "Woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born!" (Mark 14:21.) Judas had a sufficiency of light, not to condemn him merely to stripes and punishment, but so to condemn him that he would have no further opportunity and hope. He had sinned against very great light. Aside from Judas we know of no other who has ever sinned the sin unto death, except those who may have proven unfaithful after having been begotten of the Holy Spirit as New Creatures, and who had thus received the mind of God, the Holy Spirit.

TREATMENT OF SPIRITUAL SICKNESS

The Scriptures also imply that any who have gotten into a condition of very low spirituality might have a possibility of recovery, not through themselves, but through the ministry of faithful ones of the Royal Priesthood. The Apostle James speaks of some who are "sick." He says to let such a one call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, and that the prayer of faith shall recover him to God's fellowship--and he adds: "He that converteth [recovereth] a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death." (James 5:20.) Apparently that soul is in death's throes; but if he manifest a sufficiency of faith, and will call in some true brethren and humbly confess his sin and ask for prayers, he would seem to be taking a step that would be considered favorably by the Lord, who might give him a further opportunity and trial. [R5453 : page 138]

Our thought is that, ordinarily, there would be no need for the individual to confess his trespasses to any one, unless it were to a person who had been trespassed against, and to whom, therefore, apologies would be due. Otherwise our sins are to be confessed only unto the Lord, unless under extreme circumstances, where one had lost fellowship with the Lord, and felt that there was nothing for him otherwise but complete alienation from God. In the latter case, we would advise such a brother to call in the Elders of the Church and make a confession, that his sin against the Holy Spirit may be canceled.

LYING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

Some have asked: Was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira unpardonable? We answer, It was an unpardonable sin; for Ananias and Sapphira are both still lying dead. They may have some future opportunity, so far as we know. It is not for us to determine the degree of wilfulness connected with their wrong-doing. The Lord only would be able to know, and He has not yet manifested His decision. It may be that they were merely cut off from the present life, and will have some opportunity in the future. If they were really begotten of the Holy Spirit, this could not be; for all those who are to have a part in the Little Flock or the Great Company receive their chastisements and purifying experiences in this life, and none of them will receive any punishment in the future life. The Apostle says we will not come into condemnation with the world. We receive our trial for life or death everlasting in the present time.

In the day of the Apostles, when a partial community of interest was established, a number of the faithful sold possessions and contributed to the general fund. Although there was nothing compulsory upon any in respect to this selling of property and giving to the common treasury, the very fact that those who did so were highly esteemed in the Church would naturally become a snare to some who, without the real spirit of helpfulness and sacrifice, would desire to have the approbation of the brethren.

STARTLING RESULTS OF WILFUL DECEPTION

Ananias and Sapphira were of this class, desirous of the approval of the Church, yet deficient in the real spirit of sacrifice. They had a property which they determined to sell; and in order to pose before the believers as saints of a high order, they pretended to give to the general fund the full amount received from the property. Secretly, however, they had much less generous sentiments. They agreed together that they would retain part of the sale-money for future contingencies, yet would pass as sacrificers to the full amount.

The wrong of their course is manifest. As the Apostle Peter declared, the property was their own, and after they had sold it they still had a right to do as they pleased with the proceeds. But they should have been honest about the transaction, and if they wished to give a tenth, a half, or all of the amount, it was a matter of their own business alone, and no one would have had the least right to find fault with or criticize them. The entire wrong consisted in the deception practised--the palming off of a part of the price as the whole, for the purpose of deceiving the Church and of gaining applause for an amount of sacrifice more than they made. As St. Peter said, they lied, not to man, but to the Holy Spirit of God. In this, and in this alone, consisted the sin for which they died.

The record is that "great fear came upon all the company" --great reverence for God and for the Apostles, His representatives. It brought also a realization that consecrations to the Lord were far from meaningless forms. This meant, not only to those who had already espoused the Lord's cause, but also to all who for some time thereafter would identify themselves with the Church, that any who were insincere would best make no pretensions to discipleship. Quite probably the influence of the lesson lasted for a considerable time--during the lives of the Apostles.

We may consider a lesson which may properly be learned from this incident of the past by the Lord's consecrated people of today. The lesson is that God desires "truth in the inward parts"--in the heart--and that any who have not this quality--candor, honesty, truthfulness --cannot be pleasing to God; and therefore cannot share in the glories to be dispensed shortly to the Elect class of this Gospel Age.--Psalm 51:6.

As we look at ourselves, we come to realize how imperfect are all the members of the fallen race; and when we consider God's perfection, we can conceive of only one quality that the fallen creature could possess that would meet with Divine approval. That one quality is honesty. The true Christian must, in honesty, confess his own shortcomings, his own deficiencies. He must, in honesty, acknowledge that his sufficiency is of God, through Christ, and not of himself. He must honestly strive for the standard set before him in the Gospel. He must honestly admit that he cannot do the things that he would. He must candidly and fully accept the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, as the covering for his blemishes. We are inclined to the belief that the greatest sin in the Church--amongst the consecrated believers --is the sin of dishonesty; the sin for which Divine disapproval is so excellently illustrated in the case of Ananias and Sapphira.

This is an individual matter still, as it was in the days of the Apostles. Each individual of the Lord's people must answer for his own course, to the Lord Himself. It therefore behooves all who are seeking Divine approval, to see to it that they are not influenced by the prevalent disposition to hypocrisy, but that they deal with the Lord in purity and honesty of heart. They should see to it that, having covenanted to give to God and His service their all, they keep nothing back, but consider that their time, their influence, their means, their lives, are fully devoted to the Lord, and that they use these as His-- as they believe He would wish to have them used--as faithful stewards.


[R5457 : page 138]

STRENGTH-DEVELOPMENT
The strong right arm is only strong
Because an active will
Has made it serve. But were that arm
Left idly hanging still,
'Twould lose the hoarded strength of years,
And lose more rapidly
Than it was gained, by Nature's law
Of inactivity.

'Tis true of souls. They gather strength
With every cross they bear,
With every humble sacrifice,
With every heartfelt prayer,
With every conflict bravely met,
And trial bravely borne;
With every throb of anguish felt
When tender ties are shorn.

The tears and toils of His dear ones
Are wisely, kindly, sent
By Him who knoweth what they need
For soul-development.
The path of idleness is one
By vagrant children trod.
They grow in grace most rapidly
Who labor most for God. Unknown.



[R5453 : page 139]

"WHERE ARE THE NINE?"
--MAY 31.--LUKE 17:11-19.--

"Were there none found that returned to give glory to God, save this alien?"--V.18.
THE essence of our lesson for today is gratitude. It is a most reasonable trait of character and is frequently found even in the brute creation. It is impossible to imagine a perfect human being or an angel acceptable to God without this quality. We might almost say that the degree of our acceptance with God is measured by our gratitude. It leads to obedience to the Divine laws and regulations, whether understood or not. It leads to self-sacrificing labors in the service of God, and according to a Divine automatic arrangement has its blessings.

Our lesson tells us that the Savior was approaching Jerusalem by way of Samaria and Galilee. It is surmised [R5454 : page 139] that this was His last journey to Jerusalem, which eventuated in His death. His fame had spread abroad; and ten lepers sitting by the roadside heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. Immediately they called to Him as loudly as the hoarse whisper of their disease would permit. Ordinarily their appeal was for money; but in this case it was, "Master, have mercy upon us!"

Lepers are a class greatly to be pitied. Their disease has long been considered incurable, and hence in the Bible it is symbolically used to represent sin. It is an affection which seems to corrupt the blood. The joints twist, decay and slough off. Under the regulations prevailing at the time of our lesson, lepers were forbidden to enter the cities, under the penalty of thirty-nine strokes from a rod. They had no means of earning a living, and were always dependent upon the charity of their friends or the public. Nor were they allowed to approach others nearer than about one hundred and fifty feet, for fear of contamination. Theirs was a living death.

The ten mentioned in this lesson were drawn together by their common trouble which ignored the racial barriers between Jews and Samaritans. In answer to their cry for help, Jesus, although full of compassion, seemed to treat their appeal coldly. He merely said to them, "Go show yourselves unto the priests." According to God's arrangement with the Jews under their Law Covenant, they were to have no sicknesses except as these should represent sins; and the priests were to pass judgment upon cases of leprosy, determining whether or not the disease were indeed leprosy, etc. Our Lord's direction that the lepers go and show themselves to the priests implied a healing, and suggested that by the time that they should reach the priest they would be ready to have him pronounce them clean.

The lepers must have had considerable knowledge of the power of Jesus, and must have exercised great faith; for instead of crying out for instantaneous healing, they followed His direction and started for the priest to have an inspection. Doubtless they hoped that by the time they should reach him they would be well and would receive a bill of health. They had gone but a short distance when they found themselves cured. We can well imagine with what joy they hastened to have the priest approve them in order to return to their families, their business, etc. Surely they almost ran, as they felt the exhilaration of the cleansed blood! But one of them slowed up and then turned back; probably the others in their exuberance did not notice this. Back he came and fell at the feet of Jesus, giving Him thanks. His was a grateful heart, and we cannot doubt that he will receive a blessing eventually, though he did not receive it then, for he was a Samaritan, an alien, a foreigner from the commonwealth of Israel.

ANOTHER CRUMB OF FAVOR

In his case, the healing was a "crumb from the children's table;" for the rich man had not yet died--God's favor had not yet departed from Israel. Jesus had not yet uttered the fateful words, "Your House is left unto you desolate." Nay, the favor to Israel continued three and a half years after their House was left desolate--individual favor. It was three and a half years after the death of Jesus before the individual favor to the Jews terminated to such an extent as to permit the Gospel to go to the Gentiles--Cornelius being the first to be accepted into fellowship with God.--Acts 10.

Had the returning one been a Jew instead of a Samaritan, no doubt he would have been invited by Jesus to become one of His followers--"Come, take up thy cross and follow Me!" But because he was a Samaritan, Jesus merely said to him, "Arise and go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole." We cannot doubt, however, that the Lord's providence followed this grateful Samaritan; and that when the time came for the opening of the door to the Gentiles, he was amongst those who gladly received the Message, and made a consecration to become an heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ our Lord to the Heavenly inheritance.

We are not to understand that our Lord's words, "Thy faith hath made thee whole," meant that it was the man's faith aside from Divine Power that made him whole, but rather that it was the Master's using the Divine Power in connection with the faith of the individual. The Power of God and the faith of the man co-operated for his healing. They did the same for the nine others who were healed. They also had faith and were healed, and as Jews under the Law Covenant, they had more ground for asking forgiveness and healing than had the Samaritan.

TEN HEALED--WHERE ARE THE NINE?

Jesus called public attention to the fact that ten were healed, but that only one had returned to give glory to God. True, He had not asked them to come back and offer praise and acknowledge the Divine Power wrought through Him! True, they did what He told them to do-- went and showed themselves to the priest--and no more, going then about their business.

Why did He not, before granting the healing, bargain with them, saying, If I heal you, will you consecrate your lives and become My disciples? Undoubtedly they would have agreed to this arrangement. Who would not agree to any terms to be rid of so loathsome and incurable a disease? Why did not Jesus take this method of adding to the number of His disciples? Undoubtedly the answer should be that He was following the spirit of the Father's dealings, which He expressed in the words, "The Father seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth." As the Father seeks no others, so the Son seeks no others.

In this respect the preaching of Jesus and the Apostles is in strong contrast with much of the preaching of evangelists, revivalists, etc. Never did Jesus or the Apostles urge worldly people to become disciples of Christ. They merely preached, or declared, certain great facts, and accepted those who came under that kind of preaching, influenced by the great facts set forth. They reasoned of sin, of righteousness and of a coming time of decision, or judgment, and left the matter with the individual conscience. They stated that those who forsake sin and turn to God may have forgiveness and reconciliation through the merit of the blood of Christ. They told of a High, or Heavenly, Call for all such penitents who [R5454 : page 140] would consecrate their lives wholly to the service of God, Truth and righteousness, willing to endure hardness as good soldiers.

We remember that on one occasion Jesus apparently reproved even a spirit of enthusiasm that might becloud the cool judgment, saying, "Sit down and count the cost." (Luke 14:28.) It has pleased God through the preaching of the Truth to call out the class which He desires to be joint-heirs with His Son. They are not to be brought into the family of God by prayers or by excitement, but by the declaration of the Divine terms and conditions. To such as accept the grace of God the urgent message goes out that they receive it not in vain; that, having put their hand to the plow, they do not look back; that, having enlisted as good soldiers of the Cross, they endure hardness, rejoicing in the privilege of service and sacrifice.

The point we make is that according to the Bible, no attempts were ever made by Jesus and His Apostles to obtain recruits for the army of the Lord by a "hip-hip-hurrah" process. In this we are not criticising others, but merely calling attention to facts which have much to do with the guidance of all God's people who seek to know and to do His will.

OTHER TENS, HUNDREDS, THOUSANDS

Let us view the incident of our lesson symbolically. Let the lepers represent sinners who, coming to realize themselves unclean, cry out to the Lord for cleansing, thus impliedly acknowledging His greatness and power as the Son of God, through whom only is forgiveness of sin, and impliedly declaring themselves as desiring to be His followers, His disciples, persuaded that sin is injurious and resolved thereafter to walk in the Lord's footsteps, fighting against sin in themselves and everywhere. How many of the tens, the hundreds, the thousands, whose devotion and faith the Lord has accepted-- how many whom He has healed, forgiven and received according to their profession of discipleship--really have become His true followers?

How many who have declared to the Lord their unhappiness, their desire for forgiveness of sins, and promised life-long gratitude and devotion to Him, to have His favor, have forgotten their privileges; and after receiving a blessing have gone, one to his field, another to his merchandise, another to pleasure, another to formalism! How few have remembered their prayers to the Lord for mercy, their resolutions in respect to what they would do if their prayers were answered!

A REVIVAL IS IN ORDER

Many Christian people are growing in the opinion that we are living today in a time of crucial trial as respects those who have made a covenant with God. They believe that we are nearing the time when the Church, the Body of Christ, will be received by the Lord in the Resurrection change to be His Bride. As the Apostle wrote, "We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye"; for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." The call of this Gospel Age has been to the finding of these who are to constitute the Bride class, the associates of Jesus in His Kingdom.

Of the Jews Jesus said, in a time of testing in the end of their Age, "They knew not the time of their visitation." Only the comparatively few were in the heart condition of nearness to God which enabled them to understand the character of the times in which they were living and the change which was in progress. The thought is that a similar change is upon us now, which is being discerned by those who have had the eyes of their understanding opened.

The Samaritan in our lesson seems to represent a class of grateful followers of the Lord who seek to give Him glory in their words, thoughts and doings, while the [R5455 : page 140] majority of those who have similarly received His favor are disposed to pursue the ambitions and pleasures of the present life. Neglecting to take the path which the Master trod, they will not reach the glory, honor and immortality which He attained and to which He has called this class. A lower place must be for them. In a little while, according to the Bible, the glories of the Kingdom will be revealed to an astonished world, but the glories of the present condition of affairs will fade away.

The true Wisdom that cometh from Above was manifested by our Savior, who counted not His life dear unto Him, who freely made Himself of no reputation that He might do the Father's will, and who is now highly exalted as a reward. St. Paul expressed the same thought, saying that he counted all things as but loss and dross that he might win a place in the Body of Christ--the Church in glory beyond the veil. Great as will be the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom to the world, the blessings which the Church will have will be transcendently better.



[R5455 : page 140]

MESSIAH'S KINGDOM TO BE INVISIBLE
--JUNE 7.--LUKE 17:20-37.--

"Behold, the Kingdom of God is in your midst."--V.21.
OUR understanding of the Master's words depends considerably upon the setting in which we see them. John the Baptist preceded Jesus and preached the Kingdom of God at hand. In due time he pointed out Jesus as the Messiah that should come, the Lamb of God. After waiting for months for Jesus to establish Himself as an earthly king, and finding instead that his own work was closing, he was put into prison by Herod. John then sent to Jesus to inquire whether or not He was the One that should come or whether they should look for another. He was disappointed in not seeing evidences of the Kingdom, as he had expected.

The Scribes and the Pharisees heard of the claim that Jesus was the long-promised King who would set up His Messianic Kingdom, and they derided Him. They looked at His motley company of followers--publicans and sinners as well as honorable people, but none of special rank, influence or wealth. They considered Jesus a deceiver and His followers dupes. Our lesson tells how they attempted to expose what they supposed was a deception of Jesus, thus to turn away the delusion of His followers. Therefore they asked Him in public the question, When will God's Kingdom come? How long will it be before you set it up?

Doubtless they purposed to entrap Jesus; for if He should say, A long time, His followers would be disheartened; if He should say, A short time, they would proceed to query, Where will You get Your army? How will You pay Your soldiers? How will You supply them with food? Will You go to Rome to battle with the powers that be, that our whole nation has been unable to cope with? etc.

But these Pharisees got only as far as their first question, because the answer to it confuted them, and no doubt perplexed them. Jesus answered that God's Kingdom would not come with observation; that is to say, [R5455 : page 141] when the Kingdom should come, people would not see it. Proceeding, Jesus elaborated, saying that when the Kingdom of God should be established, people would not see whether it was here or there; for the Kingdom of God would be the Power of God exerted everywhere in the midst of the people.

Our translation is faulty, though evidently not intentionally so, when it reads, "For, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you." The translators, had they noticed carefully, would have been on guard against saying that the Kingdom of God was within those Pharisees that Jesus had designated hypocrites, whited sepulchres, etc. A closer examination of the original would have shown that the text would better be translated, "The Kingdom of God is in your midst."

A kingdom is always represented by its king. Jesus, as the King, was present in their midst, but they did not recognize Him. "There standeth One among you whom ye know not." Similarly, all through the Gospel Age, the Church of Christ, His "Body," has been undiscerned by the world. "The world knoweth us not, even as it knew Him not." For eighteen hundred years this has been true in this sense; but Christ and the Church in the flesh are not the Kingdom of God in the full, proper sense that the Bible promises it--a Kingdom of power and great glory. Christ and the Church have been only the incipient Kingdom, an embryotic Kingdom--the Kingdom class, preparing for investiture of authority in God's due time, which we believe is now near.

This Kingdom is to be a spiritual one, and hence its rulers will be as invisible as are the angels and the Heavenly Father. Jesus declared, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more." What was true of the Head will be true of every member of the elect Body of Christ, the Church. "Changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," the world will see them no more; "for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God," and flesh and blood cannot see that which is spiritual.

During the Millennium, the Kingdom authority and power of God through Christ and the Church will be exercised amongst men; and yet they will not see it with the natural eye, but merely with the eyes of their understanding. All the blind eyes will be opened. Thus every eye will see that the Kingdom is established; and every one will understand that He who suffered has entered into His glory, that the Church, His Bride, is with Him in glory, and that the blessings of the Millennium proceed from them.--Revelation 20:6.

"DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN"

Turning from the silenced Pharisees to His disciples, Jesus said, "The days will come when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and ye shall not see it." This was astonishing news to the faithful. Yet they were accustomed to hearing from the Master things which they could not understand; such as that they must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, that He must be crucified, etc. They took all these things figuratively and wondered what might be the real interpretation. How could Jesus be the great King, as they had expected, and yet they not see Him and His days?

Jesus continued to discuss the enigma, saying, "They shall say to you, See here; or, See there: go not after them, nor follow." In a word, do not believe anybody who will thus tell you about My Second Coming; do not be deceived into believing that I will come in any such manner. I will tell you how I shall come: "As the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, and shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of Man be in His Day."

This astounding statement is better understood when we translate the Greek noun astrape as "shining" instead of "lightning"; for evidently it refers to the sun, which rises in the east and sets in the west, shining out of the one part of the heaven even unto the other. But how will this represent the Son of Man in His Day? How will He be like the sun? We answer that the Day of Christ is a thousand-year Day, the Millennium; and our Lord's statement was one of the "dark sayings" of which Jesus said, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now," and promised that in due time the Holy Spirit would grant them an enlightenment, that all of His words might be clearly understood. This portion, now due to be understood, is therefore becoming clear to those of spiritual discernment.

Then, that they might gradually learn that these things belonged to a distant time, Jesus explained that first He must suffer many things and be rejected of that nation. Coming back to an explanation of what would be the signs of His presence, in answer to their question as recorded in Matthew 24, He declared, "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man."

Here we have something definite, concrete. We know what to look for at the time when the Kingdom will be due for establishment--the time when the Sun of Righteousness will begin to shine forth from one end of heaven to the other. The signs of the times will not be in the outward condition of the world; for on the contrary everything will be going along in as quiet and orderly a manner as ever, just as in the days of Noah, just as before the Deluge came, and just as in the days of Lot, before the destruction of Sodom--they ate, drank, married, built, bought, sowed, planted, as usual. These things are not signs of wickedness, but are mentioned to show us that there will be no outward sign to indicate to the world the time of the Second Presence of Christ, when He will begin to deal with the world and to set up His Kingdom.

THE DELUGE AND SODOM'S DESTRUCTION

Why introduce these two pictures--the Deluge and the destruction of Sodom--in conjunction, while talking of the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom, which is to bless the world? The answer is that the Bible everywhere foretells that although Messiah's Kingdom is the great provision of God which will lift the curse and bring in blessings world-wide, nevertheless it is to be established upon the wreck of our present institutions. And it is this wreck of social, financial, political and religious institutions of the present time that Jesus illustrated by the Deluge and the destruction of Sodom. And His own presence preceding this Time of Trouble is to be unseen [R5456 : page 141] to the world, unknown to the world, unsuspected, unbelieved, until the cataclysm of trouble precipitates with suddenness.

This is not a charming picture. We are glad that we may turn from it, and note the silver lining of the cloud, and the glorious blessings which will speedily follow the establishment of the Kingdom on the ruins of our human failures.

Emphasizing the suddenness with which the calamity will overtake the world, Jesus said that on the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained down fire and brimstone from heaven; and He declared that thus it will be in the Day when the Son of Man is revealed. The Greek text shows a difference between the Parousia, or presence, of Christ before the Time of Trouble, and the later Epiphania, or revealing.

The description of the revealing of Christ is given in [R5456 : page 142] the words, He shall be revealed in flaming fire. (2 Thessalonians 1:7,8.) Indeed, that Time of Trouble is frequently described symbolically in the Bible as a burning of the world--so much so, that all the creeds of Christendom express the thought that the earth is to be "burned." They overlook the fact that the heavens are to be "burned" also.

In the symbolical usage of the Bible, the earth represents the social order of human affairs; the sea, the restless, discontented masses; the heavens, the ecclesiastical powers. St. Peter tells us that all these will pass away with a great confusion, and that instead will come the new heavens and the new earth which God has promised. (2 Peter 3:10-13.) The new heavens will be the new ecclesiastical society--the Church in glory, joint-heirs with Christ in His Kingdom. The new earth will be the new social order which Messiah's Kingdom will establish.

SAINTS ON THE HOUSETOP

Again recurring to the period in which He will be present before being revealed "in flaming fire," the Lord seems to assure us that all of His faithful ones will die, and be changed in the moment of dying, before the great trouble, the symbolic fire, will consume present institutions. In figurative language He says that in that Day (of His Parousia, presence, before His Epiphania, revealing) those on the housetop, with their goods in the house, should not leave to take them out. What is here meant?

Briefly, we believe that the house represents the House of God, and those on the housetop represent the most saintly of the people of God. At that time such will come to realize the necessity for flight; and the question will arise, How much of their stuff, their valuables, will they seek to save? They are warned not to seek to save any of the stuff--considerations of social privileges, honor of men, sometimes titles of small offices; such as vestryman, deacon, elder, minister, etc. An attempt to save any of these things will mean disappointment. Everything must be forsaken, else the test of that time will not be successfully passed.

Likewise, any in the field must not turn back. The field represents the world. And any of the Lord's people who have gone out into the world--who have left the church nominal--are not to go back; but learning the truth of the situation they are to flee to the Lord from the field.

St. Matthew's account speaks of special troubles at that time upon such as are with child and give suck, which we believe is also symbolical, and refers to Christian people, seeking to convert the world and to teach beginners. These will be in special travail of soul, because of the change of dispensation and the call, "Come out of her, My people." It will be especially difficult for such to hear and to obey that call.

In the flight from Sodom, Lot and his family were warned to make haste, and not even to look back to the things that were to be destroyed. So the Lord's people are not to look back at the things to be destroyed. Give them no thought. "Flee out of Babylon!" "Deliver every man his own soul!" Lot's wife, disobeying, looked back longingly to the things of destruction, and failed to escape. The Lord applies this illustration to His people, and urges that their flight be with a full renunciation of the things of the present time. Whoever shall seek to save his life must lose it. Whoever will lose his life will thereby be preserving it--gaining the everlasting life.



[R5456 : page 142]

CREATION PHOTO-DRAMA

THE WATCH TOWER readers everywhere are enthused by the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION. In response to our recent suggestion, we are flooded with applications from various Classes, giving the names of those appointed for the DRAMA COMMITTEE. We have answered many of these communications directly, but think it well to now give a general response and explanation.

We started with the thought that the Association should put the DRAMA on in different cities and trust to voluntary support; but by the time we had gotten out twelve sets of the DRAMA, the expense was enormous-- our express bills alone on printed matter, machines, etc., running up to $2,000.00 in one month, besides post and freight charges. Then came the realization that each one of those twelve sets could be serving four cities at one time. This meant four times the cost. We perceived that unless the Lord worked a miracle we would run out of funds, without accomplishing anything like the work we see before us to do. At the same time propositions began to come in from various cities and towns, assuring us that the I.B.S.A. Classes of these places would be glad to finance the DRAMA locally, if they were provided with operators, free literature, Pax Pins, etc.

We take this to be the leading of the Lord's providence --an intimation that the Lord desires to give His people everywhere an opportunity to participate in the DRAMA'S great testimony in their own cities. We are following this plan now, and invite those classes of Bible students who desire to have the DRAMA to canvass the subject amongst themselves and then, through their Committee, to correspond at once with our office, advising us what they desire to do and are able to do in the way of meeting the expenses of presenting the DRAMA in their home cities.

Such information should be sent to the Society's address, marked "DRAMA DEPARTMENT." Americans and Canadians should address Brooklyn, New York, Office; British Classes should address the London Office; Swedish Classes should address the Orebro Office; Danish Classes, the Copenhagen Office; German Classes, the Barmen Office; French and Swiss Classes, the Geneva Office. Act at once; and then, having done your part, wait patiently, assured that we will do all in our power to co-operate with you.

On the same postal it will be well to state how many Sisters of medium age and of good address and good appearance would volunteer to serve as ushers, and whether or not one or two of them would learn to operate the phonograph under the instructor whom the Society would send. Advise also if there is a Brother in the Class of good address suitable to serve the DRAMA presentation as Floor Manager and who could, without injury to his interests, give the necessary time.

We usually operate the DRAMA one week to each PART, afternoon and evening--four weeks to the FOUR PARTS. However, where very large Auditoriums are used or where the city is small, we sometimes run the FOUR PARTS in two weeks, beginning one PART with Sunday afternoon, another PART with Wednesday afternoon.

Theatres are better places for the DRAMA than Churches, because Catholics do not care to go to Protestant Churches, nor Protestants to Catholic Churches, nor Jews to either--and all classes are interested in the DRAMA and it is for all. The dull season of the theatres has begun. Many of them are operating now at no profit; and, if run further, it would be at a loss. Under such circumstances, whatever amount is paid to the [R5456 : page 143] theatre people above the cost of light and janitorage is profit. Besides, many theatres are interested in bringing their name and location prominently before the public and would be benefited greatly by having the DRAMA.

Under such circumstances the theatre owners often give us astonishingly low prices--five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five dollars per day, according to size and quality of the theatre and the size of the city. In no case should we use an inferior Auditorium, nor one in a poor location, even if it were offered free. Have these things in mind when writing to us. If you will, give us information respecting the best theatres, their seating capacity, the price at which they would be obtainable, etc.

In any event, be sure to inform us very definitely just what amount of assistance your Class would need for the local presentation of the DRAMA. We must know this in every case hereafter, in order to know how to use the DRAMA most widely and how to use the Lord's money in connection with it most wisely. Give this immediate attention, if interested; for whatever is to be accomplished this Summer should be under way now, or projected.

Toward fall there will be numerous Fairs and Expositions everywhere. The Fair and Exposition and Chautauqua Managers are interested in the DRAMA, as they would be in anything else that would help to attract to their enterprises. They frequently spend large sums for attractions. We have circulars to the effect that our Society is willing to supply the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION free to those who proffer suitable Auditorium and other conveniences. We make no objection to the [R5457 : page 143] usual entrance fees charged by Expositions, etc., but merely require that the DRAMA shall be free to all those inside the grounds. Any of you acquainted with such Fairs may drop us a postal card giving us the date and the name and address of the Treasurer or Business Manager. Brooklyn address No. 124 Columbia Heights.

In some places theatre managers are anxious for the DRAMA and are willing to show it free, provided that they are permitted to charge for one-third of their seating capacity as reserved seats. We have no objection to this. Evidently there are some people who would prefer to pay something, in order to have seats reserved.



page 143

RENEW REQUESTS FOR PILGRIM VISITS

Please bear in mind that with this issue of the TOWER all requests for Pilgrim visits now on file expire. All who are desirous of securing the visits of the traveling brethren during the ensuing year should promptly notify us. No charge is made for this service, the expense being borne by contributions to the Tract Fund. The friends at each place provide proper places for the meetings, and are pleased to entertain the Lord's servants.

We request that postcards be used in making applications for these visits, and specially desire replies to all of the following questions. The questions need not be repeated, but merely indicated thus: (a), (b), etc.

(a) How many Bible Students in your vicinity use the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES?
(b) Are weekly meetings held?
(c) How many are usually in attendance?
(d) Where do you now meet on Sundays? (Give full street addresses and name of auditorium.)
(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) Do you desire Sunday appointments for Special Public Lectures?
(i) How frequently do you desire such Special appointments?
(j) Give seating capacity of Auditorium you could secure?
(k) What attendance do you think could be secured for well-advertised public sessions in good Auditorium?
(l) Would a suitable place be found for meetings not specially advertised?
(m) Have the members of your class chosen leaders in accordance with suggestions of SCRIPTURE STUDIES,
Volume VI., chapters 5 and 6? If so, give name and full address of each.
(n) Give full names and full addresses of the two (2) to whom notices of Pilgrim visits should be sent. (Please notify Pilgrim Dept. as to any change or removal.)
(o) If your town is not on a railroad give the name of proper railroad station at which to stop.
(p) How many miles from station is meeting place, and which direction from station?
(q) Would Pilgrim be met at station?
(r) If not, how should Pilgrim get from said station?
(s) Give writer's full name and address.
(t) Any additional remarks.



[R5457 : page 143]

THE MEMORIAL SUPPER CELEBRATION

So far as reports have reached us the celebration of the Redeemer's death this year has been one of the most interesting, most impressive and most widely observed. Naturally the larger number of reports represent small gatherings --fully in accord with the Master's promise that where two or three were met in His name, He would be in their midst.

The reports show a steady increase in every direction over last year's reports. Be it remembered that these are not the names of persons or households that have been standing on a church register for a decade, and many of them dead and buried. Neither do these reports represent merely nominal church attendance. On the contrary, they represent people who with intelligence and deliberation have counted the cost and made a full consecration of themselves to the Lord and His service, even unto death.

We give the showings of reports thus far sent to us where the Memorial was celebrated by thirty or more persons. On account of the fact that The Temple is being used for the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, the Tabernacle was used this year, but was taxed beyond its capacity. Suburban gatherings were proportionately larger; hence the real increase in the Brooklyn congregation was the less apparent:

Brooklyn, N.Y................. 842
London, Eng................... 741
Chicago, Ill.................. 693
Barmen, Germany............... 500
Glasgow, Scot................. 464
Boston, Mass.................. 425
Forest Gate, Eng.............. 385
Los Angeles, Cal.............. 362
Pittsburgh, Pa................ 345
Philadelphia, Pa.............. 317
Seattle, Wash................. 219
Minneapolis and St. Paul,
 Minn......................... 206
Toronto, Ont.................. 204
Cleveland, O.................. 203
Vancouver, B.C................ 195
Washington, D.C............... 192
Portland, Ore................. 159
Indianapolis, Ind............. 156
Columbus, O................... 144
Providence, R.I............... 144
Cincinnati, O................. 140
Copenhagen, Denmark........... 140
St. Louis, Mo................. 136
Liverpool, Eng................ 130
Buffalo, N.Y.................. 125
Houston, Tex.................. 121
Dayton, O..................... 121
Oakland, Cal.................. 120
Milwaukee, Wis................ 113
Kingston, B.W.I............... 111
Bristol, Eng.................. 110
Winnipeg, Manitoba............ 105
Baltimore, Md................. 102
Sheffield, Eng................ 100
Louisville, Ky................  98
Oldham, Eng...................  92
Edinburgh, Scot...............  90
Denver, Colo..................  85
Birmingham, Ala...............  80
Binghamton, N.Y...............  79
Richmond, Va..................  79
Bellingham, Wash..............  78
Worcester, Mass...............  76
Allentown, Pa.................  76
Toledo, O.....................  74
Tacoma, Wash..................  74
Spokane, Wash.................  73
Camberwell, Jamaica, B.W.I....  72
St. Joseph, Mo................  69
San Francisco, Cal............  69
Hamilton, Ont.................  65
Tampa, Fla....................  65
Youngstown, O.................  65
Birmingham, Eng...............  64
Springfield, Mass.............  63
Grand Rapids, Mich............  61
Atlanta, Ga...................  60
Memphis, Tenn.................  60
Newark, N.J...................  59
Altoona, Pa...................  58
Hartford, Conn................  57
San Diego, Cal................  55
Nottingham, Eng...............  55
Lynn, Mass....................  54
Cumberland, Md................  50
Pasadena, Cal.................  50
Dundee, Scot..................  49
Wichita, Kans.................  49
Schenectady, N.Y..............  49
Valenciennes, Nord, Fr........  48
New Brighton, Pa..............  48
Akron, O......................  48
Jackson, Mich.................  47
Easton, Pa....................  46
Port Limon, C.R...............  46
Calgary, Alta.................  45
Ancon, Panama.................  45
Victoria, B.C.................  45
Port Huron, Mich..............  45
Middlesboro, Eng..............  44
Scranton, Pa..................  44
Rochester, N.Y................  44
Tamaqua, Pa...................  43
Saginaw, Mich.................  42
Topeka, Kans..................  42
Terre Haute, Ind..............  42
Jacksonville, Fla.............  42
Knoxville, Tenn...............  40
Des Moines, Iowa..............  40
Oklahoma City, Okla...........  40
Norfolk, Va...................  40
Edmonton, Alberta.............  40
Wheeling, W.Va................  38
Sharon, Pa....................  38
York, Pa......................  38
Duquesne, Pa..................  38
Erie, Pa......................  37
Chester and Moore, Pa.........  37
Everett, Wash.................  37
Gloversville and Johnstown,
 N.Y..........................  37
Lowell, Mass..................  37
Belvidere, Ill................  37
Greenock, Scot................  37
South Bend, Ind...............  36
Chattanooga, Tenn.............  36
Riverside, Cal................  35
Paterson, N.J.................  34
London, Ont...................  34
Syracuse, N.Y.................  34
Wilmington, Del...............  34
Warren, O.....................  34
Sacramento, Cal...............  33
Johnstown, O..................  32
Canton, O.....................  32
Johnstown, Pa.................  32
Brantford, Ont................  31
East Liverpool, O.............  31
Bradford, Eng.................  31
Brockton, Mass................  31
Mattoon, Ill..................  30
Houston, Tex..................  30
Santa Ana, Cal................  30
Watertown, N.Y................  30
Reading, Pa...................  30
Tiffin, O.....................  30
Fort Smith, Ark...............  30



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

VOL. XXXVMAY 15No. 10

A. D. 1914--A. M. 6042


CONTENTS

Giants In These Days147
A Show of Great Strength148
The Death Struggle Near148
Trials Essential to Development of Character149
A Word of Warning150
Causes Inducing a Fall150
"The Israel of God"151
The Church's Two-Fold Office151
What Constitute Good Works152
Expiation of Sin--Adamic and Partially Wilful153
Jewish Age Reckoning153
Legal Expiation by Scape-Goat Class154
Jesus Alone the Ransomer154
The Friend of Sinners155
Two Salvations--One Savior156
Difficulties of the Rich157
A Camel Through a Needle's Eye157
An Interesting Question158
Some Interesting Letters159
Berean Bible Studies, Vol. II159

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.




PUBLISHED BY
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N. Y., U. S. A.

Foreign Agencies:-British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, London, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.


ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE.
SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED.
FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.


Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:-All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May 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.



ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH AND DANISH EDITIONS.
SAMPLE COPIES FREE.


ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N. Y., POSTOFFICE. ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA.

LITERATURE FOR THE BLIND

Requests for Bible literature for the Blind should be sent direct to Gould Free Library for the Blind, South Boston, Mass. It has for loaning the six volumes of STUDIES in English Braille; also Vols. I. and II. in New York Point, and Vol. I. in American Braille. Besides this, there are translated, and ready to loan, many of the booklets issued by our Society, as well as special sermons.

When returning books or pamphlets for the Blind, please return them direct to the Gould Library. The Post-Office will handle them without postage if the package is plainly marked, "Literature for the Blind, Postage Free."


RE CLIPPINGS

We wish to express thanks for interesting clippings, and also for clippings containing attacks upon us. We request that you give name and date of paper each time, or, preferably, the whole page. If the whole paper be sent, please mark the article plainly and address WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, File H, 17 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.


RE REMITTANCES

When sending remittances to the Society, please remember to make them payable in all cases to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, No. 17 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.



[R5457 : page 147]

GIANTS IN THESE DAYS

READERS of these columns, and especially such as are familiar with the presentations of the volume entitled "Armageddon," know quite well that it is our opinion that there is a correspondency to be noted between the conditions which will prevail in the days of Noah, prior to the Deluge, and the conditions which will prevail in the days of the Son of Man, prior to the great Time of Trouble, which the Bible declares will symbolically melt, or dissolve, as in a furnace of fire, the social elements of today. We have called attention to the fact that the Giants of Noah's day, according to the Bible, endangered the lives and the happiness of humanity; and that it was our thought that a counterpart of these Giants is to be found in the great institutions and trusts of our day, which have the power to throttle, to strangle humanity.

We have pointed out that much could be said in favor of aggregations of wealth and intellect in mighty combinations, if properly used, not selfishly, but in the interests of the people. We have pointed out that although these Giant corporations have accomplished great good, which could not have been accomplished without their aid or without some Divine interposition, nevertheless, under present selfish conditions, they are a menace to the people.

We should not be misunderstood. We do not mean even to hint that the men at the head of these Giant corporations are inferior to their fellows in sympathy and in wisdom. On the contrary, we believe that they are generally superior, and that had brutish men been at the head of these Giant corporations they long ago would have sought to squeeze the very life out of the people. But, as we have pointed out, there is continually a tendency on the part of all imperfect people toward selfishness, acquisitiveness. That "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" is as true today as ever it was. The people must watch the Giants lest they become autocratic.

APPEARANCES SOMETIMES DECEITFUL

But, say some, The Editor of THE WATCH TOWER must be behind the times. Does he not know that the trusts are being throttled, and that these Giants have been made the slaves of the people? [R5458 : page 147]

The Editor is well aware that apparently much has been done to bind these Giants; and he well knows that they have apparently submitted and apparently acknowledge themselves the creatures, the servants of the people. But he also takes note that this transformation is merely an appearance. This docility is merely affected. The Giants of intellectual and monetary strength have not really surrendered, nor is it in harmony with the laws of human nature to suppose that they would ever capitulate. Instead, they have seemingly acquiesced to the laws and regulations while merely transforming themselves and retaining their power. In several instances they have demonstrated that they are as powerful today as they ever were. And in their behalf it should be acknowledged that much of the legislation enacted against them is mere demagoguery--the work of politicians, intended to curry favor with the people and not for practical use.

We have no sympathy with those who make tirades against the courageous and brainy men who have, along purely commercial lines, done so much to help forward the world's condition--so much to prepare for the Millennium. Instead of being tantalized and hampered, these financial and engineering princes should be appreciated, honored. Then, while honoring them, we should insist upon their reasonable control and supervision by the people through their governmental representatives. If these Giants are necessary and useful, they can be better ruled by love and justice than by nagging and pin-pricking. No doubt it is this very nagging that is producing more and more a spirit of bitterness in the Giants--a feeling that they are not appreciated by some, a feeling that they must teach the people a lesson.

CONDITIONS AS THEY ARE

We are not especially finding fault with anybody. We are merely pointing out conditions as they are, and showing how these are shaping themselves and preparing for a great struggle between the Giants and the people--a struggle in which the people will suffer more than will the Giants. The fault is not with humanity at all. The fault is with the sin, the selfishness, the meanness, which for centuries has had a firm foothold in humanity--rich and poor. All are selfish. Each according to his opportunity seems disposed to take advantage. The Giant corporations, we believe, are much more lenient than they would be if they were in the hands of naturally smaller men of lower class.

These Giants are realizing that they have opponents on every hand. They have long contended with the labor unions, and more or less have been compelled to submit. Now, in addition to the unions, they are obliged to contend with the people in governmental legislation, and with new ideas in respect to corporation rights and liberties. These Giants are saying to themselves, The people do not realize how much good we have done, nor what important factors in their welfare we are. [R5458 : page 148]

Few of the people realize that the managers and the presidents of our great railroads and large business enterprises are men of powerful mind, any of them well qualified for the highest stations of life, and many of them are earning salaries as great as that of the President of the United States, and solving problems as difficult as those which the President must handle. Few people realize that next to the farming element in importance come the railroads, as respects numbers of employees. And the latter are an increasing army, while the farmers are a decreasing army, because of labor-saving machinery.

Whoever supposes that these long-headed business men intend to sit down and quietly submit to every kind of legislation is deluding himself. The Giants know their own strength. They prefer to hide it rather than to boast of it; but when it comes to a life-and-death struggle they will use it, and terrible will be the effects. The very fact that the people are seeking to bind them arouses them to a more arbitrary exercise of their power. If legislation, for instance, affects to hinder railroads from monopolizing the anthracite and other coal interests, the coal-owning railroads with a snarl of defiance raise the price of coal, and thus give a hint to the consumers that they will need to be thankful if permitted to purchase at all and to keep from freezing.

A SHOW OF GIANT STRENGTH

A more or less preconcerted action has begun on the part of the great railroads and affiliated interests. They have determined that unless they are granted permission to raise their freight rates they will make the restrainers of their liberties pay dearly for it by bringing upon the country financial disaster, reaching losses a thousand times greater than the five per cent. which they demand. It would surely in many respects be wise to placate these Giants with the increase they ask, merely requiring them to render more prompt and efficient service in return.

But will this course of wisdom prevail? Possibly not. If not, we have before us already an illustration and prophecy of what may be expected. Already the railroads have laid off thousands of workmen who have been employed in road construction and repairs. Already they have canceled orders for rails and equipment, which in turn has rendered idle many of the large mills, throwing other thousands out of employment. Already they are cutting down their office forces. All this is done with a certain amount of justification in the fact that they have not been making as much money as formerly. For instance, a great steel corporation's recent report showed a "sad" falling off of revenue and profit, "leaving only $18,000,000 of profit for the quarter;" whereas they had for some time been accustomed to more. In accord with this policy, there has for some time been a gradual curtailing of train service, which is really a safe and sane policy.

We are not complaining, we are not finding fault even; we are merely recording facts, in supporting our contention that these great institutions are really Giants which, if they ever become angry and malicious, may accomplish incalculable injury. Their power and dissatisfaction have already been hinted to the government, which is more or less fearful of the industrial suspension threatened.

On the other hand we have trades unionism, which is only beginning to realize its great power at the polls, and also its physical power through strikes. The threat of the railroad managers partially to suspend business until their demands are met may any day be duplicated by the Giants of labor with their threat of suspension of labor, stoppage of fuel supply, walk-outs, etc. It may be said that these Giants of labor are blind and unwise; but nevertheless it is manifest that they, like the blind Samson of old, are feeling for the pillars which support our present social structure; and that they have in view its wreck and ruin, even though this means also the destruction of their own interests.

THE DEATH STRUGGLE NEAR

How soon these great Giants will enter upon their death struggle, each confident of victory, yet both doomed to destruction, no one can tell. Sure we may be, however, that in the battle of these Giants the masses of mankind will suffer with them in the ordeal.

Looking from the Bible viewpoint, we perceive that these Giants have reached their present size and strength through the light and blessings of the Millennial Morning. Had the veil of gross darkness been lifted a thousand years sooner, these Giants would have developed that much sooner; and their death struggle would have come that much sooner, with its resultant overthrow of present institutions in anarchy. But God would not permit this. It is no part of His Plan to allow human passion utterly to desolate the earth. Hence, He withheld the Morning Light until the Morning time, so that the struggle and its disastrous effects upon human institutions will occur just in advance of the time for the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom, for the control of the world by its spiritual, invisible, but all-powerful King, who is so soon to take unto Himself His great power and reign.--Rev. 11:17.

How soon this great catastrophe will engulf the world none is wise enough to say, yet the trouble is discerned and feared by all persons of intelligence, but more particularly by those whose intelligence is guided by the Word of God. The catastrophe may be put off for months or years, but it is sure to come. And we can see how it might be suddenly precipitated. Even as we write, the newspapers are echoing the mutterings and threats of the labor Giants, while the capitalistic Giants are admittedly feeling sour, and are half inclined to give the public a pinch as a mere suggestion of what they could do. It is these hints, suggestions and threats which are likely to lead from bad to worse, producing anger, malice, hatred, strife, and various works of the flesh and of the Devil, as St. Paul intimated.

"SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT"

Whether this great trouble be very near or further afield, the proper course of God's consecrated people is the same--"Seek peace and pursue it." And not only so, but we are to be peace-makers and not strife-breeders. When all around men's souls give way, a special opportunity comes to the people of God for pointing their distressed fellow-creatures to the grand blessing which God has provided for the near future, and for re-establishing faith in the Creator and in the future life, and for pointing out that it is to be attained only by those who learn the true lesson of life and who come to love righteousness and to hate iniquity.

We would be inclined to expect this great trouble to break out very soon were it not that the Scriptures apparently indicate that it will be preceded by a very powerful [R5459 : page 148] Church Federation, which will flourish outwardly in unrighteousness and be the first to succumb.


page 148

"I can see His coming judgments, as they circle all the earth,
The signs and groanings promised, to precede a second birth;
I read His righteous sentence in the crumbling thrones of earth:
Our King is marching on."



[R5459 : page 149]

TRIALS ESSENTIAL TO CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."--James 1:2.
ALL those who have been called of the Lord during this Gospel Age are called with what the Apostle Paul styles the High Calling (Philippians 3:14), the Heavenly Calling (Hebrews 3:1), which is a call to share with Jesus in His glory, honor and immortality. But the call is not the decision in the matter; it is merely an invitation with certain definite conditions. We are called, not only to righteousness, but to walk in the Master's footsteps of suffering and self-sacrifice. These are the only terms on which any are received as disciples of Christ. We understand the Scriptures to teach that during the Millennial Age there will be other terms of acceptance with God, offered the world. But there are no conditions offered now other than those of becoming followers and disciples of Jesus, to walk as He walked.

The Apostle James intimates that temptations may overtake these followers of Christ, into which they will fall as into a snare. As for an army, traps are set by the enemy, so the great Adversary sets traps and snares for us. He endeavors to misguide our minds and to lead us away from proper conceptions of truth and righteousness. We should be very careful to avoid his snares. Nevertheless, in spite of diligence, we may fall into a trap.

The Apostle says we are to rejoice when we fall into various temptations--not that we are to rejoice if we fall into sin when tempted, but that we may rejoice if we find ourselves suddenly precipitated into temptation. Temptation is not sin. If we could but keep in mind the fact that every temptation, every trial, every persecution, every difficulty in life, permitted to come upon us who have made the covenant of sacrifice with the Lord, is intended to prove us, to test our love, to see whether or not our characters are fixed, rooted and grounded in righteousness and being built up in love, it would put all these trials, difficulties and temptations in a new light before us, and greatly assist us in fighting a good fight and overcoming. When we find ourselves suddenly in temptation, trial, we should say, If by these temptations, or trials, the Lord is proving my love and devotion to Him, then, however trifling they may be or however important, I will diligently use them as favorable opportunities to demonstrate to my Lord the fulness of my love and devotion to Him and His cause. I must fight a good fight against this thing--the world, the flesh or the Adversary --whatever it might be that had brought the snare.

Thus viewed and thus met we can rejoice in every such experience; every trial and every difficulty will prove a blessing; for we shall, first of all, have an opportunity to show the Lord that we will endure, and not compromise His cause or our own position as His servants. We can rejoice also because we know that under such trials our characters will make advancement toward crystallization, if we overcome; and because we know that the Lord would not let us fall into any temptation which He would not cause to work out for us a blessing if we are wholly loyal. Let us dwell often upon the words of the Apostles: "Beloved, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." "Greatly rejoice, though now for a season ye are in manifold temptation, that the trial of your faith, being more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." "Blessed is the man that endureth [faithfully under] temptation; for after his trials he will receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him." "These light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory"--if rightly utilized; if we are rightly exercised by them.--1 Peter 1:7; James 1:2,12.

"HE THAT ENDURETH"

We are assured that those who love the Lord, and who because of this will receive the Kingdom, will be those whose love will have been tested by trials and temptations on the way. Those who do not love the Lord with all their hearts--in whom self or some other idol has first place--will be seduced by the world, the flesh or the Adversary, into some form of rebellion against the Divine Word or Divine providences. They will have schemes and theories which they will prefer to the Lord's Plan. These when analyzed will usually be found to be based either upon selfishness or upon ambition or an evil spirit of envy, hatred, etc. The Lord's leading and the Lord's words lose their attraction to such, and they lose their interest correspondingly. Like those who turned away from the Lord at the First Advent, declaring, "This is a hard saying," they walk no more with Him.

As there are some substances which are short and brittle, so are there some which have fibre, strength, endurance. The Lord chooses for Himself such characters as have the strong, enduring qualities--fortitude, patience, long-suffering, etc. Some there are who walk close to the Lord, who will not be driven from Him by any of the arts and wiles of the Adversary. They are such as are at heart fully the Lord's--not their own; they follow wherever the Lord may lead, because they have no will except the will of God. These will follow the Lord in the narrow way of trial, discipline and testings during the present life, and by and by, as He has declared, "They shall walk with Me in white; for they are worthy."--Revelation 3:4.

He who escapes all trials and temptations and difficulties has every reason to doubt that he is really in relationship to God as a son. If he were a son, the Lord would surely find it necessary to give him trials and difficulties. If he does not have these he should go to the Father and make sure that there is no impediment on his part--make sure that he has put himself in the proper place where he can be prepared for the Kingdom. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth."--Hebrews 12:6.

FAILURES AS "STEPPING-STONES"

All will rejoice when the testings are over and we are accepted as overcomers, to share with the Lord in His Throne. But patience, trust and love must first do a refining work in our hearts, making us mellow, submissive and obedient to God. Let the good work go on! Let us rejoice if our trials have made us stronger in character, more humble and Christlike, more aware of our blemishes and imperfections, more watchful and earnest in our endeavors to correct them so far as possible.

Even the conflicts in which we have had only partial victory may have resulted in blessings to us. Even in those experiences where we have suffered absolute failure, there may be, through the humiliation and the pain of defeat, a strengthening of our character, a firm determination for greater watchfulness in that direction, and a more fervent prayer for the Lord's sustaining grace, the need of which has been more deeply impressed upon our hearts. Thus even failures may become "stepping-stones" by which we rise toward God and Heaven. Only through much tribulation shall we enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all. If, therefore, the Lord's people [R5459 : page 150] find themselves involved in temptations, tribulations, instead of feeling downcast they are to rejoice and say, These are evidences that the Lord is preparing me for a place in the Kingdom. This should give one courage to fight the good fight against the world, the flesh and the Adversary. The flesh is suffering; but the new mind, the new will, has this joy; and the New Creature can rejoice, knowing that these trials are not for his harm, but for his good.--1 Peter 4:13.

A WAY OF ESCAPE PROVIDED

The Heavenly Father will with every temptation provide a way of escape. Hence when we find ourselves in difficulty we are to say, The Heavenly Father is permitting this trial--the Lord Jesus will help me, and so I will rejoice in the fact that the Lord will not allow me to be overthrown; for He has promised that all things shall work out for my good.

As our text expressly says: We are to count it all joy when we fall into temptations--not when we walk into them. We are not to seek temptation. In our own fallen condition and that of those around us, with the Adversary alert to harm us, we know that there will be plenty of temptations without our walking into them. But if we fall into temptation we are to say, I have been striving against this thing, but the Lord has permitted it; and there must, therefore, come some blessing out of it for me. Even temptations that come through negligence are not to be disesteemed. Some of our greatest lessons in carefulness have resulted from the effect of our own carelessness. [R5460 : page 150]

Our joy is largely dependent upon our study of the Word and our knowledge of the precious promises contained therein for those who overcome. The Lord wants those who will endure a great fight of afflictions, who will endure patiently, though the temptations continue long and the tribulations become more and more severe. But if they should lose faith, all their previous good resolutions and standing for what is right would not make them overcomers.

These trials are intended to develop in us patience-- that this quality may be deeply ingrained. We are building character for all eternity; and patience could not be thus developed and maintained except by repeated difficulties, tests--by our resolving again and again to be stronger and firmer in building the character-likeness of our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

A WORD OF WARNING

To those who are of this anointed company and who are striving to attain the glory promised to the faithful followers of Christ, the Apostle Peter issues a word of warning. In the first chapter of his second Epistle, he urges the Church to add quality after quality of character-preparation, that thus they may be fitted for the glorious things that God has promised to the faithful. He specifies faith as the primary qualification. To this he says that we are to add fortitude, knowledge, patience, self-control, godliness, brotherly kindness and a broad, generous love for all mankind. The reason why the Scriptures declare that our judgment will be according to our faith is that while in the flesh we shall never be able to perform works such as God could approve.

What God approves is the New Creature. By exercising faith and by demonstrating loyalty these New Creatures will be able to please Him, and to work out the proper character as enjoined in His Word, developing the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. "If ye do these things," says the Apostle, "ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."

Faith is necessary all along the line. Without faith we could not have courage to go on. If we did not have faith what would be our source of encouragement? The fall mentioned in the text above quoted (2 Peter 1:10), is evidently a fall from the position to which we have been invited and to which invitation we respond. We were called to be joint-heirs with our Lord. If we are obedient to the Word of the Lord and are properly exercised by the experiences which are given us in the School of Christ, we shall gain His approval; for "Faithful is He that hath called us." If there is a fall in our case, it will be due to failure to do our part. If we fail to cultivate character, we shall fail to gain the Kingdom.

CAUSES INDUCING A FALL

Among those who fall some will fall more seriously than others. Those who fail to go on will receive certain tests which will determine whether they will turn back to the world or will continue in the narrow way. Some will fail in that they will not manifest sufficient zeal. These will come through great tribulations. If by these experiences they are brought to a full loyalty to the Lord, they will be granted everlasting life, but not on so high a plane as if they had not failed in their manifestation of zeal for the Lord, and of faith, energy and perseverance in doing the Lord's will.

Again, from lack of zeal in the Lord's service or from cultivating a spirit of bitterness, one may deteriorate until he becomes an enemy of the Lord, loving sin rather than righteousness. As an opponent of God such a one would suffer a complete fall. But those who have a temporary fall, but who afterwards overcome in the trials which the Lord will allow to come upon them, thus showing their loyalty to Him, will be fully recovered. Those who fall utterly can never be recovered. Such will lose everything. They had sacrificed their human hopes before they could be accepted at first; therefore their falling away from this condition of a New Creature will be a hopeless fall.

The fall of such will be far worse than the fall of Adam, whose fall resulted from having only limited knowledge and from lack of experience in the results of evil, for these have come to a clear knowledge of the Truth and have experienced a share in the redemption. The falling away of such would mean a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation--of destruction as enemies of God. Adam had only a small knowledge of the grace of God, and therefore is to be redeemed and ultimately restored, if he shall come into harmony with God.

Dear brethren, let us take heed to our ways. Let us earnestly cultivate the fruits of the Spirit, that we may indeed be presented "faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy."


"'From glory unto glory' that ever lies before,
Still wondering, adoring, rejoicing more and more;
Still following where He leadeth, from shining field to field,
Himself the goal of glory, Revealer and revealed!

"Then let our hearts be surely fixed where truest joys are found,
And let our burning, loving praise yet more and more abound;
And gazing on the 'things not seen' eternal in the skies,
'From glory unto glory,' O Savior, let us rise!"



[R5460 : page 151]

"THE ISRAEL OF GOD"

"Ye are a chosen generation, a Royal Priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."--1 PET. 2:9.
IN OUR text the Apostle Peter is pointing out the fact that the Church of Christ is separate and distinct from all other people. For many centuries before our Lord came, the Jews had understood that they were God's people. He had made a special Covenant with them through Moses, which constituted them His people. He had also made certain promises to them dependent on their keeping of the Law. Thus they were His chosen-- heirs of certain special promises that were conditioned upon their obedience, and of certain other promises that were stated without specified conditions. God had also promised to make a New Covenant with them, to give them a new heart, to take away their stoniness of heart, etc. But after the First Advent a different arrangement began.

The Apostle is directing attention to the new feature of God's Plan--that during the Gospel Age He is calling out a special people. There will be no competition between the two classes--the new nation and the nation of Israel--for the promises given to Israel after the flesh were earthly, and the promises given to Israel after the spirit are spiritual. The Jews were a "peculiar people" (Deut. 14:2), a special people whom God had separated from the world; they were a chosen generation, or race. They were the generation, or race, of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. This special generation was recognized of God as His people, Jews, Israelites, through the Law Covenant, as well as through the preceding promises God had made to Abraham.

But since Pentecost God has started this other work in the world--another generation--peculiar, separate, selected for a particular purpose. And this generation will all be holy--there will be none but holy ones in it! The other nation had a priesthood, but this new people is a whole nation of priests. We see how this description applies to the Church. The Apostle Paul points out that while Aaron and his sons were typical in some respects, yet they did not typify all the features of God's Plan. They typified how Jesus would die--as a Sacrifice--how all His associates would be sacrificers. But Aaron and his sons did not typify the still higher priesthood which God had in mind when He established the Levitical priesthood. This higher Order of Priests was typified by Melchizedek, the king-priest.--Hebrews 6:20.

CHURCH'S FUTURE TWO-FOLD OFFICE

Jesus is this great antitypical Royal, or Kingly, Priest, and His Church is the Body of this antitypical Melchizedek. Before the new Order can reign as kings, and before they can serve as Priests, they must go through a certain process. The members of this Body of Christ must be first generated. It is a new race--all are begotten of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit at the time of His consecration, and there became a New Creature, spirit-begotten, so also the Church, those who are to walk in His steps, must first make a full consecration before this new generative power will begin to operate in them.

This power began to operate in Jesus at His begetting, and completed its work in His resurrection. And so with us: This power will complete its work in us when we have proven our loyalty even unto death. When this [R5461 : page 151] work has been accomplished in all of the Priesthood class, then they will be of the Royal Priesthood indeed, on the Heavenly plane. This power of the Holy Spirit is not only a generating, or begetting, power, but an anointing power. And the anointing is not only to a priestly office, but also to a kingly office. This New Creation are a holy nation in the sense that they are representatives of a special Government, a Divine Government.

THE HOLY NATION--TYPE AND ANTITYPE

Israel purposed to be a holy nation, and in a typical way they were a holy nation. But in a broad sense, the Church constitutes the holy nation--separate and distinct from humanity. We are a separate nation in every sense of the word--living in the midst of people of the world. We keep our laws and also their laws. We are obedient to the "powers that be," realizing that the Lord has permitted these and wishes us to be subject to them, wherever our consciences will not be sacrificed. The Lord tells us that as representatives of His Kingdom we are to make known His Message. He tells us that the world is in a rebellious condition because they have become blinded by the Adversary.

And so He sends us as His ambassadors to tell men of His goodness, His Plan, which He purposes to work out, that the hearts of those who have an ear to hear His Message may turn to the Lord. He tells us not to expect many to hear this Message; for they will be so deaf and blind that they cannot understand. But He assures us that by and by their blindness will be taken away, and they will be ready for what He has for them.

The world does not understand us--they do not know that we belong to a different Kingdom; but we understand them. As the Apostle points out, "He that is spiritual judgeth all things." But they cannot understand, because no man can understand beyond his mental status, so to speak. We who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit still understand the natural things, but the natural man does not understand the spiritual things--"neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned"; "they are foolishness unto him." So we dwell in the midst of a perverse race, or generation, fallen into sin for six thousand years. As our Lord declared, "Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."--John 17:16.

OUR PRESENT GLORIOUS PRIVILEGE

And we are a peculiar people in the sight of the Lord. This word peculiar signifies a separate people--implying that God had done something special for us. The Lord Jesus has purchased us. His merit--the purchase-price-- has been applied on our behalf. The only ones for whom this purchase-price has as yet been applied are the spirit-begotten ones. The Apostle's Message is to these. What object had God in selecting this peculiar people? It was that we might "show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light." Is God proud, or vain, that He wishes His praises to be shown forth? Oh, no! God wishes His praises to be known because His praises will show to His creatures the great blessings He has provided for them.

If we go out and tell men that "God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life," we are showing forth His praises. We are not making God happy by so doing--He was already happy. But we are in this doing a great favor to the people who hear: we are telling them that God will bring them back again into His favor; that He will remove the curse. So, then, it is a great privilege now to tell forth the praises of God! But alas! not very many have the ear to hear; yet by our zeal in showing forth the Master's praises, we are doing all that we can to help men back to God. [R5461 : page 152]

The greater work by and by will be the work of the Kingdom in ruling mankind, in overthrowing sin, in instructing and healing the people, bringing them into harmony with their Creator. And this will require a thousand years for its accomplishment. This glorious work will be ours! How wonderful it will be to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord--to be higher than angels! We shall be next to Jesus, as He will be next to the Father--"far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named."

"BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH"

But it is not only the honor that we should seek, but also the privilege of service God is pleased to give this class; the privilege of opening all the deaf ears, of awakening the whole world, to see, to know, to understand our God, to realize that the knowledge of the Lord is to fill the whole world--"for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" --ocean deep! (Isa. 11:9.) That glorious work of the future shall be done only by those who have proved themselves wholly loyal to God. If we are careless or indifferent about telling forth the good Message and showing forth His praises, we shall show that we are not worthy of the Kingdom. Those who prove loyal and faithful to the end will be the ones whom the Lord will exalt by and by.

And in doing this, God has been merely carrying out a course which men have imitated. God laid His plans long before men were born; nevertheless, wise men instinctively follow certain great principles. Napoleon is said to have directed that the various men who were faithful to him be made princes in the countries he conquered. Our Lord says, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Rev. 2:10.) So we have from every standpoint the greatest encouragement to "show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light." This Scripture implies that we realize we were once in darkness, and that we know we are now in the light.

Comparatively few have had this experience. Those who have been raised out of ignorance and sin into a heart appreciation of God's Plan are the ones referred to here. They could not get this light, except by being begotten of the Holy Spirit and becoming members of this holy nation, this peculiar people. And we cannot do the world greater good than by telling them of God's great favor, and thus helping them also out of darkness into the light. The light is given us that we may let it shine. May we be enabled to sing from our hearts:

"All for Jesus, all for Jesus--
All my being's ransomed powers;
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours!"

WE ARE NOT OUR OWN

In Titus 2:14, St. Paul sets forth a similar thought: "A peculiar people, zealous of good works." The people here referred to by him are the saints of God, those who are waiting for the fulfilment of God's promises--for those things which were to be brought to them at the coming (during the parousia--presence) of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These are the people who realize that they have been purchased with the precious blood. Some translators render 1 Pet. 2:9 "A purchased people, zealous of good works." The Lord's people are a people who have been redeemed, purchased. Whatever they were through the fall, they have been redeemed from that condition. St. Paul, in recounting certain sins, said, "And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified."--1 Cor. 6:9-11.

The thought in Titus 2:14 is much the same as in the other. Ye are a peculiar people, a people bought back from Sin and Death, and all such are "peculiar," different from the remainder of mankind. Amongst mankind, in Christendom, we find some that are vicious, and even amongst the heathen we find noble people. But these peculiar people of whom St. Paul wrote, are different from all others--they are New Creatures in Christ.

To these, "old things have passed away, and all things have become new." They have new hopes and new aims. They are hoping to attain the highest position offered to any in the Universe; namely, to be made associates in the Government of Messiah. These are very wonderful hopes. And the possession of these hopes by faith constitutes them different and peculiar, separate and distinct from all other people.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PECULIAR PEOPLE

While others seek the emoluments and distinctions of the present time, these count all the things of this world as loss and dross, in view of the wonderful things that God has set before their minds. They have seen the "pearl of great price," and have given their all to purchase it. They see that the Kingdom of God is the most valuable thing that is obtainable now or ever will be attainable. They have recognized the terms upon which this Kingdom-Pearl may be obtained and are seeking to make good the purchase. The terms are self-sacrifice, faithfulness to God at any cost, and patient endurance under adverse conditions, even unto the end.

These peculiar people are seeking to accomplish this work in themselves, because they see that these are the most gracious characteristics and qualities that can be imagined. Hence they are doubly solicitous; they are zealous of good works. They love to see others good and happy, and they love to spread the knowledge of God. They love the things that God delights in, because they have the Spirit of Christ. They are interested in reforms [R5462 : page 152] --social reform, temperance reform, every kind of reform; but this does not mean that they will engage in these reforms. The same man cannot be a great preacher, a successful farmer, a successful lawyer, etc. If he be a great farmer, he must give up the other things to a large extent. Or if he be a great preacher, he will have to give up, for the most part, other things. Yet he may have pleasure in them all.

And so with these peculiar people: they have one particular work given them of the Father. They recognize that this work is most important to be done, hence they cannot give their attention to political reform, social reform, or other reform, outside of their own work. For this reason they are called theorists instead of practical people. Nevertheless they have the most practical plan of all; for God's Plan is of all plans the most practical. These people, in becoming co-workers, are taking the wisest course. But they do not find fault with others. They see that the only ones who can grasp these things are those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear; they know that others cannot go beyond what they see. The peculiarities of these "peculiar people" extend to all the affairs of life.

WHAT CONSTITUTE GOOD WORKS

This class of people are wise enough to know that all the Truth even should not be mentioned at once. The Master said to those who had been His close followers for three and a half years, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." (John 16:12.) The Lord's people are eager to do good, but in the way that will be the most effective, and in the way [R5462 : page 153] that will not stumble others. The good works, then, that this peculiar people are zealous of are the works of God. As Jesus said, "I must work the works of Him that sent Me."--John 9:4.

The world cannot appreciate this, not having the Spirit of God, but more the spirit of the Adversary. The world are walking in the way of slander and hypocrisy, more or less. Jesus said, when speaking to the Pharisees, "Ye are of your father, the Devil." (John 8:44.) And when Jesus walked in the way of God, His course was a condemnation to them. Therefore Jesus declared, "The darkness hateth the light," and He forewarned us that it would be the same all the way down through the Age. He warned His followers that they would suffer the same persecution He had suffered. But the Master urged that they be zealous for the Truth--solicitous for it.

Since God has called us to good works, we are to show great zeal, even though it bring upon us the envy and hatred and opposition of others. We are to rejoice, even if we are called to suffer persecution for His sake. And though the world does not appreciate these good works now, they will see and understand by and by, in their day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12.) They will see that God's Plan was the best plan. The Church glorified will be the channel for blessing the world in general.

Only this peculiar people can now understand these things. Jesus said unto His disciples, "It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them [the multitudes who went to hear Him] it is not given....Therefore speak I to them in parables; because they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand." (Matt. 13:11,13.) Only those who have come into this special relationship can understand. "The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence Him, and He will show them His Covenant."-- Psa. 25:14.

We find a great many who gladly accept the Truth, and then seem to forget that the only way they can make progress in the Truth is to consecrate themselves to God. If they fail to make consecration, they must fail to make progress. We should be sure that we give people the right thought along this line. Only those who thus become God's "peculiar people, zealous of good works," can inherit the Kingdom.



[R5462 : page 153]

EXPIATION OF SIN--ADAMIC AND PARTIALLY WILFUL

THE expiation of sin may be viewed from two different standpoints. A satisfaction to Divine Justice for Adamic sin is, first of all, necessary. The decree of the great Supreme Judge of the Universe--that the human race must die--went forth because of the disobedience of Adam; and no one can be released from death until that decree shall have been revoked because of its requirements being complied with. The annulling of that decree of Justice, however, will not make the individual at once a perfect man.

If a man had been put into prison for some offense, and after ten years someone should make satisfaction, should pay up his account and comply with the requirements of the law, the prisoner would be released--justice would be satisfied. But freedom from the restraint of prison life would not give back to the prisoner his clear vision, his teeth, his hair, his health, or anything that he might have lost or that had been impaired during his term of imprisonment. And likewise, whatever satisfaction of Justice is made for mankind, they will not, at the time they are awakened from the tomb, be free from the marks that Sin has placed upon them.

There will be no Divine disfavor holding over upon the world at that time, because the price for man's release will have been paid. But mankind at the beginning of the Millennial Age will still have the blemishes resulting from the fall. It will be the work of that Age to restore the human race, to lift them up out of imperfection and weakness. Man will be helped up from his fallen condition, because Justice will have been satisfied.

The world will be in the hands of Christ, who purchased them by the sacrifice of His own life. We are to bear in mind that the satisfaction of Justice does not bring about the restitution of humanity from imperfection, but this judicial satisfaction is merely the turning away of the disfavor of God, the annulling of the death penalty. This gives the opportunity for man to be restored to favor with God--to be brought into a condition worthy of Divine acceptance at the close of the Millennium.

As for this satisfaction of Divine Justice which must take place before the New Covenant can be inaugurated, it includes not only a satisfaction for Adamic sin, but it embraces also stripes for partially wilful sins, and satisfaction for certain gross injustices which mankind have committed when they had a knowledge of a better course and were in a measure responsible for their unjust words and actions. To an extent they were in ignorance, but often they were wilfully so, and in proportion to the measure of responsibility will Justice require a recompense.

JEWISH AGE RECKONING

At the close of the Jewish Age God had a reckoning with the nation of Israel, which was one of the most terrific times of trouble the world has ever known. The declaration of Jesus was, that of that Age--that generation then living--God would require expiation for all the righteous blood that had been shed from the time of Abel to the time in which He was speaking.--Matt. 23:34-36.

And these partially wilful sins of the world are not fully covered by the Sin-offerings. In so far as they have been wilful they must be expiated by punishment. These sins and trespasses are shown as placed upon the scapegoat class--the Great Company. In the great Antitype shortly to be enacted, these will be allowed to suffer for some of the partly wilful sins of the world--especially the sins of Babylon. All the blood of God's holy ones, from the beginning of this Gospel Age, will be required of the present generation, in the "great Time of Trouble, such as never was."

The martyrs of the past, "the souls under the altar," are represented symbolically as crying out for the vindication of Justice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood upon them that dwell on the earth!" They were bidden to wait until others of their brethren should be similarly killed, when the guilt of all will be avenged.--Rev. 6:9-11.

RECKONING OF THE GOSPEL AGE

From the above we see that at the close of this Gospel Age there will be another squaring of accounts. A time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, and never will be afterwards, is to come shortly. (Matt. 24:21,22.) This is shown forcefully in many prophecies of Scripture. Our Lord is now again present, as the great Judge, and the storm clouds are rapidly gathering in this Day of His kingly presence.

Why require the full payment for all the wrongs of [R5463 : page 154] the two Ages--the Gospel Age and the one preceding, extending from the time the blood of righteous Abel was shed to the present time--at the closing of these Ages, is it asked? We answer, Because the chief light of each Age comes at its close, and because those who sin against such light are worthy of more severe judgment than similar evildoers preceding them, who had less light. The Scriptural argument is that to endorse the wrongs of the past in the light of the present is to multiply the responsibility and to deserve the plagues of the whole.

We have not far to look if we would see these iniquities, or inequities, of the world today, especially of Christendom. There is considerable light now shining upon the whole world, and more particularly upon its civilized portion. The principles of righteousness set forth in the Jewish Law, and subsequently amplified by the Lord and the Apostles, have enlightened the minds of the public in general in respect to justice and injustice, right and wrong, good and evil, so that there never was so responsible a generation as the one now living.

Notwithstanding this increase of knowledge, and notwithstanding that there are gross iniquities prevailing throughout the world, we find comparatively few willing to do anything toward a readjustment and equalization of the world's affairs, financial, social and religious. Rather, it seems that the majority of those possessing advantages are quite willing to hold to them, even though recognizing that they are inequitable, iniquitous.

We perceive also that much of the evil done against the Lord's holy ones of the past has thus far failed of the punishment due. Great systems which in the name of Christ persecuted the true Church have practised and prospered, but have not yet received their just recompense of reward. In the terrible trouble of the near future great Babylon will go down as a mighty millstone into the sea, when every man's hand will be against his neighbor in anarchy, when "there will be no peace to him that goeth out, nor to him that cometh in."

LEGAL EXPIATION BY SCAPEGOAT CLASS

But it seems that the legal expiation of these sins must be accomplished by the scapegoat class, as shown in the type. (Lev. 16:20-22.) Israel here represents the world. In this scapegoat type, the Lord pictures the sending into the wilderness of isolation and persecution the Great Company who, after consecration, were unwilling to go voluntarily "outside the camp, bearing the reproaches" of Christ. They shared not in the Sin-Atonement, but will be permitted, yea, forced, to bear the weight of some of the world's wilful sins, and thus to become dead to the world, that their spiritual being may be saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus.

This class, particularly large in the present day, will be delivered over to the Adversary, to suffer in this great time of trouble. Such of them as respond to these tribulations, faithfully and loyally, will be counted as overcomers and be granted palms of victory, as shown in Revelation 7, and will be privileged to share in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and to be honorable servants of the Bride of Christ. If they fail to respond, and to wash their spotted robes in the blood of the Lamb, they will go into the Second Death.

It is this great trouble-time which the Little Flock, the Lord's goat class of faithful sacrificers, will escape, and which the Great Company will not escape, but will share. They will come up out of this trouble with washed robes, made white in the blood of the Lamb. Their sufferings will not wash their robes, but in their sufferings they will learn to appreciate as never before their relationship to the Lamb of God and to His atoning merit, and will by faith be permitted to apply the same to their own cleansing. As we consider the experiences of these children of God, so soon to come, let us all the more manifest our love for the Lord, and all the more seek to lay down our lives faithfully in the service of our King, and in behalf of the Household of Faith.

JESUS ALONE THE RANSOMER

It would not be correct to say that the scapegoat class atone for sin and thus make it possible for a certain part of humanity to be brought forth from the tomb. The tomb represents the penalty upon Adam for his transgression, and this penalty has been inherited by all of Adam's children. The Apostle says that "by one man sin [disobedience] entered into the world, and death by [as the result of] sin; and so death passed upon all men." --Romans 5:12.

The death of Jesus alone can cancel the sin of Adam. He only was the Redeemer, the Ransomer. He gave His life for Father Adam's life, and thus as a satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Those for whom Jesus advocates as the members of His Body become associated with Him and identified with Him in His work, not by virtue of their own merit, but because "accepted in the Beloved." These are Scripturally shown as having something to do with the cancelation of "the sin of the world," because of their association with the Head. The Great Company have nothing whatever to do with the cancelation of THE sin of the world.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR SINS AGAINST LIGHT

"THE sin of the world" (John 1:29) was the sin of Adam; but there are other sins aside from Adamic sin, which was brought on the race by the fall. We may suppose that in every Age there have been sins committed against a measure of light. But the sinners were not begotten of the Holy Spirit, and therefore their sins against light would not involve them in the Second Death.

Nevertheless, in whatever proportion they had light and knowledge, they had also responsibility. And while Jesus died in order that all might have an opportunity of coming back from the tomb, and to perfect life, yet He did not die on account of any individual sin committed against light. For such sins the individual is himself responsible.

In the case of the Church class, wilful evil-doers will be cut off from life. The Apostle Paul says that some were delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that their spirit might be saved. Every wilful sin, no matter by whom committed, or when committed, must be answered for by stripes or by the death of the sinner.

SINS NOT COVERED BY CHRIST'S SACRIFICE

Nothing is to be atoned for by Christ's death but the sin of Adam. But other sins of direct responsibility, sins against light, must also be settled for. In olden times there were bitter persecutions of God's people, and those persecuted were obliged to dwell in caves and dens of the earth. (Hebrews 11:32-40.) The transgressions against these, in proportion as they were committed with a degree of light, were to be settled for by the transgressors.

God's providence squared off the account against the Jewish people in the end of the Jewish Age. There came upon that people wrath to the uttermost. The squaring of accounts for that nation, we understand, was completed A.D. 70. As for other nations, we must assume that God has dealt with them along similar lines--though not just the same; because they were not in covenant relationship with Him as were the Israelites.

Coming down to the Gospel Age, many sins have been committed which could in no way be covered by Christ's sacrifice--sins against a measure of light and knowledge. [R5463 : page 155] The chiefest of all these sins have been, according to the Master's words, against His people. He said that whoever would harm one of the "little ones" who believed in Him should have punishment; and that whoever would give even so much as "a cup of cold water" to one of these should have a reward.--Matthew 18:6; 10:42.

We read of terrible atrocities committed against the saints during the Dark Ages. They were covered with tar and burned; they were fed to wild beasts, their poor bodies being torn to pieces. They were tortured in innumerable ways. We are reasonably sure that some punishment is due to those who committed these atrocities. But the Lord has told us that we are not to judge before the time. In due time we shall be made judges of the world. Now we are to look to the Lord and wait for His judgment.

THE ANTITYPICAL SCAPEGOAT

The Scriptures indicate that as there was a settling time, culminating in A.D. 70, with the Jews, so there will be a settling time with those claiming to be Christian nations. To whatever extent they have lent themselves to injustice, to whatever extent they have sinned against light, they are responsible. We do not know the extent of their responsibility--God knows! But in this Time of Trouble He will square all these matters, in order that the New Dispensation may be free from all accounts-- that there may be nothing of this kind charged up to humanity. The sins committed nationally will be expiated nationally. And of course, as individuals suffered from the wrong-doing, so individuals will suffer in the expiation.

And how will God reckon with the injustice which He wishes to cancel, so that the world may come forth with a clean slate? We answer, the Great Company class will have a share in that trouble. And since they do not really deserve a share in the trouble, in the sense of having merited Divine wrath, what they will suffer will be in a measure a suffering the merit of which will go to others. It is not a punishment to get into the Great Company class. The Great Company will be a very blessed class. They will not be seated in the Throne, but will serve before the Throne; neither will they obtain the Divine nature. The Little Flock class will get the great prize of being associated with the Master, joint-heirs with Him in the Kingdom. The other class will get a reward on a lower spiritual plane--a spiritual plane, because they also were begotten of the Spirit.

So far as the Great Company are concerned, God's permitting them to share in the trouble at the end of this Age will be for their own development. Their Covenant was unto death; and unless they lose their lives in obedience to the Lord, unless they prove faithful unto death, they will not be worthy of any position of life on [R5464 : page 155] any plane. Hence it will be to their own personal advantage that they suffer in that time. They are said to suffer for the iniquities, the sins and transgressions of the people of the world as the antitypical scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:21,22. See TABERNACLE SHADOWS, pp. 68-72.) Instead of allowing that merit of the Great Company to go for nothing, the Lord makes a credit of it, as it were, to balance the world's account for wilful sins.



[R5464 : page 155]

THE FRIEND OF SINNERS
--JUNE 14.--LUKE 18:9-14; 19:1-10.--

"I came not to call the righteous but sinners."--Mark 2:17.
IN OUR Lord's parables He dealt chiefly with the Pharisees and the publicans; for the Sadducees were Jews in name only, not believing the Scriptures nor expecting a future life. The Pharisees were orthodox, reverenced the Law and taught it to the people. Outwardly, they were very correct; but Jesus in various parables pointed out that with many of them religion was a ceremony and the keeping of the Law an outward obedience, which did not extend to the heart. The publicans did not profess holiness, but rather confessed estrangement from God and lack of harmony with His Law.

The Pharisees treated the publicans as though they were Gentiles--refused their company and would not even eat with them. The Pharisees recognized Jesus as being exemplary, and His teachings as in full accord with the highest principles. They wondered, therefore, that He did not join with them, and wondered still more that He would have fellowship with publicans--confessed sinners.

The secret of the matter is that Jesus looked not upon the outward appearance, but upon the heart. He did not love the publicans because they were sinners, nor disapprove of the Pharisees because they outwardly kept the Law. We remember the case of the young Pharisee who came to Jesus and who, when questioned about the Law, said, "All these things have I kept from my youth up." We read, "Jesus beholding him loved him." He was a sincere Pharisee.

The parable of our lesson illustrates this matter. It shows us the heart-attitude of some of the Pharisees and of some of the despised publicans: Both men went up to the Temple to pray. The one said in his heart, How thankful I am that I am not a sinner, like the majority of men and like this poor publican! I thank God that I am a Pharisee--that I am righteous! But the publican felt differently. The weight of sin was upon him. He could not look up to Heaven. Striking his hand on his bosom, he exclaimed, "God be merciful to me, a sinner!"

From God's standpoint, both men were sinners--both needed forgiveness of sins. But the one trusted in his own imperfect works, and asked no forgiveness; the other realized his blemishes, and prayed for mercy. We are not to get the impression from this that God is more pleased with people who live in sin than with those who strive to live to the best of their ability in harmony with His Law. The lesson is to the contrary. We must all realize that we come short of perfection, and that we need Divine mercy. The sinner who recognizes this is more pleasing to God and nearer to forgiveness than the more moral person who fails to see his blemishes.

At another time, Jesus referred to this same error of the Pharisees, saying, "The whole need not a physician," and, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." By these words He sought to call attention to the fact that although the Pharisees claimed to be righteous, they were not so. They were sin-sick, imperfect, needing a Savior. But they were not in a condition to appreciate their need and to come to the Lord for forgiveness--not until they should learn their need-- that they and all other members of the fallen race are sin-sick and need the remedy which only Jesus can give.

Not realizing their need, the Pharisees did not come to Jesus, did not become His disciples; and thereby they missed a great blessing. On the contrary, the majority of Jesus' followers was made up of publicans and sinners --people who had not been living proper lives, but who were earnest, who acknowledged their faults, turned [R5464 : page 156] from them and accepted the forgiveness and healing of the Good Physician.

PHARISEES IN OUR DAY

Both classes are still represented in the world, amongst Christians. Some are trusting in their church membership, their benevolences and general morality, for salvation, and ignoring the fact that all are sinners, and that forgiveness of sin is obtainable only through faith in the Crucified One. Others today, not so conspicuous in religious circles, are all the more ready to discern their own weaknesses, to confess them and to accept forgiveness of sins and everlasting life as unmerited gifts of God based upon the Sacrifice at Calvary. These latter, we may be sure, will have much advantage every way over the others as respects Divine acceptance to joint-heirship with Christ in His Kingdom.

The general lesson to us all is expressed by the Apostles James and Peter: "God resisteth the proud, but showeth His favor to the humble"--the penitent. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." Confess your sins, strive manfully against them, and trust for deliverance, ultimate victory and life everlasting through the merit of the Crucified One, in whose footsteps you seek to follow.

A LITTLE MAN--A BIG HEART

The latter part of our lesson relates to Jesus' journey from Jericho to Jerusalem, just prior to His crucifixion. Multitudes were journeying in the same direction, going up to the feast of the Passover. As always, Jesus was the center of attraction; all wanted to see and hear Him of whom we read, "Never man spake like this man."

Zacchaeus, a rich man of that vicinity, was one of those whose curiosity was aroused to see Jesus, of whom he had heard much. He was not a Pharisee; he did not profess holiness of life. He was one of those condemned and ostracised by the Pharisees. He had accepted a minor office under the Roman government; he was a tax collector for the Romans--a publican. On this account he was despised, and declared to be disloyal to Judaism.

Small of stature, Zacchaeus was unable to see Jesus because of the crowd. He therefore ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree, that he might have a good view of Jesus as He passed by that way. Little did he realize that the Master knew him and had read his heart and perceived in it honesty, and that therefore he was to be greatly honored. When Jesus came where Zacchaeus was, He looked up at the publican, called him by name and told him to come down at once, for He was to be his guest. The summons was gladly received by Zacchaeus. And we may be sure that the whole circumstance was greatly to the disgust of the Pharisees. They murmured at Jesus' being the guest of one not orthodox.

Evidently the murmuring reached the ears of Zacchaeus, too; for forthwith he addressed the Lord in self-defense --as though urging that these charges against him should not hinder the Master from coming to be his guest, and as intimating his desire of heart to be all that he ought to be and could be. He said: "Lord, behold, I give one-half of all my goods to the poor; and if I have wrongly exacted money from anybody, I restore him four-fold." Thus did Zacchaeus intimate his devotion to God and to righteousness, and his acceptance of Jesus as his Lord, his Teacher.

How did Jesus receive all this? He replied to Zacchaeus, "This day is salvation come to this house; for as much as he also is a son of Abraham." From the Lord's standpoint, all the sons of Abraham were eligible to discipleship. The thing required was an honest confession of imperfection, a turning from sin, a hearty acceptance of Christ and an endeavor to walk in His steps.

Unquestionably this same principle still applies, regardless of what men may think or say to the contrary. The Lord is willing to receive the repentant. No longer is it necessary to be of the natural seed of Abraham in order to be acceptable as disciples of Jesus. The middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile has been broken down, as St. Paul explains. All who have the faith of Abraham may be counted in as children of Abraham by becoming related to the Divine Plan as disciples of Jesus.

Our lesson closes with our Lord's words, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost." Some who deny that Adam was created perfect, who deny his fall from Divine favor and who deny that redemption by Jesus was necessary, have sought to sustain their position by saying that Jesus never referred to the fall, although the account in Genesis tells of it, and St. Paul and other Apostles particularly mention it. But in this text we have Jesus' own statement as to why He came into the world at all. He did not come into the world to help along the Adversary's schemes; but, as He says, He came into the world to be man's Redeemer--to seek and to recover, restore, that which was lost.

Everlasting life was lost, Eden was lost, human perfection was lost, the image of the Divine character was lost. These could not be recovered by humanity, all of whom were under death sentence--the curse. God's compassion arranged a Plan, by which Jesus came into the [R5465 : page 156] world and gave Himself a Ransom for all.

The very fact that the Master speaks of His work as a ransoming one (Matthew 20:28) corroborates the declaration that man was under a sentence of death and needed to be ransomed from it. Without the Ransom there could be no resurrection of the dead, no future life. The Bible is beautifully consistent and harmonious when we allow it to speak for itself. It demonstrates that it is the Word of God, written under Divine direction.

TWO SALVATIONS--ONE SAVIOR

Although the race was one and although all shared the same sentence of death, nevertheless it has pleased God to provide two different salvations from this curse of death. Both salvations are based upon the great sacrifice which Jesus accomplished at Calvary. The first of these salvations is for the Church class, called out of the world during this Gospel Age, called to a change of nature --from human to spiritual nature. Even this first salvation is not yet complete, and will not be until the whole company of the Church shall have been selected from the world, and by the First Resurrection shall have been glorified with Christ. These will be joint-heirs with Christ in His Kingdom; and that Kingdom will begin its work on behalf of the remainder of the world.

The second salvation belongs to the Millennial Age, during which Messiah's Kingdom will control the affairs of earth, and Satan will be bound. Then the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth. Then all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears be unstopped; and at that time the second salvation will be effective to all mankind. That will not be a spiritual salvation--to the new nature, like unto the angels. It will be a salvation to human perfection, and uplift out of sin and death to the image of God, as at first experienced by Father Adam.

Both salvations will be grand, glorious, though that of the Church will be the more glorious. This salvation alone is open now; and the pathway to it is by the low gate and narrow way of consecration and self-sacrifice, walking in the footsteps of Jesus.



[R5465 : page 157]

DIFFICULTIES OF THE RICH
--JUNE 21.--MARK 10:17-31.--

"Ye cannot serve God and mammon."--Luke 16:13.
IT MUST have been an enthusing sight for the disciples of Jesus to see a rich young ruler run after the Master and, on overtaking Him, fall down on his knees at Jesus' feet, saying, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" --a very hopeful subject, we all agree. The Good Teacher did not answer the question directly; but for the benefit of the young man, and of others who have since read the narrative, He inquired why the title "good" was applied to Him. He would have the young man notice, and would wish all to notice, that everything that is really good must in some way be of God and in accordance with God.

There were only two ways in which Jesus could be viewed. Either He was, as He claimed, the Son of God come into the world on a special mission in the interest of humanity, and therefore a servant of God; or, on the other hand, if He was not, He was a deceiver, misrepresenting Himself and deceiving the people, and was bad, very bad. Jesus wished the young man to consider the force of his own expression and to decide at once this important question, upon which so much would hinge.

Not waiting for a reply, Jesus proceeded: "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor thy father and thy mother." The young man replied: "Master, all these things have I observed from my youth." And Jesus, beholding him, loved him and said unto him: "One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven; and come, take up thy cross and follow Me."

WHAT DID JESUS MEAN?

What did Jesus mean by telling the young man that the way to everlasting life was the keeping of the commandments? We would not so tell him now. On the contrary, we would tell him that he could not keep the commandments perfectly, and that his only hope for everlasting life would be through the exercising of faith in Christ and His sacrifice for sins.

Why did Jesus point to the Law? We reply that the Law Covenant was still in force in Israel, as it had been for more than sixteen centuries. God's promise to the Jews was respecting the Law. "He that doeth these things shall live by the doing of them." Righteousness was to be the condition of everlasting life. All the Jews understood this; and this young ruler confessed that he so understood, and that he had been striving to live according to this rule. Yet he realized that he was dying, like the remainder of the race. Therefore his query. Jesus' answer signifies, "You should not strive only to keep the Law, and no more; you must be a sacrificer, and take up your cross and follow My example."

We are not hastily to suppose that Jesus meant that the riches should be given away recklessly or indiscriminately. Had the young man agreed to the terms and asked the Lord how he could best distribute his wealth, we doubt not that the Lord would have said to him, "Give it all to God; and then, as His steward, distribute it according to the wisdom which God will give you and according to His providential leadings." Even this full surrender of earthly possessions would not be sufficient for one who would gain a place in the Kingdom class. He must do more; he must become active in the Lord's service, take up his cross, practicing self-denial, and follow on patiently in the narrow way of self-sacrifice, in the footsteps of the Redeemer, even unto death.

After the close of the Jewish Age, Jesus would not have suggested the possibility of everlasting life through keeping the Law, but rather would plainly have stated the impossibility of any imperfect person's keeping the Divine Law perfectly and the necessity of having the imputation of Christ's merit to cover his imperfections. Only thus can the righteousness of the Law be "fulfilled in us who are walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

SORROWFUL! FOR VERY RICH

The young Jewish ruler was anxious to do God's will, but not sufficiently anxious to be accounted worthy of membership in the Little Flock. He was willing to do right, to do justly, but unwilling to sacrifice. Jesus and all of His followers, on the contrary, engaged to sacrifice their lives, even unto death. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God."

The riches of the young ruler were not of themselves harmful. God is very rich; Abraham of old was very rich. The difficulty was that the young man had set his heart upon the riches, so that when the testing time came as to whether he loved riches or God more, he demonstrated that he loved God and the Divine will less than he loved his earthly property. He forsook the opportunity to do the greatest good, and thus turned his back upon a membership in the Kingdom class. We are not, however, to understand that there is no hope for that young man, who had such a noble character that Jesus loved him. In due time he will be getting necessary lessons. Even while missing the Kingdom opportunities, he may be one of the multitude who will be blessed by the Kingdom.

Jesus points out this test, saying: "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." The call of this Gospel Age is to be servants of God at any sacrifice, with the assurance that "all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," and find the path to glory, honor and immortality in the footsteps of Jesus a very rugged one. God has purposely put the matter so that we cannot be servants of wealth and servants of God at the same time. He wishes to bring us to the testing point. With all of this class now being called out of the world to be sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ, the test is "God first." We should have no idols--either wealth or fame or selfish ease--which might attract our devotion away from God and tempt us to ignore the rich blessings which He is now offering to the faithful.

FEW RICH IN THE KINGDOM

The rich young man's failure to become a disciple on Jesus' terms furnished a text for Jesus. He said to His disciples: "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God!" How difficult it will be for any rich man to get into the Kingdom class!

The disciples were amazed at this; for, of the great bulk of those who were claiming to be the holiness people of their day, very few were Jesus' disciples. The richer Jews were chiefly associated with the Pharisees. How, then, could it be that few rich would enter into the Kingdom? Was it not a mistake? Could Jesus mean it?

But Jesus emphasized His teaching, saying: "How hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom! It is easier for a camel to go through the Needle's Eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."--Matthew 19:23,24.

A CAMEL THROUGH A NEEDLE'S EYE

The illustration regarding "the eye of a needle" used by our Lord was unintentionally spoiled by our translators. [R5466 : page 158] How many have looked at an ordinary cambric needle, and have noticed the smallness of the eye and the impossibility of a camel's going through it, and then have felt perplexed!

The Needle's Eye referred to by Jesus was the name given to a small gate or opening in a large gate in the city wall. The gates of Jerusalem were closed at night for protection against robbers, and watchmen were on duty. The gates were not allowed to be opened until morning, lest a considerable number of armed men might enter and pillage the city. An arrangement was made, however, for travelers who failed to reach the gate before it was closed. The smaller gate, the Needle's Eye, was just large enough to permit a camel to go through after it had been unburdened--its load removed. Thus understood, Jesus taught that as a camel could go through the Needle's Eye, or smaller gate, only by having its load removed, so a rich man could enter the Kingdom of God only by renouncing his burdens, giving up all to the Lord.

All this placing of the rich, the favored class, apparently at a disadvantage as compared with the poor, or disfavored class, caused amazement to Jesus' disciples. They inquired, "Who, then, can be saved?" The rich seemingly had all the opportunities of time, influence and money to enable them to give more and better service to the Lord than could others; and if they would have such difficulty in getting into the Kingdom, how would it be with others, less favored apparently? Jesus answered that "all things are possible with God." That is to say, if the rich man's heart be pleasing to the Lord --if he be honest-hearted and humble, and his riches alone stand in the way--the Lord would know how to show him His will in respect to their use; or if this did not avail, the Lord would know how to strip him of his wealth, even as the master of the camel would unload his beast to permit him to pass through the Needle's Eye.

Many have had this very experience. They have been rich in honors of men, in social standing or in a financial sense; and God, in love and mercy, has stripped them of all these, giving them the necessary lessons, fitting and preparing them for a share in the Kingdom. With God this is possible. He knows how to overrule all things for good to those who love Him with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.

"WE HAVE LEFT ALL"

St. Peter seemed to get the thought that joint-heirship with the Master in the Kingdom would mean a full surrender to God--a leaving of all and a yielding up of all--in order to a close approach to God and full acceptance by Him. St. Peter said: "Lo, we have left all, and have followed Thee."

Jesus did not fully endorse St. Peter's statement. He knew about Judas, who had not nearly left all. He knew about St. Peter himself--that some self-will still remained, and that self-preservation would lead him to deny his Master. But the answer that Jesus gave fully covered the question, not only for the Apostles, but for all who have become followers of Jesus from that day until now. He said:

"Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for My sake and the Gospel's, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time--houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands--with persecutions; and in the world [age] to come, eternal life."

What a broad promise, and how abundantly fulfilled in its earthly respects to many! The persecutions they are sure to get; but everything sacrificed for the Lord's cause is compensated a hundredfold in the present life. How gracious the Divine arrangements; and then beyond, the everlasting life and, if faithful, a share with the Master in the Kingdom!

"But many that are first shall be last; and the last first." In other words, many possessing great privilege and opportunity for Divine favor and exaltation to the Kingdom will fail to embrace the opportunity, while others, naturally less favored, will gain the great prize of glory, honor and immortality. Again, we might say that those who first had the opportunity of becoming disciples of Jesus at His First Advent will not on that account (except the Apostles) have any pre-eminence or advantage over others of the Lord's followers in the future, nor did they have here.



[R5466 : page 158]

AN INTERESTING QUESTION

GOD'S SUPERVISION OF THE NATIONS

"THE MOST HIGH ruleth in the Kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men."-- Daniel 4:17.

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God."-- Romans 13:1,2.

Question.--Should we understand from the above Scriptures that God guides the affairs of nations, and chooses their rulers?

Answer.--These Scriptures are in harmony with other statements of Scripture. In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, for instance, after he had been seven years insane, lying amongst the beasts of the field, his reason returned to him and he extolled the God of Heaven, acknowledging that God setteth up those whom He will and putteth down those whom He will. We understand that God's dealing with King Nebuchadnezzar was prophetic.

In the case of Israel God had very particular oversight of their affairs, and dealt with their rulers. David was anointed when he was a youth, to be king in due time instead of Saul. So with several others of their kings--the Lord had them anointed in advance. It might be said of Israel, that whoever sat upon the throne was there as the Lord's representative. We remember also that on one occasion the Prophet of God was sent to anoint one of the kings of Syria and to give him a prophecy respecting himself, that he should take the throne.

Looking back, we see that in the case of Pharaoh, the perverse king of Egypt, God declared, "For this very purpose I raised thee up, that I might show forth My Power in thee." God did not approve of Pharaoh, but used him to show forth His own glory. God also used King Cyrus of Persia as a servant to perform His bidding.

GOD'S SUPERVISION OF CURRENT EVENTS

All of these recorded instances show a vital interest on God's part as to who shall come forward and who shall be retarded when these matters would affect His own Plan. We are not to understand that these different kings represented God's choice as respects their loyalty to Him, but that these were the ones through whom the [R5466 : page 159] Divine Plan in operation could be signally manifested and outworked. And so it is today. The Lord knew which of the men running for the office of President of the United States in the fall of 1912 would be the most suitable --the one who would most fully co-operate in the carrying out of the very conditions which He is pleased to permit to come to pass at this time.

The Lord guides in the affairs of nations now, only in so far as such oversight will promote the fulfilment of His own purposes. When the monarchs of various countries declare themselves "King by the grace of God," we do not agree to the thought they have in mind in making such claim. They are expressing the thought which has prevailed throughout Christendom for centuries--that they reign as representatives of the Kingdom of God, and by His special favor. And likewise the Catholic Church: When the pope claims that he is the head of the Church of Christ, claims that he is Christ's Vice-gerent, he thus claims that Christ has set up His Kingdom, and that the pope reigns in His stead.

OVERRULE TO OUTWORKING OF GOD'S PLAN

After the Papal power waned in Europe, and the Protestants came into power, the Protestant rulers claimed the same right that the Catholics had claimed--to rule as the Lord's special representatives. And it is from this standpoint that kings maintain that they reign "by the grace of God," that the Kingdom of God is set up, and that they are reigning in God's Kingdoms. We do not understand this to be the right thought, but that in God's providence He permits these to occupy the thrones of the world for the time being. We understand that God does exercise a supervisory oversight in respect to them--not that He has authorized them to represent Him, or that He is responsible for their deeds and acts, but that He is so controlling matters as to cause them to outwork His own arrangements.

God will not convert a king in order to do this; He will not make him a saint. But He can allow or hinder events without interfering with the free will of any individual, and without becoming responsible for his government.

We may assume that this supervision of Divine Power is for the ultimate interest of mankind. We remember that there is a Prince of Darkness, who is seeking to do violence to humanity. Our thought is that the Divine Power hinders or restrains, so that the worst [R5467 : page 159] things cannot come to pass until His due time, and He overrules to bring those into power who will have the disposition to do what He purposes to permit when His due time has arrived. However, since the Lord does not explain to us just how He does this, it would be wise for us not to be too emphatic in our statements.



[R5467 : page 159]

SOME INTERESTING LETTERS

SOUNDS A NOTE OF WARNING

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

A peculiar circumstance occurred here in the Ecclesia on Sunday, March 15th, which I think should be brought to your attention. Just what it portends or just how far the several versions are to be relied upon, I cannot say; but as it appears to be in line with numerous warnings issued through THE WATCH TOWER for years past, I will state the facts upon which there appears to be unanimity:

It is the custom of the parents in this Ecclesia to allow the children to play during meeting hours in the ante-rooms adjoining our main hall. On this particular afternoon after the Berean Lesson had been in progress for some little time a commotion was heard in the children's room, mingled with screams of fright. One of the sisters was just entering the building when the matter started, and rushing into the room found several of the children hysterical, others cowering in abject fear with heads covered, and all greatly alarmed. When pressed for an explanation they stated that they had seen "a ghost." The older ones, better informed, declared they had seen a demon materialized, and that several arms had appeared protruding from the bare walls of the room. They declared that when they began to cry and shout, the apparition disappeared in the air.

It required some little persuasion to quiet them and to furnish solace in the suggestion that the Lord would not permit harm to come to the children of consecrated parents.

Besides this circumstance, two of the brothers in the class have had particularly heavy trials through semi-materializations of the demons within the last few weeks. Another brother who, I understand, has been clandestinely attending "Tongues of Fire" meetings on different occasions, suddenly became insane a few weeks ago and was sent to the asylum. His sad case gives many evidences of obsession.

Too many of the dear friends only half-heartedly accept the plain Scriptural teachings respecting the actual existence of these evil personalities and their pernicious activities. Some of these are in danger of severe testings from this source. Would it not be well to sound a warning? Can this sudden increase of activity on the part of these evil spirits, reports of which are coming from many sources, be premonitory of the "loosing of the winds" in the very near future? God help us all to have on the "whole armor and to stand in the evil day."

The Vow is still as valuable a factor in this "wrestling against principalities," etc., in exalted positions, as it was the day I made it my own.

With Christian love, your servant,
WM. A. BAKER.

A SOFT ANSWER

Below is a copy of a letter sent by one Brother to another in the endeavor to effect a reconciliation. We commend it: DEAR BROTHER:--

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ our Lord be unto you!

What is it, dear Brother, that has caused this difference between us? As brethren of the Lord we should not devour one another; for that is the spirit of the world, and as the Apostle says in Galatians 5:15, there is a likelihood of our being consumed one of another: "Take heed that ye be not consumed one of another," urges the Apostle.

What if, in our appreciation of the liberty that is ours, and of which we know through the Gospel, we should reach the point where we would be so contentious for our liberties, great and small, that we would consume some brethren for whom Christ died! What if in injuring another, the spirit of strife should so react upon us as to poison our own spiritual lives, and we also should be consumed, lost, as respects the gracious things to which the Lord has invited us and for which we have been running in the race!

Now, dear Brother, let the Apostle's words RING in our hearts, "Lest ye be consumed one of another."

With this thought before our minds, let us more and more put on the armor of God to fight AGAINST our own fleshly weaknesses and to fight FOR our dear brethren, assisting them by example and by precept to war a good warfare also against the world, the flesh and the Adversary. Nearly all these contentions come through some misunderstanding. Neither you nor I have a desire to injure each other, but we earnestly desire each other's good.

For what I have done in any way to hurt your feelings in the past, I heartily ask your forgiveness; and believe me, I do the same with you, remembering Matthew 7:1,2 and 6:14-16.

If our views are correct, dear Brother (I really believe they are), with regard to 1914, we have no time to lose; and as the Apostle says, "There should be no SCHISM in the Body; but the members should have the same care one for another." Now let me conclude with love, and Jude 24,25.

Yours by His grace,
J. HODSON.


I.B.S.A. BEREAN BIBLE STUDIES
FOR MONTH OF JUNE
Questions from Manual on Series Second of
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES"
STUDIES III. and IV., VOL. II.
Week of June  7.......Q. 15 to 20  Week of June 21.......Q.  8 to 15
Week of June 14.......Q.  1 to  7  Week of June 28.......Q. 16 to 23

Question Manuals on Vol. II., STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, 5c. each, or 50c. per dozen, postpaid.

Prev Top of Page Next