page 33
February 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. XXXVIFEBRUARY 1No. 3

A. D. 1915--A.M. 6043


CONTENTS

Imputation and Application of Our Lord's Human Life-Rights35
Right to Life on Two Planes35
Restitution Imputed to the Church35
The Church No Part of the Ransom36
"Your Father Knoweth"38
The Father of the Church38
The Everlasting Father of Humanity39
Proper Mental Attitude for Prayer39
More Convincing Evidence Demanded40
St. Thomas Not Reproved40
Two Great Facts Established41
God's Ark in Wicked Hands42
A Present-Day Parallel42
Israel Different from Other Nations43
Confession of Sin, Forgiveness, Victory43
A Lesson for Spiritual Israel44
Return of the Church from the Wilderness45
Interesting Letters46
Reply to a Critic of Present Expectations46

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 34

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
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MEMORIAL SUPPER--MARCH 28th

For the benefit of friends at a distance we note the fact that the anniversary of our Lord's last Supper with His disciples will this year be on Sunday, March 28th, after 6 P.M. In due time we will have an article upon this subject.


NEW VOLUNTEER PLAN FOR 1915

The Lord willing, the Society hopes to supply a series of Volunteer issues this year instead of merely one number as in the past. Our thought is to cover the territory in quick succession, a few weeks apart, thus giving the public time to read each issue separately, but not allowing their minds to grow cold concerning the Kingdom Message. This plan will surely prove quite effective, increasing also our own privileges as Christ's ambassadors. Ask for B.S. MONTHLY, No. 67, "Why Financiers Tremble"; No. 68, "Clergy Ordination Proved Fraudulent"; and No. 69, "Church of the Living God."


A GIFT FOR YOUR FRIENDS

We have a special edition of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. I., to which we have added the Pyramid Chapter from Vol. III. It is bound in the same style as our regular editions, except the covers are embossed with a gold Pyramid.

The Pyramid feature makes this volume specially attractive to beginners who are difficult to interest otherwise. After reading about the wonderful Pyramid of Egypt (which is the introductory chapter of this edition), their mental appetite is sure to be whetted enough to read with interest the "DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES"; and whoever reads this, if he has a spiritual appetite, is pretty sure to go on as a Bible student.

The price of this special edition is 50c. per copy, which is less than half what such books would ordinarily sell for. We, however, offer these to our readers as gifts, or for loaning to friends and neighbors, at 30c. per copy, postpaid--in any quantity, but preferably in lots of ten or multiples thereof.


BEREAN QUESTIONS IN "SCRIPTURE STUDIES"

The classes of Associated Bible Students throughout the world are very generally adopting our suggestion of using the "Berean Questions." These are furnished separate as pamphlets-- one each for the six volumes of STUDIES, also for TABERNACLE SHADOWS at 5c. each.

For the great convenience of Bible Students we have now added these "Berean Questions" as an appendix to the cloth-bound volumes. Note also that STUDIES Vol. V. now contains TABERNACLE SHADOWS and Questions on same. We are making no extra charge for this additional matter.

Some of our readers may choose to use their present copies for missionary work, replacing them with the new edition containing the "Berean Questions."


INDIA PAPER EDITION STUDIES

Noting the growing desire for small, light weight books that can be carried conveniently in the coat pocket for reading on trains, etc., we have prepared the SCRIPTURE STUDIES in this most up-to-date form, and now have a good supply. Full leather binding, India paper, gold edges, round corners, the six volumes neatly packed in a cloth carton, thickness of the entire set only 2-3/4 inches, and weighing only 1-3/4 lbs., price $5.

We are unable, on this edition, to give our Colporteurs their usual allowances. Nevertheless, in view of the fact that this edition specially appeals to a certain class of people who want something good, we are making the Colporteurs an allowance of $1 per set to permit them to handle them.

This edition does not contain the "Berean Questions," because designed to be as small, light and portable as possible.


KARATOL STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES

By the word "Karatol" we indicate an edition of the STUDIES on thin Bible paper, with round corners, red burnished edges, flexible cloth covers, to take the place of the India paper edition with those who cannot afford the best, but who yet desire something convenient for carrying in the pocket for reading on journeys. These do not contain the Berean Index because they are kept in as small a size as possible. The entire set of six volumes, in cloth carton, $2, carriage pre-paid. Colporteurs may handle this edition on the same terms as the regular cloth-bound editions.



[R5621 : page 35]

IMPUTATION AND APPLICATION OF OUR LORD'S HUMAN LIFE-RIGHTS

APPARENTLY a great many of God's people have difficulty in discerning just what is signified in the expression, "Gave Himself a Ransom for all." They ask, If our Lord Jesus gave His human life a Ransom for Adam and his race, where has He now any right to human life to give in justification to those who accept His favor, in view of the fact that we read, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life"?--
John 3:36.

To appreciate the answer to this question, we must realize that the giving of the Ransom has various features. First of all, our Lord's consecration when He was thirty years of age, which He symbolized by water baptism, represents the giving up, the surrender, of His life to God. The life which He surrendered was a perfect human life, one to which He had a full right. St. Paul tells us that He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." Our Lord was not a member of the Adamic race in a direct sense--in the sense of having received His life from a human father; therefore His was not a condemned life, like that of the rest of the world. Nothing more was needed. He surrendered the full equivalent of Adam's life and perfection. But He did not surrender His life to Adam; He merely put it into the Father's hands without giving it to anybody.

During the three and a half years of His ministry our Redeemer laid down His life. He completed that work at Calvary, saying there, "It is finished!" He there finished His Baptism into death; He continued His self-surrender to the end. But He has not yet made any application of this human life to Adam and His race. He has merely put it into the Father's hands. It was a life that had not been forfeited, that had not been mortgaged, that had not been embargoed. He simply surrendered His life in harmony with the Father's Plan--Luke 23:46.

RIGHT TO LIFE ON TWO PLANES

When the Father raised Him up on the third day, He made Jesus a spirit being. He was put to death in the flesh and was raised a spirit--quickened in spirit. (1 Peter 3:18--Diaglott.) This quickened One of the new nature had this new life as a reward for His obedience in permitting His earthly life to be taken from Him. But he had not forfeited His right to the earthly life; hence as a New Creature He still retained this right to perfect human life. Everything that belonged to a perfect life belonged to Him. He had permitted the Jews to take away His life, but he had neither surrendered nor forfeited His right to life. So when He was raised to life by the Father, He had not only the right to the spirit nature, but also the right to the earthly nature--not that He would have use for this for Himself; for any one having the Divine nature would have neither use nor desire for the earthly nature. The specific right that He had was the right to give, to bestow freely upon Adam and his race, human life--the very object He had in mind when He came into the world.

So when the Lord Jesus arose from the dead and ascended up on High forty days later, He retained all the rights that He ever had. He had the right to human life, never having forfeited it; He also had the Divine nature, the reward of His obedience--a superior right, a superior nature. But when He ascended up on High, He did not apply the merit of His sacrifice for the world of mankind; otherwise the whole world would not now lie in the Wicked One. (1 John 5:19--Diaglott.) If our Redeemer had made an application of His merit for the world when He ascended, it would have taken away the sin of the world; but He did not do this. The Scriptures tell us that the Church alone has escaped from the condemnation upon the world. (Romans 8:1.) Evidently, then, the world is still in the Wicked One. The only ones who have escaped from this condemnation are those who have accepted the arrangement of this Gospel Age. Nobody else except the consecrated class has had merit and justification from Christ.

RESTITUTION IMPUTED TO THE CHURCH

How, then, does our Lord apply the merit to the Church? We answer, Not directly. If He were to apply His merit directly, it would give the Church human life, human perfection. God has some better thing for the Church--that the Church might attain to the same Divine nature to which Jesus attained. The Church attains this by following in the footsteps of Jesus. This signifies that as He sacrificed His human life, and laid down His earthly rights according to the will of the Father, so all who would become members of His Bride class must do the same, must surrender their earthly life, in order to be associated with Him. Only if we suffer with Him shall we reign with Him.--2 Tim. 2:11,12.

"If any man would be My disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24.) [R5621 : page 36] Then, "Where I am there shall My disciple be." (John 12:26.) Whosoever will so do during this Gospel Age will attain to the same Divine nature, the same glory, the same immortality--the difference being that our Lord will always be Head over all, the Chief over the Church, which is His Body, and that they will always be His members in particular, the Church in Glory.

The question, then, comes up, if it was necessary for Jesus to be pure, holy, how could the Church be acceptable to the Father, when they are of the depraved human nature? The answer of the Bible is that to this class who become His disciples Jesus imputes the merit of His sacrifice to the extent of covering their blemishes, their imperfections. We are to discern between give and impute. He will give His merit to the world by and by. But now He is making an imputation to the Church.

By this term imputation is signified, that if the Church had remained of the earthly nature the same as the world, they would by and by have the right, the same as the world, to come up out of degradation to human perfection. Jesus secured by His death the privilege of giving all those rights to the Church as well as to the remainder of Adam's race. But this class, the Church, forego all those rights to human perfection. When we consecrated ourselves to God, we gave up our right to become inheritors of the earth and earthly things; we gave up all our rights in the sense of merely surrendering them. By faith we believe that Jesus would in due time have given us those blessings of Restitution the same as to the whole world of mankind. By faith we accept those blessings and by faith we surrender them. The only thing left for the Church to do is to surrender their earthly lives. Some may have more vitality, and some may have less; some may have more talents, and some less; some may have more years, and some less; but whatever each has it is to be given up, surrendered.

So, then, at consecration the Church class voluntarily surrender their earthly nature. They surrender all the earthly rights that they have of the present time, and also those rights that would have been theirs had they remained part and parcel of the world. Jesus does not give to the Church at the present time any part of the Ransom-sacrifice, but merely imputes to them, counts to them, that part which they might have had if they had remained a part of the world.

When Jesus died, He did not pay over a ransom as an offset for Adam. When Jesus was raised from the dead, He had not paid a ransom; and when He ascended to the Father He did not pay over a ransom for the world. But He laid in the Father's hands the merit of His sacrifice. He has been imputing of this merit down through the Gospel Age to the Church only, but now He has about finished the imputing to the Church, and the work of giving to the world Restitution is about to begin; and before it begins the merit imputed (loaned) to the Church must be actually paid over to Divine Justice as the basis for human Restitution.

WORK OF THE GOSPEL AGE TYPIFIED

On the Jewish Atonement Day the High Priest, first of all, killed the bullock. That bullock represented our Lord Jesus, the perfect man, and the priest represented our Lord, the New Creature. Thus He typified the consecration of the human nature and also the condition of the New Creature, still in the fleshly body, typed by the priest in the first Holy.

Our Lord was in this condition of the Holy during the three and a half years of His ministry. During that time He had the privileges of the Golden Altar, and the light from the Golden Candlestick (representing the light of God's Truth), and the blessings represented by the Table of Shewbread (the spiritual food). At the end of the three and a half years, having finished the work of sacrificing Himself, having burned the antitypical incense, He passed under the Second Veil.

On the third day our Lord arose on the other side of the Second Veil--on the spirit plane--fully perfected as a New Creature, no longer in any sense of the word a man. He could go and come like the wind. He remained with His disciples to convince them that He was no longer a man--going and coming like the wind, and appearing in various bodily forms. Then, when He ascended up on High, as the great antitypical High Priest He took with Him the blood. The blood signifies the life of the sacrifice. He appeared in the presence of God, and there He sprinkled of the blood on the Mercy-Seat. This sprinkling of the blood on the Mercy-Seat was to make atonement for a certain class. That atonement we see was made only for the priests and the Levites--not for the world.--Leviticus 16:6.

After the High Priest had finished making the atonement for the priests and the Levites, he went out into the Court again and there began a different work. Our Lord made application of the blood for the antitypical priests and the Levites during the ten days between His [R5622 : page 36] ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He made application of His merit for the Church. We know this; for this satisfaction for sins was followed by the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the evidence that Divine mercy had come to them.--Hebrews 9:24.

In the type, after the priest had offered the bullock, he then proceeded to the next part--the killing of the Lord's goat. A goat is inferior to a bullock. The Lord Himself was typified by the bullock. The Lord's goat symbolized the faithful members of the Church, His Body. It has been the work of the Gospel Age to offer up the Church. Not that they were able to offer up themselves; for being naturally the members of the condemned Adamic race, they were not fit to be priests, and could not be priests until the great High Priest had made an imputation of His merit for them. Therefore, the great High Priest who offered the bullock also offered the goat.

Then we see the conclusion of the matter. In the type the blood of the goat was taken into the Most Holy and was applied, not for the priests, not for the Levites, but for the people. The blood of the bullock was applied only for the priests and the Levites; the blood of the goat, for the people. (Leviticus 16:6,15.) These two sacrifices represent all the sacrifices of the Gospel Age; the superior sacrifice was that of the Lord Jesus, the inferior sacrifice was that of the Church.

THE CHURCH NO PART OF THE RANSOM

There was a sufficiency of merit in the antitypical bullock to have been applied for the sins of the whole world. But it was God's arrangement that the Church might be permitted to share in the sacrifice. Only those who have the privilege of sharing in the sacrifice have the privilege of sharing in the glory. It was not necessary for the satisfaction of Justice that any of the Church should die; but it was necessary in order for them to partake of the promised glory. Therefore, while it was a sacrifice for our sins on the Lord's part, it was necessary on our part, in order to share in His glory. He makes the sacrifice; it is not our sacrifice. As the Apostle Paul points out, we merely present our bodies. (Romans 12:1.) God would not accept our sacrifice except through Christ; we are accepted only in the Beloved One. (Ephesians 1:3-6.) [R5622 : page 37] Thus by virtue of our Lord's acceptance of us is it that we have any privilege of sharing with Him in the sacrifice and in the glory.

Our Lord, therefore, has still a human life ungiven away. He does not give to the Church human life. He does not part with even a particle of the right to human life which He had. The Lord does not need an earthly body; neither will His Church need earthly bodies. What use would Jesus make of earthly rights, or what use would we make of them? We never intend to become men again; nor does He intend to become a man again. The merit of Christ was imputed to us only for the purpose of making us acceptable sacrifices; and this merit becomes released again when the last member of the Church is glorified. Then the whole value of Christ's sacrifice will be ready for appropriation for the world of mankind; for at that time the Church will have ceased to be of Adam's race, having become of the Divine nature.--2 Peter 1:4.

This work, then, of appropriating the merit of Jesus on behalf of the world is left until the Millennial Age; when the Redeemer's Kingdom will make man's Restitution privileges a real boon. Therefore, as soon as the merit of Christ is appropriated for the world, He will immediately take charge of His purchased possession. He will then take His great power and reign. Then to all those redeemed ones for whom He will appropriate the merit of His sacrifice He will be ready to give the long-promised Restitution blessings.

Through the Prophet David, Jehovah God said to His Son, "Ask of Me and I will give Thee the heathen [Gentiles, nations, people] for an inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." (Psalm 2:8.) This, we believe, is at the door. The Lord is about to take possession of the Church, which is the jewel class of the whole world. The blessings which He then will give are human Restitution to the race of Adam and the bringing of the whole earth, their earthly home, up to the grandeur of the Garden of Eden. This work He will share with His Body, His Bride.

From this Scriptural standpoint the Ransom-price that Jesus gives has been a progressive matter, and is not yet completed. He began to give it when He became a man; He progressed in giving during the three and a half years of His earthly ministry; He finished the giving at Calvary. He has since been using that to which He had a right on behalf of the Church, by imputation. He will have all of this merit of His sacrifice to make satisfaction for the sins of the whole world--not a single individual omitted. During the thousand years He will be giving to mankind that which He has secured by His death, and which He will make applicable to them by sealing the New Covenant. That New Covenant will be sealed as soon as the Church shall have been completed, as soon as the Church shall have passed beyond the Veil.

SPIRITUAL AND HUMAN NATURE NOT THE SAME

The views of Christian people seem to be very confused. They acknowledge that Jesus was a spirit being before He came into the world, and that He experienced some kind of change of nature in becoming a man. But very inconsistently they seem erroneously and unscripturally to reason that, having become a man, He must stay a man to all eternity--"a little lower than the angels." We should remember that the Logos was "made flesh," "humbled himself," not for all eternity, but merely "for the suffering of death,...that He...might taste death for every man."--Hebrews 2:9.

The Scriptures indicate that there is a difference in natures. As St. Paul points out, there is one flesh of man, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes and another of birds. And so on the spiritual plane--there are angels, cherubim and seraphim, just as there are beasts and birds, fishes and men, on the earthly plane. (1 Corinthians 15:39-41.) Our Lord distinctly told that He left the glory that He had with the Father. He said to His disciples, "What and if you should see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?"--John 6:62.

The expression, "Where He was before," refers to a difference in nature, in condition, from that He then had. Jesus had been in the world many times before, but never before was made flesh. Jesus perhaps was the Representative of God in the Garden of Eden with Adam. Very certain it is, He was the One who gave the Law to Moses as the Representative of the Father. And most assuredly He was the One who communicated with Abraham at the time when the Lord and two angels went down to Sodom, and stopped on the way to tell Abraham about the matter. Incidentally Abraham remembered that they appeared like men, ate like men, talked like men, but he knew not till afterward that they were angels. When our Lord was made flesh, it was not the first time He was on earth. On His previous visits He was a spirit being who merely assumed a flesh body as a convenience in communicating with men as the Father's Representative.

We see that this same power of materialization was used by other angels. For instance, at the time of our Lord's ascension the angels said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go." We remember also that the fallen angels had the power to assume human bodies. As the Scriptures point out, they desired to be men, to live on the earthly plane and in the earthly condition, for sensual reasons. Thus they abandoned their own habitation, lived as men and sought to bring forth a new race.

A MUCH MISUNDERSTOOD SUBJECT

If Jesus during His First Advent had merely appeared as a man, but had all the while been really a spirit being veiled in flesh--"incarnate"--He could not have been the Redeemer at all. The Scriptures say that Jesus was a man, "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14)--not that He pretended to be a man. To be the Redeemer of man it was necessary for Him to become a man, not to pretend to be one. He must be really a man; otherwise He could not have been a ransom-price for Adam; for the Divine Law required like for like-- "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot."--Deuteronomy 19:21.

The word Ransom (antilutron in the Greek) signifies a corresponding price. And so Jesus actually left the Heavenly glory--not merely pretended to leave it. He who was rich for our sakes became poor, so that He was truly that which He appeared to be--the Man. He was the perfect Man who presented Himself at Jordan--the only one who could be the corresponding price for Adam. The Scriptures represent our Lord as saying to the Father, "A body hast Thou prepared Me" for the suffering of death. (Hebrews 10:5.) Many of us have overlooked the fact that this body was Divinely prepared for a purpose--for the suffering of death, and not, as many think, a body for placing the Lord Jesus in a state of permanent humiliation before all the holy angels, as expressed in the old hymn,

"Five bleeding wounds He bears,
Received on Calvary."

Our Lord is not parading Heaven under the disadvantages of a body and a nature all out of accord with [R5623 : page 38] His surroundings. He has already accomplished the work of sacrifice, and the merit of His sacrifice is in the hands of God. God has accepted the sacrifice that was made more than eighteen centuries ago; and on the books of Justice there are to our Redeemer's credit those earthly life-rights to which, as a perfect man, He was entitled.

When God conferred upon Father Adam human life and human life-rights, he immediately became the great king of earth. And so when Jesus became the natural Man He became the natural Ruler. He was the One to whom the earth belonged; and the perfect man would have had the right to earth and all the fulness thereof. Instead of keeping these rights and becoming the grand earthly Potentate, Jesus surrendered all these earthly rights and received the reward of obedience--not the reward of sacrifice, but the reward of obedience. He still has these human life-rights, and is about to give them to the world of mankind, upon condition that they shall desire to come into harmony with God, that they shall enter into a covenant of obedience. By His own blood Jesus makes them eligible to full Restitution to all that was lost in Eden and to all that was redeemed at Calvary.

The appearance of our Lord in the flesh after His resurrection was only similar to the appearance that was made by Himself and the angels long centuries before, and does not indicate that He was still a man. As a Man He never went into a room, the door being shut; as a spirit being He could enter, the door being shut. As a spirit being He could materialize, and then dematerialize, vanish out of their sight. This materialization, dematerialization and vanishing appertain not only to the flesh, but also to the clothing. Once He appeared as a wayfarer, and once as a gardener; and then He appeared as His former self in the upper room, the doors being shut. At these various times He appeared in different garments, each time dressed suitably to the occasion. It was just as easy for Him to create one style of clothing as another, and one form of body as another. It is hard to tell just where the misconceptions held by many Christian people have come in. It behooves us to be very kind and sympathetic in reproving the error, and to remember that we ourselves once had the errors and held them just as tenaciously as do others.

OUR LORD NO LONGER HUMAN

Our Lord Jesus was put to death in the flesh and quickened in spirit, or made alive in spirit; and He has been a spirit being ever since. This Spirit Being, Saul of Tarsus saw on his way to Damascus. He tells us that what he saw was gloriously bright. It was not the flesh of Jesus that was shining. The Apostle says that he caught a glimpse of Jesus in His real personality--"Last of all He was seen by me also, as of one born out of due time"; that is to say, born before the time, referring to the Church, the resurrection birth.

We are begotten of the Spirit, and the birth will be in the First Resurrection. As it was said of Jesus, He was the First-born from the dead; just so we, the Church, will be born to spirit conditions. Then "we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2.) We will not be in the flesh then, and it will not hurt our eyes to see our glorified Lord. We shall see Him as He is! We shall be with Him! And the Apostle explains that before this we shall be "changed," because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God."



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"YOUR FATHER KNOWETH"

"Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of.">--MATTHEW 6:8.
SHORTLY after the beginning of our Lord's ministry, He gave the discourse commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. The disciples had not yet become sons of God in the full, proper sense of the word; indeed, they could not be received into sonship until Pentecost. They were members of the fallen race, under the same condemnation as other men. The very highest claim that they could make was that which the Jews made--that of being servants of God. But now, as recorded in John 1:12, "As many as received Him, to them gave He power [privilege] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; who were begotten, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

This spirit-begetting was not possible in its full, proper sense until Jesus had made reconciliation for the sins of the world, or, at least, had prepared the way for reconciliation by His own death. In one sense of the word, however, His death had already occurred; namely, in that He had presented Himself a living sacrifice, and that the Father had accepted that sacrifice. But that death must be finished, and Jesus must ascend into the presence of God and present the merit of His sacrifice, before the Divine blessing would descend upon any, permitting them to be the sons of God.

THE FATHER OF THE CHURCH

We see, therefore, that Jesus spoke in an anticipatory, or prophetic, sense as to their relationship to God. Because they believed in Him and were seeking to do His will, they were in full line with God's arrangement for their becoming sons. Just as after a person has adopted a child and while the papers are in process of being drawn up in legal form, the child might be spoken of as a son, or he might address the one adopting him as Father or Mother; so these would have the privilege of addressing God as their Father and their privilege would depend on their faith. The majority of the Jews did not have this faith, and when Jesus said that He was the Son of God, they were about to take up stones to stone Him for blasphemy. But Jesus said that not only was He the Son of God, but that He would bring many sons to God; and He quoted from the Psalms in support of this assertion.--John 10:31-40; Psalm 82:6.

Thus our Lord spoke to His disciples as if they were already New Creatures, had already become sons of God and had already received the Holy Spirit, even though both He and they knew that this was not to be completely accomplished, until, as He told them, "not many days hence" they should actually and personally have received it--at Pentecost. Addressing the disciples from this standpoint the Master said, "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of." These words are part of His Sermon on the Mount. As we read, "When He was set, His disciples came unto Him; and He opened His mouth and taught them." The multitude were not to call God Father, but they were to understand that those who had become the followers of the Lord Jesus could call Him Father.

The word Father implies a great deal when taken in conjunction with other Scriptures. God was the Father of Adam in the sense that He gave Adam his life. Jesus was not Adam's Father, although, as the Logos, He was the One particularly active in giving Adam life. By Adam's disobedience, this life was lost [R5623 : page 39] for himself and for all of his children. Not only life was lost, but the Spirit of the Lord was lost, and that included the relationship of sons.

THE EVERLASTING FATHER OF HUMANITY

After Adam, we find none called sons of God down to the time of Jesus. Jesus was the first Son of God after Adam; and since our Lord's time the Church have been called sons of God. (1 John 3:2.) The fact that we are called sons of God implies the begetting of a new life; for the old life which we inherited from Father Adam is gone. This new life which we have received is not from Jesus, but from the Father, Jesus being the channel through which this life comes to us. "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ... hath begotten us." (1 Peter 1:3.) We see that the arrangement for the world is somewhat different. God does not purpose to beget the world of the Holy Spirit, as He has the Church. On the contrary, we see that Jesus is to become the Everlasting Father of the world, in due time. (Isaiah 9:6.) That due time will be the great thousand-year Day of the Messianic Kingdom.

In that thousand-year Day Christ, as the great King, Mediator between God and men, will give life to humanity. We see that the life He will give will be human life. He will be the Father of humanity, because that human life which He will give them will be something that is His own. By His obedience to God's Plan He bought the right to give human life. Hence, in giving that life at His own cost, He is styled the Father of the human family. This will not mean that the world will not be considered sons of God, any more than a grandson would not be a son of the father and of the grandfather. Mankind will not receive their life directly from God, but indirectly through Christ--Christ is the Father and God the Grandfather. God does not speak in random terms, but with great exactness. This being true, we have great confidence in His Word.

GOD'S DEALINGS WITH ISRAEL

When Adam and his family became sinners, some of them went further than merely neglecting God. It was no fault of theirs that they were cut off from Him. But they did not retain God in their minds, and so God gave them over to a reprobate mind. They became children of Satan in the sense that they became obedient to him. He adopted them into his family, they willingly accepting him and becoming obedient to him. Of course, Satan did not give life actually to the world, but they adopted him as their father by accepting his terms and becoming members of his family. To some of the human family our Lord said, "Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."--John 8:44.

When Adam was rejected, he came under the sentence of death. He was left to shift for himself. The statement, You are under a curse of death, would mean, You cannot avoid dying--"Dying thou shalt die." There will be pestilences, earthquakes and famines. You [R5624 : page 39] will be subject to these because you are sinners. Mankind could not expect God to do anything for them when they were under death sentence; yet God has done much for them, even though they are sinners. He causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall upon the just and upon the unjust.--Matthew 5:45.

When the Jews were called of God under the Law Covenant, it brought them under a special relationship to Him as servants. "Moses was faithful over his own House," a servant over the House of Israel. These servants were subject to some care, even as a caretaker in a great house would look after all the servants as well as the sons. While the son would have the more particular care, yet the servant would be cared for also.

Thus the Jews were invited to have a share in God's care. They were promised that everything would work together for their good. God would bless their flocks and herds, and would do them good if they would obey His statutes. They did not do so, and thus brought upon themselves chastisements. As we read the record of the people of Israel, we find that they were the most chastened people of history, passing through the most wonderful experiences and disciplines, through which they were brought to a high religious attitude. So when our Lord came into the world, they were of the highest religious sentiment, of the most devoted sentiment, of all mankind. Many of them were prepared to have the special favor that Jesus came to give; namely, the privilege of becoming sons of God.

GOD'S DEALINGS WITH THE CHURCH

The sons of God during this Gospel Age are similarly under special favor of God and under special Covenant with Him. He has engaged to treat them as sons, not as servants; not as opposers or enemies, but as children. "God dealeth with you as with sons." (Hebrews 12:7.) With this assurance that God will deal with His people as with sons, we might be surprised that the saintly people have not been blessed, as those who are unsaintly, with money, health, temporal prosperity. We inquire how this is. Is God neglecting His part when He has promised that He will deal with these as with sons? We are not sons of God according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. Having been begotten of the Spirit, we are sons of God according to the New Creation, the interests of which are often best served by experiences which are not favorable to the flesh.

With these sons of God, the New Creature is the special thing in God's sight. The flesh matters little. And God wishes these sons to have the proper experiences that will bring them to the required development as sons of God on the spirit plane. This means that they must ultimately die according to the flesh. There is no other way of entering into the spirit nature than by dying according to the flesh. We must all follow in the footsteps of the Master.

The trials of the narrow way are special tests of the New Creature. How will the New Creature act under these trials and difficulties? Will he prove loyal to God when things seem unfavorable to him according to the flesh? If so, the New Creature will grow strong; and the warfare between the two, the spirit and the flesh, will finally result in the victory of the New Creature, and in his birth in the First Resurrection, or Chief Resurrection, to the spirit nature, the Divine nature.

PROPER MENTAL ATTITUDE FOR PRAYER

The words of our text apply only to the New Creatures. "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of." It is not necessary for us to use vain repetitions as the heathen do, asking God over and over again for blessings of a temporal kind. He knoweth what things we have need of; that is to say, whether we as New Creatures will be most profited in the abundance of wealth or in the absence of wealth; whether we as New Creatures will be most profited in the possession of health or otherwise. We are not to tell God what we wish. We are to give up our will in order that His will may be done. We are to pray, therefore, as Jesus prayed, "Not My will, but Thine be done"; for "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of." The heathen do not have God as their Father, and He is not [R5624 : page 40] supervising their affairs. They get certain common blessings that God is providing for all--sunshine and rain.

The prayer of God's people should not be for temporal things. We know of no Scriptural illustration where the spiritual sons of God asked definitely for temporal things and received an answer. We remember that St. Paul prayed three times very earnestly for the restoration of his eyesight. God would not give him the thing he asked for, but would give him that which would be better for him as a New Creature. And this affliction of poor eyesight, watery eyes, would help to keep him in remembrance of the fact that he was once a persecutor of the Lord's people. The Lord would not take away his affliction, but would give him the grace necessary. Presumably, when the Apostle learned that lesson, he did not pray for such things again; but doubtless it was to our benefit that he did not find this out until he had prayed those three improper prayers. We learn from this that we should be in the attitude to say, "Lord, Thou knowest what I have need of. Give what is best."

THE MODEL PRAYER

Some might declare that this would not be the proper way to offer a petition--that we should ask God for something definite; for instance, if one needed a coat, he should ask for a coat. But our Father has said that we need not go into particulars. God knows that we have need of bread. Our petition, therefore, when we say, "Give us this day our daily bread," is not that we think that God would forget about it, but rather as an acknowledgement on our part that all we have--our food and everything else--comes from God. He knows what we have need of, and provides these things aside from our asking. Nevertheless, it is the Father's good pleasure that we should go to Him, asking forgiveness for our sins, realizing that He has made provision in advance for that forgiveness, and that only as we are merciful to others will He deal mercifully with us in respect to our trespasses. With regard to our food, we thank our Father as the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

We hallow His name--honor His name--put it first in our petitions, in our thoughts. The idea is not as to how much glory we can get; but, first of all, we mention our Father and His glorious name--we hallow His name, make it holy. It should be hallowed and revered everywhere in the whole world. Then we follow with the petition desiring that His Kingdom would come; for we realize that His Kingdom is the very thing that the whole world needs, and that He has promised that it shall come. This is merely to tell Him of our dependence upon Him, and our waiting for Him and for those things which He has promised and arranged for in His Kingdom. We are not merely saying, "Thy Kingdom come"--we are waiting for it, expecting it. Then comes in the mention of our necessities. He knoweth what things we have need of --whether it be a full loaf, a half loaf or a quarter loaf, a small ration or a large one. Then we ask for protection from the Evil One.

There is no such request as, "My shoes are needing to be replaced with new shoes," or "My coat is getting glossy." The heathen, the world might pray for these things; but we are children of God, and are to conform our prayers to what He has said. We are to take for examples the prayers of Jesus and such prayers as the Apostles offered. These prayers are not so much requirements made of God, but telling Him we are depending upon Him, seeking to have no will of our own-- merely sinking into His will, asking that His will be done in all our affairs. Then we are to live and act according to that will and according to those prayers.



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MORE CONVINCING EVIDENCE DEMANDED

"Be not faithless, but believing."--John 20:27.
THE words of our text are found in connection with our Lord's appearance to the eleven disciples in the upper room, St. Thomas being of the number. From the narrative we learn that just a week before this Jesus had appeared to His disciples, but St. Thomas was absent at the time. The ten who had witnessed our Lord's manifestation related to St. Thomas the things which they had seen; but their accounts seemed idle tales to him and he could not believe them. He said he thought they were too easily convinced, and that it would require stronger evidence than they had had to convince him. Unless he could see the print of the nails in our Lord's hands, and put his fingers into the print of the nails, and could be able to thrust his hand into the spear-wound in His side, he would not believe.

To some this might seem to be an example of extreme unbelief, an unwillingness to receive the testimony of the Ten as to the experiences through which they had passed. Yet to other minds it would not seem so strange. Some of us would find it difficult to believe from any lips that a person whom we had three days before seen dead and laid in the tomb had manifested by His presence to others that He was again alive; and especially hard would it be to believe that He had appeared when the doors were shut, and had disappeared, the doors still being shut. We rather fear that had we been in St. Thomas' place we would have been inclined to say, "Show us how that could be." We would have experienced the same difficulty, and would likely have said, "You think you saw something; you believe you are telling the truth, but we [R5625 : page 40] think that you have been deceived." We are born with differences of mental qualities, and it is easier for some to believe than it is for others.

ST. THOMAS NOT REPROVED

However, on this occasion Jesus gave the desired demonstration. His first appearance to them as a group was, we believe, on the first day of the week, and the second manifestation was given again on the first day of the week; eight days later, under similar circumstances, St. Thomas being present, Jesus said to him, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side; and be not faithless, but believing." (John 20:27.) These were the very things St. Thomas had demanded, the very proof he had required. The words of Jesus do not convey the thought of any special reproof to St. Thomas. It would seem that the fact that the Lord gave to him the desired evidence to convince him, was an indication that He did not disapprove of his demand for more convincing demonstration than the others had had before believing a statement so marvelous as that of the other ten disciples; for if it had been a thing of which He disapproved He would not have complied with St. Thomas' wish.

Our Lord did, however, say (though speaking of those of us who would live subsequently, and not of the disciples), "Blessed are they who do not see, and do yet believe." This is our position. The Lord indicates a special blessing upon those who, not seeing, would be able [R5625 : page 41] to believe. But we are to remember that we have testimonies and evidences that St. Thomas did not have. If we had heard that ten men had seen certain things one night, we might have wondered if they had not been in a vision, just as the transfiguration on the Mount was a vision. We might have imagined some dream or some hallucination coming upon them. Here, however, was St. Thomas, a man like a great many of us, hard-headed and practical; but when the proof was given to him, when demonstration was made, he recognized that it was not a phantom, but that the Lord stood there before him in a body of flesh. This incident has proved a strengthener to the faith of many of us.

It is quite probable that St. Thomas was not permitted to be present at that first interview for the very purpose that there might be that demonstration, to the intent that it might be easier for some of us to believe. We can readily see that an established faith was all-important to the disciples. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11:6.) If the disciples had been in doubt about our Lord's resurrection, they would not have been able to give us clear testimony on the subject, and how would we otherwise have known the facts? Some would have believed that He ascended to Heaven, and others of us would have thought differently, if we had not the positive testimony, the proof. So the Lord purposed that these eleven disciples should be thoroughly convinced. Unless they had had absolute faith in Him as the ascended Redeemer and Advocate they would not have been prepared to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And unless they had received the Holy Spirit, they would not have been fitted for the ministry.

These forty days, then, seem to be the most important part of our Lord's ministry; for on them depended all the success of the Gospel Message, which was to be launched, not by angels, but by men--these very men to whom He appeared--it was for them to tell what they saw and believed. For them to have lost faith and to have gone back into the ordinary affairs of life would have been contrary to the Divine arrangement.

Jesus appeared four times--once to the women on the morning of His resurrection, once later on the same day to two of His disciples who were going to Emmaus; later the same evening to the ten in the upper room; then after a week, this appearance to St. Thomas and the other ten disciples. Some two or three weeks then elapsed, in which they neither saw Him nor heard of Him. Jesus was giving them some time in which to develop faith. They had these proofs, that He had spirit power to go and come like the wind. But He had not told them what to do, so in spite of all they had seen they thought it best to go back into the fishing business.

This was the moment for which Jesus was waiting. He knew they would have doubts and wonderments, and was on the alert to be invisibly with them to teach them a necessary lesson just as soon as they returned to the fishing business. As a result they did not catch even one fish. None were allowed to go into their net. All night long the disciples toiled in vain.

In the morning Jesus was standing on the shore. They had not seen Him for about three weeks, and at first did not recognize Him. He told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat. If there were no fish on one side, there would probably not be any on the other side; for a little distance would not make much difference. But they had had such a trying experience during the night that they were willing to do almost anything. While it did not seem reasonable that it would do any good to cast the net just a few feet further away, yet having lost all confidence, they were ready to follow the suggestion of the stranger. So they put the net down, and enclosed a great haul of fish. It was a great miracle; for the net was full. But it was nothing remarkable for a spirit being to make this exhibition, this manifestation, of Divine power.

By this experience the disciples were taught two great lessons--that without the Divine blessing they could not succeed even in the fishing business, the occupation in which they had been engaged all their lives. The second great lesson was that He who had been a Fisher of men had the Divine power to supply all their needs; that as He had the power to supply the fish, so He had power to supply all other needs. Furthermore, when they got to the shore, He had fish there and had cooked them--He was not dependent upon the fish in the net. Of course we do not understand the power--it was Divine Power, unlimited power. This experience became to the disciples almost a final demonstration of Divine power. They knew that it was Jesus, although they did not ask Him. He showed them that He had all the while known just what they were doing, and that He had absolute power to give or to withhold blessings from them. It must have been a great strengthener of their faith to realize that He was as able to provide for them in one place as in another, and that they did not need to go back into the world and its pursuits; for He would be with them always, even to the end of the Age.--Matthew 28:20.

TWO GREAT FACTS ESTABLISHED

Subsequently our Lord appeared to His disciples twice more--seven times altogether. Then He ascended up on High. Later He appeared to St. Paul. By these different demonstrations Jesus thoroughly convinced His disciples of two great things; first, that He was no longer dead, that He was alive; secondly, that He had supreme power. "All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18.) This great Being was their Master. He had not lost anything, but had gained much in passing into death and then out of it. So they might have great confidence in Him, and might go forth to speak of His death, of the fact of His resurrection and of His ascension into God's presence, as manifested by the giving of the Holy Spirit. But they would not have been ready to declare any of these things had they not been thoroughly convinced.

We do not think that Jesus reproved St. Thomas for His doubts. It is a great satisfaction to one whose mind happens to be of that particular kind as was St. Thomas'. Some minds require more proof than do others. Undoubtedly the whole Church has been blessed by St. Thomas' action at this time. If we had been one of the disciples and had been absent when Jesus first appeared, and had been told of it by the others we would have said, "You are dreaming, gentlemen. In your perplexity and excitement you are telling us a fairy tale." We would wish to be satisfied and to have the sense of touch to prove the matter. Now the Lord gave us this evidence, and it is a great blessing to us.

A POWER POSSESSED BY SPIRIT BEINGS

The evidence of the resurrection of Jesus lay in the fact that there was a Person there in that upper room who had the power to come and go like the wind and to demonstrate that He was not dead by any means. That body which St. Thomas and the other disciples saw was not the body crucified and buried in Joseph's tomb, but a materialized body--with the same facial expression, the same hands, the same feet, that the human body of Jesus had. Jesus said that it was flesh, that "a spirit hath not flesh [R5625 : page 42] and bones as ye see me have." He had both the flesh and the bones there.--John 24:39.

St. Thomas and the others could not appreciate how a spirit could materialize a body. In fact, with all that we know, more than eighteen centuries later, we do not understand how it could be. We know, however, that angels appeared like men and could talk, eat and walk. We know that various evil spirit beings appeared in the days of Noah, and sought to dwell on earth as men. The disciples knew this, but they had not thought to apply this to the Lord. They were learning how to apply these things to the Lord--how a spirit being could materialize and dematerialize in their presence. This was a matter of education. Subsequently they would come to a more particular understanding of this--when they received the Holy Spirit; just as with us. When we come to a better knowledge, in this proportion the Holy Spirit has guided our understanding.

We have come to a full ability to believe these matters, although we do not understand them yet; for to understand would be to enter into the matter in a philosophical way and to know how the thing is done. We do not think that the Apostles saw the body of our Lord in the resurrection. But what they saw was proof that He was no longer a human being, but a spirit being. To make a body suitable for the occasion was no more of a miracle than were any of the other things connected with the resurrection.



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GOD'S ARK IN WICKED HANDS
--FEBRUARY 21.--1 SAMUEL 4:1-18.--

A CORRUPT PRIESTHOOD--A DEMORALIZED PEOPLE--ATTEMPT TO BRING GOD INTO THE WAR--THE ARK OF THE COVENANT CAPTURED--PUNISHMENT AT THE HANDS OF THEIR ENEMIES--THE SAME PRINCIPLE IN OPERATION TODAY-- TRAGIC DEATH OF ELI AND HIS SONS--WHICH NATIONS ARE IN COVENANT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD?

"Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves."--James 1:22.
SOME twenty years after God's prediction of the calamities that would befall Eli and his family, the tragedy related in this lesson occurred. In all those twenty years, apparently no reformations had taken place-- the aged Eli, now ninety-eight years old, had not purged the servants or the service of the Lord. He had allowed matters to continue in the hands of his sons, notwithstanding their continual dishonesty in the things of God, and their immorality and pernicious example. Samuel, apparently, may have been absent at the time of this lesson, and perhaps for years before. Wherever he was, we may be sure he was a true servant of God, and more and more recognized of the people as such.

We are not to overestimate the moral and religious conditions of the people during those twenty years; but we may assume that the evil example of the priests, the sons of Eli, whom he had associated with him in the priestly office, had an injurious effect upon the people--a demoralizing effect. According to God's covenant with the nation, He was bound to reprove them, punish them. A fresh invasion of the Philistines took place. The Israelites went out to meet them in battle and were defeated. In their chagrin, and groping after some help, they looked to God, just as all the nations of Europe today are looking to God for help and praying in vain.

The usual customs under such conditions today are the same as then; namely, an attempt to bring God into the war, an attempt to invoke the assistance of religious symbols, etc. And, indeed, the Israelites had more ground for so doing than have the warring kingdoms of today; for God had declared Himself to be the Keeper of Israel, and that they were His special nation, His ward, and that He would protect them as long as they would be loyal to Him. On the other hand, the kingdoms of this world have no such Divine promise, have no ground for such expectations of Divine aid. They are falsely styling themselves Christian kingdoms, "Christendom"; whereas they have neither part nor lot with the Lord. He recognizes no nations except Natural Israel of the past and Spiritual Israel of the present. "Ye are a holy nation, a peculiar people, a Royal Priesthood, to show forth the praises of Him who hath called you from darkness into His marvelous light."--1 Peter 2:9.

The Israelites doubtless had read how the Ark went before them in the Wilderness journey, how it was in the midst of the River Jordan when the people crossed over dry-shod, and how it was in the procession that marched around Jericho when the walls fell. And so they determined to bring up the Ark of the Lord and put it in the battle with the people of Israel; and thus they thought they would insure victory. Their reasoning, apparently, was that God would not permit the Ark of the Covenant to be injured or to be captured; and hence they would be safe and victory would be bound to come to Israel.

With our mental eye we see the pageant: Here come the Levites, bearing the holy Ark of God, and the two sons of Eli, arrayed as the priests of the Most High, the representatives of God's Holiness; and the people, enthused with the thought of victory through the Ark of God, shouted their usual battle-hymn, "Rise up, Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee."--Numbers 10:35.

The people forgot that they had been living irreligiously, in violation of their Covenant with God; and that that Covenant called for punishment upon them at the hand of their enemies. They forgot that the two representative priests by no means represented God and His Righteousness--that they were thieves and robbers, garbed as the priests of God; that they were immoral, impure, posing as the representatives of the Divine Holiness. They forgot that God's blessing was not to be expected under such conditions.

A PRESENT-DAY PARALLEL

And alas! Although we are many centuries removed from their time, we see much of this same principle today-- much sham, much pretense, much misrepresentation of God on the part of those who profess to be His representatives. We behold the present war, with the Kaiser of Germany at the head of the Lutheran Church; with Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria-Hungary, the chief son of the Papacy; with King George at the head of the Church of England; with the Czar, the "little father" of Russia, the chief representative of the Greek Catholic Church--all these marching out to battle, each rallying his soldiers with the thought of God, each treading the precious Name of the Prince of Peace into the dust, each bent on the use of the sword for the selfish purpose of promoting the greatness of his empire and its commercial prosperity, and, incidentally, upholding the traditions of the past respecting his authority to establish the Kingdom of God upon earth.

Today, as in the days of Eli's sons, the people give a [R5626 : page 43] shout as they couple the Cause of God with their national projects. Again they forget that the two are entirely separate; that God's Cause is under Divine direction; and that His Cause will prosper best by the permission of a great defeat to all these systems of men, preparing incidentally for the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom, after the Armageddon of the Bible shall have humbled the world and made them ready to acclaim the new King Immanuel and His Kingdom "the desire of all nations."

Calling upon the Name of the Lord and having the Ark of God in the battle did not help the Israelites, even as the carrying of the ikons by the Russian soldiers will not give them the victory, or the wearing of the name of God upon their belts give the victory to the Germans, or the carrying of the Cross of St. George give victory to the armies of the British.

There was a great slaughter and a scattering of the forces of the Israelites. The two sons of Eli were slain. The Ark of God was captured. A swift runner from the army brought the sad intelligence to Shiloh, where Eli as judge sat upon his high seat in the gate, anxiously wondering, fearfully remembering the twenty-year-before prediction of disaster. The runner reported to Eli that the battle had gone against the Israelites, that his two sons were slain, and concluded by telling that the Ark of the Lord had also been captured by the Philistines.

ISRAEL DIFFERENT FROM OTHER NATIONS

Eli heard all with equanimity until the last sentence. When he learned that his precious treasure, for which he was the guardian by Divine appointment, had been taken by the Philistines, the poor man fell over in a faint, his chair toppled, his neck was broken. Although faithful at heart until death at ninety-eight, he, nevertheless, is not without reproof in that he neglected his family and neglected to see that the work entrusted to him was not interfered with by those of his own household. His loyalty to God was not sufficiently great to hinder him from shirking his responsibility. In his character was too much of the spirit of "peace at any price," not enough of that courage which is prepared to die for righteousness' sake.

The lesson taught to God's Covenant people, Israel, the Lord next sent chastisements upon the Philistines, so that they were glad to return the Ark to the people of God. Some are inclined to make light of the declaration that the Philistines were plagued with mice and with hemorrhoids so long as they had the Ark with them; and that when the Ark had been restored to the Israelites, these plagues were removed. We have no reason, however, to doubt that the Philistines had cause for the realization that these were special plagues, and the Scriptures seem to uphold the thought that they were of the Lord.

This does not authorize us in supposing that every kind of plague today is of the Lord--that pestilences, etc., are special punishments of God. We must remember, when considering this matter, that the nation of Israel, and everything appertaining to it, was in a special covenant relationship with God and under Divine supervision. Whoever touched Israel or any of the things pertaining to the typical system was to that extent adverse to the Lord, His Cause, His interests, and this could be done only by the Lord's permission; and when the Lord wished to bring back the Ark, or deliver His people from such circumstances, it was for Him to bring to pass conditions necessary to that end.

There is no such condition of things prevailing today. The nation of Israel is temporarily cut off from the Divine protection which was with them--until the full number from the Gentiles shall have been brought into Spiritual Israel. Then all Israel will be recovered from their blindness and their alienation from God, as it is written: "This is My covenant with them when I shall take away their sins."--Romans 11:26-32.

The only people or nation now in covenant relationship with God, according to the Bible, is Spiritual Israel, "a holy nation, a peculiar people." And, as respects [R5627 : page 43] Spiritual Israel, their interests are spiritual; and the Divine promises do not guarantee them earthly blessings and protection, but rather the reverse--persecution and opposition. God's guarantee to Spiritual Israel, however, is that all the adversities of the present life which He permits to come to them will work out to their eternal spiritual welfare, if they are rightly exercised thereby.



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CONFESSION OF SIN, FORGIVENESS, VICTORY
--FEBRUARY 28.--1 SAMUEL 7:3-17.--

SAMUEL, PROPHET AND JUDGE--HIS INFLUENCE FOR GOOD-- ISRAEL BECAME PENITENT--A CONVENTION AT MOUNT MIZPEH--THE WATCH TOWER--FASTING AND PRAYER-- GOD'S FAVOR RETURNED--PHILISTINES REBUKED--ISRAEL BLESSED UNDER SAMUEL'S JUDGESHIP--A CIRCUIT JUDGE.

"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."--1 Samuel 7:12.
SAMUEL the Prophet might serve Eli the Priest, but he could not become his successor, because not of the priestly family. It is probable therefore that, as he reached maturity, he found other service; but there is a blank in the record of twenty years at least. The intimation, however, is that he was faithful to God and to the interests of his people, and that the people trusted him as a servant of God. We may be sure, therefore, that he was not idle, but engaged in some good work. Quite possibly he engaged himself in instructing the people respecting their wrong conditions, the permission of idolatry amongst them, their neglect of God, etc.

Our lesson introduces him to us as the leader of the hour, when the people had become thoroughly aroused to a sense of their unholiness, their need of God, and their need of mutual help if they would come back into relationship with God. Having brought the people to this proper condition of mind, the Prophet Samuel appointed a general meeting at a small mountain called Mizpeh; that is, Watch Tower. They came in considerable numbers and with hearts bowed down with grief in recognition that they were sinners, and that therefore they had been foreigners--out of Divine favor. They came seeking God, and He was found of them.

A GREAT REFORMATION EFFECTED

The Prophet Samuel put the matter before the people in plain, distinct terms, saying, "If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines." Samuel was warranted in telling the people that they would be delivered from the power of the Philistines; because this was God's standing agreement with them by the Covenant He entered into with them; namely, that if they would obey His Laws and be loyal to Him, He would be their [R5627 : page 44] God and they would be His people, and He would guide their interests to their highest welfare, both as a nation and as individuals; but if they would not obey His statutes and be loyal to Him, then He would deliver them into the hands of their enemies and punish them Seven Times. God was keeping His part of the Covenant; it was Israel that had failed, and Samuel was properly bringing the matter to their attention and urging repentance.

"Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served Jehovah only." Baalim was the plural name for Baal. The word Baal signifies overseer, caretaker. The Israelites had been distinctly forewarned not to make any kind of idols, and to keep themselves separate from all idols to such an extent that they might not even make an image of their own God, Jehovah. He would not have any symbols before His people, but have them worship Him in spirit and in truth. But all around them were the Canaanites, whom they had not had faith and obedience to drive out of the land. These Canaanites had the Baal idols in all their towns, and some had them in their homes and trusted in them as protective genii.

Ashtaroth is the plural for Ashtoreth, a female deity --the same known to the Babylonians as Ishtar and to the Greeks as Astarte. She was the goddess of fertility and the sexual relations; and connected with her worship were many licentious services supposed to promote fertility-- the propagation of the human species. If Samuel's work of twenty years reached this harvest where the whole people of Israel decided to put away their Ashtaroth of gods and to worship and serve Jehovah only, he certainly accomplished much. We may be sure also that some human agency was connected with so great an outward manifestation. Such reformations do not come by chance, nor are they miraculous.

Samuel prayed for the people of Israel; "and they drew water and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the Lord." The confession of sin was not only creditable to the people as a manifestation of their honesty and sincerity, but it was appropriate that they should do this when asking the God whom they had offended to receive them back again into covenant relationship with Himself. The poet has said that confession is good for the soul, and surely all have proven it so. It served to commit them. The humility which was necessary to the making of such confession would be profitable in respect to their character-building.

The water poured out may be viewed from various angles. One suggestion is that it represented the Truth which they could not gainsay, could not take back, even as water spilled upon the ground cannot be recovered. Another suggestion is that as the water was drawn from the depth of the earth, so their confession came from the depths of their hearts. Another is that it represented their vows of faithfulness to the Lord, which would be as irrevocable as water poured out.

A LESSON FOR SPIRITUAL ISRAEL

"And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh." That is to say, as a judge, a counselor, he gave advice, gave decision in respect to their affairs, disputes, proper course of conduct, right and wrong on any subject, etc. Thus the nation of Israel was making a new start; and as a people they were more drawn together than at any time in their history from the days of Joshua onward. But, as though it were a trial of their faith, at this very time, while they were resolving on the course of righteousness, their enemies, the Philistines, having heard of the gathering, sought to nip the rebellion in the bud, and came against them with an army of considerable size.

The Israelites had not come together for battle, but for prayer; nevertheless they were probably more or less armed. But they felt themselves quite unprepared to meet the Philistine hosts. And they said unto Samuel, "Cease not to cry unto Jehovah our God for us, that He save us out of the hand of the Philistines." They were learning to look for help in the right direction. This cry coming to the Lord after they had abandoned their idols and had vowed to be loyal to Jehovah, put them in a very different attitude toward Him from that of twenty years previous, when they called for the Ark of God to lead them in battling against the Philistines without any reformation of character, without repentance for sins.

Is there not a lesson here for all of God's people? Is it not as true today as it ever was that it is vain for the Lord's people to call upon the Lord for assistance and blessing while they are living in sin, in violation of their Covenant and its obligations? The first lesson of all, then, for those who realize their being in sin is repentance, and definite vows to the Lord respecting faithfulness in petition to Him for His mercy unto them. Those who thus come to the Lord now, as Christians, under the Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ, are sure to have Divine mercy and "grace to help in every time of need."

Our Philistines that come upon us and enslave us are our passions and weaknesses, and the oppositions of the world and the Adversary. These are our foes, and against these only Divine Power can enable us to fight a good fight and come off victorious.

In response to the cry of the people, Samuel the Prophet offered to the Lord a sacrifice--a lamb of the first year. He knew it not, but it was a type of "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Beside this typical sacrifice, Samuel cried to the Lord on behalf of his people, and the Lord heard him. So with all that stand beside the great Antitypical Sacrifice, and in the name and merit of that Sacrifice, as people of God in covenant relationship with Him--having put away sins and weaknesses to the best of our ability, we may be sure of Divine help, deliverance.

SIGNAL MANIFESTATION OF DIVINE FAVOR

While yet the offering was upon the altar, the noise of the approaching hosts of the Philistines was heard. How would God assist His people? How could they hope for deliverance against the Philistine hosts? Would they in fear scatter or would God's power to help be manifest? The deliverance came in the shape of a great, violent, sudden storm. Going hastily, it swept down the hill Mizpeh, in the faces of the approaching hosts. They turned their backs against the violent storm; and the Israelites perceiving the opportunity, rushed onward with [R5628 : page 44] the storm, pursuing the Philistines and driving them before them, and thus gaining a great victory. The place of the victory was the very spot where, twenty years before, the Ark of the Lord had been captured by the Philistines. Samuel there set a stone as a pillar and monument, and called it Ebenezer, saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."--Verse 12.

So with Christians in their victories under the Lord's assistance; when by the Lord's grace they gain victories they should set up memorials or monuments in their minds, in their hearts, and not pass these blessings by or forget that the victories were gained by help from on High. Every Christian, therefore, should have his Ebenezers, his monuments of victory, as it were, of Divine assistance over his foes, the world, the flesh and the Adversary, and he should rejoice in these. This sentiment [R5628 : page 45] has come down to us in the words of a beautiful hymn, familiar to nearly all who read the English language:

"Here I'll raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at Home."

PROPER AND IMPROPER JUDGMENTS

The record is that Samuel continued to be a judge, an interpreter of the Divine Law, a counselor to his people, "all the days of his life." The Israelites had accepted God's Law, and had agreed to abide by its decisions. Whoever, therefore, they would have confidence in as an interpreter of the Divine Law, they, in proper condition of heart, would be ready to obey his rulings, his judgments. Spiritual Israelites similarly have come into covenant relationship with God, and have bound themselves to seek to know and to do the will of God and not their own wills. Hence whoever may be the person of opportunity who can show "an Israelite indeed" the mind of the Lord in any manner, he becomes his counselor, the Lord's mouthpiece to him; thus all the people of God assist one another to judge themselves, to build each other up in the most holy faith, to guide each other to know and to do the will of the Lord.

This office is not left to ministers, to priests, but is open to all the Lord's people; for St. Peter declares all the Lord's people are priests--"Ye are a Royal Priesthood." True, these priests have not entered into their royalty, nor yet have they entered fully upon their priestly office. These glorious offices belong especially to the future, when by virtue of the resurrection change, these priests, who are now sacrificing, will be Priests in glory, reigning with Christ and judging the world--assisting the world, counseling the world, instructing the world regarding God's will and helping them to know and do that will.

The Royal Priesthood are to remember that their judging in the present time is not a judging of the hearts, but merely a judging of the conduct. As respects the hearts, they are informed of the Lord that they are not competent to judge; and hence the words of the Apostle Paul, "Judge nothing before the time." The time for the judging of the hearts, when this work will be committed to the Church, will be after that which is perfect shall have come, after the resurrection change shall have made us like our Redeemer and qualified, therefore, to read the hearts of mankind and to judge a righteous judgment, a merciful judgment, a sympathetic judgment, a helpful one.

The only judging which the people of God may now do for and toward each other, is that which the Lord represented when He said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." Men do not gather grapes off thorn bushes or figs off thistles. A good spring will not send forth bitter water. We are, therefore, to judge ourselves as to whether or not our conduct is in harmony with the principles of righteousness; and we may similarly assist in judging one another as respects outward conduct, leaving the judgment of the heart to the individual himself and to the Lord.

The Prophet Samuel established a new order of things, which we see was the outgrowth of his reformation work amongst the people of God, his nation. He did not do as others before him had done--have his place of residence, to which all the people must go to ask his advice, his counsel, his judgment; but he introduced the circuit judge system, and went from place to place holding a court, not so much to condemn anybody, but rather to advise those who desired advice. Thus the nation of Israel began to be cemented as one people, and to realize that their interests were in common; and that all of their interests were bound up with God, His Law, His Covenant with them, and the interpretation of these through such agents as the Lord might send to them--Samuel the Prophet being one of these.



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RETURN OF THE CHURCH FROM THE WILDERNESS

A WILDERNESS condition is one of separation from the blessings of civilization; it is a cut-off condition, a separation from the world. In the case of the Church, we read that the Lord provided her with two wings, that she might go into the wilderness 1260 symbolic days, or years. Apparently she went into the wilderness condition of her own accord, and became voluntarily an outcast from the privileges and advantages of the world's society; she underwent a general ostracism or separation.

In the account of the typical Atonement Day sacrifices we read that the scapegoat went into the wilderness, but it did not go voluntarily; it was sent away. In the antitype the faithful, consecrated class go into the wilderness voluntarily, while the others will go into it of compulsion. The two classes will have similar experiences, however. The experiences of the Church have been tribulations, brought on by reason of their loyalty to the Lord and the Truth. The Lord's people can be in this wilderness condition even while surrounded by all the affairs of the world. We are separate from the world; we are in the world, but not of it--isolated.

In the Book of Revelation we read that the Church fled for 1260 years into the wilderness, and that during a similar period of time a great system had control of affairs. This period, we understand, began in 539 A.D. and ended with the year 1799. It was a period of ostracism, called the wilderness condition, but not necessarily of persecution. One might go into the wilderness condition and not receive persecution--not be shot, not be hanged, or anything like that. Hence the wilderness condition does not include the thought of persecution, but merely of separation.

In figurative language the city represents honor, distinction and prominence in the world, while the wilderness signifies the reverse condition--that of being ignored, ostracized, etc. During the 1260 symbolic days the Church was in the condition of ostracism. The governments paid no attention to her; but on the other hand, they gave a great deal of attention to the great system which exalted itself and became "that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth"--Mystic Babylon.

THE RETURN FROM THE WILDERNESS

At the end of this period, beginning with 1799, the proper conception of the Church was more nearly recognized by the world in general, when the power of Papacy was broken, when the Pope was carried a prisoner to France. Then the nations realized that they had been more or less mistaken as to the Pope being Christ's representative. From that time on the Papacy, as a great system, has not had the persecuting power, but has been compelled to vie with others. The Baptist denomination, the Methodist denomination, and others, have prospered during this period, and the world has recognized them in the same degree as it has recognized Papacy.

The Papacy did not go into the wilderness, however; but Protestantism stepped out of the wilderness condition, to be more particularly recognized by the people and [R5628 : page 46] by the government. This has continued for quite a while and the Bible has been more generally recognized than before. Shortly after 1799, Bible Societies began to be organized. The Bible was brought into great prominence. Old and New Testaments, God's two witnesses, were exalted to Heaven. Those who advocated the Bible came out into the full light. Bible students and Bible study became more approved than ever before. Bibles were printed and everybody favored Bible Study.

There is no Scriptural declaration that the Church will go back into the wilderness condition. Our reference to a second wilderness experience is founded upon the symbolic picture of our day that is given to us in the experiences of Elijah the Prophet. Elijah, representing the true Church of God, had been a true Prophet for some time. He was unpopular with Queen Jezebel, who had influenced King Ahab against him. The King threatened Elijah's life and he fled to the wilderness for 1260 days, or three and a half years. This was symbolical of the 1260 years during which the Church remained in the wilderness condition.

At the close of the 1260 days in Elijah's experience, he returned from the wilderness, and made a great demonstration. He made an exhibition of the priests of Baal, who had been favored by Queen Jezebel and by King Ahab. This manifestation resulted in a great exaltation of the Word of God, and a great downfall of the priests [R5629 : page 46] of Baal. From that time they were obliged to hold themselves in seclusion. The people said, "Jehovah is God."

We understand that all this particularly represents how the true Church, in 1799, manifested itself before the kings of the world, and stood up for God and the Bible. Elijah represented the true Church; Jezebel represented the Papal System and other systems closely related to her; Ahab represented the government; and the people of Israel represented the world. The Bible was forced upon Jezebel and Ahab, and everybody. The two witnesses were exalted because the people took notice of them.

ELIJAH'S SECOND WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE

Coming back to the picture: Queen Jezebel represented her daughters, her kind, her family. The Prophet Elijah represented the true people of God in the present time. The Queen did not persecute him, but threatened him; and again he fled into the wilderness--not for a specified time, however. The people in general were not under the same kind of restraint as previously. The priests of Baal never regained their influence. Elijah went again into the wilderness and was there nourished for a time; it was not the previous nourishment of the 1260 days by the ravens, but an especially provided food for a time.

To our understanding this food especially provided for Elijah, after his experience with the priests of Baal and after his fleeing from Jezebel, represents the special Message that is now feeding the people of God. After Elijah had reached the wilderness, there was an inclination on his part to feel discouraged; and he said, "Ah, Lord God! ..."--this signifying his discouragement. But the Lord strengthened him and gave him a special food, in the strength of which he went to Mt. Horeb. This mountain represents the Kingdom of God, the Messianic Kingdom. And we believe that by this spiritual food we are now brought to the time when the Kingdom is to be established.

When Elijah got to Mt. Horeb the Lord gave him three witnesses. (1 Kings 19:1-18.) The wind rending the mountains represents the present war. The great earthquake symbolically represents a social revolution, the like of which was never before in the world, and which we believe is due to come very soon. This will not come as soon as the war begins, but the war might continue while the earthquake is on. This was not all. The third demonstration was a great fire, which consumed everything before it. This represents wide-spread anarchy, which will prevail in the world, following the social revolution. Then after the fire Elijah heard the "still, small voice," representing the Divine Power, which will bring the blessings to the world.



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INTERESTING LETTERS

REPLY TO A CRITIC OF PRESENT EXPECTATIONS

DEAR BROTHER:--

Your first letter was unanswered, not because of any discourtesy, but through pity. But now that you have written again respecting the disappointment of my expectation mentioned Nov. 29, 1911, that "within three years I shall have been joined to the Bridegroom," I have concluded to answer your letter, conceiving that after you have read my reply, my past, present and future faith may not seem so distressingly funny to you.

Twenty years ago you and I believed in infant baptism; in the Divine right of the clergy to administer that baptism; that baptism was necessary to escape eternal torment; that God is love; that God created and continues to create billions of beings in His likeness who will spend the countless ages of eternity in the strangling fumes of burning sulphur, pleading in vain for one drop of water to relieve their agonies; we believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; we believed that we should be followers of God as dear children; in baptizing our infants we believed that God saved some and did not save others, or else we believed in the salvation of all infants, except those poor unfortunates to whose parents the Gospel had not been preached; for such, we believed, no salvation was provided outside of baptism into some one of the hundreds of sects into which Christianity is divided.

We believed that after a man dies, he is alive; we believed that Jesus Christ never died; that He could not die; that no Ransom was ever paid or ever will be paid; that Jehovah God and Christ Jesus His Son are one and the same person; that Christ was His own Father; that Jesus was His own Son; that the Holy Spirit is a person; that one plus one, plus one, equal one; that when Jesus hung on the cross and said, "My God, My God, why hast Thou Forsaken Me," He was merely talking to Himself; that He was raised in the flesh; that He still bears, and will forever bear, His scars; that He alone of all mankind will have to go scarred and marred throughout eternity; that He will come again in the flesh; that the Day of Judgment is a Day of horror; that the literal earth is to be burned up with literal fire; that all human beings who are saved become angels; that Paradise is Heaven; that the crucified thief became an angel the day he died and went to Heaven; that Christ did not become an angel, but was raised from the dead as a man three days later than the thief, but did not ascend to Heaven until forty days afterward; that all the Ancient Worthies went to Heaven when they died, including David; that present kingdoms are part of Christ's Kingdom; that the Devil has been away off somewhere in an unlocated Hell, instead of exercising dominion over the kingdoms of this earth; that the Antichrist is to be a literal man; that sectarianism is a good thing and will be perpetuated forever; that one can be born of the Spirit while he is still in the flesh; that a resurrection from the dead is impossible because none are dead; that it merely means in the case of the saints the taking back of the poor bodies that they had, in place of the perfectly good ones they secured when they died.

We believed that sanctification means sinlessness, not self-sacrificing devotion to the will of God; that the expression "Bride of Christ" means nothing; because everybody who is saved will be the Bride of Christ; that the expression High calling means nothing, because everybody who is saved, will be saved to the High calling; that the "prize of the High calling," therefore means nothing; that the Time of the End will never come in your day, in my day, nor in anybody else's day; that present running to and fro, means nothing; that there will never be any end of the "Times of the Gentiles"; that there will never be any special "Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation"; that there will be no "Restitution of all things"; that the Jubilee arrangements signify nothing; that the "abomination of desolation" signifies nothing; that there never was and never will be a great [R5629 : page 47] falling away; that there never was and never will be a great Mother Apostate Church, and she never had and never will have any daughters; that the expression "Royal Priesthood" means nothing, because everybody who is saved will be of the priesthood; that there can never be a Second Death, not even a first one; that a human soul once born, lives on forever; that the Tabernacle signifies nothing; that there is no witness to the Lord in the land of Egypt; that the Memorial Supper can be properly observed any old time; that the Christian Sabbath is not a rest of faith, but merely a formal observance of one day in seven; that the literal heavens will be literally rolled together as a literal scroll; that at that time men will pray for literal mountains to fall on top of them.

I praise God for the day that brought Present Truth to my door. It was so wholesome, so refreshing to mind and heart, that I quickly left the humbug and claptrap of the past and was used of God to also open your blinded eyes. We rejoiced in the Truth together, working side by side for fifteen years. The Lord greatly honored you as a mouthpiece; I never knew anybody who could make the follies of Babylon look so ridiculous. In your letter you ask, "What next?" Ah, now comes the pity of it! The next thing is that you permit your heart to become embittered against the one whose labors of love and whose blessing from on High brought the Truth to both our hearts. You went out, and took several of the sheep with you.

I am reliably informed that when Billy Sunday was in your city you were one of the most prominent workers for "the cause." I am reliably informed also that you are now serving as superintendent of a Sunday School in the denomination from which you withdrew when you accepted Present Truth. You either believe the foregoing "confession of faith," or you don't believe it. If you don't believe it, and are helping to boost the organizations that do believe it, then Doc. Cook, the discoverer (?) of the North Pole, should enlist as your pupil. If you do not believe it, and admit, as you must, that you got all your light on these and thousands of other subjects from Brother Russell, then, by comparison, the boy who wished that his father would die so that he could have his jack-knife, should be considered a model of gratitude and loyalty and faithfulness; and his name should be handed down to posterity as a shining example of the way we should act toward our benefactors.

On the contrary, if you have returned to your belief of [R5630 : page 47] the foregoing "faith," you must admit that it is something you once believed and once vomited forth, and like the Scriptural dog, you have returned to your vomit; I hope you like it.--2 Peter 2:20-22.

Probably I look ridiculous to you because I did not go to Heaven, October 1st, 1914, but you don't look ridiculous to me --oh no!

With ten of the greatest nations of earth writhing in their death agonies, it seems to me a particularly inopportune time to seek to ridicule the man, and the only man, who for forty years has taught that the Times of the Gentiles would end in 1914.

If you believe these stupid and worse than childish blunders of the past and seek to revivify them, you have a worse job on your hands than Christ had when He raised Lazarus. Pastor Russell's teachings have killed them so completely that they are in a far worse condition than Lazarus was when he had been dead four days.

I presume that when Zedekiah struck Micaiah upon the cheek and ridiculed the latter's confidence in the Lord's Message, he thought it was really funny, and still more so when Micaiah warned him that he would soon attempt to hide himself unsuccessfully from the Syrians in his inner chamber. I doubt, however, whether Zedekiah considered it so funny shortly afterward when he saw the armies of the Syrians in front of his house, and especially when he heard them coming up stairs.--1 Kings 22.

If this letter shall awaken you to your true condition, I shall be glad. If it does not, it will not be necessary for you to write to me again; for I shall consider it a hopeless task.

With best wishes, I remain,
C. J. WOODWORTH.


MANY HEARTS RECEIVING COMFORT

W.T.B.&T. SOC'Y, DEAR FRIENDS:--

I think you should know of the blessing of the Lord on the service last week, and in making calls on those who handed in their names at Brother Rutherford's meeting. I never saw such interest! The sale of books was reasonably good--450 (all but 50 of which are delivered)--sold in four days. The fine class of business men represented was quite exceptional, although every week there are some.

Three young ladies from the Y.W.C.A. bought the books, and one gives good evidence of coming fully into the Truth in a very short time. A piano dealer said, "This is no denominational work, is it? I have no use for denominations. This man's theory is worthy of investigation." A lawyer said, "That man is a wonder! I never read my Bible, but I am going to begin now. Every reasoning person ought to have those books--I am going to read every word in them."

A merchant remarked, "This is the greatest reformation movement we ever had; we must keep it going." He sent to me twice for more books for his friends; and he is a man who had thrown all religion aside.

A Doctor I called on said, "I was interested to hear he was a Baptist; so was I, and I had the same experience he had--threw the whole thing over in disgust--and I was a preacher." He was glad to examine the work. The cloth books were not fine enough for him; he got the leather-bound.

A very fine office man said, "I will read every moment I can get. Of course, I take it for granted that these books are along the lines of that lecture." He ordered a set.

It would take a book to tell the rest! But it is such a joy to see some of the "refuge of lies" being swept away, confidence in Babylon on the wane, and many hearts comforted.

With love and prayers for you all, and asking a continued interest in your petitions, I am, by His grace,

Your Sister,
CHARLOTTE WHITE.


"NOT SLOTHFUL IN BUSINESS"

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I believe many of us would work with greater zeal if we could better realize the opportunities for presenting the Truth among those we know. We are apt to think that many have no ear for the Message.

Recently I resolved to be more diligent in searching for those who might be hungry for the Truth. Accordingly I carried in my produce wagon a supply of BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, displayed more conspicuously than usual.

One thanked me very kindly for a copy. I had known him to be somewhat friendly to the Truth. Another came to the wagon with Bible in hand, and when asked whether a Baptist or a Methodist replied Presbyterian, but had lately begun to read Pastor Russell's SCRIPTURE STUDIES and was greatly interested in them; adding, "I have gone to my Pastor with some Bible questions that he has so far failed to answer." Another asked my purpose in displaying the papers, and said he had two little books which were very interesting that he wanted me to read. They were TABERNACLE SHADOWS and the HELL booklet. He asked me to bring him Vol. I.

In our daily petitions we remember you and the Harvest work. Pray for me that I may never look back.

Yours by His grace,
__________ F. M. MORRIS.--Florida.


"A PRAYER OF CONSECRATION"

Realizing that I must draw nearer to God to be kept in this hour of trial now upon the whole world, I have prayed more; and I find the following form very helpful; I therefore call it

"THE PRAYER OF THE CONSECRATED":

"Dear Heavenly Father, reverently, and in the name of Jesus, I approach Thy Throne of Grace to renew my consecration vows today. Not content with having made my consecration years ago, nor even yesterday, I renew it today, and present to Thee my body and all its powers, my heart and all its affections. I give to Thee, willingly and gladly, everything I possess, to be wholly Thine--today. I would not withhold from Thee one single thing.

"Gracious and loving Father and dear Lord Jesus, come in all Your fulness into my heart and life; take full possession and reign there supreme, without a rival today. Dear Lord Jesus, my glorious High Priest and Head to Thy Body, the Church, continue to offer me today upon God's holy altar of sacrifice, and until the sacrifice is completed in death."

I have found that doing this daily I have been greatly enriched and blessed spiritually.

Yours, in His love and service,
W. J. THORN.

Isa. 41:10; Num. 6:24-26.



BETHEL HYMNS FOR MARCH

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 March follow:

(1) 153; (2) 105; (3) 143; (4) 108; (5) 119; (6) 99; (7) 95; (8) 83; (9) 1; (10) 53; (11) 145; (12) 188; (13) 211; (14) 240; (15) 307; (16) 23; (17) 281; (18) 155; (19) 221; (20) 22; (21) 16; (22) 114; (23) 107; (24) 113; (25) 212; (26) 192; (27) 78; (28) 235; (29) 4; (30) 303; (31) 173.



page 48

International Bible Students Association Classes

STUDIES AND LECTURES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION



page 49
February 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. XXXVIFEBRUARY 15No. 4

A. D. 1915--A.M. 6043


CONTENTS

Present Duty and Privilege of the Saints51
Patent Facts in Christendom Today52
Kingdom of God Set Up53
Financial Shakings53
The Ministry of Angels55
Our Lord Jesus the Chief Messenger56
Each Saint Has His Ministering Angel57
Holy Angels Not Manifest to Our Senses57
Preferred Monarchy to Republic57
A National Step Backward58
Evil Occult Powers in Operation58
The Psychological Moment59
The Divine Character Vindicated60
A World Full of Kings60
Lessons from Saul's Failures61
Craving for Another Chance62
The World in the Future62
The Tone of Voice (Poem)63
Interesting Letters63
The Tract Still Doing Good63

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 50

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.

[R5640 : page 50]

EXTEND THE VOLUNTEER WORK

The brethren everywhere are remarkable for their loving zeal for the Lord, His Truth and the brethren. In no way is this better shown than in what we term the Volunteer Work-- the voluntary distribution of the Society's free literature. No other Society on earth ever manifested so much self-denying zeal in such a manner. We feel disinclined to advise any increase along this line. Nevertheless, it is ours to offer suggestions and indicate possibilities and supply the free literature, and yours, dear brethren, to determine the extent of your reasonable and possible service for the King of kings. We do know that there are millions of people in our home land who have never yet had a taste of the spiritual food, "meat in due season," which has so greatly refreshed and strengthened us. Hundreds of cities and towns and villages have received no volunteer attention. It is for you to decide, individually and as classes, what you can do for these. One of our very best free papers has been widely distributed except in such places as suggested. It contains a most interesting article on "The True Basis for Human Equality," another on "Battering Down the Walls of Hell," and another showing that neither Pastor Russell nor the I.B.S.A. taught "The End of the World in 1914," but on the contrary that "the earth abideth forever."

We have 400,000 of these on hand for use in such previously unserved places. We will be glad to hear from all who are able and willing to join in this volunteer work. State the quantity desired and give shipping particulars. All charges will be prepaid. Mention No. 61, BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY. [R5639 : page 50]

CLERICAL CONSPIRACY LITERATURE

In various quarters the Adversary is stirring up opposition by the publication of the slanderous statements which, as our readers know, have been answered long ago. We advise that when such an attack is made our friends meet it quickly, if possible, in the next issue of the daily press. Do not render slander for slander, but calmly, kindly point out the unscriptural course. Remind the transgressor of the golden rule and of the Divine command, "Speak evil of no man." Remind the public that evil speaking has for centuries been the method of those worsted in argument. Amongst those slandered was our Savior Himself; slandered as a friend of publicans and harlots; charged with being a glutton and wine bibber, and called the prince of devils. And so it has been with many of His followers since. Assert your better acquaintance with the facts and offer to anyone interested true particulars.

Then, while the subject is warm, embrace the opportunity for extensive Volunteer work. We have one number of the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY which, besides other valuable articles, contains one under the title, "A Clerical Conspiracy to Injure Pastor Russell." This article discusses the various slanders briefly and to the point; and if anybody is interested further we can supply other printed matter giving details in full. However, almost universally this one little tract sets the matter straight and convinces the people that the clergy are really fighting the Truth of the Bible which they cannot answer. In writing for this number designate it "The Conspiracy Special." We will have them in good supply and make prompt shipments free of all charge on receipt of letters or telegrams.


page 50

THE COLPORTEUR SERVICE

The immense crops of wheat, corn and oats, together with the extraordinary prices at which they are selling, should inure to the "Harvest Work." Colporteurs in the grain-producing districts should be doing wonderfully well. Nothing should be allowed to hinder the most important work on earth.

Colporteurs in less favored localities, finding work impossible, should seek to follow this lead to fields more favorable.


I.B.S.A. BEREAN BIBLE STUDIES
FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH
Questions from Manual on Series Second of
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES"
STUDIES VI.-VII.
Week of March  7......Q. 37 to 38  Week of March 21......Q. 1 to  7
Week of March 14......Q. 39 to 42  Week of March 28......Q. 8 to 13

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



[R5630 : page 51]

PRESENT DUTY AND PRIVILEGE OF THE SAINTS

"Cry aloud and spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the House of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinances of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God."--Isaiah 58:1,2.
WE understand that the Lord, through the Prophet Isaiah, is here describing the condition of the nominal people of God. These words probably had an application in the Prophet's day, but we think they have a special application in our day. If we should view the words as a general statement, applicable at any time, it would seem to have reference to some who are truly the Lord's people and also to the House of Jacob in general. The Prophet speaks of certain transgressions of God's people, errors, and of sins of the House of Jacob (Natural Israel)--especially grievous transgressions.

Applying this to the present day, we would understand that the Lord's people are those who are in covenant relationship with God, His real people, and no others. Those in covenant relationship with God are comparatively a small number. The great mass of professed people of God have gotten into many transgressions of the Divine will and Law, many of them quite ignorantly following blind leaders of the blind, following creeds of the darker past. The term "the House of Jacob," however, is a distinguishing term, referring exclusively to the Jews, God's ancient Covenant people.

The Lord's people of the present time, those who have the Light of Truth as it now shines out from His Word, should, as they have suitable opportunity, point out to Christendom of today, and especially to those who are the professed people of God, their error, show them where they have deviated from God's Word, where their course is not in harmony with the Golden Rule, etc. Moreover, if they have favorable opportunity, they might point out to the Jews the reasons why they are in their present cast-off condition. But it would not be well to go about berating them, or berating anybody.

Very little good is done by such a course. The Truth itself is to be the Sword. It is a sharp two-edged Sword, even the Word of God. The work that any of us could do aside from the Word of God would be but bungling work; whereas "The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow." We are to "cry aloud, and spare not," to point out what the Scriptures have to say--on proper occasions. This does not mean to insult people. God's ambassadors have no commission to insult any one. But with gracious words we may, nevertheless, point to the conditions of today, the dangers that are now before the world, and the proper position to be taken by those who would wholly follow the Lord.

A FORM OF GODLINESS WITHOUT ITS POWER

The words of the text under consideration are along the same line as the words of the Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 29:13, quoted by our Lord. There the Prophet declares: "This people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me"; "but," as the Master rendered the following words (Matthew 15:9), "in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men."

The translation of V. 2 of our text is not quite so clear as perhaps might be. The thought seems to be: They apparently seek Me daily, apparently delight to know My ways. They build churches with high steeples and gorgeous appointments, at great cost. Many churches have imposing images of the saints or great paintings which make a fine outward appearance. They have rich, melodious bells chiming out sweet hymns; such as "Nearer, my God, to Thee," "Rock of Ages," etc. They have well-trained choirs to sing anthems. They have highly educated ministers who are gifted orators and deliver eloquent dissertations. Outwardly, they have a wonderful zeal for righteousness; it would seem on the surface that they are doing well. They appoint an annual Thanksgiving [R5631 : page 51] Day and take up large collections for the poor; they pay large salaries to their preachers; they raise money for missions. It is very much as it was in our Lord's day, at His First Advent, when He said, "Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him two-fold more the child of Gehenna than yourselves"; he is far worse than before they touched him.--Matthew 23:15.

There is great zeal shown for the traditions of men, for the propagation of men's theories, for the advancement of denominational interests, for attracting the world by varied and numerous devices, in order to gain their influence and their financial assistance. For instance, Thanksgiving Day was set apart in the early history of New England. Long ago it became a custom in the United [R5631 : page 52] States to have the last Thursday in November appointed as a day of thanksgiving to God for the harvest of the year. The Governor of the State of Massachusetts first took it up; then the Governor of another State followed; then another; then it was taken up by the President of the United States. Finally it became the custom for the President first to make the appointment every year, to be followed by a proclamation by each of the State Governors, making the day thus a legal holiday, when banks and places of business generally would be closed that the people might be free to meet for praise and thanksgiving to God for the blessings of the year. And the custom still persists. Now this might sound to people of other nations to whom it would be told as if the people of the United States were a set of saints. These nations might say, It was not sufficient that the general Government of the United States should make such appointment, but each State makes such appointment; and they do it every year.

As a matter of fact, if the President of the United States were an infidel he would be expected to follow the custom and make the same proclamation. Or whether the Governor of a State were a Catholic or a Protestant or an atheist, he would be expected to do likewise. It has become a custom, just as the hands of a clock go around. But very few of the people think of the day in any other light than as a pleasant holiday, when they can enjoy a fine dinner and have a good time generally. Very little attention--in fact, none--is paid by the great majority to the real feature, of thanksgiving to God.

It is the same with other customs in other nations of the world. If we were in a Mohammedan country, we would see, at twelve o'clock, every Mohammedan, no matter what he was doing, stop immediately for a moment of prayer to Allah. One who did not know might think from this that the Mohammedans were a most saintly people, who would be very honest and upright in all their dealings; better keep your eye open, for all that. So a great deal that we have everywhere today is a mere mechanical form, an outward display--a form of godliness without its power.

PATENT FACTS IN CHRISTENDOM TODAY

In our text the Prophet was declaring that God's true children should lift up their voice and cry aloud, and tell God's professed people their transgressions. The implication seems to be that there is a very special need of public expression on the matter of calling attention to the fact that there is a great deal of hypocrisy practised in the name of religion. If we consider the British people, or the Russians or the Germans, they all have very strict religious laws. They used to be even more strict-- so strict that we who proclaim Present Truth would not have been permitted to live there; so strict that we would have been in danger of our lives. Yet how many of the people of these countries really serve God and follow the instructions of His Word as given to the children of the Lord? Which of these governments in its dealings with other nations has followed or is now following the Golden Rule taught by the Savior? What does history, past and present, show along this line?

It is not now considered necessary or proper to cry aloud in the streets--the public are no longer ignorant. All these things of which we speak are criticized in the newspapers and elsewhere. As to religious intolerance, nearly all denominations have done their share in persecuting others. But it does not seem that there is any more heart-loyalty today than formerly, even though violent persecution is now seldom practised. If we have the right conception of the matter, only about one-tenth of all the ministers have any faith in the Bible as the Word of God. If that is the case, they are simply living on a high moral plane, though we do not know that this is true of ministers any more than of the world in general. But there is a great deal of religious formality. Those one hundred and eighty thousand ministers still take their texts from the Bible, as they formerly did, but they merely sanction those features of the Divine Revelation which they think comport well with Higher Criticism and general intelligence. It would seem that the Lord through the Prophet is referring to these conditions.

We do not understand that we should cry out in any unseemly manner--not go to the churches and cry aloud. Those in the churches have a legal right to meet there, and to be as honest as they please or as hypocritical as they please. Neither would it be seemly to go along the streets crying aloud. There is a more fitting and effective way of sounding the alarm.

As a notable instance of the present attitude of the nominal church ministry, we cite the case of the Rev. Dr. Aked. Our mention of this is not a divulging of any private matter; for Dr. Aked took it out of the personal list himself, by publishing the matter in the newspapers. Not long ago this minister disproved to his own satisfaction the virgin-birth of our Lord Jesus and made light of the whole matter. Rev. Mr. Aked is a very able man-- stands high with the people and with the colleges and with the ministers. There is a branch of the Federation of the Christian Churches in San Francisco, and the Rev. Mr. Aked was chosen as President. Some one attacked Rev. Mr. Aked through the newspapers and said that he should be "churched," "unfrocked," etc., for his statements. Dr. Aked said that he thought everybody understood his position. He offered his resignation as President of the Federation of Churches. The man who thought that he should be called to account for his statements was treated as the offender, and Rev. Aked was requested to resume the presidency. Yet this minister publicly declared that he did not believe one word of the story of the Redemption of mankind--did not believe that Jesus was ever a superhuman being; and the fact that he was supported in his position by his fellow-ministers, with but very few exceptions, proves that the body of the ministry today have sadly fallen, and are "blind leaders of the blind."

KINGDOM WORK THIS SIDE THE VEIL

We are not surprised at these conditions; for long ago they were foretold in the Word of God. We were assured that our day would witness the fulfilment of the prophecies along these lines. Wherever we look, we witness the disintegration of the Present Order, whether we view the conditions from a social or a religious or a financial standpoint. The lease of power to the kingdoms of this world has expired. It was foretold by the Prophet Daniel that "in the days of these kings," before their utter overthrow, the God of Heaven would set up a Kingdom which should smite and break in pieces all the kingdoms of men, the beastly kingdoms of Daniel's dream. When these kingdoms would be given to "the people of the saints of the Most High," they were to "smite them in pieces as a potter's vessel." This intimates that in some sense of the word the Lord will take possession of these before they have been completely overthrown; that some of the kingdoms represented in the Gentile Image will be remaining at that time.

What time, then, is signified by the expression "in the days of these kings," when the Kingdom of God was to be set up in power? To our understanding the first step in the setting up of this Kingdom was the raising of the sleeping saints of the Gospel Age, which we believe was [R5631 : page 53] in the spring of 1878. Then began the glorification of the Church. The work of setting up the Kingdom has, we understand, been progressing from that date, and is now merely lacking the last members of the Church class. When these shall have taken their places as members of the Church in glory, the Kingdom will be fully set up.

This does not signify that there may not be a part of the Kingdom work begun while some of the members of Christ are still in the flesh. Indeed some Scriptures seem to imply that there will be a Kingdom work done this side the Veil, while a work of still greater magnitude and authority is progressing on the other side of the Veil. We read, "Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds." This seems to imply, as we have mentioned before, that there is a special work to be done while these saints still have beds, while they are in a condition of repose--not "tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine," but fully at rest in God's great Plan. The Scripture goes on to say that they have a two-edged sword in their hands--this is the Word of God. They use it as the Sword of the Spirit. This would not be true of them on the other side of the Veil. They would have no use for a sword there. The Scriptures also declare that the high-sounding praises of God are upon their lips. This, too, seems to be applicable to those this side the Veil. [R5632 : page 53]

The final phrase, "to execute the judgments written," would seem to imply that there would be something for the saints on this side of the Veil to do in connection with the execution of the judgments upon the nations. As to just what this means, we have not yet fully learned. But we see nothing here to conflict with the thought that the Lord's Kingdom may be properly understood to have begun operations and that the present smiting of the nations is under Kingdom control. The fact that some of the members of the Kingdom class are still in the flesh does not militate at all against this thought. We see the kingdoms of this world now being dashed to pieces, and we are expecting to see the process continued until they are completely ground to powder. They shall become as the chaff of the summer threshing-floor, and the wind shall carry them away. Then shall they be found no more at all.--Daniel 2:35.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD SET UP

Because certain important things are to be accomplished, we see that God is permitting what to others might seem to be purely human devilishness. For a wise purpose He permits this reign of lawlessness, this condition which evokes universal odium. Our thought is that we should look for still further evidences day by day that the Gentile Times have ended, and that God's Kingdom has begun its work. We are expecting to see multiplied proofs of the Kingdom power, though the world will not recognize it as such until it is manifested in the flaming fire of Anarchy, which is still further along. The present step is the war of the nations. The next step will be Socialism--an attempted Socialism--among the people. Then the third step, Anarchy, will gradually come on. When this symbolic fire shall prevail, then the world will realize what we are trying to tell them now; namely, that God's Kingdom is taking control, and that these various demonstrations are evidences that our Lord is taking His great power. But the many will not begin to see until the flaming fire is revealed. When we endeavor to tell them now they will not receive it, but they will be thoroughly convinced when they see the destructive fire of Anarchy.

It was merely during the interval between the destruction of the kingdom of Israel and the setting up of the Kingdom of the Heavens that the opportunity was given to these Gentile kingdoms to see what they could do toward establishing a righteous government on earth. Now the time has come for God's Kingdom to displace them; but they will not willingly resign their crowns and scepters; they are in defiance. Therefore force is required to destroy them. Their 2520 years of rule are in the past, and they must now submit to a complete overthrow. We are expecting that the work of their crushing will steadily continue until its full accomplishment. "A short work will the Lord make upon the earth," is the Scriptural declaration.--Romans 9:28.

At the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet Messiah was to take unto Himself His great power and reign. That Trumpet is now sounding! "And the nations were angry and Thy wrath is come." (Revelation 11:18.) Surely the nations are angry now! They act as if they were bereft of common sense. We see readily enough that the spirit of selfishness has prevailed there right along; but that some hindrance or fear heretofore held them back. But finally, when the Lord's "due time" had come to permit it, they broke through their restraint. The Lord has at this particular time especially to do with the affairs of the nations. And this war was allowed to occur at about the end of the Times of the Gentiles, at the appropriate time when they are to be dashed to pieces with the iron rod of the Iron Rule. (Psalm 2:6-12.) It is our judgment that we shall see more of this iron rule and its breaking influence, not only upon the nations, but upon society at large. Now in this great Day of the Lord everything that can be shaken is to be shaken to pieces and shaken out, to the intent that nothing unrighteous or unworthy shall remain. God Himself is doing the shaking.

FINANCIAL SHAKINGS

For our own part we are looking for great shaking in financial matters. There has never before been a war that has shaken the world as this war has done. This effect is largely because of money conditions. The only thing that is current is gold. Silver was demonetized forty years ago. The results of this we are just feeling now. At the present time stocks, bonds and all other kinds of securities are largely built on confidence. As soon as confidence begins to shake, all these securities decline in value. With such a lack of confidence among the people, we can readily see that there is good ground for the bankers to have a great deal of trepidation--"men's hearts failing them for fear."--Luke 21:25,26.

Since the beginning of the war there have been bonds and stocks sold as low as thirty per cent. less than those of last July. But the Exchanges did not recognize these sales. Why? They wish to keep the prices up. The banks have their vaults filled with stocks and bonds. If the Government Inspectors should come in to take stock, they would count the stock up at the price of the last sale; and the Government officer's duty would be to say, "You must make this right before you enter into business tomorrow morning." They would reply that they have any amount of securities. But the answer would be, "We do not want securities; we want gold." There is not enough gold in the world to pay the debts. These debts are put into gold bonds. The interest on all the debts is represented by gold bonds. But everybody is going to say, "I do not want bonds or stocks; I want gold."

The business people of today who are feeling the strain most are the wealthy. They have the stocks and bonds, but they have not the gold, the money. If you demanded gold at the banks in exchange for something else, they might give it to you, but unwillingly. Gold [R5632 : page 54] notes are the same as the gold, because the Treasury must, according to law, have that gold on hand to exchange for them when presented.

This matter is causing trouble, not only in the United States, but down in South America and Central America. They would like to buy goods. And the question comes, "Have you the money? Have you the gold?" "No, we have no gold. Sell to us in the same way you have sold heretofore." "No, no, we cannot do that; something has stopped. We do not know what is the matter." The wheels have stopped, and the people who have their fingers in the way are getting them pinched. There is not enough money; and the very people who destroyed silver money forty years ago are the ones who are now getting pinched.

THE TIME FOR JUDGMENT IS RIPE

We believe that the Times of the Gentiles ended just on time, as shown in Volume II. of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. The hand of Justice is now doing the breaking-- the nations shall be broken as "a potter's vessel." The whole cataclysm of trouble may be upon the world during the next ten months or it may be longer deferred. We believe that the time for the setting up of the Kingdom was on September 21, 1914. At that time, when it was due for our Lord to take up His great power and reign, the nations were already angry. They were at war over a month in advance of the time, because so angry.

The due time for the "wrath" was September 21. We are expecting to see this wrath still more manifest. The nations have been in just this same unloving spirit one toward another for a number of years, but apparently they have been under some forcible restraint. We believe that God's time had not yet come. We wondered, and many people wondered, how their anger could be restrained much longer; much has been written about it in the newspapers. When the Balkan war came, it was because the nations were angry; and it very nearly led to this conflagration. Austria tried to precipitate the trouble at that time, but the German Kaiser held back. Now the restraining hand has been removed. The time is ripe.

"WHAT MANNER OF PERSONS OUGHT WE TO BE?"

Seeing that we see all these things with such clearness, and realize what it all means to the Church, how soberly and carefully and faithfully we should live! Never were the words of the Apostle Paul--"Let us watch and be sober"--more applicable than now. Accompanying the momentous events that usher in the New Dispensation are special trials and difficulties, not only to the world, but also to the Church. The Apostle says, "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." But "as a snare will it come on all them that dwell on the earth." All except the brethren will be surprised, disappointed, chagrined, found unprepared and more or less overtaken. But the brethren, because they have been feeding at the Lord's table, and are strong in His might, will not be overtaken unawares. The Apostle urges that because the brethren are "children of the light," "children of the Day," they shall not act as children of the darkness, "children of the night."

In the New Day that is just dawning we shall have the "Reign of Righteousness." We belong to that New Dispensation. While living in the flesh, we are not of the flesh; while living in the world, we are not of the world. Our minds are clarified by the light of the New Day. We are not interested in the things of this world, but in the things of the Lord; and because of our special relationship to the Lord, as His Elect, we are not left in the darkness of the world.

Above all others, then, we should be sober. When the Apostle enjoins, "Be sober," he is not referring to the use of intoxicating liquors; for those who have the Lord's [R5633 : page 54] Spirit, the Lord's mind--the Truth--do not so indulge. Neither would we understand him to mean that we should always go about wearing long faces; for the children of the Light should of all others be happy, cheerful people. But we should be sober in the sense of being of serious mind, thoughtful, not given to frivolity or levity, but earnestly watching our thoughts, our words, our doings, that we may in all things bring honor to our King whose name we bear. We who have our eyes open see what sin is and how the reign of sin is about to culminate. We see God's arrangements; and having entered into a Covenant with God, we surely must be sober, vigilant, realizing the great battle now on between Light and Darkness, between Truth and Error; realizing that faithfulness in this "evil day" will require all the soberness of mind, all the fortitude, that we possess. We shall continually need the wisdom from on High. "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5.) It is only those who are using to the best of their ability the power and the talents already given them who have any right to ask for further wisdom and who are prepared to use more.

THE "CUP" OF THE APOSTATE "WOMAN"

The Scriptures speak of various kinds of intoxication. We can be intoxicated with the spirit of the world. But it would be impossible for true children of the Heavenly King to become thus intoxicated. We have a new wine which the Lord gives, and we should be fully satisfied and not seek the intoxication of the world. Then there is a spiritual intoxication, the spirit of error. All the world are intoxicated with this spirit. All Christendom has been made drunk with the wine which comes from the Golden Cup mentioned in Revelation, which the Apostate Woman has held out for all to drink. This Cup is filled with false doctrines. These false doctrines were her mixture. Thank God! the intoxication of these is passing away, and we are able to see more clearly than ever before. But we see many who are still intoxicated.

The most stupefying potion is the doctrine of eternal torment. It gives people the impression that after they have heard of Christ, have turned from outward sin, and have professed His name, that is all there is to it, and now they should go out and try to induce others to turn from a life of sin. They verily think that there is nothing more to do, not recognizing that there is an important work of grace to be attained in their own hearts, and that they are to be upbuilt in the knowledge of God and in obedience to His will; and that is His will, "even their sanctification." As a consequence of this, many of them are mere babes in Christ; and many more are not even justified to life, having never made a full consecration of themselves.

Many professed Christians of broad mind and of good influence are thoroughly confused with this wine of false doctrine. They are content to give some money to the Church system and to engage in some works of benevolence. It does not occur to them to seek for further knowledge of God or of service for Him. How much these need to be delivered from the enslaving influences which are binding them hand and foot! How glad, how thankful we are that the chains of bondage will soon be broken and the captives all set free! The children of the Light, however, are properly on the watch all the time. They are not influenced by the deluding, false doctrines. We rejoice that the Morning is about to dawn, the time when all will be awakened and see the light as it will then [R5633 : page 55] be streaming from the Sun of Righteousness, risen with healing in His beams.

We who are now awake should be very active and energetic in the service of God; for we have a hundred-fold more opportunities than those of other days--by telegraph, by telephone, by mail and by newspapers, by rapid and convenient train service, through the printed page, etc. This is pre-eminently the time for the Lord's children, "children of the Day," to be sober, vigilant, active. In the presence of so great opportunities, who should not be sober and vigilant.

And we are to watch. What should we watch? Pre-eminently we should watch ourselves, to keep ourselves from the snares of the present time, which are more insidious and entrapping than ever before, so that we do not endanger our peace with God nor lose our enlightenment. The Adversary is on the watch, and it is necessary that the Lord's people be especially alert and watchful. In the past there was little opportunity for the Lord's people to watch the fulfilments of Scripture; for these fulfilments were far apart. But now is the time for us to watch particularly along this line. The Times of the Gentiles have ended, and the nations are now disintegrating.

There are certain indications that the Lord has a great work for all His people, His watching saints, at the present time. Unless we are on the alert, we might go to sleep. In our Lord's time the disciples were disposed to go to sleep, and to go back to the fishing business, instead of doing the work the Lord had outlined. We should all be fully awake and watching to see what is the duty of the hour and then to be diligent in doing it.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE NEVER BEFORE SO GREAT

There are some of the Lord's children who seem possessed with the idea that "the door is shut," and that there is no further opportunity for service. So they become indolent in regard to the Lord's work. We should lose no time dreaming that the door is shut! There are people who are seeking the Truth--people who are sitting in darkness. There never was a time like the present. Never have so many people been ready to hear the good Message. In all the forty years of Harvest there have not been such opportunities to proclaim the Truth as now present themselves. The great war and the ominous signs of the times are waking people up, and many are now inquiring. So the Lord's people should be very diligent, doing with their might what their hands find to do.

Business men are greatly troubled. At the present time there are thousands of business men who scarcely get a night's rest. "Men's hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." (Luke 21:26.) They do not know what to do. They thought they were secure; for they had large bank accounts and stocks and bonds. Now they say they do not know what these things are worth. "We had some insurance too," they say, "but we do not now know whether the Insurance Companies can pay." Their stocks and bonds are not salable. Their holders are therefore in perplexity. They have not had the security of God's promises, and they have nothing on which to rest. But the Lord's people have the full assurance of His Word that "all things shall work together for good to those who love God"--love Him supremely.

Then let all of us whose eyes have been anointed with the "eye-salve" of Present Truth, who are loyal to the Lord, lift up our voices and point the way to those who are bewildered and troubled, who know not which way to go, nor where to seek for comfort, who long for something substantial upon which to rest, when everything seems to be slipping from beneath their feet. Their religious teachers have failed to be true to their commission, and they have been left to grope in darkness. Some of these may be helped by our efforts and led to the "green pastures" and "still waters" of the true Shepherd's Fold, before the dark night is fully upon the world.



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THE MINISTRY OF ANGELS

"The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them."--Psalm 34:7.
THERE is more or less difficulty associated with all attempts to think about the great Jehovah, His character and His power. The Scriptures seem to indicate that God has used various ways of manifesting His power to His people--to the Jews during the Jewish Age and to the Christian Church during the Gospel Age. We think it would not be an improper thought that the word angel may stand for any agency or power, whether animate or inanimate, that God would be pleased to use in connection with service. God could make the wind or the flaming fire His messenger. He could make the great Archangel or an inferior angel His messenger. He could use as His messenger whatever or whomsoever He might choose to invest with the requisite power; just as a representative of these United States, going to another country, would be recognized, regardless of his own personal ability or standing.

The details of how the Almighty has knowledge of our prayers, our thoughts, our words, our needs, are not furnished us in the Scriptures; and evidently it is not necessary, therefore, that we should understand these in every particular. We do not think that any finite mind could comprehend God. He is too great for our comprehension, far too mighty for us to understand fully all His powers, His ability. Nevertheless we can apprehend some things respecting God, and are therefore invited in the Scriptures to study Him along the lines of His Revelation. To assume that God is in every place, in every niche of space throughout the Universe, seems to us an absurdity, not taught in the Bible; and to assume that God knows about every little tadpole, pollywog, microbe, or that He even [R5634 : page 55] takes knowledge of every act of each one of the human family, when there are millions upon millions of these, is beyond our understanding.

If we should limit God's attention to the Church, still there are thousands of these; and the capacity to understand and deal with ten or twenty thousand people in an instant seems to us to be an impossibility. Nor would such an arrangement be what we would expect God to have. Any human being who would attempt to deal with even a hundred people and to know everything going on would be thought to be very unwise. Rather he would have various agencies through which his will would be done by those hundred people by which he would know what was being done, and by which they would know his purpose respecting the work. His general knowledge of matters would not imply that he would be in every room in the house at one instant nor take notice of every person at the same instant.

In our present text, however, we are inclined to think that the word "angel" used by the Psalmist refers to spirit beings. Our reason for thinking so is that the revelations [R5634 : page 56] of the Lord in olden times previous to Pentecost were nearly all by spirit beings. These materialized and then dematerialized, vanishing from sight. In general the Scriptures seem to indicate that God's dealing with His people in those earlier times was through angels. As respects this Gospel Age, just closing, we have confidence that God has shown as great care in His dealings with Spiritual Israel as He did with Natural Israel; for Spiritual Israel comes nearer to Him as His House of Sons than did Natural Israel as a House of Servants. But God expects the House of Sons to walk by faith and not by sight, a much higher walk. Hence His manifestations to these are not such as appeal to the natural senses. They are, nevertheless, just as real.

THE EYES OF THE LORD

We read that "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him"; also, "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." But this does not give us the thought that God personally beholds every individual act of every person on earth, but that He takes cognizance of matters throughout the world by means of His power, His agencies. These "eyes" referred to are the Lord's influence, His power of knowing, whatever the means. Whether His power is exercised and His will executed through angels or through other forces and agencies, it makes no difference--no more than it would with us in carrying out our wishes. If we wished to know about certain matters in Philadelphia, there would be various methods by which we could learn. One effective method would be to telephone and get into direct communication with the individual, provided he is supplied with a telephone. Or through the telegraph we could send a message; or we could send a messenger directly to the party, by foot or by train or some other conveyance.

Now if mankind have these various ways of accomplishing their designs, we can appreciate our Heavenly Father more by thinking of Him as having full ability to come into communication with His children, and as having various agents of communication. God has means, no doubt, far superior to any of ours. He has not revealed the matter clearly to us except to tell us that He is informed respecting all that concerns us, as well as respecting all the affairs of the world. He does tell us that angels are His ministers, and that these have a charge over His people. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" They do not minister in the sense of directly providing bread for us, nor in the sense of cooking our food, nor of building our houses--in none of these ways do they minister. How, then, do they serve us? We have no way of knowing positively how they serve except from the words of our Lord Jesus, that the angels of God's "little ones" always behold the face of the Father, always have access to Him.

The fact that these angels represent the Lord's "little ones" would imply that they would have immediate access to God and have immediate attention. What would be the use of the Father's receiving the angels into His presence unless there was something to be communicated? Our understanding is that God's knowledge of our affairs and interests is gained by methods with which we are not acquainted. We may assume, however, that the mediums used are largely the angelic messengers. The head of every business house and banking institution has certain laws, certain regulations, governing all the operations of the business. Just so God has certain laws governing nature. It is not necessary that we pray to God that the earth may turn around upon its axis and that tomorrow may come. We may be sure that the Almighty, the One who represents exact Justice and infinite Wisdom, has laws that govern His entire Universe; that the angels have insight into these laws; and that they are Jehovah's deputies, just as an earthly court might deputize some one to sit in chancery and to take information.

OUR LORD JESUS THE CHIEF MESSENGER

If in connection with our text we also have in mind our Lord's words before His ascension, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the Age," we shall understand that the Lord Jesus is the Chief Messenger, or Angel, of Jehovah. He has surely been the Chief Messenger to the Gospel Church. Our thought, then, is that through the angels and other agencies God is governing the world, and especially caring for His people, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of all the Divine spiritual powers and has charge of all Jehovah's affairs. We have been brought into the School of Christ. He is our Teacher. When we go to the Father in prayer, we do not ignore this Teacher, but we go in His name; and we are not to suppose that the Father would ignore Him. He would be the Father's Representative in dealing with us. But we are not to suppose that the Lord Jesus has every detail of the affairs of the world under His personal supervision; but rather that those angels report to Him whatever is necessary, and that thus there are certain principles operating. This seems to us to be the reasonable and logical arrangement of Divine operations. We are not insisting upon this for other minds, but merely saying that this appeals to our own mind.

In view of the fact that the Church has been put under the special guidance of the Lord Jesus, it would not be a far-fetched thought that Jehovah encampeth round about His people through Jesus, and that the angels are under His direction. If Satan is the chief of his band of angels, so our Lord would have angels under His control, and He would be their Prince. We read of what Alexander the Great accomplished, and of what Napoleon Bonaparte did, regardless of the fact that they had many thousands under them to carry out their will. So we think of all the spirit beings as under the direction and guidance of Jesus Christ. Into His hands God has committed all power in Heaven and on earth. All the angels of God were made subject to Him; and through these, under the control of our Lord, all the interests of God's people are supervised. This is our thought, and we like to think so.

DELIVERANCE IN VARIOUS WAYS

Our text proceeds to say that the angel that encamps around the people of the Lord "delivereth them." In olden times the Lord's children were sometimes delivered miraculously. Some were delivered from prison; others were not. Some were delivered from the sword; others were not. We should accept the will of God, whatever it may be. But in order to be able to do this, for our spiritual good, our ultimate good, we must realize that the terms and conditions under which we accepted of Him were that we would give ourselves unreservedly into His hands. A proper fear, or reverence, for the Lord, would surely lead us to place ourselves fully in His keeping and under His guidance and control. Our experiences in life have shown us how unable we are to direct ourselves aright. The Lord will deliver each of us in the way that will bring us the largest measure of blessing.

In the days of the Apostles, St. Peter was delivered from prison by an angel of the Lord, who appeared to him as a man. This was in the interest, not only of the [R5634 : page 57] Apostle, but of the entire Church, showing them that the Lord was able to fully care for His people, giving them valuable lessons. And although these outward manifestations are not given to us of the present time, we have other blessings that more than compensate for these outward tokens that are not at present for the good of the Church. We are able to say with the Apostle that all things are working together for good to those who love God, to the called ones according to His purpose. We should be full of confidence in Him--that we are subjects of His choicest care at all times.

EACH SAINT HAS HIS MINISTERING ANGEL

While we may not be too positive in our interpretation on this subject, we understand that each one of the Lord's people, in proportion as he is one of God's true children, has a ministering spirit, a person, an angel, who has charge of his affairs. This angel makes his report to the Lord, whether monthly, weekly or hourly we do not know. If God sees this to be the wise, proper course, we have every confidence in His Wisdom. Whatever God has arranged is fully satisfactory to us in this matter, and we are sure that it is quite right and fully in harmony with the Divine character.

We think that this principle is illustrated in the Book of the Prophet Daniel. Daniel had been praying and after some little time his prayer was answered. The angel Gabriel, who was the Lord's messenger to Daniel, explained [R5635 : page 57] to him certain things. At the beginning of his supplications the Lord had purposed to send him an answer. Gabriel had been sent especially to inform him, but had been detained by certain other duties. The fact of his detention should not give us the thought that Daniel or any of the Lord's people would ever be neglected; but that while minor affairs of Daniel were under the guidance of some lower angel, there were important matters that were entrusted to Gabriel as the plenipotentiary, as it were, in regard to Daniel's interest and other matters. There was a delay, and Gabriel mentioned what the delay was; the prince of Persia had withstood him for twenty-one days.

We have heretofore pointed out that this Gospel Age has been different from the Jewish Age and preceding ages; that after the Gospel Dispensation was ushered in, outward demonstrations, such as the gifts of the Holy Spirit--the gift of healing, the gift of tongues, the interpretation of tongues, and discerning of spirits--and angelic visitations passed away; and that during the Gospel Age it has been God's will that the Spiritual House of Israel should walk by faith and not by sight, and that therefore it would be inappropriate after the Church was fully established to expect angels to appear, to manifest themselves outwardly.

But the angels of the Lord, nevertheless, have a charge more particularly over us of the Gospel Church than over any other of the Lord's people at any previous time in the world's history. The Lord is especially interested in Spiritual Israel. These angels, then, care for us, supervise our affairs, and are God's agencies or channels of communication to us as to His will; that is, communication in the sense of providences for us, causing this providence or the other providence.

HOLY ANGELS NOT MANIFEST TO OUR SENSES

We would not give the thought of the angels whispering into our ears. We think that the angels which now whisper in the ear are the same ones that give table-tippings, planchette communications, communications through the hand by writing, and various other communications to the ear and the eye of spirit-mediums; namely, evil spirits, fallen angels. Our understanding is that the holy angels do nothing of the kind. The Lord's people of the present Age are to find their instruction in His Word. There is no need of a book on Mormonism or Spiritism or New Thought or of clairvoyant or clairaudient power for the Lord's children. These are all snares of the Adversary and his demons.

The followers of Christ have the Bible and the invisible ministries of the holy angels to provide for their interests and to providentially guard and guide their affairs. This, to us, is very real and of great comfort. If we had the thought that God was doing all this personally, we would think that He had certainly forgotten us. But having the assurance of His Word that not a hair of our heads can fall to the ground without our Father's attention, our mind can rest in the fact that He accomplishes His purposes in Christ for His children through the ministrations of the holy angels.



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PREFERRED MONARCHY TO REPUBLIC
--MARCH 7.--1 SAMUEL 8-10.--
ISRAEL A THEOCRACY--HUMANLY A REPUBLIC--A KINGDOM PREFERRED--SAMUEL OFFENDED--THE REQUEST GRANTED--SAUL, SON OF KISH--HIS ANOINTING--CHOSEN BY LOT.

"Fear God, honor the king."--1 Peter 2:17.
ISRAEL'S government was a theocracy; that is to say, God was their King; His Law was their government. The elders of each tribe supervised its affairs. God provided a priestly tribe, which represented the religious interests of the people. Prophets and Judges were sent them from time to time as special messengers of the Lord, but without authority except as the people believed their counsels to be wise. Thus Israel was, so far as its earthly interests were concerned, a republic, in covenant relationship with God.

No one will dispute that a republic is the highest type of government. In a republic each citizen is a sovereign; and these sovereigns, by their votes, appoint some of their number to be their representatives and servants. But this highest type of government can be thoroughly appreciated only by intelligent people, and can work the highest good only in the hands of intelligent and conscientious people, submitted to the Divine regulations.

Had no fall occurred, undoubtedly this highest form of human government would have prevailed. The Scriptures indicate that after Messiah's Kingdom shall have thoroughly subjugated sin, thoroughly uplifted humanity, absolutely destroyed all the wilfully wicked, and shall have completely brought the remainder of the race up to absolute perfection, then, at the close of Messiah's Reign, the earth to all eternity will be a republic, each member of the race a sovereign.

Our lesson shows us that the Israelites did not appreciate their Divinely arranged republic. They beheld the splendor of the surrounding nations, and thought that because they were different, it was to their disadvantage.

As a result of the noble reform instituted by Samuel and maintained throughout his long judgeship, the people were greatly blessed, and the national spirit was strengthened. [R5637 : page 58] But they perceived that the Prophet was growing old, and they feared that his sons would seek to succeed and continue themselves as judges. The narrative tells that they were unreliable--"walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and perverted judgment."

A NATIONAL STEP BACKWARD

The elders of the tribes conferred together and believed that it would be better to choose from amongst themselves a king and thus become more like the nations roundabout. They came to Samuel with the matter, as children to a father, as wise men to a statesman of extraordinary wisdom. They told him their desires. Samuel was disappointed, but gave no answer to them until he had time to confer with the Lord. The Lord bade him not be offended--that it had not been he who was rejected, but that the Lord had been rejected and His government.

But the Lord was willing to let them have their experiences with kings; nevertheless, Samuel was instructed to fully inform them what would be the consequences, what would be the manners of the kings, what would be the difficulties. He explained that their liberties would be fewer--that the kings would exercise a more or less autocratic power and would conscript their sons for servants and for soldiers and for public works, and that thus their liberties would be greatly abridged, the wealth of the people would more or less flow into the coffers of the king, and the best of their lands and of everything would gradually pass into his control. Instead of being the sovereigns, the people would be the slaves of the sovereign, retaining at best only a portion of their rights, etc.

The people, however, had set their heart on having a king. Already they were imagining how a king would lead them forth and give them dignity, marshal their hosts, and cause fear of them in the hearts of their enemies.

DIVINE FOREKNOWLEDGE ILLUSTRATED

At the appointed time, Samuel, apparently by Divine arrangement, having received instructions from the Lord, came in contact with the one who was to be the future king--Saul, the son of Kish. The story reminds some of witchcraft and other occult doings. A herd of asses strayed from the farm of Kish, and Saul was sent to seek them. After searching in vain, he and his servant called upon the Prophet to ask his wisdom--that the Seer tell them where the asses were. The answer was that the asses were found, but that Saul was to come and dine with the Prophet in an appointed place where guests had already been invited, food already prepared, etc.

The place of honor was given to Saul; and the young man, fresh from the country, was astounded to hear the Prophet speak of him as being the choice of Israel for their leader. He modestly called attention to the fact that he belonged to an inferior tribe--a small one--the tribe of Benjamin; and that his family was not even the greatest in it. But the Prophet persisted, addressing him as the one to have future honors.

The next morning he was called early and directed respecting his journey in such a manner that he would have corroborations of things that the Prophet intimated in advance. He would meet certain people, and by some he would be invited to partake of food, etc. Moreover, he would meet with certain experiences which would make of him a changed man. Meantime, as the two walked together and Saul's servant went before, the Prophet drew forth a vial of oil and poured it upon Saul's head, anointing him to be the king of Israel by Divine appointment. However, matters were kept secret until such time as would be indicated.

Saul's faith in the Prophet's declaration was strengthened by the fulfilment of the very experiences foretold. Meeting a company of those who were styled a school of prophets, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul and he joined with them in their singing and prophesying. We read, "God gave Saul another heart, and the Spirit of God came upon Saul, and he prophesied."--1 Sam. 10:9,10.

DIFFERENT OPERATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

We are to remember that the Spirit of God signifies simply an invisible power from God. Those coming under this power sometimes acted in one way and sometimes in another--sometimes speaking, sometimes writing, as they were moved by the Power of the Holy One, Jehovah. Let us not forget the clean-cut distinction which the Bible makes between the Holy Spirit in its operations upon men before Pentecost and since. Since Pentecost, the impartation of the Holy Spirit generally signifies that begetting influence which the Lord gives to consecrated believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, by which begetting and anointing they are brought into the family of God as sons, and are enabled to have discernment of mind to more and more appreciate the mind of God as expressed in the Bible, by the Prophets of the past.

But previously, the Holy Spirit simply signified a holy energy, and meant no begetting to sonship; for, as the Scriptures declare, the Holy Spirit (in this sense) was not given until Jesus was glorified. (John 7:39.) Only saintly persons, fully consecrated to God and fully trusting in the merit of Jesus, are spirit-begotten now, but any person might at times be used of the Lord as an amanuensis to write, or as a servant to do or to say, wherever, whenever, whatever, the Lord wished to have said, done or written.

The Spirit which came upon Saul was not the Spirit of sonship; the change of his heart did not signify that he had become a New Creature in Christ; for there could be none such until Christ, the Head of the Church, had come and, as the Forerunner of His members, had opened up "the new and living way." Saul had a new heart in the sense that he no longer had the mind, purpose, "disposition," to be a farmer, but a Divine "disposition," will, ambition, judgment and wisdom granted him, especially qualifying him to the office to which God had chosen him; namely, to be a statesman.

In other words, God's Holy Spirit, qualifying Saul for his position as a king, was a mechanical one, much after the same manner that we read that God qualified certain workmen in preparing the Tabernacle. The Lord said to Moses, Choose any workmen for this particular work, and I will put My Spirit upon them, and thus qualify them for the work to be done. We may be sure that if God calls any man for any particular work, He is quite able to qualify him for its performance, whether it be a religious work, as is sometimes given to His consecrated people, or whether it be for some work of public benefit, as for instance, in modern inventions, which belong in this dawning time of the New Dispensation.

EVIL OCCULT POWERS IN OPERATION

The difference between Samuel and his occult powers, and the occult powers of others today is this: Samuel's were manifested under Divine direction at a time when God was pleased to use such powers amongst His people Israel--powers which doubtless will be in exercise also to some extent during the Millennial Age for the world's guidance. But the Scriptures recognize evil occult influences; and the Israelites were warned against necromancers, those who claimed to have communion with the dead, and those that peeped and muttered and had mediumship, etc. [R5637 : page 59]

The Bible explains that the fallen angels personate the dead. The Bible tells that the dead are really dead, that the dead know nothing whatever until the resurrection. The Lord warned Israel that these evil spirits would seek to personate the dead, and thus to indoctrinate them in error and lead them away from God. Similarly, throughout this Gospel Age, the same evil spirits, the same fallen angels, have used, and do still use more or less of occult power--psychic powers, mediumistic powers, mesmeric powers, hypnotic powers--to mislead, to attract away from the Truth, to make error appear to be Truth--especially to make people believe their dead friends are not dead, but more alive than before they died.

During this Gospel Age, we believe that God does not use such hypnotic powers, but as St. Paul declares, He has "spoken to us through His Son," and has given us His Scriptures, "that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work"--not needing any occult powers. Hence we know of no good occult powers, but are to rate them all as deceptions of the Adversary, against which God's people are fighting.

ISRAEL'S FIRST KING CHOSEN

In due time, in harmony with the will of the Judges of Israel and with the Divine consent, the people came together to Samuel to have the matter of a king amongst them decided--to have the will of the Lord expressed in the matter. Again Samuel expostulated with them, and told them the dangers of leaving the simplicity of God's arrangement and taking up with the monarchial arrangement. But seeing that they still desired a king, he acted for them and drew lots as respected the different tribes, and then the different families in the chosen tribe, and then the different members of the family indicated. The lot fell on Saul as Samuel knew it would do and as Saul also knew; for they believed the Lord's hand was in the matter.

The fact that they used this method of casting lots should not be considered as an endorsement of such a method today; for we are living under different institutions; and neither the Natural nor the Spiritual Israelites are in that relationship with God in which He proposes to guide their affairs by the casting of lots.

When the lot fell upon Saul, the elders of the various tribes began to look for him. Where is he? Finally they found him bashfully sitting amongst the stuff--the luggage that belonged to the parties that had come to the gathering. As he was brought forth, the young man in the prime of life--probably seven feet tall, of athletic build-- he exactly filled the ideal of the people. They were pleased with God's choice, and God had already qualified Saul that he might be a successful king if he would prove loyal, faithful and obedient to Him.



[R5635 : page 59]

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT
--MARCH 14.--1 SAMUEL 11:1-15.--

KING SAUL, ALTHOUGH ANOINTED OF GOD, WAITED FOR THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE--HIS OPPORTUNE MOMENT AND HOW HE UTILIZED IT--HIS ACCEPTANCE BY THE PEOPLE-- OPPORTUNITIES OPEN FOR ALL--LESSONS FOR ALL IN SAUL'S EXPERIENCES--SPECIAL LESSONS TO THE CHURCH, ALSO CALLED TO KINGLY OFFICE--THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD--ALL MEN TO BE MADE KINGS AGAIN BY MESSIAH'S REIGN-- ALL LOVERS OF INIQUITY TO BE DESTROYED.

"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."--Proverbs 16:32.
ISRAEL had asked for a king. God, through the Prophet Samuel, had caused the anointing of Saul to be the king. The people of Israel had assembled, and God's Prophet Samuel had indicated God's choice for them. Some of the people had gladly accepted the choice; but the rougher element had refused it, sneeringly saying, Who is he? What is his record, that we should hope for anything great in his hand?

It looked as though the Lord and His plan had failed --as though the choice had been an unsatisfactory one and had come to naught. Saul made no attempt to exercise authority, seeing that he had such half-hearted support from the people. He returned to his home--resuming his life as a farmer; but we may be sure he was patiently waiting for the opportune, or psychological, moment to arrive when, with God's blessing, he would enter upon the duties and responsibilities of a king, for which he had been Divinely anointed.

Saul's farm life continued only a month, until the opportunity offered which brought him the support of all the people as king. The Ammonites, residing in the east of Israel's possessions, were making war on one of the tribes of Israel. For some time they had besieged Jabesh-gilead, until the city was in such straits for food, etc., that they asked terms for surrender. The taunt of the Ammonite general was that on one condition he would save their lives; namely, they should each submit to having one eye put out, as a shame on the whole people of Israel.

Time was asked--seven days--for decision. If they could not get help in that time, they would submit to the terms. Messengers were dispatched, possibly to all the tribes. At all events some came to the place where Saul resided, evidently hoping that the one who had been chosen king, acceptable to some, would take steps for their deliverance. The disgrace of the situation struck home to Saul's heart. Israel to whom God had promised the possession of the land and His assistance, lacked faith and leadership.

Saul was appointed leader, and the psychological moment for him to lead had come. He killed the yoke of oxen he had been driving and sent pieces to all the tribes, saying that whoever did not respond, to become a defender of the general interests and to wipe out the shame, would have his oxen hewn to pieces. This was a peculiar command for a king; but it seems to have touched the right spot, for three hundred and thirty thousand men responded. The messengers returned to Jabesh-gilead with assurances of succor before noon the next day; and they gave answer to their besiegers to the effect that they would by the time appointed march out for the Ammonites to do with them as they thought best--meantime expecting such a deliverance as would make their enemies impotent to harm them.

King Saul divided his army into three sections, and from three different quarters came suddenly upon the besieging hosts, routing them, destroying many lives and delivering the people of Israel. Thereupon the masses of the Israelites realized that God had indeed given them a wise king, whom they had been slow to recognize; and they inquired for those who had spoken against Saul at first, saying, Let them now be slain. However, the king was wise and generous, and said, "There shall not a man be put to death this day; for today the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel."--Verse 13. [R5635 : page 60]

THE DIVINE CHARACTER VINDICATED

We again remind our readers that although this war and the slaughtering of those Ammonites had the Divine approval and blessing, it did not signify what many of us once supposed; namely, that those thousands of Ammonites slaughtered in their sleep or in their waking moments, went immediately to the theological Hell, there to suffer eternal torments. On the contrary, they merely went to the great prison-house of death, the tomb, there to sleep until in God's arrangement Christ would die as the world's Redeemer--and more, until at His Second Advent the Redeemer should take His great Power and reign, begin His work of calling back from death all that are in their graves.--John 5:28,29. See Revised Version.

To grasp the situation we must remember that all men are under a death-sentence, conviction, not worthy of life everlasting. All were to die anyway; and it mattered little whether they would die from starvation or sickness or pestilence or by the sword. The penalty merely reads, "Dying, thou shalt die"--not live, anyhow or anywhere. This view of matters has a distinct bearing on everything appertaining to the Lord's authorization of wars, and permission of famines, sickness, etc. While God has enforced the penalty, "The wages of sin is death," and has thus manifested His justice, He in another way has been preparing for the manifestation of His Love. The first step of this love-manifestation was in the sending of His Son to be man's Redeemer--to die for Adam's sin, under which all the race is condemned to death.

Still the Divine Plan is hidden from the world in general. Only the Lord's consecrated people may have a clear understanding through the Bible of God's great purposes of love for the race. These are informed, and are able to comprehend the Message, that ultimately God will establish a Kingdom which will bind Satan's power, [R5636 : page 60] release humanity from its mental, moral and physical weaknesses--the results of the curse--and restore all the obedient to full perfection and to relationship with God.

GREAT OPPORTUNITIES AWAIT ALL

Looking out into the world, we perceive that opportunities for progress and greatness are by no means equal. Nevertheless, few men and few women make use of all the golden opportunities which do come to them for their own betterment and for usefulness on their part to their fellows. All such may take a good lesson from Saul; for he had naturally some good traits which he subsequently diverted or misused.

That Saul had humility is evidenced by the fact that when the suggestion of his becoming king was made, he repudiated the thought of his worthiness of the position, saying that there were greater tribes than the one of which he was a member, and that even in his own tribe, his family was not the most prominent. Again, at the time when Samuel the Prophet called the people, that the Lord's lot might be determined as to who should be the king, Saul was in hiding amongst the stuff, sitting amongst the piles of baggage. He knew how the Lord's lot would fall; and it was to his credit that he was not strutting about amongst the people showing himself, and saying, The Lord would surely choose me. Again, when some of the people murmured that he was not acceptable, Saul quietly went to his home and to his farming, letting the matter rest. Thus he displayed patience and wisdom, as well as humility.

His subsequent action and leading the army of Israel showed his faith in God and his courage. Had Saul maintained these characteristics, his experiences later would have been very different. But nearly every young man and young woman on the threshold of life, as well as when older, can gain some valuable and lasting lessons from Saul's experiences.

It may surprise some when we say that Christians-- God's consecrated people--may especially learn lessons of profit from Saul's experiences. They, like Saul, have been nominated of God, not only to be kings, but also to be priests, "a Royal Priesthood." As Saul was anointed with the oil, so the Royal Priesthood are anointed with the Holy Spirit. As the people rejected Saul, and he waited patiently for the Lord's time, so the people, mankind, are not yet ready for the Reign of the Royal Priesthood, of which Jesus is the Head; and God's time has not yet come for the establishment of the Kingdom. Lessons of patience, of humility and of confidence in God are requisite that after enduring, they might inherit the promises.--Hebrews 6:12.

The great Armageddon is at hand, and terrible lessons will be learned by the world at great cost. Thereafter the Kingdom of Messiah will be very popular; and they will be saying, as they did in Saul's case, Let all those who oppose be put to death. However, The glorified Christ-- Jesus the Head, the Church His members--will be very gracious, and a general amnesty will be proclaimed for all who will desire to come in line with the Kingdom.

Not only those who persecuted the Savior will be forgiven and be assisted back into harmony with God through Him, but those, also, who have despised the Royal Priesthood and persecuted them unwittingly, will be mercifully dealt with. "Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name's sake, said, The Lord be glorified: [We do it for the good of the cause] but He shall appear for your joy, and they shall be ashamed."

The shame that will then come upon all who in the meantime had resisted the Lord's choice for His Kingdom class will be a sufficient penalty. After the shame and God's forgiveness to all the willing and obedient, The Christ will bring blessings of "Restitution, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began."--Acts 3:21.

A WORLD FULL OF KINGS

God created Father Adam the king of earth. Had he remained loyal to his God, he would have retained not only his life and health and happiness, but also his kingly authority over the beasts, the fish and the fowl--ruling them with telepathic powers. The breaking of the Covenant with God by Adam not only brought death and separation from God, but impaired his ruling powers as respects the lower creatures. The redemption accomplished by the death of Jesus is eventually to reach every member of Adam's race, and not merely will be applicable to their restoration to human perfection of mind and body, but will include a restoration of kingly powers.

In a republic there is a recognition of the fact of a human equality before the law. In a republic, every man is a king; and these kings vote for one of their number to be a president-king, or otherwise to hold a government executive position as the servant of all. This is a theory, an ideal, but we all know that it is more or less defective. It is in vain to claim that all men are born free and equal when we know that there are great inequalities of birth, of character, of talent, of will-power. While, therefore, a republic would be the ideal condition for perfect men, it only partially meets the requirements of the case so long as man is imperfect.

Nor will Messiah's Kingdom be established as a republic. Instead of giving humanity more power and leaving everything to be settled by the popular will and [R5636 : page 61] vote, Messiah's Kingdom will do the reverse. It will lay down the law, punish every infraction of the law, and point men to the fact that they are not qualified to govern themselves, and that therefore, God has decreed the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom to rule over humanity, while they are in the imperfect condition, and to bring them up by Restitution to full perfection, where they will be able, as originally designed, to all be kings; or, failing to come up to this standard, they will be destroyed as incorrigible, lovers of iniquity.

Surely the Divine Program for humanity is beautiful, simple, and sublimely grand! It leaves nothing to be desired further. As the Bible declares, it will be "the desire of all nations." Those whose eyes and ears of understanding are open to appreciate this Message of the Bible have much advantage every way over the average man at the present time. This knowledge is very assistful to them as they come to realize that the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon them is with a view to preparing them to be the Royal Priesthood of the future and, with Jesus, to bring to mankind the blessings of Jehovah, lost by sin, redeemed at Calvary.



[R5638 : page 61]

LESSONS FROM SAUL'S FAILURES
--MARCH 21.--1 SAMUEL 14:1-46.--

OBEDIENCE WITHOUT ITS SPIRIT CAUSED SAUL'S DIFFICULTIES-- THE KINGDOM, TAKEN FROM SAUL'S FAMILY, GIVEN TO DAVID, "A MAN AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART"--SAUL PROFITED PARTIALLY BY HIS MISTAKES AND WAS BLESSED ACCORDINGLY-- LESSONS FOR EVERYBODY--PARTICULARLY FOR GOD'S CONSECRATED PEOPLE.

"Let us put on the armor of light."--Romans 13:12.
THE army which gathered to Saul, and which accomplished the victory of our last Study, was disbanded; and subsequently the king had a standing army of three thousand men. One thousand of these were under command of his son Jonathan. The remainder constituted a royal guard and were immediately under Saul's own directions. Apparently the land of Israel was completely dominated by the Philistines, who here and there had garrisons. These were content to take a certain amount of tax from the people, much as the British govern India.

The Israelites were poorly armed; for the Philistines would not permit them to have weapons of war lest they should rebel. Similarly, the British prevent war munitions from going to India for the same reason. When therefore Jonathan made an attack upon the garrison of the Philistines and wiped it out, it raised a hubbub, much as such a circumstance would do if the people of India were to rise against the British garrison there. It meant war. The Hebrews trembled at what might be the result, just as the people of India would tremble at what the British might do in a similar case.

The Philistines increased their army of occupation; and the Israelites--unarmed, except with agricultural implements, etc.--were terrorized by the warlike Philistines. Saul's army of three thousand dwindled to six hundred; yet the word which reached him from the Prophet Samuel was, to wait seven days for his arrival, apparently with the intention that the people should thoroughly feel their impotence, and cry unto the Lord for succor. King Saul did as directed to the extent of waiting seven days; and with the expiration of the time, seeing how his army was dwindling and that Samuel had not returned, he on the seventh day undertook to be his own priest. He offered up sacrifices to God without authority.

Just as he had finished the sacrifices, the Prophet Samuel appeared, reproved him sharply, and told him that because of his failure to fully obey the Lord, his family should not be continued as the Lord's representatives in the Kingdom of Israel. The king apologized, explained the circumstances--thought it necessary to do something, and that what he did was the only thing he could think of. Very few kings or generals of our day would be prepared to do any nearer the will of the Lord than did King Saul. Very few would have waited seven days at all, or would have paid any attention to the Prophet. Very few would have apologized to the Prophet afterwards, and explained why they attempted to offer sacrifice to God.

We cannot but think that if King Saul had been given further opportunities he might gradually have learned the lesson of implicit obedience to God; and yet our next lesson will show us that he again failed along the very same lines. It requires many experiences to teach some of us the lesson of complete reliance on the Lord and full obedience to His every requirement. Perhaps the Lord was wishing to teach a special lesson along this line--that any king sitting upon the typical throne of the Lord must be implicitly obedient, not merely to the letter of the command, but also to its spirit; for Israel's kings to a considerable extent foreshadowed the Kingdom of Christ and His Church. Those who will be joint-heirs with Messiah in His Kingdom of glory must learn obedience; else they will not be accounted worthy of the honors of the Kingdom. They must not only be outwardly obedient, but inwardly obedient to the spirit or intent of the Lord's Law.

ONLY PRIESTS MIGHT SACRIFICE

While passing, we do well to note why King Saul's sacrifice of burnt offerings to the Lord was condemned as a sin. This was because God had made a specific law to the effect that only the priests might offer sacrifices. Then comes the question, Why should God limit the offering of sacrifices to the priestly tribe? The answer is that that tribe typically represented the Church--fully consecrated to God and accepted by Him. These the Apostle styled the antitypes, not only of Israel's kings, but also of Israel's priests. St. Peter says of the Church in general, and not of the clergy in particular, "Ye are a Royal Priesthood."

In the antitype, all of God's consecrated people are prospective kings and are sacrificing priests. Unless these saintly Christians sacrifice their earthly interests, their present lives, they will not get the great reward of joint-heirship with Christ, the great Chief Priest of their profession. As we read, "If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him"; and again, St. Paul says, "I beseech you, brethren,...present your bodies a living sacrifice."

It would be therefore a mistake for us to suppose, as some do, that the clergy have special priestly offices now, and are commissioned to offer mass and prayers. Let us remember that there is only one great High Priest--the Lord Jesus--that He offered up Himself in the days of His flesh, and has passed beyond the Veil into glory, and that He has since been offering up His consecrated people, who present themselves to Him in the proper spirit of submission and self-sacrifice.

The Bible recognizes no division of the people of God into clergy and laity. This was a snare of the Adversary, introduced gradually in the third and fourth centuries. The Bible teaching is that all spirit-begotten children of [R5638 : page 62] God are members of the antitypical Royal Priesthood, that they are all brethren, that they are all ordained or authorized to preach the Message of God's grace as presented in God's Word; and that they should call no man on the earth father; but should realize that One is their Father, even God, and that the Lord Jesus is their Elder Brother.

CRAVING FOR ANOTHER CHANCE

How many of the human family have felt, when they reached their death-beds, that if they had life to live over again, their lessons of experience would be precious and enable them to do much better! The man or the woman who has not had some experiences along this line of failures and endeavored to surmount them and to do better, has lived his life very much in vain. Let us therefore encourage one another to strive for high ideals, and not to be discouraged by our unintentional failures. This is expressed by the little quotation which we all learned in childhood, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." That little message which came to our childish minds was a valuable one. It helped us over many a discouragement.

Beset by our own weaknesses with which we were born, surrounded by others who similarly have weaknesses of mind, body and morals, and assaulted, as the Scriptures assure us we are, by Satan and the fallen angels, who seek to ensnare us and divert us from God and from righteousness, is it any wonder that we fail to come up to our own highest ideals, and therefore fail still more seriously to come up to the perfect standards of God's Word?

The very simplest statement of God's Law is the Golden Rule. Yet how many who understand that Golden Rule and its spirit perfectly could claim that they live up to its requirements every hour, every day? "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." All that any of us can do is to be honest with ourselves, to confess our delinquencies, to strive daily to overcome these and to attain more and more to the Divine standards in thought, in word, in deed.

It is a further lesson, which only Christians have learned, that it is impossible to live up to the standards of this Law, and that we need the covering of the Redeemer's merit--even after we have surrendered all to Him to seek to walk in His steps--to cover our shortcomings and to continue us in relationship with God. Another lesson which the Christian learns is that those continuing in relationship with God find not only forgiveness for trespasses unintentionally committed, but find also grace to help, assistances for every need--through the same Savior.

Thus the Christian is learning of his own weaknesses and of God's mercy, and growing strong in battling for the right day by day. He not only has a second chance, but has many repeated chances, day by day, of repentance of sin and of making a fresh start after recovery from the stumbling, through the merit of Christ.

King Saul in our lesson had no such experiences; the Savior had not yet died; He had not yet appeared in the presence of God, to offer an atonement or to open up a new way of life. Saul, therefore, had only the arrangement which was common to all Jews--the typical Day of Atonement, once every year, to atone for the sins of the whole people for one year, including the typical priesthood, through whom the message of God was communicated to them. And being himself partly a type, King Saul was necessarily dealt with along the lines of strict justice, and [R5639 : page 62] the kingdom was declared to be forfeited by his family because of his offering to the Lord a sacrifice not authorized.

THE WORLD IN THE FUTURE

Gradually Bible students are learning that the story of our various creeds of Christendom is untrue, which tells that all the heathen have gone to eternal torture, and all the Jews similarly, because they did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; and furthermore, that nearly all the people of civilized lands who have died, have gone to eternal torture because, having heard of Christ, they did not become His saintly followers. These terrible doctrines have driven many away from God and from His Book, as people seem to realize their horrors and injustice.

Bible students are coming to see that God has provided two trials for the whole world of mankind. The first trial was in Eden, Father Adam being the representative of himself and his race. That trial ended in disaster to all concerned. Unless God had made an arrangement for a second trial, none of the human family would ever gain eternal life or escape the sentence that came on them there. The death of Christ was for the very purpose of giving a second trial to Adam and all his race; as the Apostle declares, "As by man came death, by man comes also the Resurrection of the dead. For as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive; every man in his own order."--1 Corinthians 15:21-23.

During this Gospel Age, those who believe the Message of the Gospel, and who consecrate themselves fully to the Lord and whom He accepts by the begetting of the Holy Spirit--these become New Creatures in Christ, and these New Creatures are on trial a second time--their destiny being either everlasting life on the spirit plane or everlasting death. The remainder of the world are still in the condemned condition; or, as the Apostle says, they have not yet escaped the condemnation that is on the world. There is only the one way of escape now--through accepting Christ on the terms of discipleship.

However, we see that God's provision for a second trial includes the remainder of mankind who do not now hear, or who do not now accept Christ and are not now begotten again as New Creatures. The world in general is to have its trial time during the Millennium. Then, "the knowledge of the glory of God will fill the whole earth." Then, "all shall know Him from the least to the greatest." They will not have the opposition of Satan; for he will be bound during that time. They will have the assistance of Christ and of the glorified Church, the Royal Priesthood.

The object of that Millennial Kingdom will be to uplift the world--to bring all the willing and obedient back again to human perfection and everlasting life, and to destroy all the incorrigible ones, who refuse when they have that full and second opportunity. In this connection we are reminded of the words of the poet:

"I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning-again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all our poor, selfish grief
Could be dropped, like a shabby old coat, at the door
And never put on again."

The poet's words are to come true, and the time is near at hand. If, as Bible students are realizing, the present European War is a prelude to the anarchy of the great Battle of Armageddon, and is the vestibule to the Kingdom of Messiah, then the time of putting off the "shabby old coat" of present imperfection on the part of mankind in general is near at hand. Surely all who have themselves put off the filthy rags of their own righteousness, and by faith put on the Robe of Christ's Righteousness, can rejoice that the poor world--heathen, Jew, and civilized Gentiles--may all have so good an opportunity as God's [R5639 : page 63] love and mercy have provided for them through the great Sacrifice made at Calvary, when "Jesus Christ by the grace of God, tasted death for every man"; that he who believeth on Him, whether now or in the future, should not perish, but might gain everlasting life.

Not only so, but as Jesus gives all who come unto Him the gracious opportunity whereby they may "try, try again," and gradually demonstrate, cultivate their loyalty to God and to righteousness, so the Bible intimates an opportunity will be given to the world in general. For a thousand years the world will have the opportunity of trying, trying again, peradventure that by the many lessons of that time they may learn righteousness and come fully into accord with the Great King Eternal and His glorious Golden Rule. This the Scriptures assure us respecting the Millennium: "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."--Isaiah 26:9.

JONATHAN'S FAITH WAS REWARDED

Our lesson proceeds to tell the story of how Jonathan and his armor-bearer, blessed of the Lord, were victorious over the enemies; and how the Philistines, divided into three parties, mistook each other for Hebrews and slaughtered one another.



[R5639 : page 63]

"THE TONE OF VOICE"
"It is not so much what you say
As the manner in which you say it;
It is not so much the language you use,
As the tones in which you convey it.

"'Come here!' I sharply said,
And baby cowered and wept;
'Come here,' I cooed, and he looked and smiled
And straight to my lap he crept.

"The words may be mild and fair,
And the tones may pierce like a dart;
The words may be soft as summer air,
And the tones may break the heart.

"For words but come from the mind,
And grow by study and art,
But the tones leap forth from the inner self
And reveal the state of the heart.

"Whether you know it or not,
Whether you mean or care,
Gentleness, kindness, love and hate,
Envy and anger are there.

"Then, would you quarrels avoid,
And in peace and love rejoice,
Keep anger not only out of your words,
But keep it out of your voice."



page 63

INTERESTING LETTERS

"NOTHING LEFT BUT TIME FOR PRAYER"

BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--

The year must not pass without a word from us to cheer and encourage you and to wish you God's choicest blessing on your every word, thought and deed, which go forth to His glory.

At this juncture we have just closed a long session of many weeks of the PHOTO-DRAMA. The experience has been trying, but helpful, because it has shown us that the Apostle's admonition is still needed--"Ye have need of patience," and we find we are still in need of extreme watchfulness in points of character which we were beginning to think were nearly invulnerable.

We are glad indeed now that so many thousands by means of the PHOTO-DRAMA have been brought into direct touch with the Truth--a pure message--and especially at a time when the clergy (who should be feeding and comforting their sheep) are positively impotent and have no message to give. On the other hand many of them--the majority, in fact--are preaching war and urging the use of carnal weapons as the highest ideal for young and old.

The attendance at the PHOTO-DRAMA during recent weeks has been phenomenal, and many are the encomiums received concerning it. We feel it a duty to speak of Brother Shearn in this connection, because his energies have been continuous day and night. In every case he has schemed successfully on the side of economy, and has overcome obstacles in cases where many an able man would have given up the fight.

Indefatigable is the best word in our language we can find for him, and that is not expressive enough. He has kept us going at full steam while the work was on; and it was indeed, as the hymn says, "Nothing left but time for prayer." The wonderful and unselfish co-operation of an army of brethren shows what the Truth can do; and the unanimity among them has been sufficiently marked to impress the visitors, who in their turn have expressed delight and admiration at such service.

We have slowed down now and are glad of a little respite; and though we do not expect to be able to put in so much time to the DRAMA if it continues, we hope to do our best.

Yours in the dear Lord,
F. GUARD.--England.


THE TRACT STILL DOING GOOD

DEAR BRETHREN:--

Greetings in Jesus' precious name. Just a few lines to inform you of things in general up here. In February last year I received a tract from a brother dealing on Scripture. It appealed to me so much that I became a Bible student, and my wife as well. Before that I was a Roman Catholic, and my wife belonged to the Church of England; it is needless to say that there were religious disagreements which were not binding us together. On the other hand, now, we are pulling together in spite of the very hard and especially trying times. My sister-in-law is also a Bible student, having gotten the start from us.

Since last February, I am glad to say, there are several of my neighbors interested in Scripture, and I am in hope of some becoming like us.

One of my methods is to write down some pointed Scripture texts and ask my neighbors what they think of them. As they have to look up the Bible for these, they get interested. hence, I refer them to the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.

Now, brethren, I am isolated here and cannot go up to Edmonton to take part in the class, because I am a farmer and cannot be away from home long enough. If any of the brethren are on their way through this section, my house will be always welcome to them if they want to stop a day with me to discuss Bible topics.

With my best wishes, I remain,

Your brother in the service of the Lord,
C. R. BANNISTER.


NOW AN UNBROKEN FAMILY

OUR DEAR PASTOR AND BROTHER IN CHRIST:--

My heart is full to overflowing, and I must tell you of the great blessings I received at Providence, and what it did for Brother Kies.

As he belonged to the M.E.Church, lived as near right as possible--was a worker, etc.--he thought he was a Christian, but now he says, "Why, I never was a Christian; for I never acknowledged I was a sinner, and never took Jesus for my personal Savior." So your theme, "What is a Christian?" struck him very favorably and gave him a foundation to start on.

Then at the afternoon meeting he got the Plan; and in the evening at Boston he found out what and how to do when you are a Christian. Oh, it became so plain to him; and he says he wouldn't take a thousand dollars for what he got!

I am a babe in Christ also, and symbolized my consecration Nov. 2, in Springfield, Mass., and have been trying to let my light shine; and he says he has noticed it and has been watching me; and that when you spoke of that in Boston it just hit him.

Oh, what it has done for us both, praise His name! He expects to withdraw from the Methodist Church and give his reason and testimony how he got "truly converted." We are all rejoicing, and Brother and Sister Merrill say, "Now we are an unbroken family." And oh, I am so happy!

I could hardly give him up, but now he is given back to me; you can imagine my joy.

Yours in the one blessed hope,
SR. CLARENCE KIES.



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International Bible Students Association Classes

STUDIES AND LECTURES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION

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