April 12, 1908


On Board der Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, April 12 The following comes to us from Pastor C T Russell, of Pittsburgh, Pa., en route to Great Britain on board the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse. He said:

I choose four texts: (1) "We will not fear, although the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." Psa. 46:2. (2) "The sea and the waves roaring" Luke 21:25. (3) "The wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest." Isa. 57:20. (4) "I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth were passed away, and there was no more sea." Rev. 21:1.

All languages were originally pictorial. The Chinese, for instance, particularly illustrates this, for all their characters are merely abbreviated pictures and our own language, although not pictorial after the same manner, is largely figurative or symbolical as to thought. Indeed, we recognize as the highest form of any language its poetic or pictorial beauty and harmony. But with the hard thought which came down to us from the "dark ages," that the divine plan consisted of a chance in a thousand of gaining an eternity of bliss and nine hundred and ninety-nine chances in a thousand of suffering an eternity of torture, everything connected with the Bible became so wrapped with gloom and every thought connected with the Almighty and His provision for the future of mankind so draped with despair that few except gloomy symbols were recognized. Our minds were perverted by the wrong thought of God, and the symbolisms of His Word were used by the adversary to further affright us and drive us away from our best, our truest friend.

Let us construct a picture before our minds; let us suppose the vast oceans, constituting three-fourths of the earth's surface, to represent the masses of mankind unsettled, unattached, without property, with little hope or prospect, with illimitable longings, but no power to satisfy them, "without God and having no hope in the world." Eph. 2:12. Let us consider the land behind and before us in our journey to represent society, fixed, established, desirous of peace, having something which it does not wish to lose, which it does not wish the sea class to wash away. As in the sea we find shallows and mighty deeps, so on the land surface we find low, marshy places, higher places and mountain peaks, and each of these various levels or heights may properly represent to our minds various degrees of prosperity or adversity. The mountain heights would represent the princes of society, merchant princes, bankers, as well as political powers. As from time immemorial there has been a conflict between the land and the sea, the latter sometimes in a storm violently attacking the former and seeking to capture it, so between the two classes here represented; the sea class helpless and without property is envious of the earth class, those who under the present social order seize and possess the chief blessings. Consider also the sky, the heavens, as symbolizing something still higher than either the sea or the land, as symbolizing the ecclesiastical power or influence which more or less dominates all classes and from which and through which come the showers of refreshing and the gracious sunlight of blessing. Upon the sea class these were comparatively wasted, but upon the land class, or those socially organized, these blessings from the sky are represented in the fruits, flowers and vegetables, which bring joy and comfort, and in the streams of water which bring refreshment to those living on the earth to the social world. In the sky, the heavens, shine not only the sun, representing the gospel light and grace, but also the moon, representing the law dispensation, and there shine also bright stars representing the teachers and


Do these figures fit well to the facts? Do you see that these are remarkable correspondencies? Do you wonder how these happen to occur to our minds? I will tell you. They thus occur to us because they are thus used in the scriptures under these symbolical figures. The Lord through His [HGL426] Word has presented to us some wonderful truths which may be ours as soon as we recognize them, but which cannot be recognized by us except as we come into accord with the Lord and the spirit of His truth which He has promised will guide His followers into all truth and show them things to come. John 16:13. Let us apply these figures as outlined and note that the lessons they bear are in fullest accord with the literal statements of the word. We note from the scriptural standpoint we are still in the night time, that the morning has not yet come, that the sun of righteousness has not yet arisen with healing in His beams and cannot do so until the elect gospel church shall have been completed, glorified, and made partaker with her Lord of His glory and associated with Him in the work of shining forth upon the world for its blessings. Meantime the scriptures give the thought that the church is clothed with the sun, that sunlight is upon the church to the extent that any of its members are able to appreciate it. The sunlight, clearness of sight, is however, in their hearts and lead to their relationship to the Lord not the sunlight to light their pathway in the world. As for the pathway it has always needed the light of the lamp, the Bible- "Thy word is a lamp to my feet, a lantern to my footsteps" has been true throughout this gospel age, and will continue to be true until its close, when the new dispensation shall be ushered in and the sun of righteousness shall shine forth. It is merely in our hearts that there is sunshine all the way. As represented in the symbolical picture the church is the woman clothed with the sun and with the moon, representing the law dispensation, under her feet; her position is superior to that of the law, her enlightenment respecting the divine will is of a higher order, yet in full harmony with the law the moon.

Our Lord, picturing the events connected with the close of this gospel dispensation and the gathering of the elect in the end of this age, describes a great trouble which will affect both the church and the world. He declares that the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light; the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken and then He tells us of distress upon the earth, society and of a great storm amongst the sea class. "The sea and the waves roaring." We see many of these things already fulfilling; the sunlight of divine truth is becoming darkened even in the hearts of very many. The theory of evolution led on to higher criticism of the Bible, which is but another name for agnosticism, doubt, unbelief. Particularly within the last thirty years this hypercritical spirit has spread amongst the learned in colleges and pulpits. As a consequence the sunlight of truth in the hearts of God's people has become greatly darkened and worldliness has taken the place of religion, and while church organization has been maintained and advanced it has been merely with a form of godliness without the power so that the salvation that is now being preached is a social uplift rather than heart regeneration of the individual.

As for the falling stars, have not many ministers ceased to be burning and shining lights as respects the truth, as respects proper guidance? Is it not true that there is not a more confused body of educated men in the world than the professed ministers of Christ of all denominations? They know not what to believe; the majority show that their faith in the word of God is gone, they no longer have any use for the Lamp except as a mere ornament. They are now being guided by their own worldly wisdom, which, the scriptures declare, is foolishness with God and will ultimately lead them astray and have much to do with the approaching wreck as it shall affect present religious institutions. Many of these stars have already fallen from influence, and hence ceased to be light-bearers, and the number of these falling stars seems to be increasing day by day. As a consequence the next step of our Lord's great prophecy is having its fulfillment- "the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." They are shaking now, although the shaking is far from complete. The public no longer regard ministers of Christ as unselfishly sacrificing their time and energy in order to carry blessings to the minds and hearts of the people; they now regard them as laborers striving like men of other professions for the honors and emoluments connected with their position. Proportionately their influence and power are shaken and far from what it once was.


Our Lord's prophecy proceeds to show the logical consequence of the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars, and the shaking of the confidence of the people in the present religious institutions; that this will lead to distress of nations with perplexity, "men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after the things which are coming upon the world" -because of this shaking of confidence in religion and because of the roaring of the sea and the waves. He who cannot see the fulfilling of these things is blind to them, whether he be a Christian or merely a moral person. His eyes surely cannot be open else he would perceive that the rich and the great and the influential are all peering into the future as respects the things that are coming upon the earth, society, realizing the breaking of the religious influence which hitherto has held mankind and realizing also the growing storm on the sea amongst the restless of mankind, as represented in socialism. Day by day the storm increases, the waves of the sea roll higher in their encroachments upon the land, society, and roar the louder in their threats and in their demands. He that hath an ear may hear this message, and those who are wealthy hear it with alarm and, with calm foresight, recognize what others do not, namely, that present conditions presage a coming conflict, a storm of trouble, such as the world has never before witnessed. And in this their foresight is correct; it is in harmony with the Scriptural declaration that "there shall be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21

Let us not be misunderstood in thus applying our third text, "The wicked are like the troubled sea which cannot rest." In one sense of the word the whole world of humanity is wicked, in that all men by nature are out of harmony with God. Let us not be misunderstood to mean that all those who are symbolically represented as being of the highlands and the mountains, the princes and kings of the earth, social, political and financial, are either righteous or good. Quite to the contrary we hold that there is much unrighteousness connected with these highland classes and much that is good connected with the sea class. The Lord, in telling of the future arrangement of things, the new order of things, assures us that it will be very different from the [HGL427] present in every respect; that there will be no more mountains and no more seas; that there will be a general leveling amongst those who will constitute the new social order, the new social earth. Then the sea class will be non-existent; that is to say, mankind in general will be lifted out of the depths of sin and degradation, and, under the proper regulations of God's kingdom, a general equality in the world will be established, as it is written, "Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low." (Isa. 40:4) All the lowly, humble ones shall be lifted up and all the high ones shall be humbled. Some Scriptures represent this leveling work as being accomplished by the inundation of the sea and others represent it as being accomplished by fire which shall melt the whole earth. Both of these, however, are figurative expressions representing the same time of trouble which will bring about a new social order socialism on its highest and best plane and under heavenly direction and power.

As an illustration note our first text. The entire Psalm, of which it is a part, is a picture of the great trouble day in the end of the present age in which the Lord will overthrow present institutions and establish the world of mankind under new and more favorable arrangements under the rule of King Immanuel and His bride, the church. Speaking of the true church class, the "little flock," the "saints," it says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." The one class in the whole world which will not be involved in this severe trouble are the saints of God. Even though they should as fully as others enter in that trouble it will be different with them owing to their knowledge through the Scriptures as to why the trouble is coming and what its results will signify in the way of blessing, restitution, uplifting of mankind under the new dispensation, which this day of trouble will serve to usher in.

What a graphic picture is here of how the mountains or kingdoms or great ones of the present time that now uphold the present structure will be shaken, overwhelmed, swallowed up in the midst of the sea. Even the very thought of these things causes the world to quake, but the Lord assures His people that they may lift up their heads and rejoice, knowing that at this same time will come the deliverance of the church, her glorification or change from human to spiritual conditions by the first resurrection power. The Lord, through the prophet, proceeds to give the interpretations of these symbols in verse 6. Instead of speaking of the raging waves we read, "The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved, God uttered His voice and the earth melted." The earth, society, has not yet melted, though we sometimes say that because of friction between certain classes of society matters are getting very hot. They have not yet reached the melting point, but let us be assured that every word of God shall ultimately have its fulfillment and that the earth, society, shall melt when the mountains are carried into the midst of the sea, when the masses of discontented ones shall overwhelm present governments and institutions of every kind and law and order shall be completely dissolved in anarchy.


I remind you of another Scripture which speaks similarly of the earth melting, saying, "Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord. . . for the whole earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy." That the fire is not literal any more than the waters is evidenced by the succeeding statement, namely, "Then will I turn unto the people a pure message, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord to serve him with one consent." (Zeph. 3:8-9) If the earth should literally melt there would be no people, of course, remaining, but when society shall have melted and disintegrated and when, under the Lord's transforming power, it shall thus be converted into a new organization and new society and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, then, indeed, the people, having learned a great lesson from their wonderful experiences in the time of trouble, will be prepared as never before to hearken to Him that "speaketh from heaven." (Heb. 12:25) The assurance that he will then give to the people a pure message is consoling, especially when we remember the confusion that has prevailed respecting the Gospel message as it has been presented to the world messages so inharmonious and inconsistent that the great minds of the world, with few exceptions, have been unable to receive them, and have been rather turned away from the Lord than turned to Him. The same thought of God's instruction of mankind after the earth has melted is given in Psalm 46, where we read that after the trouble God will speak peace to the world, saying, "Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted amongst the nations; I will be exalted in the earth."


Mark the harmonious thought set forth in our fourth text, namely, that when the new heavens and new earth shall have been established (the new social order and the new ecclesiastical order, for the elect church will have then been glorified), when the former ecclesiastical and social order shall have forever passed away, then there will be no more sea. Under the new order of things, under Messiah's kingdom, a sea class will be no longer necessary or possible; because the new order to be established for mankind will contain all the benefits and blessings of the highest and wisest socialism and mean the largest possible good and blessing to the world of mankind, without exception or discrimination. And as for the willingness of any to be submissive to that new order of things, it will be compulsory, as we read, "It shall come to pass that the soul that will not obey that Prophet (that great King of the millennial age) will be utterly destroyed from amongst the people." (Acts 3:23) It will be a case of coming into harmony with the arrangement of matters as they shall be then or of being cut off, though we are assured that stripes will first be administered, that corrections in righteousness will be given with a view to helping all in the right path, the path to everlasting life. No wonder that those whose eyes were opened to see the divine plan and the divine Word should rejoice greatly at the prospect of the second coming of their Lord in power and great glory to establish His kingdom and to rule the world in righteousness for its uplift and blessing, as well as [HGL428] to gather His saints to Himself to be His bride and joint heir in the blessing of the world. No wonder such are represented as crying, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly."

We have no question whatever that many of those who are now clamoring for socialism are sincerely honest when they tell us their motives are not purely selfish, that they are thinking beyond themselves of the general welfare of mankind. They sometimes upbraid us because we tell that while the new dispensation, according to the scriptures, will usher in many of the blessings they sought by socialism, yet we discourage socialism because it will eventuate in anarchism. Some fail to see the consistency in these statements, and we take this opportunity to explain that our standpoint is not merely our human judgment, which concurs, but that our judgment is guided primarily by the word of God, which instructs all who hear His voice to wait patiently for Him and not to attempt to take power into their own hands. His voice instructs those who are followers of Jesus to be subject to the powers that be, because the powers that be are ordained of God, permitted of God. The Lord's people are to heed His voice whether they see the philosophy of His direction or not. But as they progress in the way, they find He has promised that the secret of the Lord is theirs, and that He makes known to such His object and purpose in the present permission of things which He does not approve and with which He does not expect His people to be in sympathy. He informs us that the present permission of evil is designed to work out rich blessings in the Lord's own way. Some of these blessings we now enjoy, as for instance, lessons of patient endurance in well doing, in faithfulness to principle, though opposed by the world, the flesh and the adversary, and secondly, the lesson of sympathy for the poor groaning creation, not only for those who are poor financially but also for many of the poor rich, who also belong to the groaning creation, whose deliverance awaits the coming of the Lord and the establishment of God's Kingdom in the world. Nevertheless, harmony with the direction of God's word, that His people should be "subject to the powers that be" until He shall attend to the changing of them, keeps these from identifying themselves with the sea class, the restless class, the discontented class; they are, therefore, in the scriptures represented as dwelling on the earth. This does not signify, however, that they are satisfied with present conditions; no, they cannot be satisfied with anything short of perfection and the glorious things which God has promised to them in the resurrection change. Hence, prophetically, they are represented as saying: "I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness." (Psa. 17:15) It is another matter entirely, however, to be contented. As the apostle says, "Be content with such things as ye have" not content so that we would not improve our blessings if opportunity seemed providentially to open, but content to have them as they are until the Lord's providences shall indicate a change. We are, therefore, to be content with present conditions and institutions and to make the best of them, and so far as lieth in us to live peaceably with all men while waiting for the blessed hope and the glorious revelation of our Savior and His kingdom and our change to be like Him and to share in that kingdom. We are to be content even though the Lord's providence should permit us to come into tribulation or to suffer persecution, content to have all the chiseling and polishing which He sees that we need to fit and prepare us for His presence as vessels unto honor and for the Master's use made meet.

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