The National Labor Tribune December 6, 1914


Q' Please give us an explanation of Christ's instruction to the rich young ruler to go and sell all that he had (Matt. 19:16-22), and of the occasion of Christ's paying tribute money (Matt. 26:24-27)

Answer' With the truly consecrated the sense of ownership must give place to that of stewardship. To enforce this truth Jesus applied a crucial test to sell all! This was certainly a special case, but the attitude of all who would attain the Kingdom, and who have riches of any kind money, time, mental or physical talents must be that of stewards. "All for Jesus." "What hast thou that thou didst not receive?"

The tribute money was the Temple tax (about thirty-five cents), which every male Israelite was expected to pay annually. The priestly class were exempted. So, too, in Gentile nations the Royal families were free from taxation. Jesus, therefore, as the Son of God Peter has just confessed him as such-(16:16) should be free from this tax for the Temple his Father's House. But a refusal might have the appearance of evil, of a lack of zeal for God, and so cause the people to stumble. So, as the Temple was not yet cast off and forsaken by God, and no principle of righteousness was violated, Jesus paid the tribute, but at the same time, to prove to his disciples that it was as a concession and not a debt, he obtained the coin in an authoritative way a way which may contain a hint of the restoration to mankind in the next age (when the obedient will be perfect children of God) of that dominion, lost by Adam, over the animals.

Q' In what sense could the Gospel be preached to Abraham? Gal. 3:8

Answer' By the gospel we understand "good tidings" the message the angels afterward gave to the shepherds. "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people, for unto you is born this day *** a Savior which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10, 11). That from which all people need saving is sin and its penalty death, and so surely as God will have all to be saved from this and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4), our Lord is the one who will accomplish the great work. "Thou shalt call" [HGL633] "his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). The Lord said, "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). That which was lost is life: life in the perfection that Adam enjoyed, and this the Lord, the Ransom for all, died to obtain for all (John 3:16). "The wage of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Our Lord was the seed of Abraham which was to bless all nations (Gal. 3:16), and the glad tidings were preached to Abraham when God made the promise to him. As Jesus said, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day" the day for which the Church still prays and the groaning creation waits, when he shall call all that are in their graves to come forth, to share in the blessings of his glorious reign. For he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:25-26. See Rev. 21:3-4).

Q' Will you kindly explain Luke 20:33, "Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife." I understand that those who come up in the first resurrection will be one great spiritual family, but in the restitution whose wife will she be when restored, having had seven husbands in this life?

Answer' You are correct in your understanding that there is to be a spiritual and an earthly resurrection. It is probably because of a mistranslation in the 39th verse that you have gotten the impression that Jesus is referring to the spiritual resurrection. The word "world" is better translated age. Following this age the Messianic Kingdom will be established in which all the faithful and obedient will be rewarded with absolute cleansing from sin and as a result will be forever beyond the reach of death, although still human. Then marriage will have ceased as an institution, because the commission given to Adam and Eve will have been complied with their seed will have multiplied until it fills the earth as God originally intended when he made the earth for man's habitation (Gen. 1:28). Those who receive this raising up to perfection of life will die no more because just as worthy of life as the angels themselves. The instructions of the Church during the one thousand year reign will have eradicated all sin and made them worthy of life. Thus will be fulfilled the Apostle Paul's prediction that the world in general will escape the corruption that is upon them through the depravity of their flesh, and will also become sons of God (Rom. 8:19-21). They will be sons on the human plane whereas the Church will be sons on the Divine plane, both classes receiving their life through the resurrection provided in the merit of Jesus. If it is God's purpose that the institution of marriage shall continue in the next age among those who have not yet attained to its blessings, we have faith that his wisdom can adjust all the family relations.

Q' Some of my friends who are Bible Students say that we are living in the "Harvest" of this age, and that there is a double work going on. If so, what is it?

Answer' Undoubtedly we are living in the harvest of this Gospel Age when the word of the Lord has gone forth: "Gather ye together first the tares into bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn" (Matt. 13:30, 39-42). Not only is there a reaping work now going on, when "the children of the kingdom" are being gathered into the "barn," but there is also a ploughing work in process, which is overturning all the old creeds and dogmas, and preparing the people for the blessed Gospel of the new Age, "the times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:19-21). The Prophet, in describing the present time, says the ploughman will overtake the reaper (Amos 9:13). From the foregoing we would understand the double work to be reaping and ploughing reaping the seeds of truth that have been planted in the past, and ploughing men's hearts with the ploughshare of trouble in preparation for the sowing of the next Age.

Q' Please explain Luke 9:27. "But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God."

Answer' This text, with its parallel in Matt. 16:28, is often misunderstood to imply that some of the disciples whom our Lord addressed would live until the establishment of the Kingdom of God at the second advent. In both instances the explanation is to be found in the verses which immediately follow, viz., in the account of the Transfiguration on the Mount. Here the Son of Man appeared in his future Kingdom glory. "His face shone as the sun, and his raiment became white as the light" (Diaglott) (conf. Acts 22:6; 26:13; Rev. 1:16). Two men appeared in the vision conversing with the Lord, and the disciples were made to understand that they represented Moses and Elijah. The "vision," then, was a sort of living picture of God's Kingdom. The brilliant transfiguration represented the Resurrection glory of our Lord; Elijah representing those who shall be translated from the earth, the saints forming the heavenly phase of the Kingdom, and Moses the earthly phase.

Q' What is life?

Answer' This is still one of the greatest problems, but to live is to possess sentient being; to be capable of consciousness, joy, or sorrow, pleasure or pain. Life, in its highest degree, is known as immortality. Immortality signifies inherent life, a life not sustained by outside supplies, conditions, or influences, but life possessed in one's self. Life in this sense belonged originally to God alone; but it has been given by the Father to the Lord Jesus Christ; and he promises this life to his faithful church, his Bride, his companions in Kingdom glory. However, life in an inferior degree is the possession of the angels through the grace of the Creator who is pleased that they shall enjoy it everlastingly in harmony with his will. Eternal life is proffered to mankind in general; it will be granted to so many of Adam's race as shall ultimately, under the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom, be recovered completely from the imperfections of sin and death, and who shall maintain that perfection by continued obedience to the Divine requirements. All who sin willfully, after receiving full light, shall not live.

Q' Do you think the sentence of death passed upon Adam for one mere act of disobedience is a just one?

Answer' The sentence, at first sight, seems a heavy one for what might be considered a slight offence, but when we consider the question from an unbiased standpoint we see that the sentence, though severe, was on the lines of strict justice. In thinking of this matter we are apt to suppose Adam a fallen man like ourselves and incapable of living [HGL634] righteously; but we must remember that he came from the hands of the Creator perfect, and that nothing exceptional was asked of him. In our case, the matter is very different. We are born in sin, and, consequently, unable to perform perfectly the Divine will, even if we are desirous of so doing. God had a right to exact from our first parents perfect obedience, and in return he promised them that they should live. If they did not do his will, he then as their Creator had a right to take away his favor of life from them, especially since they had been informed that this favor was conditional upon their obedience. Evidently we gave looked upon this sentence as an injustice not because of the nature of the sentence but because we have supposed that the curse of death was merely preliminary to an eternity of torture. That would indeed be cruelly unjust. The necessary severity of the sentence which God did pronounce against the sinner enables us to realize how immeasurable is the love of God in planning a way of escape from the penalty a resurrection from the grave through the ransom sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life" (Rom. 6:23). Note John 3:16.

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