The National Labor Tribune January 17, 1915


Q' If the command of Christ was to "Believe and be baptised" what will be the position of those who believe and are not baptised?

Answer' The Gospel call is an invitation; neither our Lord nor the Apostles commanded men to "believe and be baptised." The Gospel is proclaimed in all the earth as a witness (Matt. 24:14) during the present age. Many are drawn to the Savior as a result but few go on to make a full consecration to the Lord as exhorted to do in Rom. 12:1, 2. Those who do thus respond are baptised into Jesus Christ's death and into the Holy Spirit with which he was anointed. Thus they suffer with him now, in order that they may reign with him in the next age when he returns to bless all the families of the earth the living and the dead the good and the bad, for he gave his life "a ransom for all." This baptism into death (Rom. 6:3, 4) is the real one, of which water baptism is merely the symbol. Only such as the Father calls may participate. They are to constitute the Bride of the Lamb. When this Bride class is completed this baptism into death will cease, and the earthly restitution blessings will begin (Acts 3:21).

Q' Eccl. 12:7 reads, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Will you please explain what the spirit is, as this [HGL684] passage is used to contradict Pastor Russell's view of death, which I know is right but cannot explain.

Answer' As far as we understand Pastor Russell's position, it seems to be quite in harmony with this text and the general teaching of the Scriptures on this subject. The wise man very plainly sets forth the same thought in Eccl. 3:19-21, but the force of his statement is lost through a mistranslation in the King James Version. The Revised Version has corrected the matter. The 21st verse should read "who knoweth that the spirit of a man goeth upward and the spirit of the beast goeth downward." Evidently even in the days of Solomon there were some who were becoming confused as to the nature of man and were making the false claim that man has some mystical portion which does not die and that when man seems to die he is really more alive than ever. All the evidence corroborates the wise man's statement- "that which befalleth man befalleth beasts; yea they have all one spirit (mistranslated breath) so that (in the matter of death) man hath no preeminence above a beast." Man's preeminence consists not in his having a different kind of soul or spirit from the beast but in the fact that God has seen fit to provide for him a means of awakening from his death sleep. When one dies the spirit of life returns to God's keeping in the sense that it remains under his power and awaits the announcement of his will to be restored to the dead one. The man dies and remains dead until his life is restored to him.

Q' Will you kindly explain Eccl. 3:19-20? "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast; for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again." Do men die like the beasts?

Answer' From this passage it would appear that in some things man is no different from beasts. This seems very humbling to all who are not prepared to accept the Scriptural statements as the only authority on eschatology. Solomon, the wise man, was certainly in advance of the wise men of the present day. Our theology of today teaches that man is different from the beast in that the beast dies and ceases to exist, but that man does not cease to exist at death. On the contrary, popular theology declares that man becomes more alive after than he was prior to his decease. Solomon asserts that this view is without foundation in the word of God. It is not consistent with facts, nor is it in harmony with common sense. In verse 21 of this chapter he challenges the teaching that the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes downward. Verse 20 positively states that all go to the same place. Now we cannot think for a moment that the beasts go to heaven or to a place of torment; but we do know that they go to the death condition; and this is the state to which man goes also. This is in harmony with Gen. 3:19, where the sentence upon Adam was "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." The one thing which befalls man and beast is death. All are dependent on the same air that we breathe and both are alike subject to death under similar conditions. Man, however, is superior to the beast in that he has been provided with a finer organism and in that he has thinking and reasoning powers which the beast does not possess. In addition to this, man has been guaranteed a resurrection from the dead, because of the fact that Jesus has tasted death for every man (Heb. 2:9). Not until the Church is all selected and prepared to rule over the world will the blessing of life be given man.

Q' "If God is omniscient, knowing the end from the beginning, how could he repent of his course in creating man?" See Gen. 6:6.

Answer' The word "repent" means "to change the mind, or course of conduct, on account of regret or dissatisfaction with what has occurred." The question then is, did God change his mind (plan), or was it his course of conduct? We claim that, knowing the end from the beginning, God's mind could not be changed; hence "repent" in this text must signify change of conduct. That is, God did change his course of dealing with man because of man's wickedness, which grieved him, but he did not change his mind or plans, because these plans had from the very first recognized the corrupting and degrading tendency of sin, and provided (in purpose of mind) the Lamb of God- "slain from the foundation of the world" as the redemption price (Rev. 13:8; 17:8).

Q' Please explain Rom. 8:19-22.

Answer' Verse 20 shows that the whole human race was brought into a condition of depravity, condemnation, without being consulted, as expressed previously in Rom. 5:12. The reason God adopted this method was that he might have mercy upon all through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus (1 Tim. 2:6; Rom. 5:18). In view of this, God subjected the creation in Hope. Verse 21 shows that the creation is to be made free from this environment and heredity of decay which binds all, and given an opportunity of entering into that glorious freedom which the saints are experiencing by faith during this age. The human race is still groaning and travailing in pain (verse 22), and we understand that these conditions will remain until the selection of the Church is completed, and she is glorified and made like her Lord. In the meantime, as verse 19 declares, the creation is earnestly, though vaguely, expecting and waiting for the manifestation of these sons of God the Church or the seed of Abraham, who are to bless all the families of the earth. (See Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:16, 29).

Q' Would you kindly explain John 7:51: "Verily, verily I say unto you, if a man keep my saying he shall not see death."

Answer' The Scriptures speak of the complete and final end of all willful sinners those who sin against full light and knowledge as the second death. But the sorrowing and death conditions which the race experience now through Adam's sin are conditions which are to be graciously offset by the sacrifice of the great Redeemer "who gave himself a ransom for all." To all believers the "sayings" commands, and instructions of the Lord are of more import than daily food. Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life" (see Matt. 4:4). In God's reckoning, the consecrated believer passes from "death to life," because of faith in the Ransom sacrifice, and, if obedient to the will of God in Christ, shall not see death, in the absolute sense. Such only fall asleep in Christ (1 Cor. 15:18), waiting to be awakened in the resurrection. [HGL685] "The overcomers shall not be hurt in the second death." Abraham gladly accepted the Divine promises, and by faith saw the day of Christ (the great millennial day) and was glad, because to him it was the hope of life.

Q' Can you tell me what is the unpardonable sin referred to in the Bible?

Answer' The unpardonable sin is a sin which God declines to pardon or forgive a sin, therefore, which must be punished, must be expiated by the sinner. There may be said to be different degrees of unpardonable sin, however. An unpardonable sin is one that is committed against light and knowledge. All sins of weakness and ignorance are pardonable, because God has made provision for the forgiveness of these through the death of Christ. Since all of our weakness and ignorance came to us through the fault of our first parents, and since Jesus redeemed the world from the penalty of that transgression, therefore, every sin attributed to it alone is a pardonable sin. There are, however, what might be termed mixed sins, in which a measure of willfulness, knowledge, and intelligence combine with a certain measure of ignorance and weakness. For such sins there would be forgiveness to the extent of the weakness and ignorance, but punishment would be required to the extent of the knowledge and willfulness. A willful sin against clear light would bring the sinner under the sentence of that sin; namely the Second Death. Thus all sins traceable to the weaknesses inherited from Adam because of his fall are forgivable through the merit of Christ. This is effective now to those who believe on him, but in addition to this we have the assurance that he "gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time" (1 Tim. 2:5). Not so many have yet had an opportunity to exercise faith as we might suppose, for frequently the Jesus that has been preached has not been the Jesus of the Bible.

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