The National Labor Tribune, December 24, 1915


Cleveland, Ohio, December 20 Pastor Russell of Brooklyn preached here today in the I B S A Temple. As usual, he had a large audience and an attentive one. As usual, also, his discourse was out of the ordinary line. He took for his text the message of the angel at Jesus' birth: "Fear not; for, behold, I bring you Good Tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." (Luke 2:10) He said in part:

This prophecy has not been fulfilled as yet. Instead of peace and good will to men, we have war, savagery and other works of the flesh and of the Devil mentioned by St. Paul anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife. Not only have the prayers for peace not been heeded, but instead the war spirit is kindling and spreading from nation to nation, fulfilling the prediction of the Bible enveloping the world of mankind. The bitterness, hatred, ferocity, of the warring nations seems to increase daily. Magnified tales of ferocity are believed, and arouse corresponding bitterness and ferocity on either side. As we understand the Scriptures, the turmoil is only beginning most of the wailing and gnashing of teeth, most of the anguish and despair, suffering, sorrow and devastation, are ahead of us. With the cessation of the war the

Bible seems to predict the most gigantic revolution ever known and, following rapidly, a reign of lawlessness, anarchy, producing "a Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation." Dan. 12:1

Added to the physical distresses of the world, financial troubles impend in the midst of plenty. With every reason for prosperity the wheels of commerce are slow. The explanation given is loss of confidence grit; but not so. The world's financiers and merchant princes are as courageous as ever, but they have met with new conditions. The wealth of the world, once represented in money, is now represented in collateral, stocks and bonds. The war has made a demand for gold, unsettling values of collaterals.

Gold is disappearing becoming more valuable hourly. In the same proportion collaterals, stocks and bonds, become less valuable hourly; because of their plethora they are a drug on the financial market. The great insurance companies, the banks and all wealthy people have their reserve investments in these "securities." Additionally, the heavy losses of life in this war will be a serious financial blow to insurance companies. It is reasonably estimated that the fall of British bonds to one-half par has already made insolvent all the insurance companies of Great Britain. What must we expect as the war progresses toward anarchy?

As with every war, pestilential diseases must be expected, while interference with agriculture threatens famine in various parts. This is not an over-drawn picture, but a sober look behind the scenes.


"Hope thou in God!" In the midst of all these tribulations the world must learn more and more, until all know the lesson by heart, that earth's only hope is in God. This is one of the great lessons which God wishes all mankind to learn! For centuries men have boasted of what could and what could not be done of the world's financial institutions, insurance associations, scientific learning and general common sense. These, we were assured, were a part of an evolutionary system which some time in the future would make man so wise, so great, so efficient, that there [HGL779] would be no more wars, no more dyings, no more trouble. We were reputed to be approaching that grand climax.

Some of the "Peace! Peace!" sermons of even a year ago seem laughably foolish today. The great and the wise deserted the Bible as a foolish old book gotten up by those who were merely emerging from monkey condition. They must yet learn that the lesson recorded twenty-five centuries ago; namely, that the wisdom of their wise men has perished. (Isa. 29:14) They must learn the wisdom of men is foolishness with God, even as the Wisdom of God is foolishness with men.

By the time all shall have learned where to look for help in this great trouble, God's time will have come for giving the aid which He has provided for long centuries ago and promised in the Bible. The aid which God has provided is Messiah's Kingdom. Many have prayed, "Thy Kingdom come," who have failed to study the Message of that Kingdom. Many have thought that it had already come. Many others imagined that because in the past God has not exercised power and force in dealing with humanity therefore He will not do so in the future. The Bible, however, assures us that Messiah's Kingdom will be a forceful one. He will rule the nations "with a rod of iron." As a vessel of a potter "they shall be broken to shivers."

We have reached this time. It is the breaking and shaking processes foretold that, now beginning, are causing this Time of Trouble, which before it ends will be the greatest trouble ever known. The shaking, as we have already shown, will be social, political, financial and religious. The creeds, representing the monstrous fallacies engrafted upon the teachings of the Bible in the Dark Ages, will be shaken to pieces, and all the great institutions misnamed "churches" will be shaken with them. Only the one True Church will stand not the Church of England, not the Church of Rome, not the Church of Germany, not the Church of Russia, but the Church of God. It will include all saintly followers of Jesus of every nation and denomination; and it will exclude all others.


How glorious the hope that Messiah's Kingdom, backed by Divine power, will speedily set the world's affairs in order, bringing peace out of confusion, war, strife! Human strength weakened, human pride humbled into the dust, human hopes dashed, the world will be ready for the New Day the New Era. The Bible beautifully pictures it as the rising of the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His beams scattering the darkness, ignorance, superstition, sin, death, that have caused the night of sorrow never to be forgotten.

The Lord's people, awake and looking in the right direction, already perceive that we are in the dawning of the Millennium that the blessings which have come to the world during the past forty years are Millennial blessings, foregleams of still greater favors soon to be poured out. These Millennial blessings have not brought proper responses in human hearts. Instead of gratitude, the spirit of selfishness has begotten discontent, covetousness, which will shortly eventuate, as the Bible tells, with every man's hand against his neighbor and against his brother. Eze. 38:21; Zech. 8:10


But do the Scriptures contradict themselves? What did the Great Teacher mean when He declared, "I came not to send peace on the earth, but a sword"? (Matt. 10:34) He referred prophetically to the effect which His gracious Message of love and favor would produce in the world during the reign of Sin. He well knew that the Prince of Darkness would oppose all of His followers, as well as Himself. It was foretold that whosoever would live godly would suffer persecution; and so it has been. Eighteen centuries have proven it!

Our Lord sent forth His followers unarmed, like Himself, to be peacemakers, to be helpers, to "follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." He counseled His followers, "He that taketh the sword shall perish by the sword." But their Message of peace and love and the coming Kingdom which shall bless the whole world and fulfill the angelic prophecy of our text these things seemed to anger the world not merely the vicious, the ungodly, but the worldly professors of godliness who have schemes, plans and theories of their own to work out, which are contrary to the Gospel Message. The darkness, more or less mixed with selfishness, hateth the light, the Truth, the Love of God, neither cometh to the light, lest its deeds of darkness, selfishness, selfish ambition and hypocrisy be made manifest.

The Master knew what the effects of His Gospel Message would be in the world; and that only those who would compromise His Message could possibly live at peace that all who would be loyal and faithful to Him would be traduced, slandered, persecuted- "beheaded," literally or figuratively. His words, therefore, were a prophecy respecting the tribulations which all His faithful would surely have.

But more than this, his words, were a prophecy respecting the nations. What is it that has brought us to our present degree of civilized savagery? What is it that makes of every business corporation a buccaneer, seeking the destruction of every competing financial craft? What is it that has sharpened the wits of humanity to such an extent that the majority find it difficult to be honest, because they see so many opportunities for dishonesty, while it is impossible for lawmakers to make new laws with sufficient rapidity to keep pace with the intelligent methods of circumvention?

The doctrines of Christ are in a certain sense responsible for all this. The liberty wherewith Christ makes free His followers and the light which He and they let shine upon a darkened world, received into unsanctified hearts and minds, have given wisdom which, misapplied, we call cunning and craft. The proof of what we say is found in the fact that other nations than those which have received this reflected light of Christianity are still quite in the background. Only now, as Christian civilization in a perverted form is reaching these peoples, are they awakening and becoming competitors with so-called Christendom.


Notwithstanding the eighteen centuries of delay, our test as a prophecy will surely be fulfilled by and through the One whom the angels announced and whose birth is very generally cele-brated at this season. Many have gotten the [HGL780] wrong impression that our Redeemer has been waging an unsuccessful warfare for eighteen centuries against Satan, sin and death. But from the Great Teacher's own lips we learn that His Kingdom is not of this Age it belongs to the Age to come. The ruler of this world has been Satan, the Master declared the dominion of earth was given to man. But Satan, deceived our race, putting darkness for light, has become the real ruler, using humanity merely as his tools. Scripturally he is styled "the god of this world," and "the Prince of the world," or Age.

Perplexed and confused, many may ask, What, then, is the hope of the fulfillment of our text? We answer that our Master, who declared that He was not the Prince of this Age, declared also that His Kingdom will be introduced with power and great glory; and that, although its initial manifestation will be with clouds, darkness, and a Time of Trouble such as never before has been, nevertheless His Reign will be glorious, triumphant and eternal. "He shall reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet."

Immanuel's victory means the overthrow of sin the crushing of the Serpent's head. At the very beginning of the glorious Reign of Messiah Satan shall be bound, and following its close he shall be destroyed in the Second Death, together with all those who love unrighteousness, after they shall have had full opportunity for recovery from the snares of Sin and Death. Then, indeed, the whole world will proclaim the glory of God.


The Great King, who died, the Just for the unjust, eighteen centuries ago, that He might, judicially bring mankind back into harmony with God, is to be the great Restorer of all that was lost in Adam; and He will make all things new. Rev. 21:5

Everything appertaining to this great Plan of Salvation outlined in the Word of God is reasonable. The crucial testing of the elect Church is necessary in order that, as faithful and merciful priests of God and of Christ, associated with Him in His kingly glory, they may be God's instrumentality in succoring mankind from the fallen conditions which have resulted from six thousand years of sin and from the malignant influence of the Prince of

Darkness. The thousand years which the Bible stipulates as the period of Messiah's Reign is a period neither too long nor too short in which to accomplish the world's salvation.

Some one may say, if it has required eighteen centuries for the development of the Church, how much more time will be necessary for the uplifting of the world? But, we answer, it is not the Divine Purpose to uplift the world to spirit nature and glory, but rather to Restitution blessings and conditions. It is because of the high exaltation offered to the Church that such crucial testings of sacrificial obedience even unto death is required. With the Prince of Darkness bound and with the Sun of Righteousness rising with healing in its beams, the darkness of sin, crime and sorrow will soon flee away.

One century of such blessed influence upon the world will surely work wonders, bringing in also inventions, blessings and comforts as yet undreamed. Next will come the gradual awakening of all who have fallen asleep in death. They will come forth from the prison-house of death, as the Scriptures declare; they will come forth that they may be made acquainted with the true God, with His glorious Son, our Redeemer, and with the principles of righteousness in contrast with the principles of sin.

We cannot suppose that it will require the majority of men, under these conditions, to sit long counting the value of the blessings of everlasting life and Restitution proffered them. The upward move, resurrection, uplifting, regeneration, will go rapidly on; while meantime, generation after generation will come forth from the tomb and enjoy similar experiences. Finally all will have come forth; for the Love of God made this provision through the death of our Redeemer, who delighted to do the Father's will and who has already been rewarded gloriously with high exaltation to the Divine plane of glory, honor and immortality.


The attainment of the condition of good will amongst men will mean the attainment of human perfection. God is Love; and when our first parents were created an earthly image of God, love must have been the predominant quality of their characters. What we see of selfishness is largely a matter of heredity; and all of life's customs are in line with it, and continually increasing its hold upon us. But with the new King and the new Reign of Righteousness will come the glorious uplifting and transformation. Gradually, during the thousand years of Messiah's domination of the world, the evils of selfishness will be made apparent, and the beauties of holiness and love will be shown in contrast.

Restitution rewards will lift up out of sin and selfishness to holiness and love. Then, with love as the very essence of man's being, good will towards men will everywhere prevail; for the Divine Law, almost effaced through the reign of Sin, will be rewritten in the human constitution. That Law, as we know, is "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy strength; and thy neighbor as thyself."

Finally, dear friends, how glad we are that this is true! How glad we are that the terrible falsehoods palmed off on us during the Dark Ages respecting a God of hatred and a Hell of everlasting torture are not true! Messiah's Kingdom will be a Kingdom of Peace, notwithstanding the fact that it will be ushered in by a Time of Trouble.

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