1915 Convention Report Supplement


Pastor Russell delivered a characteristic and very interesting discourse from the text, "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" (Isa. 53:1) He said in part:

These prophetic words were used of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Prophet goes on to say, "He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see Him them is no beauty that we should desire Him." All of this was very true of our Savior as respects the Jewish view of Him. And the message that was given by Him was not generally believed. And His message is stiff not acceptable to many. Them is today "a form of godliness without the power," that is very popular; and this has been true for many centuries.

The name of Christ and the cross have been linked by many with the persecuting spirit, which Jesus never owned, never acknowledged. This class have never received Him, have never believed our report. They have been driven away by the intolerant, unchristian spirit and teaching of the many who professed the name of Christ. One would naturally expect, however, that the ones who would respect and receive the message that Jesus was the Savior, that God had sent His Son into the world, would have been the Jewish chief priest and other zealous religionists, the most prominent men in the Jewish nation. Surely they would say, "We are glad to receive God's Son whom He has long promised, One able to deliver us. Have we not realized our need of being delivered?" The Pharisees were especially the "holiness people" of the Jews, and one would think they would have received Him.

Our natural thought would be that thew would be in the right attitude of mind, would be waiting for Messiah to manifest Himself, and that when He came and spoke to them about the goodness of God and showed forth the power that the Father was exercising through Him, to heal the sick and raise the dead, they would see what wonderful blessings were theirs and would rejoice. But were they in this attitude? No, they were not. The Scriptures declare that "they hid, as it were, their faces from Him; He was despised and they esteemed Him not." This is the statement of our context.

We are looking for another kind of man, they said, "a great general, one that looks like Goliath of old. We do not want any such leader as this Jesus of Nazareth! He is too humble, to attentive to the poor and to sinners. He associates with the common people. None of the priests and Pharisees would do this. We would not want to be known as His followers. There is one Levite among this base lot that follow Him, a kind of renegade, a tax gatherer, and a lot of ignorant fishermen. He is not the Messiah that we have been expecting. When the real Messiah comes, He will be a great man!"


So Jesus "came unto His own (people) and His own received Him not. But to as many as received Him, to them gave He the power (privilege) to become sons of God." (John 1:12) Who was it that received Jesus? Who believed the report? And did He have any good report to give? Oh, [HGL784] yes! He reported that God is love, that God was now ready to graciously bless the Jewish people, that He had come to seek and save that which was lost, to give His life a Ransom for many, and that He was now calling as many as were appreciative to become members of His Bride, to be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Himself, to bless the world-to fulfill the promise made to Abraham. The majority would not believe. They said, "He is not the kind of man that could ever fulfill that promise."

Why did they say this? Because they were not in the right condition of heart. They were proud, selfish, self-conceited. They said, "We are the great nation of the Jews' True, we are now under the Roman yoke, but our nation will be very great some day; God's promise will be fulfilled in us. When Messiah comes, He will soon deliver us from the yoke of Rome!" They had plenty of pride, but not the qualities that God required-meekness, humility, teachableness, gentleness, brotherly-kindness, love.


But those who received Jesus had to a large extent these qualities that were so essential. Let us look at the personnel of the Apostles. Take Peter, James and John, who had never had experiences to make them think they were great men. They were poor fishermen and were naturally humble. This was nothing to their credit, for they had nothing to be proud of. They were men of strong character, but were unlearned and were of the common people. They were meek. There is a blessing in being meek. "Blessed are the meek," and they must cultivate that quality more and more.

How meek Jesus was! One might think that Jesus had some excuse for being dignified and rather autocratic in

His manner. But not so; He associated with the common people. He might have said, "You do not know how great I am. I have come from Heavenly glory. You should not treat Me as an ordinary person." But there was no suspicion of pride in His actions. Meekness and lowliness of heart were characteristics of Jesus. The Report, the Message He gave, was calculated to reach the ears of the meek.

So we find this in the case of one of these, Nathaniel. He was a true Israelite, looking for the light, for the Truth. When one of his brethren who had just been called to follow Jesus said to him, "We have found the Messiah," Nathaniel at first was skeptical. He did not treat him arrogantly, but was ready to be convinced. When Philip said, "Come and see," he went. He had been in prayer under a fig tree. He desired to be led of God. This was just the right spirit, just what Jesus desired. So Nathaniel came to Jesus, trusting in the Lord, saying, "I am going to keep my eyes and ears open and see." As he drew near, Jesus said, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Now, thought Nathaniel, perhaps that is just meant to catch me. How do you know me, and what do you know about me? he asked. That was a very proper question. Jesus answered, "When thou wast under the fig tree I saw thee." That was enough, he was convinced now. The power that could know him and see him under the fig tree was a Divine power. No one was around when he knelt under that fig tree. Here was proof positive given to him that Jesus was the Messiah.

Jesus wanted disciples who had faith in God, and therefore He commended Nathaniel for the prayer. "Who hath believed our report" 'our doctrines, our teachings? The Nathaniel class, those who promptly believe and act, on proper evidence. See what a noble band Jesus' followers were-not noble because they were worldly great; they were not Cardinals, Bishops or Reverends, not great from any standpoint except in the qualities which Jesus approved'loyalty to God, confidence in His promise, a meek looking to Him for guidance. In this sense they were peculiar, different from the remainder of the people.


In seeking those who would be Christ's disciples, we are not to try to make it too easy for them. Tell them rather of His arrangement- "If any man will come after Me, Let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." It will mean the surrender of his own will. Sit down and count the cost, says our Lord. If you think you have too much to give, do not give it at all. The Lord would not accept any such disciple. How different is this from the preaching we generally hear nowadays! Practically all the preaching of our day seems to be an effort to get people to come into bondage which they do not comprehend, and then ten them, after they are in, "You cannot get out of the church now or you will go to Hell."

The proper advice is, "Do not start to be a Christian until you understand what it means and have carefully weighed the matter." It is a great proposition. You are dealing with God. To be Christ's disciple will mean the surrender of everything you have, yes, everything, even your life, if you are to fulfill the terms of your covenant. Your new will must govern everything under your control. Do not put your hand to the plow and then look back. This course was characteristic of the Lord and His disciples, and of those who believed their report. They have always been of humble mind, also, not many great, noble, wise, learned or rich. Pretty hard on us, isn't it? No matter; if we get that "prize" it will change us from being of the mean things. And that change is now going on in all of us.

I have had people tell me things about themselves that perhaps they had never told others, people who wondered if it was possible for them to be accepted of the Lord. They realized that they had been truly mean, that they had done many things they should not have done. They wanted me to tell them if that would be a bar to their getting into the Kingdom, if they should now give their hearts fully to the Lord. What did I tell them? "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." Ah, there is something in God's Message that is not paralleled in all the world' It reaches a special class'the "down and outs."

Jesus appealed especially to these and said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." That means something. That is the Message of the Lord, and it appeals to the right class. "Who hath believed our report?" Many who have been heavy-laden with sin, many who have been weary and burdened with doctrines of devils, with strife and weakness.

They heard the voice of Jesus say, Come unto Me and rest. [HGL785] and they came to Him as they were, and they were received and blessed and given life and peace, just as we were when we came.

Sometimes the little all that is given to God is meaner and sometimes less mean, but with Him even the meanest is acceptable if the heart is honest and sincere. "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God," urges St. Paul, "that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." How are they holy? They are holy because God counts us complete in Christ. It is not that we are really holy in ourselves, but Jesus' merit covering us constitutes us holy in God's sight. Jesus makes up for each one exactly what we lack.

This is the class to whom the Arm of the Lord is revealed. What is this Arm? The Arm of the Lord represents the power of the Lord. The arm has long been a symbol of power. God's Arm, or Power, was revealed in Christ. God purposes to bless the whole world, to lift all mankind up out of degradation and sin back to Himself. Oh, what Power! That will be Power indeed, to make the whole benighted world know God! And He will do this through Christ Jesus. Is this Power revealed to you? Yes, to your eye of faith, if you are His.

Even back at Jesus' First Advent this power was revealed to the natural senses to some extent as the people saw Jesus heal the sick and lame, cast out devils, and raise the dead. But it was only "the finger of God" then. It was merely a little of Divine Power. 'Men Jesus told them of the power He would Himself manifest in the future that He would bring them all from their graves. "All these things did Jesus, and manifested beforehand His glory." How many people really saw the power of the Lord? Only the one class-the teachable class. How did the others view the matter? With their prejudiced, blinded minds they said, "He casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils." If the heart be wrong, even the power and glory of the Lord may be misread.


We have come down to the time now when the Lord's blessing is nearly due to be poured out upon all flesh. God's true saints may now have a great deal of knowledge of God's Plan. The Arm of the Lord is being revealed to us more fully than ever before. It takes great faith to believe that God's Arm will eventually be revealed to all mankind, but we are getting the eyes of our understanding opened. Not everybody as yet has the eye to see-only the few. "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear." It is only the blessed ones who now see and hear.

It requires something more than a natural mind to discern these things. Remember what our Lord said to Peter when he declared his faith in Jesus as the Messiah: "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but My Father which is in Heaven." (Matt. 16:17) Why was he able to understand the Message of Jesus? Because he was honest at heart. He had the hearing ear, not merely the outward ear. He heard with his heart. So Jesus intimated that all those who received Him had the right kind of ears, and that Satan had blinded the minds of the others, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine unto them.

We have 1,600,000,000 people in the world today. How many of these has Satan blinded? 1,500,000,000, and a good many more, some partly blinded and some completely. Our own eyes are not yet completely opened. "I pray for you," says the Apostle Paul-not for the world but for the Church- "that the eyes of your understanding opening (a progressive work, the Apostle inti-mating that with the Church our eyes are opening wider and wider), ye may be able to comprehend what are the lengths and breadths and heights and depths, and to know the love of God, which passeth knowledge." Is God's love so great as this? Oh, yes! Satan does not want us to see how good God is, because the more we see of God's love the more it will transform us.

Most people are skeptical on this subject. They will say, "I do not understand the matter. I cannot see how the Lord can ever recover the dead if they are really dead." They do not see the Arm of the Lord. God does not want any to see it now except those who are in the right condition of heart. None but the right kind are ready to receive the Lord's Message. If we are being blessed of Him thus, let us show forth His praises. Our enemies blink their eyes as they look toward the light. It blinds them. They say all manner of evil against those who let the light shine.


We should not be surprised at this. If this class could not see the light that shone from Jesus, how could they see our light? If you suffer persecution because of this, the glory of God is resting upon you. That means that you are having added blessing. If a little persecution is good for you, more persecution is better, if you are able to bear it. But, one may say, we are living in a civilized time. We will not have still more persecution, will we? Yes, I think so. We have been looking into the Lord's Word for some time, and have seen that the Prophet Elijah is a type of the Church in its earthly experiences. The taking up of Elijah was evidently designed to be an illustration of the taking away of the last members of The Christ from the earth.

We do not know just how our taking away is coming, but we can say that it is not for us to live ten, twenty or thirty years, and die in the ordinary way; for then it would be some time until the Kingdom would be established. The Lord's people of our day, waiting for the time of their deliverance, first had the date 1874 in their minds as the probable date of the glorification of the last living members of the Church. That was the due time for the Lord's Second Coming, as pointed out in recent years from Bible chronology. But the Church was not taken then. Then they watched for 1878. This was a date of importance, but it was the awakening of the saints who slept. They were awakened spirit beings, to be forever with the Lord.

From this time on those of the faithful ones who remained were not to sleep, but the moment of their death would be the moment of their "change." Why? Because the Kingdom was from that date in process of setting up. The Lord deferred the organization of the Kingdom class until our day. He let His saints sleep until the Morning of the New Dispensation. We have been in that New Day ever since the end of 1874. We have not seen visions nor heard voices, but we have the testimony of the Bible, which is sufficient that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished. What the [HGL786] Bible says is that we who are alive and remain at the Coming of Christ will not need to sleep, and so at the moment of death each one will receive his "change."

It will not be as with the world, who will be brought gradually to human perfection during the Millennium, but our change to be perfect spirit beings will be instantaneous, "in the twinkling of an eye," as it was with the sleeping saints' "sown in weakness, raised in power; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown an animal body, raised a spiritual body." This process of change has been going on since 1878, but not very many of the living saints have had that experience. Comparatively few have been changed, it would seem.

I do not know all of the Lord's saints; "The Lord knoweth them that are His." He may have a good many that I do not know personally. But He has given us a standard for estimating. (See I Thess. 5:1-6; Dan. 12:9 -10). Let us look at the picture of Elijah. It seems to be very forceful, meaningful. In his case the Lord took him away into the heavens, not into Heaven. Jesus said, "no man hath ascended into Heaven." He was the Forerunner. It was not then due time, for the Church, and Elijah was not of the spiritual class. God wished to make of him a type of those who would go into the Heavenly condition at the close of the Gospel Age, when the resurrection of the Church was due. Therefore Elijah was taken up into the heavens and out of human sight. If we draw a parallel to the case of Elijah, we may suppose that many of the Lord's saints now living will go together. Where will we go? To a meeting with the Lord in the air. Air signifies spiritual power, just as Satan is now "the prince of the power of the air," the one who exerts spiritual power as "the ruler of the darkness of this world." God's spiritual power is to be manifested to the world through Christ and the glorified Church.


The experience of Elijah on the day he was to be taken up seems to symbolize something that we are soon to expect in our own experiences. We had thought that when the time would come, the parallel of the anointing of Jesus, perhaps that would be the time when the Church would be glorified. But it was not. It was the date of our Lord's Second Advent. Then we came to the spring of 1878, a parallel to the resurrection of Jesus. We said to ourselves, "What should we expect here?" Would not this be the time for the Church's change? But the living saints were not taken then, but we saw later that that was the date for the awakening of the sleeping saints.

Then we looked a little further, to 1881, which corresponded to the opening of the door of the Gospel to the Gentiles, to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert to receive the anointing of the Spirit. Ile Church was not taken there, but it was the date for the close of the general Gospel Call of this age, as we afterward saw. The only date remaining that was pointed out in Bible chronology was October 1st, 1914, approximately. We watched with interest for that date. We expected that the Church would be taken then. The time came. The great war broke out which the Scriptures had shown to be due at that time. But the Church was not glorified. We had merely drawn an inference. But we are still going on rejoicing in the Lord. We never were rejoicing more. We are not disappointed, we wish God's will to be done.

But there is a correspondency to the experiences of Elijah in all this, as we now see. On the day of his taking away he was sent by the Lord to four different places, first one then another, but he was not taken at any one of them. He was sent to Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho, then Jordan. After Elijah, and Elisha who accompanied him, had crossed Jordan, they went on, talking as they walked. Where were they going now? No place was designated. God had not spoken of any other place. Elijah was simply waiting, just as we are doing now. Then, behold, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated them, and a whirlwind caught Elijah away into the heavens. Will the correspondency come to us this year? I do not know. God has kindly veiled our eyes. As long as He takes care of us and gives us plenty of spiritual food we are content. I know of no others who are having so good a time. Others in general are worrying and fearing.


We have much encouragement from the Lord, talking about His Plan, getting more like Christ, more ready for the Kingdom, each day. The next thing to look for is not another date. The next thing is the "chariot." I understand it is to be a chariot of fire, a chariot of trouble. But we wish to be carried to the Lord in His chariot. Elisha, was left behind. We do not want to be left behind. We do not want, either, to do anything rash in order to get into the chariot. We are not needlessly to bring on persecution. Jesus would not tempt God by jumping from the pinnacle of the Temple. Let us keep right on doing the Lord's business waiting for the chariot, trusting that the Lord will take us in. I believe the chariot is not very far away. I want to keep my heart in the condition to get into it. You want to keep yours in condition. We are to have richly those fruits of the Spirit of which the Apostle Peter says, "If these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord, and so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

But the chariot first only separated between Elijah and Elisha. Then comes the whirlwind. That is another way that God pictures trouble, the letting loose of the winds of strife. The whirlwind took Elijah away. We are expecting some kind of fiery trouble soon that will separate between the Lord's people'the "chariot." When the time comes, we will know what it is, just as they knew back there. Then will come the whirlwind. I think this will mean our death. Did we not all consecrate ourselves to death? Yes, if we are truly the Lord's. Then we are not to be surprised nor sorrowful when it comes. Whatever "chariot" and "whirlwind" may be sent, we will be glad and rejoice, because it will mean our journey Home to die Heavenly Kingdom, and into the presence of our Lord. Let us, therefore, be faithful, dear friends, until our deliverance shall come.

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