The National Labor Tribune, November 19, 1906

Pastor C. T. Russell addressed a large audience at Carnegie Hall, Allegheny, Sunday. His discourse was the fifth of a series on the authenticity of the Bible, from the text, "And thou, O tower of the flock.., unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion" – the Kingdom. Mic 4:8

Amongst the many internal evidences proving the inspiration of the Bible, by the harmony of its teachings through various pens during thousands of years, is its persistent testimony respecting the Kingdom of God. The record of Genesis is that Adam was created in the image and likeness of God and given the dominion of earth. David prophetically repeats the story of man's original endowment with the dominion of the earth and all the lower creatures, saying, "Thou hast made him but a little less than angels and hast crowned him with honor and glory; thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands." (Psa. 8:5,6)

The superiority of man over the lower creation is intimated in the narrative of how all the creatures passed before Adam and received their names – evidently being fully under his control, not merely by brute force, but by that subtle mental force which is so nearly obliterated in our day through the fall, but which to some extent is manifested still.

Only occasionally do we hear of or see a great horse tamer able to control the most ferocious horse by some telepathic power unknown to the majority of the race. Occasionally also we see some who have extraordinary power in the training of wild animals, serpents, etc. This greater power of some more than others is manifested daily in all the little events of life, the controlling influence as respects men, horses, dogs, etc. In general, however, this first dominion of earth is gone. One of the losses sustained is that man, the original king of earth, has lost his imperial power and must defend himself now with superior weapons. We have no intimation of ferocity of the beasts against the human family for nearly two thousand years after the fall. Then the strife against the wild beasts, under the leadership of Nimrod the mighty hunter, was the beginning of strife amongst men, which gradually led up to the mighty wars which the world has since witnessed, the culmination of which we believe will be very shortly witnessed in the great time of trouble and anarchy with which the present dispensation will close, and which will prepare for ushering in of the world to come, the Millennial Kingdom, the reign of Christ, the blessing of the reign of peace.


The Scriptural narrative, after pointing out man's loss of life and loss of the dominion of earth, consistently points out also the necessity for a general redemption – first of all, man's redemption from the power of the tomb, from death; and secondly the redemption of his inheritance, the dominion of earth, "all that was lost."

Our Redeemer at his first advent, we are told, came to seek and to save that which was lost – man and his domain. We have already seen how the man Christ Jesus became the ransom for the man Adam, giving a life for a life and this purchase of Adam's race bought with it all the rights and privileges and honors and dignities, which were his through the fall. Thus the Apostle sums up the work of our Lord Jesus, declaring to us that what God's people already enjoy of the holy Spirit of promise is the "earnest (payment) of our inheritance until the deliverance of the purchased possession." (Eph. 1:14)

Everything that was purchased by the great Logos, the Son of God – who by taking our nature became our kinsman – all this is to be in God's due time, we are informed, restored to mankind. Thus the Bible account opens with the narrative of our loss of Paradise and of life and of the dominion of earth, and concludes in Revelation with the symbolical pictures of Paradise restored to all the worthy of the race through Him who loved us and bought us with His precious blood.

Our text calls this feature to our attention, referring to Christ as the "tower of the flock," the strong one in whom the Lord's people trust. It assures us that the dominion shall come to him – the first dominion, the Adamic dominion, the lost dominion, shall come to him because by the grace of God he has redeemed Adam and all that was lost. "He came to seek and to save that which was lost," and has already paid the ransom price, and during the Millennial age that which was truth incurred by his sacrifice will be fully recovered and delivered to the worthy ones of the race. Matt. 18:11


When our eyes open to the matter we see readily that the central theme of the Old Testament prophecies is the restoration of this original kingdom lost by Adam's disobedience. This is the substance of the great Oath Bound Covenant made to Abraham. "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

This [NS267] promise was understood by Abraham and his posterity to mean dominion, law, authority over the world, such authority being recognized as necessary if the world would be uplifted from present degradation and brought back into harmony with the Creator.

We are not, however, to suppose that Abraham or others of the ancients understood the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the great salvation which God proposes, for these were not then made known to the children of men, but were still a part of the hidden mystery since made known through the Gospel. Nevertheless the entire story of Abraham's posterity was in line with this promise made to him – a waiting for and hoping for the Kingdom, the first dominion; a waiting therefore for the great King or Messiah who, by the grace of God, would exercise the necessary authority and establish Israel as his co-laborers and associates in the work of ruling and blessing the world.

Not only were these promises before the minds of the people, but in various ways the Lord gave them illustrative promises respecting the Kingdom hopes. First of all, he gave them the judges – being invisible, being their King, and they were thus his representatives for the training and instruction of the people. But rebelling against these, desiring to have a king in their midst who therefore would have greater authority, the Lord established through Samuel the kingdom of David and his successors, each one of whom the Israelites understood to be a representative of Jehovah, who was still really their King. Thus we find it written that David sat upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord, and again that Solomon sat upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord, in the room or stead of his father David.

It was God's Kingdom that was recognized – not his kingdom yet in power over the nations, but merely so far his Kingdom or rule in the one nation, Israel. At the same time the Lord through His prophets sent messages to the people of Israel, frequently condemning the course taken by the kingdoms who represented the divine will, promising that Messiah would restore the law-givers as at first and the judges as at the beginning, and that in him a blessing would extend to the world in general, that he should be a light unto the heathen then also as well as unto Israel. By and by the Lord took away from the earth the typical kingdom of the house of David. He allowed that nation to come under subjection to the four universal empires which, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar, still continue in a divided form to bear rule over all the earth. These are called Gentile kingdoms, or kingdoms of this world, and the Scriptures assure us that in due time all the kingdoms of the world shall pass to and come under the control of the Kingdom of God's dear Son.

At the time of the discontinuance of the typical line of David's descendants – the time of the annulling of the typical Kingdom – we note the remarkable utterance of the Lord through the prophet. Addressing Israel in connection with the overthrow of the last king, he says of Zedekiah, "0 thou profane and wicked prince, whose time is come that iniquity should have an end: Remove the diadem and take off the crown: this shall not be the same... I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more until he come whose right it is; and I will give it to him." (Eze. 21:25)

Here we have again clearly set forth the Messianic Kingdom as the great antitype, the real Kingdom of God. Various other prophecies delineate the great blessings that flow from that Kingdom. No wonder, then, that the people of Israel, who had waited for centuries for the fulfillment of this promise, were in expectation of a Messiah and hoping for a Kingdom. Thus at the time that our Lord was born we read that "all men were in expectation of Messiah," and it was in accord with this that our Lord sent forth the message, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand, Repent and

It seems remarkable that in our day this subject of the Kingdom of God should be so completely overlooked by the Lord's people in general, when, every time we refer to the words of our Lord, we should be struck with his frequent references to the Kingdom, the Kingdom, the Kingdom. Not only were the disciples sent forth to announce the Kingdom, and himself as the King, but a large proportion of our Lord's parables related to the Kingdom, and illustrated various features connected with it and its establishment.

These were in the nature of prophecies and were stated in parabolic form, because they were not due to be understood in clearness by the people in general, but were only intended for the consecrated disciples. As our Lord once said in answering a query, "To you it is given to know of the mystery of the Kingdom of God but unto outsiders these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see and not perceive; and hearing they may hear and not understand." Mark 4:11

The Kingdom that was preached to the Jews was the privilege of being associated with Messiah as subordinate kings, princes, priests, in the great work that the Kingdom was to accomplish in the blessing of the whole world. We all know the result of that preaching, that not many received it, only a few; and that the Lord in so many words cast aside that nation which had previously been his peculiar people saying, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say [NS268] unto you Ye shall see me no more until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Matt. 23:38, 39

But although the nation of Israel was rejected from being associates with Messiah in the Kingdom work so long promised, the divine plan was not by any means changed or altered. The Lord accepted those Jews who were Israelites indeed to become the nucleus of his Kingdom, and sent forth through them as his ambassadors a message to all the world who should have ears to hear and hearts to obey, making a general invitation to joint-heirship in the Kingdom to all who would desire to become his disciples, assuring us in the meantime that in all there would be but a little flock to whom it would be the Father's good pleasure to give the Kingdom. Luke 12:32

This message of the Kingdom the apostles took up: The apostle Peter points out that, in addition to the remnant of Israel found worthy of the Kingdom privileges and blessings, God was about to visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name – to be adopted into the divine family, to become heirs with God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ in the inheritance incorruptible and undefiled. (Acts 15:14)

The Apostle Paul still more perspicuously points out and indicates that Israel's rejection of Messiah was not a matter unforeseen by God. He quotes from the prophets, especially Isaiah, to show that the Lord has foretold that Israel would reject Messiah, and that the chief part of the divine promises and favor would pass from the nation of Israel, and that the elect class would be found in every kindred, people and tongue to constitute members in this heavenly Kingdom class. On the subject he says, "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it and the rest were blinded." (Rom. 11:7)

He tells us that this blindness which came there upon natural Israel is not to be perpetual but temporary – that as soon as the elect or Kingdom class shall have been completed from all nations, peoples, kindreds, and tongues, then Israel again shall come into divine favor with the rest of the world, and be participators in the great blessing promised through the seed of Abraham to all the families of the earth.


Our Lord's words can only be understood from this Kingdom standpoint. He declares that none can be his disciples unless they take up their cross to follow him, counting the cost and despising the shame, and forsaking houses, lands, parents and children and all things, even life itself, if this might stand in the way of their covenant to follow his example, to walk in his steps. What he meant was that those who would constitute the Kingdom class, those who would sit with him in his throne, must thus be associated with him in the good fight of faith and love and self-sacrifice in overcoming the obstacles of this present evil world, and thus the Apostle declares, "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him," and again he declares that it is our privilege to be "heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, if so be we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together with him." Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12

The common thought that our Lord meant that only the disciples who would take up their cross and follow him would be saved from eternal torment, or from destruction of the second death, is entirely erroneous, inconsistent with facts and the Scriptures, as well as inconsistent with reason. It is only when we see that the peculiar work of this Gospel age is the selection of the Kingdom class, that we can see the necessity for the special fiery trials that shall try all those who will be counted worthy of a share in that Kingdom. The Apostle Peter evidently understood the matter, for on one occasion he said to the Lord, referring to himself and the others of the apostleship, "Lo, we have left all and followed thee; what, therefore, shall we have?" [Mark 10:28] The Master answered that in the regeneration time to come, in the world's time of regeneration, the Millennial times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, those twelve apostles should sit upon twelve thrones, judging or ruling amongst the twelve tribes of Israel, who at that time, we are assured, will again be in the prominence under divine favor and at the head of the nations.

Elsewhere the Lord assures us that not only the apostles but all who love him more than they love houses and lands, parents or children, self or any other creature, shall thus be marked as overcomers, as his faithful ones, and his promise is, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne." Rev. 3:21


Not only did our Lord indicate that his followers would constitute the little flock to whom it would be the Father's good pleasure to give the Kingdom specified through the Abrahamic promise, but additionally he taught us that this would be a part of the central theme of our hearts at all times – the Kingdom. It should be so prominent in all of our anticipations of the future that whenever we pray to the Father it should constitute the very center and essence of our expressions of faith and hope and trust, saying, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." [Matt. 6:10]

Alas! How many of the Lord's people during [NS269] the past eighteen centuries have uttered this prayer thoughtlessly, carelessly, not giving due weight to the words, and therefore not praying properly from the heart; and the difficulty seems to be that they have lost sight of this fundamental teaching of the Word of God respecting the Kingdom of God's dear Son. Col 1:13


Some, in their confusion of thought on this subject, imagine that it is a kingdom to which we are to go; but our Lord and all the testimonies of the Word indicate that it is a Kingdom which is to come, and whose appointed times and seasons for establishment are in the Father's hand, and that it is to be established at the second coming of the Son of God in power and great glory. With this thought the various prophecies agree, pointing to a particular time when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep, when the knowledge of the Lord would be so universal that there would be no need for one to say to another, Know thou the Lord, because all would know him. Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34

Daniel the Prophet pictures the time of the setting up of this kingdom. In one of his prophecies he shows the time of the first advent of Messiah, and how he was cut off in death, but not on his own account, but for our sins. But he proceeds to tell us how, when present Gentile governments shall have run their course, when Gentile times shall have expired – and his prophetic periods covering this point we believe end in 1914 A.D. – then it tells us, in harmony with our text, that the first dominion shall come to the great Tower of the flock, to Christ. In harmony with the statement made to Zedekiah, the time will then have come when the overturning, overturning, overturning of Israel without a king, without a law-giver, should be accomplished, and the dominion shall be given to him whose right it is, to him who redeemed father Adam and all of his race, and who redeemed also or purchased all of Adam's rights, privileges, dignities and authority, the dominion of earth.


We will leave for another occasion the Bible's portrayal of the glorious conditions which will prevail amongst men during the Millennial age, under the operation of the Kingdom of God's dear Son, in which the elect Church of this Gospel age, as his Bride, the Lamb's wife and joint-heir, will be associated with him in the blessing of all the families of the earth. Suffice it now to say that to those who have given the subject careful thought and investigation, the evidences seem clear that the prophesied seven times, or 2,520 years of Gentile dominion of the world, is nearly at its close.

If this period of "Gentile Times" began with Nebuchadnezzar at the time of the overthrow of God's typical kingdom, when the prophet declared that it was overturned until he should come whose right it is, and if that event occurred in the year 606 B.C., it follows that the whole period of Gentile dominion will expire in October, 1914 A.D., according to the accepted chronology of the world. How in this matter also the Scriptures forestatement is borne out by history!

The four universal empires delineated by the prophet have had their day, and we are now living in what the prophet designates the days of the feet, the toes of Daniel's image, and soon, according to the prophet, the whole image of earthly government is to be wrecked. Other Scriptures show us that the wreck is coming through the uprising of the people in anarchy, "Every man's hand against his neighbor." (Zech. 8:10)

Looking out we see the spirit of selfishness and strife on the increase, and it seems everyway probable that the ensuing nine years will bring so-called Christendom to social, political and financial destruction. The prophet pictures this as a stone, cut out of the mountain without hands, and smiting the image on the feet. (Dan. 2:45)

He explains that this stone is the Kingdom of God – the little flock of which Christ is the Head, and which is to be glorified when the last member shall have been selected arid polished and glorified. Although the stone Kingdom itself will be spiritual, invisible to men, it will be the real power which will bring about the crisis in human affairs. If this were all of the story it might well be left untold, but this is but the prelude.

The grand climax of that trouble, according to the prophet and all the apostles, will be the humbling of the world to such a degree that they will be ready for God's kingdom, which will ultimately begin its rule. This Daniel shows by picturing the little stone as growing until it fills the whole earth. So during the Millennial age the Lord's Kingdom, originally only the elect few, will greatly increase in numbers as mankind comes to appreciate the blessings of righteousness and give their hearts to the Lord in consecration. For that glorious epoch and its glorious work let us continue to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven," and let us more and more realize that this Kingdom promise is another of the evidences, of the proofs, of the homogeneousness of the Word of God.


The National Labor Tribune, December 10, 1905


Elmora, Pa., December 10 – Pastor Russell of Allegheny, Pa., preached here this afternoon and evening. His discourse in the afternoon, reputed to be an antidote for infidelity, was entitled, "To Hell and Back, Who Are There? Hope for the Return of Many of Them."

We report the evening discourse from the text, "He shall receive an hundredfold now in this present time, and in the world to come eternal life." Mark 10:30

The context tells us that Jesus had been explaining the difficulties and hindrances attending the Kingdom of heaven class and that these difficulties especially bar the way of the rich and influential and learned, in harmony with the Apostle's words, Not many wise, not many great, not many learned hath God chosen, but the poor of this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of the Kingdom. (1 Cor. 1:26; Jas. 2:5)

The Apostles were astonished at this, for in their day as in ours the wealthy and learned were regarded as the special representatives of religion. The thought that not many of these would gain an entrance to the Kingdom class caused the unlearned and fishermen, who had become the Lord's followers, to query respecting what opportunities they would have if the rich, the learned, the influential, the outwardly religious would have so poor a show. Our text is part of our Lord's reply. Peter's remark was, "We have left all and followed thee," which implied how such sacrificing would be dealt with. Our Lord replied, "Verily I say unto you there is no man, who has left houses or brethren, sisters or father or mother or children or lands for my sake and the Gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold in this time, and in the world to come, eternal life." [Mark 10:29, 30]


The Bible records here seem at first to present the teaching of numerous Sunday School superintendents and teachers who effect that a consecration to God brings worldly influence and wealth an hundredfold. It is usual in our day to point to the affluent business men and bankers, who are generally members in some of the nominal churches, as corroborations of this thought – bright and shining examples of how the Lord blesses those who become church members.

But such ideals are often shattered in this our day, as bank irregularities, defalcations or losses or exposures or insurance investigations disclose the fact that much of the wealth of the world is secured in a manner which the whole world recognizes as disreputable, dishonest, and certainly far from the standard of the Golden Rule which our Master laid down. And when we hear the Lord's word assuring us that not many wise, not many learned, not many rich, not many influential will enter the Kingdom at all, and that the few of them who do enter will come through great tribulation and difficulties, we see that our Lord's words in respect to the hundredfold blessings of this present time can not refer to earthly wealth.


This thought is confirmed by the Apostle's statement that those regarding whom he inquired had left all to become the followers of Jesus in doing the Father's will, and our Lord's word also confirms the same thought. It is not those who have accumulated houses and lands, but those who have left them for the Lord's sake and for the Gospel's sake – for the privilege of giving a faithful witness to the Truth – it is this class that is to have an hundredfold more in this present time. But bow can we leave these earthly things and earthly privileges and comforts and yet have an hundredfold more of them? Well, in order to understand this matter thoroughly we must experience it:

(1) We must leave or forsake earthly things, surrendering them to the Lord, making a full consecration of all before we come into the position where he will give us the hundredfold in return. Not many are ready or willing to make such a consecration of their earthly all, and not many, therefore, are in line to receive the hundredfold blessing. The few who do take up their cross and forsake earthly advantage and seek chiefly the Kingdom of God, these alone can understand fully respecting the hundredfold of the Lord's blessing. Our Lord did not mean that we would have an hundredfold houses for every one forsaken, but he did mean that we would have an hundredfold more of blessing, comfort, joy, in our sacrificing of these earthly interests than if we had held fast to them. The hundredfold blessing consists largely in the hopes which are begotten in our hearts through the divine promises, which the Apostle terms exceeding great and precious promises by which we may obtain the divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4)

These hopes and promises are so glorious that all earthly things fade into insignificance in comparison with them, so that each one of this class may be able to say with the Apostle of old, respecting the sacrificed things of an earthly character, I count all things but loss.. .that I may win Christ and be found in him. (Philip. 3:8,9)

I count these [NS271] things not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. (Rom. 8:18)

I forget the things that are behind and am pressing on to the things before – for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philip. 3:13-14)

These heavenly glories which belong to the future are made so real, so precious to the truly consecrated, that they more than fill the losses and sacrifices of this present time an hundredfold.


In all denominations of Christians there are properly some sincere ones of the consecrated class described in our text: some whose hearts are not set upon earthly homes or friendships or attachments of any kind, but set upon the heavenly things, the things above; some who are not living for the things of the present time, but for the life and glories which the Lord has promised us in the future. The mass of Christians of all denominations constitute the nominal Church, and here and there amongst the many in all denominations are found the few, the "little flock," whose condition is described in our text – who have forsaken all earthly interests and hopes and advantages and have voluntarily and gladly cast in their lot with him who was rich and for our sakes became poor; him who was despitefully u5ed and persecuted for righteousness' sake; him who laid down his life for the Truth and the brethren in accordance with the divine will; him who went about doing good. (2 Cor. 8:9; John 15:20)

All such, whoever and wherever they may be, are the Lord's jewels, his little flock, his Bride class, the members of his "body."

While a larger number may constitute the general household of faith, these are God's very elect who, when their trials shall have been passed successfully, shall constitute the Church of glory, and will during the Millennial age be God's agents, through whom blessing shall flow to all the families of the earth. It is to this class, this little class of followers in the footsteps of Jesus, that the Lord assures an hundredfold more in this present time. And they get it. Not only do they get an hundredfold more in this present time, more joy and blessing in fellowship with the Lord and the brethren, but in the Lord's providences they literally have brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers and homes more than an hundredfold, for wherever these may meet one another they are recognized by each other as being of the same spirit; the same mind of Christ dwells in them richly, and, abounding, manifests itself, so that, as the Apostle said of some in his day, they need not letters of introduction to one another, but can very quickly discern the spirit each is of. And in proportion as they grow in the spirit of the Master will they grow in fellowship of spirit toward all who are truly his, all the pilgrims in the narrow way toward the heavenly Kingdom; and they will not only delight in sharing with each other such temporal good things as each may have need of. The spirit of Christ in these will lead them to do good unto all men as they have opportunity, but especially unto the household of faith. Gal. 6:10


In the world to come these are to receive eternal life. True, there is a sense in which the Scriptures speak of the Lord's followers as already possessing eternal life, but this is merely by faith. In the same sense that we now see the crown of glory which is laid up for the Lord's followers, we may now appreciate the life eternal which will then be granted. Thus the Lord speaks of us as having passed from death unto life. The new life has begun in us although it has not yet been perfected, nor will it be until the "world to come." The world to come: how peculiarly that phrase would strike the majority of minds if they would but examine it.

We all have been taught and have been accustomed to think of going at death to some other world – a world of torture, of devils, of fire, etc., or a world of bliss and heavenly fellowship. By reason of having studied the creeds handed down from the Dark Ages, and having neglected the study of the Word of God, a few have noticed that the hopes set before God's people all through the Scriptures is that there is to be a world to come – that we can not go to it but must wait until it comes to us.

The resurrection belonging to that world to come, the reward of God's people, belongs down there, and also at the same time the rewards of the wicked for their evil deeds of this present time, for every willful transgression against light and knowledge. "The world to come" signifies that epoch, age or dispensation that is to come. We can not hasten its coming, for, as our Lord explains, its times and seasons the Father hath put in his own power. We nevertheless find something in the Scriptures that relates to these times and seasons, and gives us sometimes obscure and sometimes specific presentations respecting that glorious time and the wonderful events then to be accomplished. The epoch preceding the flood is scripturally termed the "age that was."

The dispensation or condition of things prevailing since the flood up to the present time, and about to end in a great time of trouble at the second coming of Christ, is scripturally called the "world that now is," ... the age or dispensation at present. Again the Apostle calls this "the present evil world," because evil, ignorance and superstition now predominate, now hold control of the world's affairs. Similarly Satan is called the prince or chief of this age. Unrestrained by the Lord, Satan now [NS272] works in the hearts of the children of disobedience. And since they constitute the vast majority of the race, Satan is the de facto "prince of this world," and has nothing in Christ, nothing in common with the hope of the Church – his body, but is an opponent, an adversary, whose rule must come to an end before the long-promised Kingdom of God take its place.


The entire Bible points to the end of this age as being the time for the transfer of the dominion of earth from the control of Satan and ignorance and sin to the control of Christ and his glorified Church and a reign of righteousness. The trouble will be the natural result of the antagonism between the prince of darkness and the prince of light, between error and truth, between sin and righteousness.

As soon as the work of the present age shall have been finished, as soon as the class mentioned in our text shall have been elected or chosen out of the world, as soon as those who have the hearing of faith and the eye of faith have forsaken all to follow the Master, and be tested along the points of self-denial, then this present age will close and these elect ones will receive the reward mentioned in our text – "in the world to come eternal life." [Mark 10:30]

More than this, the faithful overcomers are promised elsewhere a share with the Lord in his throne in his Kingdom, as he said, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne." Rev. 3:21


When we say that all the non-elect are lost, we do not mean what others would generally mean by the statement. We are standing close by the Bible, not only in our phraseology but in the meaning which we attach to it. The whole world was lost through Adam and his disobedience; the whole world thus came under condemnation of death, the curse; and although Christ has redeemed the world and has paid his life a ransom for all, yet only the Church class has yet been found.

The remainder of mankind are like lost sheep, gone astray from their Creator through sin and degradation. We who have heard the voice of God speaking peace by Jesus Christ have been found of him, have returned to him, to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, have already been blessed an hundredfold in this present time and are to be his special treasure, his jewels in the end of this age, in the beginning of the world or age to come, when our Lord shall come to make up his jewels. Mal. 3:17

The rest of the world, then, are still lost, because they have not yet been found, because their eyes are blinded by the god of this world and the false doctrines, superstitions in ignorance which as a dense cloud has hindered them from seeing the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Their ears are dull of hearing for the same reasons they know not neither do they understand. But is the world to remain forever lost?

Are only the little flock who are now able to exercise the hearing of faith and the sight of faith – are these alone to be the saved? Of such alone will be the elect, the Scriptures distinctly tell us, but they also assure us that these elect ones, when glorified with the great Shepherd, will be associated with him in the work of blessing all the sheep that none are lost – bringing all mankind to a knowledge of the Lord and to a knowledge of the glorious provision that they may attain eternal life by obedience to the arrangements of the Millennial Kingdom.

When in that glorious "world to come" or new dispensation the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth and all mankind will see the facts – that God loved the world while yet sinners and provided a redemption through the blood of his Son, and that whosoever will may return to the Father's fold through him – then we believe that many will be gathered into the Lord's fold who can not be gathered now, because of the restrictions placed about the same, the narrowness of the way and the requirement of the ears and eye of faith. Whoever, then, will not improve those glorious opportunities to become members of the Lord's sheepfold will be counted as goats, as followers of the Adversary, as opposed to God and to righteousness, and as such we have the assurance that they will be utterly destroyed from amongst the people, so that eventually every voice in heaven and in earth and under the earth shall be heard giving thanks to him who sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb for ever and ever. Rev. 5:13


Our Lord referred to these other sheep of the Millennial age on various occasions. For instance, he particularly describes the work of the Millennial age in separating those sheep from the goats during that thousand-year period, and that at the close of that testing all the sheep will be at his right hand of favor and all the goats at his left hand of disfavor, and how they will then be with Satan utterly destroyed, experiencing the everlasting punishment of an utter destruction, from which there will be no awakening, no resurrection, no recovery. Again our Lord spoke of this same class saying, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, that they may be one fold and one Shepherd." (John 10:16)

He was speaking to his flock of sheep, spiritual Israel, whom he was gathering out [NS273] from amongst nominal Israel and subsequently from amongst the Gentiles. We are now the Lord's sheep; he is our Shepherd or caretaker. Under his protecting care we have the blessing represented in the twenty-third Psalm. We are glad, too, to note that the other sheep, now lost, the world in general, blind and deaf, will be found of the Lord shortly, and that so many of them as will have their eyes opened and their ears unstopped, and may become truly one with the Lord and with all those who are in harmony with him in every plane of existence. Eph. 1:10


Everywhere throughout the Bible we have reference to "a day" – pointing us to a coming epoch vastly different from the present time – pointing us to the world to come and its Millennial Kingdom glory, and the wonderful blessings that are then to be poured upon the world of mankind. It will be in "that day" that the seed of Abraham shall bless all the families of the earth. Our Lord Jesus is the Head, the Chief of this seed of Abraham; and the faithful ones mentioned in our text, the elect of this Gospel age as his Bride and Joint-Heirs in the Kingdom, members also of this seed of Abraham, as the Apostle declares, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29)

The promise is that in this seed, which is now in process of development, and which in the world to come, the age to come, shall get eternal life – in this seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. And this in turn means, not only a blessing for those who will then be living at that time, but also a blessing for those who have gone to the great prison-house of death in the calling of them forth from that prison, from the grave, from the sleep of death, that they may come to a knowledge of the Truth, that they may have a share in the great mercies and blessings vouchsafed to the whole world of mankind by the heavenly Father, through him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.

The National Labor Tribune, December 17, 1905


Reading, Pa., December 17. Pastor C. T. Russell addressed two attentive audiences in the Auditorium today. His evening text was, "The voice of one that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Isa. 40:3

All four of the Gospels quote our text and apply it to John the Baptist. John the Baptist was the Elijah to all those who had the hearing ear and understanding heart to appreciate the message and to accept Jesus. And yet, as we pointed out, John the Baptist did not fulfill by any means all that was predicted respecting the antitypical Elijah and his ministries which would be introductory to the Christ of glory. Indeed we have John's own word for it that he did not fulfill all the requirements and conditions appertaining to the Elijah class. When he was asked point blank the question, "Art thou Elias?" he answered, "I am not." (John 1:21)

In the power and the spirit of Elijah he did an introductory work to Jesus in the flesh, just as the greater Elijah, the Church in the flesh, has for nearly nineteen centuries been doing an introductory work as respects the great Christ of glory, Jesus the Head and King, the Church members of his body and associates in his Kingdom.

John the Baptist did literally enough dwell in the wilderness and preached there, thus typifying the experiences of the Church, which during a large portion of this Gospel age, has been in the wilderness or hidden condition as respects the world and worldly history. Revelation tells us in symbolical language of how the Church fled into the wilderness condition for 1260 symbolical days – 1260 years – which period ended with the year 1799.

Since then the true mouthpiece of the Lord, his true messengers, the loyal members of the Elijah class, have gone forth from the wilderness condition, and the voice of their message is again heard in the world though they are still separate – in spirit at least – to Churchianity, Babylon, and the world, Egypt. John the Baptists' message to those who would hear him, "Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand," has been similarly the message of all the truly consecrated of the Lord. The announcement is a two-fold one, first that the Kingdom is about to be established, and secondly, that repentance and reformation are necessary to its proper reception and a share in the blessings which it will bring. Notice how much more accurately the description of our text fits to the antitypical Elijah than it did to John the Baptist, who did something of the Elijah work to the Jewish nation as the body of Christ in the flesh has done to Christendom. [NS274] The voice does not declare that there is no wilderness, that there is no desolation, that everything is satisfactory and all right; it does not declare that God's Kingdom has come and that his will is being done on earth as it is done in heaven.

Quite to the contrary, it declares that the Kingdom is to come, and that preceding it all who hear the message should join in preparing the highway or making right conditions for the reception of the Kingdom, that the world might receive God's Kingdom with joy and thankfulness and great blessing. When John the Baptist, as representing this Elijah in a small way, made this proclamation to the Jewish nation, his message was received only by the few. The great majority had neither ears to hear nor hearts to understand and appreciate the things which he called to their attention. Self-satisfaction filled the hearts which should have been seeking reconciliation to the Father through the Redeemer. Those who did receive John were those who were ready subsequently to receive Jesus. The rejection of John by fleshly Israel meant the rejection of Jesus as their Messiah, and meant also his rejection of them and the consequent great time of trouble which came upon that nation.


Similarly the message of the anti-typical Elijah, the message of the true Church, the body of Christ in the flesh, has not been heeded by the world, has not been heeded by the nominal mass of Christendom. We may apply our Lord's words again here, and see that if Christendom had heard the message of the antitypical Elijah they would be ready now for the second advent of Jesus, ready to welcome his Kingdom, glad to have it established, in the world; they would have been praying from the heart what some of them have been praying from the lips, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done," etc. But rejecting the antitypical Elijah, Christendom is unprepared for the Kingdom.

Indeed it is perhaps more out of harmony with the conditions of the Kingdom than it ever was before. There never was a time when greed of gold seemed to have such power over all the civilized world as now; there never was a time when people in the most trusted positions rendered such poor accounts of themselves; never a time when so many proved unfaithful to their trusts.

And all this greed for wealth and for power, the two being linked together today, means a very opposite spirit from that which must prevail under the Kingdom conditions when the Golden Rule will be enforced by the iron rod of power, when justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet, when the humble shall be exalted and the proud shall be abased. In a word the world is probably less prepared for the Kingdom than at any other time of the world's history so far as the governments and representatives of the people are concerned, so far as their preparation for the Kingdom by any highway of righteousness and holiness, the straightening of the crooked things and the smoothing of the rough conditions, are concerned.


The failure of the antitypical Elijah class to establish in the world a highway of holiness and righteousness through the message they promulgate means, as described in our last Sunday's discourse, that as the Jewish nation rejected Christ and passed into a great time of trouble, so Christendom, now rejecting his Kingdom on a spiritual plane at the time of its proper establishment under the whole heavens, will in turn be rejected as Israel was, and the time of trouble shall again come, which will resemble the trouble upon Israel except that it will be world-wide, a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.

This is the curse of the Lord referred to in our last Sunday's discourse in connection with the declaration that the antitypical Elijah must turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, else the Lord would come and smite the earth with a curse. A sufficient time has been allowed for the promulgation of this message of reformation and preparation of the Kingdom.

Indeed, as we have heretofore noted the length of the Jewish age, proclaiming the Kingdom of Christ was 1848 years from the establishment of that nation until the offer of the Kingdom by our Lord when he rode to Jerusalem on the ass. And similarly the Gospel age has been a proclamation of 1848 years, reaching from Pentecost to the announcement of the second coming, presence of Christ, and his Kingdom in process of establishment in 1878.

As the Jewish nation was rejected at the end of that 1848 years of favor, and matters began to shape for the utter destruction of the nation, accomplished in thirty-seven years, so here we understand that Christendom has been tried in the balances and found wanting, and the decree of the Lord is that the time of trouble shall come which will thoroughly humble the hearts of mankind and bring them into a condition where they will be ready for the blessings he is to give, blessings to which they did not respond willingly and voluntarily throughout this Gospel age.

When the time of trouble shall have wrecked the present institutions in anarchy, and when the world shall cry out to the Lord as the prophet represents that it will do, earnestly desiring the reign of righteousness, then will be accomplished the things which the Church has been declaring should now be accomplished if a sufficient number were willing to do so, namely, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert [NS275] a highway for our God." [Isa. 40:3]

Mankind has not responded to this appeal to cast up a highway of holiness and righteousness. On the contrary, the various advantages of earth have been exploited for individual aggrandizement, and selfishness has continued to be the law instead of righteousness and equity.

But the Lord will delay no longer; he is about to set up his Kingdom; he is about to establish the highway of holiness, and he so tells us elsewhere through the prophet, A highway shall be there and it shall be called a way of holiness, and the redeemed of the Lord shall go up thereon. In a word, that which mankind would not naturally respond to in the present time will be forcibly established in the future time, and meanwhile, because of unwillingness to respond, a time of trouble will come upon the whole earth, turning the sweets of selfishness and aggrandizement to the vinegar of disappointment, chagrin and loss.


The Elijah voice was to do more than merely call upon men to prepare a highway of holiness and righteousness in the present time. It was to proclaim, as the text shows, that whether they would hear or whether they would forbear the Lord would carry out his great and wonderful plan. Thus we find it positively stated: "Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low." [Isa. 40:4]

When the Lord undertakes this matter of the leveling of the conditions of society, bringing down the great ones and mighty ones, the princes of earth, financial, political and social, and lifting up the humble ones represented by the valleys, the masses of mankind, there will be no doubt at all that he will accomplish it to the full limit of his decree. There need be no doubt at all that eventually all the crooked things shall be straightened out and all the difficult and rough places, social, political and financial, shall be smoothed out. Our Lord declared, pointing down to our day, to the time immediately preceding the establishment of his Kingdom in power and glory, that every secret thing should be revealed, every hidden thing should be brought to light. (Matt. 10:26)

We may assume, therefore, that it is in harmony with this divine arrangement and program that at the present time the great things, social, political and financial, are being brought to light, being brought to the surface almost miraculously. The result is to more and more shake the confidence of the people in their teachers, representatives and rulers. More and more they will be inclined to have confidence in no one, and conclude that it is a matter of every man for himself. The result will be what the Scriptures so clearly foreshow, an anarchous period in which each will be striving with his hand against his neighbor for his own personal advantage.


The prophecy proceeds to outline not only that the voice of the antitypical Elijah would be heard in the wilderness, vainly crying that the way of the Lord should be prepared, but, secondly, that this work of leveling society, bringing down the great and lifting up the humble, will be accomplished – accomplished as we have seen by the great time of trouble which will come as a natural consequence of the rejection of the Lord's guidance, and yet come as a specially foreknown and prearranged chastisement of the Lord; and following this comes the statement that "then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." (Isa. 40:5)

The result of the time of trouble will be the opening of the eyes of understanding of all the world so that all shall see the grandeur of the divine plan, the divine arrangement. All shall see God's plan to be glorious in the extreme. As the heavens are higher than the earth so will his ways be seen to be higher than man's ways.

While the world will dread the dark day of trouble even now impending, yet after it shall have passed and after the glorious Sun of Righteousness shall have arisen with healing in his beams, after all the world shall behold the glory of the Lord thus manifested in the establishment of his righteousness and justice in the earth, the hearts of all will be made glad, and they will rejoice that God's wisdom and love, his mercy and justice, failed not in the establishment of the Kingdom, even though it required so great, so awful a time of trouble to bring it about, because of the unwillingness of mankind to respond to the divine invitation through the Elijah class.


As though anticipating the query of our minds as to how we can be sure that these results will be brought about, since we have seen more than eighteen centuries of Gospel proclamation and urging to repentance and preparation for the Kingdom – how can we know what the great time of trouble will bring about, and that all flesh shall recognize, the grandeur of the divine Kingdom and the blessings resulting? The answer of the Lord through the prophet to our query is in few words. "The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (v. 5)

Ah, yes! The difficulty now is that few are able to hear the word of the Lord; few are prepared to believe his testimonies respecting the future; and yet he declares: "My word that goeth out of my mouth shall not return unto me void," etc. How surely then the message which was given to the Elijah class and which the world has not heeded will be accomplished, fulfilled, and led in a way which the world would not expect; but fulfilled [NS276] nevertheless, although through the severity of a time of trouble upon mankind. This is one of the great lessons which the world is to learn, namely, that the heavenly Father knew the end of his plan from the beginning; and that he foretold the affairs of the world, not by way of forcing results; but that mankind might learn of his wisdom and of his ability to discern the end from the beginning in every matter; and that learning also of his glorious character of justice and mercy and love all who desire his fellowship and seek it might be able to place absolute confidence in his every arrangement for their welfare.


The succeeding verses, 6-8, correspond well with what we have already seen and intimated, that at or about the great time when the crooked things would be straightened and the rough places smoothed and the mountains and hills brought low and the valleys exalted, preparatory to the revealing of God's glorious character to all mankind, there would be a special message sent to the Elijah class – "Cry, All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it."

Surely in this parable the grass represents the people. The intimation is that the grass does not represent the saints, but the people who are not in relationship with the Lord, and this picture of the withering of the grass and the fading of the flower is but another way of telling us of the time of trouble which will wither all human hopes and blight all human prospects and turn the world upside down temporarily until the blessing of the Lord shall come again upon them through the Kingdom – until the times of restitution of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets shall bring them the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the blessings of his favor, the forgiveness of their sins, their reconciliation to him through their Redeemer.


It is the Elijah class that is referred to in the first and second verses of the context, "comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare (appointed time) is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." [Isa. 40:1, 2]

We cannot here go into details respecting the fulfillment of this prophecy but will merely refresh the memories of those who have already read on this subject in the second and third volumes of Millennial Dawn. The time indicated by this prophecy, when Israel would have received its double or second portion or experience at the hand of the Lord, we have already shown was 1878 A. D. In that year Israel's disfavor instituted of God, reached the exact period of length to that which had previously been their period of favor.

It was then that the message was due to go forth to the Jew to the effect that the disfavor would begin to pass away and divine favor again to return to the Jew – though it was pointed out with equal force that the favor of the Lord for a period of thirty-seven years would be accompanied by a great trouble, and that not until the close of that period and the glorification of the Gospel Church could the divine favor come fully back to natural Israel, as we read in the words of the Apostle, "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy." [Rom. 11:31]

In other words, natural Israel shall come again into a place of harmony and favor in the end of this age, divine mercy being manifested through the glorified Christ, the Church. What we are now pointing out is that this message of comfort to natural Israel, which was due to begin to be proclaimed in 1878, was part of the message of the antitypical Elijah – the Church, the body of Christ this side the veil. Israel's sins are to be pardoned, blotted out, even as a little later on the sins of the whole world are to be blotted out, just as at the present time the household of faith have their sins forgiven on condition of their acceptance of Christ and their consecration to endeavor to walk in his footsteps.

Other prophecies, as we have seen, also show this double in Israel's history, that the one half was a period of favor, with chastisement and the other half a period of total disfavor. The Israelites themselves are inclined to notice this matter and wonder at it. Only from the standpoint of the Lord's Word can we see that this comforting message is for them, and that ere long their blessing will begin and that the blessing of the Jew and the forgiveness of the sins of those who pierced the Lord is but the precursor of the still more widespread blessings of the Lord upon all the families of the earth.


Continuing the examination of our text, we note that verses 9-10 give a beautiful word-picture of the establishment of the Lord's Kingdom and the blessing of it will be to all those who will respond to its favors. We read, "O, thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah , Behold your God!" In such passages as these the symbolical use of the word mountain signifies kingdom, and hence these words in the prophecy signify the exaltation in the Kingdom of those who constitute the class, and who now tell the [NS277] good tidings of coming blessings to a world which is not appreciative of the message: Only a few have the ears to hear and the hearts to appreciate the word of God, and those few are the household of faith, who are permitted to become members of the Elijah class now and of the glorious Zion hereafter, the Kingdom of glory. Our message is then not only as to the glorification of the saints, but one also respecting the great honor and blessing and privilege that is coming to natural Israel, the prospective representative on earth of the heavenly kingdom, which is invisible to men.

It is the mission of the Elijah class to announce the Kingdom after this manner, to proclaim that the Kingdom is at hand, that the great Ruler of the World is about to take possession, that Messiah's Kingdom is the Kingdom of God, which shall ultimately prevail throughout the whole universe. The message now to be delivered continues, "Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him (Christ is the arm of Jehovah, stretched down for our deliverance from sin and death, stretched forth in the time of trouble to dash in pieces as a potter's vessel all the hindering conditions and things now highly esteemed amongst men): Behold his reward is with him and his work (of recompense) before him" – to reward both the well-doers and the evil-doers according to their condition of heart.

These rewards at the beginning of the Millennial age will mean great distress and trouble, because some will rightly deserve, on account of their selfishness and failure to appreciate and act upon the principles of righteousness, severe punishment or stripes, as the Scriptures express the matter. (Psa. 89:30-32)

The gracious assistances which the Lord will lend to all the families of the earth during the Millennial age are beautifully pictured by verse 11. All who then desire, after they have learned of the grace of God, will be permitted to become the sheep of the Lord's pasture – "He shall feed his flock like a Shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm and carry them in his bosom." [Isa. 40:11]

This account parallels our Lord's parable of the sheep and goats, in which he pictures the whole world during the Millennial age on trial before him and the Church with him in his throne. Then all mankind will be tested as to whether or not they will develop the sheep characteristics and be followers of righteousness and truth and peace, or whether they will prefer to develop the contrary goat characteristics. All who become the Lord's sheep shall eventually be blessed of him with everlasting life, while all others will be punished with destruction, the Second Death, from which there will be no awakening, no redemption, no recovery.

Seeing, then, dear friends, the message that the Lord has given us as the Elijah class, let us do our share in proclaiming the propriety of righteousness, in pointing out the necessity of casting up a highway of holiness and making straight the crooked things and thus preparing for the Kingdom of God. By this time, however, we know that this part of the message is too late to effect anything – that matters will go from bad to worse until the fire of the Lord's anger shall wither the world as the heat of a furnace, and the grass and its flowers will fade.

Nevertheless we can assure those who have the ears to hear that the Word of the Lord will stand forever, that he will establish his Kingdom of righteousness in the whole earth and that then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together and that then the blessing of the great Shepherd will be extended to all who will then desire to be his sheep. And while giving this message faithfully as the Elijah class, let us be putting in practice in our lives the lessons which we testify to others with our lips, and thus we ourselves will be prepared for a share in the glories of the Kingdom, for it is the Elijah class on this side the veil who is to constitute the Church in glory, the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, on the other side the veil, through the power of the First Resurrection. He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure.

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