What Pastor Russell Said

Question Book


JESUS--Father's Obligation To Give Him a Paradise.

QUESTION (1911)--l--You stated that the Father could have provided a Paradise for him. Do I understand, then, that the curse would have had to be removed from the earth before it would have been possible for him to have obtained this everlasting life?

ANSWER.--No. Our brother's question is, "Would the Father have been obligated, according to the law, to give Jesus a paradise home, free from sin and so forth," and the brother wants to know whether this would imply that the whole earth must have been made perfect. No, I answer, when God gave to Adam a Paradise condition the whole earth was in an unfavorable condition, God merely preparing a Paradise eastward in Eden, and God could just as well have prepared some place for Jesus.

JESUS--Re His Prehuman Existence.

QUESTION (1911)--2--Did Christ remember his prehuman existence?

ANSWER.--Very evidently he did. I cannot see how he could have been devoid of knowledge on the subject when he was praying to the Father that he might be glorified with the glory he had with the Father before the world was. For him to have spoken in this manner, if he did not remember this glory, would seem rather inconsistent. The question might then be raised, how would Jesus remember this glory since he as a man had never been on that plane of glory? We do not know how; we can only merely surmise. My surmise is that when our Lord was begotten of the Holy Spirit and the higher things were opened to him, that in some manner it gave him memory and recollection of the spirit things. We could not be so impressed because we never had such a spirit existence. We know however God has promised that in our new condition, when we shall attain to the higher nature, the spirit nature, while that body will be a totally different body from the one that we now have, it would therefore not have the marks of memory that this body had. We understand that God nevertheless will somehow or other, in some miraculous way as far as our knowledge is concerned, transfer our knowledge so that we in the future, will remember the things of the present and have full knowledge of our present experiences; otherwise our present lives would be of practically no avail to us; all the experiences of life would be lost. So with our Lord Jesus. Had he not a knowledge beyond all other people? Did he not have a knowledge of his prehuman condition? We think so, else he could not so fully as he did have been the victor, because the Scriptures declare in so many words, "By his knowledge shall my Righteous Servant justify many when he shall bear their iniquities." Father Adam did not have that knowledge, therefore Father Adam made a failure. Our Lord Jesus did have knowledge that Father Adam did not have and this superior knowledge, the Scriptures imply, was a great aid to his faithfulness. By his knowledge the Righteous Servant was able to justify many.

JESUS--Re Only Begotten and First Creation.

QUESTION (1911)--3--Jesus is called the only begotten Son [Q372] of God. Does this expression refer to his being the beginning of the creation of God, or to his consecration at Jordan? If the latter, what is the distinction between his begettal and our begettal to the spirit nature at our consecration?

ANSWER.--I understand that this refers to our Lord from the very beginning of his existence. He was the only begotten Son of God. God sent his only begotten Son. He was his only begotten Son before he sent him. After he sent him, he was made flesh. After he was made flesh he grew to thirty years of age. After he grew to thirty years of age, he made his consecration. Then he was begotten of the Holy Spirit to a spirit nature; but he was the only begotten Son of God the whole time, to my understanding.

JESUS--Re Immersion Into Moses.

QUESTION (1911)--1--Was Jesus a man immersed into Moses?

ANSWER.--The whole nation of Israel was immersed into Moses. Moses became the mediator or representative of the whole Jewish nation and the whole Jewish nation was immersed into him when they passed through the Red Sea, the cloud overhanging and the sea on either side. This was their immersion into Moses. Of course since Christ belonged to the Jewish nation, he was immersed into Moses, he was responsible to Moses, he was responsible to the law of Moses, and responsible to every feature of the law just as much as any other Jew was, exactly--no more, no less. The difference between him and other Jews was the same as the difference between him and the Gentiles. He was perfect and all the race of mankind are imperfect. He could keep the law and none of the rest of mankind could keep the law. He could keep the law because he was perfect. We cannot keep that great law that Moses gave because we are all imperfect, hence our need of one to make up for our deficiency.

JESUS--Re Life Rights.

QUESTION (1911)--2--If Jesus laid down his life-rights in consecration, how could he still have them at his resurrection?

ANSWER.--It would seem as though we had never learned the English language properly--or at least, as though we had learned in different schools, and had different dictionaries--because, apparently, the Lord's people, with the very same thought in mind, will use different forms of expressing that thought. Now, what is it to lay down life-rights?

When Jesus said, in his consecration, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O my God," what did he lay down? He laid down his will. What did his will include? His will included everything that could happen to him--his life and all of his rights of every kind; when he gave his whole will, his entire heart, to God, it included everything. Had he, therefore, no life-rights left? The heart he still had left, and he still had that life to lay down until he cried out, "It is finished," on the cross, So he had not laid down his life, in one sense, and he had laid it down in another sense; he had laid it down in the sense that he had agreed he would not hold anything back that might be the Father's will--no matter what might [Q373] be the Father's will, he would do it. In that sense of the word, he had made a consecration of his all. But it is one thing to lay it down, and it is another thing to apply it. I laid down my hat here somewhere, but it does not follow that I do not own my hat, does it? I do not even know where my hat is now, but I laid down my hat; I gave it into the care of another. Now, it does not follow that I have nothing further to do with that hat. It does not follow that I should not direct that person into whose care I gave my hat to give it to you. I have laid it down; I put it in his hands; I could direct him that be might give it to you. Now just so, our Lord Jesus put his whole life into the Father's hands, and declared himself ready and willing to do the Father's will in every particular, keeping nothing back. Now, in the Father's will there were trials and experiences came to him, the final one being death on the cross, and he was faithful; he kept nothing back he let his life be laid down even to the very last, and finished the work of laying it down; but it does not follow that he had no right to that life; he had not given his life away. To lay a thing down, or to give it into the care of another is not to give it away. So these life-rights that Jesus had and that he committed to the Father, are not given away but are his still to bestow. If he did not have these life-rights to bestow, if he did not have any hold on them, if he did not have any right to them, he could never be the world's Savior, because it is these life-rights that he laid down sacrificially, or permitted to be taken from him at Calvary by wicked men--these very life-rights that the world needs, and that he, as the great mediator between God and men, intends to give to the world of mankind under the terms of the New Covenant. And it is for that very purpose that he may give these earthly life-rights to the world, that God has appointed that he shall have a kingdom, and shall rule the world, and instruct them, and bring them to an appreciation of what he has to give to them, so they will be ready to accept it on his terms.

JESUS--Re Giving Up Life Rights.

QUESTION (1911)--l--How could Jesus give up his life-rights twice, at Jordan, and at Pentecost?

ANSWER.--He did not give up any life-rights at Pentecost. He gave up his life-rights at Jordan. He completed the giving up of his life-rights to do the Father's will at Calvary. He finished the matter of giving himself there, but while he was thus giving himself, that was a different matter altogether from making application of the merit. That is the point that seems so difficult to some minds to grasp. I do not know why. To my mind it is just as simple as anything could be, but apparently to some other minds it is a very difficult thing to see the difference between our Lord's laying down his life in consecration and the finishing of the laying of it down actually at Calvary and his application of the merit in the "Most Holy." Let me see if I could draw an earthly illustration that might help you: Suppose you had a property and you sold it for $10,000 and you said, "I have a special purpose or use for $10,000 and I will sell that property." You first entered into a contract with the agent that you would give a deed. That [Q374] would correspond to our Lord's covenant at Jordan. Then by and by at the proper time, say a month afterwards, you signed the deed--gave over all your interest in the property, and you got the $10,000 and deposited it in the bank. Now that money in the bank is the proceeds of the sale of that property. Now the money in fact is still yours; you have sold the property that you might do certain things with the results and the results are now represented in the $10,000 in the bank. Then it is for you still to give an order or check on the bank giving or appropriating that money for some particular purpose.

Now these four procedures correspond with our Lord's four transactions. First he made his consecration, which is like the signing of the contract with the real estate agent.

Secondly, he finished the matter at Calvary, and that corresponds to signing the deed and making full delivery of the deed.

Thirdly, he has the money placed to his credit in the bank, and that represents how he delivered himself up into the Father's hand--"Into thy hands I commit my spirit."

And fourthly, he had the disposition or use of that merit in the Father's hands in the same sense that you would have the use or disposition of the money in the bank. It is to your credit. You are the one that can draw the check. So our Lord's merit was to his own credit in the Father's hands, and he also could draw the check and could make the application of that merit and he does make an application of that merit now, as the apostle says on our behalf. And the evidence that it was made on our behalf was indicated at Pentecost when a blessing came on certain members of the church, which is the body of Christ.

JESUS--Was He Born Three Times?

QUESTION (1912)--1--Would it be correct and proper to speak of our Lord Jesus Christ as having been born three times? Col. 1:15, Luke 2:11, Rev. 1:5.

ANSWER.--I do not see anything improper about speaking thus of our Lord. The word "Birth" is more or less of an elastic nature. Was Jesus not created? Yes! Well then, birth and creation are both the same to my mind. The begetting is the beginning of life. That beginning of life carried out to its consummation means birth or the full attainment to life. Jesus obtained life as the "Only Begotten" of the Father long ago in the beginning. That was the first birth referred to in the texts given in this question. Jesus came as a babe and so we have the account of that birth in the second text above. Then He did come to life from the dead, and thus we have the last text answered. So you see that it is true in all these ways as is asked in the question. It is the same thought in everyone of them, although it is expressed in different words. That is all the difference.

JESUS--Was He Begotten in the Court?

QUESTION (1912)--2--Was Jesus begotten in the Court?

ANSWER.--Jesus' begetting was just the same as all the rest; He was in the Court, according to the flesh, and at the moment of His consecration He passed beyond the First Vail. He was a New Creature the moment the Holy Spirit came upon Him. Jesus' consecration was evidently before He went under the water. It was because He made His [Q375] consecration and was accepted that God indicated His acceptance by giving Him the Holy Spirit. But the moment He received it the New Creature was beyond the First Vail, in the Holy. So then, as a priest, He was in the Holy attending to that part of His work, from the moment of His spirit- begetting. Yet His flesh represented by the Bullock was taken outside the camp. He was a New Creature--was in this "Holy" condition all the time, every day and every night, whether awake or asleep--all the time He was in the Holy condition, for this is the condition which represented the New Creature.

JESUS--Re Keeping Law.

QUESTION (1912-Z)--l--If Jesus had kept the Law blamelessly, yet had failed in some feature of His covenant of sacrifice, what would have been the status of human redemption? Would the Ransom-price of humanity have been paid by Jesus' keeping the Law perfectly, even though He had failed in obedience to His covenant of sacrifice, and thus failed to attain to glory, honor and immortality--the divine plane? If not, why not?

ANSWER.--Under the circumstances mentioned in the above question, the entire matter of redemption would have failed, so far as Jesus was concerned. His death would not have ransomed man from the death penalty. Indeed, the question pre-supposes an entirely wrong view of the Ransom. Jesus' death was a Ransom-sacrifice. That is to say it was a sacrificial death intended to effect the ransom of Adam and all lost through his disobedience. But a Ransom-sacrifice is one thing, and the payment of the Ransom-price is quite another thing. For instance: Jesus did His work perfectly; it had the Divine approval; the Ransom-price was laid down and was satisfactory to the Father, and Jesus has been rewarded for His loyalty and obedience manifested in that Ransom-sacrifice; but the value of that sacrifice, quite sufficient to be the off-set, or satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world, has not yet been applied.

The merit of that sacrifice is in the hands of Divine Justice, subject to application for the sins of the whole world as soon as God's time shall have arrived. But that time has not yet quite arrived, and the world is still not redeemed, even in a judicial sense. Hence we read, "The whole world lieth in wickedness" and are all "children of wrath." (1 John 5:19; Eph. 2:3.) If the Ransom-price had been applied and accepted, the world would not lie in the hands of the Wicked One, and would no longer be "children of wrath."

Before the merit of Jesus' sacrifice can be applied as a Ransom-price for the world's sins--to secure the world's release from Divine condemnation, and the turning over of the world to Jesus and the establishment of His Kingdom for its blessing--before all these things, or any of them, can take place, another matter must, according to the Divine Program, be attended to. That other matter is the calling and acceptance and begettal to the divine nature of an elect "Church of the First-Borns, which are written in Heaven." (Heb. 12:23.) This is the work which has been in progress for nearly nineteen centuries. As soon as it shall have been completed the glorious Redeemer with His exalted Bride class will inaugurate His glorious reign of a thousand years, by binding Satan and ushering in the New Dispensation, for [Q376] which the whole groaning creation has so long waited.-- Rom. 8:22,19.

Thus it will be seen that our Lord's testing, which began at Jordan at the time of His consecration and which ended at Calvary, was two-fold, and the two trials progressed simultaneously, and to have failed in either particular would have lost all. As a man from the human standpoint, born under the Law, He was obligated to keep the Law in every particular. To have failed would have been death. As a New Creature, who had entered into a covenant of sacrifice, our Lord was obligated to sacrifice willingly and obediently, His life, His rights, everything that He possessed, in harmony with the overrulings of Divine providence. "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11.) To have failed of the full, complete sacrifice would have cost Him everything, and He would have accomplished nothing by all of His previous experiences and loyalty.

Our Lord's faithfulness in sacrificing during the three and a half years of his ministry added nothing whatever to the perfection which He had at Jordan. He was perfect and an acceptable sacrifice to begin with, and He merely maintained that perfection and that acceptance with the Father "faithful unto death." Wherefore He has attained His present exaltation and is in readiness to be the world's merciful and faithful High Priest, and He has also the merit of His sacrifice in the hands of Justice ready at the appropriate time in the end of this Age to be applied for the cancellation of the sins of the whole world.

The Church shares in the benefits of our Lord's death in a different way from that of the world. She has her Redeemer's merit imputed to her by (because of) faith--to cover the weaknesses and blemishes of her flesh, so that her flesh may be presented holy and acceptable to the Father by the Redeemer, who imputes the merit of His sacrifice to it and makes it acceptable as a part of His own sacrifice. "For if we suffer [with Him] we shall also reign with Him"; "If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together"; "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, your reasonable service;" "Fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." (2 Tim. 2:12; Rom. 8:17; Rom. 12:1; Col. 1:24.) These are some of the invitations offered to the Church who are now qualifying to be members of the Royal Priesthood in the great work of blessing and uplifting mankind as God has foreordained and promised.

JESUS--Re Everlasting Life.

QUESTION (1912-Z)--l--Was Jesus, at the time of attaining the perfection of manhood, possessed of everlasting life, or was it necessary for Him to be placed on trial as a perfect man before He would be accounted worthy of everlasting life?

ANSWER.--According to the Divine Law, under which Jesus was born into the world, His perfection proved His worthiness of everlasting life, just as Adam's perfection meant everlasting life to him. But as Adam, who when created was in covenant relationship with God, by disobedience, by breaking the Covenant, lost the right to life which was His by that Divine Covenant, so Jesus, as a perfect [Q377] man, was in covenant-relationship with God, and as a human being could have forfeited His right to life only by sin, or, otherwise, have disposed of it by sacrifice--the latter of which He did.

JESUS--When Perfect

QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--At what Period in Jesus' life was He a perfect man?

ANSWER.--He was always perfect, but did not become the perfect man until the 30th year of His life. In the very beginning, "the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev. 3:14), He was sinless, perfect on the spirit plane-- next to the Heavenly Father. When He humbled Himself, in harmony with the Divine Plan and in order that He might be man's Redeemer and Restorer, He still maintained His perfection, His sinlessness. When born of the virgin, He was still "Holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners." He was the perfect babe. As He grew to manhood, His perfection was maintained--He was the perfect boy, the perfect youth and finally the perfect man. Thus we read, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man."

JESUS--Re His Perfection.

QUESTION (1913)--2--How could Jesus be a perfect man as Adam was, without being sexless?

ANSWER.--This is a question that no one in the world can answer because there is no information on the subject. The Bible presents to us the fact that Adam was created originally somewhat after the order of the angels. That is to say, he was not capable of producing his own kind, but for the purpose of having a race God divided him into two persons, taking Mother Eve from his side. Thus Adam became twain, and filled the earth with a population, in order that all might come from one man. Whether Jesus was like Father Adam before Eve was taken from his side, or like Adam afterward, no one can answer today. Nor is it necessary for us to do so, as we are all satisfied, I am sure.

JESUS--One of His Titles.

QUESTION (1913)--3--Why is Jesus called the Only Begotten Son of God?

ANSWER.--In the first chapter of John's Gospel the Apostle describes the Lord Jesus in His prehuman condition. He says, "In a beginning was the Logos (the Word or messenger or mouth-piece), and the Logos was with the God, and the Logos was a God; the same was in the beginning with the God. By Him were all things made that were made; without Him was not one thing made that was made. And the Logos was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father." John beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father. The chapter declares He was the only one the heavenly Father ever created, and all things were made by Him. He Himself was the Father's creation, and in all subsequent work of creation He was used as the Father's active agent. This agrees with all other statements of Scripture; that He was the beginning of the creation of God; the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and last. He was the one whom the Father created, and the Father through Him proceeded with all creation. So the Apostle says, "There is one God, the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him."