What Pastor Russell Said

Question Book


RANSOM--"Well Done," When Applicable?

QUESTION (1916)--1--The Scriptures say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, come up higher." Does that apply to our present imputed condition, or after the resurrection?

ANSWER--I do not know what the questioner means about "our present imputed condition." We have no imputed condition at all. Ours is a real condition. We are really sons of God or not. This matter of imputation, my dear friends, does not extend to everything. The imputation is done between the Father and the Son. You and I have nothing to do with the imputation at all, and we are not imputed anything. It is because that imputation was made on our behalf that we are no longer treated as sinners, but treated as though we were perfect, and permitted to sacrifice our earthly life and become new creatures in Christ. There is nothing imputed to the new creature at all. The new creature is a new creature. The imputation was to the old creature to cover its imperfections, and before God could accept us, all that imputation was done, and between the Father and the Son.

RANSOM--Re Sacrifice of Goat for the People.

QUESTION (1916)--2--Tabernacle Shadows, Page 67, Par. 2, 1st sentence: "When presented it (the Lord's goat) will be accepted 'for the people' as that of our glorious Leader was accepted for himself (his body) and his house (the household of faith)." Please explain.

ANSWER--The picture as given in the 16th chapter of Leviticus shows us two different sacrifices here, and both of them treated as sin-offerings. The first sacrifice, the bullock, represented clearly enough and distinctly enough the sacrifice of Jesus, holy, harmless, undefiled. And the application that was made of that sacrifice, according to this picture given us, was to cover the sins of the Church, all those who desire to come now into harmony with God. They are all covered with the merit of this sacrifice of Christ. And then the goat represents the Church, all the class that are to be the Church, and is a secondary offering by the Priest. It is not our sacrifice. You do not sacrifice yourself. I do not sacrifice myself. When the Apostle says, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice," he is not meaning we should sacrifice, because only the High Priest had the authority to sacrifice, you see, on this day of atonement, and you are not a High Priest and I am not a High Priest. What did the Apostle mean by saying present your bodies a living sacrifice? Why, this thought: that we should deliver up ourselves to the Lord, just as that goat was tied to the door of the Tabernacle, and thus presented to be sacrificed. And when the High Priest came out and found that goat there tied up and offered for sacrifice, then he accepted it as a part of his own sacrifice and he killed the goat. But the point to be remembered, dear friends, is that it is not your sacrifice of yourself or my sacrifice of myself, but you offer yourself to the Lord for sacrifice and I offer myself for sacrifice, and so with the offering of all God's people. We present our bodies to Him, and when the full numbers are received He accepts them as represented in the Lord's goat. It is not therefore the Church's sacrifice, but the Lord's sacrifice. We are accepted as His members and [Q577] He accepts us as a part of His own sacrifice. And the picture shows that the merit that came following His sacrifice was the door for you and me to come in. And the secondary offering will be followed by the Priest coming out and blessing all the world of mankind.

RANSOM--Waiting for Spirit and Gentile Times.

QUESTION (1916)--1--Would it seem unreasonable to look upon the correspondency of the waiting time before the spirit was poured out, a period of ten days after the ransom price was presented, with the present waiting time for the manifestation of the sons of God, the ten days representing ten years after the close of Gentile times? * * *

ANSWER-- (Interpreting Chairman who read question.) Cut this out. When anybody makes a question involving the writing of a book, please do not receive it. In the first place, it would not be ten days after the offering of the ransom, because the offering or presenting or application of the ransom is yet to come. It was merely put into the hands of Justice when the Lord was upon the cross, and His imputation of the merit of it was what occurred on the fiftieth day afterward. But the question is too long, you see, and if I try to answer this, we would get different things mixed up in different people's minds. Better have the questions simple and clear cut and then we will not have to undo what otherwise had been done.

RANSOM--Imputation Re Increase of Jesus' Merit.

QUESTION (1916)--2--If 144,000 are made perfect by imputation, does this multiply or increase Jesus' merit?

ANSWER--Not at all. Because the merit could not be increased. It is sufficient now. It was one man that sinned, and it was one man that died. It doesn't need to be increased, could not be increased. It was a corresponding price, a man's life for a man's life. And the imputation of it to us in the meantime does not impoverish it at all or increase it at all. He merely gives us a credit, a standing. He imputes it to us to enable us to perform our part.

RANSOM--Sins Christ Takes Away.

QUESTION (1916)--3--Which sins does Christ take away? Adam's damnation or the wilful, or both together?

ANSWER--The only sins that Christ atones for are the sins that come to us by heredity as the result of Father Adam's disobedience. All those weaknesses that come through him and his fallen condition, those Jesus died for. Any sins or trespasses that you and I might commit of our own wilfulness after we become new creatures in Christ are not any part of Adam's sin and he was not responsible for them, and Christ did not die for those sins. But in the meantime the Bible does intimate that you and I as new creatures did not love sin, and in all probability if we entered into sin at all it would be at least partially if not entirely the result of these inherited weakness existing in the flesh. Therefore very few sins are to be considered as in any way separate or distinct from the Adamic sin. But to whatever extent we as new creatures might consent to sin, there would be in a measure a responsibility, and such a trespass as new creatures would be forgivable to such an extent that it would be [Q578] the result of Adamic weaknesses or from the temptation coming from others under this Adamic sin, and anything more than that would be punishable with stripes individually. And so the Lord's people sometimes have to be dealt with along this line. One might have to have a certain amount of chastisement which would be for their good and correction in righteousness.

RACE COURSE--Beginning of.

QUESTION (1913)--1--Do we start to run for the prize at consecration or at the mark of perfect love?

ANSWER--Well, the thought might vary. I would understand that we start at the point of consecration. Our consecration point where we make our start in the matter is where we first give our hearts to the Lord. There we are reckoned as perfect in Christ, and that is the beginning of our race; though there is perhaps a step that might be recognized as a little further in advance of that, when, after having given ourselves to the Lord, we are quickened, or made active, and begin to run, begin to exercise ourselves. The picture is drawn, you see, from the natural birth. In the natural birth there is the period of begetting in which there is apparently no motion, no activity; then comes the period of activity and development. And so with the Christian. When first we receive the Truth and make our consecration, it takes the Truth a little while to soak in, as it were, and for us to really get our bearings and get our information before we could properly begin to be active and serve the Truth and make any progress in teaching or helping others. Then comes the time when we are said to be quickened, made active, made alive, and make progress. From that time on the progress would be a growing one--growing in grace, knowledge and love.

READING--Convention Reports, Discourses of Elders, Etc.

QUESTION (1909)--2--Have appreciated very much the discourses of this Convention in which the speakers have shown the impropriety of looking for spiritual food from any other source except that which the Lord has been using during this harvest period, to set before us the meat in due season, but do not see just where to draw the line. Would it be wrong to read Convention Reports, and reports of discourses by Pilgrims and Elders? How would we treat those who hand us tracts misrepresenting the truth? Should we tear up the tracts in front of them, or should we accept them with thanks and destroy them privately?

ANSWER--I am afraid you have given me too hard a question. I rather think I can't answer that question.

RECONCILIATION--Class Referred to.

QUESTION (1911)--3--"Now, then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." To what class does the apostle refer, urging reconciliation to God?

ANSWER--The difficulty in this question is found in the fact that translators have supplied certain words which they should not have supplied. The text would read, without the words that are in italics, thus: "Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech by us; we pray in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." We urge this [Q579] upon all who have an ear to hear. We do not urge it upon each other, because each one who has come into Christ has already been reconciled to God through the death of His Son, and is a joint-heir with us, and a fellow-servant with us in this grace of God which we minister. All the church of Christ are God's ambassadors, and Christ's representatives in saying to all of those who have the hearing ear, "Be ye reconciled to God." And so, the Lord again says, "He that hath an ear to hear, let him bear."

REFORMS--God is Making the Wrath of Man to Praise Him.

QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--If the Kingdom of Christ is not yet set up on earth, how may we explain the various reforms, charities, etc., of our time?

ANSWER--Apparently, the Adversary is trying to run things in his own direction, but the light itself which we are enjoying today is the promised light of Divine Providence. We read that "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased," and that "there shall be a time of trouble such as never was..."--Dan. 12:1,4.

But God has supervised the matter of inventions, such as the printing press, the power of steam, and the effects and influences of these in the world. It seems, too, that the movements in the way of better government, etc., are influences based upon the general enlightenment and the efforts of mankind to do as well as they can by each other--especially in ways that selfishness does not hinder. But selfishness has, no doubt much to do with all manner of reform.

In speaking of the present time, our Lord said that the secrets should be proclaimed on the housetops. Today we see that many real exhibitions of vice, immorality and wrong-doing are brought to light--proclaimed from the housetops. While we do not say that the Adversary brings these things to light, yet we can see how the Adversary may have had to do with the movement toward communism that once had sway, as well as the movement toward socialism and toward anarchism. These are the things which will tend to bring on the time of trouble. So the wrath of man is made to turn to the praise of God. He is able to make the wrath of man praise Him. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain."--Psa. 76:10.

REJOICING--Basis for Always.

QUESTION (1913)--2--How does "Rejoice in the Lord alway" (Phil. 4:4) manifest itself? Are we to expect a condition where we will not have times of sadness and sorrow?

ANSWER--When we think of any matters like this, we properly look back to the case of our Lord. We see that during three and a half years of His ministry He did indeed delight to do the Father's will, and yet we find that in the very close of His earthly career He had the dark Gethsemane hour. And if the Master might have such a dark hour of sorrow and uncertainty for a moment until He had some assurance from the Father, so you and I might surely have. Therefore it would not be safe to say our rejoicing in the Lord could be such a rejoicing as would never know a tear, or sigh, or sorrow, or a fear. But we are to rejoice more and more as we experience the evidences that God is for [Q580] us and all things are working for our good. "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice." If you have some hour of sorrow come in, and then have the victory over it, rejoice again.

REMEMBRANCE--Re Former Things.

QUESTION (1911)--1--Isa. 65:17. "For behold I create a new heaven and new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered nor come into mind." Please give the meaning of this verse, especially the last part.

ANSWER--The Scriptures frequently use such expressions as this. The Lord uses the words heavens and earth in a symbolical manner, as we have pointed out in the Scripture Studies; we have the symbolic heavens representing the ecclesiastical powers, and we have the symbolic earth representing earthly society, organization; we have the symbolical mountains representing kingdoms; we have the symbolical rivers representing the streams of truth; we have the symbolical seas, representing the restless masses of mankind and the Lord declares this present order of things is not in harmony with the divine law, that it is now under disorder through sin and disobedience. Another Scripture says that the whole course of nature is wrong at the present time everything is disorder under the prince of this age, this dispensation. The Lord Jesus is to be the new prince, the new king, the new one to take charge or rule over mankind, and he declares, "Behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth." This is in harmony exactly with the statement here of Isaiah. So we read in Revelation, He that sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new"--a complete change from all this disorder, and sin, and present arrangement--a new order of things entirely. The symbolism will be carried out, and the heavens of the new order of things will not be the earthly nominal church systems of the present time, but the church of glory will be the new heavens--Christ and the church with him on the spirit plane, invisible to men, will be the new heavens, the new ruling power, and the new earth will be with righteousness controlling, the prince of this world will be cast out, and the Prince of Life, the Lord of Glory, will be the king over all the earth, and instead of the darkness will be light and blessing.

But the brother's question especially relates to the meaning of this last part, that the former should not come into mind nor be remembered. Does this signify that we are to forget all of these things? No, the thought would be that whatever we might have thought worthy of recording, and worthy of remembering, wishing to treasure up as things that were worthy of note, we will not think of them as worthy of mention at all. We will try to forget all of those things of death and imperfection; they will be so overwhelmed by the new order of things in the new dispensation that they will not be worthy of being mentioned, or being especially recorded. We will still be able to remember them, in fact we may say that we will even remember the imperfections of this present time. Some of us will sometimes say, thinking of something unpleasant in the past, "I will try to forget that." A sister remarked to me the other day, when some question came up, "Oh, that is among the things I am trying to forget." Not that she did really forget them, but she was putting them away, they were not worthy to be [Q581] remembered in comparison with the better things. So all the most precious and grand things of earthly arrangements today--for instance we speak of the coronation of King George of Great Britain, or the inauguration of a president, and that we had been there on such an occasion, and remembered the honor of sitting on the platform with the President at the time, or something like that, or you were a member of congress or something--these things would seem so trivial and unworthy you would want to forget all about them, the things we will have in the future, being so far superior to these.

RESURRECTION--Condition of Unbelievers in the Resurrection.

QUESTION (1906)--1--I understand the Scriptures to teach that those who fall into the grave in unbelief, under condemnation, come forth from the tomb without any change of condition, to be lifted up during the Millennial Age? Have I the correct view?

ANSWER--We answer practically yes. All who go into the tomb in a state of death because of Adam's condemnation, without having had their trial in the present time, without having come to a knowledge of the truth to that degree which made them responsible for life or death eternally, go into the tomb as the great prison house, and there is no change while in the prison; no alteration takes place there. There is no wisdom, knowledge or device in sheol, hades, in the tomb, in the grave, whither the whole world of mankind goes. Consequently when they are awakened and brought forth from the tomb by the power of the great Redeemer in due time, it will be coming forth in practically the same condition they went into it--practically I say--because we have to consider there are certain limitations. It would be reasonable to suppose for instance, that Lazarus died of some kind of disease which meant a wasting of his organs. Suppose he died of consumption, and that both lungs were gone at the time he died: Of course he could not breathe again without lungs. In bringing him forth you can see that Lazarus might come forth in the same condition mentally and morally, and practically the same condition physically, but with the addition necessary that he would have lungs enough to breathe. And so if a man were blown up in an explosion, we would have to suppose he would be put together again. That is to say, he would come forth not in pieces but a whole man, though not necessarily a perfect man. I am merely offering these suggestions in a general way. The thought would be that God is dealing with us as moral creatures, but if you have a bad natural disposition it shows in your face, and those who are well versed in phrenology could tell it by the shape of your head and facial expression, or others might be able to tell a good deal about the natural disposition by looking at the palm of the hand and reading it there. God seems to have so built our system that mental and moral degradation makes its mark upon the face, upon the head, and upon the whole system, especially as it comes down from generation to generation. As the sins of the past come down they have made their marks more or less, and those not of our own doing we need not be especially ashamed of, as we are not to blame. [Q582] The Lord is not blaming us for them especially. If we were all perfect we would all be good-looking.

RESURRECTION--Thy Dead Men and My Dead Body.

QUESTION (1907)--1--Isaiah 26:19: "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs and the earth shall cast out the dead." Does this imply that someone will be raised when the Lord's body was raised, or does it refer to the Lord at all?

ANSWER--I understand it refers to the Lord, and the translation is nearly right, but there is just a little bit of difference, as you will notice in the Common Version, some of the words are supplied in italics. When it is properly translated, it would read: "Thy dead men shall live, my dead body shall come forth." We are the Lord's body, and as His body, we shall come forth; "The dead men shall live, my body shall come forth from the dead as the Body of Christ," as He did.

RESURRECTION--Conscious Immediately.

QUESTION (1909)--2--Are those who deny everything for Christ's sake and thereby become one of the Church, to enter into eternal life in a conscious state immediately after death?

ANSWER--We answer that it was necessary for the Apostles and Stephen to fall asleep. It was necessary for them and all others to wait until the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom. So Paul says we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye in the resurrection.

RESURRECTION--Re Room for All.

QUESTION (1909)--3--If raised a human body how are you going to put twenty billions of people on this earth?

ANSWER--I heard one man say that if all the people of the world were brought back they would stand eight deep all over the face of the earth. If that wise man will take his pencil he will find that there is room enough for them all in the State of Texas and not stand them on end either. These wild statements are made because they do not think. I am not blaming the person who asked this question, for he evidently received the suggestion from some able man. Because some wise man says such wild things it is not necessary to believe it. You can tell by figuring it out yourself.

Some people, when thinking of the Second Coming of Christ, put it a great way off, and mention as proof, the coal fields, and think they will last fifty thousand years. On the contrary, the people dealing in coal state that there is not enough coal to last one hundred and fifty years. In fifty thousand years you could not stand the people up on this earth.

RESURRECTION--Human vs. Spiritual Bodies.

QUESTION (1909)--4--What kind of body in the resurrection?

ANSWER--There is a natural and a spiritual body; the world will be raised on the natural plane, as human beings in fleshly bodies. They will awakened in that condition. But the Church, begotten of the Holy Spirit, will be born of the Spirit in the resurrection and be spirit beings. It is sown [Q583] a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; it is a different resurrection than that which comes to the world.

RESURRECTION--Re Pane L on Chart.

QUESTION (1909)--1--To which plane was Jesus resurrected, spirit or divine, as illustrated on the Chart of the Ages? Please explain the statement in Vol. 1, page 231, (A231) that He was resurrected to the spirit plane "L," and after forty days He ascended to the Majesty on High, to the plane of divine glory.

ANSWER--It is difficult to fully explain such spiritual truths on any kind of a map or chart, and in my opinion, dear friends, the Chart of the Ages which appears in the First Vol. of Dawn, must have had the Lord's supervision in some respects, or else it could not have represented so clearly and fully as it does the various steps of justification, sanctification, etc., as it does, and yet it would seem to be next to impossible to do any more than was represented on that Chart. I would not know how to make a better one today to represent the thoughts.

Since there is a Great Company to be raised to the spirit plane, and since it will not reach the plane of glory in the kingdom, therefore we represented on the Chart the spirit plane to be one thing and the glory plane to be another thing. And they are different, for the Great Company will reach the plane of spirit beings as well as the Little Flock, but the Little Flock will reach the plane of glory, and power, and dominion which the Great Company will not have, therefore the distinction between plane "L" and "K" on the Chart. We did not attempt to show on the Chart that Christ and the Little Flock will reach a different plane from that of the Great Company, but we left that to be stated in words elsewhere. The Great Company will reach the plane of the angels, so far as we know, while the Little Flock will reach the divine plane as spirit beings, but of a higher degree.


QUESTION (1909)--2--Please explain Isa. 26:19: "Together with my dead body shall they arise."

ANSWER--That is the passage which speaks about the earth casting forth her dead. This Scripture, as I understand it, should read: "Thy dead men shall live, my dead body they shall arise." Leaving out the words in italics, and the word "together" which are not in the original. He is speaking of the Church of Christ, in the first resurrection, the specially dead.


QUESTION (1909)--3--Will my little girl, who died in infancy, come forth to a resurrection of life or to a resurrection by judgment?

ANSWER--According to law, the word "infant" means a person until he has come to age.

In answer to this question, I would say that a child who had not come to years could not be a Saint; the Saints are all overcomers. All others will have the resurrection by judgment. God will take care of the children, and if you are on the spiritual plane, you will yourself be far better able to care for them. We are dealing with one who is full of love and has all power to deal with every phase of the question.