The National Labor Tribune'January 10, 1915


Q' Can you help me to understand Luke 15:7: "Joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance." Who are the "just persons"?

Answer' This text is from the parable spoken by our Lord concerning the good shepherd going after his strayed sheep (Luke 15:1-10). The ninety and nine represent the angels and other Heavenly beings who have always been in harmony with God, therefore "just persons who need no repentance." The lost sheep is Adam (and his children in him), who strayed from God and became a sinner, resulting in the entire human race becoming sinners, as stated in Isa. 53:6, "All we, like sheep, have gone astray," and Rom. 3:23, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The good shepherd, seeking his sheep, represents Jesus leaving his heavenly glory and coming to earth to redeem mankind. When this is finished and the race of Adam restored, the Scriptures show that there will then be great rejoicing in Heaven (Rev. 5:11-13).

Q' Please harmonize the following Scriptures: John 6:44, "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him," and John 16:6, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me."

Answer' There should be no difficulty in harmonizing these statements, because all the great work of human blessing was formulated in the mind of the great God of Heaven, and he makes it all possible by first drawing the suitable ones to Christ. The first influence of Divine favor is that drawing power which points the sinner to the Sin-bearer, the Lamb of God, for it is to be through him alone that any can come into relationship again with God, for all were estranged from him through the fall. So of those who come to Christ, the present Advocate and future Mediator, whoever desire may consecrate themselves and so be accepted in the Beloved, and eventually be brought back to sonship with God the Church as first-fruits, and then all others who so desire during the reign of blessing.

Q' What is the meaning of Isa. 53:12 "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors?"

Answer' This verse shows that because Jesus died as an offering for sin (John 2:2), therefore Jehovah, the Great "I AM," would exalt him to a share with himself in the Divine nature, possessing inherent life (John 5:26; Philip. 2:9). Further, that Jesus would share the spoil of his great conquest with those who would be overcomers of the Gospel Age, his joint-heirs the strong (Rev. 3:21). He spoilt Principalities and Powers by his death and resurrection (Col. 2:15), and will eventually spoil Satan's usurped dominion of the kingdoms of this world by binding him for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1, 2; Matt. 12:28, 29). Then the kingdoms of this world shall become his (Rev. 11:15), and the overcomers the strong will share in his reign of righteousness (2 Tim. 2:12).

Q' Will you kindly explain Matt. 5:22 "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire?"

Answer' To understand this verse, it is necessary to know something of Jewish regulations. "The Court of Judges" had power to judge certain cases of crime, only, and "The High Council," or "Sanhedrim," constituted the supreme court to deal with the gravest offences, with power to enforce the extreme penalty death. In some cases, the bodies of very obnoxious criminals were subjected to indignity after death, being denied a decent burial, and were cast with the city refuse into Gehenna (translated "hell fire") to be consumed. The Lord was pointing out that their interpretation of the Law was far below the real import of it, as viewed by God, and as it shall be enforced under the real kingdom and judges, which theirs only typified. Thus, whoever is "angry" will be amenable to the judges, and whoever says "Raca" (villain) will commit a more serious offence, being dealt with by the High Council, and whoever continues in this sinful course will be in danger of Gehenna second death (hell fire) (Matt. 10:28). It would be hard to imagine a more fitting picture of the odium attaching to the final destruction of the willfully wicked than this Jewish custom of casting the bodies of criminals into the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) to be obliterated with the refuse of the city. Force is lent to the symbol when we remember that the Jews had not yet lost sight of the Scriptural hope that they would be restored to the earth in their resurrection and that they intended to thus indicate that they considered the criminal unworthy of a resurrection.

Q' What is the meaning of the expression: "Upon this rock I will build my Church?" Matt. 16:18.

Answer' The Greek word for Peter is "Petros," and means a stone, and the original word for rock is "petra." The meaning of this passage, therefore, is "Thou art Petros, a stone, and on this petra, rock, I will build my Church." "Petros" is masculine, and petra is feminine. Jesus asked for a confession: Peter gave it in these words- "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God." And this confession was the rock on which he declared that he would build his church, and against which the gates of hell (hades) should not prevail. The Apostle (1 Cor. 3:11) explains that Jesus Christ (and not Peter) is the only Foundation upon which the true Church or spiritual Temple is to be erected. St. Peter was merely one of the "living stones" (John 1:42; 1 Pet. 2:2-5) of that great Temple, the Church of Christ, which will be made up of many "stones," of which our Lord Jesus is the foundation Rock (1 Cor. 10:4). There is not the slightest reason to suppose that any one will be in this true Church unless he is built upon this foundation rock of faith in Christ as the son of the living God. The test is a [HGL682] severe one. Many think themselves Christians who do not even know what Christ's teachings are and therefore have not even a basis for faith. They do not even know what the foundation is and so surely could not build thereon. Others claim that Jesus is not the Son of God but that he and the Father are the same person. Still farther astray are those who consider the living God as a mere principle.

Q' In Mark 1:15 we read, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand," while in Matt. 6:10, Jesus taught us to pray for the Kingdom to come. Kindly explain: -(a) In what sense the Kingdom has already come, (b) In what respect it has not yet come, (c) What will be the character of the Kingdom?

Answer-(A) This can only be understood in the sense that those who now accept of Christ recognize his right to reign, and render to him voluntary obedience before he sets up his Kingdom, and consequent justification transfers our allegiance, and we reckon ourselves as subjects of the new king, and citizens of the New Jerusalem. We live by faith in the Kingdom, the world to come. (B) It has not yet come in power and glory. All during this Gospel age it has been in its preparatory stage, the kingdom in embryo. We therefore pray as the Lord taught, that God will establish his kingdom in the earth in power. The promises are that eventually Christ's kingdom shall be from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth, and all nations shall serve and obey him. (C) The Kingdom will be autocratic, but established under strict laws of equity as the prophet Isaiah says, "Judgment will be laid to the line, and righteousness to the plummet." The kingdom shall be under the saints of the Most High. Absolute justice will be maintained, and according to a man's progress in righteousness shall he prosper in the kingdom. It will not be confined to any one place, its power will be felt everywhere, just as Satan's kingdom at the present time is making its power felt, although not located in any particular spot on the earth.

Q' Heb. 6:15, speaking of Abraham says, "After he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." Does not this prove that Abraham received the promise made to him?

Answer' This expression "received the promise" may be used in two different ways. It may mean that a promise is given or that a promise is fulfilled. In this case the reference is evidently to the giving of the promise. It was after Abraham had endured the test of faith in the leaving of his home and journeying to the land the Lord had provided for him that he "received the promise" recorded in Gen. 12:1-3. There can be no doubt that he received this promise, as the statement of the Scripture is a plain one. But it is just as evident that he has never received the fulfillment of that promise, for the climax of its statement is that in him "all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Blind indeed would be the man that could suppose the families of the earth had ever yet been blessed in Abraham. Nor has he ever received the land promised him; it never became his full possession (Acts 7:5). The fulfillment of the promise in all its features awaits the resurrection. Abraham and his fleshly seed are to be brought from their graves and returned to the land of Palestine, as we read, "O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel" (Eze. 37:12). Then will begin the fulfillment of the other portion of the promise. Gradually the blessings of restored life will spread until the farthest bounds of earth shall have been reached. An illustration of the two uses of this expression is found in Heb. 11, verses 17 and 39.

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