The National Labor Tribune, January 21, 1906


Pastor Russell spoke Sunday in Carnegie Hall, Allegheny, to a large and intelligent audience. His text and discourse follow: "I have espoused you as a chaste virgin unto one husband, which is Christ." 2 Cor. 11:2

One difficulty with many Bible students is that they fail to recognize the design, the order, which pervades the divine plan of salvation. The thought of eternal torment has seemed to so dominate their minds as to hinder them from properly understanding the Scriptures when they do read them. That awful doctrine from the dark ages continues to have a baneful effect, even where enlightenment aside from the Word of God has discredited it. The basis of our faith lies in recognition that the human race are sinners and under divine sentence, and that in due time Christ died for the ungodly, that he might be the Mediator between God and man, the reconciler.

This foundation is generally recognized, but the next step in the divine plan seems to be discerned by but few: that the plan of salvation, instead of proceeding at once to the reconciling of the world, delayed that work and instead took up another, namely, the calling out from the world of a peculiar "people," a "little flock," to constitute the Church, figuratively called the "Bride, the Lamb's wife." [1 Pet. 2:9; Luke 12:32; Rev. 21:9]

These throughout the Scriptures are spoken of as the "elect," and a very general mistake has been to suppose that when the gathering of the elect shall be completed at the close of this Gospel age the plan of salvation will be finished. On the contrary, however, the Scriptures distinctly teach that with the completion of the election a work of "free grace" to the whole world of mankind will begin – the work of blessing all the families of the earth through the seed of Abraham. And this seed of Abraham as we have already pointed out from the Scriptures, is composed of Jesus and the Church, his Bride, or joint-heir. "If ye be Christ's (his Bride and joint-heir) then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the (Oath-Bound) promise." Gal. 3:29


Various figures are used in the Bible to represent this elect Church. In this figure Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church his Bride; in another he is the elder Brother and the Church his younger brethren; in another he is the High Priest and the Church the under "Royal Priesthood;" in another he is the Captain and the Church the good soldiers of the cross; in another he is the chief cornerstone in God's great Temple and the Church are the small "living stones" associated with him as members of that Temple; in another he is the true Shepherd and the true ones are the sheep of his flock; and so the shepherd declares, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them I must also bring." [John 10:16]

Today we want to consider the Church from the standpoint of this one figure – as a woman, as the Bride of Christ. Let no one think from the figure that the Lord's intention is that his followers shall lose their personal identity and become merged in one person. On the contrary, the Church when spoken of as the Bride is viewed from the same standpoint as when we speak of Congress or Parliament. In these the various members are individuals, but under organization they act as a whole under the presiding officer. Applying the figure further we might speak of the presiding officer as the head of the body of Congress, composed of many members. So Christ is said to be the Head of the many members of the elect Church, his body, and it is a similar figure which represents the Head as the Bridegroom, separate from the body.


In studying this subject we must keep in mind two things: First, that it is the Church of the future, after the resurrection, that is designated the Bride, the married wife. We must remember that the marriage of the Lamb – that is to say, the union between the glorified Lord and the glorified Church – is to take place after this Gospel age shall be ended, after it shall have accomplished its work of calling, testing, proving, selecting and glorifying all the members of that Bride class. In the present time the Lord's people are spoken of as the betrothed or espoused, never as the married wife or joint-heir.

The Apostle points out that the present time is our probationary period, to demonstrate which of us, after having consecrated our lives to him and with him to the service of the Truth, will carry out that covenant faithfully: which of us, now counted probationary members, will by faithfulness become actual members, thus making our calling and election sure, and be received through the first resurrection into the joys of our Lord and into participation in his Millennial reign of the future. The Apostle indicates all this when he says that "we are heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, if so be that we suffer with him that we may be also glorified together." (Rom. 8:17)

In accord with this note the Apostle's statement in our text, and its context: "I have espoused you as a chaste virgin unto [NS292] one husband, even Christ." [2 Cor. 11:2]

There is no suggestion in the Scriptures anywhere that there will be more than one Bride – nowhere is our Lord represented as a polygamist. Hence very evidently many are mistaken when speaking of many churches of Christ, many Brides of Christ, many espoused virgins. As there is but one Bridegroom so there is to be but one espoused virgin of the present time and one Bride or married wife of the future. The Apostle discerned this same spirit of sectarianism in his day and reproved it saying, While one says I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; and another, I am of Cephas, are ye not carnal, fleshly, misunderstanding the divine arrangement as worldly people might be expected to do? The same terms are applicable today, while ye say, I am of Calvin, Wesley, Luther, Peter, etc. Are ye not carnal?

Is it not an evidence of a lack of spiritual perception of the great fact that there is but one Bridegroom? and that in calling ourselves by any other name we would be to that extent renouncing our betrothal? According to the figure we would be guilty of adultery.


Christian people in general are awakening to this thought and moving toward federation: but even in this they show that they are carnal, that they do not understand what constitutes the real Church of Christ – that it is composed of such only as are fully consecrated to the Lord, espoused to him, "not their own" – that the Bride is not composed of a federation of churches, but is composed of those individuals who by the spirit are joined to the Lord in one spirit, "The Lord knoweth them that are his." (2 Tim. 2:19)

These are one, however the nominal systems may divide and separate the Lord's people the one from the other by credal fences. These, possessing the Lord's spirit, love and fellowship as fellow members all who are truly his, utterly regardless of the hindering fences erected by the Adversary for their separation. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit, and all such should be one with the Father, one with the Son and one with each other.

The time was when these various sects called Churches opposed one another, burned one another at the stake, called each other antichrist. Now in saner mood they are fraternizing, but still are greatly blinded and do not discern that they are all antichrist – all opposed to the divine order and arrangement. What matters it that the Lutheran body recognizes Luther as its head?

Are they not as really antichrist as the papal Roman Catholic body with the popes at their head, or the Greek Catholic body with the czars at their head, or with the Church of England with the king of England at their head, or the Presbyterians with Calvin and synods and presbyteries as their heads and lawgivers and guides. Combinations or federations of these unwarranted, unscriptural organizations will not make of them the true body of Christ – the true Church. The combination of several wrong doings under one head will not make all or any of them right.

The proper course would be to abandon all factions and sectarian separations and begin again as one company of the Lord's followers, guided by his word as given to us through the apostles and prophets in the Scriptures. The fundamentals at first stated, faith in Christ as our Redeemer and full consecration to him, should be the only standards for fullest fellowship. All Christendom would soon be thoroughly united but for one thing, namely, that only a small portion of so-called Christendom is truly consecrated to God, truly realize that they are sinners and that the sacrifice of Christ is their ransom price, and who, accepting this, have made full consecration of their every power and talent to him and his service. These alone would be the Church which God recognizes. A mass of tares have overgrown the Master's wheat field.

These run the organizations with a form of godliness but without the power thereof, and the Lord for centuries has been permitting it to be so, and is allowing his truly consecrated ones to be developed under these different conditions. Now we have reached the harvest time foretold in the parable (Matt. 13:18-43); the wheat are being called out of all sectarian bundles for the burning day, not for a future torment, but for a time of trouble coming upon the whole earth preparatory to the establishment of God's Kingdom – the glorified Church, Christ and his Bride. In the parable the Bride, represented by the wheat at the close of the harvest, will all be safely gathered into the barn, and our Lord's declaration is, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father."

Thank God that the mission of Christ and the Church in glory is not to condemn and blight the remainder of the human family. On the contrary, it is to be a blessing to all, in symbol the glorious Sun of Righteousness which shall scatter the darkness of earth, binding the prince of darkness, Satan, and setting at liberty from the bonds of ignorance, superstition and credulity the whole world of mankind which for so long has been under his power. 2 Cor. 4:4


Heretofore we have seen that the Apostle pointed out that Abraham and his wives and his children were used of the Lord in such a manner as to make of them allegories or pictures of various features of his plan for the future. Let us notice how the union between Christ [NS293] and the Church which we are now discussing was allegorically represented in the same connection. The fact that Isaac was used not only to represent Jesus but all the members of the Church, his body ("Ye, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise" – Gal. 4:28), does not at all interfere with our seeing Isaac as a representative of our Lord, and his wife, Rebecca, as the representative of the Church. On the contrary, it is in full accord with the fact that the Lord's faithful followers are sometimes spoken of as members of his body and sometimes as his Bride. Isaac did not select his own bride; his father Abraham made the selection through his servant Eliezer. Similarly our Lord Jesus does not select his Bride, but specifically tells us, "No man cometh unto me except my Father which sent me draw him." (John 6:44)

Again, Abraham directed his servant that the wife must not be taken from strangers but from his own relationship. Note how this illustrates the fact that sinners are not called to be the Bride of Christ, but called to repentance and reformation. The call or invitation to be the Bride of Christ has been made only to justified believers.

All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have fled from sin are counted as related to God and no longer strangers, aliens and foreigners through wicked works, but being justified by faith, they have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also they have access into this grace wherein we stand, rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God – access into the grace or privilege of becoming members of the Bride class, of joint-heirs in the Kingdom. Rom. 5:1,2


Abraham's servant, sent to select Isaac's bride, allegorized the holy Spirit. Thus throughout the Gospel age since Pentecost, it is the province of the holy Spirit of God to invite, to draw through the Word of testimony, those who may become the Lord's Bride and joint-heirs. The entire journey of the espoused Rebecca was made under the care and guidance of Eliezer, as the entire journey of the Gospel age has been made by the Lord's truly consecrated ones under the supervision and guidance of the holy Spirit.

The camels which bore the presents to Rebecca, and which bore her on her journey to Isaac, represent the Word and providences of God which bring his faithful ones safely to the end of the journey, to the end of this age. The journey ended at the well Lahairoi, Isaac going that far out into the desert to meet her. When Rebecca discerned Isaac she alighted from her camel and put on a vail. Gen. 24:64, 65

This feature of the allegory is still for future fulfillment: hence we must draw our inferences from it with the greater caution. The meaning of the name of the place where the meeting took place seems suggestive; it means, "The well of a living one, my seer."

It was a fountain of living waters which seemed to speak of life from the dead, especially as this well was in the desert place. It suggests the thought of a resurrection, the glorious change which the Apostle assures us will be the experience of the Church at the end of this age – each individual member shall be "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." (1 Cor. 15:52)

Putting on of the vail would seem to mean the passing of the Church beyond the veil – beyond the flesh into the spirit condition of the first resurrection – and the alighting from the camel would seem to mean that the Church would no longer be sustained by the Scriptures and earthly providences so necessary now, but would at once pass fully under the care of the heavenly Bridegroom.


Glancing back along the allegory we find other details equally in harmony with the experiences of the true Church and the teachings of the Word. The servant by directions went to the family of Abraham's brother, Nahor, but he attempted not to bring the entire family; he made selection. So of the many who are believers in God, a selection is now made of a special class for a special purpose, a peculiar service in connection with the great divine plan which ultimately shall bless all the families of the earth.

The maiden who was afterwards espoused was found at the well, drawing water, which well illustrates the fact that those who are called of the Lord to a fulness of consecration and obedience and joint-heirship with the Lord Jesus are those who went frequently to the well, to the Word of God, to draw of the water of truth for cleansing and for refreshment and for distribution to others. The servant, acting under divine guidance, made a test by which he recognized the maiden as a suitable one to be invited to be wife of Isaac.

The test was her willingness to serve the water to others, to which she not only responded by tendering Eliezer the water but drew also for his camels. Similarly those suitable to be called, to be invited to joint-heirship with Jesus, must be of humble mind, ready to serve, especially pleased to serve others with such water, the truth, which is under their control. The test having proven satisfactory the servant at once opened his treasures, and presented to the maiden gifts of earrings and bracelets. (Gen. 24:22)

How well this represents the fact that those found of the holy Spirit acceptable, suitable to be invited to consecration, are at once rewarded for any services they have rendered as a pleasure. They receive at once the hearing ear and a blessing upon their hands in their labors in the Lord's service. When the servant had been received into Nahor's [NS294] house he explained his mission, that he was Abraham's servant, sent to find a suitable wife for his Master's son, of whom he declared "Unto him hath he given all that he hath." [Gen. 24:36]

Thus it is that the holy Spirit reveals that Jesus, is the antitypical Isaac, the heir of all things, and informs us of the fact that God is calling out a people, a little flock, to bear his name as his bride and to be his joint-heirs in the Kingdom. The messenger and the message were appreciated and the invitation received: Rebecca was recognized as accepted of the Lord to be Isaac's wife and to go to him as soon as this was recognized by her kinsfolk. Abraham's servant produced more jewels of silver and gold, and raiment, some of them for Rebecca and some of them for her kindred.

In the fulfillment of this allegory we see the household of faith and their appreciation of the fact of the call, and how correspondingly they received also gifts and blessings of the holy Spirit, though not in the same measure or degree or value as those presented to the specially consecrated ones. The whole mission of this Gospel age is to take out the elect Church, but incidentally a blessing falls upon all who are in any measure or degree associated with this "little flock."

The blessing coming to "the very elect" extends to all about them. In a measure they are the "salt of the earth," and have a preservative effect upon all with whom they are associated. Of these Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world... Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matt. 5:14-16)

All men who are directly or indirectly in contact with these lights of the world, these members of the body of Christ, have blessings in proportion to their preparation for them. It can not be shown in allegory, but the fact is clearly presented in the Scriptures, that the invitation to become the Bride of Christ is a general one to every member of the household of faith. But though many are called few are chosen, because only the few will have the characteristics demanded by the Lord's call and selection. The others may merely rejoice with this class, but refraining from a full consecration of themselves, they can not be of them.


The period of rejoicing over the favor of God which had come to them, by which Rebecca was to be especially blessed, soon gave place to a measure of trial, of testing. At first she probably had no thought of what this espousal would signify, would cost her to leave her father's house and her own kindred for a far-off land she had never seen.

Her mother and her brother both joined in importuning that the departure should be delayed for a time, but Abraham's servant was prompt and the question was left with Rebecca herself. So great was her heart's affection for the one to whom unseen she had plighted herself that she was anxious to go to be with him, and the journey began promptly. Thus is illustrated the test which comes to every consecrated one. Those dear to them by earthly ties lovingly seek to hinder them from self-sacrifice, or at least to delay the matter, and it becomes a question of loving father or mother, brothers or sisters, houses or lands, and one's own ease and comfort, or love for the heavenly Bridegroom. All who are of the Rebecca class will say with the Apostle respecting the heavenly Bridegroom, "Whom not having seen ye love: in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." 1 Pet. 1:8


Carrying out this same thought the New Testament uniformly represents the espoused Church as a chaste virgin, who will recognize no other Lord than Jesus, and call herself by no other name than his. The same Scriptures call our attention to false systems which would develop and would call themselves by the names of other heads or Lords, ignoring to some extent the heavenly Bridegroom. These, because nominally betrothed to Christ, but really associated with the world, are figuratively said to be harlots.

The Scriptures clearly bring to our attention a great system from which other Church systems proceed, and these are recognized throughout Christendom as being the Roman Catholic system and the Protestant churches, her daughters, who left the mother's house to set up on their own account. From the divine standpoint the whole proceeding is harlotry, confusion, the mixing of world systems with that which should be true, pure, loyal to the Lord alone. In harmony with this these systems are spoken of as Babylon – the "mother of harlots" and her daughters. Nothing in this, however, implies harlotry on the part of the individuals composing these systems. It is the system and not the individuals that is pictured. This is clearly shown in the fact that in the picture of the end of this age the Lord calls his faithful ones out of Babylon, saying, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4)

So deceptive has been the great system of Churchianity that the Lord's true friends have been in it without realizing the wrong, nor was it due time to bring the matter to their attention until the harvest time of separation would come, when the wheat would be separated from the tares, when all of the Lord's people – "My people" – would be called out by the voice of the Truth – by the exposing of Babylon's error. For any one to remain after the eyes of his understanding [NS295] have opened would be to bring himself intelligently and wilfully into fellowship with the wrong, and our Lord declares would make him partaker of the sins of the systems and sharers in the wrath or plagues about to come upon Churchianity as a whole in a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation. Dan. 12:1


As the consecration of the Lord's people and their begetting of the holy Spirit constitute the betrothal to Christ, so the glorification of the first resurrection will constitute their marriage to him, when they shall be like him and see him as he is and share his glory as his Bride. This is pictured also in Revelation, where we are told that the marriage of the Lamb will come when his wife hath made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7)

The making ready has required the entire period of the Gospel age; the robe of Christ's righteousness imputed to each individual member of the Church has required to be painstakingly embroidered, according to the pattern set before us, with the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit. In this preparation work each member assists the others, edifying one another and building up one another in the most holy faith. The same thought is pictured by our Lord in one of his parables, in which he represents the closing of this Gospel age and its gathering of the wise virgins before the marriage supper of the Lamb takes place, and the door of opportunity to a membership in that elect class forever closes. Thank God, the door that will then be shut will not be the door of hope either to the foolish virgins of Christendom nor to the heathen world. (Matt. 25:10)

On the contrary, it will be merely the closing of the narrow way of this Gospel age, the end of the wonderful opportunity of becoming members of the Bride class. Just beyond the dark night of trouble that will then be upon the world, the dawn of the new Millennial day will usher in the blessings of the Lord and open up the "highway of holiness." [Isa. 35:8]

Then the Spirit and the bride will say "come" to whosoever will of all the families of the earth, that they may freely partake of the life eternal provided for all through the sacrifice of Christ. [Rev. 22:17]

The National Labor Tribune, February 4, 1906


Pastor C. T. Russell preached to his home congregation in Bible House Chapel, Allegheny, Sunday, to an overflowing house. His text was, "Moses truly said unto the Fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you among your brethren, like unto me. To him shall ye hearken in all things whatsoever he shall speak unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hearken to that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people." (Acts 3:22, 23)

The discourse follows: Our text is the testimony of the Apostle Peter, and must therefore be accepted by all believers in the Bible. Nevertheless, many of us for a long time had difficulty in our effort to harmonize this statement with the facts in the case.

We said, "Where do we find the correspondence between Moses, the great Lawgiver of Israel, and the Lord Jesus as his antitype?" We read in the Law of Moses respecting the sacrifices and sin offerings which he instituted, and in this could find foreshadowings of the "better sacrifices" of Christ; but wherein Christ fulfilled the Apostle's statement has indeed been a difficult matter. We said to ourselves, "In what sense can it be true that whosoever does not hear and heed Christ is "utterly destroyed from amongst the people?" "The heathen have never heard, in any sense of the word – Are they utterly destroyed? The great majority of people in civilized lands have never heard in the sense here intimated, in the sense of heeding the commands of Christ. Are they utterly destroyed? True, it would be far better that they should be utterly destroyed than that they should be eternally tormented, as many have imagined, but as the Scriptures do not teach. Nevertheless, would it not seem too bad that the great mass of humanity even, in our day should thus be condemned to utter destruction because they have not heard and not heeded the voice of Christ?


The Apostle repeatedly tells us about the mystery hid from past ages and dispensations but now due to be understood by the saints – not by the world. (Eph. 3:3-9)

This mystery or secret, not generally comprehended, the Apostle explains is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col 1:27)

In other words, he would have us understand that God's plan for the salvation of the world is much greater, much larger, than any of us would have suspected – that it includes first of all the selection of the Church of this Gospel age as members of the body of the great Christ under Jesus their Head. (Eph. 1:22-33)

This whole company, the Head and the [NS296] members, will therefore constitute the Christ of prophecy – "like unto Moses."

So, then only, those who recognize this "mystery," this secret, are prepared to rightly understand our text and many other matters and statements of the Scriptures. Our text is not yet fulfilled, but awaits its fulfillment until the entire Christ (Head and body – Christ and the Church) shall have been "raised up."

Our Lord, the Redeemer and Head, has already been exalted, and his Church for 1800 years has been in process of selection, formation and testing. In the harvest of this Gospel age the union between the Head and the members is promised, for our Lord declared, "I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also." (John 14:3)

He told us thus to expect to enter into his glory and become heirs of God and joint-heirs with himself in his Kingdom, which he will establish at his second advent. From this standpoint, therefore, this entire Gospel age has been devoted to the raising up of this great antitypical Prophet, foreshadowed or typified by Moses and composed of many members. With the completion of the work of this age the work of the next age will begin – a totally different work.

The work of this age is a selective one, or, as some dear Christian people term it, an elective work. God is gathering the "members of the body of Christ" that he may use them in his great work of blessing and instructing mankind, and in thus raising up out of sin and death conditions all who will hearken to the instructions then to be given through the great antitypical Moses – the Christ in glory. In the type, Moses led Israel and instructed them 40 years before they were prepared to enter Canaan; in the antitype, the greater than Moses – the Christ, Head and body – will lead and instruct all the willing and obedient for a thousand years, at the close of which all the worthy ones will be ushered into the antitypical Canaan of eternity, while on the contrary all who fail to respond to the teachings and assistances that will be given to mankind by the antitypical Moses will be utterly destroyed in the Second Death.


God's purpose toward the world – to grant to Adam and all of his posterity a blessing of recovery from the "curse" or sentence of death which came upon all through Adam's disobedience – is clearly set forth in the Abrahamic covenant, the oath-bound covenant, which declares, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." [Gen. 28:14]

Nevertheless, in thus providing a blessing for all, the Lord wisely put restrictions, requirements, upon all who would have that blessing to the fullest degree – to the perfect degree of eternal life. First, the Law covenant was made with the nation of Israel that it might foreshadow the plan, the arrangement of God for the world's blessing, and at the same time might, by showing man's deficiencies, point out to mankind the need for the better arrangements which God designed to bring forward in due time under the new covenant, whose Mediator would be the Christ.

The Law given to Israel was just and true, and Moses, the Mediator of that covenant, was loyal and faithful both to the Lord and to Israel. Wherein then was the difficulty that the Law Covenant brought nothing to perfection? We reply that the difficulty lay in the fact that mankind are by nature fallen and have the seeds of imperfection, sin and death in their constitutions, and hence, with the very best of intentions, as the Apostle declares, "we can not do the things that we would" – when we would do good evil is present with us. (Rom. 7:21)

Thus the Jewish nation for centuries tried to keep the Law and were unable to do so, and hence, as the Apostle declares, "By the deeds of the Law can no flesh be justified in God's sight," Rom. 3:20

The Lord's Word teaches us that the New Covenant is to be more successful than was the Law Covenant – it is to save all the willing and obedient of every nation, people, kindred and tongue. How will it do this? Will the new law connected with the New Covenant and administered under the Millennial Kingdom of Christ be less searching, less exacting than the Mosaic Law? And if the people of Israel could not rise to the requirements of Moses' Law, because of their inherited weaknesses, will there be a modified law for the future? We answer, No!

A perfect God could not give an imperfect law – he could not set up a wrong standard of righteousness. What hope, then, could there be that the world's opportunity under the New Covenant will result more favorably than did Israel's opportunity under the Law Covenant? We answer that the difference will consist in the fact that the New Covenant has a more competent Mediator. In this we are not calling in question the willingness of Moses to have done for the people of Israel all that Christ will do for the world of mankind: but with all his willingness he was incompetent, because he, like the rest of the people, was a sinner – a member of the sinner race.

Christ on the contrary is a competent Mediator. Adam's disobedience brought condemnation and death against the entire race: the obedience of Jesus, even unto death, paid, settled, canceled that original condemnation according to the divine requirements, "a life for a life," the last Adam for the first Adam. And as the condemnation of Adam proceeded to all of his posterity, so the redemption of Adam proceeds to all of his posterity. [NS297] In other words, our Lord Jesus bought the world of mankind with his own precious blood; his own untainted, uncondemned life he gave for the world's ransom. By reason of this redemptive work our Lord has the full, just right to restore, to lift up, out of sin and death conditions, through knowledge and disciplinary experiences, the whole world of mankind, so many as will obey. By thus lifting mankind up again out of sin and death, in recovering the willing and obedient from all that was theirs through original sin, our Lord will prepare them for the tests of the perfect divine law which will come upon every one of them in the close of the Millennial age.

But it will be a different matter for a perfect man to meet the requirements of the divine law than for an imperfect man to meet these requirements. True, father Adam was a perfect man yet failed, but his failure was due largely to an imperfect degree of knowledge. Those who will reach the close of the Millennial age will have a clear knowledge of both good and evil. The world has gained its knowledge of evil during the six thousand years of the prevalence of sin, and whoever will shall, during the Millennial age, have full opportunity of coming to clear knowledge of that which is good and appreciate the difference between good and evil and the rewards of these, so that the testing in the end of the Millennial age will fully justify the seven thousand years of instruction which God's providence has arranged for Adam and his race.

It is not for us, to know what will be the proportionate number of those who shall ultimately attain eternal life and of those who through disobedience to that great Prophet shall be "utterly destroyed from amongst the people" in the Second Death. We think it is not unreasonable, however, to assume that fully a half of our race or over will gain life eternal under the gracious terms of the New Covenant.


Some may inquire, Why the long delay since Jesus died as the Redeemer of the world? Why did he not at once begin the work of the New Covenant, restoring the world of mankind. We answer that there are two principal reasons:

(1) The Lord evidently wished that the world should be filled, populated. This was the original commission given to father Adam before he sinned, "Multiply and fill the earth." [Gen. 1:28]

Under the conditions of sin and death the race production has gone on rapidly, so that by now we may suppose that the whole number ever born into the world would very nearly make a full population for it if it were turned as a whole into a Garden of Eden or, as promised, into a paradise of God. True, the Lord could raise up in the midst of the ocean other continents still larger than we now have, and possibly he may do so; but as it is, a reasonable estimate of the numbers born into the world for the past six thousand years would make a tolerably well-populated earth.

This would be one reason why the Lord would delay the establishment of the Kingdom, because with its establishment the birthrate will certainly decrease and eventually entirely cease. For we are assured that those who will attain perfection will "neither marry nor be given in marriage," but like the angels of heaven will be without sex distinctions, as Adam was before Eve was created to be the mother of the race. Matt. 22:30

(2) Another important reason for the delay in the establishment of the New Covenant blessings is the necessity for the sealing of this New Covenant. It must be sealed before it can go into effect. The Apostle calls it a testament – that is, a will – saying, "Where a testament is there must also of necessity be the death of the testator" – the death of the one who makes the will, "for a testament, a will, is of force only after men are dead, otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator is living." (Heb. 9:16, 17)

So this New Covenant, New Testament, could not go into effect except as the testator, Christ, died. But, you say, Christ died nearly nineteen centuries ago. Yes, we answer, Jesus died – and it is his death that is efficacious for the cancellation of the sins of the world; but in the present time he is not applying the efficacy of his sacrifice to the world, but merely to those special believers who flee from sin and by faith lay hold upon him and come under his robe of righteousness. And he is now giving such the opportunity of becoming members of his body, and as such of joining with him in his sacrifice – joining with him in the sealing of the New Covenant.


This is what he meant when he instituted the Memorial Supper in the night in which he was betrayed. He took the cup, saying, "This is my blood of the New Covenant (New Testament – will), shed for many for the remission of sins; Partake ye all of it." [Matt. 26:28, 27]

Not the many who will be blessed by the New Covenant are invited to become partakers of the blood, but the few, the little flock, who now by faith are called out of the world, elected as the body of Christ – these are invited to participate with their Lord and Head in the blood by which the New Covenant is sealed. As our Lord said to his followers in the narrow way, "Drink ye all of it," so the Apostle, putting the same matter in other words says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1)

Again St. Paul says, speaking of the memorial cup [NS298] representing the blood of Christ, "The cup which we drink is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16)

By this he calls attention to the fact that our pledge as followers of Christ, to lay down our lives in his service and for the brethren as living sacrifices, is our communion or common participation with Jesus in his sacrifice. Not that the merit belongs to us, but under the cover of his merit we are accepted as his members, so that our sacrifices are counted in as part of his sacrifice. From this standpoint of the "mystery" we can see that the entire Gospel age of over eighteen centuries has been the time of the sufferings of Christ, first the Head and subsequently all the members of the body of Christ, "filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." (Col 1:24)

We can see that the experiences of the Lord's consecrated ones have been their communion, their fellowship, in the blood of Christ, in the sacrifice of Christ, and that all of these together are sacrifices counted in with the Master's, and constitute the sealing of this great covenant, this great testament, through which the world is to be blessed during the thousand-year reign of the Christ, the antitype of Moses.


The typical or Law Covenant was inaugurated at Mount Sinai by the typical mediator, Moses. Its foundation was laid in the sacrifice of typical animals, bulls and goats, the mediator sprinkling the blood of these first upon the book of the Law and secondly upon the people. The sprinkling of the tables of the Law represented the satisfaction of Justice, that the Mediator and his sacrifice were acceptable so far as God was concerned.

The sprinkling of the people with the same blood represented their agreement to be obedient to God and to accept the mediator. The antitype of these things belongs to the Gospel age. As shown in the types, the first sacrifice of the sin offering was that of the bullock, which was not for all the people but simply for the "household of faith," including the Church, which is the "body of Christ."

This sacrifice of the goat class has been in process since Pentecost, and will conclude with the finished sacrifice of the Lord's consecrated people of this age. The presentation of the merit of these sacrifices before the Father by our great High Priest, Jesus, and the Father's acceptance of them, corresponds to the sprinkling of the Law, the meeting of the demands of the Law as respects the race.

Then forthwith the work of sprinkling all the people will begin. This in the antitype will mean the spread of the knowledge of the truth amongst the people, and the application to each individual who will accept it of the merit of Christ's sacrifice, so that as a result all mankind may come back, if they will, into full fellowship and harmony with God. However, the Scriptures clearly indicate to us that not all will respond, that some will refuse divine mercy and favor even after they have had full knowledge and full opportunity, and that for these the Lord provides the second death – "They shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people." [Acts 3:23]


This pictures before our minds the installation of these two covenants, pointing the one out as a type and the other as an antitype. (See Heb. 12:18-29)

He here points out to us that as the Law Covenant, the type, was instituted at Mount Sinai, its thunder and lightening and terrible sights and sounds were all typical or allegorical of the yet more striking, more wonderful events which will attend the inauguration of the New Covenant; and as this inauguration of the New Covenant is, we believe, nigh, even at the door, and to be expected within the next ten years, it may be profitable for us to consider carefully just what the Lord may teach us under the guidance of the Apostle's words. The Israelites had for some time been approaching Mount Sinai, and, being a large company, would not all reach there at the same time. Likewise the Church has been approaching Mount Zion, the Kingdom of Zion, for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come" – the Kingdom of God's dear Son. For 1800 years the faithful in Christ Jesus have been continuing on toward Mount Zion, which is to be the general rendezvous, the meeting place for all, "the General Assembly of the Church of the First-Born, whose names are written in heaven." [Matt. 6:10; Heb. 12:23]

There they not only will meet God, the Judge of all, but ultimately also meet all the perfect ones, with Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant. At that time, then, the sprinkling of the blood of the New Covenant will be in order. To come under that sprinkling will not mean vengeance, as the blood of Abel called for vengeance; to come under the blood of Christ will mean mercy, because his blood was shed as our redemption price. Pointing back to the type the Apostle says that the Lord's voice, then at Sinai shook the earth. Pointing next to the installation of the New Covenant now near at hand, he declares that God has promised that at this time he will not only shake the earth but also heaven. We can readily see that the terms "heaven" and "earth" in this case are used in a figurative or symbolical sense. True, the physical earth may be shaken considerably, as it certainly was literally shaken at Mount Sinai; but we can not think of heaven, God's dwelling place, as being shaken in any sense. Evidently the symbolical heavens and earth are here meant – [NS299] namely, the heavens, ecclesiastical powers – the earth, social organization or civilization. Both are to be shaken here, and the Apostle's language clearly shows that the shaking is not to be a trifling matter: the Lord will so thoroughly shake the ecclesiastical powers and the social systems of earth that everything that can be shaken, everything that is not fixedly established upon principles of righteousness and truth, will be thoroughly shaken loose, overthrown, destroyed. With the amount of error and falsity there is in the world, in religion, in politics, in business, in society, everywhere, we can readily see that this will mean a terrible shaking of present institutions – "A time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." Dan. 12:1

That we may get the force of the matter the Apostle pictures allegorically the tempests and darkness and frightful sounds which occurred at Mount Sinai. As there the least contact with the mountain brought death, so here everything in conflict with the Kingdom, Mount Zion, will suffer. As in the type blackness and darkness and tempests and sound of a trumpet caused terror, so here in the antitype there will be fearful sights, terrible scenes in the end of this age, in the beginning of the sounding of the great trump of God, the last trump, the "Seventh Trumpet" of Revelation. Here the voice of the archangel will be recognized as issuing commands and bringing into order the institutions of the new dispensation, not in words literally, but in forceful demonstration which will speak louder than words.

The result will be, as the Apostle points out (vs. 27-29), that everything shakable, everything imperfect, everything untrue, everything out of accord with perfect justice connected with the institutions of men, either theological, political, financial or social, will be utterly shaken loose arid destroyed, and only those things that can not be shaken will remain. The Apostle's intimation is that the things which can not be shaken are the truths pertaining to the Kingdom of God's dear Son, which can not be moved.


The Apostle, addressing those who hope for a share with Christ in his Kingdom and honor and glory, and who hope for a share in the work of that Kingdom in the blessing of all the families of the earth, urges us, all believers, saying, "Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which can not be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably." [Heb. 12:28]

Let us realize that now is the time for service, the time for sacrificing, the time we have pledged ourselves to walk in the narrow way, to faithfully lay down our lives, thus participating with him, our Lord and Head, in his cup, that we may also be accounted worthy to participate with him in his glories soon to follow. The Apostle concludes his statement with a further reference to God, with whom the mediation is made. He declares, "For our God is a consuming fire." [Heb. 12:29]

The picture he thus thrusts before our minds carries us back to the illustration at Mount Sinai, where the Lord manifested himself to the people as a consuming fire at the top of the mountain. The lesson thus enforced is that God's opposition burns against all iniquity, all unrighteousness, all sin; he can not look upon it with allowance; his sentence against sin is destruction. We are all sinners and all justly under this sentence of destruction, the fire of God's anger, righteous indignation; but he is merciful also, and provided a way of escape – Jesus, the Way, the Truth, the Life. [John 14:6]

The Church of this Gospel age is now being invited to associate with him, but if any man love darkness rather than light, if when he comes to discern righteousness and sin in their true character, true colors, he is not disposed to accept the side of righteousness, he is putting himself willfully and intentionally in opposition thereto, which means opposition to God. Such are to know that however much mercy, long suffering and patience the Lord has for those who are even stumblingly seeking to walk in the ways of righteousness and in the footsteps of Jesus, and however broad the provision he has made that ultimately every creature shall have the knowledge and opportunity of coming into accord, with himself through Christ under the New Covenant, nevertheless still the "wages of sin is death," and all who love the unrighteousness must expect to perish before the consuming fire of divine justice.

This applies to the Church in the present time as well as to the world in the coming age. We who now taste of the good things of God's favor in advance of the world, in connection with our high calling and privilege of joint-suffering and joint-heirship with Christ, must remember that the Almighty is not to be trifled with, that if we wilfully reject his mercies and favors he would be toward us as a consuming fire. Likewise the world in the coming age must learn that if they sin wilfully, if they refuse to go on and attain perfection, if they reject the mercy of God through the Lord Jesus, they must expect no further mercy, no mercy outside of him and the divine order and arrangement of which he is the recognized Head – they shall die the death, they shall be "utterly destroyed from amongst the people," as is declared in our text. But we are not of those who draw back, but of those who go on. Let us be faithful a little while, and we shall reach the end of the narrow way and be ushered into the Kingdom with the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant," enter into the joys of the Lord's Kingdom, the blessed work of ministering to and guiding [NS300] and uplifting the world – whosoever wills. How precious is this present opportunity of casting in our lot with him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood, that we may be counted "members of his body," participants in his sufferings and also in the glory to follow.

The National Labor Tribune, February 11, 1906


Wheeling, W. Va., February 11. – Our Court Opera House, with a seating capacity of 1,500, was crowded this afternoon with an intelligent audience to hear Pastor Russell's anti-infidel discourse, "To Hell and Back."

We report his forenoon topic from the text, "Their fear toward me is taught by the precepts of men." (Isa. 29:13)

The speaker said – There is a proper as well as an improper fear toward God. The one is reasonable, the other illogical; the one is helpful, the other injurious; the one is the beginning of wisdom, the other the beginning of folly, irrational anguish. The Scriptural fear is presented to us in the words, "The fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." [Psa. 111:10; Pro. 9:10]

To this statement every rational mind will assent. "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God," [Psa. 14:1; 53:1] but all properly balanced intellects recognize that there is an intelligent Creator, that human life conditions proceed from him and suggest to us that reverence is due Him and his perfect laws, established for our well-being and form a proper regulation of the universe. The person who has not learned this has not even started to become wise, much less started to become a Christian.

The Apostle indicates that even after we have become Christians, even after we have come into the relationship to God through faith in the Redeemer and obedience to his laws which permits us to call the Almighty our Father – even then we should reasonably and properly have a revered kind of fear. The Apostle says, "Let us fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest any of us should seem to come short of it." (Heb. 4:1)

This, however, is not an anguishing, distracting fear, but a rational one, helpful to the Lord's people in preserving that sobriety and balance of mind everywhere inculcated in the Word.


The fears above considered are helpful, but another class of fears referred to in our text are injurious – fears that are taught by the precepts of men. We will note what these are; many suffer from them from the earliest childhood and know well the meaning of the Scriptural statement, "Fear hath torment." (1 John 4:18)

How many little ones are affrighted by being told "If you do that the bad man will get you" – describing the devil – with the inference left upon the plastic mind of flames and torture. We rejoice that in our own land, and increasingly everywhere as intelligence gains foothold, the smoke of the dark ages rolls gradually away, and this frightening of children is on the decrease. The torments of hell and purgatory are still directly or indirectly brought before the child mind, but not with such degree, not with such vividness as formerly, though even yet in some parts of the world the lisping little ones are taught to fear God as a monster.

While being instructed they are given illustrations of hell and purgatory, in which children kneel and pray in vain on red-hot floors for relief from anguish because they have been disobedient to their earthly instructors. With advancing years the teachings of men continue to clinch these false doctrines, these unscriptural views of God and his provision for our needs, until with maturity the average mind is terror stricken respecting death and all beyond it. No wonder that so many faces are careworn and sad and marked with fear! No wonder that the very thought of God brings to such mistaught minds fearful forebodings and every other feeling except that of love and confidence. No wonder the Bible is regarded with superstition and error, and never thought of as the book of God's messages of love and good will toward men.


These misconceptions of God and his plan are not based upon the Bible statements, but came from heathendom. True, there are texts of Scripture which, with the twist and bias already in our minds from infancy, can readily be acclaimed to encourage these unreasonable fears. For instance, the loving statement that "the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost," is often quoted as a proof of eternal torment. How erroneous! How unreasonable! What was lost? When was it lost? How would Christ save it? These rational questions are rarely considered or given reasonable answer. The Bible answer is that by father Adam's disobedience sin entered the world and has corrupted his race and brought all under the sentence [NS301] of death – "Dying thou shalt die." (Rom. 5:19; Gen. 2:17)

Life was lost. Eden was lost, divine fellowship and favor were lost, and God's gift, eternal life, was lost. Sad was the loss, but there is no suggestion in the Scriptures that eternal torment was gained or inflicted in addition to those losses. Our Lord Jesus has redeemed the lost Adam and his race, his lost dominion also, and everything that was lost by original sin. The purchase price was paid when the Lord by the grace of God tasted death for every man.

As a result the Redeemer has the right to restore from death, from sin, from weakness, from imperfection, from all that was lost, Adam and every member of his race. the Scriptures show us how, eventually, the offer of eternal life, the opportunity of gaining it, will be extended led by the Redeemer to every member of the race and that all may have it who will get hack into harmony with God and his principles of righteousness. How unreasonable, how criminally wrong to misrepresent this blessed promise, and to endeavor to make it a support to the doctrine of eternal torment, which blasphemes God's holy name, character and Word. The Apostle was quite right in referring to the diabolical views of the heathen as "doctrines of demons."

All heathen religions teach torment after death for the great bulk of the human family. Where did they get that idea? From our Bible? No! they know it not. From our God? No! he is as yet not revealed to them. They got their wrong views from the demons, the wicked spirits whose chief delight seems to be to terrorize the human family and to misrepresent the Almighty.

Instead of heathendom getting its demonology from Christianity, the reverse is true – Christendom received its demonology from the heathen, not from the Bible. While it is true that some of mankind have been obsessed by these demons and that others have been used as mediums for communicating false doctrines, while it is true also that these demons sometimes attempt to pass themselves off as angels of light and their doctrines as the truth of God and his Word, yet their influence, power, is restricted; as the Scriptures declare, they are reserved under chains of darkness. (Jude 6)

The majority of the race, under divine providence, have not come directly under the demoniacal influence, though they have come under the influence of the errors, the doctrines of demons presented to them as the traditions of men, precepts of men. (Col 2:8)

It is still true, as our Lord said to the religious teachers of that time, "Ye do make void the law of God through your traditions." (Matt. 15:6)

God's people need to become awake to the fact that the traditions of men are unreliable, and from these come the errors which hinder them from properly understanding the Scriptures and properly appreciating the Word of God, his character and his plan for man's salvation.

As all Christians know, the best antidote for these fears taught by the precepts of men is love for God and an intimate acquaintance with him. In proportion as God's true character is apprehended the fear engendered by error is neutralized, even though the error may to some extent continue a rankling thorn in the mind. For instance, all Christian people who have learned to love God's Word and to trust in its promises and to know the Father and the Son can testify that their love was engendered not by the creeds of the Dark Ages but by the Word of God itself, and gradually their fears were overcome as they learned to know the Lord better and to trust him more.

And still they had a difficult experience. How difficult it is to believe two such opposite suggestions as that "God loved us while we were yet sinners," and at the same time believe the traditions of men that even before he created us he made a great place called hell, large enough to receive the entire race of Adam, and equipped it with all kinds of instruments of torture and fuel to all eternity, and manned it with fire-proof devils who would take fiendish glee in our torture.

The two thoughts are wholly incompatible, and those who ever learn to love God do so in spite of the erroneous traditions of men received from the Dark Ages. No wonder, then, that with such obstacles in its pathway Christian development in love for God is so small! No wonder that the majority never pass the stage of fear never learn to know the true God of love. In proportion as error is cast out, the fear is cast out; in the same proportion the love of God may enter into our hearts and fill them, and thus make us more and more God-like. Perfect love casteth out fear, but no one can have this perfect love until first he has the perfect message – the true Gospel "good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people" through the "redemption which is in Christ Jesus." Luke 2:10; Rom. 3:24

The Scriptures inculcate faith, hope, love. Along these lines they lead believers out of the darkness, pain, sorrow, confusion of this present time, upward in mind and character to that which is perfect. This appeal to faith, hope and love is distinctly the Bible plan – the very opposite of the fear taught by the precepts of men. The Bible teaches us to hope for a better condition, not to fear a worse; it tells us that we are already sinners, already under a just sentence of [NS302] death, and that our sorrows and tears, aches and groans, are all parts of the death penalty now on us; it bids us look up to the Lord for succor; it points us to Jesus as the one who redeemed us from the death sentence and who can therefore justly and legitimately offer us life eternal – release from sin and death and the concomitants of these.

Hope engendered in our hearts brings relief, and a measure of joy replaces the fear as we begin to learn that God is for us and not against us; that he not only would not torture us in the future, but he is not even pleased in the present to see us in the groaning condition, dying; that he therefore has provided Jesus as the Life-Giver and the good Physician, to heal us of our sins and imperfections and to restore us to harmony with himself. After being attracted by this prospect – the "hope set before us in the Gospel" – if we exercise faith it becomes the stepping-stone to further knowledge, further joy, further fellowship with God through our Lord Jesus.

In the present time our only salvation is of faith – none are now actually delivered out of the unfavorable conditions; we are still in a world of sin and groaning and dying; only by faith do we rise above these our environments and our own condition and accept the Lord's assurances that if we love righteousness and hate iniquity and seek to walk forever in the footsteps of Jesus we shall ultimately have a completeness of divine favor in life eternal, in the resurrection. This faith and this hope lead, as the Apostle says, to a transformation of life – "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he (Christ) is pure." (1 John 3:3)

It is from this standpoint that saints are transformed by the renewing of their minds, as they come to see more and more clearly the love of God which passeth all understanding; and as they come to have this as a ruling, controlling, directing influence of their lives they become more and more God-like, more and more loving, gentle, compassionate, merciful.


But some may ask, If God purposes the deliverance of mankind from sin and death, why is it that he gives us only the promises and not the actualities and why is it that even this deliverance by hope extends to so few if the Lord's blessings are intended for Adam and all his race and if Jesus has redeemed them all? These proper questions are fully answered in the Word of God.

It explains that the great work of restitution – social, mental, physical and moral uplift out of sin and death – will be accomplished in the coming age during the Millennium, when the Redeemer shall take unto himself his great power and reign, for the very purpose of bestowing upon mankind in general the blessings and opportunities secured by his own redemptive work. It suggests also that the work of this present Gospel age is a preparatory one to select from amongst mankind a "Little Flock" of especially zealous, especially loyal, especially earnest, especially faithful persons to be associated with Jesus in his Kingdom and in his great work of blessing and uplifting mankind. It explains why this work of selecting the little flock, the Bride of Christ, is done in so secretive a manner as to be discerned only by those who have the eye of faith: that it is because chief amongst the characteristics of those who would be specially pleasing to God must be faith.

If restitution, mental, moral and physical, were to be granted to those who now accept the Lord they would soon be walking by sight and not by faith. On the contrary, the testing, the trial of their faith is the very thing that is most precious in the Lord's sight. And hence in the present time all the arrangements for the call of the church are along this line. They must exercise faith, and according to their faith it shall be unto them, and without faith they can not please God, and without faith they can not see the things unseen as yet, which God hath in reservation for them that love him. (1 Cor. 2:9)

Without faith they can not have any of the blessings provided for this present time and this special class. Thus the Lord is seeking a peculiar people zealous of good works to be the Bride, the Lamb's wife, associated with him in the blessing and restitution of all that was lost in Adam – to as many as will accept the divine favor on the divine terms. Let us, dear brethren and sisters, get rid of the tormenting fears handed down to us from the Dark Ages; let us get back into the sunlight of Truth – not by discarding the Bible but by learning its true import, its true teaching; by more and more cleansing our minds of the traditions of men and the improper shadows which those false teachings have cast upon the inspired Word, that we may more and more rejoice in the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God which passeth all understanding.

Hear, above all, hear thy Lord, Him thou lovest to obey; Hide within thy heart His words: "Watch and pray."

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