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|J. H. PATON||ALMONT, MICH.|
|W. I. MANN||SWISSVALE, PA.|
|B. W. KEITH||DANSVILLE, N.Y.|
|H. B. RICE||W. OAKLAND, CAL.|
|A. D. JONES||PITTSBURGH, PA.|
B. We have not had our usual talks of late, Brother A., and I called for one this evening. Suppose we drop our study of Revelation, tonight, and consider the Melchisedec Priesthood. I have a new idea concerning Melchisedec, viz.: that he was really Christ Jesus in another manifestation; the same person who was afterward born in Bethlehem. What do you think of it?
A. It may be a new thought to you, Brother B., but it certainly is an old one to most of the deep thinkers of the church; i.e., they have usually thought of the question, but usually, also, have concluded that it is a mere random thought, suggested by the statement that he was "without beginning of days, nor end of years," but upon close examination of the subject it has been dropped. This, however, is not an argument against your view, which you supposed new. If you have any good reasons, let me have them, and let us reason together, and let the new idea stand or fall accordingly. It is a thing we should always remember, however, that all new things are not, because new, true.
B. I may have been hasty in deciding on this subject. The text you refer to has been the one on which I built most – "Without beginning of days, nor end of years." How would you understand this text unless by supposing that it refers to God, who is "from everlasting to everlasting"?
A. Well, to take your view of it would make Melchisedec the Father, and not our Lord Jesus, who is called the "first-begotten," "only-begotten," "the Son," "the beginning of the creation of God." We believe that Jesus had an existence before He came into the world, that it was in glory, and that He left the glory which He had with the Father "before the world was." We believe the word to teach that since "His obedience unto death, even the death of the cross," "God (the Father) hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name above every name," etc.; that now all power in heaven and earth is given unto Him." We believe that "of His kingdom there is no end," and that "His throne is forever and ever." But we cannot suppose that He never had a beginning, since it is positively stated that He was "the beginning of the creation." This, of course, involves the idea that the Heavenly Father and Son are no more one person than an earthly father and son could be one in person. There is a one-ness, however, a unity, existing between them, the one-ness of will, aim, &c., as it was written of Jesus, "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God." We remember further that Jesus prayed for us, His church, that we might have the same kind of unity; not unity of person, but unity of purpose, aim, and interest. He prays "That they all may be ONE, even as Thou, Father, and I are one." This shows us clearly the kind of one-ness existing between our Father and our Lord.
If, then, the text, "without beginning of days, nor end of years," as applied to Melchisedec, means that he never had a beginning nor end of life, it would prove not that he was Jesus, but Jehovah. We think, however, that this is not its meaning, but –
B. Let me first explain my process of reasoning on the matter, that you may more fully answer. Paul says that Jesus was made a priest after the order of Melchisedec. Now, I reason that if of that order, He must have been the head or founder of it; that therefore Melchisedec was Christ. If Melchisedec was only a man, if he were not Christ, would it not imply that Jesus must be lower than him, and consequently not in as high honor as the man Melchisedec, who was the head of the order?
A. I do not think your reasoning sound. You seem to forget that men are sometimes used as types of Christ, and that the type is always inferior to the antitype. For instance: Adam was a type, as the head of the human family; David was the first king who ever "sat on the throne of the Lord;" Moses was a figure of Him that was to come, as it is written: "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you like unto me."
If Christ is a prophet like unto or after the order of Moses, does it prove that Moses was not a man – that Moses must have been Christ? If David (the name means the anointed – the Christ) was a type of Christ, and called "the Lord's anointed," does it prove that he was not a man? If Adam was the head of the race was he really not a man; was he Christ in some previous manifestation? By no means. Adam, David, Moses, Aaron, as well as Solomon, Isaac, Jacob, Melchisedec, &c., were but figures of the true Head, King, Prophet, Priest, and Melchisedec, as a type, showed how the kingly and priestly offices (separate under the law) would both unite in Him, so that He would be a "Priest upon His throne." All the types are natural, representing things higher. First, the natural head, king, prophet and priest: afterward, the spiritual. [R195 : page 1]
A. It would scarcely be necessary to remind you that Christ was not without a Father. Call to mind His words – "Father forgive them;" "Father, glorify Thou me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." It could not then refer to Christ in His pre-existent state, nor, can it apply to Him as "the man, Christ Jesus," for Jesus was "born of a woman." Wakefield's new version renders this (Heb. 7:3) "Of whose father, mother, pedigree, birth, and death, we have no account." There was a strict record kept of parentage, birth, death, &c., of every Levite, so that any one claiming to be a priest or Levite could prove it by the records.
The Diaglott, renders this text, "without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither a beginning of days nor an end of life, but having been made like to the Son of God, remains a priest perpetually." Some take the view (as does Wakefield, quoted above) that this text only means that no account was kept of his birth, death, &c. While we may feel sure that he had a father and mother and a beginning of days, we are not sure that he died. Verse 8 seems to imply that he, like Enoch and Elijah, did not die – "Here, indeed, men (the Levitical Priesthood) receive tithes, who die; but there, one (Melchisedec received tithes), of whom it is affirmed that he lives. This is a positive statement that Melchisedec did not die. We must suppose that he was translated.
A. No, the very reverse. It is testified of Melchisedec that he did not die, "that he lives," but it is testified of Christ that He did die. This same Paul could say of Christ: "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man." We conclude, then, that as Christ, on the spiritual plane of life, had a Father, and on the earthly plane a mother, and did "die for our sins," "even the death of the cross," therefore He was not the same person as Melchisedec.
A. Jesus fills up so large a work, and so varied, that many types are required to illustrate His work. David illustrated His kingly power – putting down all enemies. Solomon represented His peaceful reign (the millennium), and His wisdom. "In His day the righteous [R195 : page 2] shall flourish." But these were only imperfect types. Their kingdoms and lives had an end. A type was needed which would show that His kingdom would have no end.
Again, the Aaronic Priesthood was a type of the Christian priesthood, during the time Christ and His body suffer and die, down until they shall appear in the glory of the kingdom. Here the Aaronic type ceases, and where it ceases the Melchisedec type begins. The Melchisedec type shows no death, no sacrifice, only the reigning and blessing – king and priest. How beautifully it illustrates what we must shortly be. With Jesus our head, we soon shall be "kings and priests unto God, and reign on the earth." One of the most notable events of that reign will be the blessing of the natural descendants of Abraham, as shown in the type (Gen. 14:18-20): "And Melchisedek, king of Salem (type of Christ – head and body) ...blessed Abraham." Then "the elder (natural Israel) shall serve the younger" (spiritual Israel), and pay them tribute and homage, as Abraham paid tribute and homage to Melchisedec.
"If He were on earth He could not be a priest," says Paul. I am not trying to prove to you that Jesus' claims as a priest are based upon titles of the law. No, we claim that He came of Judah, the kingly tribe. As a priest, He did not attempt to usurp your office. No, He was offered on the great altar – the earth itself, and when He went in with the real blood of sin-offering, He did not attempt to go into the holy places made with hands, but into the real ones, of which yours is only a type or shadow. Soon the sacrifice will all be over. He has left a measure of suffering and death to be filled up by us, His body. Soon all will be over, and we "shall appear with Him" to "bless the people" (as you do in symbol), but it will be with kingly power united to our priestly office. And then, too, when complete, our priesthood shall continue forever. See, God gave you a type of this higher priesthood in Melchisedec, "King of Peace" and "Priest of God," of whom it is testified "he lives." So when our priesthood reaches the plane typified by Melchisedec, we will never die, but abide a "Royal Priesthood" forever. How indispensable are both of these types, the Aaronic, showing how we must die with Him, and the Melchisedec, how we shall live with Him and be glorified together; "no cross, no crown."
"Then shall be brought to pass the saying, which is written: Death is swallowed up in victory." 1 Cor. 15:54. The apostle has just led us down the stream of time, to the resurrection of the church, when they who sleep in Jesus awake immortal, and the living members of His body are changed to His likeness, and together are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. And here he quotes from Isaiah 25:8, saying, that then that prophecy will be fulfilled, not that it is fulfilled by the resurrection of the saints, but that it "then" begins to be fulfilled. The bruising of satan ("under your feet"), Rom. 16:20, and the destroying of death, have both been deferred until the body of Christ (the church) is complete. With the first resurrection, that company, "the Royal Priesthood," is complete, and their work is before them. That work includes the binding of Satan, the destruction of death; i.e., the "swallowing up of death in victory," and the restoration of mankind to harmony with God, and to that condition of life enjoyed before sin entered – a condition of at one-ment.
This work of restoration apparently occupied all of the thousand years (Rev. 20:4), since it is called "the times (years) of restitution." Just as death, like a huge monster, has devoured the human family gradually for six thousand years, so [R87 : page 2] death is to be destroyed gradually ("swallowed up") during the millennial reign, until, at its close, He shall have completely destroyed death, and him that has the power of death, that is, the devil.
That this is the apostle's thought may be seen by referring to the prophecy from which he quotes. After describing the coming time of trouble in grandly awful and symbolic language, and the exaltation of the kingdom when "the Lord shall reign in Mount Zion," continues: "And He will destroy in this mountain (kingdom) the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory." Thus our work is seen to be two-fold – destroying and removing sin and its effects, and thus restoring to man happiness, purity, and all that was lost through sin. But while our work really comes in the next age, let us not forget that if we are in full sympathy with the object of "our high calling," we will be interested in doing all in our power, in the present age, to counteract sin, and to restore mankind to harmony with our Father. We are thus ambassadors for God, as though He did beseech them through us: We ask them in Christ's stead; be ye reconciled to God. 2 Cor. 5:20.
We have no fault to find with the translation nor do we know of any critic who materially alters either of these texts. The Diaglott renders Luke 12:36. "Be you like men waiting for their Master when he will return from the nuptial feasts; that when he comes and knocks they may instantly open to him." And Matt. 25:10, is rendered: "And while they were going away to buy, the Bridegroom came and they who were prepared entered with him to the nuptual feasts."
The fact that one text speaks of going in to the marriage, and the other of a return from a marriage has troubled some and has given rise to the query: "May not Luke refer to a company not the bride, but coming after?" We think not, for the reason that the context addresses them as "Little flock" – vs. 32. The marriage (union) of Jesus and his church is so different in many respects from earthly marriages that it can be but imperfectly illustrated by them. In the earthly, the Bridegroom comes to the Bride's home and there they are married; but not so the heavenly. True the Bridegroom comes – "The Lord himself shall descend," but the church also goes – "We shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air," &c. There is in fact no one scene which could fully picture the event, therefore several are used.
Our Lord comes as "a thief" upon the world and takes away his Bride. It is not to be in the general form of a marriage, rather an elopement. He has communicated to the virgin (chaste) church his design and instructed that during all the night she "sleep not as do others," (2 Thes. 4.) but be awake, robed, ready and eagerly watching the various signs promised. The earthly marriage feast at the Bride's home lasted an indefinite time and when it was over Bridegroom and Bride went to his home where all things were in readiness and the servants on the alert, robed in their best livery were watching and waiting to receive their Master and Mistress; and woe to the servant found careless or napping on this important occasion. Our Lord used this illustration to show the proper attitude of his church at his coming. They are to be on the alert, watching, robed and waiting, having their "loins girt about with truth," i.e., being nerved up, made strong by the truth and ready for any service. Our Bridegroom does not come to us after the marriage, but when he comes we are to be as those servants were under those circumstances.
The Bride only, thus awake and expecting the Bridegroom hears his knock and opens to him. The sleeping world and drowsy worldly church, neither hear the knock nor heed his ("parousia") presence, but eat, drink, plant, build and marry as ever and "know not" of His presence. This scripture has, we believe, been largely fulfilled. The prophetic arguments have rapped loudly enough for some to hear who were awake and ready. They declare to us plainly that –
We understand the word to teach that those taken, although knowing neither the day nor hour of their taking will not be in darkness on the subject but will have discerned the Lord's presence, received him and been feasted before going to him. Have you heard his knock and opened to him?
Let us next examine the parable of Matt. 25.
The name virgin means chaste, pure; in the parable ten are made to represent a larger company of chaste ones in the church. The conditions of this parable have been fulfilled by the church of our day. At any other period as well as the last, the church might have been properly represented by virgins of any number, but of no other than the last could it be said: "They took their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom," because not until this nineteenth century has the "lamp" ("Thy word is a lamp") been in the hands of the virgins – the church, to give them light on the subject of the Bridegroom's coming.
During the three and a halftimes or 1260 years of Papal supremacy, ending A.D. 1798, these two witnesses (the old and new testaments) had been clothed in the sackcloth of a dead (latin) language, but since that time it has been taken up by bible and tract societies and scattered over the world by the million. And it is since this book has been thus among the virgins that its teaching of the coming kingdom and coming Bridegroom has begun to contradict the assumptions of Papacy – that it was his kingdom and its Pope his vicegerent.
Just at a proper time then, as the word of God had begun to circulate freely, comes what is commonly known as the Miller movement. It was a movement among christian people of all denominations, principally Methodists and Baptists, a general awakening, and included many of the best people in all of the churches. Mr. Wm. Miller, a very Godly man, (a baptist) was the prime mover in this country, though simultaneously Wolf and others were calling attention to the same subject in Europe and Asia; the real movement, however, was in our own land.
But the parable mentions a going forth to meet, &c. What does this signify? This is another evidence of our stage of the church, for although [R87 : page 7] the bible had always taught the "second coming of Christ," yet it had been understood in so general a way that none were able to settle upon any definite time and say – then he will come; consequently there could be no such going forth to meet him, as is demanded by the parable. Now the case is changed, Wm. Miller's attention is attracted to and riveted upon the prophecies. He reads: "Unto 2300 days and the sanctuary shall be cleansed." He counts and finds that it would end in 1843 or 1844. He supposes the earth to be the sanctuary and expects its cleansing to be by literal fire. He, though a calm deliberate man, could not forbear to tell his fellows that so read the prophecies, and so he believed. It spread rapidly, among old and young alike, and many virgins after examining with the lamp, were convinced that [R88 : page 7] the word taught them to expect the coming of their Bridegroom in 1844; and on the strength of this faith they went forth to meet him. In going they walked by faith, not by sight, but they did what the virgins never had done before, because never before had the word, or lamp led them to thus definitely expect him. (We believe him to have erred both in what the sanctuary is and what the fire is.)
Five of the virgins were wise and five were foolish. Of those who went forth, some were actuated by excitement, and carried along with the occasion, but others – the wise – not only had the zeal of the moment, but it was backed by a deep, heartfelt desire and spiritual yearning for the Bridegroom's presence. "While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept." Their expectations of the coming of the Bridegroom, and burning of the world, met with disappointment. He "tarried," and they slept. They dreamed all sorts of foolish things, and various times for His coming, as illustrated by the various fanciful and fanatical views held by them during many years succeeding.
At midnight, or during the night (the Greek word is not definite, like ours), there was a cry made: "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him." Who made the cry is a matter of no consequence. The cry was made before morning too; i.e., the announcement and preaching that the Bridegroom was due to be here in 1874, was made, as is well known by many of our readers. (We understand that morning began to dawn in 1873, where the 6,000 years from Adam ended.) It was made first among the Second Advent denomination.
The evidences from scripture that the 6,000 years would end and the morning dawn in 1873, and that, with the morning the Bridegroom was due, was preached upon by a brother of very marked ability as a prophetic student, who also published a series of articles on the subject in the leading paper of that denomination, ("The World's Crisis") as well as afterward in a pamphlet, and finally as a monthly paper called "The Midnight Cry." The message attracted general attention from the people of that denomination, so that in a few issues its circulation ran up to 15,000, or more than all other papers devoted to the subject of the Second Advent together. This, we believe, fulfilled this parable, not that Advent people alone are virgins, but they were the part of the company that were at that time looking for the Bridegroom, but asleep and unconscious as to the time of His coming.
"Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps." Their lamps once pointed them to 1844, but He "tarried." A cry is now made that the tarrying time was thirty years (from '44 to '74), as paralleled by the thirty years of the Jewish age, from the birth of Jesus until He "came," being thirty years of age. This cry proclaimed to the virgins that the "2,300 days" did end in 1844, but that the thing expected was wrong. Instead of the "sanctuary cleansing" meaning the burning of the world, it is now seen that the sanctuary, or God's dwelling-place, is the church, and therefore it is the church that is to be cleansed. It is to be cleansed by the separation of the wise and foolish virgins at the end of the tarrying time – 1874 – when the Bridegroom came. When the cry is heard, the virgins begin to awaken. Some have of the oil (the spirit) in their vessels (themselves), as well as in their lamps (the word). These are able to see. To see what? That the Bridegroom is coming merely? No, they all knew that, but it enables them to see the time of his coming and to again go forth by faith as before.
As the lamp shed forth light on time at the first going forth, so it shed light again on the same subject – the time – and that time was 1874. And bear in mind that the cry is made before morning – in the night, and that it announces the "Bridegroom" and further, if at all right – if it was the true cry, "the Bridegroom came" as it had announced.
All of this has been wonderfully fulfilled, it seems to us. It was first seen that the night (6000 years) would end with 1873. There the Millennial morn began to dawn. And the monthly, called the "Midnight Cry" ceased because the name was no longer applicable when the morning had begun to dawn. The editor of that magazine tersely remarked (p. 30), "Will some one inform me how a "Midnight Cry" can be made in the morning?" The division between the wise and foolish virgins, the one part seeing the 1874 time as taught in God's sure word of prophecy, and the others interested at first, but unable upon examination of the word to see any light on the subject, is illustrated by the fact that the 15000 readers of the "Midnight Cry" dwindled down to about 2000. The others went to the "Eastern Question," &c., to look for light, confessing that they no longer had light from the sure word of prophecy on the time of the Bridegroom's coming. They took the paper, examined the arguments and apparently sought to get oil or light from the wise, but it must be an inward oil (the indwelling Spirit) that will reveal some of the deep things of God. Of this Spirit the wise can have enough for themselves but never enough to spare. Each virgin must buy for herself.
While the advent people have been used to a large degree as representatives in the movements of the parable, yet we do not think that it is confined to them, nor to people who were interested in the movements prior to the coming of our Bridegroom. (1874.) The writer, among many others now interested, was sound asleep, in profound ignorance of the cry, etc., until 1876, when being awakened he trimmed his lamp (for it is still very early in the morning.)
It showed him clearly that the Bridegroom had come and that he is living "in the days of the Son of Man." Yes the Bridegroom has come and is making up his jewels, and early before the servants of the house or the outside world are awake the chaste virgin church will be caught away to be united to her Lord.
"They that were ready went in with him to the marriage." Some time ago we supposed that this going in meant translation, but it now seems clear to us that it is a going in to a condition rather than a place; that it implies a withdrawing from the world and a coming in to a condition of special preparation for the marriage. This too has been fulfilled to a great extent, and particularly of late. The theme of most of our writers and public and private speakers has been Holiness – the "Wedding Garment" – for without holiness no man shall see the Lord. And this preparation still continues. Some are just awakening, and others are more nearly dressed in the spotless robes of Christ's righteousness. It is a time of helping each other to put on the wedding dress. ("His Wife hath made herself ready.")
Another parable (Matt. 22:11) shows a work which must take place before the marriage, viz.: "When the King came in to see the guests." This shows an inspection among those assembled, and one not having the wedding garment is cast out from the light of the position into which all had come; cast into "outer darkness," the darkness which covers the world on this subject; the darkness in which the foolish virgins were when their lamps would not burn. These so cast out are not "counted worthy to escape the things coming on the world, and consequently have part in the time of trouble, when there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth."
But when will our Lord be present as King? We answer that the parallels of the Jewish and Gospel ages, so perfect throughout, indicate this point also. It was just three and a half years after John had announced Jesus as the Bridegroom (Jno. 3:29) to the typical house of Israel, that He came to them as their "King." "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee" was fulfilled the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the ass. The parallel point in the Gospel age shows Him to have been due here as King in the Spring of 1878, just three and a half years after He came as Bridegroom, and some time this parable must be fulfilled, and the King inspect the company assembled for the marriage supper. So at some time after 1878 we may look to see some (we wish there were none) cast out of the light into which all had come. As the light was on the time of the Bridegroom's coming, it would seem to teach that some would come to disbelieve the Bridegroom's presence. Why? Because not clothed with the wedding garment. Probably they will trust in, and "go about to establish their own righteousness," which is as "filthy rags," and endeavor to climb up some other way," and win their way to eternal life.
After inspection, we expect translation – to be "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" – to be "made like unto Christ's glorious body," and to be "caught up to meet the Lord in the air." This will be our marriage – being made like and united to Him. But the supper is apparently delayed until the company of our loved brethren – those who go through the trouble, and "wash their robes," etc. – shall have "come up out of (after) the great tribulation," because, after the marriage of the Lamb, the message goes forth: "Blessed are they that are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb." (Rev. 19:9). Among this great company, whom no man can number, will doubtless be many of the foolish virgins. They have lost the position and honors of the Bride, but evidently, ultimately get oil and may gain a place among "the virgins, her companions that follow her." Psa. 14:14.
When the Bridegroom says, in answer to their appeal, "I recognize you not," we believe it has reference to His not recognizing any as part of His Bride when once that company is complete, or the door to that position closed.
Have you heard the cry, the knock announcing our Bridegroom's presence? Are you awake? Are you seeing to it that you are clothed with the righteousness of Christ as with a garment. See that, under His direction, you have it "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing," and help one another, "and so much the more as you see the day approaching," remembering that it is written, "The Lamb's wife hath made herself ready." Rev. 19:7.
"There are two likenesses spoken of in the bible – the likeness of men, and the likeness of God. From several scriptures it is evident these cannot be the same, though they are sometimes confounded in the minds of the people. David says: "I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." Psa. 17:15. As much as to say I am not satisfied now, because I am not in thy likeness. We know the Psalmist had the form and likeness of man; hence man is not in the likeness of God. If it be claimed that this was a prophecy of Christ, the conclusion can not be weakened, but rather strengthened, on account of positive statements. "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." Phil. 2:6,7.
Here we have a clear statement of the condescension of Christ; in leaving His own exalted condition – "The glory He had with the Father before the world was" – and coming down to the condition of man. He had the nature and form of God, and took not the nature of Angels. Heb. 2; but the seed of Abraham, the nature and form of man. But if man is in the nature and form of God then the condescension of Christ exists only in name. "Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye, through His poverty, might be rich." This passage gives us the object of His condescension, to enrich us. But the value of this offering of Christ depends upon the depth of our poverty, or the contrast between what He was and what He became. Or the difference between what we are and what we may become through Him. He came down to our level that we might go up to His level. He took our nature and form, that we might become partakers of the Divine Nature, and in due time be made like Him when we shall see Him as He is.
Wondrous love and abasement on His part, glorious exaltation on our part! But all these scriptures mean nothing, if human nature and Divine Nature are one and the same; or if man is in the likeness of God.
We, makes a distinction between the terms, nature and form as applied to persons, the former being the foundation of the latter. The nature is in the seed, but properly speaking, the form is not. The apple nature, in a seed, will produce an apple tree. The tree has the form. Human nature produces human forms, and Divine nature produces Divine forms. Those who in this age become partakers of the Divine nature, have the assurance, that "when He shall appear we shall be like Him." "Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body," &c. Phil. 3.
The terms form, likeness and image are used, in reference to persons interchangeably, and apply primarily to what we term body, though it may be proper to use them also in reference to mental conditions, as when the Heart is used to represent the mind. "Son give me thine heart." "I will create within you a new heart."
The term flesh as used in the New Testament, evidently refers to humanity as a whole and not to what covers our bones, in common parlance called flesh. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit." John 3:6.
This passage is not designated to teach whether man is unit, dual or tripartite, (one, two or three) but simply, that which is produced by human beings is human, and that which is produced by the Divine Spirit is Divine. "The Word was made flesh," means simply, what is elsewhere taught in scripture. That "He was made in the likeness of men" – became a human being. As a human being – born of the flesh, he was a Jew. But Jesus has been born again, not of the flesh, but of the spirit; "The firstborn from the dead" and as such is "declared to be the Son of God."
That human beings as represented by "The first man Adam" are "of the Earth, Earthy" is clearly taught by Paul, 1 Cor. 15:47. Man made of the dust, is sustained from the ground, and returns thither again. "Naked came I from the Earth, and naked shall I return thither again." All who are born of the flesh "bear the image of the Earthy." (Ver. 48,49.) Christ Himself in becoming our brother on the plane of the flesh, bore the same image. But now, born of the spirit having "returned to the glory he had with the Father before the world was." "He is the brightness of His (Father's) glory, and the express image of His Person." Heb. 1:3. That is, He was in the likeness of man, but He is in the likeness of God. Here we have the two likenesses fully developed in the same person. First the Natural, and afterward the Spiritual.
That the foundation for that spiritual body, was laid during His earthly life, in the spirit given Him without measure, we fully believe, but He was not, as a man (to leave out the idea of His Preexistence for in that He is an exception and not our Forerunner, of course) a fully developed spiritual being, until His Resurrection which was His second birth. He being the "First Born from the dead." Col. 1:18. He had the Divine Nature, before He was put to death but he was in human form.
In His life, death, and resurrection, or in the process of development from the lower to the higher, from the Natural to the Spiritual, He is the Forerunner of His saints; the "Head," that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. Col. 1:18. He opens the way and Himself is our Leader. All who ever enter the Heavenly life, and bear the Divine Image, as Sons of God, must go the way He went.
While in the flesh, which is the first or lowest stage of development, they, by the spirit of God imparted, become partakers of the Divine Nature. They are thus begotten to a lively hope, which hope is consummated when they, like their Head, are borne from the dead. Those thus begotten by virtue of the spirit given them, call God, Father, claiming Divine Sonship. By faith they grasp the glorious realities of that Blessed Hope, and so count themselves, as God also counts them, in Christ, as on the Risen side, to die no more. This is indeed a glorious privilege, and we can exclaim, as John says: "Now are we the sons of God, but," we add, which tends both to humility and encouragement, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
This order of development must be observed by us as it is by the Lord. "First, the natural, &c." Some overlooking the order, and quoting from Paul, "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body," conclude at once that both bodies exist together, and that at death the spiritual body leaves or is withdrawn from the natural body, and that this is the Resurrection. By this view they are forced to ignore the Apostolic teaching concerning the Resurrection and the coming of Christ.
Nothing is more simple than that death and resurrection are not at the same time. "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive, but every man in his own order. Christ, the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. Even Christ was not raised until the third day after His death. But they that are Christ's, no matter when they died, are raised at His coming. "At the last trump," says Paul, and all must admit the seventh or last trumpet did not sound all the way through, as men have been dying.
The stress laid by some on the present tense of the verb, be, in the passage: "There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body," is of no value as an argument. It proves nothing. "Unto us a child is born," spoken by Isaiah hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, is understood by all. In common language we say: "As the twig is bent, the tree is inclined." All understand it is first the twig and afterward the tree. "As is the child, so is the man."
Describing the order of seasons in a year we may say: There is Spring, it is followed by Summer, &c. Paul was speaking on the same principle in reference to the order of human development, from the lower to the higher; and of its stages he says: "There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body." (1 Cor. 15:44.)
The first half of the same verse shows that they do not exist together, but, "It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." But as if he were anticipating the caviling which would come, and determined to give a clear offset to it, he says: "Howbeit that was not first which was spiritual, but that which is natural, (is first) and AFTERWARD that which is spiritual." (Ver. 46.) The whole passage is luminous with the glorious hope of Eternal life and glory at the coming of Christ, the Life Giver, at the last trump. "As we have borne (in this life) the image of the earthly, we shall also (in the future life) bear the image of the heavenly." (Ver. 49.) Glorious promise and hope. Here again is the positive evidence that here, in the flesh, men have not attained the likeness or image of God, but that it is something to be attained, when that which is perfect is come.
It is, we are well aware, the general impression, and not without apparent good reason, that man was at first created, and is, in the image of God. "Let us make man in our own likeness." But the harmony will be seen by those, and those only, who will take a glimpse at God's revealed plan as a whole, and remember that all that is done on the plane of the flesh is preparatory, and that the natural life is only the first step in the plan of development.
It may be said that the first is typical of the second, or higher, to which the lower points. The whole plan is built on the two phases, "First the natural and afterward the spiritual." There are two creations, two Adams, two Eves, two marriages, two births and two lives, and consequently the two likenesses. [R90 : page 3]
By his life, drawn from his side, so to speak, the church, Eve-like, derives her life, and being called out during the gospel, enters fully on her higher life at his coming to claim his Bride, when the marriage takes place.
Then the plan reaches the world; as on the plane of the flesh, none entered life excepting Adam and his wife until after their marriage, so none enter the higher – the Eternal Life – excepting Christ and his wife – the Church – until after the marriage of the Lamb. Then follows the Regeneration.
The New Testament is the complement of the Old, and it clearly reveals when and how we are to attain the maturity – the glory, the perfect day. The prophetic eye of the Psalmist looked forward, and seeing the perfection of character and person combined, he exclaimed, "I will behold thy face in Righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness." (Psalm 17:15.)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Gal. 5:1. To stand, is to adhere to fixed principles; or in other words, to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor. 15:58. We are frequently exhorted to stand; to be steadfast; to continue, etc. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 1 Cor. 16:13. Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving for the faith of the gospel. Phil. 1:27.
But no one can stand in his own strength; so we are admonished to stand fast in the Lord. Phil. 4:1. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Heb. 3:12,14.
Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in faith. 2 Pet. 5:8-9.
Stand fast therefore, in the liberty, wherewith Christ hath made you free. But what is the liberty, or freedom, which we have in Christ? But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end – not beginning – everlasting life. Rom. 6:22. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world, through lust.
And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue or fortitude; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance – or self-control, Godliness; and to Godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love; for if these things be in you and abound, they shall make you neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Pet. 1:4-8. Therefore has reference to something previously stated; so we read in Gal. 4.: When we were children, (under the law,) we were in bondage under the elements of the world; but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a Son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. How be it then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are not Gods; but now after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
And you, that were some time alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight; if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard. Col. 1:21-23.
As ye therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him; rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col. 2:6-8. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, after the commandments and doctrines of men? Touch not; taste not; handle not; which (ordinances) are all to perish with their using. Col. 2:20-22.
Again, in Gal. 4., freedom in Christ is illustrated by an allegory. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond-maid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bond-woman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise. (They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. Rom. 9:8).
Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants; the one from Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is, or signifies, Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. Now we brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bond-woman and her son; for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty or freedom, wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. In this condition, we are exempt from the works of the old law, and are under a new law. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made us free from the law of sin and death. Rom. 8:2. Behold, I, Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you is justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we, through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.
There are many things to overcome, requiring constant effort; a continual putting off the old man with his deeds, and putting on the new man; being renewed in the inner man, day by day; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. There is a warfare between the flesh and the spirit, but if ye be led of the spirit, ye are not under law. The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, quarrels, jealousies, resentments, altercations, factions, sects, envyings, inebrieties, revelings, and things similar to these; respecting which I tell you before, even as I previously told you; that those who practice such things, shall not inherit the kingdom page 4 of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us walk also in the Spirit [Diaglott].
The 17 chapter of John is more properly the Lord's prayer, the earnest expression of his own heart. This, usually so called, is rather the disciple's prayer, learned from the Lord in answer to the request, "Lord teach us to pray."
Coming from His lips it can not be unimportant. We are impressed with its simplicity, brevity, and comprehensiveness. It contains no "vain repetitions." Christians should follow Christ rather than the heathen, who "think they shall" be heard for much speaking." Ver. 7. Prayer is not designed as a lecture of suggestion or instruction to the Lord, for he knoweth what things we need before we ask. Ver. 8. And yet he teaches us to pray. It seems important that we should feel our need, and dependence on the Lord as the Giver. [R90 : page 4]
To express our wants makes a deeper impression on our own hearts. Even vocal prayer has thus an important use, though we are glad our Father recognizes even our thoughts, and "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." Eph. 3:20.
It is the manner of the prayer on which Christ lays the stress. "After this manner, therefore, pray ye." It is clear, childlike and pointed; and it is in harmony with God's plan. We should know what we want, and ask expecting to receive. Prayer must be intelligent in order to be of faith, for faith is not feeling, but a depending on God's promises; it is taking him at his word.
It is interesting to observe the divisions of this prayer. It has three parts. The first relates to God, the second to others, or the general cause, and the third to ourselves. This is important. True prayer is [R91 : page 4] humble worshipful and unselfish – "Our Father" first, ourselves last. He should be recognized first because of what he is and what he deserves. Let his sacred Name be spoken with reverence. A careless use of God's name is profanity. Morality relates to human relations Christianity includes both human and Divine. A proper recognition of our relations to God will best secure the performance of our duty to humanity. As God in man is man's hope, so to realize God, is the mainspring of life. For this reason doubtless God is placed first in the arrangement of the prayer. [R91 : page 5]
The prayer recognizes the plan of the ages, and the dispensational steps of advancement; and to lose sight of God's order of development is as unreasonable as to expect harvest without seedtime, or fruit before the tree is grown. "Our Father" savors of the Gospel dispensation, which was dawning when Christ taught his disciples. Former dispensations revealed God as Creator, Lawgiver and Judge, and the terrors of Sinai were characteristic of the effect produced on the minds of the people. The gospel reveals him as a Father, and we as brethren. That was bondage; but God hath not given us the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba – Father. Rom. 8:15.
The former church were mere servants and to them Christ came, but to as many as received him he gave power to become sons. Jno. 1:12. This new name brings new and exalted privileges, even fellowship or unity with God and his Son Jesus Christ. This gives a new basis for action, love instead of fear and leads to certain success. The complete realization of this unity, is the prime element of our Blessed Hope. For this the Saviour prayed – the marriage – "That they all may be one," "even as we are one," "made perfect in one" "that the world may believe." Jno. 17:20-23. This unity is thus shown to be not only the Christian's life and hope, but also the basis of the world's hope. Certain it is that the world cannot be saved until after the church is glorified.
Do we, when we say "Our Father" realize how much it means. He that does not receive Christ as his Saviour and elder Brother cannot consistently or truthfully say "Our Father." This is the prayer of the disciples of Christ, or the son of God, not by Adam but by the Divine Nature.
The prayer is prophetic. The second part shows this. In this it resembles the 17th of John. The fact that they were taught to pray "Thy Kingdom come" is an indication of God's plan, and the assurance of its success. Prayer moved by the spirit will be answered. "Thy will be done in Earth" finds its assurance in the promise. "The Earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord," and its many kindred statements. The coming of the kingdom must precede the state of holiness referred to. In "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done," the relation of cause and effect between the two parts of the sentence is too often lost sight of. The prayer, "Thy will be done," is certainly appropriate to cases where, as individuals, we are subjected, in God's arrangements, to trying circumstances, as when Jesus said, "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt." But is it not too often applied where the circumstances are not of God, but of our own arrangement? That this second phase of the prayer is for others, more than for ourselves, will be most appreciated by those who know the glorious truth that the object for which Christ and the saints will reign is to bless the nations. With this in view, the Christian's hope is unselfish. As the joy set before Christ was the well-being of others, for which he endured the cross, and despised the shame, so for the same joy we can endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ; and as now in part, by and by to the full extent, we shall "enter into the joy of our Lord." Whoever can appreciate this fact concerning the coming kingdom, must of necessity appreciate the gospel dispensation and its privileges. As we are being nourished for Christ and His work, all personal benefits are given by Our Father, and received by us as a means to a great end, and we can, for this reason, pray, "Father, give us" – to use for Thee.
Seven is a peculiar and much-used number in the bible. It is the basis of reckoning in many prophetic arguments. It is what may be termed a complete number. It represents the whole of that to which it is applied, and the whole is often divided into seven parts. It may be to others, as well as ourselves, both interesting and profitable to consider the relation of this number to the various elements of God's revealed plan.
The thoughtful reader of the bible may have been impressed with the oft-repeated use of this number. It suggests to our minds, in harmony with many other things, the idea of order in the plan. The idea of the bible being a chance book cannot long be entertained by those who can see the systematic development in its revelations. We believe the veil will be removed from the face of the nations (Isa. 25:7), by the manifestation of long-hidden truths, whatever means God may use to bring it about, and it is doubtless the duty and privilege of all who have any degree of light, to let it shine.
The first use of the number seven in the bible is in the formation of the week. The creation week was seven days. We do not assert that they were each twenty-four hours in length. A day is any specified period of time. The twenty-four hour day, as is well known, is caused by the revolution of the earth on its axis. The evening and morning of such a day are caused by the sun's shining on each part of the earth half the time during the daily revolution. For this reason it seems clear that the creation days could not have been mere twenty-four hour days, because the record shows that the sun was not made to shine on the earth until the fourth creation day. Gen. 1:14-19. Those days were doubtless long periods, as geologists claim, and yet the principle is made the basis of our ordinary week. Why should there be seven days in a week rather than some other number? We regard it, of course, as of Divine arrangement. Attempts have been made to change it, as when the French arranged one day in ten for rest, but it proved a failure. This cycle of seven is not caused by astronomy, as are the length of the day and the year. We believe it is caused by the Divine impression of God's plan of salvation on the history of mankind. Can any skeptical friend suggest a better reason for this otherwise arbitrary arrangement?
There are many reasons for believing that the seven days of a week are typical of the seven thousand years of the world's history. The statement that "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Pet. 3:8), is not proof of the position taken, but it suggests that a thousand years, rather than a million or some other number, is one of the kinds of day used in God's plan. According to the bible chronology, with which many of our readers are more or less familiar, the six thousand years from the creation of Adam ended in the year 1873, and the seventh thousand is therefore commenced. Not only is the number seven made prominent, but in many cases the seventh is made specially prominent. In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. This prominence of the seventh day holds good in the week of creation, the ordinary week and the week of thousands. The number seven is made prominent in several ways between the creation and the coming out of Israel from Egypt, but up to that time there is no bible evidence that the Lord commanded the observance of the seventh day, or that anyone did observe it, or that anyone was punished for its non-observance. That the seventh day of the creation week is the rest-day of the Lord, and that He set it apart for some great purpose, are both true. Gen. 2:2,3. That the same principle of six days of work and the seventh day for rest (not any day of the seven, but the seventh), was afterward made the basis of the ordinary week, is also true. Ex. 20:8-11. But there are reasons for believing that the grand object of the Lord in setting apart the seventh day, was to make it a type of the Great Sabbath, or seventh thousand years. It may be asked: "If the six thousand years are ended, and the seventh thousand is the Sabbath, why do so many of the conditions of the times past still continue? We believe even this is foreshadowed in the stated facts concerning the seventh day of the creation week. The work of the six days extended into and was ended in the seventh. "On the seventh day God ended his work, and He rested on the seventh day." Gen. 2:2. This double statement has often been overlooked, but the first is as true as the second, and there is a meaning in both.
There are many evidences, which have been given from time to time, that the Millennium is to be introduced by a time of trouble, in which existing organizations are to be removed, as rubbish, to make way for the verdure of peace and righteousness which is to follow. But there is another phase of this subject in which we are specially interested. The closing work of the old creation, before the generation of the family began, was getting a wife for Adam, and it would therefore appear that this was the work extended into the beginning of the seventh day. It is often said that man is the noblest work of God; "but the woman is the glory of the man." 1 Cor. 11:7. This progression, from the lower to the higher, in creation, illustrates the progression, in God's plan of the ages. The last work of the new creation, before the millennial work, is getting a wife – the [R92 : page 5] church – for the Second Adam, and, according to the evidences, this work is extended into the beginning of the seventh thousand years. With this in mind, we may see a significance in the promise of Christ to the overcomer: "I will give him the morning star." Rev. 2:28. Christ is called both the "Morning Star," and the "Sun of Righteousness," and these seem to be related to each other as the "day dawn" and the "perfect day." When Christ rose from the dead, on the first day of the week, it was "early, when it was yet dark." Jno. 20:1. It was in the dawn of the day, (Matt. 28:1), and this, together with the many evidences, seem to show that the same is to be true of the church in the dawn of this great day. It is during this day-dawn, or transition between the Gospel Age and the Millennium, that Babylon is to go down to rise no more, as a millstone cast into the sea; and when this takes place, the holy apostles and prophets are called upon to rejoice over the destruction of that corrupt system. Rev. 18:20,21. The inference is, that the resurrection of these holy men of old takes place before Babylon falls. Then, indeed, they would have the "morning star," and it would be very early in the morning, while it is yet dark to the world at large. It seems that it will require the terrible events of the day of wrath to awaken the world from its stupor, and bring them to the consciousness of the presence of the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." There are several otherwise dark sayings [R92 : page 6] of our Lord, that seem clear with the idea that the seven thousand years are known as seven days. In answer to the statement of the Pharisees, "Get thee out, and depart hence, for Herod will kill thee," He said: "Go ye, and tell that fox: Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." Luke 13:31,32. These days could not have been twenty-four-hour days in any case. The third day could not have been the day of His death (even if that could have brought perfection), for in the next verse He added: "Nevertheless I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem." This shows that He was not to be put to death until He had reached Jerusalem, and that it was not accomplished on the third day from the time He spoke. His use of the word day in two senses in the same connection, without an explanation, is similar to His use of the word death in two senses in the statement: "Let the dead bury their dead." Even had He been put to death on the very day He used the language, He could have had no reference to His resurrection on the third literal day, for He did not do cures and cast out devils when He was dead. There was a complete suspension of both physical and spiritual healing from the time He left their house desolate until the day of Pentecost. Take the broad view that He spoke not merely of Himself, but of the body of which He is the Head, and that instead of twenty-four-hour days He meant thousand-year-days, and all seems plain.
It was near the beginning of the fifth thousand years that He spoke. That was the "to-day" of His language; "to-morrow" was the sixth thousand, and the "third day" is the seventh thousand. We cannot doubt that the physical cures that Jesus performed while in the flesh were used, partly, to represent the higher work of the healing of spiritual maladies. On this principle, He, in and by His body – the church – has been doing His work, but in only a limited and imperfect manner. The mortal phase of the church is always called His body – even "the whole body;" Eph. 4:16 – but it is so only in a preparatory and representative sense. He is not perfected until all, both the living and the dead members, are glorified with Him. As Eve was the glory of Adam, and his complement, so of the church in relation to Christ.
While doing the work of Christ during the fifth and sixth thousand-year-days, the church has also been called upon to suffer with Christ, and to have conformity to His death. Phil. 3:10. Another dark saying of Jesus seems to represent this phase of the experience of His church. "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." Jno. 2:19.
We are told that He spake of the temple of His body. This had of course, its primary fulfillment in Jesus personally. He often showed that He would rise the third day. But what was true of Him personally on the third day, of twenty-four hours, is true of His body – the church – in the third day of a thousand years each. Jesus was talking of the temple and this was what confused the minds of His hearers. But the temple was a type of the church as well as a type of each member of the same. Jesus was the temple of God, for God dwelt in him. The body of each Christian is the temple of God, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 6:19. And the whole church groweth into a holy temple for the habitation of God. Eph. 2:20-22. The words that Jesus used referred to the type, but the spirit, or meaning, of those words was the antitype. All through the period of their sufferings, the church could be comforted with the assurance that when they suffered He, the sympathizing Friend, suffered with them. "Why persecutest thou me?" Acts 22:7-8. "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me." Matt. 25:40.
Paul declares that Jesus "rose the third day according to the scriptures." 1 Cor. 15:4. He must have referred to the Old Testament, for the New Testament was yet unwritten. But what scriptures foretold that Christ should rise the third day? None directly, that we can find; but indirectly it is taught, like many other things.
When asked for a sign, the Saviour referred to Jonah as a sign, and the only one that wicked generation could have. The time that Jonah was in the deep, the Saviour Himself applies to the period of His own death. It was not thirty-three years and a half, but "He died, and rose again the third day." But there can be no doubt that it has a broader if not a deeper meaning as we have applied it to the church. We are satisfied that the reason that Christ rose the third day, instead of any other, was to represent the days of the great plan, each day being a type of a thousand years. What is true of the glorification of the church of Christ, as to time, has been shown to be true also of the restoration of Israel. And if anyone who believes the many scriptures which teach the idea of their restoration, will read the prayer of Jonah, while he was buried in the deep, as recorded in the second chapter of the book of Jonah, he will have but little difficulty in seeing a type of the history of the nation of Israel since Jesus left their house desolate. Another prophecy of the same thing and in very plain words may be found in Hosea 6:1-3. "He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord &c." The third day has come since Jesus cut them off, and we can see the cursed fig tree beginning to put forth its leaves. By this we know that summer is near, and also that our redemption draweth near. Of Number Seven more anon.
ANS. Our English word resurrection signifies to raise up again and it does not indicate whether the body or thing raised has any life. The Greek word anastasis translated resurrection seems to have a similar meaning – to raise up again. In scriptural use it is understood to imply that the ones raised up have life since it is so stated sometimes, but that it always means a resurrection to spiritual life, is not true. There shall be a resurrection (anastasis) both of the just and unjust – All shall live again, but to rise spiritual beings, immortal &c., is promised only to those who have part in the first resurrection. "Blessed and holy are all they that have part in the first [anastasis] resurrection; On such the second death hath no power." The natural inference is that those who arise in subsequent resurrections, are not blessed and holy and that over these the second death has power. In other words the teaching is, that the first class are raised with such a life as cannot die, (immortal) while all others are raised to a life which can be forfeited.
In the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles the difference between these resurrections is clearly discernable as expressed in the Greek. (Our regular English version fails to show it properly.) Thus, Jesus says that in THE resurrection (i.e. the special resurrection) they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like unto the angels &c. Paul knew that all would rise, but says, "If by any means I might attain unto THE resurrection" – the first – the prize. He knew that because Jesus had ransomed all, all must be released from death, but he knew also that to the realization of the "exceeding great and precious promises" of "being like Him," and "like unto the angels" – possessing "immortality" i.e. such a condition of life that he could not die any more, nor be hurt of the second death; all these, as well as the sitting in the throne depended upon his attaining the "first" – "THE resurrection."
The following texts show that the word anastasis does not always mean raising to spiritual life. Matt. 22:23. "Scribes say that there is no (anastasis) resurrection." Luke 20:27. "Deny that there is any (anastasis) resurrection." Luke 2:34. "This child is set for the fall and (anastasis) rising again of many in [R93 : page 6] Israel." Israel stumbled and fell as a nation as well as individually and is to rise again. They did not fall from being spiritual bodies nor are they to rise in that way. Again, Heb. 11:35, "Women received their dead (anastasis) raised to life again." Were they raised to spiritual life or to natural? The latter, certainly, Christ Jesus being the first born to the higher plane. We read further – "Others were tortured...that they might obtain a better (anastasis) resurrection." Better than what, if anastasis means a giving of spiritual life?
ANS. It cannot refer to those who are "accounted worthy to escape;" they are to "lift up their heads and rejoice." I suppose it has reference to the great mass of the human family which Paul says is waiting and expecting – "The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the Sons of God." Yet mankind will be subjected to a great time of trouble before their expectations are realized. Before the morning of joy, comes the night of weeping.
Woe [trouble] to the great mass of the human family desiring and expecting that day.
QUES. Please give me your explanation of the text, "He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His spirit that dwelleth in you." Does it refer to the resurrection of the saints at the coming of Christ referred to in 1 Cor. 15. If so, how shall we harmonize this statement with the one there made, viz.: "It is sown a natural body; raised a spiritual body." "It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption." Now, if God merely makes alive (quickens) the mortal body, would it be anything more than a living mortal body? Can it be properly termed "a spiritual body?"
ANS. Undoubtedly a living mortal body is not a spiritual body; and Paul is not in the text quoted referring to the same thing as in 1 Cor. 15. But before we explain, please read the text referred to, Rom. 8:11. Now read the ten preceding and the five succeeding verses.
Christians die literally and will have an actual resurrection, as mentioned in 1 Cor. 15, and elsewhere but they are frequently spoken of as dying in another sense, as in Rom. 6:11: "Reckon ye yourselves to be [R93 : page 7] dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let not sin, therefore, reign in (control) your mortal bodies,...but yield yourselves [while still mortal bodies] unto God, as those that are alive from the dead." So also in the text you quote. The preceding verse declares that "If Christ be in you, the body is dead," but the spirit is alive, and in this verse 11, he assures that the power of God, which was mighty enough to raise up Jesus, is able and "shall quicken our mortal bodies by His spirit which dwelleth in us." In other words, the same spirit, by which we crucify the flesh and reckon ourselves dead, is able to so subdue and control this mortal body, that it will be alive and active, in harmony with our new or spiritual nature. Would that more of God's children knew, experimentally, of this death and this quickening. We become alive toward God just in proportion as we become dead to sin.
ANS. The term church signifies congregation. The Greek is ekklesia, and signifies the called-out ones. It would be, therefore, proper enough to apply it to any called-out company. In the New Testament use of the word, however, it is almost invariably used in reference to the first resurrection saints, of whom it is said: "God did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name." An exception to this rule occurs in Acts 7:38, where the word congregation – ekklesia – is applied to fleshly Israel.
ANS. We think not. Paul is our authority for saying "It is raised a spiritual body" – "raised in incorruption" – "power," and "glory." (1 Cor. 15:42-44.)
Some facts relative to the return of the Jews mentioned in our last, seemed to directly point to the fulfillment of the prophecies relative to their return, that some seem disposed to question the reliability of our information, Bro. H. A. King writes, "what is your authority for saying that Russia has enacted laws compelling the Jews to leave that country?" (The peculiarity noted, was, that just as God had opened up Palestine so that the Jew might return and enjoy a measure of liberty, He, at the same time, was forcing them from Russia where about one-third of all that people are living.) We answer, as Brok, that the public press is our authority and it certainly is a disinterested witness; for instance, we clip from The Pittsburg Dispatch of to-day (March 29th) the following:
"Instead of the concessions expected before the anniversary of the Czar's accession to the throne, regarding the position of the Jews, there is increased severity. The Jews are driven to represent themselves as Protestant Christians, to escape expulsion from St. Petersburg. In the Governments of Tula, Orel and Charkoff, Jews in business for many years, are ruthlessly expelled."
When we speak of a sin forgiven it implies that a sin has been committed, and that the one who committed it is a sinner. And when of Jesus it is written: "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world," we realize somehow that the whole world are sinners and that Jesus is their Redeemer from all sin. This is Paul's thought when he wrote: "All have sinned." John 1:1-10, says: "If we say we have not sinned, we make him (God) a liar." As all are sinners and "The wages of sin is death," we read: "Death hath passed upon all men in that all have sinned." We are in a bad condition in two ways; first, our characters and lives are stained with sin – and secondly because so marred by sin we are cut off from life and placed in the grasp of death. We are apt to take a superficial view of the matter and to think of being released from death as the thing chiefly to be desired, but this is a false view. If released from death and not from sin which causes death, you would again die. You would die because as a sinner you would have no right to life. The wages or legitimate end of sin is death. "Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death and if you could be released from death a thousand times yet not forgiven the sin, you would again be obliged to die.
Our real aim and desire should be to get forgiveness of sins, for then the penalty – death – can be removed legally. And in fact when we are forgiven or justified in God's sight, he is bound by his own justice to release such a forgiven and justified one from death. But can we obtain forgiveness of sins if God's punishment for sin was a just penalty? Could he be just and forgive or excuse sin? We answer, no; God's mercy and love can never be exercised at the expense of his justice. How then can we be forgiven? We answer: "The Lamb of God taketh away the sin of the world." Jno. 1:29. Yes says John (1:35) "Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins and in him is no sin." First, he was manifested, tried in all points yet without sin, that he might after being thus proved, act as our High Priest and "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Heb. 9:26. He who knew no sin was made sin for us," i.e. on our account he was treated as though he were the sinner (2 Cor. 5:21), and God "Laid upon him the iniquity of us all," and "We have redemption through his blood, even forgiveness of sins." Col. 1:14. "The blood (life given i.e. death) of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." 1 Jno. 1:7. "We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins." Eph. 1:7. Thus "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man;" therefore "God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you;" (Eph. 4:32.) because
And because thus ransomed and bought from sin with a price, even the precious blood of Christ, the "sins are blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord and He shall send Jesus etc." Acts 3:19. For [R94 : page 8] as God was just to punish for sin and would by no means clear the guilty, so also "He is just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all iniquity" since Jesus paid for us the price of our sins. And if the sin is forgiven will not its wages – death – be abolished? Yes, by ransoming us from sin Jesus obtained the right to destroy death; and when sin is abolished, it may well be asked – "O death, where is thy sting? For the sting of death is sin." THANKS be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Verily, as in Adam all die so, in Christ shall all be made alive. All were condemned to death because of sin and all are justified to life again because "Jesus paid it all."
But what shall we say of those who claim that Jesus was a sinner, who claim that he died for himself, that he appeared in the world on the "lowest round of the ladder," a sinner among sinners merely to set us an example and by working his way up to life to show humanity how they could work their way up and each win life for himself?" We say: God pity them and show them the value of "the blood of the cross," (Gal. 1:20.) that it was because the penalty of our sin was death that "He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" that we might be forgiven. Oh no; Add nothing to their burden, they will have enough to bear; They will find it a difficult task to do as he did – keep the whole law blameless, and thus work their way up to life. They will in time find a necessity for "forgiveness through His blood," of whom it was written – "Ye shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sin." By and by they will learn –
Brethren, "Let us draw near (to God) with a true heart in full assurance of faith, (that our sins are forgiven) having our hearts sprinkled from a consciousness of evil, (sin) and our bodies washed in pure water" (our fleshly nature cleansed by, and brought into harmony with the truth.) (Heb. 10:22.) and "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering," for, in this – God's way of forgiving sin. "The righteousness of God is manifested" most beautifully and his justice, mercy and love all find harmonious expression for, "Herein is manifested the love of God, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."
Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us; therefore, let us keep the feast." (1 Cor. 5:7). The passover was one of the most important of the types given to the Children of Israel, and was ever observed by them as one of their most solemn feasts. They kept it in remembrance of the passing over of their first-born when the tenth plague was visited upon the first-born of Egypt. They commemorated it every year on the anniversary of the event, slaying a lamb each year on the fourteenth day of the first month. They saw only the type: We, instructed by the Holy Ghost through the apostles, are able to recognize the antitype as "Christ our Passover Lamb slain for us" – "the Lamb of God." Death would pass upon us, were it not that our Lamb's blood is sprinkled upon us, but in Him we have life.
As the typical lamb was put to death on the fourteenth of the first month, so our Passover Lamb was put to death on the same day. No other day would fulfill the type, and so it was, as we read, Luke 22:7. As they feasted on the typical lamb, we feast on our Lamb. It was on this same day that Jesus gave to the apostles the symbols of His broken body and shed blood, saying: "THIS do in remembrance of me;" i.e., keep this feast hereafter, thinking of me as your Lamb.
It has for several years been the custom of many of us here in Pittsburgh to do this; i.e., remember the Passover, and eat the emblems of our Lord's body and blood, and it has ever been an occasion of solemn pleasure and communion, and was particularly so this year. We met on the night of March 24th, as usual, at the house of Brother and Sister Conley (it being the most commodious); and ate together the unleavened bread – eating, meantime "the truth" which it symbolized, viz: That Jesus was unleavened (without sin), holy, harmless, undefiled, and therefore food "of which, if a man eat, he shall never die." We said, with Paul, "Christ, our Passover is slain; therefore, let us keep the feast." We saw clearly that because we had Christ within, therefore (soon, we believe), all the church of the first-born will be passed over, and spared, as it is written: "I will spare them, as a man spareth his only son that serveth him," and we said one to another, "Watch that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things coming upon the world, and stand before the Son of Man."
We read, also, how that if we are Christ's, we are part of the same loaf; to be broken as He was; to die, as He did to the flesh – crucifying the flesh. "The loaf, which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one loaf and one body." (1 Cor. 10:17.) We saw, also, that if we would count ourselves parts of that loaf, and be broken, we must first "purge out therefrom the old leaven" of sin, that we may be like our Master, "who knew no sin."
After supper, we took the cup – the wine. As we took it, we remembered that it was not represented by the type, the passover supper, but that it was the symbol of joy and life. After supper, He took the cup,... saying, "Drink ye all of it," and we realized that, when the present night of eating the Lamb with bitter herbs (afflictions) has passed, our Lord will give us the new life and new joys, saying, "Enter thou into the joys of thy Lord," And we realized, even now and here, a foretaste of those joys of Paradise. Thus, the wine of our feast was but typical of the joys of the kingdom, when we shall drink it new with Him, in our Father's kingdom – "after supper."
This is the title of the new book referred to in our Feb'y No. we are pleased to know that it will soon be ready – probably about May 1st. The table of contents before us, show it to contain 28 chapters (probably from 350 to 400 pages.) on subjects of deepest interest to all of us. It will we doubt not supply a long felt want, viz: A book containing a connected and well expressed account, of our understanding of the prophecies their import and teaching as well as their harmony with the other teachings of God's word. In a word "The Law," "The Prophets" and "The Gospel" and their unity.
We cannot but be benefited and strengthened by going over the Time arguments which establish our whereabouts on the stream of time. Our foundations are so strong, the evidences so many and so weighty, that when fully comprehended, it is easier to believe than to doubt, the presence of the heavenly Bridegroom. It will strengthen and build you up in your most holy faith, we hope. Again it is a pleasure to have a book to hand to your neighbor and friend written in a simple but scholarly manner. (Though we have not seen the MSS. we have reason to expect all of this from our brother's pen.) Bro. Paton of Almont, Mich., one of our regular contributors is the author. Bro. A. D. Jones, Pittsburgh, Pa., also a correspondent is the publisher.
It is unnecessary to say that the book is not gotten out for money making purposes, but for the glory of God and blessing of the household of faith. We are authorized to say that any interested but unable to pay can have the book FREE. To those who can pay, the price will be
In paper covers postage prepaid each.... $ .50 6 copies paper covers by express..... 2.00 12 " " " " " ..... 4.00 Cloth covers, postage prepaid........ .75 6 copies cloth covers postage prepaid... 3.50 12 " " " " " ... 7.00
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