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|J. H. PATON||ALMONT, MICH.|
|W. I. MANN||SWISSVALE, PA.|
|B. W. KEITH||DANSVILLE, N.Y.|
|A. D. JONES||PITTSBURGH, PA.|
|L. ALLEN||HONEOYE, N.Y.|
Most of our readers are perhaps aware that our understanding of the word leads us to the conclusion that "The time of trouble" or "Day of wrath," covering the forty years from 1874 to 1914 is in two parts or of two kinds: first a time of trouble upon the church during which she (the nominal church) will fall from her present position of influence and respect with the world, and many will fall from truth and from faith. This trouble upon the church and also the fact that we shall be in it but protected and safe is shown by the 91 Psalm.
We need not fear the terrors of darkness nor the pestilence that walketh in the darkness. That is, if we the "little flock" abide under the shadow of the Almighty and have Him for a Refuge we need not fear this dark hour coming upon the church; neither need we fear the pestilence (infidelity) that will stalk abroad during that time; neither need we fear the arrow that flieth by day – The arrow is the scornful speech of the Infidel and unbeliever – for as we are elsewhere told – "The wicked shoot out arrows at the righteous – even bitter words."
These arrows – bitter scornful words of infidelity and the pestilence of systems of error &c. – are to cause "a thousand to fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee." Why will these influences so destructive to others, not affect the "little flock?" Let vs. 4 answer: "Under his wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
Yes it is easy to see that the pestilence and arrows, &c., referred to here are not the literal, since we well know that the truth does not protect against such things. Truth has always been a shield against error and infidelity but how needful it will be – how needful it is in this evil day for it is evident that this great wave of ungodliness and infidelity has already commenced to sweep over the world and we will be in it as Paul said, referring to this very time. "The fire (trouble) of that day shall try every man's work of what sort it is. And again: "Take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand in that evil day," when "a thousand shall fall at thy side." But out from this fire God will gather His Gold and Jewels more polished and more separated from dross. "It shall not come nigh thee." You will have His truth for your shield against all the arguments and errors which will cause the fall of others during this "evil day."
The trouble coming upon the world will follow the trouble on the church as a natural consequence and is the second part of the trouble of this "Day of wrath." Will the saints be here during its continuance upon the world? No, we remember Jesus said: "Watch ye that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all those things coming upon the world and to stand before the Son of Man." A glorious anticipation is this, that we are to be gathered together unto our living Head – Christ, and to enter into His kingdom before the pouring out of the vials of wrath upon the world.
This is in harmony too with the thought expressed by David. "To bind their Kings with chains and their Nobles with fetters of iron, to execute the judgments written, this honor hath all his saints." Again as Paul says: "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" "Therefore judge nothing before the time."
The thought harmonizes too with Daniel's expression: "In the days of these Kings (the ten powers representative of the Roman Empire before they are destroyed in this "Day of the Lord") shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom...and it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." (Dan. 2:4.) We remember how this harmonizes with the statement of Jesus: He represents his church now as His Kingdom (but not set up – not in power), and says: "He will gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend and they that do iniquity, and then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun" – be set up. They must be set up before the time of trouble fully comes upon the world, for "IT shall break in pieces and consume all these." All can see, therefore, that our setting up must be before the plagues which are represented as destroying earthly kingdoms.
"There came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me saying, come hither, [R113 : page 1] I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God."
We have perhaps all seen by a previous article that John was a sort of representative of the church to be translated – "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" When he was called to see the "Mystery Babylon" he was taken into the wilderness to see her. So with us, when we come to recognize the Babylon church in its true light as in God's sight, we must go into a wilderness, a condition of complete separation from the world, a condition of humility, alone with God, and when he feeds us and only then can we see the Nominal church as it is – a Babylon or Confusion company to be spewed out of the Lord's mouth.
As to see Babylon – John went into the wilderness, so now when called to see the Bride of Christ, he is carried away to a great and high mountain. What does this show? That we, the church of translation must go up into the great Kingdom – enter into the joys of our Lord and be in His likeness before we can see as we are seen and know as we are known. The bride can only be seen from the standpoint of the Kingdom, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (the Bride). "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the (Mountain) Kingdom of God." (John 3:3 and 5.)
This shows that we shall be changed and caught up to meet the Lord before we see the Church – the Bride. But it teaches more, if you examine closely it shows that we shall be taken up into the Mount or Kingdom before the seven last plagues are poured out on the world. Notice that it says that the angel who talked with him and took him up was one of those having the seven vials of wrath. Now were these vials full or empty; had they been poured out or were they to be, after John is shown the Bride in the mountain? We answer: The Word says they were full. In the Greek the word full is emphatic as if to call our attention to the matter. Oh, how very full of meaning is every word that God has given.
Notice, too, how much this is in harmony with another type of the same thing given in the Law. You remember how Moses as the type of Christ had left the glory of the Court of Egypt to have part with his people. When he came to them, to deliver them the first time, he came to his own (natural Israel), and his own received him not. He went away, took the Gentile wife and returned again to deliver his people. Now remember, that as he came the second time and before the plagues were poured upon Egypt, Aaron came to meet him as we shall be caught away to meet our Lord. Aaron did meet him in the Mount of God. We are to go up into the Kingdom, and are to be joined to Christ before the plagues are poured out, and, like Aaron, we are to assist in pouring them out.
Oh, how glorious the thought of soon entering into the joys of the Lord, soon entering the Mount of God. Are we prepared to enter in? Are we clothed in the pure white robe of Christ's righteousness? Is it clean, without spot, or wrinkle or any [R113 : page 2] such thing, or is it all besmeared with stains of earth? Be not deceived: If walking hand in glove with the world, minding earthly things, you are almost sure to get your garments crushed and stained, and to be unprepared for the marriage. And if left out of the marriage you cannot escape the things coming upon the world, but will be obliged to wash your robes and make them white, and to come up to the Kingdom through great tribulation. That will truly be a great blessing and favor to be one of "The Virgin's, companions that follow her," but not so grand will that be as to be a part of the bride, "The King's daughter all glorious within "She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needle-work." Blessed indeed will it be to be "called to the marriage supper of the Lamb," but more blessed to be the bride whose marriage (then past) will be celebrated.
Oh, beloved brethren and sisters, let us lay aside everything else as an ambition, and bend all our energies to seeking first, or principally "the kingdom of God. It is too high and too grand to miss. All things else are not worthy to be compared with our high calling in Christ Jesus and the glory that will be revealed in us.
Jesus had taught that he was the heir of the kingdom of Judah and Israel and that the kingdom was come nigh – was very close at hand and we remember that it was but a short time after this, that he came riding on the colt thus presenting himself as their King; in fulfillment of Zech. 9:9: "Behold thy King cometh unto thee." Thus he offered himself to them and was rejected as had been foretold; and consequently did not set up the kingdom. "He came unto His own and His own received Him not."
The Pharisees were talking together of this strange and queer man whose friends and disciples were poor and ignorant. They say to themselves, what nonsense this man talks; how he is deceiving these poor people, by raising in their minds the hope that He will some day be a King and then they shall share the kingdom with him; and these miracles which he has power to do seem to make the matter a settled fact with these his followers. Let us go to Him and in the hearing of his disciples, let us ask him how, when and where his kingdom will come &c., that his followers may see the impossibility of his claims being true.
And when he (Jesus) was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said: "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall ye say, Lo, here! or Lo, there! for behold the kingdom of God is within you (or marginal reading will be among you.)" Jesus here made known something concerning his kingdom that must have astonished both the Pharisees and also his disciples, viz: That His kingdom when established would pervade all society and control all, but be seen by none, as he said again at another time to Nichodemus, "you must be born again," born to spiritual bodies before you can "see the kingdom of God" or "enter into it" just as we know also a man must be begotten of the "spirit of truth" before he can even understand the "things pertaining to the kingdom of God" as recorded in scripture.
The disciples heard this account of the kingdom and probably did not comprehend it, for the Spirit, not yet being given, they could not understand spiritual things. (1 Cor. 2:10.) But Jesus takes advantage of the moment to drop a word to his disciples which the Spirit would afterward open to their understanding. And He said unto his disciples "The days will come when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man."
Jesus was looking far away into the future, to the time of the setting up of his kingdom just mentioned to the Pharisees, and he surely knew as he looked at our day and at us the disciples living in his days – "in the days of the Son of man," the days of his parousia – presence in which he says the world in general will continue at their customary employment, "eating, drinking, planting, building &c.," all unconscious of him "and know not of his presence," (verse 26 and Matt. 24:37-39,) that our hearts would be longing so much for his communion and to "see him whom my soul loveth" that He foresaw we say, that our very intensity of longing, would open a tender spot for our enemy to attack. He knew too that our "enemy, the devil as a roaring lion" is continually seeking to overcome us and knows full well the points most easily attacked. Therefore he makes special mention of this, to put us on our guard, saying: ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man (as you now see them – seeing me present and in the flesh), "and ye shall NOT see.
And this is the more significant to us because the Lord informs us that there will be in these "days of the Son of man," false teachers who will be very powerful and exercise much influence upon the church, "For false Christs (deceptions) and false prophets (false teachers) shall arise and shall show signs and seduce (lead into confusion and error) if possible even the elect." "And then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ or lo, he is there, believe him not. Mark 13:21. So too we read in Matt. 24:23-28, that Jesus said: "Behold I have told you before [I have forewarned you] wherefore if they (false teachers) shall say unto you, 'Behold he is in the desert, go not forth.'" Since we must apply this scripture to the "days of the Son of man," "days of His (parousia) presence," we look about us to see if any are making such claims, and we believe we find these false teachers (We do not say that they may not, for all their falsity be Christians. We will not disfellowship any one.) We believe we find them in those who claim that Jesus is to appear shortly in the wilderness of Judea (Palestine) and that all who love him and expect to be part of his kingdom should go there and be on hand to receive and welcome him. In accordance with this claim, it is perhaps known to many of our readers that colonies are now being organized in New England and money raised to start a company to [R114 : page 2] establish this teaching and to prepare the way for others to follow.
True Palestine is not a "desert" in the sense we generally use it but it is, in the sense of being a wilderness – or a place deserted as we read of Jesus when he went to pray "he went into a desert place alone." And we regard this as the thing against which Jesus warned us saying, "go not forth." But there is to be more than one of these deceiving teachers; While one says He is coming in the desert, another says: "Behold he is in the secret chambers." Do we find teaching of this kind now, in the days of the Son of man? Yes, it seems to us that this is being fulfilled; a brother whom we knew well and loved much, thinks that God has given him what he terms "New Oil" (perhaps he does not notice that the virgins of Matt. 25, do not get any new oil; it is the same oil they had at first). But this brother is we think fulfilling this scripture. He is teaching that after 1881, Christ will appear in the flesh secretly, to be seen only by himself and those who believe exactly as he believes. This teaching not only leads to unscriptural expectations, but seems to open the minds of those who receive it to a perilous snare of the devil, which snare is referred to in the "Three Worlds," a book written by this very brother, in 1876, now out of print but possessed by many of our readers, extracts from which will follow this article. The wide diversity of views as stated in that article, and his present view as stated above seems to make good his claim that he has new oil; but it does not commend itself to us as being as good as the old "The old is better." Nor does it answer the conditions of the parable for no new oil was given.
But what does Jesus say to us; are we to expect to see Him in the secret chamber? No, he said "believe it not." Well, Lord, tell us then, how and where shall we meet you. Jesus' answer is: "Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together." As the eagles seem instinctively without call or noise, or warning, to assemble from every different point, near and far, so, we understand the Lord to teach, will be our gathering together unto him. We shall be caught away to meet the Lord. Two in the field, bed and mill, "one taken and the other left." "and they said unto him, where Lord, (taken where,) and He said unto them wheresoever the body is thither will the eagles be gathered together." (Compare Matt. 24:28 and Luke 17:37.)
You will indeed desire to see, but "shall not see" until you are "taken," and as eagles you meet me. "Then we shall see Him as He is," for "we shall be like Him." Then He tells us how He will be in His day. Vs. 24. For as the lightning that lighteneth out of one part under heaven shineth unto the other part under heaven, so shall the Son of Man be in his day. Let us examine the language carefully. There are two things mentioned – the cause and effect: lightning itself; and its effect – the shining light. The lightning is the electric fluid which human eye cannot discern; the flash of light we can see. Now which of these are used to illustrate the Son of man in his day? We answer that it is the electric fluid. The lightning which cannot be seen that is used to illustrate the Son of man. Electricity was almost unknown as a science when Jesus uttered these words, but it was written for our edification and instruction, and the Lord knew that His simile would have a force and meaning now, which the disciples then could not fully realize.
It is now known that electricity is one of the most powerful forces in nature; perhaps more powerful than any other, yet imperceptible to the eye. Scientists affirm that it can encircle this earth six times in one second of time.
What a wonderful illustration of the powers of the "Son of man in His days." Everywhere present, all powerful. Its presence may be recognized by the flashes which it causes, and both its presence and power are shown when that which it strikes falls crumbled to dust. Just so now, and during all the days of the Son of man, for we understand that all the "day of wrath" or time of trouble, is included in the term "in His days." In these days there will be great flashes of light and knowledge in the church, enlightening all who have eyes to see, and are awake and watching. Has not this been to a great extent your experience, since you came to recognize as a fact that the bridegroom
(Continued on Seventh page.) [R114 : page 7] (Continued from Second page.) came in 1874, and that since then we are going in (into a condition of readiness,) to the marriage during these years of His presence, since you awoke to knowledge of the fact that the various great, grand, bright revelations of God's plan contained in "the word," have been seen by you? Yes, I think that this is the experience of all; we have not seen Him, but the enlightening influence resulting from His presence, we have seen.
But the effect of lightning is different, in different places. It shines in the heavens, (the church,) but it is a very destructive agent on earth (to the world,) sometimes. So we understand during this, His day, the various high ones of earth will be smitten, crumbled and brought low, and "all the kingdoms of the whole world shall be thrown down."
Thus shall the Son of man be in his day. We recognize Him through the light upon the word, and the world shall recognize Him by the destruction and trouble. And they shall say, "hide us, (protect us,) for the great day of His wrath is come."
The transition from the Jewish age to the Gospel age covered a period of a little more than seventy years, reaching from the birth of Christ to the destruction of Jerusalem. The prominent events of that period were the coming of Christ, and the disposition of the Jewish nation. That period was divided into several smaller ones, by marked events and stages of the gradual change.
The birth of Christ was the beginning of the Gospel in fulfillment, and might be considered the beginning of the end of the Jewish age. Christ from that time had come from heaven, but as the law required that He should tarry thirty years (Num. 4) before entering on His public ministry and the real harvest work, He was not "made manifest to Israel" until the baptism of John. Jno. 1:31. This is an important point; He had been in the world for thirty years, and the world knew Him not (Jno. 1:10), not even Israel. The manifestation to Israel is also called a coming. John preached before His coming. Acts 13:24. "There cometh one after me." Mark 1:8. John pointed Him out and said: "This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me." Jno. 1:15.
Let it be particularly observed that though there were several events called His coming, there was only one coming from heaven and that coming from heaven was at the beginning of the tarrying. The later comings were manifestations in new official positions. At His baptism John introduced Him as the Bridegroom to that typical Bride, speaking of his own joy as the "friend of the Bridegroom" as fulfilled. Jno. 3:29, Mark 2:19,20. During His ministry He was doing or superintending a finishing work, which he [R115 : page 3] calls reaping or harvest, (Jno. 4:34-38, Matt. 9:37-38) hence He was then manifested in the double character of Bridegroom and Reaper. At the end of His visible ministry He rode into Jerusalem as King, in fulfillment of "Behold thy King cometh" (Zech. 9:9), and He immediately exercised His authority in leaving their house desolate because of the manner in which they treated Him.
These facts are interesting to the Bible student as matters of history concerning the Lord's dealings with the Jewish nation, but are intensely interesting when it is remembered that all those facts were arranged as a pattern of things connected with the closing history of the Gospel age. The equality and parallelism of the Jewish and Gospel ages we here take for granted, because they have been so often proved.
The transition period of seventy years mentioned at the beginning of this article, has its parallel in the transition from the Gospel age to the millennium, or between A.D. 1844 and A.D. 1914. The beginning of this transition is marked by the application of the 2300 days or years of Daniel 8 and 9, and the end is marked by the end of the Times of the Gentiles.
The prominent events of this period are the second coming of Christ, and the disposition of the Gospel church. This period also is divided into several smaller ones, by marked events and stages of the gradual change. In addition to the events already named let it be remembered that while the Lord was disposing of the Jewish nation, the Gospel church was coming on the stage of action, and so while He is disposing of the Gospel church, the Jewish nation comes up again by restoration.
As the beginning of that change was marked by the coming of Christ from heaven, so the 2300 years above mentioned indicate that Christ was due to leave the most holy place – "heaven itself" – in 1844. Each of these points was marked by a movement of the expectant people in reference to the coming of Christ. As there was a tarrying of thirty years then before the manifestation of His presence, and the real closing work, so in this case His presence and the light on the harvest were not manifested until after thirty years of tarrying.
We speak of His coming or manifestation as Bridegroom and Reaper between the Autumn of 1874 and the Spring of 1878, in the same sense as He was so spoken of during the three years and a half between His baptism and His entry into Jerusalem as King. His coming as Bridegroom was first expected and recognized by the watchers, and His work as Reaper afterward seen. In this case, as in the pattern, His manifestation to the watchers was not a coming from heaven, but a manifestation in his official relationship. In either case there was but one coming from heaven – the most holy – and that coming at the beginning of the tarrying. The tarrying in either case is the period of time after He had come, before entering upon His work.
We call special attention to this feature of the parallelism, because some are claiming to hold on to the parallelism, and yet ignoring the presence of Christ entirely. The two must stand or fall together. We are not opposing them, but they are opposing us, and we are set for the defense of what we learned with those who are now opposing, and which we still believe to be truth. Those who are opposing the truth as to Christ's presence, make use of the parallelism to prove that Christ will come in 1881, seeming to ignore the fact that if Christ's coming is future there is no parallelism between the endings of the Two Dispensations.
They tell us that the tarrying in either case is thirty-three years and a half; that in the first case it was the period during which He remained with His people, but in the second case the tarrying was the time from 1844 till 1878, ending three years and a half before He comes to His people at all. If their lamps were burning half as brightly as they claim, they might see this inconsistency.
Will some one who is now opposing the presence of Christ, tell us what event took place at 1844 to parallel the birth of Christ, and what happened between 1874 and 1878 to parallel the manifestation of Christ to Israel, if their new views are correct?
Let no one claim to believe and build on the parallelism and yet virtually ignore it. If it can be proved that the presence of Christ is not true, the Two Dispensation arguments will be proved untrue so far as its time element is concerned. But we are satisfied that both will stand the test of time and future events.
We believe that as in the pattern dispensation, Christ took upon Him the official dignity of King, and left Israel desolate, so at the parallel point in the Spring of 1878 He was manifested in the Kingly office, and Israel began to rise. When Israel rises Babylon must fall, for "the watchmen shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion." Isa. 52:8.
We trust that none who have seen these glorious truths, will forget that while there is such a beautiful parallelism between the Two Dispensations, the two comings, and the closing work, that there is also a clear contrast; that is, all connected with the second is on a higher plane than the first. We hope they will not forget God's order of first the natural and afterward that which is spiritual. If this be well remembered it will save them from the strong delusion of expecting Christ to come in the flesh, to the church, in 1881 or any other time. One difference between the two comings is that then He came to go away again, while this time He comes to stay; and instead of being overcome by the Powers of darkness, He will conquer all His foes.
In the closing work of the Jewish and Gospel ages, there are three things mentioned as belonging to either, viz: Separation, gathering and burning. In the former dispensation they were represented under the figures of wheat and chaff, and in the nominal gospel church are called wheat and tares; but the disposition of the two are parallel. The two elements are separated – the wheat gathered into the barn, and the chaff and tares are burned.
Not only the work of separation and the gathering of the wheat are under the supervision of Christ, but also the burning of the chaff and tares. This fact shows that all that is meant by the burning is included in the harvest, and, therefore, in the end of the age; for "the harvest is the end of the age," whether it be the Jewish or the Gospel age.
John's statement in reference to the closing work of Christ is clear on this point: "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." – Matt. 3:12. In the seventh verse the fire is called the "wrath to come." That this meant the fire (or judgment) which was to bring the Jewish people to desolation, is evident from the Savior's own prophecy: "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things that are written may be fulfilled;...for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people." – Luke 21:22,23. Paul, in referring to the same people and the same facts, says: "Who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets,...for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." – 1 Thess. 2:15,16.
These statements compared show clearly that the closing work included the day of wrath, and reached to the destruction of Jerusalem. Hence, we cannot escape the conclusion, that there is a sense in which the Jewish age, and, therefore, its harvest or closing work, reached to the destruction of Jerusalem. This being true, the Jewish harvest, for the complete disposition of the Jewish church, instead of being limited to three and a half or seven years, covered the forty years from the Spring after his baptism, to A.D. 70.
This may show us that Christ has the supervision and power over the natural men and nations, as well as over spiritual things, for the overthrow of Jerusalem was of a very natural people in a very natural way; and yet it was in fulfillment [R115 : page 4] of the statement: "He will burn up the chaff with fire unquenchable." There is a parallel to this, and without a contrast, in the disposal of the tares of the nominal Gospel church – a very natural set of people.
That the burning of the tares is included in the gospel harvest, is evident from Matt. 13:40: "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this age." So shall it be in the harvest, for "the harvest is the end of this age" (ver. 39). From these statements, the parallels, and other scriptures, we conclude that the day of wrath is included in the Gospel harvest, and, therefore, that the age and harvest extend to 1914, covering a space of forty years from the Spring of 1875, instead of three years and a-half, or seven years.
The prophecies of Isaiah call for such an extension as to include the "day of vengeance" in the closing ministry of Christ. Isa. 61:2 and [R116 : page 4] 63:4. It is evident from the latter reference, that the "day of vengeance" is also "the year of my redeemed.
This carries us forward to Rev. 11:15-18 to find the same thought of the time of "reward" of all that fear God's name, being identical with the day of wrath. The seventh trumpet includes both and reaches to 1914. Whoever will read carefully the first few verses of Isaiah 63 and the description of the harvest as given in Revelation 14 can hardly fail to see that the scenes are identical. That harvest is under the supervision of the Son of man, with a golden crown upon His head. Then the idea we advance that Christ entered upon the official work of King in 1878 is in harmony with the application of the harvest here given.
But what becomes of the idea of those who now oppose us in these things, that Christ does not come into possession of His crown, until after this day of wrath? Will they not be compelled to admit for consistency's sake that the harvest and the treading of the winepress must be located away beyond 1914? It seems too much like desperation for them to take such ground, but they must do it or admit that a part of the harvest and the disposal of such as are represented by the clusters of the vine, and which are to be subjected to the wrath of God, take place after the Son of man is crowned. Will any one be so reckless as to take the ground that the "seven last plagues" of Revelation 15 contained in the "seven vials," in which are filled up the wrath of God, are to be fulfilled after the day of wrath is ended? Will any whose lamps are burning brightly with the light of the truth on the Times of the Gentiles, and the time of trouble or day of vengeance with which those times end, take the ground that the day of wrath extends beyond 1914? They must do all this, and thus ignore the parallelism between the two days of wrath, or admit that Christ receives His crown before the subjugation of the nations in this day of wrath.
Who among the careful and impartial readers will read from the 14th verse to the end of the 14th chapter of Revelation, and then believe that those who deny Christ's coming as King before the end of the harvest, have the clear and most advanced light, and that our lamps are gone out? We resent with a just indignation the assertion so often made that our lamps are not burning. We never have confessed it in thought, word or deed. The so called "new supply" of oil we never asked for because we never wanted it. In the parable of Matthew 25 the foolish were the first to know and confess their lack; but in the last year, and because we could not indorse all their recklessly new and contradictory statements, some have labored earnestly to convince us that our lamps are out, but not one of us believes it. Then that application of the parable is incorrect. The case is different however with a class who in the 1844 movement saw light on the prophetic periods, then afterward gave it all up, and confessed that they had "no light on the harmonious ending of the prophetic periods." That was something like saying, "Our lamps have gone out."
We are not disposed to boast of our light; be it little or much it comes from the Lord, and to Him we would be grateful. We would be dishonoring Him as well as our own consciousness should we confess that we are without light or if we did not deny the oft repeated statement, that we do not even claim to have any increase of light on these glorious subjects. Those who have not seen new and advanced thought in ZION'S WATCH TOWER during the year of its existence, only prove to us that they have not given it a careful and impartial reading. We believe it is our duty and privilege to bring from the treasure house things both new and old. Matt. 13:52. And the new truth must always be in harmony with the old truths.
Now while we are teaching that there is a sense in which the Jewish age extended to the destruction of Jerusalem, and that in the same sense the Gospel age extends to 1914, we do not ignore the fact so well established years ago, that there is a sense in which the Jewish age ended at the death of Christ, and that in the same sense the Gospel age ended in the Spring of 1878. We believe the prophetic argument which fixes those two points is unanswerable; and the illustration of the equality of the Two Dispensations as ending at those points is as clear and beautiful as it ever was.
God's dealings with the Jewish people, as a nation, ended at the Cross, but after that favor was extended to the remnant, until as we believe not a kernel of wheat was left to perish in the destruction of Jerusalem. It will not be difficult for those who understand what they are reading to see what would be a parallel to that in reference to the nominal Gospel church.
We believe the recognition of these two endings of each age and therefore the two phases of each harvest will be necessary to the understanding of some things yet to be developed. In the law there were two gatherings – first the first fruits and then the general harvest. This was true of each season, and is true, we believe, of both the Jewish and Gospel ages. The first in either case included those who were able to receive the presence of Christ during the first phase of the harvest; and it is their privilege to extend the truth for the acceptance of others afterward.
We have already shown that there was an extension of God's dealings with the remnant until the destruction of Jerusalem, and it can be shown that there was a work done and counted finished at the end as represented by the first cherub. The disciples under the personal supervision of Jesus gathered fruit for the Gospel barn or "unto life eternal" during the three years preceding the Cross. Compare Matt. 9:36-38 and Jno. 4:34-38. Jesus referring to that harvest work calls it, "to finish." Later He says "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." Seventy weeks were determined on Daniel's people for certain specified purposes but Isaiah foretold a cutting short of the work, and Paul applies it at the end of the Jews' age. "For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth." Rom. 9:28. This was what Jesus did when He left their house desolate. Mark! He both finished and cut it short. From which it is evident that the prophecy of the "seventy weeks" in Daniel 9 was fulfilled at the end of sixty-nine weeks and a half. The only point of the prophecy that does not seem to have been complete is the confirmation of the covenant, of the last verse, "for one week," but let it be observed that this was not to be on Daniel's people, but with many. Daniel's people ceased to be recognized as a nation when Jesus left them desolate, and Jerusalem ceased to be the "holy city" when the vail of the temple was rent, and the Gospel church from that time became God's dwelling place. This the New Testament clearly teaches, and only the remnant of Israel who accepted Christ were recipients of the Gospel favor.
Speaking of Christ leaving the house desolate, Paul quotes from Isaiah and applies it: "Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed [remnant] we had been as Sodoma and been made like unto Gomorrah." Rom. 9:29. That we are not mistaken as to the proper time for the application of that prophecy is made plain by the Apostle himself. In the eleventh chapter after speaking of the casting off of the nation, in order to show that a remnant were to be saved he referred to himself as one who had not received Christ during the first part of the harvest, and then to the case of Elijah, who at one time thought all were gone; "But what saith the answer of God to him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Then Paul makes the application, "Even so then, at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." Rom. 11:1-5. The point is, the nation was given up to desolation, but the remnant were to be saved out of the fire. It may be true, in fulfillment of Dan. 9:27, that the Gospel was preached exclusively to the Jews for three years and a half after the cross, but it is evident that the remnant were not all saved during that half week. Paul made a specialty of his Jewish brethren at least seventeen years after he was converted, (Gal. 1:18 and 2:1) and there is reason to believe that the Jews who received Christ at any time before Jerusalem was destroyed were saved from that calamity as much as those who had accepted before. Thus He gathered the wheat and burned the chaff.
Those who believe in the parallel of the Two Dispensations may readily make the application here. Some accepted the presence of Christ during the three years preceding the Spring of 1878. These have the privilege of extending the truth on this subject for the faith of others. And we would say this truth is none the less true because some, and even leading spirits, who once believed it, have, under peculiar trial, now ignored the presence of Christ. To us there is great force in the statement of Revelation 11:18, that even all that fear God's name small and great are to be rewarded during the sounding of the seventh trumpet. We will not now speak of the manner in which the work will be done, but it is evident that not one kernel of true wheat, or using another scriptural figure, one lamb of the flock will be left out of the kingdom. The extension or prolonging of the dispensation is an expression of the longsuffering of God toward us (not speaking of the world, but of the too worldly church), not being willing that any should perish. Though ninety and nine were safely in, He will seek and find and bring home the last one.
Having in our last, advanced as far as the Altar of Burnt Offering, we will now consider the Brazen Laver. It stood between the altar and the door of the tabernacle. Its dimensions are not given. It was made of copper alone, from the polished copper mirrors (incorrectly – looking glasses. A.V.) of the Hebrew women. The laver was kept filled with water for the washing of the priests. When Moses, by command of God, would consecrate Aaron and his sons, he brought them first to the laver. Not only so, but the priests were bound under penalty of death, to always wash their hands and feet before entering the tabernacle or engaging in the work of sacrifice. They were not to wash simply if they thought it necessary, or when it was convenient, or in any way they imagined would pass for the ceremony and not incur God's displeasure. They might not wash one hand or one foot, or sprinkle a few drops on each. No! the thought must be ever before them: "Be ye holy for I am holy." They must wash and be clean.
Thus the laver clearly typifies baptism. We come by the brazen altar to the laver. It is not our offering, however, which entitles us to the benefits of the laver. Jesus is the altar, and by or through Jesus' offering, we approach to be washed. Without this washing, we have no part or lot in the matter.
The consecration of the priests, as we have seen, began at the laver. The law said: Cast off your filthy garments, be washed, be clean, and be robed in the pure linen of the priesthood – Christ's righteousness. There was but one laver. At this and this only, the priests must wash – We find no other provision made. But, says some one: The high priest washed in the holy place on the day of atonement. True, but the laver and the altar were in the holy place. The difficulty arises from an obscure translation of Paul's description of the tabernacle in Hebrews. All within the snowy linen curtains of the court was holy. [See Ex. 28:43.]
The laver was of one metal – copper. There was no wood in its construction. As we have seen in the brazen altar, and in the posts of the court, the corruptible wood symbolizes the fleshly, or human nature, and enduring copper, the divine. We find, then, in the laver, no provision for the flesh. Morality is of no account; natural goodness and self-righteousness have no place. That which we receive – the anointing, and the clothing upon with the pure linen robe of Christ's righteousness, fits us for our work as priests. And now fully consecrated, we may approach the altar and offer sacrifice. Being justified to life by being in Christ who is the end of the law to every one that believeth, we may even come and lay ourselves down with Christ on the altar, being called to be partakers of the sufferings of Christ – to die with him, that we may also live with him. Rom. 6:8, Phil. 3:10. As so beautifully brought out in the March No. by Bro. Russell, we can, in the type of baptism, symbolize this death. As Jesus, the great sacrifice, voluntarily laid down his flesh life, and after burial and through a resurrection, received from his Father spiritual life, so we, his followers, crucify our fleshly nature and rise to live a new – a spiritual life, and though not really dead as to the flesh, nor really alive as to the spirit, until the resurrection, yet God who "calleth those things, which be not as though they were, [when in process of accomplishment, as time is nothing to him,] allows us to reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Being dead then, [in this sense,] we are buried with him by baptism; for as Paul says, "Know ye not that all we who were immersed into Jesus Christ, were immersed into his death?" [Amer. B. Un. version.] He says further: "For we have become united with the likeness of his death, we shall be also with that of his resurrection. Rom. 6:2-5.
Is baptism necessary to salvation? we are often asked. Do you believe God will send a christian to hell because he was not immersed; or do you suppose a few drops of water will keep any one out of heaven? We can at least answer it is always safe to do God's will, and it ought to be a pleasure. The popular notions of heaven and hell, baptism and salvation, are not of the Bible, and although the disobedient may sometimes seem to be greatly blessed, it proves nothing to the point, for even the wicked may flourish like a green-bay tree. We are sure of this: that those who know the Master's will, and did it not, will be beaten with many stripes and compelled to obey in the coming age, when alas, it will be too late to gain the high calling; for certainly in God's word we find no way revealed of entering the priesthood and the holies but by the laver. If any will climb up some other way, he must abide the consequences. See also, Ex. 30:20, Num. 16:1, 1 Chron. 13:10.
There was but one laver, not three. It was a laver too, not a hyssop branch. If sprinkling is baptism, how can it symbolize Christ's death and resurrection – or how indeed illustrate our faith and hope in dying with him that we too may rise to live a new and Spiritual life? While the laver is primarily a type of baptism, yet as a symbol and more particularly, because it is in a further sense a symbol of life, it would seem to point to several objects. Like nearly every type, it points to Christ – to Christ as the fountain of cleansing; to Christ as the resurrection and the life. It seems peculiarly to link together the spirit, the water, and the blood, as the agents by which we are washed from our natural filthiness, and through which we attain to life.
Water in its purity, in its beauty, and in its all pervading power, is a fit symbol of Christ our Life, since it is the life of all organic nature. The tiny blade of grass and the giant oak are alike supported by water. In the glistening dew drop, in the refreshing rain and in the mighty torrent we see its power. The colors of the humble violet and of the grand heaven-spanning rainbow, alike reveal its beauty. The gentle murmur of the brook and the ceaseless roar of old ocean unite in proclaiming the praises of our Creator and Life-giver. Through the veins of the vegetable world circulates the (water) sap, causing the apparently dead plant to spring up into new life, and to send forth shoots covered with beautiful flowers and fruits. Through the arteries of the animal kingdom, darts the bright, red blood, carrying life and power to every member. Ascending still higher in the scale of creation, we find the blood-life superceded by the life spiritual with correspondingly higher powers. And so the vegetable kingdom, the animal kingdom, and the spiritual kingdom unite in one, witnessing for Christ, our life.
Here at the laver the new life of the christian begins. Jesus said to Nicodemus: "Truly, truly, I say to thee, if any one be not born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." [Em. Diag., John 3:5.] Here the begetting by the spirit and the word takes place; it is reckoned as a full birth and symbolized by the rising from the watery grave – the grave of the old carnal nature. Of course the carnal nature does not really die here, but it is so reckoned, (the process having begun) because if faithful, we will ultimately kill it by crucifixion of the flesh.
Water is a symbol of truth, both as a cleansing and as a life-giving power. Paul tells us that Christ gave himself for the church, "that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by (or through) the word." In praying for his own, Christ said: "Sanctify them through thy truth – thy word is truth." To his disciples he said: "Now ye are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you." As water cleanses the natural, so truth cleanses the spiritual. As water is the life of the natural, so the truth of God develops the life – spiritual. Thus Jesus could say: "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (John 17:4.)
The laver in its washings, typified not baptism only, but the daily washing of the word. Not an instantaneous sanctification as taught by some, but a continual process or purification following a growth in the knowledge of the truth. No water – no washing, no truth, no sanctification. It is impossible for us to grow in the image of God only as we grow in the knowledge of God. We cannot copy that which we have not seen.
In Gen. 1:2, we find the spirit brooding over the face of the waters, impregnating them with the principle and power of life, till, under the guiding hand of God that which was powerless and dead, is quickened into life. In Rom. 8:1-11, we find man as powerless on account of sin, as were the waters in the beginning, quickened into new life by the same life-giving Spirit. Not resurrected from the dead by the power of the Father as some claim, (The passage has no allusion to the resurrection – See context) but quickened from a life in the flesh to a life in the spirit during this present Gospel age. Thus Jesus said to the woman of Samaria: "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." Again: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. (Jno. 4:14, 7:37-39.) In the millennial age, "the Spirit and the [R118 : page 5] Bride shall say, come and take the water of life freely." Now we see but the brazen laver of the tabernacle – then Solomon's brazen sea; now a well of water in each believer's heart, overflowing many times, then the pure river of the water of life flowing wide and deep from out the city and over the world.
The laver was a type of the Blood of Christ.
The dimensions of the laver are not given, therefore, as a type, it must be considered unlimited. Under the Jewish dispensation, the people supposed that they had all the truth; that God's favor and love extended only to them; that all the promises, honor, and salvation were theirs; that the Lord really could not save but through them. The Gospel church affects to despise their narrow, ignorant prejudices, and claiming all the light and honor and promises and every prerogative for herself; she too, in blind ignorance, limits the blood and the truth and the powers of the Mighty One. In vain the church boasts herself against Atheistical Scientists, who limit nature's God by the laws he himself hath made, while she, claiming to magnify him, measures his thoughts and his Almighty arm by the puny grasp of her arm. Let us not forget that when Elijah our type began to tell the Lord how faithful he had been, and that he alone was worthy, God's answer was: "I have left seven thousand in Israel who have not bowed under Baal."
Now we see God's grace or favor, perhaps we even catch a glimpse of the riches of his grace, but Paul tells us that it is only in the ages to come that he will show "the exceeding riches of his grace towards us in Christ Jesus," and "that in the dispensation of the fullness of times (the millennial age to which all prophetic times point) he will gather for himself into one, all things in the Christ." Let us beware of limiting God's power and truth and love. Rather let us remember the oft-repeated declaration of the Psalmist: "His mercy endureth FOREVER."
By putting on Christ you will put off the love of this world; you will live above the world while you live in it. If Christ be in the heart, the world will be in its proper place. If you are clothed with the sun, the moon (all sublunary things) will be under your feet.
The word of the Lord is indeed well compared to a rich treasure house, or a precious box of jewels. Out of this treasure it is the Christian's privilege to bring forth one precious thing after another, for admiration and encouragement; and it is the teacher's duty and privilege, as represented by the Scribe, to bring forth these precious things for the edification of the flock of God, over which he is Overseer.
When we receive Christ as our own – not a set of ideas merely about Christ, but Himself as a living, personal and loving Saviour – we receive the whole truth. "I am the Truth." The whole box of jewels is ours, though at first we may know but little of what it contains. It is the life work of the Christian to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 2 Pet. 3:18.
That a perfect knowledge constitutes one a member of the body of Christ is a sad and dangerous error. A babe in Christ is a member of the body, as really as the well developed Christian. The capacity differs but not the relationship. The youngest and weakest child is a son as really as the oldest and strongest. It is in Christ we are to grow up in knowledge and Christian stature, and not out of Him in order to become members. It is in the Vine, and not separate from it, that the young and tender branch becomes a strong branch bearing fruit in abundance. "Without me [i.e. separate from me] ye can do nothing." John 15:5.
The lambs and the sheep make one flock, and there is but one Shepherd, who superintends and cares for all. "He shall feed His flock like a Shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom." Isa. 40:11. There are under shepherds to whom a share or agency in this work is appointed. In addressing Peter, Jesus said, "Feed my lambs," and also, "Feed my sheep." John 21:15,16. Was not this saying: Neglect no part – Feed the flock? Peter so understood it, for he lays special stress upon it when he exhorts the elders as under-shepherds: "Feed the flock of God, which is among you. ...And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." 1 Pet. 5:2-4.
Paul, in his address to the elders of the church at Ephesus, makes the same thought prominent: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseer, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with His own blood." Acts 20:28.
One remarkable feature of the word of the Lord is that, it is adapted to the varied necessities of all grades of Christians. There is milk for babes and strong meat [food] for them that are of full age. Heb. 5:12-14. In this variety and adaptation is seen the fullness of the Shepherd's care and love.
Babes are not to remain babes always, as the above passage shows, but are to grow – which is a gradual change, and thus leave the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, and go on to perfection. Heb. 6:1. The babe cannot be expected to grow up to manhood instantly, and Peter exhorts such to "desire the sincere milk of the Word, that (they) may grow thereby. 1 Peter 2:2.
From what we have seen above the teacher is to look after the young and the old. Is it not then dangerous to neglect, and presumptuous to willingly ignore this Divine command? Is "it rightly dividing" the word in every true sense to attend exclusively to the wants of those who can take strong food, and let the lambs of the flock die of starvation?
It is true that the plan of the ages is the key to the right application of the scriptures, and to give a clear view of the progression of the word as one grand whole. But while the Lord speaks of and deals with all His people as one person, and the truth is thus a lamp that lights their way, and "shineth more and more unto the perfect day," is not the principle of progression "first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear" as true of each individual Christian, as of the whole spoken of as one person? This is evidently so, and therefore while the general plan is treated of, the plan of God as to each person should not be neglected. This we ought to do, and not to leave the other undone.
The principle of growth in knowledge seems to be the key to the idea of "things new and old." In an important sense, all truth is old, but what is old, in reality, is new to us, when it comes to our view. What is old to one is new to another, hence those who are far advanced should be interested in and have patience with those who are not so far advanced, but who are following on to know the Lord. What was once obscure to us has now become apparent, and what is now obscure may yet become clear to our minds. Let none be discouraged because others seem to see what he cannot see, and let none condemn the other because he cannot see as his brother. [R119 : page 6] Indeed it is a small matter for any of us to be judged of another man's judgment; to his own Master each one stands or falls.
All truth is in harmony, whether old or new. What was true at any time in the past must be true yet. If the presence of Christ – which was and is the gist of the harvest message – was advanced truth between 1875 and 1878, it must be true yet; and if it is not true now, instead of being advanced light then it was terrible darkness. If the equality of the two dispensations, the other beautiful time arguments, and all the parallels were developed by the virgins, while they were all in the darkness of sleep, as is claimed by those who say they "all slumbered and slept" until the Spring of 1878, then those glorious truths were and are nothing but a glorious dream, and are therefore a very insecure and unworthy foundation to build upon after waking up. Why build upon the parallels, as the ground of expecting Christ at any time in the future, when if Christ's coming is wholly in the future, and we are not "in the days of the Son of Man," there are no parallels between the ending of the Jewish and Gospel ages? An essential feature of the parallelism, as is well known by all who understand the time arguments, lies in the fact that Christ's coming was due to begin in 1844. That as He left heaven at His coming in the flesh, so he left the Most Holy – "heaven itself" in 1844.
We have sometimes been accused by unbelievers for teaching that the true way to advance was to displace the truth we learned yesterday by new truth learned to-day; but we utterly repudiate the absurd charge. To grow in knowledge is to retain the truth we have and add to our stock.
We believe we are and should be as willing as ever to learn new truth, and unlearn error, whether old or new, but we are not willing to accept as advanced light what is not in harmony with the prophetic foundation on which we are building, until that foundation is proved false. We hope also for the sake of the flock of God that no one will claim to build on the same foundation and give what is called "advanced light," while virtually ignoring that foundation. All are not able – (Some are able) – to detect the sophistry, and therefore become confused. May the Lord enable those who do see, to help those who do not see, by a clear and earnest defense of the truth.
In the earnest defense of what we believe to be truth, and for the sake of those who have not as much time to devote to study, and who are therefore not as familiar with our prophetic position, when we state an error, by whomsoever taught, for the purpose of making the truth plainer by contrast, it may sometimes appear like a personal attack, and our earnestness may be taken for personal animosity. This is especially the case where but one person teaches the error to which we refer. [R119 : page 7]
But we would say that we are not opposing men, but what we believe to be false ideas; and have nothing but the kindest feelings and the best of wishes for those whom we regard as in error. We do not intend to make any personal attack upon the motive or character of any one, from the Pope of Rome, who represents a great Hierarchy, to the person who represents himself. We honor, and sometimes greatly love, a fair antagonist, and never intend to disfellowship any brother in Christ because of a mere difference of opinion.
Neither is it our purpose through this paper to defend ourselves against insinuations or garbled and false statements. We keenly feel such things, and they are hard to bear, but we will look to the Lord for help and patience. We do not even insinuate that false statements are always intentionally false. We will leave that, too, with Him who knows the hearts of all. If the Lord can afford to let His cause suffer in any way by the misrepresentation of any of His children, surely it should fortify us to bear patiently. We do not pretend to be indifferent to our reputation with good men, but, we care more to be "Popular with One Man" – the Lord Jesus, than for any earthly honor.
We think we have good precedents in the New Testament for our earnest defense of truth, even by the opposition and contrast of error. We are instructed to contend earnestly for the faith, against the inroads and attacks of men, (Jude 3,4), and Paul condemns those who taught that the resurrection was past already and overthrew the faith of some. 2 Tim. 2:16-18.
No Christian is blamed for specifying the acknowledged errors of Paganism, and no Protestant is blamed for pointing out the errors of the Papacy, but if we specify the false teachings of one person, we are blamed for being personal. This ought not so to be. It is as necessary to expose an error taught by one as by a thousand. We have never found fault with any one for specifying what in our teaching was supposed to be error, and for endeavoring earnestly to show wherein we were wrong. All we ask for is fairness and candor. What we ask for ourselves we desire to give to others.
P. 42. – "Angels, or spiritual beings have the power to appear in different forms....Hence, fallen angels can appear in the form and character of any person they choose to represent, as easily as Christ could appear as a gardener, stranger, or with pierced hands and side. It is useless to deny their wonderful developments. And that they do now materialize themselves and appear in actual likeness of the person they choose to represent, is placed beyond all reasonable doubt by the testimony of numerous and creditable eye-witnesses. AND THAT THEY WILL YET DO STILL MORE WONDERFUL THINGS as claimed by their votaries we cannot doubt. That they may yet eat and drink, and thus actually consume food of man is not at all improbable."
P. 52. "Many seem to think that a spiritual body is not a literal body. In other words, that it is not a real body. Literal, says Webster, means real, not figurative or metaphorical. 'There is a natural (animal) body, and there is a spiritual body.' (1 Cor. 15:44.) Does any one suppose the apostle here teaches that there is a real body, and there is a figurative, or metaphorical body, and as we have born the image of the real we shall bear the image of the metaphorical? One would suppose they so read, from their exceeding blindness in recognizing any but the natural, or animal body. They seem fearful lest, if the idea be entertained, that Christ comes the second time in any other than an animal body, it will lead to the rejection of a literal resurrection, &c.
We do reject the idea of the saints being raised a natural, or animal body, and if that is rejecting a literal resurrection of the saint, we must plead guilty, and beg to be excused simply on the ground that the Almighty has said: 'It is raised a spiritual body.'
Now will some one inform me why it is unscriptural, or fanatical to maintain that Christ has a spiritual; and, as the saints are to be like him, that they are raised spiritual bodies? Because some seem to think that a spiritual body is not real, but is only a metaphorical body; and that nothing is real except it is 'of the earth, earthy,' is no reason why those who can discern spiritual things, which the natural man cannot, (see 1 Cor. 2:14) should remain in darkness. The two cases on record, in which a spiritual body is described, (Dan. 10:6, and Rev. 1:12) represent a very nice kind of a body, and one which Daniel appeared to think was real. And we have the promise of being made like unto his glorious body; and that as we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. The first man and his race are of the dust of the ground, and therefore, of the earth. Christ also took upon him our nature, to work out a plan by which we can take upon us his nature; and as he has born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 'Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, henceforth know we him no more.' Many seem to think that because Christ appeared under a vail of flesh, after his resurrection, just as the Lord appeared to Abraham, that in some way they are to know him again, after the flesh. The world may see him thus, but we shall see him as he is; and not under a vail.
To the natural man it is foolishness, neither can he understand the things of the Spirit. Hence, to teach that one who is born of the Spirit can come and go like the wind, is foolishness to them. If they cannot rise above the flesh, how can they believe when told of heavenly things? Hence, the only course left for them, is to explain away these texts.
When it is said, 'This same Jesus which ye have now seen go into heaven, shall so come, in like manner as ye have seen him go,' the 'NATURAL MAN' at once fixes his mind on, not the Jesus who would suddenly appear in their midst, and then vanish out of their sight, and who was mysteriously invisible during most of that forty days of his presence in his spiritual body; but [R120 : page 7] on Jesus in the flesh, FORGETTING that we are to 'know him NO MORE AFTER THE FLESH.' The Jesus that went away, was the one born of the Spirit – a being who, according to his own words, is as INVISIBLE TO MORTALS without a miracle as is the wind. He would suddenly appear in their midst, 'the doors being shut' – and then – 'vanish out of their sight.' Nor could they tell 'whence He came, or whither He went; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.'
This is the Jesus who went away, and who comes again 'IN LIKE MANNER.' There are EXPERTS at explaining away scripture, who can dispose of these things and make them mean nothing, I admit, and so they can any and all scripture; nevertheless, the word of God standeth."
Our Blessed Son took occasion to teach his disciples both by precept and example. Hence, when the disciples had been tempted to discuss the question as to who should be seated in the kingdom of Heaven, "He taught them that he who would be first must be last of all, and servant of all, and that the road to honor is humility. Then taking a little child and setting him in the midst of them He said: "Whosoever shall receive this child in my name, receiveth me; and whosoever receiveth me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great." Ah, my brother, this disposition for precedence is human and not divine. It manifested itself in forbidding those who walked not with them, but the Son rebuked them. Jesus had taught them not to follow the example of the Scribes and Pharisees, for says he, "One is your Master, even the Christ; and all ye are brethren."
These clear and positive utterances of our blessed Son are confirmed and enforced by the apostle Paul, when he argues, that the body is not one member but many, and that each has his own legitimate office to perform, and that upon the uncomely parts we bestow the more abundant comeliness. And this is the logical conclusion he deduced from that great argument he employs in the fourth chapter of Ephesians, where he says, "the Lord gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelests; and some, pastors and teachers." He then proceeds to tell the reason why he gave these officials to the body, the church, namely, "for perfecting the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the building up the body of the Christ."
This service then belongs to the Saints, not to particular individuals of them; those special gifts ceased since they fulfilled their functions, and all we remain equally brethren, with no right to lord it over each other, and any effort to so do, only leads to carnality, namely, divisions, envyings, strifes. We are yet equally in the school of our risen Lord, to be disciplined and perfected by the instrumentalities He has provided; and when thus perfected and meet for the Master's garner, we have performed our mission here, because our building up agency, results from the reflex action of life and character on one another. And not till our Lord appears in His glory will we be called upon to act officially, and then not over our brethren, but the world. Let us then learn to walk as brethren towards each other.
At what point will the Spirit's work for Christians be complete? We answer, not until we are born of the Spirit. Our Head – the Lord Jesus Christ – was born of the Spirit more than 1800 years ago, and we as members of His body must and will follow Him into the same life, and by the same power of the Holy Spirit. The birth of the Head secures the birth of the body in due time.
If as some claim Christ the Head is to return to His church under the vail of the flesh to complete the education of His church, and that then because He returns, the Spirit is to be withdrawn, would it not prove the Spirit incompetent to do the work to which He was appointed by the Lord Himself, viz: to lead us into all truth and bring us to the birth.
The Spirit is Christ representative in us, and Paul uses the terms "Spirit of God," "Spirit of Christ" and "Christ in you" interchangeably. Rom. 8:9-10. Now if an external, visible Christ is superior teacher to Christ in us, it would not have been expedient for us for Christ to go away and send the Comforter.
It is Christ in us, or the indwelling of the spirit, that makes us Christians or sons of God. Rom. 8:8-17. This is the real and only difference between us and the world. He strives with the man of the world to lead him to God; but he dwells in the Christian. We can conceive the idea of the Spirit's (for some special reason) ceasing to strive with man, as when the Lord spoke to Noah: "My spirit shall not always strive with man;" but we cannot conceive the idea of the spirit being withdrawn from the Christian, without his ceasing to be a Christian. Take the spirit from the church, and they would be nothing but a company of mere natural men – men in the flesh. "So, then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Rom. 8:8,9. The only way that the work of the spirit can cease is by being perfected. In this sense, Paul speaks of several things ceasing – prophecies, tongues and knowledge (1 Cor. 13:8); but he explains it: "For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." Verses 9,10. So also, he says, a child ceases to be a child by becoming a man. Ver. 11. "Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face." We can only cease to be begotten children of God by being born. God's plan moves on to perfection.
That it is possible that we might be born of the Spirit, and for a time remain in appearance as natural men, as did Christ, after He was raised from the dead, we do not deny. Such may be the case. But the Spirit cannot resign his work until it is complete.
Dear readers: – Many will be glad to learn that my trip, now about ended, has been a very pleasant one. The unpleasant features about it being the briefness of the visit at each place and the farewells as we parted. Many of the dear friends whom we had never met before, seemed, after the two or three days' visit, to be life-long acquaintances. We recognized in each other the spirit of adoption into the one family, and our membership of the one body of Christ; and we felt ourselves drawn to each other and cemented by "that which every joint supplieth" – love.
The meetings averaged from four to six hours per day at each place, and we trust, have been profitable to the hearers; tending to strengthen, encourage, and establish them in the present truth. With the exception of the bodily fatigue attendant upon so much traveling and speaking, the month has been a round of pleasure to your Editor, who returns home feeling much encouraged and refreshed, by the contact with so many loving, sympathizing hearts, alive with the Spirit of Christ.
We have seemed to realize more than ever, Jesus' words: "Ye shall have in this life a hundred fold – houses, lands, mothers, brothers and sisters." We have a hundred homes open to us if ever we go the same direction again. That the invitations to come again were sincere, was attested by the firm grasp of the hand, the moist eye, and "God bless you," at parting.
On the whole, the effects of the visit were so satisfactory that I rather feel impressed that it may be Our Father's will that I go among the dear flock more. We shall wait for His leading, and go as the way seems to open, probably however in other directions.
How dear brother Paul would have enjoyed such a trip as the one just ending. It would have required more than a year to accomplish the same results in his day. But evil also has new channels and [R121 : page 8] rapidly increases, and if we would be faithful we must take advantage of every circumstance.
Another thought has been suggested to my mind by my becoming personally acquainted with the saints, viz: If it did me good to know them and of their affairs, would it not do all of the readers good, to know of the welfare of each other? I think it would, and propose to furnish a corner of the "WATCH TOWER'S" space each month for your correspondence. Let us all know every little while, say every three months, how the Lord prospers you; whether you keep up your meetings with those of like precious faith, etc. Make it brief and pithy; a few lines on a postal card will do. Thus our interest in each other will be enlarged and all will be blessed. Who will start it? Your brother in Christ,
The writer once heard a preacher talking in defense of the idea that a "Clean Theology" is the "Wedding Garment," make a statement in substance like the following: "I wish my hearers would all stop trying to be good, and give your attention to gaining a knowledge of God's plan." We ask, would the tendency of such exhortation be to lead men to a higher and purer life? We think not. How different from the exhortations of the apostles. "Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." Rom. 13:13-14.
For a list of the works of the flesh see Gal. 5:19-21. The apostle adds: "They which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God." "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Gal. 6:9-10. "Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children and walk in love." Eph. 5:1-2. After speaking of the manner of the world, he says: "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness; but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." Verses 6-10.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil. 4:8. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, &c." Col. 3:5. "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering, &c. Verses 12-14. After speaking of "many foolish and hurtful lusts," the Apostle adds: "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness." 1 Tim. 6:11. "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering....And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works." Heb. 10:23-24.
"For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your mind. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood striving against sin. ...Follow peace with all, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Heb. 12:3-14.
These are but samples of the general exhortations to the church by the Apostles. They do not either ignore or belittle knowledge or faith, but they do exalt the importance of holiness of heart and life. Had the Apostles held to the theory that a "Clean Theology" is the "Wedding Garment," they would have exhorted as they did, but would have said, "You need not make any effort to be good, but study the plan." We do not say it was the purpose of the preacher referred to, to encourage sin, but we think the tendency would be in that direction. And surely the theory must be defective that leads any man to make statements at such variance from the teachings of the Holy Spirit.
We have discovered that there is a defect in the binding of a few copies of the "Day Dawn." If any imperfect ones have been sent out, and the persons having received them will notify us, stating the defect, we will gladly make good by sending others.
In paper covers, postage prepaid..........$ .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
Some of our readers seem to get Bro. Jones, publisher of the "Day Dawn," confused in their minds with the publisher of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, and as a consequence, have when ordering a book of him, mentioned that he had not sent certain back numbers of the PAPER. Brother Jones is in no way responsible for the paper. If you do not receive it regularly, there is fault somewhere which we will attend to if notified; but all communications for the paper should be addressed carefully as directed in first column.
For the book – which, as mentioned in our last we think should be carefully read by you all and kept for reference and for loaning – all orders should be addressed as elsewhere mentioned in our column.
We would add that as quite a number are now renewing their subscriptions for the "WATCH TOWER," they may, if they choose to save letter writing and the inconvenience of sending fractional currency, send their orders for books (Day Dawn) to us, and we will hand over all such orders with money, etc., to brother Jones.