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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.|
It is a comparatively easy matter to talk or write about the High Priest anointed &c., going into the Holy Place and coming out, etc., in a general way, but we believe, to understand the matter clearly, we must realize first, that while Jesus is our (the church's) High Priest, yet in the more full and complete sense, He is the head and we the members of the body of the great High Priest, and these Levitical pictures primarily referring to the Head, when fully considered refer to the body complete. For instance, the ceremony of anointing commenced with the "Head" and the anointing oil (the Holy Spirit) continues running down over all the members of the body during the Gospel Age.
So we see that all of these pictures are separate and distinct, and will all be complete at the end of the Gospel Age. And then shall the Great High Priest of the world (Jesus and His bride, made ONE, Head and members complete) stand forth crowned a King and Priest after the Melchisidec order.
There He will stand before the world (manifest but unseen) the Great Prophet – "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you like unto me, (Moses) and it shall come to pass that the soul that shall not hear that Prophet, shall be cut off from among the people." (The second death). [R79 : page 1]
He came typically to the Jews in the end of their age as Prophet, (teacher) as Priest ("when he offered up Himself," Heb. 7:27.) and as King. (When he rode into their city at the close of his ministry.) But they did not receive him in any of these forms. During the Gospel Age, his church or body has acknowledged him as "a teacher sent from God" – the Great Prophet; as their "High Priest," and as their "King" or ruler. The word teaches however that it is not by the church only that he is to be accepted, but He (together with us as His body) shall be the Prophet for the people, the Priest for all the people and the King over all people, nations and languages; "Lord of all," Priest of all, Prophet or teacher of all.
This chapter (Lev. 16.) treats of the sacrifice of atonement, which as we shall see requires all of the Gospel Age. In the work of sacrifice, Jesus, the head, was not arrayed in glory and we as his body are not in glory when we suffer with him. No, that will come after the sufferings of all are over; there we shall put on "the garments for glory and for beauty." "If we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified together." It is for this reason that on the day of atonement, instead of his "garments for glory and beauty," Aaron puts on simply "linen garments" representing holiness and purity. Ver. 4. These were put upon the body when washed and represented the fact that we, his members, not having righteousness of our own, were reckoned as pure, washed and clothed with "fine linen which is the righteousness of the saints." We need the covering, but our Head did not – He was holy, harmless, undefiled;" so the head of the typical High Priest, wore only a linen mitre or crown, representing a crown of righteousness – to which was added when this work of atonement sacrifice was complete and the glorious garments put on, a plate of gold representing glory.
The first sacrifice, the Bullock, represented Jesus personally. Ver. 3 and 6. It stood "for" or instead of Aaron the High Priest. He could not lay down his life and then arise from the dead, and take of his own blood into the tabernacle, therefore God permitted him to represent himself by a Bullock, so then the Bullock's death represents the sacrifice of Christ's natural life; while the High Priest's taking the blood into the holy place typified the risen Jesus, a spiritual body entering heaven itself.
But, before this sacrifice another work was necessary. Vs. 12 and 13 inform us that before he could approach to make atonement with the blood, he must take fire from off the altar before the Lord and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small and bring it within the vail, and put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat. The incense was of a peculiar kind. (Read Exod. 30:34-38.) None could be made like it. It, we think represented the perfection of "the man Christ Jesus." "Fairer art thou than all the fair among the sons of men." This perfect character when placed (by himself) on the fire (trial and temptation) yielded a rich perfume, covering the "Mercy Seat." Our High Priest must first be recognized as a tried and perfect one, before he could be received as a sacrifice for us. In this way he was proved to be perfect and because perfect he could go forth and offer his life a sacrifice for sin. This incense (representing his tried but spotless life) having been offered, the High Priest takes, as we have seen, the Bullock which is for (instead of) himself, and offers it for himself and for his house to make an atonement. Vs. 5,11 and 14.) It was offered for himself, i.e. for his body, the Bride. The Head was holy and had ever been at one with God, but the members of his body were yet enemies to God through sin. These must be made at-one. And not for the "little flock" – (the bride the overcomers) only is the bullock offered but also for his house. Aaron's house was the tribe of Levi (Num. 17:2-3) consequently the blood of the bullock, representing Aaron was used to make atonement for the Priest and for the house of Aaron – the Levites. Num. 8:12. So Jesus gave his life for the "Royal Priesthood" and also for the larger company of "them that fear God's name, small and great" – the general church, of believers. Be it remembered that we understand that the church or house of Christ is composed of a much larger company than the overcomers who are to sit on the throne.
The bullock having been slain, its body was taken outside the camp and burned with fire; representing that when Jesus died for our sins, his flesh life was counted as though sinful and consumed. "His flesh saw not corruption" yet his flesh life was destroyed. "He took upon him the form of a servant for the suffering of death. There that form of life ended, and though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him (so) no more." He was quickened, or made alive by the Spirit and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit; and since he was the first (so) born from the dead, he was a spiritual body. He was sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. As in the type, Aaron who took the blood of the bullock into the tabernacle, was a higher form of life than the bullock slain, so Jesus the spiritual body who enters the true Holy of Holies with his own blood is possessed of a higher life than the man Christ Jesus who died.
As in the type, the life and body of the sin offering are kept separate from the higher life and body of the High Priest, so we find that Jesus our sacrifice both in life and body is kept separate and distinct from the life and body of our Great High Priest who entered the heavens. He gave this natural life and the natural or fleshly body for our sins according to the type, "A body hast thou prepared me." But the slaying of [R79 : page 2] the sacrifice did not make the at-one-ment; the Priest must present before God, the blood as the evidence of its accomplishment, before the Priests and Levites could be at-one with God. So with our sacrifice; the death of Jesus brought no change to the condition of the Apostles until he had gone into the Most Holy and presented before God the evidence that he had "paid it all" – that he had "poured out his soul (natural life) unto death" – had "made his soul an offering for sin." It was accepted. God sent forth his Spirit on the day of Pentecost as the evidence of its acceptance. Thus he made atonement for us and by him, says Paul, we have received the atonement. Now we who were aliens and enemies to God and who never could have worked our way back to a condition of harmony with him, are justified in God's sight from all things through the blood of Jesus, and because at-one, God hath sent forth his Spirit into our hearts whereby we can call him Our Father. This feature of the work of atonement viz., the sacrifice for his body and his house was completed 1800 years ago, and the mark of its acceptance and completeness is "the Holy Spirit given unto us."
But another sacrifice is pointed to in the type, another sin-offering, not again for his body and house. No, that was finished, but this time "for the people" (Israel) type of the world. Two goats are used in making the atonement for the world, as the bullock had been for the house. The Lord's goat is made a sin offering, and Aaron did with it exactly what he did with the bullock. Vs. 8,15,18,27. The sin-offering of the bullock and goat were really one, and yet there are these two parts. What do these goats typify, has been asked by many bible students, and we have asked the same and never until now have been able to find an answer to our satisfaction. We believe the two goats to be types of the two classes of true believers in Christ constituting his church.
As these goats were taken from the people, as it were, to be representatives of them, so the church has been taken "from among men." "God did visit the Gentiles to take out a people for his name." The work of taking out goes on during the gospel dispensation, and each one as soon as taken presents himself before the Lord, as the goats stood at the door of the tabernacle waiting. The lot is cast (Vs. 8.) indicating to us that God does not arbitrarily elect which shall be part of the little or the great company; all who believe are part of his house and are alike justified by his blood, but whether he shall be least or greatest depends largely upon his own use of the opportunities placed thus within his reach. Thus considered the church in its two companies – "The Lord's goat (Christ's body – the under priest) and the scapegoat (his house – believers in general, typified by Levites) have existed since the church began at Pentecost and have continued ever since. One party follows the example of the head and crucifies the flesh with its affections and lusts, reckoning themselves dead indeed unto sin. As Jesus renounced the world, flesh and devil, so do those actuated by the same spirit, remembering the promise of Jesus – "To him that overcometh, I will give to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame, etc."
The sufferings of Jesus were not the price of our ransom, but his death – his shed blood or life given. In the type it was not the sufferings of the bullock or goat, but the DEATH, by which an atonement was effected, though they suffered, of course, because death involves suffering. "The Man, Christ Jesus," "tasted death for every man," by being crucified – a gradual or lingering death – but the giving of his life in any manner would have paid the price. Now, all who would be "members of his body" must die to the world, give up the flesh life, so that they can, with Paul, "reckon themselves dead indeed unto sin." (Rom. 6:11). And "If Christ be in you, the body is dead," "but the spirit is life." (Vs. 10). If you are fully and entirely consecrated, your own natural will and desire all resigned to the will of "The Head," "Ye are dead, [R80 : page 2] and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3), and you may add, "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. The life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." (Gal. 2:20). It is then "Christ in you" that is the only actuating or controlling principle. This bringing of the natural into subjection to the spiritual is a gradual death and requires time, and is therefore called "CRUCIFYING the flesh." Jesus could do this entirely, because perfect, but we are imperfect, therefore our Head supplies the overcoming power through the spirit, making our supply of strength to depend on our faith in Him. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith." In some ages it has been necessary for those who would follow the Master to walk to the stake, and thus "crucify the flesh." While those who live to-day are not caused to suffer thus, they are nevertheless called upon just as really to crucify the flesh. And we believe to some it is to-day a greater trial to follow the Master and walk separate from the worldliness in the nominal church, "having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reproving them," than to have gone to the stake to burn in an age when that was counted a matter of honorable distinction in the church.
Ah, yes, to be dead indeed, and crucified with Christ is also to be "made a partaker of His sufferings." It is a reality which we fear is realized by but few of those who claim to be "followers of the Lamb." If we follow Him we will as surely be led to death as He was. If it caused Him to suffer, it will cause us to suffer also. You may expect it, for He said: "Whosoever will live godly shall suffer persecution." As His persecution came principally from a nominal church, so we may expect the same. If they called the Master of the house, Beelzebub, the servant should expect the same. "The servant shall not be above his Lord." If you get along smoothly, you have reason to fear that your life shows so little difference from that of the world that they don't think worth while to persecute you. But if you follow the Master, they will say of you also: "Thou hast a devil, and art mad," "Thou art beside thyself." This dying, or crucifying, requires frequently a long time, and often when you think you have, by grace given, mastered your old nature by your new, overcome your old will of the flesh by your new will of Christ "dwelling in you richly," you find, as Paul did, that the old may revive in a moment not expected, and require crucifying again. As Paul did, so must we keep our body under, and this killing and keeping under of our flesh nature continues to be a battle until physical death ends it. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
But it may be asked: How is our death to the flesh any more of a sacrifice than the death of the world? We answer that we were justified to perfect natural life by the death of Jesus, and God promises that if we believe this and then voluntarily give up that portion of natural life, which we now possess, He will give us a higher life – the spiritual – and a higher body – the spiritual. And thus reckoned as the body or bride of Jesus, we become "partakers (part-takers) of the Divine nature" and in the highest sense "Sons of God" and "Joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, our Lord," who is and ever shall be "Head over all, God blessed for ever."
Again (vs. 27), the flesh of the goat was treated in the same manner as the flesh of the bullock; i.e., it was consumed with fire outside the camp. This is another proof that the goat of sin offering represents the body of Christ, for Paul (Heb. 13) exhorts us that as Jesus suffered without the gate – "Let us go forth therefore unto Him without (outside) the camp, bearing His reproach." Nor should it seem strange to us that we should be called on to be sacrifices with Him – to die with Him, if we expect to be glorified together. If we are to know the power of His resurrection (have spiritual bodies like Him) we must expect the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death, if by any means we would attain unto THE (principal or first) resurrection:" (Phil. 3:8-11), for "If we be dead with Christ we shall also live with Him." (Col. 2:20; 2 Tim. 2:11; Rom. 6:8-11). "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." (2 Tim. 2:12). "If so be that we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified together." (Rom. 8:17). "For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His footsteps." "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." (1 Pet. 2:21 and 3:18.) Jesus suffered, even unto death, and we are to do the same – have "fellowship with His sufferings" – be "made conformable unto His death." "Forasmuch, then, as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind." (To crucify the flesh.) "For he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;" i.e., the sufferings when ended result in death of the flesh. "For unto you it is given on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake." (Phil. 1:29). And thus, as the sacrifice of the goat filled up the sacrifice of atonement and sin offering in the type, so our Head, having suffered, left some little (compared to His) suffering to be shared by us as his body, and we "fill up that which is behind of the affections of Christ." (Col. 1:24.)
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which shall try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are part-takers of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory shall be revealed ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." (1 Pet. 4:12).
Since recognizing this as the meaning of the goat sacrifice, we see a force and meaning in some of the New Testament utterances relating to our death, &c., which we never saw before, and it has given us a still more exalted idea of "our high calling in Christ Jesus" – called to be consecrated, called to be anointed, called to suffer, be sacrificed and die with Him, and called to be joint heirs with Him, to be glorified together, to sit with Him on His throne, and to inherit with him all things; called to be tried and tempted that soon we may be able to sympathize with mankind, and, with our Head, "Bless all the families of the earth." "Faithful is he that called you." "Be THOU faithful unto DEATH."
When the blood of the sin offering (bullock and goat) had been received and sprinkled in the holy place, the work of sacrifice was over and the High Priest changed his garments, so when the sufferings of the church are all ended and the death accepted by the Father, our High Priest will change the garments of His body. We as His body have been clothed in "linen" garments which represent the righteousness of saints, viz.: imputed righteousness. When the work of crucifying the flesh is finished, this condition of imputed, gives place to actual righteousness, as shown by the washing of the flesh. Notice that there are two washings, the first before the sacrifice of the bullock, representing the personal righteousness of Jesus, which was followed by the imputation of righteousness to His body, illustrated by linen garments; and the second washing, after the sacrifice of the goat, illustrating the perfection or actual righteousness of the church; and this is followed by the clothing with the proper garments of the High Priest – "garments for glory and for beauty." So when we are made perfect through suffering we shall put on the garments which properly belong to the high office to which we are called. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
But before our change of garments from those of sacrifice to those of glory, another work must be done. The "scape goat" must be sent away, bearing the iniquity of the people. As already suggested, we believe that this goat represents the "great company," who, while believers, and therefore members of the house, are yet not overcomers as are the members of His body. Our Lord teaches us that when the time arrives for "one to be taken and the other left," among those left will be some whom he calls his servants – unfaithful, but still his servants – foolish, but still virgins. Not accounted worthy to escape those things coming upon the world, they must remain here and go through the trouble with the world, have their portion or place with the hypocrites in this trouble, yet they are not hypocrites, and they will, during this trouble, "wash their robes and make them white in the blood of [R80 : page 7] the Lamb." This class love the Lord, yet seem to cling to the world. They do not crucify the flesh and become dead to the world. Therefore they fail of attaining that honor attached to overcoming. They are "taken away" from being "branches of the vine," because, with full opportunity, they failed to develop fruit. They are "cut asunder" from membership of the body, chastised as the evil servants, or shut out from the wedding as foolish virgins. And when the bride company is made up, no more can come in, to that position. To any who afterwards claim to be the bride, He will say, "Depart from me, I never knew you," i.e., I do not recognize you as my bride. But though shut out from this, they are still recognized by the Lord as precious and beloved, and will be remembered as them that fear His name, small and great, and honored by an invitation to the "marriage supper of the Lamb," Thus, though they would not crucify themselves, and therefore could not be part of the sin-offering. (To be an offering it must be voluntary). God, unwilling that believers should be condemned with the world, puts them into a time of trouble, where they are forcibly put to death. It was so in Paul's day, also. He says: "Deliver such an one unto Satan (adversary) for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit [life] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (1 Cor. 5:5). But we have gone farther than the type. It merely shows the sending away of the goat. We learn the result through Paul.
It should not be forgotten, we repeat, that this type pictures, the sacrifice and sufferings of Christ (Head and body), and not the glory which will follow, which is referred to only incidentally as "putting on His own garments," the ones for glory and beauty. And now, as we expect so soon to change our garments and be "in glory and beauty arrayed," how important that we should each ask ourselves – Am I crucifying the flesh? Am I dead indeed?
The unity of the church of Christ is clearly revealed in the New Testament. Though there is great variety in ability, naturally or acquired, yet the least as well as the greatest is a member of the Body, and all alike are vitally connected with Christ the Head. Those who are of full age, and strong, either to understand or to work, have the greater responsibility, but the young, unlearned and tender, as lambs of the flock, are carried in the Shepherd's bosom, and are the objects of his tender care. The figures used in the bible all illustrate this unity, and, we may add, indivisibility. "One fold and one Shepherd;" John 10:16. The vine and the branches; John 10:16. The vine and the branches; John 15. The temple and living stones, built on one foundation; Eph. 2:20-22, and One City, as "the bride, the Lamb's wife;" Rev. 21:9,10.
There are many scriptures which assert the unity of the Body aside from our text. The diversity does not weaken the fact of the unity any more than diversity in the families of men weakens their relationship. There is much comfort in the assurance this fact gives to all who have put on Christ. They are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:26-29. It is a great encouragement to all, for the least who retains this vital union with Christ is as certain of eternal life as the greatest. To see and appreciate this unity and indivisibility would destroy sectarianism and endear Christians one to another. Sectarianism began to show itself in Paul's day, and was condemned. "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," &c., was met by the question, "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" 1 Cor. 1:10-13. This is as much as to say: As Christ is not divided, ye should recognize no divisions, and call yourselves by no name but Christ. If it was contrary to the spirit of Christianity then, to say I am of Paul, or I am of Apollos, or I am of Peter, what can be said to justify men now in calling themselves "Calvinists," "Armenians," "Lutherans," "Wesleyans," or by any man-made name. If Paul were writing to the churches of the nineteenth century (was he not?) would he not call such things carnal, as when he wrote to Corinth? 1 Cor. 3:1-5. Would not every great and good man, after whom, or whose opinions, a party has been named, could he speak to-day, join with Paul and condemn it? Are mere opinions a sufficient ground for such gulfs or walls between Christians? These are but temptations, above which let the voice of the apostle be heard, "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." Eph. 4:3. Faith and opinion or knowledge are too often confounded. Every Christian has faith in Christ as a living person, and as a personal Saviour, for "without faith it is impossible to please God," but a man's knowledge and opinions vary according to circumstances and the degree of advancement. What would we think of the humanity of a brother who would disown his brother in the flesh because he is less advanced in knowledge, or cast him out because he is young? Or what of the Christianity of a brother in the spirit who acts on the same principle? Does not this tendency grow out of a misapprehension of the true basis of fellowship? We think so. Is there a real tie between members of one family in the flesh? Yes, we say, they have the same blood in their veins. Is the tie any less real because it is spiritual that binds the members of the family in Christ? They have one spirit. "There is one body and one spirit," &c. The possession of the spirit of Christ is an evidence of vital union with Christ; Rom. 8:9-15; and the "fruits of the spirit" alone, should be accepted as the elements of Christian character and basis of recognition. Gal. 5:22-24. The relationship of Father, Son and Brother, which is revealed in the New Testament, is based upon the One Spirit. All who possess it are fellows, whether they know it or not. "If the foot shall say because I am not the hand I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body." Or if one shall say to the other, "I have no need of thee," does that destroy the relationship? 1 Cor. 12. "By one spirit are we all baptized into one body...and have all been made to drink into one spirit." Rev. 13. Whoever has that spirit gives evidence of membership in the body, and therefore of acceptance with God; and whoever God accepts shall I reject? God forbid. Oh that we might rather more fully realize this unity, and sing in the spirit,
It will be observed that the unity of the body and the spirit is fundamental; and that as there is but one Head, all who have fallen asleep in Christ, are as much a part of the one body as are those who live at any time. The living generation of Christians represents the whole church, but they are not the whole any more than a part of my body is all of it, and the church, the Bride of Christ, will not, can not, be complete until all who compose it, either sleeping or waking, are developed. But if a part – the living mortals – can, as they do, represent the whole on earth, why may not a part – the first company made immortal – represent the whole in a heavenly state. This we say, with the possibility in mind that there is order in the reward of the church; "Prophets, saints and them that fear his name, small and great." Rev. 11:18.
We are satisfied that whatever theory does not recognize the essential unity of the church must be false; and yet we believe it can be shown, and that it will yet become more apparent, that there is not only variety in condition here, but also a corresponding variety in position in the kingdom, and a difference in the time of reward, as we usually reckon time. "They that are Christ's, at his coming" (parousia – presence) must include all Christians, even "babes in Christ," unless it can be shown (?) that "babes in Christ" are not members of Christ's body; and yet it is evident that it is a period and not a moment, which is comprehended in the statement "at his coming." We understand it to mean "during his presence." Paul also says, "at (or during) the last trump," and it has often been shown that the last or seventh trumpet sounds for many years. Without here giving the proof, which has often been given to many of our readers, we would say, we believe the seventh trumpet will continue to sound until the year 1914, which includes, between now and then, the day of wrath and of angry nations, which is the period, not only of the restoration of the earthly Jerusalem, but of reward to the church, or the upbuilding and glorification of the heavenly Jerusalem.
When the New Jerusalem descends at the end of that period, or is manifested as the light of the nations for the succeeding age, as Christ, the Head, has been the light during the Gospel age, it will be observed that it is a city complete – not all throne – but a company had just been exalted to the throne, or ruling position and capacity (Rev. 5:8-10) before the opening of even a single seal; but during the great tribulation which follows, a great and bloodwashed company find a place before the throne, (or on the "sea of glass;" comp. Rev. 4:6 and 15:2), and they serve God in his temple. Rev. 7:9-15. The temple is the church, and to be in it is to be a member of it. Here we find variety and unity. All constitute the "tabernacle of God," and the city as a whole is called the Bride – and yet we see some members higher than others. There are superiors – rulers – in the city, but the city as a whole is a ruling or influential power over the nations, and the "nations shall walk in the light of it." We have in an article written [R82 : page 3] before, on "The Building up of Zion," shown the double character of Zion – Jewish and Christian – and that the same period, from now to 1914, is devoted in God's plan, to the restoration of the Old and the glorification of the New. With this view of the case, we can see room for the fulfillment of all scriptures that speak either of the unity or variety in the church of Christ. Some, like Elijah or Aaron, escape; others are left to develop or ripen by the judgments. The throne is first established, as in Rev. 4, and it becomes the nucleus around which the church will gather, until all that fear God's name are made up as jewels for his kingdom.
Aaron was not the nation of Israel but he represented them, and while they were allowed to pass through ten plagues being protected from the seven last he, having previously gone up to meet Moses in the mount was the administrator of those plagues.
We believe Aaron is a type of the overcomers, or saints, but not of the whole church, which includes them "that fear God's name small and great" as well as the "prophets, and saints." Rev. 11:18. "And the Lord said to Aaron, "Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him." Exod. 4:27. The mount being a type of the kingdom of God, it would appear that Aaron meeting Moses represents a company meeting Christ in the kingdom. Christ is in the kingdom first, or is inaugurated in the kingly office, before others can share that honor as his cabinet. In Luke 19:15, we read: "That when he was returned HAVING RECEIVED THE KINGDOM," then he called the servants to account, and rewarded them with a share in his royal honors; "Have thou authority over two cities," &c. Ver. 17. Notice that the examination of the stewards is after he has the kingdom, or royal right and yet before they share it. The parallels of the Two Dispensations seem to indicate that Christ was due as King, or in the kingly office, in the spring of 1878.
The immediate beginning of the legal restoration of the Jews, by the Anglo-Turkish treaty is circumstantial and visible evidence that "he whose right it is" had come. Ezek. 21:27. [R82 : page 4] When the crown was removed the nation fell, why then should not the restoration of the nation be taken as evidence of the official presence of the King? It seems clear to some that examination of the servants is now in process, and that soon reward may be expected.
"The Times of the Gentiles" extend to 1914, and the heavenly kingdom will not have full sway till then, but as a "Stone" the kingdom of God is set up "in the days of these (ten gentile) kings," and by consuming them it becomes a universal kingdom – a "great mountain and fills the whole Earth." Dan. 2:35-44. The history of the four universal monarchies symbolized by the image, and also by the four beasts shows that each existed in the days of its predecessor and became universal by conquest. The fifth is no exception to this rule, though it differs from the others in its nature, the character and condition of its rulers, (being all immortal like Jesus the Head) and in the mode of the warfare. First by purchase [long ago] next at the coming as King, by legal transfer, and later by conquest. "The kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his anointed ones." Rev. 11:15. In this conquest the saints in glory are to share, and shall "execute the judgments written, this honor have all the saints." Ps. 14:9. It has been inferred by some that mortals will do all that work, because the Psalm speaks of beds, "Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds." There are several reasons why we cannot believe that mortals will do that work. First: we believe that in this prophecy as in many others the type and antitype are blended, and therefore that all that suggests mortality in the executioners was fulfilled in King David and his army. The "beds" may represent the state of perfect rest; and the "two edged sword," "chains" and "fetters of iron," which are all weapons of carnal warfare, may represent the weapons of a warfare which is not carnal, but yet mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. There are many reasons for regarding the future work of the saints as of the same character as the present work but differing only in degree. When it is suggested that saints either mortal or immortal are to use carnal weapons, as they must if the literal statement of the psalm is to be fulfilled in the future, we are reminded of the reproof of Jesus to his disciples when they proposed calling down fire from Heaven, upon their enemies: "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of; I am not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." We have no ambition for such work or such honor. Being non-combatant here, so far as relates to carnal warfare, so we expect to be hereafter. Again, we can not believe that mortals are to do the antitypical work, because the promise is to all the saints [not to all that fear God's name] and the inspired statement is that "it is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in POWER," &c. "To him that overcometh and keepeth my works to the end will I give POWER over the nations." "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." If saints were raised mortal to be washed by the word, it would prove that they were still on trial and their work unfinished. But Paul, having finished his course, could say, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown. The judgment of the church is in this life; the judgment of the world is hereafter. One of the clear evidences that this is true of the church is that they are raised immortal, and are therefore sure of eternal life. Whoever is raised mortal, and needs washing, may come under the power of the second death. Surely the great antitypical kingdom of God is not to begin its work in the mortal state and afterward be changed to immortality. Mortality is weak; immortals have power.
There are, of course, two phases of kingdom work; one represented by David as a man of war, as in the one hundred and forty-ninth psalm; the other following as Solomon, the man of peace. But immortal saints can superintend the affairs of nations in the future, and work revolutions for their good, as immortal angels have done in the past, without using carnal weapons. In the future, as in the past, wicked men and nations will doubtless do their own fighting.
There are evidences that during the downfall of nations, the house of the Lord is built up, and all that fear the Lord will be made up as jewels for his kingdom. Mal. 3:16,17. After the day of wrath, which seems to synchronize with the great harvest, Matt. 13, or the ingathering of all that fear God's name, Rev. 11:18, then comes the shining forth as the sun, the manifestation or appearing in glory, or the descent of the New Jerusalem as the Bride of Christ and mother of the nations. Light, deliverance and glory to the nations will be the result. "There shall be no more curse." As a means to that great end, the servant "before the throne" (or on "the sea of glass," Rev. 4:6) in that glorious city, will be as necessary as the priest who sits with Christ in his throne. The little, too, is as essential to the completeness of the body as is the Head itself. Both the Jewish and gospel churches are called a "kingdom of priests," or "royal priesthood." The former is a type of the latter. But in the type one tribe only represented its priestly character and did the priestly work. That fact did not destroy the unity of the nation. The like order will and even now does exist in the gospel church, but its unity, instead of being impaired, is rather sustained by the variety. Variety is an essential element of the Divine harmony.
The holy spirit was sent to take out from among the Gentiles a people for his name – to be his wife. Are not all who are baptized by one spirit into one body, included among that people, whatever be their stage of development? When Christ prayed for all that believe, through the apostles' word, did he include the babes in Christ? If he did not, then a middle would exist between the church and the world; but his prayer that "they all may be one," "that the world may believe," shows that no middle class exists. The variety evidently exists within the limits of the one body, and we are convinced that all who possess the one spirit are members, and will be sharers of the one hope. As Christ is the Head of the church, so they, married, become the united head of the world, the father and mother of a redeemed race.
There is and ever has been but one Christ. A change of nature does not change identity. Whether as the pre-existent One, as the Word made flesh, or as the High Priest who can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, He still is Lord, and as such we worship Him. "Ye call me Lord and Master," said He on earth, "and ye do well, for so I am." Forgiveness of sins is one of God's prerogatives. "He said to the sick of the palsy, 'Son, thy sins be forgiven thee,...that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins.'"
The wise men came at His birth to worship Him. (Matt. 2) The leper worshiped Him. They in the ship worshiped Him, as did also the ruler and woman of Canaan. Yet none were ever rebuked for it.
Even in the flesh He was "God manifest." From His character in its perfection we get our earliest and truest idea of God. When Philip [R83 : page 4] requested to see the Father, He answered him, "Have I been so long time with you, Philip, and yet hast thou not known me? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father also, and how sayest thou, then show the Father." (John). Whether we, like Philip, become acquainted with Him through His earthly life, or by catching the spirit of the written word, whose vital teachings contain the image of Him whose name is called the Word of God, if so be that we know Him, it shall be to us eternal life. For to know Him is to know the Father also.
To worship a false Christ would indeed be sin, but to worship Christ in any form cannot be wrong, for when He bringeth the first Begotten into the world, He sayeth, "Let all the angels of God worship Him." And Again, "Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest.... As a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed, but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail." (Heb. 1:6,10,12.)
Mankind are represented as in a condition of death, because they are under sentence of death. Christ, who received from the Father an UNFORFEITED life, never entered that condition of death, never passed under sentence of death, until he voluntarily yielded himself into the hands of wicked men. Hence, whatever Scriptures typify his death (like the sacrifices of the law), or whenever His death is spoken of, the death on the cross, the only death He ever tasted, must be referred to. "In Him was LIFE, and the life was the light of men. John came to bear witness of that light. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not."
He did not die when He became human, yet He took upon Him new relations and new offices, and consequently new titles. Prior to His humanity He is never called the Son of God, nor ever spoken of as Christ, which means the Anointed (He was anointed at His baptism). Let us then remember when Christ is spoken of, it is in His office as the Anointed and not in His pre-existent state.
A correspondent writes, "Watch the Jew if you would be posted." We do watch them with great interest, but from totally different reasons. Many are interested in the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the return of fleshly Israel to Palestine as the promised establishment of the "Kingdom of God," and many now are deeply absorbed by the question, "Are not the English speaking peoples of the world a part of the lost ten tribes of Israel?" They think they see a similarity between England and America, &c., with some of the prophecies concerning Ephraim and Manassah. They seem to think, and present some evidences which appear reasonable, that these things are so, and we have no objection to its being proven so. We believe that fleshly Israel will, in the near future, be recognized as the chief nation of earth, "Jerusalem be a rejoicing and her people a joy," and that ten men shall lay hold, out of all nations, of the skirts of one Jew, [R83 : page 5] saying, we will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you. (Zech. 8:23.)
Nor have we any objection to its being seen that some of the prophecies will have a very literal fulfillment in them, but we do object to the ignoring of our birthright in Christ, and the statement that it is through fleshly Israel only that the promise made to Abraham shall be fulfilled – "In thee and thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." The natural seed can never fulfill any except the natural part of that promise and others like it. The great and glorious part of it belongs to "the seed which is Christ," "and if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29.) When the spiritual children of Abraham are all selected from the world and glorified, then in their "blessing all families" we understand prophecy to teach that fleshly Israel will be the principal instrument through which the blessing will flow. We watch the Jews because in their preparations we see that God is making ready the instrument. Before their restoration is complete we expect to be "changed" and made "like unto Christ's glorious body" – or, in a word, that "The Kingdom of God" will be set up (organized). When established, its outward representative will be "Jerusalem rebuilt upon her old heaps," but the New Jerusalem is "The Bride." This is the city which in truth will "reign over the kings of the earth." But while the natural kingdom of Israel may be seen, "the eternal is unseen." The kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation, neither shall ye say lo, here, or lo, there, for it will be in your midst – and "except a man be born again he cannot see or enter into it.
When established, "The Law shall go forth from Mount Zion (spiritual mountain or kingdom) and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Yes, our redemption precedes theirs, as Jesus said when he had cursed the fig tree (their nation): "When ye see the fig tree put forth his leaves ye say that summer is nigh, so likewise ye, when these things come to pass, lift up your heads and rejoice, knowing that your redemption draweth nigh."
The Jewish Chronicle says: "If subjected to rigid tests it may appear unreasoning that scattered millions of the Jews, inhabiting all climes, speaking all languages, and subject to all forms of government, should yet turn toward the East with the utmost solicitude, and feel for the Holy Land a reverence and affection which centuries of exile are incapable of eradicating. In this, as in some other respects, the Jewish mind is peculiarly constituted. Other races have been expatriated, and have forgotten the land from which they sprung; other races have colonized lands and have founded distinct nationalities, or have only hung on to the parent stem by the slender ligatures of language and custom. It is not so with the Jews. Citizens of all countries, they are Jews, and through each and all there runs a sympathetic chord which vibrates to the touch of the skilled player."
Again, the same paper writes: "They might as well attempt to turn the course of the Atlantic as to stem this irresistible tide. In the total population of 36,000, the Jews in Jerusalem were reckoned two years ago to have increased 13,000, and now they are numbered at 18,000; and the contributions for their support from the Jews of other countries were estimated at L.60,000 ($300,000) a year."
The Scotch Record says: "There always was an indescribable yearning in the Jew toward the land owned by his ancestors. At this time this indescribable yearning has turned to Jerusalem such a stream of emigration that some of the Jews were proposing to arrest it by assisting the pauper emigrants to turn to their own countries."
A leading London Journal has recently thus adverted to this: "The possession of Palestine and a part of Syria by a people who have retained an indestructible nationality, while they have learned a complete cosmopolitanism during some eighteen centuries, a nation at once European and Asiatic – Asiatic in its origin, and European in its education, would not be by any means a bad arrangement. It might not be impolitic on the part of the European powers to assist in placing so influential a people in so important a position, as the inevitable decay of Turkish power renders a change of government necessary. All the difficulties and jealousies incident to any project of joint occupation would be avoided; for the Jew is at once of no nation and of all. No people could better solve what before many years must become the Syrian difficulty."
Jer. 16:14, says: "I will bring them again into their own land that I gave to their fathers."
Dr. Moody Stuart stated, at the late general assembly of the "Free Church," quoting a very remarkable statement which was recently made by one of the Jewish organs in England, namely: "If it is the good will of Providence that there should arise out of the accumulated ashes of desolation which covers Palestine, an era of glory which shall unite the Jews in the cradle of their race and their religion, that consummation could not take place under happier auspices than those of England, (although it was remarked that the time for this was not yet). In addition to the growing desire of the Jews to return to their own land, and signs of desire elsewhere to hasten their return, there was (he thought) another element in the hope of the world's peace being cemented by their occupying the lands of their fathers."
Isa. 55:5, says: "Nations that know not thee shall run unto thee."
The following was translated from a French Newspaper: "Judging by reports, which appear tolerably well confirmed, the Jews are little by little retaking possession of their ancient patrimony. Eighty years ago the Sublime Porte permitted residence in the Holy City to only three hundred Israelites. Forty years ago this number was raised, but the Jews were obliged to reside in a special quarter of the city which bore their name. This last restriction, however, disappeared in its turn ten years ago, and since then the Jews have bought up all the land in Jerusalem that could be bought, and have even built entire streets of houses outside the walls. Synagogues and Jewish hospitals have multiplied. The German Jews have no less than sixteen charity associations, and in the interior of the city one may count already twenty-eight congregations. Two journals have been established. In [R84 : page 5] the Rothschild and other Jewish hospitals, six thousand patients are ministered to annually. A Venetian Jew has given 60,000 francs to found a school of agriculture in Palestine. Baron Rothschild, at the time of the last loan of 200,000,000, made to Turkey, accepted a mortgage on the whole of Palestine. Owing to the Jewish immigration, the population of Palestine has doubled during the last ten years."
Jer. 32:41-44: "I will rejoice over them (Israel) to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul....And fields shall be bought in this land; ...men shall buy fields for money and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take evidences in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south, for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the Lord."
Not only has the Lord commenced bringing them back, but He arranges for their reception and comfort on arrival. Late advices state that the Rothschilds have just sent to Jerusalem $60,000 to be expended in building a large reception house for the newly-arriving Jews, where they will receive temporary accommodations until able to arrange for their permanent homes. This is in addition to large buildings already in use for the same purpose.
And now the latest news through the press is that a prominent man in Constantinople, Mr. OLIPHANT, has proposed to the Turkish government that it place 1,500,000 acres of fertile land lying on the east of the river Jordan in the hands of a colonization company whose business it will be to promote the immigration thither of Hebrews from all countries of the world. And just as the Lord opens the way for their return to Palestine, He, as it were, forces them out of other lands. Orders have been issued within the last ten days by the "Russian Church," at the instance of the Czar, compelling the removal of Hebrews from all except the Polish provinces of that vast Empire. This is the more remarkable when we reflect that nearly one-third of the Jewish population of the world resides there.
As the burnt-offering represents the value of Christ's work in the Father's estimation, giving "Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour," (Eph. 5:2,) so the meat-offering sets forth His perfect human character and conduct; and may be linked with His own testimony, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work." (John 4:34.)
I. It was not a bloody sacrifice, but consisted of fine flour, or flour that had no roughness nor unevenness. Neither was there anything uneven in the human nature of the Lord Jesus. In all other men, however great the church or the world may judge them to be, there are serious defects and infirmities, and their strongest points are sure to be counter-balanced by some humiliating weakness. But He could declare: "The Father hath not left me alone," and He could add, as no one beside can say, "I do always those things that please him;" – "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (John 8:29,46). Hence God twice burst heaven open to exclaim, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," (Matt. 3:17; 17:5); but this was the only time in the history of our race its silence was thus broken.
II. The fine flour was baken in an oven, and thus every particle of it was exposed to the action of the fire. So we hear the perfect Man crying in His hot distress, "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws, and thou hast brought me into the dust of death," (Ps. 22:14,15). The fire was burning very fiercely, when He who had always done those things that pleased His Father uttered the wail of a [R84 : page 6] breaking heart: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46).
III. The fine flour was mingled with oil, and oil is the well known symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. When the angel announced to the virgin the birth of the promised Messiah he said to her "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35). While therefore the Lord Jesus was the seed of the woman, He was not the seed of the man, but as the angel said to Joseph, "That which is conceived [margin, begotten] in her is of the Holy Ghost." (Matt. 1:20). Hence His very nature was perfectly holy, unlike our nature, which "is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Rom. 8:7).
IV. The unleavened wafers of fine flour were anointed with oil. When the Son of Mary came up out of the water of baptism, "He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him," (Matt. 3:16); and "Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness;" and "returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee," to proclaim, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor." (Luke 4:1,14,18). Peter also testifies "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power," (Acts 10:38). And if the blood of sacrifices under the law availed to put away sin for a time, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14).
V. The meat-offering was not only anointed with oil, but frankincense was put thereon. This word is derived from a verb which signifies "to be white or to make white," and it is the verb David used when he cried out, "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow," (Ps. 51:7); and the verb God used when He said, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." [Isa. 1:18]. The word rendered frankincense occurs twenty times in the Old Testament, and it was closely connected with the holy anointing oil, the type of the Holy Ghost, [Ex. 30:34], and placed upon the twelve loaves that were ever in the presence of God, on the tables of shew-bread. [Lev. 24:5-8]. Where sin was in question, it could not be used, [Lev. 5:11; Num. 5:15]; but it tells of the relation between the Bridegroom and the Bride. [Song of Sol. 3:6; 4:6,14].
VI. No meat-offering could be made with leaven or with honey. The word leaven, in its various forms and inflections, is found seventy-one times in the Old Testament, and seventeen times in the New, and it is the appropriate and unvarying symbol of that which is evil. There is not so much as a solitary exception to this rule, and little progress can be made in an intelligent acquaintance with the Bible, until it is acknowledged, and kept constantly in mind. Honey was forbidden, to teach us that whatever is sweet to nature must be disowned, if we would walk after the example of Christ who pleased not Himself. [Rom. 15:3; Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:59-62; John 6:63].
VII. "Every oblation of thy meat-offering shalt thou season with salt – with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." The quality of salt to preserve, and to arrest the spread of corruption, rendered it a fit symbol of an everlasting covenant, and a significant type of true Christians in the midst of sin and vice. "Ye are the salt of the earth," said Jesus to His disciples; "but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." [Matt. 5:13]; "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt." [Col. 4:6].
Theory is an exposition of the general principles of any science, or the science as distinguished from the art. Theology is the substance of truth, and theory is an arrangement of the truth for expression. Theology, rightly understood, is always clean, but because men have not understood it, and, therefore, taught error for truth, it has given reason for the common use of the terms "false" or "true," "clean" or "foul," theology. In fact there has been so much error mixed with truth in the popular teachings, that to many who are aroused to the knowledge of this, "theology" has become the synonym of error, and "theologian" a brand almost akin to infamy.
Some of our readers have received the idea that we belittle the importance of a clean theology; that we have become disgusted with all theory, and have spoken contemptuously of the great things which our Father has revealed concerning his plan as "theory, theory."
How any one gained such impression we know not. Certainly [R85 : page 6] not from anything, properly understood, which we have ever spoken or written. We have always regarded with favor any effort to ascertain what God's plan is, both of revelation and salvation; and men are not liable to speak of anything with contempt which we regard with favor. If colored glasses affect the appearance of objects viewed through them, something analogous to this may affect the hearing. We do not look favorably upon every theory about God's plan, but we are not conscious of treating any one, or his theory, with contempt. In the investigation of so great a science as theology, there is room for many honest differences of opinion, and while we can not help believing right what we are convinced is true, we think it is becoming in a fallible man to be humble and civil at least, and to remember that we may be mistaken. We are conscious of being misunderstood sometimes, and it may be we are too apt to wonder why it is so, when it may arise from our inability to express our own ideas properly. We feel almost certain that much of the difference among people arises from the use of the same words to express a different thought, or different words to express the same thought. We are reminded that as others have misunderstood us, it is quite likely that in some things we have misunderstood others. We need not be surprised at this, for even the Lord himself has not yet made himself understood. If he bears "so patiently" being misunderstood and misrepresented, we might be encouraged to bear a little, and in the spirit of love, "try, try again."
In common talk, what a man believes about God and His plans is called the man's theology, or his theory, and while such use of the terms may not be exactly right, it should not be considered disrespectful to use them so.
In all that we have said or written on the subject of holiness or righteousness as the "Wedding Garment," it has not been our object to set aside the necessity of truth, or the importance of knowing the truth, but we wish to be understood positively as teaching that knowledge, without obedience, is not only not enough, but that it is a curse, and will prove "the savor of death unto death." Jesus said: "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them," and "He that knows His Master's will and did it not shall be beaten with many stripes." These, certainly, imply that knowledge does not necessarily produce right practice, and Paul tells us of a class who "hold the truth in unrighteousness," (Rom. 1:18), and "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." A clean theology includes the "duties we are to practice" as well as the "doctrines we are to believe;" but we maintain that a man may have a very correct idea about the doctrines of the bible and of the duties inculcated, too, and yet not practice them. Science is one thing; art is quite a different thing. The difference is just as great between theology and righteousness, for He that doeth right is righteous.
We plead for the necessity of obedience; not mere outward acts, that would be formalism, but loyal obedience – obedience from the heart. (Rom. 6:17). "He that hath clean hands and a pure heart" shall ascend into the hill of the Lord (the Kingdom). Ps. 24:3,4.
Loving obedience must be more pleasing to the Lord than anything short of it, and doing is the best evidence of love. Jesus said: "If ye love me, keep my commands." Jno. 14:15, and "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you." Jno. 15:14. To such as obey him he says, "I call you not servants," and reveals to them his will and plans. (ver. 15.) So we see that obedience is important if we want the Lord's help to understand the plan. "If any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine." Jno. 7:17.
1. We believe it is our duty as Christians to gain all possible knowledge of God's plans, remembering that "Things that are revealed are for us," and therefore proper subjects for thought and search. "Hidden things belong to the Lord," and no man by searching can find them out. We are to get our theology as clean as possible. We are to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2. We believe that the object of knowledge is to promote love and obedience, and to assist us in the formation of God-like characters, thus enabling us to "apprehend that for which Christ apprehended us." (Phil. 3:12), "for God hath called us, not to uncleanness, but unto holiness." (1 Thess. 4:7.)
3. We believe it is possible for men to gather a large store of knowledge of prophecy and the mysteries of God, and not have love, and in such a case all is vain. 1 Cor. 13:2. Knowledge is power for good or evil, and if a man does not "obey the truth," the more knowledge he has the worse man he is.
5. While opposing other men's ideas, we have nothing to say against men. For years we have stood in defense of a large liberty of opinion within the limits of the "One Faith" and Christian fellowship, and never before as much as now have we realized the necessity for such freedom. We ask for ourselves only what we freely grant to others – the [R85 : page 7] right to do our own thinking – calling no man Father, Master, or Lord in matters of faith or opinion.
We hope to be willing in the future as in the past to learn from any one, however humble in station or ability, and to receive nothing without evidence, however exalted they may be, even though it were "an angel from heaven." Gal. 1:8.
We disfellowship no man for opinion's sake, believing that many, who know but little, are dear unto the Lord, and will be heirs of the Kingdom among the sanctified. We have sometimes been cast off by others, but we have never been conscious of casting off others, and we hope and pray that we may never be guilty of such a thing.
We have a few hundred copies of "The object and manner of our Lord's return." [a 60 page tract price 10 cts.] To those who will distribute them we will send at 60 cents per doz., or 30 cents half dozen. If you will use them judiciously and cannot afford to pay we will send them free.
A covenant is a ratified, unalterable agreement. God has made many covenants with man. (Gen. 6:18; Jer. 33:20, &c.) Three, however, stand out very prominently, as in them have been bound up all the best interests of mankind.
FIRST: The Covenant of God to Abraham. This covenant seems to comprehend and include a blessing on the natural fleshly descendants, as well as upon the higher, spiritual, seed, "which seed is Christ; and if ye be Christ's (body), then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to (this) promise." If this thought be borne in mind, it will assist us in grasping the full meaning of this covenant. The spiritual seed is called the "blessing seed" and "stars of heaven." It is prophesied that "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever." (Dan. 12:3). And Jesus calls himself "the bright and morning star." This thought seems to have had more weight and meaning with the ancients, who looked up the stars with superstitious reverence, believing that they controlled the destinies both of nations and of men. So probably this portion of the covenant represented by stars signifies heavenly rulers – Christ and His Bride. The natural descendants are probably meant when mention is made of "a great nation" possessing "this land" – Canaan – said to be as the "sand of the sea." This represents an earthly people as plainly as the stars do the heavenly. Let us read the covenant and see that it contains these two elements, and recognizes both natural and spiritual Israel. (Gen. 12:2,3; 13:14-16; 15:18, and 22:16-18). Paul assures us that "the seed" referred to in this covenant is Christ. (Gal. 3:16.) Fleshly Israel lost this, the cream or choicest part of the covenant – the spiritual. As Paul says (Rom. 11:7): "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it." But the losing of this better part does not cut them off entirely from having a part in that covenant. "For brethren, that you may not be conceited with yourselves" (thinking that all of God's favor and covenant are taken from them and given to you), "I wish you not to be ignorant of this secret: that hardness in some measure has happened to Israel till the fullness of the Gentiles may come in (i.e.,) until the bride selected from the Gentiles has been completed). "And then all Israel will be saved, as it has been written, "The Deliverer shall come out of Zion, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob," and "This is THE COVENANT WITH THEM FROM ME, when I shall take away their sins." (Rom. 11:25 – "Diaglott").
Though for 1800 years they have been counted as enemies, and blinded to the gospel, yet they are still beloved for the father's sake; for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (vs. 29); i.e., these earthly blessings are just as sure to them as our spiritual ones are to us, because God so promised or covenanted, and never changes. Thus, we see the breadth and grandeur of God's plan and arrangement – how the natural seed was cast aside for the time that the spiritual might be developed, who, in their turn, are to be made the instruments for blessing the natural; when "they shall obtain mercy through your mercy;" when "The Deliverer shall come out of Zion (spiritual Israel – the church) and turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (fleshly Israel). When we see this, we see the fullness of this covenant to Abraham. It shows us what God meant when he promised that Abraham's seed should be mighty, possessing the gates of their enemies (the place of power and control), and be so far above others as to be able to "bless all the families of the earth." "O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways; for who hath known the mind of the Lord?"
This (the Law) was not a part of the first covenant, neither was it made with the people of the world, but only with fleshly Israel – "And Moses called all Israel and said unto them: Hear O Israel....The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, BUT WITH US, even us who are all of us here alive this day." Deut. 5:1-5.
That the Ten commandments, particularly, and the ceremonial law, incidentally, constituted this covenant, is clear from the reading of the remainder of this chapter. A difference between moral and ceremonial law is now recognized, but it is of men. God called them one – "The Law." This Law Covenant was seemingly designed as a blessing to Israel, yet really by coming under it, they condemned themselves; for it is written "cursed [condemned] is every one that continueth not in all the words of the Law to do them." God never intended therefore, that they should be benefited by this covenant since, "By the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in his sight." What then was the object of this covenant? It had two objects: first, it demonstrated that the natural man as a fallen creature, could not live in harmony with God – could not do right or be righteous. And finally it was proved and illustrated that a perfect man could keep God's perfect law, when Jesus did keep it and thereby became heir legally as well as by grace, to all the provisions of both covenants.
Secondly: The law "was appointed on account of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise related." (Gal. 3:19). God knew the best time, and "in due time sent forth His Son." The law was introduced because the proper time had not come for the development of "the seed" referred to in the covenant to Abraham, and was intended to prevent Israel's becoming degraded like other nations, and to act as a restraint on their fleshly nature, and an educator of self-control, &c. It thus was a "schoolmaster," which, by showing them their own weakness, prepared them to receive Jesus Christ as their justifier from the things which the law condemned. (Gal. 3:24) And it did this very work. By the time the seed was due, it had prepared some to receive Jesus.
It, like the law which was its shadow or type, is between God and fleshly men – the world. If, therefore, this covenant is between two parties (God and the world), there must be conditions binding upon both; hence there must be a mediator (as in the type) to stand responsible for the fulfillment of the conditions of both. Who, then, is to act as mediator of the new covenant? Let Paul answer: "Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant." [Heb. 12:24]. Yes, Jesus, our Head, is the one, and the only one, who can stand uncondemned before God's righteous law. In Him God recognizes His holy Son, separate from sinners, and in Him humanity may, and soon will, recognize their Lord, now highly exalted, but once "the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, who, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man;" and "who is a faithful High Priest," able to sympathize. Only through Him can the world ever be made at-one with God – His great work is at-one-ment. He will associate with Him in this work His tried and faithful bride. Now, what are the conditions of this new covenant? They are, as in its type, the law, do and live. God can never be a party to any covenant recognizing sin. Perfect righteousness ["Be ye perfect"] has always been the condition on which God recognizes or communes with any of His children. Christians in the present age, although not individually perfect are reckoned so, being hid in Christ, and as members of His body are covered by His robes of righteousness. But in the coming time, the imputed righteousness of another will not avail, but "every man shall die for his own sin" [not the sin of Adam], [R85 : page 8] or vice versa, live by his own righteousness [perfect obedience].
It may be asked, then: In what way will the new age under the new covenant differ from the Jewish age under the law covenant? If the conditions of life are obedience to God's perfect law, will it not result, as the law covenant did, in condemning all under it to death? We answer no, the difficulty then was, not with the law, but with man. Man, in his fallen, imperfect condition, could not keep "the law ordained to life." But the conditions of this new covenant on God's part are, that man shall be brought to a condition in which he can obey the perfect law, and always keep it in his heart, as it is written, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah....This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my law in their inward part, and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people, for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." "In those days they shall no more say, the fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge, but every one shall die for his own iniquity." [Jer. 31:31.]
"And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowl of heaven and with the creeping things of the ground and I will break the bow, and the sword, and the battle, out of the earth." (Hos. 2:18. See also Jer. 32:37-41, Ezek. 37:26.) We see clearly that the new covenant is yet future and also that a great change will be effected in the condition of Israel, who, under the Law previously, were unable to keep it. The trouble then was, "the fathers [Adam and his successors] had eaten the sour grape of sin, and the children's teeth were set on edge so that they could not keep the Law of God; so the "Day of Atonement" is brought in [the Gospel Age] and during it, they, and all men, are redeemed from sin and the curse, through Jesus Christ, who, by the grace of God tasted death for every man, The man Christ Jesus, holy, harmless, separate from sinners, made a curse for us, made sin [i.e. dealt with as the sinner] for us, [he] who knew no sin." And it is consequently after the gospel age when they are pardoned freely for Christ's sake, and restored to the condition of sinless perfect manhood, that the new covenant comes into force. And to this thought agree the words of Paul [Rom. 11:27.] "This is my [new] covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins."
The nations are to be blessed also under this new covenant, by becoming "daughters" to Israel. "I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy (old) covenant." Ezek. 16:61.
We have seen that to every covenant to which there are obligations of two parties, there is a mediator, or one who stands between guaranteeing the fulfillment of its conditions. As under the covenant of the Law, Moses was the mediator, so is
As the typical or Law covenant [or "testament" – same Greek word;] was ratified or sealed by Moses its Mediator, with the blood of a bull and a goat annually, so the "new covenant" is sealed with the blood of better sacrifices" [plural] which these represented, viz: Christ – Head and body.
Moses took a bunch of hyssop and scarlet wool and therewith sprinkled of the ratifying blood mixed with water, both the book (type of the Law) and all the people. (See Heb. 9:19.) So with the New Covenant, it must also be ratified with blood; and the mediator of the "New," gives his own blood (life,) both head and body, during this gospel day of sacrifice. And soon when the better sacrifices are complete, the people will be sprinkled with this cleansing blood and with the pure water of truth. It will sprinkle both book (law) and people, bringing the people into harmony with God and therefore, into harmony with his Law. Their teeth will no longer be set on edge; no longer will they, when they would do good find evil present with them; for "All shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest," and "The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth."
Who will do the sprinkling after the sacrifices are complete? It was Moses in the type; it will be the Great Prophet and Mediator in the antitype – "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." Acts 3:22. This prophecy belongs to the "Times of restitution of all things," and is quoted by Peter as applicable there.
That prophet or teacher – "The Christ" – Head and body is now being "raised up" (to power) and soon the work of sprinkling and cleansing humanity begins; and the soul (person) who will not then obey and be cleansed shall be destroyed. In that age, the sinner a hundred years old will be cut off, though at that age he would be but "a child." Isa. 65:20.
Let us briefly review these covenants as they are illustrated in a type or allegory. (Gal. 4:22-31). Paul explained that Abraham's wife, Sarah, was a type of the covenant made with Abraham, referring to "The Seed." As years rolled by, and no child came, they began to look for a fulfillment in some other way, and Hagar takes the place of a wife and bears a son, who apparently is to be the heir. So the original promise of God meant Christ, but He was not born until "due time," and in the meantime "The Law" was given from Sinai, apparently taking the place of the covenant, and under the law covenant a fleshly seed was developed – fleshly Israel. But the Abrahamic covenant had not failed, and after the Hagar covenant had borne fleshly Israel (typified by Ishmael), the true seed of Abraham and heir is born, under the first (or Sarah) covenant; i.e., Christ Jesus and the members of His body – spiritual Israel.
This is as far as Paul carries the type, because speaking only of the two seeds, natural and spiritual, and the two covenants under which they come into existence. But as we find that God is to make "a new covenant," "after those days," we naturally inquire: Why was not this new covenant typified by a wife as well as the other two? And upon examination we find it was so illustrated. Turning to Gen. 24:67, we read how Isaac receives Rebecca into Sarah's tent, and she becomes his married wife, &c., illustrating how our heavenly bridegroom will receive His bride at the end of her journey, and bring her into, and associate her with, Himself, in the enjoyment of all things promised in the first (or Sarah) covenant. Then we read: "Then, again, Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah," illustrating, as plainly as a type can, the new covenant.
Each of the first two covenants, bore but one offspring. The first, the "heir of all things," (Isaac – the spiritual Israel) and the second, fleshly Israel, beloved for the Father's sake. But the New Covenant (Keturah) bears six sons, which, taken with the one of Hagar would be seven – a complete number – representing that all the fleshly children would be developed under the Hagar and Keturah or "Law" and "New" Covenants. The name Sarah means Princess, Hagar means flight or cast out, Keturah means incense or sweet; all of which are significant.
Oh, how our covenant – the Royal – looms up above all the others. Let us not forget that we must die with Jesus, if we would LIVE and share in the glorious work of sprinkling and cleansing the world in the next age. "That by means of death ...they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Heb. 9:15.
We noticed in a local paper a few days ago an extract entitled "A Curious calculation," which assumed to figure up the total number of inhabitants who have lived on the earth; claiming an unreasonable number, and asserting that the globe was a vast cemetery; that in fact it must have been dug over about eight times in order to bury its dead. As this may seem an objection to truths which we hold concerning the race in this day of the Lord, in the reliving of all the dead upon this earth, and as this article in some shape is picked up and passed along by the press every little while, having been frequently answered, we propose to illustrate how it may be met.
It is evident that the world was never so thickly settled as at present; and as man's age is gradually shortening, the number of generations in a given time is proportionately increasing. Consequently, if we multiply the present population of the earth by the number of generations since creation, assuming the present ratio, it is evident that we will more than cover the entire number that have ever lived on this globe. That is, we assume, for the sake of argument, that the race begun with one billion, two hundred millions, and that there have never been less in any generation since.
To show the extreme liberality of our estimate, we have but to remember that the race really began with a single pair, and continued so for many years, as Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old. At the flood, the race started again with only four couples. The present length of a generation is reckoned at about 33 years, or three generations to a century. But, from Genesis, 5th chapter, we learn that there were only eleven generations between the creation and the flood – 1,656 years – making full 150 years to a generation. In Luke, 8th chap., we find seventy-six generations from Adam to Christ inclusive. Dividing into 4,000 years, the commonly accepted [R86 : page 8] chronology – we get about 52½ years to a generation.
Discarding, however, all reductions, and assuming that we are 6,000 years from the creation of Adam, which is about the time by the best chronology we have, 3x60 = 180 generations. Then 180 x 1,200,000 = 217,000,000,000, as total number of inhabitants. Allowing ten square feet as the surface covered by each dead body, large and small, we have 2,160,000,000,000 square feet occupied.
Dividing this sum by the number of square feet required as above, we find it goes three times, with the trifle of 127,000,000,000 of square feet to spare. That is to say, THREE TIMES our most liberal estimate of the world's total number of inhabitants since creation might be buried in the State of Texas, with nearly 3,000,000 of acres left. W. I. M.
[We have just received an article of similar import to the above, from Brother Rice, with which he sends us the following statistics clipped from a California paper, which is both curious and interesting. Evidently there is room enough for the accomplishment of "the restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets." – EDITOR.]
"In the following computations it is assumed that the earth was created 6,000 years ago, and that the average population since the creation has been the same as the population of the present time, and the average duration of life 33 years.
The present population of the earth (1,424,000,000), could stand on an area of 86 square miles; an area about twice that of the city of San Francisco; and that number of persons could be seated on an area of 171 square miles; an area about 2⅝ that of the District of Columbia.
The area of the United States is 3,603,884 square miles. Within its boundaries there is standing room for 60,282,311,823,360 persons; a number equal to the population of 1,396,991 years, in time nearly 233 times the age of the earth."– Statistician.