|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.|
Services held in "Curry Institute Hall," corner Penn avenue and Sixth street, Pittsburgh, at 2.30 o'clock, P.M. Every Wednesday evening, at No. 80 Cedar avenue, Allegheny, at 7:30 o'clock, P.M. All are cordially invited.
"He (Jesus) shall be...for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel." Isa. 8:14.
The Bible speaks of the several tribes of Israel as houses – viz.: House of Judah, Levi, Benjamin, etc., but the expression, House of Israel, was used as belonging to the twelve tribes collectively. (Jacob, after his wrestle with the angel, was called Israel, which signifies "a Prince with God," and all of his descendants are called the children or House of Israel.) And the nominal Gospel church, entire, containing both wheat and tares (Matt. 13) is recognized as the House of Christ who is the true Israel – a Prince with God.
It is these two houses that we understand as referred to in the scripture above cited – the fleshly house of servants and the spiritual house of sons – as we read: "Moses verily was faithful in all his house [of servants – fleshly Israel], but Christ as a Son over his own house [of sons – spiritual Israel] whose house are we [to be] if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of our hope firm unto the end. [Heb. 3:5,6.] We see then that none are of the Gospel House of Sons, except those who "hold fast to the end." But during this age of trial and development, all professors are reckoned as part of the nominal house of sons, and the distinction between the true and false are not to be manifested until the end of this age – "The harvest" – when wheat and tares are separated.
This fact, that both of the nominal houses – fleshly and spiritual Israel – stumble over Christ, may have escaped the notice of many, and the bare suggestion that the Gospel Church is to stumble will doubtless be repelled by many with alarm. But, beloved, be not alarmed; remember that "the Lord knoweth them that are his," and not one grain of wheat will be mistaken for a tare; nor will one tare be gathered into the barn of safety with the wheat. Were we to do the separating, very many tares who have been our neighbors and church members might be classed as wheat that will be known in their true character by the angels who are the reapers.
The Jewish church claimed that they were servants of God, and so they had been reckoned a house of servants for eighteen hundred years, up to the time when Jesus came in the end of their age as the reaper, and the work of separating between true grain and empty chaff commenced. The work of reaping was done by Jesus' personal preaching, and also through his disciples, as John had declared. "His" winnowing fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge [cleanse] his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner [the gospel age,] but burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire," [Matt. 3:12] the fire of tribulation and national destruction on fleshly Israel, ending with Jerusalem's destruction – A.D. 70.
The work of Jesus in the end or harvest of the Jewish age, was, not to make Israelites of the Gentiles, but to prove who were really servants of God. The results prove that few of the nominal fleshly Israel were "Israelites indeed, in whom was no guile." "He came to [nominally] His own, and as a people or house they received him not." The nominal house stumbled over him, and did not recognize him. "But to as many as received him, to them gave he power [liberty] to become sons of God" – but the rest were blinded.
We have heretofore seen that the Jewish or servant house was in many respects a pattern or shadow of the higher gospel house. Especially in the closing work of the two ages is this parallelism striking. Their age ended with a harvest, in which Jesus in the flesh was the reaper and winnower and gatherer into the barn, the disciples being the assistant reapers, working under his directions. [Luke 10:1.] Our age is also to end with the harvest of the spiritual or gospel house – a separating of wheat and tares, in which again, Jesus a spiritual body ["We know him no more after the flesh"] is the reaper, [Rev. 14:14-16, Matt. 13:41] while the angels, also invisible spiritual bodies, are the assistants.
We see too that not only are the harvests of Jewish and gospel ages parallel in point of beginning, but also in length of duration; theirs being in all 40 years from the time of Jesus anointing [at beginning of their harvest, A.D. 30,] to destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. So, ours, beginning in 1874 closes with the end of the "day of wrath" and end of the "times of the Gentiles," 1914 – a similar and parallel period of 40 years. The first seven years of the Jewish harvest was especially devoted to the gathering of ripe wheat from that church; three and one-half of it was while he was present as the Bridegroom and three and a half of it after he had come to them as king and had entered into glory, but it was all under his supervision and direction.
As John had said, he purged his floor, gathered his wheat and burned the chaff. So here the parallel is being fulfilled: We find, [as heretofore shown – see "Day Dawn"] the law and the prophets declaring him present at the culmination of the "Jubilee cycles" in 1874. And the parallels show us that then the harvest began, and that the gathering of the Bride into the place of safety, will occupy a parallel seven years of time, ending in 1881. But how, when, and why did the "house of servants" stumble over Christ? If we can ascertain this it should give us a clue to how, when, and why, the Gospel house stumbles, especially in view of the fact that in so many particulars the closing work of that age is the exact pattern of this.
We suggest that the fleshly house could not stumble over Christ until he had come and was present among them. They stumbled because of the manner of Christ's coming. They had expected Him to manifest himself in such a manner as would be convincing to their natural eye and senses, and not require the exercise of faith. He came in such an obscure and humble manner as to appeal only to the eye of faith, and taught in such a manner that only those who had the hearing of faith received his witness. "Who hath ears to hear let him hear." Matt. 13:9.
The object of his so appealing to the eye and ear of faith was, that none but such as had these should receive Him, and that the others "who sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law," (professedly Israelites, but not Israelites indeed) should stumble, not recognize him as the Son of God, but fulfill what had been prophesied of them, and crucify him. We thus see how, when and why the fleshly house stumbled. (Rom. 9:32-33.) [R176 : page 1]
Now, let us look with even deeper interest to the stumbling of the nominal Gospel house – spiritual Israel. We suggest that as the fleshly house could not stumble over Him until he came at the first advent, so the spiritual house cannot stumble over Christ until His second advent. The causes of stumbling too are the same; those of the Gospel church who expect the second coming of Christ and establishment of his kingdom are expecting (just as the fleshly house did) an outward display, which will appeal to the natural eye, ear, and human senses generally.
Some know not, and others who ought to know experimentally, seem to forget, that if we are in Christ Jesus we are new creatures. "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit (condition) if so be that the spirit of Christ dwell in you." (Rom. 8:9.) All of this class of persons have given up – reckoned dead, (and are daily dying to) the fleshly human nature, and are daily partaking more and more of the spiritual or divine nature, into the perfection of which we are expecting soon to be changed, when the separating of "the harvest" is complete. These should all remember the rule which we apply to other things. viz. "We look not at the things which are seen (of the natural eye), but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Cor. 4:18.) Which of the things which we as new creatures prize so highly are visible to the natural eye? None; it was by the eye of faith that we realized our heavenly Father's smile, saw Jesus as our Leader, saw the "crown of life," and "prize of our high calling." Our spiritual eye of faith has seen, and our circumcised ears heard of the glorious things "God hath in reservation for them that love Him," which the natural man cannot see and hear, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14.) We see and hear, because led by the Spirit (through the word.) "We walk by faith, and not by [natural] sight."
Would that all could realize that this class described [dead to the natural, but alive spiritually] are the only ones who will constitute the body or bride of Christ. These have fulfilled their covenant by sacrificing the human nature. "They shall be mine...in that day when I make up my jewels." [Mal. 3:17.] It is to this class only that Jesus comes as Head and Bridegroom, and only they are to [R176 : page 2] recognize His presence during the harvest of this age, as only those with the eye and ear of faith recognized Jesus in the harvest of the fleshly house. [True, there will be in due time outward manifestations of "Power and great glory," which will convince all mankind of the reality of the new kingdom; but this comes after the bride has recognized his presence, been separated from the tares, and "made like unto Christ's glorious body," for "when he shall appear [to the world] we also shall appear with him in glory." We will not be revealed in flesh, but in glory. "We shall be revealed [made known] in flaming fire," [judgments] inflicting righteous punishment upon wrong doers, and lifting up the poor and oppressed.
We believe that Christ is now present, in the sense of having commenced the work of taking to himself His great power and reigning. The work begins with the separating of tares from wheat in the living church and the association of the wheat of all ages with Himself in the authority of His kingdom. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne," and "to him will I give power over the nations," to continue until all things are subdued under Him. It seems proper, too, that the work should begin thus, by taking his bride and the twain becoming one.
It must be painfully evident to all true Christians that the nominal church which calls herself the spouse of Christ, is far from being the "little flock" who walk the narrow way – "the way their Leader trod." Many are Christians in name and form only, "having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof," by living contrary to their professions. Many are moralists only, who recognize and use the church only as a social and moral club. Many are hypocrites, who use the church as a stepping-stone to wealth and social standing. Some are true children of God and feel that the church is too empty and formal and worldly, yet are carried on with the others by the thought that they may be too timid. Mr. A. and Mrs. C. are very intelligent and wealthy and moral people and they approve of such things, and who am I that I should object? They would think me weak and fanatical – I will continue with them; certainly much good is being done.
A few – a little flock – while still using their influence and example as "living epistles" for their Master, feel themselves almost, or entirely, separated from the nominal church. The church's union with the world in worldly plans, ways, customs and dress are out of harmony with their new nature, and their seeking to be "not conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of their minds" to harmony with the will of God; they cannot feel at home with the carnally minded. Their eye delights not so much in beauty of form, as in the perfection of the new nature, begotten of God through the word of truth; not so much in the beauty of dress as in the beauty of character and its Christ-like-ness; not so much in the grandeur of the house as in the greatness and loveliness of Him whom they "worship in spirit and in truth;" not so much at the language and eloquence of the preacher as in the understanding of the word of God.
These go sometimes to meet with the nominal church, but are always separate in spirit and usually seek and enjoy more the society of others like-minded. These are obliged to study the word privately, for if they do attend preaching they hear a sermon on some topic of morality directed to the world of unbelievers. Nor can the pastor be blamed entirely for so doing, the policy of the church having supplied him a congregation, nine-tenths of which are worldly and cannot understand spiritual things, he feels it to be his duty to preach to the majority; consequently the sheep of the flock receive little or none of the "strong meat" of the word. Will these starve, think you? I tell you, nay; the great Shepherd will provide "meat in due season" to all who really hunger and thirst after it, He will lead them to green pastures.
This last class is to be the bride. Careless of the opinions, smiles or frowns of the world, she cares only to be in favor with her beloved – the heavenly bridegroom. And these are to recognize him now, the others are to stumble and not recognize Him until these have all gone in to the marriage and the door to that high position is closed. Our understanding is that the Bridegroom came in 1874; and this little company is being brought to a knowledge of his presence, and in that sense, being separated from other true Christians who either are overcharged with the affairs of this world or bound by chains of denominationalism, are making void the word of God through their traditions, etc., and still others, who, not being in condition of heart to receive Him on the evidence of His word, but who turn to seek light on His presence in other directions and find it not until the door to that high calling is shut. Matt. 25:10.
We trust, then, that all readers may see that the reason why the Church in general stumbles here, (as the fleshly house did,) is because only a "little flock" in it is the bride. The two houses of Israel each in turn were called to be Christ's bride. Both fail to attain the position, but as God had foreseen and arranged, a little company from each do receive Him, and "As many as receive Him" are acceptable. The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded" (by their own condition). Rom. 11:7.
The pathway in which the little flock walk, though rugged and difficult, is filled with light – "Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a lantern to my footsteps." And it is this light which prevents us from stumbling over this stone of stumbling. The prophetic word shows us that we are in "the day of the Lord," and enables us to receive Him, not by the sight of the natural eye, but by the eye of faith, for "we walk by faith, not by sight." This is just as Peter advised us: We have a sure word of prophecy, unto which ye do well to take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place. [2 Pet. 1:19.] The day of the Lord is called a day of darkness, and we, unless enlightened by the word of prophecy, would stumble as the others of the Church are doing over the stone of stumbling in this dark place. But enlightened by our lamp, how our hearts have been rejoiced since we found him present, and though a stone of stumbling to others, "To you, who believe, He is precious." 1 Pet. 2:7.
When Jesus had finished His ministry He rode to Jerusalem on the ass, assuming [typically] to the fleshly house the office of king, and in the exercise of that office he declared: "Your house is left unto you desolate" – here giving up the fleshly house. We repeat that they were given up because, not being Israelites indeed, they did not receive Him – stumbled – and so we read that when He had told them of their overthrow and destruction He assigns as the cause – "Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." [Luke 19:41-44.] Their time of visitation was, in a sense, the whole forty years to the destruction of the nation; but there had been the time of trial first; if during that first three and a-half years they had been in a condition to receive Jesus, the visitation following would have been of blessing, but unready and rejecting him, it became a visitation of wrath. [R177 : page 2]
So also here, during the first three and a-half years, from 1874 to 1878, the opportunity was given to the general Gospel Church to receive Christ the present one, but they stumbled similarly to the fleshly house. Because they knew not the time of their visitation – being unready – and are similarly cast off – given over to destruction (as an institution) – a visitation of wrath.
After the giving up of the fleshly house, especially during the three and a half years following, or the last half of their covenant week [the 70th, Dan. 9:24], favor was still shown to all who left it and accepted of the fact that Jesus Christ had come, etc.; so here there will be special favor shown to all who separate in heart from the cast-off Church, and receive the presence of the Lord during the three and a half years from 1878 to 1881, and after that to those who become part of "the great company," for some shall glorify God in this "day of visitation and wrath." [1 Pet. 2:12.]
The number of Scriptures which speak of the Gospel Church after being cast off from God's favor, and of her rapid decline and fall are somewhat wonderful. In Rev. 3:14 to 21, the whole picture is vividly presented. The Lord is addressing the last phase of the Church, the seventh. [We in common, with nearly all expositors of the Apocalypse, understand the seven Churches here addressed to represent seven phases or conditions of the entire nominal Church, from the days of the apostles to the end of the Gospel age, in the order mentioned.] To this seventh Church, Jesus says: "I know thy works," [the works are greater far than the faith] "that thou art neither cold nor hot; so, then, because thou art lukewarm I will spew thee out of My mouth." What a description this is of the present condition of her, whom God calls "Babylon" – confusion – mixture – lukewarm.
Babylon says she is "rich, increased in goods and has need of nothing;" that she is in a more prosperous condition than ever before, and she boasts of fine churches, high steeples, eloquent preachers, wealthy members, splendid music, large salaries and worldly popularity, and knows not that she is "poor and miserable and blind," (stumbling over present truths) and remembers not that her worldly popularity is an evidence of her disfavor with the Bridegroom. "For the friendship of the world is enmity against God." She is therefore given up, as was the fleshly house – she is "spewed out of His mouth." She has been His mouthpiece, and through her He has spoken to the world, but it shall be so no longer. "The voice of the Bridegroom and the Bride shall be heard no more at all in thee." Rev. 18:23.
To our understanding this "spewing" and "falling" dates from 1878, the exact parallel of time to the giving and "leaving desolate" of the fleshly house. And now the call is "Come out of her, my people! that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues," and while we expect that most of the second company will not be freed from her bondage until afterward, we do expect that all who constitute part of the bride will be separated before the Autumn of 1881, then "the voice of the Bride will no more be heard in her."
The fall of Babylon is not only the subject of a large portion of the book of Revelation, but also of many of the prophecies. As fleshly Israel went into captivity to literal Babylon, so did the Gospel house go into captivity to "Babylon, the great mother of harlots," and is still bound by many of her chains of darkness and error. In prophecy when depicting the desolations, etc., coming upon Babylon, we understand it to refer to both the type and the antitype, and especially to the latter, and they harmonize wonderfully with the account given of the same event in Rev. 12:13,16-19.
While there are many such prophecies, we merely refer to one; Jer. 50 and 51. "How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken? How is Babylon become a desolation among the nations?... Woe unto them, for their day is come and the time of their visitation. The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of His temple...and the most proud shall stumble and fall and none shall raise Him up....At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved and the cry is heard among the nations....Flee out of the midst of Babylon and deliver every man his soul (life); be not cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance; He will render unto her a recompense. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand that made all the earth drunken....We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed; forsake her and let us go, every man, into his own country....The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness; come, let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God." (51:10.) "In those days and at that time," saith the Lord, "the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for and there shall be none, and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found." (50:20.) This last text shows us that the time really meant by the prophesy was not at the deliverance of Israel from literal Babylon (though type and antitype are closely interwoven), but at the end of this age, when, says Paul: God shall "take away their sins." (Read Rom. 11:25-27.)
After telling the nominal church that she is no longer his mouthpiece, Jesus says: "Be zealous therefore and repent." This is his message to the nominal church as a whole; but now he recognizes some who are in, but not of Babylon – [R177 : page 7] individuals, and to these he says: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." It is not at the door of the sinner's heart the Lord stands thus knocking, as some have supposed, but at the hearts of the true Israelites, in this seventh or closing stage of the Gospel church. And what a wonderfully clear picture this affords us – the two things occur at the same time, i.e., while the one party is "stumbling" and being "spewed out," the other party, the "little flock," "the overcomers," are being made aware of his presence. These hear his knock – the prophecies which announce him as present, not as coming in the future, but present now.
When any one knocks at your door, it is an indication, not that they will come, but that they have come. So the Lord has given us a striking picture, illustrative of His presence at the time Babylon is given up. Since we each individually heard the knock of the Prophecies, opened our heart and realized his presence, how fully his promise has been fulfilled, "I will come in...and sup with him, and he with me." What a blessed feasting on the truth we have enjoyed. Ah, yes, when our Lord girds Himself and comes forth to serve us, as he has done during these years, we get food indeed. We have meat to eat that the world knoweth not of, a parallel again to those true Israelites who received him at his first advent. "The disciples came unto him privately, saying, explain unto us," and Jesus answers: "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to all them that are without (unbelievers) all these things are done in parables" (figures of speech which they cannot understand.) "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear; for verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see the things which ye see, and have not seen them." (Matt. 13:17.) And the same is true of those who see him [R177 : page 8] present now by the eye of faith – by the light of the sure word of prophecy – "blessed are your eyes."
While all overcomers – the Bride – are to get the victory, etc., and not fall with Babylon, yet from other scriptures we find that some who are really children of God, will fall with her. "Many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken." (Isa. 8:15.) But (Psa. 37:24) "though he fall yet shall he
The stumbling and fall of both the houses of Israel should be regarded rather as a blessing than otherwise, as the prophet has said: "This child (Jesus) is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel" – both houses. The rejection of the nominal house was necessary before the call could go "to the Gentiles to take out a people (Bride) for his name." For, "through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles." (Rom. 11:11.) And though the fleshly house fell, they are to rise again to all that was promised them as a fleshly seed of Abraham, (in the Millennial age.) Then, why should any complain? "If the fall of them be the riches of the world," or resulted in throwing open to the world in general the opportunity of running the race for "the prize of high calling" – to be the "Bride, the Lamb's wife?" And "what shall the receiving of them [back to favor as God's people] be but life from the dead" – resurrection. – [Rom. 11:12.]
So with the stumbling and fall of the second house. It is necessary that the nominal church should fall in order that the true might be manifested – separated and "enter into the joys of her Lord." But while the fleshly house shall be restored, the Babylon church will never be restored. As a great millstone cast into the sea, so shall Babylon fall, and be found no more. [Rev. 18:21.] While this is true especially of the mother of harlots; it is true also of all her daughters who partake of her nature, and only individuals out of Babylon shall arise from among her ashes, saying: "True and righteous are His judgments for he hath judged the great harlot." "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." And they will thus "glorify God in the day of visitation." [1 Pet. 12:12.]
But let us "walk in his footsteps" – "the path of the just" [righteous] and, enlightened and illumined by the word, realizing the presence of [R178 : page 8] our Lord, glorify God without having to go into the wrath. "Watch ye that ye may be accounted worthy," [clothed with his righteousness, "unspotted from the world"] to escape all those things coming upon the world, and stand before the Son of Man." Let us remember that the 'little flock' have always been – the church "whose names are written in heaven," though during the gospel age the number has seemed much larger, by reason of tares. And though you may have little of earthly communion with saints, remember to keep up your relationship and union with the head of the church – Christ.
As at the first advent some of the people would have believed if the Pharisees had received Him, and it was asked, "Have any of the Scribes or Pharisees believed on him?" So now many say if the Lord is present why do not the leading preachers of the churches believe it? We cannot risk our judgment as to the meaning of the word as against theirs. Of the leaders of that church Jesus said: "Can the blind lead the blind; shall they not both fall?" (Luke 6:39.) They did; both leaders and masses stumbled and fell. So too Jesus says of the nominal church here, Thou knowest not that thou art poor and blind. And again, for the same reasons, many stumble and fall.
Let us remember, dear friends, that the great Teacher and Leader of the flock is Christ. The guide unto truth is the Spirit of truth through the word, and if any man teach, you are required to square and measure his teachings, by going "to the law and to the testimony, If they speak not according to these it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. 8:20.) As children of the light, let us walk in the light, and be sanctified and separated from both the world and a worldly church.
It will be admitted by all bible students, that a correct understanding of terms used, is necessary, in order to a clear comprehension of any subject. Now that the tabernacle of the wilderness is unfolding so grandly, as a type, or shadow of the true tabernacle, and giving us a better knowledge of God and Christ, and the way to God, it becomes important to understand the terms used in connection with it.
For various reasons, it seems especially important to know the scripture names of the three places in the tabernacle. It is evident that in some passages, the term holy is used for most holy, or referring to both, so that it is necessary to determine the place referred to by the connections; but we think it can be clearly shown that the names are not all used interchangeably.
It seems that there has been a general misunderstanding in regard to the term holy place. It needs only to be stated that words in italics in the scriptures, have been supplied by the translators, and were not in the original. If that is invariably the case, then we think that it can be shown that wherever place is not in italics, the term "holy place" has reference to the court of the tabernacle; and consequently the other two places are called the holy and most holy, or holiest of all; place being in italics, in both old and new testament. So we have "the holy place;" (the court) "the holy," (beyond the first vail) and "the most holy," or holiest of all (beyond the second vail). Notice in Exodus, Lev. and Heb. As has been shown, the alter of burnt offering; and the laver for washing, were in the court or holy place. The animals for sacrifice were killed there. And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin offering in the holy place. Lev. 14:13. And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat; with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it. Lev. 6:16-26.
It will be noticed that place is in the original in these passages, not being in italics; and that the holy place and court are identical. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Thou shalt make a laver of brass, and his foot of brass to wash; and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the alter, and thou shalt put water therein, for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat; when they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash, that they die not; or when they come near to the alter to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord. Ex. 30:17-20. Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy; and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled, in the holy place (the court). Lev. 6:27.
These passages make it certain that whoever or whatever was washed in connection with the tabernacle, was washed at the laver, in the holy place; and we have seen that the holy place is the court of the tabernacle; and we found also, in Ex. 30:20, that whoever would enter the holy, must first wash at the laver, that he die not. Now coming to Lev. 16 which gives us a picture of the day of atonement, we find that if the high priest would enter holy or most holy, he must first wash his flesh in water and put on the holy linen garments; then kill the bullock to make atonement for himself and his house; and take his blood in and sprinkle upon and before the mercy seat; then come out and kill the goat, which was to make atonement for the people, and do with his blood as he did with the blood of the bullock; then after making atonement for the holy, and the tabernacle, and the alter; and sending away the scapegoat; Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, (evidently in this passage as in some others – the court) and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy, and leave them there, and shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place (the court). Lev. 16:23-24.
In the face of all these facts, it is persistently claimed by some that Aaron killed the bullock, then stopped on his way to the most holy, and washed his flesh in the holy, and put on the holy garments, and also stopped on his way out to wash etc., in the holy; claiming that the beauty of the type consisted in the washing where no place was provided for that purpose; and notwithstanding it was death to enter the holy before washing. We think the beauty of any explanation of God's word should consist in adhering to the general teaching of the word.
"If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." Prov. 2:4,5.
If we go back to the second verse we shall find the thing spoken of is wisdom.
Webster says that, "in Scripture, theology wisdom is true religion." What does religion mean? The word is taken from Religo, to bind anew, or to rebind. It is used in a general sense to signify "any system of faith and worship." Notice it is a system. This brings us to the conclusion (if we take Webster for the standard of words, and we have no reason to differ) that wisdom is the true system of faith and worship. Then it follows that we are to seek for the true system of faith and worship as men seek for silver. But, says one, silver is out of sight in the earth, and is hard to be found, but what is necessary to be known of the true system of religion is revealed so plainly that the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. I know the Prophet speaks of a good time coming, when it shall be so revealed that "the wayfaring man, though a fool, (like the rich man who had to pull down his barns and build larger) shall not err therein." Now, we think there is a strong analogy between seeking for a knowledge of the true system of faith and seeking for silver. Paul says, Heb. 5:11, there are many things... hard (difficult) to be uttered," and Peter, 2 Peter 3:16, speaks of "things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned (in the word) and unstable, wrest, as they do also the other Scripture, to their own destruction."
Experience, as well as the word, teaches us that as there is much and persistent search and pains-taking required to find the "vein" or "lead" of precious metal concealed in the earth, so there is to find the vein or lead of precious truth hidden away in the mine of God's word.
We think it a duty to find out all we possibly can of God's "system of faith," and what we cannot find out will be only that which he has so completely hidden. But some one may ask, why has He hidden it? If it is right for us to know it? We answer, that it may not be found until it is needed. God's wisdom has hidden it just far enough away to be found by our finite minds, after diligent search, just at the right time, or, as the Spirit says, due time; and it is those who are interested and earnest enough to search and find the jewels, who are to be vested with regal authority.
One might just as well say that the silver and gold, the coal and the oil were hidden away in the earth because it was not right for us to have them, as that it is not right to search for the true system of faith.
But, says one, we have had the true system of faith all along through the past – what more can we have? Did not our fathers understand it? Yes, they understood (those who searched) what was necessary for them to know, but that was not enough for us to know, any more than the supply of silver and gold which was in the world at the time of the discovery of America was sufficient for the world without any addition up to the present time. Our fathers worked the same mine, but did not exhaust it, thank God. There are nuggets of gold coming to the light all the time.
But let us see what Scripture evidence we have that these things are so. Jesus said, when weeping over Jerusalem, "if thou hadst known at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes;" but were they to remain hidden? No! Isaiah, looking down through the ages (the remainder of the Jewish age, and through the Gospel age to the coming age – in the restitution age), says, then the eyes of the blind shall see. Jesus before had called them blind, and that was how these things were "hid from their eyes."
Paul, in Col. 1:26, says, "the mystery" of the word of God "hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now (in this good-news age) is made manifest to his saints.
Again, in Eph. 3:4,5,6, he says "the mystery of Christ...in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto the Holy Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body," and he tells us that he was made a minister to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God."
Men in mining have lights fixed upon their heads, and they bend low, sometimes prostrate in search. We need to be humble and have our minds illuminated with the Spirit. When men have found silver in the mine it has to be separated from materials which are useful in themselves, but detract from the value of the precious metal unless separated. So the child of God, like Timothy, needs to "rightly divide the word of truth." Let us, dear brethren, continue our search after wisdom, which shall result in finding "the knowledge of God," for "it cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious Onyx or the Sapphire."
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it, and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. And when we have found it let us not waste nor hoard it, but "put it to the exchangers, that at His coming He may receive His own with usury."
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens," 2 Cor. 5:1-2.
This may seem somewhat immodest; we do not so intend. If we have any light it is received, not inherent in us, "that is in our flesh dwelleth no good thing." If we have apprehended the truth, it is because "He, the spirit of truth," leads us, for "the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14. The Church is not to blame for not seeing before; how can one be expected to see in the night anything more than the outlines of the landscape; but now the day dawns, "let us not sleep, as do others," 1 Thes. 5:6.
The prophets uttered some things which they did not fully understand and which it was not necessary they should fully understand, because they were for us; 1 Peter 1:10-12.
But about this matter, Paul says (as mouth-piece for the Church), "we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved we have a (singular number) building of God, a house not made with hands, etc.
Paul was writing to the Corinthians here, but he was also writing "to all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours." 1 Cor. 1:2. The word "theirs" refers evidently to Jews. Paul was a Jew, Acts 21:39, but he styles himself "the Apostle of the Gentiles," Rom. 11:13; so in harmony with the latter he could in this dedication of his epistle say, "both theirs and ours" to the new Church, which was made up of both Jews and Gentiles. They (the Jews) stood aloof from the Gospel and were enemies of the cross of Christ; thus standing at a distance, the term "theirs," although Paul was a Jew, was appropriate to them, and converts [R179 : page 4] from both could be very appropriately called "theirs and ours." Now, to such he says, "We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (to which so many precious promises have been made) were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands." It may seem strange to us that the old house of Israel should not be able to see the typical nature of their ceremonies, and that "whatever is to be on the higher or spiritual plane, is brought to view first on the plane of the flesh," but though God had been speaking "by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began," of a restitution, they did not see that there was to be, in its application to them, a time of dissolution, before the time of restitution; and it seems that the Gospel Church in Paul's time, needed to be admonished of the danger of looking at that which is seen, forgetting that "that which is seen (by mortal eye) is temporal."
He had to combat that tendency, as in Galations 3:3. "Are ye so foolish? having began in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" "If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God."
The "tabernacle of David is fallen down," but God in his good time will rebuild it; but those who are "begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," have the power or privilege of becoming sons of God, and together will constitute the house of God; not the house of Moses nor the house of David (after the flesh) nor any other house but the house of God eternal.
"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider [R180 : page 4] the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as also Moses was faithful in all His house, for this Man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who hath builded the house, hath more honor than the house."...
And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant; what for? "for a testimony of those things which were to come after. "But Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." Heb. 3:1-6.
We have here a thought suggested by the word dissolve, which is in harmony with the prophecy of Malachi 3:3. "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and He shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver." We have often heard this referred to and the manner of the refiner watching the melting of the precious metal until he can see his own image reflected, as an illustration of God's dealing with each of His children, all of which is very beautiful and truthful, but there is in this expression "dissolved," and yet existing after a still deeper thought that impresses us.
The refiner of silver often finds impurities clinging to his silver after it has passed through the hottest fire; then he dissolves it: after the application of certain chemicals, silver and gold will dissolve in water. A person unacquainted with the process would say there was no silver in the water, though the water were full of it; the water appears as before – a little discolored if the silver was impure – otherwise as clear as if it were not there, and the refiner can cause a restitution of that silver to a pure and permanent form and more beautiful than before; he puts into that water an agent, (an influence) that causes the water to let go of it, and the silver in fine particles goes together by itself, no longer "dissolved" or "suspended." Then the refiner, to complete the work of restitution, puts it in the fire again; thus it "receives from his hand double" for all its impurity.
Now, in prophetic language, waters represent sometimes people and sometimes afflictions. Has not the earthly house, "both theirs and ours," passed, and are they not passing through such waters? Have "they" not been dissolved and "ours" (the nominal Church) being dissolved? No matter; "we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God." So Paul could say to the Corinthians and the Galations, who were fearing lest they should not be connected in some way with the earthly house, that it was a matter of minor importance – all it was for was a type and stepping-stone to something higher and better.
Some may say, this is "far fetched," but we have fetched it only from the prophet Malachi, and made what seems to us the only true application, and it seems to make perfect harmony with all other Scripture. We have been held entranced hour after hour as we have compared Scripture with Scripture and found beautiful harmony with this view all through the word, and thank the Lord for it.
We would not be understood as saying that the word, body and house, are never applied to our physical bodies, for it not unfrequently is, and we think it is so used in the 10th verse of this chapter, though we do not feel over-positive about it lest it might refer to the different organizations, that shall finally be "gathered together in one," for we hope that the Methodist body, the Baptist body and the Presbyterian body (all of which are called bodies by their own authorities) will form, if not the body of Christ, yet the "household of God;" and we know that "we must all (all these different bodies) stand before the judgment seat of Christ (when and where?); that every one may "give an account of the things done in his body" – no, "that every one may receive the things done in his body." [His, is in italics in our Bibles.]
Perhaps some one is ready to ask, "How do you harmonize it with the 8th verse?" We would say, that the apostle (Col. 3:3), though speaking of our death to sin, tells us where our life is (whether our physical bodies are dead or alive, makes no difference,) from the time of begetting onward, our "life is hid with Christ in God" until "He, who is our Life, shall appear," then the earnest expectation of the creature [who is the creature but the one who has no spiritual life, the outside world], "waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God" will be realized and the "sons of God" will be recognized. Till then we shall not be able to find out what God has hidden.
This is a question doubtless that many ask themselves, viz: "How soon will our change come?" This change many of us have looked forward to for years, and we yet with much pleasure, think of the time when we shall be gathered unto Jesus and see Him as he is. In the article concerning our change, in December paper, we expressed the opinion that it was nearer than many supposed, and while we would not attempt to prove our change at any particular time, yet we propose looking at some of the evidences which seem to show the translation or change from the natural to the spiritual condition, due this side or by the fall of our year 1881. The evidence that our change will be by that time, increases since we have seen that the change to spiritual bodies is not the marriage. While we thought the marriage to be the change, and knowing there was three and a half years of special favor to the Nominal Church (now left desolate) from 1878, we could not expect any translation this side of 1881, or during this three and a half years. But since we recognize that going into the marriage is not only being made ready (by recognizing His presence) for the change, but also, that going in includes the change itself, then the evidences that we go in (or will be changed) inside of the time mentioned are strong, and commend themselves to all interested as worthy of investigation. Aside from any direct proof that our change is near, the fact that the manner of the change can now be understood, is evidence that we are near the time of the change, for truth is "meat in due season," and understood only as due. It will be remembered that after the spring of 1878, (when we understand Jesus was due as King) that the subject of holiness or the wedding garment, was very much agitated. And aside from the parallel to the end of the Jewish age, and favor at that time being shown to the Jewish nation, which implied the presence of the King, the consideration of the wedding garment, was also proof of the correctness of the application, for "the King had come in to see the guests," [Matt. 22:11] and hence all were interested in knowing how they stood before Him. Now as the inspection of guests is the last thing prior to our change, which precedes the marriage and we are all now considering the change. It would seem that the time for it, is nigh.
We shall now present what we adduce from the types and prophetic points as seeming to indicate the translation of the saints and closing of the door to the high calling by 1881. We first notice the building of the Temple, by Solomon which seems to be a type of the spiritual as indicated in Acts 7:4-7. The time occupied in building is found by comparing 1 Kings 6:1,37 and 38, which was seven years and six months, yet called seven years. Verse 38. "The house when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer, nor ax, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building." Verse 7. The quiet manner of building suggests to our mind the noiseless resurrection of the dead in Christ and change of the living, and if so the resurrection and change would cover a period of seven years, thus bringing to our mind, order. First the foundation laid and so on until completion, and this would be in harmony with statement in Rev. 11:18, viz: "Give reward unto thy servants, the prophets, and to the saints," that is, "Every man in his own order." In 1 Kings 5:17, we read, "The king commanded and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones to lay the foundation of the house." Those we would understand to represent the "Apostles and Prophets, which are the foundation, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together," groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:20-21).
The laying of the foundation-stone, we think, would fitly represent the resurrection of the prophets, which resurrection would seem to be indicated by God's statement to Daniel, viz: "Go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." (Dan. 12:13.) The days here referred to are mentioned in the 12th verse as "The thousand, three hundred [R181 : page 4] and five and thirty days," and from 538 when the abomination was set up, (so mentioned in verse 11,) 1335 years, if prolonged to their utmost, would reach to the year 1874. [For argument, see "Day Dawn."] This is one of the arguments which prove the presence of Christ at that time for Daniel could not stand in his lot or be resurrected, until Christ came. Besides it is also a parallel to the baptism of Jesus in the Jewish age, at which time the harvest of that age begun and he was recognized as Lord of the harvest and bridegroom. So we understand the bridegroom came at a parallel point in this age and those that were ready went in. (Matt. 25:10.) Since we find that going in includes the change to spiritual bodies, it is significant that the days of Daniel and the presence of the bridegroom occur at the same time, viz: autumn of 1874, and if Daniel stood in his lot at that time, he was raised a spiritual body, and as he represents the order of prophets and their resurrection is shown by the laying of the foundation-stones of the temple, then it would seem that the temple began to be built at that time. If this be a correct application (and it seems harmonious) and the time of building is seven years, then we would expect our change by or before the fall of 1881, as from 1874 to then would be the time given for building. It is true that the parable of Matt. 25 is only in reference to the living phase of the Church. Yet we believe that while those living "virgins" go into the wedding by coming into a knowledge of the Bridegroom's presence, etc., during the seven years harvest [from 1874 to 1881] yet the parable is having as it were a fulfillment on a still higher plane during the same seven years, viz.: The going into the condition of readiness for marriage [R181 : page 5] of all the chaste virgins, the dead (by resurrection) and living (by translation or change.) In going into the spiritual condition "We cannot precede them." (E. Diaglott, 1 Thess. 4:15.) As Daniel's time was up in 1874 it is reasonable to suppose that the order he represented went in at that time, since which the "dead in Christ" are being raised; and as the seven years are about complete, that we will soon follow by being changed. Matt. 25 and the parallelism of the Jewish and Gospel ages, seem to teach that the wise of the virgins "who are alive and remain" must all come in, to a knowledge of the bridegroom's presence, by the fall of 1881, when the door – opportunity to become a member of the bride – will close.
But it is possible that the change to the spiritual condition – the "going in to the marriage on the higher plane – may not occur at the same moment to each individual. We suggest as quite possible, that the change may come to some prepared before that time.
If the dead are to be raised before we are changed it can as well take place some time before as a moment, and if the temple is any type it is evident that some will be raised at least seven years before the last are changed. The fact that the body or mass of the saints are assembled together when we are gathered, is intimated by Luke 17:34-37, and Paul in Heb. 12:22-23, says: "Ye are come [coming] unto Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and church of the first born, and to the spirits of just men made perfect." We come to these.
The next point we will consider is that of Noah entering the Ark. It seems that the flood of forty days in the destruction of the old world is a type of the forty years' trouble here at the end of this world, (age) and as Noah entered there and escaped, so some shall enter here and escape.
"The Lord said unto Noah, Come thou, and all thy house, into the Ark. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights." And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him; and it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. (Gen. 7:1-10.) The language in connection with this circumstance seems to suggest the idea that Noah and those with him were seven days going in, and if so, then, this would harmonize with the seven years [a day for a year] building of the temple or time of going in, commencing with 1874. There is one point, however, we will notice, viz: It rained forty days after Noah entered, which would represent forty years' trouble after we enter. From 1881 to 1914 inclusive, is only about thirty-three years, hence in this respect the time differs. This is not when considered an objection to the position, for though the time of harvest and end of this age commenced Chronologically in 1874, yet the trouble cannot break, in the full sense, until the saints have been taken. "Yet seven days [years] and I will cause it to rain upon the earth," should be significant, because we have expected trouble, in a special sense, about 1881, and, according to the type, we must enter in by that time. Not only has that time been looked forward to by many as a point when there would be some great change, but the parallel to the end of the Jewish age demands that there be a change for the worse, in reference to the nominal Christian Church, it being a parallel to when favor ended with the Jews in a marked manner, shown by the seventy weeks of years mentioned by Daniel 9:24, which time ended three and a-half years after they were left desolate. Just as 1881 is three and a-half years from the point when the Jews began to receive favor. While this trouble is due, in the actual sense, from 1881 on, and is due chronologically to end in 1914, leaving only a space of thirty-three years; yet the trouble cannot end actually at that time, for there would be a gradual decrease "while the nations were beating their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks." (Isa. 2:4.) Hence there could be forty years of trouble even after 1881 and not interfere with our general position, for this would only carry us seven years beyond 1914, as this now does seven years beyond 1874. We used to think it would be in the midst of a great trouble that we would be changed, but now we do not. Noah went in before it rained, and "the Lord shut him in." (Gen. 7:16.) So now, while all things remain as in "the days of Noah," we will be changed and then the flood – trouble will break on those who know not and are in darkness. [1 Thess. 5:1-5.]
This is shown also in the type of Moses and Aaron, for not one of the ten plagues came until after they met in the Mount. And as that meeting shows our change, then in order here, there would be none of the plagues come till after we are gathered unto Jesus, by which we would "escape all these things that shall come to pass and stand before the Son of man." [Luke 21:36.] It is in connection with this last type that we find additional proof of our speedy change.
Stephen says: "When he [Moses] was full forty years old it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel." Moses at this time came to deliver his brethren, but they rejected him, saying: "Who made thee a ruler and judge over us?" After his rejection, "he fled and was a stranger in the land of Midian," when he took the daughter of Jethro, priest of Midian, to wife. (Exo. 3:1.) And when forty years were expired there appeared to him "an angel of the Lord," at which time he was informed of God's intention to "send him into Egypt," and "this Moses, whom they refused did God send to be a ruler and deliverer." (Acts 7:23-36.) Moses seems clearly in this case to be a type of Christ. Jesus came to deliver his brethren (according to the flesh) and was rejected, after which he takes a Gentile wife and returns, showing favor to natural Israel. (Acts 15:14-16.) As Moses, in the first instance, Jesus came as a man, but the second time as a God, at which time He effects their deliverance. While there is a similarity in these general features, it is the time we would look at, more particularly now. The two periods in the life of Moses, at the end of which he came each time, seem to foreshadow the Jewish and Gospel ages, (each represented by forty years of Moses' life) at the end of which Jesus comes, first at the end of the Jewish as a man; now, in the end of the Gospel as a God.
This being true, one forty would end in A.D. 33, when he was rejected as king and left their house desolate. (Luke 19:30-44.) Then the parallel to the end of the second forty would be 1878, when he came as king and the work of restoring them to favor began. Now, with this thought, let us turn to Ex. 7:7. "And Moses was fourscore years old and Aaron fourscore and three years old when they spake unto Pharaoh." The fourscore, or twice forty, would bring us to 1878, in the antitype when Christ spake to Pharaoh (the world) by an act, in restoring Israel to favor. But it says: "Aaron was fourscore and three years old." As Aaron represents us, the living saints, it would seem to indicate that we come into a position of power three years after the time, represented by the fourscore of Moses. Aaron did not speak until after he met Moses, so we would not in the sense here referred to until after our change. If the three years mentioned in connection with Aaron has any bearing, then it would teach our change as coming this side of 1881, as three years from 1878 would bring us inside of that time. We do not think it well to base too much on types or allegories, but when we find them in harmony with prophetic points they add additional evidence, and while we would not present any of these things as absolute, yet there is a harmony which commends them to an intelligent mind. They call for the exercise of faith on our part, especially when we remember that in reference to the coming of Jesus and our change, the apostles, "Say some things hard to be understood." (2 Pet. 3:14-16.) We now have taken prophetic measurements and allegories together, [R182 : page 5] five different points seeming to teach the resurrection of the dead in Christ and change of the living between the fall of 1874 and 1881. Two or more witnesses are enough to prove any case, as a rule, and certainly God has given us abundant evidence. We are also glad to notice that all these things only corroborate previous truths, thus proving to a certainty each application as correct and causing the old jewels to shine brighter. The five lines of argument briefly stated are these:
2d. The end of the seven years from that time, as marked by the parallel, of the end of the "seventy weeks" in the Jewish age ending in our year 1881, at which time we all should be in and the door closed, being the end of time of special favor to the nominal church before commencement of trouble which follows our change.
Thus we find the types of days and years are in harmony. In view of these things let us watch and be sober, for "It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord." Lam. 3:26.
This subject is so little understood that some have confounded it with the baptism of death, referred to in first article of September number. And some of our readers have expressed themselves as being pleased with the article on Baptism of the Spirit. This is quite a mistake, as the two baptisms are entirely different. Notice that while all are exhorted to be baptized into Christ's death, (willingly submitting to death) none are ever told to be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Some will inquire, should we not assemble ourselves as Bro. Moody and others of our dear brethren and sisters have recently done in Massachusetts, and earnestly pray to our Father for the baptism of the Holy Ghost? We answer, no, because there is only one baptism of the Spirit promised or necessary to the church. This one baptism was at Pentecost. We are told that it came as a rushing, mighty wind and "filled all the house where they were sitting."
Now, notice the idea of immersion. The house being filled, they were completely surrounded by, or immersed in Holy Spirit. We are members of the same church and family, and that was our baptism – one for all, and no other baptism of the Spirit is ever taught anywhere in the Bible. Remember, that up to the time of Jesus' baptism by John, when coming up out of the water, the Holy Ghost descended upon him, the Holy Ghost had not yet been given to any one in the way now imparted to the church, viz.: as a comforter, guide and leader into the understanding of truth, etc.
True, the Spirit had been in the world, and was exercised upon and in certain prophets, but it was given for special occasions, and was not an abiding presence. It gave them miraculous utterance, but did not guide into the understanding of God's word; for, "not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you, with the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven. 1 Pet. 1:12.
The Spirit given to Jesus without measure, (Jno. 3:34,) and given by measure to all his disciples and members, (Jno. 1:16) is the spirit of adoption (into the divine family and nature), whereby we cry, "Father, Father," i.e., we recognize God as our Father in two senses – first, as our creator as natural men, even as Adam was called the Son of God, (Luke 3:38), and now by our adoption into the divine family he becomes our Father in that divine sense. Until Jesus, no man could enter into the relation to God of adopted sons, partakers of the divine nature, because all were sinners, and God could not receive sinners as sons. When "the man Christ Jesus presented himself as a being, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, in whom was no sin," he was acceptable with the Father, and when he offered his perfect natural life for ours, according to the will of God, it was acceptable. The Father accepted of his sacrifice – the natural, and as a gift, gave to him the spiritual, divine nature – life and body, which he had laid aside when he took the human nature – life and body. Now, when Jesus made the covenant [R182 : page 6] to lay down his humanity as our ransom, he received the divine adoption and the spirit without measure, and the witness of his relationship came at once, (Luke 3:22), for a voice from heaven said: "Thou art my beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased." (Luke 3:22.)
Thus was our head anointed with the oil of gladness. Now, were the disciples also so anointed and given the comfort and guidance of the Spirit? No; not while Jesus lived. Why? We answer, for the same reason that the prophets could not receive it thus. They were sinners in God's sight, part of the fallen human family, and the ransom for their forfeited life was not paid until "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death (on the cross) for every man."
Were the disciples, believers, then received as justified, pure, sinless in God's sight the moment Jesus died? We answer that the price of our ransom was then paid, but that in God's plan, Jesus must first present in the Father's presence the evidence of His death – our redemption. "Him therefore hath God highly exalted and given a name above every name," that the gift of the divine nature should come through him to his body (the church), for God hath committed all judgment unto the Son," and "hath given him power over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." He must first receive again from the Father, the fullness of the divine nature before He could bestow the spirit, the seal of sonship. Remember, the head only, had so far, received the comforter, or evidence of adoption, for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:39.)
Thus the church, as instructed, were waiting to be imbued with the spirit which should guide them in understanding the scriptures (Old Testament) and the words of Jesus. When the spirit did come, it immersed them all by filling the house. This spiritual baptism came to the church directly from her head, as Peter testified. "Jesus, therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, (having come fully into possession of spiritual power, as promised.) He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." Acts 2:33.
The Holy Spirit – "Spirit of truth" – thus given as the church's teacher, begins the work by distributing certain gifts to certain members of the church. All (the church) received of the spirit of adoption, but some received of the gifts of the spirit. These gifts varied, according to the character and natural ability, etc., of the person; the object of the Lord in bestowing these gifts being, that every one who received them should profit withal (use them profitably for the good of the church and the advancement of truth.) 1 Cor. 12:7.
Paul explains the matter, saying, "Wherefore it is said, having ascended on high, He led a multitude of captives, and gave gifts to men." "He gave indeed the apostles, and the prophets, and the evangelists, and shepherds, and teachers." Why did Jesus give these gifts? For the complete qualification of the saints for the work of service, in order to the building up of the body of the anointed one." Eph. 4:12. Diaglott.
Here only the chief gifts are mentioned, but in 1 Cor. 12 we have these and other graded "diversities of gifts." And those whom God hath placed in the congregation are: first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; next, powers; then gifts of cures, assistants, directors, different languages. All are not apostles; all are not prophets; all are not teachers, etc....But you earnestly desire the more eminent gifts, and yet a more excellent way I point out unto you." – Love: "If I have prophecy, and know all secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains and have not LOVE, I am nothing." (Diag.)
Now, we inquire, has this spirit ever been withdrawn from the church? If through the various gifts and channels then arranged of God it was sufficient in quantity and quality to do the work assigned, viz.: to guide the church into truth, then has it lost any of its power and efficiency now, that we should ask for a baptism again? No beloved, the comforter abides with us in full measure; Jesus, our head, poured it out abundantly and sufficiently once, and it remains for us.
True, some of the gifts are departed, but the chief ones remain. We still have the apostles and prophets. These being dead, yet speak to us, and that more clearly and forcibly than to our brethren who saw them face to face. The word declares that "there are differences of administration, but the same Lord." Our Lord has, to some extent, changed His administration, but he, as head, is still ruling over his body. The same spirit continues, but with diversities of operations. It does not now operate (usually) by the lower gifts of [R183 : page 6] tongues, cures, etc., probably because the ignorance which made it expedient then, has now given place to knowledge, so that instead of coming together and speaking or praying ignorantly, in an unknown tongue, we can now, when we assemble ourselves, speak to one another of the teachings of the Lord and His apostles. God still continues, to some extent, the gifts of teachers (called prophets 1 Cor. 14:3-5) evangelists, shepherds. The manner of imparting the Holy Ghost used to be by the laying on of hands of the apostles, or sometimes, of others designated. (Acts 9:1-17.) Here again we see a "difference of administration," [but the same Lord and same spirit] for now, without laying on of hands [even as Cornelius] we, when we consecrate ourselves, fully receive the spirit of adoption, whereby we can recognize God as our Divine Father as well as creator. We find ourselves "Led of the Spirit" and guided into the truth day by day, and we know that "as many as are led by the spirit of God, these are the sons of God." And wherever we find the fruits of the spirit we may be sure that the spirit dwells there, else the fruits could not exist. We should be more anxious to possess the fruits, than the gifts, of the spirit. Paul exalts one of the fruits, LOVE, as being more desirable than any or all the gifts without it.
Let us for a moment look at the type which seems given to illustrate our anointing of the spirit, viz.: The anointing of Aaron. (Lev. 8.) The holy oil type of the spirit was poured upon his head in profusion. So the spirit was given to our head, Jesus, without measure. As the oil ran down all over Aaron, "even to the skirts of his garments," so in due time – Pentecost – the (oil) spirit descended from our exalted head upon us, his body, and all through this age, it has flowed down, down, touching every child of God. Now, to ask God for a fresh baptism would be to ask amiss, for if His word abide in us, we should remember that he said: "The Father shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever (aion the age), even the spirit of truth." Jno. 14:16.
Now, while it would be no more proper for us to pray for another baptism of the spirit than it would have been for Moses to have anointed Aaron twice, still as individuals, you and I may not have our hearts as full of the spirit of truth as it is our privilege to be. As God's children, we are entitled to "be filled with the spirit," and we cannot ask for this filling too earnestly, nor too frequently go to the fountain of truth – the word of God, at which we may copiously drink into His spirit. The more of the spirit we receive the more we will have room for. The new spirit of the new nature displaces and removes the old, carnal or fleshly spirit, and gives us room for more. And we repeat, there is abundant measure to fill full as they will hold, all of our "earthly vessels."
Zion is a general name for the entire nominal church. At present in the mortal, flesh and blood condition, she cannot enter into the kingdom of God; the spiritual condition must first be reached. At present God holds out to her "exceeding great and precious promises" by which (promises) some children are begotten in her to spiritual life.
We have already noticed that under various figures, as Babylon's fall – Israel's stumbling – coming through great tribulation – saved so as by fire, etc., the word of God pictures severe anguish and trials coming upon the church during "the harvest" or end of the Gospel age; and the text to which our subject refers describes it as travail. Travail is deathly anguish, and like the other figures used, is powerfully illustrative of the severity of Zion's trouble. The illustration shows too, the necessity of the trouble; without the travail Zion's children cannot all be born – delivered.
We have seen that the trouble upon the world begins by the overthrow of the nominal church, and indeed every day since 1878 where we believe the nominal church was given up to her travail [It, however, will not fully commence until the "first born" – "little flock" are born, an event expected during 1881.] seems to witness the uprising of new elements for her overthrow. Spiritualism is misleading thousands and infidelity tens of thousands. Col. Ingersol alone is doing a wonderful work in the way of sowing seeds of contempt for Zion, which already are taking root and must soon bud and blossom into open opposition to her. We believe that there is not a single person who hears his anti-religious lectures with candid and unbiased mind, who has not had his faith in the teachings of the (so called) orthodox churches unsettled forever. Those only who have seen to some extent the inconsistencies of the churches, the errors of their teachings, and have caught a glimpse (at least) of the great loving plan of God relative to the blessing of the world in the ages to come, can come away unshaken.
The nominal church of the third century began to leave the word of God for the traditions of men, and abandoned the narrow way for the easier road of harmony with the world. This resulted in Papacy's exaltation to power, and the substituting of the churches fiat instead of the Bible as the only law of Christians, and the destruction of all Bibles known to exist – it being claimed that they were no longer necessary, but actually pernicious, as the voice of the church was the law of God.
We would not be understood as intimating that all the children of Zion have been engulfed in Papacy. No, we believe that all through those dark ages there were members of the little flock who maintained their walk in the narrow way. Some of them were known as Waldenses, Huguenots, etc. This reign of Papacy led to a sad condition of ignorance, superstition and blindness to truth, which was only partially relieved by the great work known as the Reformation. We would not be misunderstood as intimating that the work of the Reformers was little or valueless; on the contrary, we believe theirs was a grand work. Taking the Bible, neglected and prohibited for years, they boldly preached the necessity of taking it as the only rule of faith and practice, and not the creeds of the church, and the result of their preaching was evidently, the development of many noble Christians as well as a general arousing of nominal Zion. And had the work there begun, been continued, Zion would not now be in her present deplorable condition, saying: I am rich and increased in goods, knowing not that she is really wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind. [Rev. 3:17.] But, elated with the victories over some of the Romish darkness and error, the Church of the Reformation soon sat down self-complacently and at ease, evidently forgetting that though then in the light, she should walk (advance) in the light, and that if she sat down at ease the "light which shines more and more" would go far beyond her, and she would soon "sit in darkness."
Again, Zion follows Papacy's rule of putting her creeds instead of the word of God, so that all offenders at her bar are tried by the "authorities" or "standards" of the church; by which is meant, not God's word – the Bible, but the word of the founders and lights of their church; forgetting that the one church or body of Christ which admits of no scism, has but one authority or head – the Lord Jesus – by whose written word every member's faith and practice must be judged – "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Nominal Zion recognizes no increase of light shining more and more (Prov. 4:18.) No, she is perfectly satisfied with the light of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. But there are some who cannot [R183 : page 7] be bound to the dim light of by-gone days, understanding that the same Bible which accomplished the Reformation work is necessary to the Christian's growth in grace and knowledge to-day.
Because the Protestant Churches have adopted methods like that of Papacy, avoiding many of the grosser sins, but, nevertheless, like her being joined to the world and seeking its favor, establishing church authorities instead of God's word, etc.; because of this likeness to her they are Scripturally reckoned as her daughters, and she is called the "Mother of harlots." These all, Protestant daughters and Papal mother, as well as the few who walk in the light, and recognize the authority and control of neither, but of God's word only – called "they that have not worshiped the beast (Papacy) nor its image" (Protestantism) – all of these are Zion, in the general sense, and include both wheat and tares. (Matt. 13.) Because she loves this present world and will not walk in the narrow way, in which the light shines, she has never been fully freed from Papal error and darkness, and the truth she holds is so mixed with error that she is unable to defend it against the attacks of infidelity and other devices of the enemy, to accomplish her final overthrow.
We have already seen that the trouble upon the world is spoken of as the seven last plagues, which intimates that some preceded these last. We saw by looking at the types – the plagues upon Egypt, that there were three first and seven last, which first three we understand to be the trouble or travail of Zion, during which three plagues or travail, all of the wheat will be separated from the tares – all of God's real children will be separated from the nominal Church in obedience to [R184 : page 7] the call. "Come out of her, my people, etc.;" and consequently these will be protected during the seven last plagues.
We have learned that two classes of Children of God are to be born of Zion. We understand that our present condition is that of begotten, embryo children, and that our resurrection or change to spiritual conditions will be the birth into the perfection of our new nature, to which we are now begotten. The first-born of Zion's children is, the Christ – Jesus and "the church (ecclesia-body) of the first-born" – these, with Him, constituting the "little flock," to whom "it is the Father's good pleasure to give the kingdom." The after-born children of Zion constitute the "great multitude that no man can number," who "wash their robes" and "come up out of great tribulation," who with palms stand "before the throne," in which the first-born, overcomers sit crowned. Christ (head and body), the first fruits, (first-born,) afterwards they that are Christ's at His [parousia] presence (1 Cor. 15:23) – the day of wrath. Those gathered during that day are the "many brethren" of the "household of faith."
If, now, we have Zion, her children and her travail before our minds, let us notice some scriptures which bear directly on the birth of Zion's children. Isaiah, (66:7-8,) referring to the matter, says: "Before she travailed she brought forth; before her pain came she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things?"
What a clear picture is this: The "great multitude" of Zion's children will be born after her travail – come up to glory through great tribulation. But her first born is an exception to this rule; it – Christ Jesus the head, and the members of the body – will be born, come into the perfect spiritual condition "like unto Christ's glorious body" before the travail. Yes, before she travailed she brought forth, before her pain came she was delivered of a man child. How much this is in harmony with Jesus' instructions; while intimating that the time of trouble would come upon nearly all, he says: "Watch ye that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all those things coming upon the world." The overcomers escape all the travail of Zion and the wrath on the world, share the kingdom with their Lord, and as members of His body, are "joint heirs" with him and "inherit all things." This is the seed of the woman that shall crush the serpent's head. This is "the seed of Abraham" (Gal. 3:29) that shall bless all the families of the earth.
This is the one body whose head Jesus was "The first born from the dead" eighteen centuries ago, whose body will also be born before Zion's travail. These are the "Kings and priests unto God," who, during the present age have at the same time been, both the household of Priests typified by Aaron's sons, and also the members of the High Priest's body. These during the millennial age will be, with their head "a priest upon his throne." – Thou "hast made us (the body) unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth." (Rev. 5:10.) – their reign in the exercise of this double office, being typified by Melchisadec – "King of Salem (peace) and priest of the most high God." This is the company that follow the Lamb here, and will do so hereafter, to whom he said, "Fear not little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
These two companies, the few before, and the many after travail, are the only children ever born to Zion. (The type shows that she dies in travail) i.e., the gospel age here ending, the gospel church will no longer exist as an earthly institution, and thereafter exist only as the glorified, spiritual city or church. These two companies, as heretofore shown, are the only ones to whom the high calling of becoming sons of God on the spiritual plane is offered; the only ones begotten of the Spirit, consequently, the only ones who could be born of the Spirit.
The blessing which comes to the world is never called a begetting to newness of life – or a new kind of life, but a restitution (restoring) of the old life, which is forfeited by reason of disobedience and sin. For there shall be a restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21.) The church, on the contrary, are begotten to a new nature, which implies new powers, and a new form, for "as we have borne the image of the earthly (natural) we shall also bear the image heavenly" (spiritual.)
The grandeur of our high calling, is but imperfectly seen until we realize that it shall be our pleasurable work during the Millennial age when joined with our head to restore the human family to all the perfections of mind and body, lost through Adam, brought back by Christ's death. Beloved, let us more highly appreciate "our high calling, which is of God, in Christ Jesus."
Many types are furnished us illustrative of the two houses of Israel (natural and spiritual), and their relationship to each other; yet no two of these illustrate exactly the same features. Among the more prominent we might mention Ishmael and Isaac, who represented the natural and spiritual seeds of Abraham, both of whom were blessed, but not to the same degree. Their mothers, Hagar and Sarah, we have seen to be types of the Law and Gospel covenants, under which the two seeds are developed. Isaac and Rebecca, another beautiful type, shows us the relationship to which the "little flock" shall come as the Bride of Christ, when she becomes joint heir with Him. Jacob and Esau typically show how the natural seed, though first developed, failed to receive the choicest blessing. As "Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage," so natural Israel, when they might have inherited the (spiritual) promises, chose instead natural things. The Gospel church, represented by Jacob – though developed later, gets the choicest blessing – the spiritual. "What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith; but Israel, which followed after the law of righteous, hath not attained." [Rom. 9:11,30.]
But now another type not before noticed by us, presents itself, and is fully as clear, when seen, as the others, and illustrates particular features of truth not pictured in the others. Rachel, seems to be a type of the Gospel church in many particulars; and her sister Leah would correspondingly represent the fleshly Israel. Jacob served seven years for each of these, which might be understood as typifying the equality of the two ages – Jewish and Gospel – which we have already found to be of equal measure.
Again, as Rachel was the one chiefly loved and first promised, so the Gospel covenant, the most desirable, was made before "the Law" covenant [Gal. 3:8,17] though the latter was first recognized, and the children of the flesh born first, (Rom. 9:8) called "Israel after the flesh." (1 Cor. 10:18.)
But our chief interest centers in Rachel. Her first born was Joseph, who seems to be a type of "the Christ." He was exalted next to Pharaoh (type of God.) – "Only in the throne shall I be greater than thou." So it is true now of our head (Jesus) and will soon be true of the whole body. "Him hath God highly exalted, and given him a name that is above every name." We understand then that Rachel's first born typified the little flock, to whom it is the Father's good pleasure to give the kingdom – whose head is Jesus.
How this type harmonizes with the foregoing article. How perfectly does Rachel typify Zion, having two offsprings – the first to rule; the second also beloved born after travail – death anguish. How the death of Rachel shows the end of Zion's career as an earthly church when the "great company" are born after the trouble.
Joseph, when in power, blessed his brethren, and ultimately made himself known to them. So we expect that when the kingdom is given to the "little flock" in the very beginning of the reign, the time of trouble will be so ordered as to bring our brethren (the second company still in the flesh and "Israel after the flesh" – Benjamin and the brethren) into such a position as will result in their blessing. The distinction made between Benjamin and the other brethren is shown in Joseph's blessing him with five times as much as they received, (Gen. 43:34; 45:22) which shows the greater blessing of the spiritual brethren typified by Benjamin over that of the natural brethren – fleshly Israel, typified by the sons of Leah.
Brother Sunderlin, in closing a letter, recently received, said: "This twig sends love to all the branches of the vine." We take this opportunity of sending it to such branches as are readers of the WATCH TOWER. It expresses a very beautiful sentiment, and shows the modesty of the "twig." This, as has previously been shown in the WATCH TOWER, is the right understanding of the word "branch," as used by our Lord. It is common to hear people speak of belonging to the Methodist branch of the church, or the Baptist, or other branches, thus recognizing the fact that THE CHURCH is not a branch, but a vine, composed of all truly united to Christ. A careful reading will convince anyone that Jesus recognizes no denomination as a branch. Jesus deals with us as individuals; each Christian who consecrates himself to Christ is a branch of the vine. "I am the vine, ye are the branches."
If all could know and appreciate this, it would make them less particular about having their names enrolled on earth, and more particular about having their "names written in heaven;" less careful about the "voice" and "authorities" of an earthly institution, and more careful about the authority and voice of the Master and Head, Christ. – "The head of every man (believer) is Christ, and the head of Christ is God." [1 Cor. 11:3.]
Well, we thought that most of the branches would appreciate Bro. S.'s sentiment, for Love is the essence of the branch as well as of the vine, and in answering him, we suggested that he write some for our paper, which would be one means by which he might add to the spiritual health, comfort and fruitfulness of some of the "branches." He has concluded to do so, and we have added his name to the list of contributors on first page. This number contains two articles from his pen.
Ans. – In the main, yes. Perhaps no two writers would express the same thoughts in exactly the same words, but the sentiments, etc., I endorse, as being in my judgment in harmony with the teachings of the Word. Let me guard you, however, against supposing that the change from natural to spiritual bodies will be either a gradual one, or one of which you might be in doubt. We shall be "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," and it will be a radical change. No longer, natural, earthly, weak and corruptible, but powerful, spiritual, incorruptible, immortal – "like unto Christ's glorious body;" though appearing (as seems to be taught in the types) for awhile to mankind in general, as though we had not been changed. When thus changed, we can see all others on the spiritual plane, the Lord, the prophets and resurrected saints and those similarly changed. The vail will be only to those on the natural plane. Therefore be not deceived into supposing either yourself or others changed until you can do as Jesus said everyone born of the Spirit can do, and as he did when he was born from the dead, viz.: Go and come like the wind, and no man know whence you came or whither you went. "So is every one that is born of the Spirit." Jno. 3:6.
How beautifully clear it is that our change from natural to spiritual conditions is not the marriage but a preparation for it. The Bridegroom is since His resurrection a spiritual body, and how fittingly proper it would seem that the bride should be changed to the same image and nature before sharing the glory of power with him – the marriage.
In the fourth century a young earnest disciple sought an interview with the great and good Macarius, and asked him what was meant by being dead to sin. He said, "You remember our brother who died and was buried a short time since. Go to his grave and tell him all the unkind things you ever heard of him. Go, my son, and hear what he will answer." The young man doubted whether he understood; but Macarius only said, "Do as I tell you, my son; and come and tell me what he says." He went, and came back, saying, "I can get no reply; he is dead." "Go again and try him with flattering words – tell him what a great saint he was, what noble work he did, and how we miss him; and come again, and tell me what he says." He did so, but on his return said, "He answers nothing, father; he is dead and buried." "You know now, my son," said the old father, "what it is to be dead to sin, dead and buried with Christ. Praise and blame are nothing to him who is really dead and buried with Christ." (Rom. 6:3.)– Selected.
Some of the tracts seem to require much more time for preparation than we had expected, especially the one on the "Tabernacle." Our Western trip we therefore indefinitely postpone. You will, however, be duly advised of the time through our paper or by mail. [R204 : page 8]
With this number we send Tract No. 1. We have arranged for quite a number of them, and you may expect one or two a month for several months. They will all be free, on condition that you order no more than you will wisely use.
We will not send more than 25 at one time. You can re-order when they are gone. This is a way in which all can "both labor and suffer reproach," as well as give the "glad tidings" to some who have ears to hear and hearts to appreciate; "The love of God, which passeth all understanding," revealed to us in His word.
If each one having a book will mark these changes in his book, it may help whoever reads it. We discover quite a number of typographical errors, and words misspelled, which we trust the reader to correct. The three mentioned above are perhaps the most important mistakes; the second and third very important.
We have received, during the last month, quite a number of letters, inquiring whether we have regular meetings, and where held; the writers expressing themselves as desirous of meeting with us when in the city. [R204 : page 8]
We have meetings every Sunday from 2:30 to 4 P.M., and a Wednesday evening meeting at 7:30 o'clock. We shall make any who can meet with us very welcome. It was quite a neglect, that a regular standing notice of these meetings has not been kept in the paper from the first; It will, however, be found this month and hereafter, in first column of first page. [R204 : page 8]
IT seems to me the trials and the temptations of this life are all making us fit for the life to come – building up a character for eternity. You have been in a piano manufactory; did you ever go there for the sake of music? Go into the tuning room and you will say, "My dear sir, this is a dreadful place to be in; I cannot bear it; I thought you made music here." They say, "No we do not produce music here; we make the instruments and tune them here, and in the process much discord is forthcoming." Such is the church of God on earth. The Lord makes the instruments down here, and tunes them, and a great deal of discord is perceptible, but it is all necessary to prepare us for the everlasting harmonies up yonder. – Spurgeon. [R204 : page 8]
– Subscribers write us saying that they are 'very poor and will send money for the paper as soon as they can get it.' To answer all such at once let us say, that if you are very poor we do not want you to send us any money. Let us know that you want it and you can have it free.