|J. H. PATON||ALMONT, MICH.|
|W. I. MANN||BRADDOCK, PA.|
|B. W. KEITH||DANSVILLE, N.Y.|
|A. D. JONES||PITTSBURGH, PA.|
|L. ALLEN||HONEOYE, N.Y.|
The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he can not and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
This paper will be sent to those desiring it, upon application. As this constitutes a part of the preaching of the Gospel, it is our belief it should be without money and without price. If any one wishes to give to the maintenance of this branch of the service, let him give according to his estimation of its value and of his ability. Free-will offerings and communications may be sent to the Editor, addressed as above, and all "money orders," "drafts," &c., made payable to him. No agents are authorized to take donations for "ZION'S WATCH TOWER."
Service held in "Curry Institute Hall," corner Penn avenue and Sixth street, Pittsburgh, at 3:00 o'clock P.M., every Sunday. Every Wednesday evening, at No. 80 Cedar avenue, Allegheny, at 7:30 o'clock P.M. All are cordially invited.
The Editor never enjoyed a year so much – of growth in grace and in knowledge and in love – as the one just closed: He hopes, and has reason to believe from the expressions of hundreds of letters received, that the readers have been similarly blessed. And for us all we pray that our bountiful Father and present King, may continue to dispense his favors feeding, strengthening and enlightening us more and more during the year begun.
First: This is a part of the preaching of the gospel, and it is both without price and beyond price; and we believe that it would be just as proper to charge for admission to hear the spoken Word – or to charge pew rent – as to charge for the written gospel.
Second: Many of the Lord's purest jewels are very poor, and though the paper was offered – "Free to the poor," many of this class do not like to ask favors except of the Lord: Such, under our new terms, will feel no embarrassment in asking for it; and coming to them like all the bounties of heaven – sunshine, air, etc., they will appreciate it more as one of the gifts which "cometh down from our Father."
Third: The subscription price was made so low in endeavoring to make it burdenless upon the majority of our readers who cannot well afford to spend more, that it did not pay expenses. (The paper from the first, has only paid about two-thirds of its expenses – not to mention the additional cost of Supplements during the last six months.)
Fourth: The truth is worth more than gold, and its price is above rubies, and doubtless there are some who could as well pay one hundred or one thousand dollars, as others could pay one dollar; and the new terms will place the responsibility where it belongs – with each one of us according to our several ability.
Fifth: If it is the right way, as we believe, it should be followed regardless of consequences, and will be. If the means necessary for its publication become exhausted, the paper will stop. We will not go into debt, neither will we ever beg – It is the Lord's business; He is rich – "all the gold and silver of the mountains are his, and the cattle upon a thousand hills," and if he does not supply necessary means, we should know of no better way of judging that he wished the paper discontinued. Therefore,
Brethren and sisters who have heretofore taken subscriptions for this paper, will please notice the change and hereafter collect no money, on account of this paper. If disposed, they may take the addresses of those who desire and request the paper, and forward the same to this office. All free will offerings to the WATCH TOWER, should be sent direct to its office.
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because he hath anointed me to preach good tidings (gospel) unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year (time) of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God." Isa. 61:1.
This prophecy Jesus quoted (Luke 4:18) and applied to himself and his work. We found that he was thus anointed when, at 30 years of age he had reached the perfection of manhood, having presented himself to his Father – a living sacrifice; indicating his surrender or death by being baptised of John in Jordan, and symbolizing his faith in the power and will of God to raise him from the tomb to newness of life – as a spiritual being. It was because John had been a witness of this anointing of Jesus, that he bore record, saying – "And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." John 1:32-34.
We next inquire – Of what value to Jesus was this anointing? – and find answer that it was of the utmost importance: though he had been a spiritual being yet he had given that up when he took our nature, which is not spiritual, but human; consequently he no longer had a spiritual body, but a human or fleshly body – in fashion as a man. Understand us; we believe that there was no sham or pretention in this matter – no false pretence on the part of the Father and Jesus: We believe that Jesus actually gave up entirely and forever, his existence as a spiritual or heavenly being, changing or transferring it for a human or earthly existence. We state the matter thus plainly because so many have the idea that Jesus retained his spiritual being, merely covered, or concealed under the guise or pretence (deception we should call it) that he was a man. Such are continually in trouble and difficulty to explain away the statement that "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin," and the temptation of the devil in the wilderness, etc.
Now, if he really took a human nature and became a man, we can understand how he that was rich (in a better state or condition), for our sakes became poor, that we, through his poverty, might become rich. If he merely left his riches for a few years to return again, and never really gave up his right or claim to them, then he did not become poor, but only appeared or pretended to do so.
But we prefer to take it as it says, and believe that God is true, though it contradict a great many men's theories – He who was rich, became poor – He who was a spiritual being, became a human or earthly being; not a depraved and death-condemned human being. No; having done no sin, it would have been unjust in the Father to have placed him under sin's penalty – "the bondage of corruption" – death. No; though of our own nature, he was the perfection of it, and stood on precisely the same plane that Adam occupied before sin, abundant arrangement being made for this in his miraculous birth.
When he had reached the perfection of manhood (thirty years), knowing why he had taken that nature – that it was not because he wanted to be a man and live on earth, rather than be a spiritual being and live in heavenly conditions – but that he might carry out the Father's plans, and redeem mankind from death, by giving himself a ransom for them, that, "as by man came death, by a man also, came [the right of] resurrection of the dead" – that "as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (man) shall many be made righteous." Rom. 5:19.
This was necessary, for according to God's own arrangement of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life, none but a human being could redeem or pay the ransom for humanity, and hence the necessity that he who was rich should become poor.
As we have seen, Jesus understood the object of his having become a man, and hastened at once to fulfill it, saying, in the language of the prophet, "Lo, I come! In the volume of the book it is written of me to do thy will, O God." The Father's will was that that perfect being should freely deliver himself up to death as a ransom for us all. Did Jesus do this? Yes, everything was consecrated – a living sacrifice, there at Jordan – in the symbolic water baptism. Earthly life was henceforth to be surrendered and spent daily and hourly until it would ALL be gone – swallowed up of death – a ransom for many.
But, having given up his life, unless it was a mere sham and pretence, his existence must have forever ended, says some one. We answer, yes; he gave all that he had. (Matt. 13:44.) But the Father's promise, which he well understood, was that if he were obedient in this matter, "even unto death," He, the Father, would create him again – a new creation, different from the human creatures, and though spiritual also, yet different from and higher than the angelic creatures; in a word, he would highly exalt him – though before he became a man he had been the chief of all God's creation – "the beginning of the creation of God." Yet if thus obedient unto death, he was to be exalted far above all, and to a higher position and condition than he himself had previously enjoyed – to become a partaker of the DIVINE NATURE, a sharer of the Divine Glory, Honor and Immortality.
The value then of the anointing, was, that by it the Father gave witness that the sacrifice was accepted; it was the seal or evidence to him that the Father would give him the promised DIVINE NATURE when he had finished and fulfilled the covenant there made, when he had actually given his life. And it was more, it was the power of God, which dwelling in him, enabled him not only to know [R240 : page 2] the Father's will, but also to do it. Thus, because he had entirely laid aside his own will, the Father worked in him both to will and to do of his good pleasure, so that he could and did say, "Not my will, but Thine be done."
It was of this indwelling spirit or power of God, that Jesus spoke, when he said: "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (John 14:10.) And it was not merely because he was a perfect man, while all others were imperfect, but also because his words were indited of the indwelling Spirit of the Father, that men said of him: "Never man spake like this man."
Does any one question this? We refer to Peter's words (Acts 10:37-39) "That word ye know, which was published throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power, [thus constituting him Jesus the Christ, which means Jesus the anointed,] who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him, and we are witnesses."
To him who so loved the world as to surrender his life for them, it must have been a great pleasure to be permitted to declare to the ones being redeemed, the good news of the blessing to result to them, and so Jesus preached.
We next inquire as to the exact doctrines which Jesus was anointed to preach, assured that if we can understand it we shall get the cream of all true doctrine and the essence of all correct preaching. Was he anointed to preach that every one who did not believe in the "shorter catechism" and the eternal torment of nine-tenths of the human race, would himself be condemned to never-ending torments? No. Was he anointed to preach such a torment as being the doom of any of God's creatures, no matter how wicked, no matter against how much light they had sinned? No, the prophet knew nothing about such preaching commission. Where then did the preachers of to-day get the authority to preach these doctrines, and to make them the back-bone of all their teachings? Not from the Law or the Prophets, or the Gospel (good news) of Jesus and his Apostles, we are sure: – probably from the "tradition of the elders," and the creeds formed in the "dark ages," when God's people began to get free from what Luther called "the dung-hill of Romish decretals." But what, according to the prophet, was Jesus anointed to preach? The prophet answers us: "To preach the good news to the meek." What is the "good news?" It is "Liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."
How singular – did Jesus tell of the emancipation of slaves – of the freedom of the serfs of Russia, or the negroes of America? And did he preach that there would be a general discharge of all culprits in states prisons? Surely this last would not be "good news."
Ah no my brother; it was slaves – bondmen and bond-women of another sort whose freedom he proclaimed. All mankind are slaves to sin, bound and crippled by the various maladies which sin brought upon them; and millions had gone down into the great prison house – the tomb. These were the captives and this the prison, and of no others did Jesus preach. But did he in his preaching ever refer to these and preach the deliverance of these captives? Yes, oh yes, repeatedly; hear him: "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in [R241 : page 2] the graves shall hear his (Jesus') voice and shall come forth." "The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of man and they that hear shall live." (John 5:25,28.) Again, "I am the resurrection and the life."
As Jesus preached freedom from evil maladies, and death, he exemplified the power and authority of his preaching by "healing all manner of diseases," raising the dead to life, and turning sadness and mourning into gladness and joy, giving "beauty for ashes." And all of those miracles and all of Jesus' preaching was but the proof or exemplification of the power by which the great work, not yet commenced should finally be accomplished. The apostle indicates this when he says concerning Jesus' miracles – "These things did Jesus and manifested forth [before the time – the Millennial age] his glory." (John 2:11.) Thus did Jesus preach by word and illustration the coming emancipation of mankind from the thraldom of disease and death – "liberty to the captives and opening of the prison to them that are bound."
But while Jesus had this general proclamation of deliverance for the world he had a special message to some – viz.: an invitation to those who would, to enter in at the strait gate and the narrow (difficult) way, and become with him joint heirs to "Glory, Honor and Immortality." Of this way he truly said – "Few there be that find it." And foreknowing that few would take up their cross and follow him, he called those who would do so and thereby become heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised, a little flock – saying: "Fear not little flock it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." And this feature of Jesus' preaching is mentioned by the prophet – "To appoint [promise] unto them that mourn in Zion [the repentant] to give unto them...the oil of joy for the spirit of mourning; (this is the promise of the spirit to all who truly turn to God. Oil, is a symbol of the spirit. Thus the "little flock" is promised a share of the same anointing as their head – Jesus,) that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he might be glorified.
Thus did Jesus preach the "good news" in two parts – First to the world a restitution of all things by a resurrection – illustrated by his miracles; and second – the great prize and blessing obtainable by those who will now walk in "the narrow way" illustrated in his own person, for he set us an example that we should walk in his footsteps.
The anointing spirit power which came first upon the head was due and did in due time (Pentecost) come upon the church which is his body. And the anointing which she there received abideth in her. (1 Jno. 2:27.) Why was the church anointed? The word answers – that she might share with her Lord in the present time the dishonor and sacrifice and in the coming age of glory be joined with him in glory and power. And more – as he was "anointed to preach the good news" so must we, his body, be anointed to preach the same gospel with its same two parts – viz.: that for the world – freedom – restitution through ransom and a resurrection; and for the little flock who follow the Lamb – the kingdom, through the ransom and consecration.
This is all of it, just what it is called – "good news." It is what the apostles preached – "that there shall be a resurrection of the dead both of the just and unjust." (Acts 24:15.) They "preached through Jesus (because of the ransom he had paid) the resurrection from the dead." (Acts 4:2 and 17; 17:32; and 23:6.)
The news was so new to them and so good that the Pharisees and religious teachers could not believe it to be true; they had become so accustomed to binding on mankind burdens which they did not help to remove, (Matt. 23:4) that though the common people "wondered at the gracious words (words of love and promises of release from death,) which proceeded out of his mouth," the church authorities were "grieved." Thus it still is and ever will be – the preaching of the cross and its value as the price of the peace of all sinners, has always been to all but those anointed to preach it – "foolishness."
We answer all who receive of the anointing spirit and are thus recognized as members of the body of Christ (the anointed.) Of each member it is true as of the head – "He hath anointed me to preach the gospel." We have each gifts and talents differing from the other and none of us are like our head, perfect, but each is responsible for such and so much preaching as he can do. Some can preach to multitudes; others to the twos and threes; others from house to house; others can drop a word in season; others can distribute tracts; others can give of the consecrated money entrusted to their stewardship to help others preach. Some can do several of these things, and some can do all of them, and all can and should preach by their life and customs the power of the good news to transform, for we are all living epistles, known and read of all men.
Are you preaching? We believe that none will be of the little flock except preachers. Are you preaching with all your talents and all your might? If so, you will by-and-by hear the words: "Well done good and faithful!" If not, begin now; remember that you consecrated your all before you were anointed, and now you cannot be an overcomer and keep back part of the price. (Acts 5:4.) Paul says: "Ye know your calling, brethren." Yes, we were called to suffer with him and to proclaim the good news now, that in due time we might be glorified and perform the things now preached. We were not called, nor anointed to receive honor and amass wealth, but to spend and be spent, and to preach the good news. Let us give all diligence to make our calling sure and to perform that for which we were anointed.
If Jesus was anointed of the Spirit to preach coming blessings and freedom to Death's captives, tell me was his preaching (and ours) true? Will there ever be such a wholesale release? Yes, oh yes. "As in Adam all die, even so (unconditionally so far as they are concerned) in (or by) Christ, shall all be made alive." But the preaching of the good news comes before the performance of the blessings promised. Now the preaching is going on "to the meek" – those willing and able to hear, in order to develop from among them the body of Christ, the joint heirs.
This work is almost finished, and soon the actual blessing (instead of the promise) will be given. Then we shall have Jesus' words fulfilled: "Greater works than these shall ye do." The works which Jesus did were raising the dead, healing the sick, opening blind eyes, etc., and none of the disciples ever did greater works, hence the application of this language applies to the Millennial Age, and the great works there to be performed, of which Jesus' miracles were but illustrations of a less important character. The work of the coming Glory Age, opening the eyes of men's understanding, that they may understand the truth; the unstopping of the deaf ears that they may hear and know of "the love of God which passeth all understanding;" the making whole of the sin-sick, and the healing of the morally lame and crooked, are surely far, far greater things than the temporary healings which Jesus accomplished and which served only to show forth his (coming) glory.
The acceptable time is this Gospel Age, during which, if any man hear the good news and fully consecrate himself to God, a living sacrifice, he will be accepted and made a joint heir with Jesus Christ our Lord. It is an acceptable time in that, during this age, God accepts of all such sacrifices. And it ends with this age because the "little flock" will be complete, and no more will be accepted to the DIVINE NATURE.
The day of vengeance of our God is the time of fire, or purifying trouble, in which the world and all the church, except the "little flock," are to be tried and purged, and made ready for the blessings of the Millennial Age. [It is this Day of the Lord," in which, from prophetic evidences, we believe we have been, since 1874, and which we believe will continue with increasing severity – first, on nominal Zion, and secondly, upon the world, until 1914, the first seven years of which, as heretofore shown, are years of favor and end in October of this year.]
Jesus, in applying this prophecy to himself, stopped in the middle of this paragraph, and said nothing relative to the "Day of Vengeance," because it was not then due. The Spirit, through the Word, now shows it to be due. We believe, and therefore now declare it.
How intimate a relationship this shows between Him, as head, and us as the body of the Lord's anointed. The special work of announcing this "Day of the Lord" – "Day of Vengeance," being done now, because now due, is mentioned as being part of the good news proclaimed by the Lord's anointed. It is good news only as we are able to recognize the blessed results God intends shall follow afterward.
God having called us to preach the Good News, let us see to it that we do his will, and with Paul, we should feel, "woe is me if I preach not the Gospel." But if you are filled with the subject this privilege will be your greatest pleasure and chiefest joy, and you can truly say:
"I love to tell the story."
How difficult a thing it seems, to believe spiritual things; that is to say things belonging or pertaining to spiritual beings or conditions. Our experiences as men – earthly beings – are so constant that our ideas are apt to be entirely from that standpoint, while only those who are separated from the earth by their hopes and ambitions, and who are continuously making spiritual things their study, are able at all to appreciate them and to rightly divide truth and discriminate between earthly and spiritual things.
How few there are who know that there is a natural (or human) body and there is a spiritual body; their only idea of organization is drawn from their daily experiences; they never saw any person whose body was not flesh and bones and blood and therefore they do not believe that there could be a being differently constructed. This is human reason unguided by the Spirit and consequently it frequently finds itself in direct conflict with the "Sword of the Spirit – the word of God." – (Eph. 6:17.) For instance, they can tell you they say, just exactly what they will be like in the future – that is just like what they now are except free from present weaknesses and ailments; and they know too just what Jesus will be like; they say he will be just as he was when crucified, the same wounds in hands, feet, brow, etc., for they insist that it is "This same Jesus," who shall come and reign. Now, we do not blame those who cannot see spiritual things for looking at and imagining everything on the earthly plane, for we know (The Spirit declares it – 1 Cor. 2:14.) "The natural (human) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God – (they are foolishness unto him,) neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned." But to those who have a spiritual eye to see and a spiritual ear to hear we would say: Paul teaches such that there will be a complete change from natural (human) to spiritual conditions on the part of that "little flock" to whom it is the Father's good pleasure to give the kingdom which "flesh and blood cannot inherit." – (1 Cor. 15:50.) So great a change we repeat, that "it doth not yet appear what we shall be." The spirit-begotten Apostle knew of the human nature and human body, and if we were to be changed to the perfection of humanity he well knew how to so express it, but knowing all this he positively asserts that after the change it will be a spiritual and not a natural body, and that "it doth not yet appear what" a spiritual body is or what may be all of its powers – but "we shall be like Him." It follows then that Jesus will be different from what he was also, so different that Paul intimates that though he (and he only – 1 Cor. 15:8) had seen him after his change he could not describe him, and we could not understand what our change will be, or what his was, until changed and made "like unto Christ's glorious body."
"Who says that the body with nail prints in the hands and feet was Christ's glorious body? Certainly there is no one who has his senses exercised in spiritual things who cannot see that "the body of flesh" – "the likeness of men" – "the form of a servant" was not His glorious body, but the one taken in order that "He...might taste death for every man."
If then, Jesus took a human nature and form that "as by man came death, by man also might come the resurrection of the dead," (1 Cor. 15:21) and if we are told that he has now another nature and spiritual form, shall we not recognize two – first the natural (human) afterward the spiritual? It was the man (anointed Jesus) who died for our sins; but he is a man no longer; he is now a spiritual being. He as a man was "obedient unto death even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him" (Phil. 2:9) and his is no longer the human nature and form, but the Divine. He is now a "glorious body" – the express image of the Father's person – of the invisible God," "whom no man hath seen nor can see." Paul as one born (resurrected) before the time was granted a glimpse of the glorified Jesus, which destroyed his natural sight. – (1 Cor. 15:8.) Can we doubt as to the time when Jesus received these forms? Was not the natural born of a woman, and after thirty years of growth in wisdom, stature, etc., did not the human reach its perfection? Did he not immediately (when thirty years of age) consecrate that human nature a sacrifice for the world? Was it not accepted of God, and did not the Father testify to the acceptance of that sacrifice by anointing and filling the man with His Spirit? Was not that anointing the begetting of the man Jesus to the Divine spiritual nature? Were not the three and one-half years of his ministry, years of the crucifying of the flesh or (perfect) human will of Jesus? Did he not finish the sacrifice at the cross? Was he not raised from the dead the third day? Was not that called his birth – "The first-born – from the dead" – "First-born among many brethren," etc.? Was that said to be a birth of the flesh or of the Spirit? If then He is said to have been born of the Spirit, how say some among you that he was still flesh – human – does not the Word record that "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit"? John 3:6. Was he not sown a natural body" – "raised a spiritual body"?
If then Jesus is and has been since his resurrection a spiritual body, why should we look for him to be a fleshly body at his second coming? Do you know of any place in holy writ where it says he will be changed so as to become again a human, earthly, fleshly body? Is it not foolish for those who have been somewhat enlightened by the Word of God to expect that Jesus will come in the flesh – to be seen of the earthly eye?
Have any ever seen spiritual beings – God, or Angels, or Devils – with the human eye (except as a miracle has occurred which specially revealed them as recorded in Scriptures)? Did any astronomer sweeping the sky by day or by night with powerful telescope ever see those (angels) whom Paul declares are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation" – or did they ever see Him who is called "the Devil" – the "Prince of this world" – "the Prince of the powers of the air?" Who hath seen such spiritual beings by human eyes without a miracle? If there be none why should any look for the Lord who at his resurrection became "a life-giving Spirit" to be thus visible to mortals?
But does some one object – Did not the Angels say, "This same Jesus shall come? Yes, we answer as frequently before; yes, it will be so; but was it the Jesus born of Mary, or the Jesus born of the Spirit, a spiritual body, a quickening spirit, of which the Angel spoke? You answer that it was he who was raised by the power of the Father to the perfection of spiritual being; and we answer yes, this same (spiritual) Jesus shall so come in like manner as he went away – unknown to the world who were eating, drinking, planting, and building and knew not.
So we believe he has come again, not a man but a Spirit, not a man's form of flesh – but a Spirit's form – a spiritual body. Now none can see him present but those who have spiritual eye-sight and are looking. Some who are thus looking can now see him – the eyes of their understanding being enlightened by the light shining from the more sure word of prophecy: Such walk by faith and not by sight, and may well endure "as seeing him that is invisible" to humanity.
Our mission – those who see the present one – is to declare Him to the nominal church – the ripe wheat of which, we expect will hear and recognize, while others will in this respect be blind. Our position is much like that of John the Baptist at the first advent of Jesus when he came in the flesh to "Israel after the flesh." John introduced him – announced him as the "Lamb of God" who would take away the sin of the world. So we announce him now to the Spiritual Israel as the Lord of life and King of Glory.
When addressed by the leading men of the fleshly house as to his business and his right to preach outside the pale of the Jewish church, he declares it to be his special work to bear witness to the light and the truth of the presence of Jesus the Lord's anointed. So too when we are asked for our reasons, they are these: that the King has come and is calling for the joint-heirs and they must needs be made aware of his presence. Now as then it is true, that "There standeth one among you whom you know not." Behold, see, but "look not at the things that are seen but at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen (by the natural eye) are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." – (2 Cor. 4:18.)
Though you cannot see the "reaper" you can see his work going on around you in the nominal church – the wheat and the tares – the real and the imitation must be and now are being separated, that in due time the wheat may "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" – which flesh and blood cannot inherit.
This recognition of the Lord's presence we understand to be the sanctifying and essential truth necessary to the perfecting of the saints now living, and the ability to perceive it, the test of spiritual sight now, even as at the first advent: Then, the test was not whether the Jewish church believed the Prophets – that the Messiah should come sometime, nor whether they believed that that coming would be soon, for we read that "All men were in expectation" of His coming; but the test to them was, would they believe in His presence, in a way they had not expected Him to come. So now the test is similar – not who believes Jesus is coming – but who can see Him to be present; and only those possessed of spiritual sight can see Him. "There standeth one among you (in your midst) whom you know not."
"And thou shalt make a Lampstand of pure gold: of beaten work shall the lampstand be made; his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers shall be of the same. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the lampstand out of the one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side; three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the lampstand....Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all of it shall be one beaten work of pure gold. And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof; and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it. And the tongs thereof and the snuff-dishes thereof shall be of pure gold. Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it with all these vessels. And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount." Ex. 25:31-40.
Light has ever been symbolic of that which brings joy and gladness, while by common consent night and darkness have been put for ignorance and its accompanying misery. We find all about us in nature that light is the cause of the most beneficial results, so very early in the world's history among those who were in moral darkness, light, fire, the sun, moon, &c., became objects of worship and were adored either as symbols of a god or as gods in visible form. The natural man has ever been desirous of some visible manifestation; he seeks to walk by sight; only the just – the spiritual – walk by faith. Perhaps it was for this reason mainly, that Jehovah saw fit to give so many typical forms to the children of Israel. The nations around them all had their objects of sense which, placed where they could often see them, satisfied the eye and gave them contentment. How often we have seen children, who, not satisfied with knowing that their mother was in the house, must follow her from room to room, refusing even to have a door shut between them. So we find even in this age those who must have crucifixes, pictures, relics, &c., to fill the eye, and satisfy an untutored conscience. We might come nearer home and speak of those who think there is neither life nor power without a mourners' bench and a great deal of noise and excitement, but we [R243 : page 4] remember that there are true children who are but children, and we would not offend the least. However, noise is not power, and as we are speaking of light, and of light as a symbol of God, it might be well to say that although it is one of the most powerful forces in nature, it is one of the most quiet. Bonar, who has written so much that is pure and true says:
The first recorded words of Deity are, "Let there be light." It seems to be a pre-requisite in the formation and development of the natural, and our hearts seeking spiritual light and growth, echo the cry: "Let there be light." Whither shall we go? as God is the source and fountain of all life and love, so is he the source of all light. To us he manifests himself through his Words. Not the written word alone, but its author Jesus, "The word of God." "This is the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." "In him was life and the life was the light of men."
The lampstand then primarily typifies Christ, and consequently in some sense every true member of the Christ body. Light is peculiarly expressive of the character of God and of his people. "God is light," says the beloved John. James calls him the "Father of lights with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Of his followers he says, "ye are the light of the world." The lampstand beautifully symbolizes Christ as the hope of our fallen race. It stood where there was no other light. Christ is the light of life. It had seven branches typifying perfection, or as seven is a symbol of that which is complete and entire, it represents Christ as the embodiment of light, not only the truth, but the whole truth, the fullness of God.
Light is composed of the seven primary colors, thus symbolizing Jesus as the one altogether lovely. The beautiful rainbow – the seal of promise – is but an individualizing of the pure white ray; so the hope of the world and the promise of its eternal preservation is in the manifestation of the various beauties, the ineffable glories of the immaculate one; that concentrated beam of heavenly light which piercing the dark clouds of despair, reflects even from the storm drops a vision of hope and a pledge of the covenant of mercy.
"And he made the lampstand of pure gold; of beaten work made he the lampstand. His shaft, his branch, his bowls, his knops and his flowers, were of the same." Ex. 37:17. We feel almost discouraged sometimes at the rough handling we seem to receive – the knocks and the blows. We forget the branches must be like the shaft – all of beaten work. No machine made lords of the flock, no church ornaments cast wholesale in a mold, about this lampstand; as is the shaft so are the branches – all of beaten work. In its structure there was a knop and a flower in continuous succession, typifying the beautiful graces of a Christ-like spirit accompanying the solid fruit of a christian life: a sort of combination of faith and works. It would also represent a vigorous ever-developing plant, always blooming, continually fruit bearing; like the trees growing by the river of life, yielding their fruit every month.
The tabernacle as we have seen contained wondrous things, but as there were no windows in it, they would have been unseen, but for the lampstand. The well furnished table of shew bread with its typical spiritual food, ever fresh and fragrant, was unknown to natural light; hidden to those without. Here was the Altar of Incense and the way to God, but the world by wisdom (natural light) knew not God. As Paul said to the Athenians, groping in darkness "they seek God, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." In their blindness they erect an altar inscribed, "To the unknown God." In our day men still erect altars to baseless creeds and isms, and sacrifice themselves upon them. Thank God that we can say: "With Thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light." Psa. 36:9.
The furniture of the Tabernacle was all made of wood, covered with gold, excepting this piece, which is frequently called the pure lampstand by way of pre-eminence. Like the Laver it was made of one material; like the Laver its dimensions are not given. They both evidently symbolized the illimitable truth of God. Pure and unalloyed, able to stand alone without help of human reasonings and imaginings. For long years men have been trying to excuse God's character, his dealings and his word. The truth requires no bolstering; keep it pure and you keep it safe. The poet has said:
The Laver and lampstand being without dimensions would seem to typify the fact – O that creed worshipers might see it – that truth like its author is boundless. The various sectaries scattered along the stream of truth ever flowing from the throne, have built little mud dams in the sand and have fenced off a little of the stream; and claiming that they had secured it all, have covered it up carefully from the light and air, until what should have been to them a well of life, has become a veritable frog pond. Rev. 16:13; 18:2.
In this age the Word is the lamp (Psa. 119:105; Matt. 25:1) and the church is the lampstand; (Rev. 1:20) but we think it will not always be so. Jesus said to his followers, "ye are the light of the world," and he evidently intended that his light should [R244 : page 4] shine through and be reflected by us; but in a deeper sense will we be the light of the world, when, made partakers of his glorious body, we shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father. Matt. 13:43.
After the earthly Jerusalem has been restored, the heavenly Jerusalem will be its source of light and law and will shine through it (the earthly) upon the nations. Isaiah (2:23) tells us that after the kingdom has been set up – "out of Zion (the heavenly) shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem," (the earthly). Before this takes place however, Jerusalem must first hear the cry, "Arise, shine! for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." (Isaiah 60.) This explains what John says of the new Jerusalem. The Lamb (Head and body) is the light thereof. (Also, Isa. 60:19,20.) It is evidently this heavenly company, the united and perfected body of Christ, that Malachi alludes to as the sun of righteousness that shall arise with healing in his wings to bless first the Jewish people and ultimately every man that cometh into the world. John 1:9.
The lampstand seems to have been modeled after the Almond tree with its knops, flowers and nut-like bowls. The Almond is remarkable for its early blossoming (sometimes even in January) the flowers appearing before the leaves. The Hebrew word for Almond is from a root which signifies "to hasten," being thus descriptive of the tree which hastened to put forth its blossoms in spring. Hence, it was regarded by the Jews as a harbinger of spring. The lampstand would thus symbolize the church of the first-born; and the appearance of this company arrayed in beauty, the surety that the winter is past, that the time of the singing of birds is come, that soon the voice of the dove will be heard in the land. The nations of course, will not see the church of the first-born until the eyes of their understanding are opened, which will be after the time of trouble has prepared them for the reception of the truth.
While Christ and His bride are clearly the light of the future, in this age we are dependent on the written word which is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Ps. 119:105.) In one of the visions of Zachariah (ch. 4), he saw a golden lampstand between two olive trees from which through golden pipes flowed the needed oil. The Angel explained that these lamps did not burn by human wisdom or knowledge, "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit; saith the Lord of hosts." The prophet was further told that these are the two anointed ones, (Heb., sons of oil) that stand by the Lord of "the whole earth." This helps us to understand the symbol of the two witnesses in Rev. 11 for it is written "these are the two olive trees, and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth." Thus we perceive they are the Old and New Testaments; the sources of light from which the church, (the spiritual channel,) must draw her supply of oil. These witnesses were to be clothed in sackcloth (symbolic of mourning and probably of the clothing in a dead language, Latin) during 1260 years, while they testified for God. They were killed in the Babylonian city – Rome – and exposed in one of her ten streets – France – during three and one-half years (1793 and onward). Since then, they have been caught up to heavenly places in symbolic language – a position of honor and power, and translated into nearly every tongue have witnessed to all nations as Jesus foretold.
The lampstand was the only light available to those in the Tabernacle. This shows us plainly where we must go for all our light. What if none of the rulers or of the Pharisees have believed? Why should they? Very, very few of them have entered into the presence of the lampstand. The butterflies love the sunshine. Let us be followers of Him who walked in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. He was there to trim and furnish the light; let us rejoice and walk in it.
This does not read as is generally supposed; it does not say we know that we love God because we love his children, but almost the reverse: We love the children because we love the Father. In a word, it is through our relationship and union with our Head, Jesus, that we are permitted to partake of the spirit or mind of the Father, and that spirit is the spirit of Love – love toward all that is good and noble and pure and just, and consequently, hatred of all that is impure, sinful, and opposed to the things loved – "hating iniquity" – loving righteousness.
If then you love God and have become a partaker of His spirit, ("Let the same mind [spirit] be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, our Lord") – "if the spirit of Christ dwell in you," you will love all things in which there is any good and hate all evil, because it is opposed to good. And not only so, but as John expresses it, if we are entirely surrendered to God and to obedience to his will, those to whom we will be especially drawn and whom we will especially love will be those who are begotten of the same spirit – who also love righteousness and hate iniquity.
How you have proved this in your own experience: You met a stranger and before you were aware you were acquainted; you recognized in each other the spirit of Christ and not the spirit of the world, and this was the basis of fellowship. But how shall we know whether the ones you love are the children of God or not? Perhaps you love worldly people, or perhaps you love moral people who are not new creatures, best. How can you tell? By the Apostle's rule: "By this we know that we love the children of God" – if we love God supremely.
But does some one say: "How can I know that I love God supremely?" We have heard dear Christians pray: "Oh, Lord help me to love thee," and we remember a sweet hymn which says: "Let me love thee." And we wish that all who are the Lord's might realize that love to him is not a gift to be prayed for, and not a thing which is given to us, but a thing which we ourselves must develop. The basis of all love for any person or thing is knowledge. You can only learn to love good and hate evil by becoming acquainted with them; so the way by which we come to love God is by becoming acquainted with him. We cannot become personally acquainted with him, for no man hath seen God, but we can and do become acquainted with his spirit – his mind – as we see it manifested in Christ Jesus, our Lord, and through the apostles, and through those who are entirely consecrated to him now living in the world. And the more we see of his spirit – its meekness, patience, long-suffering, charity – love, the more we come to love Him who is the fount or source of all this – for we realize that God is love.
Nor is this the only way we can [R244 : page 5] learn of God's spirit, for as we look into His Word, (having come into harmony with him and consecrated ourselves to him) the spirit of God is more and more revealed to us as we come to see his great and loving plans therein recorded; and the more we see of perfection and beauty and love in the plan, the more we will admire and love the great planner – our Father. God desires all his creatures to become acquainted with him (and in due time will cause "the knowledge of the Lord to fill the whole earth," in order that all may have an opportunity to love him – "for his mercy endureth forever") but now during this "present evil world," or time while evil is allowed to reign, he is revealing himself only to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, and who use them. If then we would love, we must know God; if we would know, we must make use of the instrumentality and search the Scriptures for his plan and will, and seek to know what is "that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." "Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord."
In the verse following the one above considered, the apostle lays down a rule by which we may know whether we really love God or not, viz.: "For this is the love of God: that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome."
Are you in the Lord's hands – are you seeking to do his will? If so, what motives actuate you – love, or fear? If fear, your service will be a drudge; you may perform, but it will be a burden and a continuous effort to render obedience to his wishes. If you serve God from love your experience will be different – it will be a pleasure to do his will; a
How simple and yet how absolute is this test of whether and how much we love God or fear him! If we fear we may obey and find it burdensome, but if we love him we keep his commands and do not find them burdensome.
Oh, how often has this burdensome obedience to God been brought to our notice! Some one whom we had supposed was serving the Lord in loving obedience begins to tell us how much he suffers for Christ's sake, and how much he bears of the burden and heat of the day laboring in the vineyard. No, if we have the spirit of Christ, we will not feel the commands of our Father burdensome, but a pleasant service, and it will be true of us as of him: "I delight to do thy will, O God."
If then the doing of the will of God be unpleasant to us, if it be not with us as with Paul, that the sacrifices of earthly things – earthly wealth, influence, pleasures, are a privilege and a joy, it must be because we lack the love of God, which constrained Paul and all the apostles to reckon all these things and life itself but loss and dross, on account of the knowledge of the anointed Jesus, our Lord, on whose account we suffer the loss of all things and consider them to be vile refuse, so that we may gain Christ. (Phil. 3:8.)
Come then, you who labor, you who are burdened in the Lord's service, come to Him who speaks, saying: "Come unto me, ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) Come, receive of his spirit of entire consecration. Then you can with him say: "I delight to do thy will, O God." Thus we will know that our obedience is from love of God – if his will is not burdensome, but a delight to us.
DEAR BROTHER – I send you a few thoughts on the tabernacle and the work of the high priest. I presume all admit that the tabernacle that God commanded Moses to build was a "figure" or "pattern" of, and was designed to teach us the way into the "true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man" (Heb. 8:2); also that the office and work of the high priest prefigured the office and work of Christ; and that the high priest making atonement with the blood (life) of the victim, carrying it into the most holy, "within the vail," and applying it to all that needed to be cleansed, foreshadowed the atonement by and application of the blood (life of Christ). Therefore, the study of the movements of the high priest in his official duties is one of great interest to us who are hopefully awaiting the blessing of Him who hath entered within the vail for us.
The 16th of Leviticus gives a pen picture of the official scene. The high priest was to be attired with linen coat, breeches, girdle and mitre. "These are holy garments" (verse 10) [Should be vs 4 - site Editor]. He was to "wash his flesh with water and so put them on." [Thus clothed with "holy" garments – or righteousness – ("The fine linen is the righteousness of saints, i.e., holy ones. Rev. 19:8) – he was prepared to offer acceptable sacrifice.]
"And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin-offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself and for his house" – "whose house are ye?" (verse 11 and Heb. 3:6). This offering of the bullock, in its antitype in the body of Jesus, which was prepared for sacrifice (Heb. 10:5) was certainly for the church, the body of Christ. The shed blood (i.e., the evidence of the completeness of the sacrifice) was carried within the vail by the high priest, and atonement made. When that work was done he came out – "his house" being typically cleansed. "THEN shall he kill the goat of the sin-offering that is for the people [type of the world, as the house of Aaron is a type of the church], and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock" (verse 15).
The point to which I would call especial attention is, the going in and coming out of the high priest. If the first going in, with the blood of the bullock, was for the "church of the first born," and, like the paschal lamb, affected only them, as seems clear, then the blood of the goat, which was not for the priesthood, but for the people, would not be applied until its blood had been carried in and sprinkled, and the high priest would again come out. It will be seen that the law teaches that the high priest goes in and comes out twice.
As the bullock represented Jesus, the Head of the church, does not the goat represent the church? As the goat followed the bullock in the sacrifice, does not the church follow her Head? Do not we "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ?" (Col. 1:24.) The Head suffered first, and the body through the Gospel age, under the control of the Spirit, as Christ in us, presenting "our bodies a living sacrifice." (Rom. 8:13 and 12:1.) If we suffer with Him, we shall be glorified with Him, and so reign with Him. (Rom. 8:17 and 2 Tim. 2:12.)
Is not then our suffering as necessary in order that we with Him may become the Kings and Priests of the world, in order to their salvation, as was His suffering necessary in order that He might be our Saviour? – it being God's purpose to bless the world, "the people," or the nations, through the Seed, Head and Body, made perfect through sufferings.
The thought, then, is, that as the bullock slain represented the sacrifice of the flesh-life of Jesus, which secured to Him the right and power to shed forth His Spirit – as the power of Eternal life – on the church, so the slain goat represented the sacrifice of the flesh-life of the church, which secures to her the right and power, as the Bride of Christ, to apply her spiritual power for the benefit of the people. Then it is certainly a fact that the high priest must come out and take this goat-blood (the evidence of the completeness of the sacrifice) within the vail, before it will affect the world. And will not Christ fulfill this when He gathers the saints to Himself and presents them before the Father? Christ coming for His saints and our gathering together unto Him is certainly the "coming as a thief," but not the appearing with Him in glory, which must be a later event. This later event seems to be the fulfillment of Zech. 14:5 and of the prophecy that "every eye shall see Him." (Rev. 1:7.)
If the above conclusions are correct it follows that the high priest's coming out after making the atonement for "the people" by sprinkling the goat's blood, is a type of the open manifestations then due – the saints being already with Him. Now we desire to fasten this one point, that the high priest did not change his clothes nor wash his flesh at the coming out from the work of atonement "for his house," but after the sprinkling of the goat's blood, on coming out the second time.
It then follows that the visible or open appearance of Christ is not due now, that is when He comes for His saints. And one thing more is equally true that the washing of the flesh is not due until the change of garments, and therefore cannot be fulfilled on the saints, unless they need washing after they have been beyond the vail. Some are certainly locating this washing at the wrong time according to the law. May we be fully prepared for every event in God's order, by the sanctifying influences of the word.
We are glad to hear from you and furthermore we are glad that our views regarding the teachings of the word on this important subject are so much in harmony. Our views on this subject as expressed in previous papers, are almost identical with those you herein express; the only point of difference perhaps being that you (seemingly) expect a manifestation of the great High Priest (Christ Jesus the head and his body, the church) in glory visible to the natural sight of humanity, while in my view of the matter, "the world seeth him no more" with the natural eye, but will see or recognize his presence and reign by the eyes of their understandings being opened by the judgments of the "day of the Lord." Then they all shall see him and us by the light of those judgments as we now see him by the light of His Word – our Lamp.
We agree fully that the washing and change of garments from those of sacrifice – the linen – to those of executive office of – "glory and beauty," takes place after we have been changed and been presented in the Father's presence as His Bride or body. The significance of the washing and change to our mind is, that when he begins to reveal himself to those in the "court" (believers – not accounted worthy of translation – and to be a part of the Bride) they will be able to recognize the Christ as changed and then invested with Glory, Honor and Immortality – they will realize him as the one whose blessing is to be desired. Afterward (Lev. 9) he goes forward to the gate and there blesses, all the people (the world at large, – unbelievers) all of whom while he blesses (the work of the Millennial Age) will come to recognize Him as the one altogether lovely; in whom all their hopes centre and upon whom all the covenants and promises of God (the Ephods) depend.
If we but keep closely in sight the intimate relationship and close resemblance between the bullock and the Lord's goat, it should continually stir us up to see that we are being crucified with Him if we would reign with Him, the "Scapegoat," evidently representing [R246 : page 5] that part of the church who shall be delivered afterward. After "the body" is complete He shall "deliver those who through fear of death (crucifixion of pride and self, etc.,) were all their lifetime subject to bondage" – Let us not be of this class, but as the Lord's goat – "Let us go to him without the camp (nominal church) bearing the reproach with him." – [EDITOR.]
"Unto you who are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ and called; mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. I thank my God, making mention of Thee always in my prayers, hearing (knowing) of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus and toward all Saints: That the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus."
I am happy to say to the "little flock," that I am rejoicing in "present truth," believing that I have received it in answer to prayer. About four years ago I forsook the paths of sin, and gave up all for Jesus; since then I have been striving to follow Him. I studied His word faithfully in order to know my duty, and can say, to the praise of our Heavenly Father, that He permitted me to see many precious promises, and faith claimed them mine.
Within the last year, however, I became convinced that there was greater light to be obtained from our "lamp" if it could be properly trimmed. I remembered the promises: "Ask and ye shall receive." "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God," etc. My daily prayer was for wisdom, and an understanding of His Word. I believed my prayer would be answered; but, by what means, or instrument I knew not. Father uses a variety of means to bless His children; and has given those precious things to His stewards "to do good and to communicate" them to others. Accordingly, in February, 1881, He sent one of His messengers (Brother Paton,) who, by the grace of God, "opened our eyes page 6 to behold wondrous things out of His law." To-day we can truly say, as did David: "The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea sweeter than honey to my mouth. Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way." As Jesus said to the disciples, (John 4:32) so we can say to the nominal church, "we have meat to eat that ye know not of."
During the month of May, I had the pleasure of a visit to Pittsburgh, Pa., where I was privileged to meet and hold sweet converse on these precious and exhaustless themes with our beloved brothers – Sunderlin, Mann, Jones, Adamson and the editor of the "TOWER." It is needless for me to tell you that it was a delightful and profitable season.
These precious truths thrill my whole being. I am willing to spend and be spent, in telling the "story of Jesus and His Love." Pray for me, that I may have wisdom to "rightly divide the word of truth," and grace to enable me to suffer with Christ, and with you share the glories of the world to come. "Now may the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."
In conversing with an inquiring soul, who was seeking to find how he might know his sins were forgiven, it pleased the Lord to use the following illustration, as bringing before him the simple message of the gospel as in Gal. 3:13. He could not get hold of the truth in the verse, and had been told: "Now, my friend, instead of trusting just what that word reveals, and accepting your pardon upon the authority of God's word, and commencing the service of God as a saved man, you are occupied with looking at your feeling or something in yourself, in some expected change of heart, as a ground of hope that you are saved. Let me give you this illustration: Suppose three men under condemnation for crime, and shut up in prison, were to receive, each of them, as an act of grace from the governor, a pardon. This pardon is a written document signed with the governor's name and bearing the seal of state. Now upon what ground does the keeper of the prison release these three men from the penalty of their crime?"
"Yes, just so. Supposing one of them should come to the keeper after having had the pardon handed to him, and should weep, and cry, and feel bad on account of his crime. Would his weeping and crying and feeling bad be the reason of the keeper unlocking the door and setting him free?"
"Supposing another should come after having received the pardon, and begin to beg and plead and pray with the keeper in very earnest, touching words to be released. Would his begging and praying be the reason of the keeper's unlocking the door when he finally was released?"
"Well, supposing the third one should come after he had received his pardon, and should say: 'Now, Mr. Keeper, I want to get out and have seen the pardon, but of course before I can be released I must promise you as to my future behaviour, and here are twenty-seven resolutions and promises that I have drawn up in writing that I think will cover the ground.' The keeper, without reply, unlocks the door and he goes free. Is the door unlocked because of his promises and resolutions?"
"Very well; now let us pursue the illustration a little further. Let us follow these three men as they leave the prison with their pardons safely in their pockets. The first one, we will imagine, is met, not far from the prison, by the officer who detected him in his crime and was the means of his arrest and punishment. This officer knows that according to the law the man should be in prison. He does not know of the pardon provided by grace. He advances toward the man with keen, suspicious glance. How shall the released man act – what reply make to the searching question: 'Have you any right to be here? Have you been pardoned?' Let us imagine him, if we can, so occupied with himself, so lacking in confidence in the seal of the governor, as to sadly reply: 'Well, I thought I had been pardoned, but since seeing you my crime and my unworthiness come back to me, and I do not feel that I have been. I am unworthy of it, and you can take me back again where I belong. I was wrong in leaving and thinking I was pardoned.' What would you have said to that man if you had been near him?"
"Just so. Well, let us follow the second man as with his pardon in his pocket he is getting away from the prison. He is very happy, he is freely and joyfully telling old acquaintances as he meets them that he has been pardoned and delivered from penalty. Soon an officer also stands in his path, and as he recognizes in him a former criminal he asks for evidence of his pardon. Let us imagine him so occupied with himself, so utterly unappreciative of the grace of the governor, and of his only ground of safety, as in the written pardon, as to answer: 'Why, I know I am pardoned because I feel I am pardoned. Don't you see how happy I am?' The answer of the officer would certainly be: 'Well, sir, I make no account of your feeling happy; if you have nothing to show as evidence from the governor that you are pardoned, you will just come right back with me to prison.' Now, what would you have said to that man if you had been there?"
"Very well; now one more illustration, and then for the application: We will suppose the third man met by an officer. He has bought a new suit of clothes, washed and shaved himself, and procured a situation, where he proposes to go to work and earn an honest living. We will imagine his reply when asked for evidence that he is pardoned. 'Why, sir, you see I have turned over a new leaf. I have put on new clothes, I have formed honest associations, and purpose to be a new man.' Not a word as to his pardon, and no presentation of that as the ground of his liberty. The inexorable officer would at once reply: "Sir, your turning over a new leaf is all very well, but that cannot deliver you from the sentence of the law. If you have no pardon from the governor to show, you are my prisoner.' You see the folly of this third man's talking about his new leaf, as you saw the folly of the first man's talking about his bad feelings, and the second about his good feelings, instead of simply showing their pardon and relying only upon it.
"Now for the application: I have read to you the testimony of God's word (Gal. 3:10; Rom. 3:19; John 3:18, and other passages), that having broken God's law you are condemned by the law, and under the penalty of sin. You admit this testimony as true, and confess yourself a sinner before God, and are anxious to be saved. I have read to you the testimony of God's word (John 3:14-17; Isa. 53; Acts 10:36-43) as to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven to be the Saviour of lost sinners by dying on the cross for their sins (1 Pet. 2:24), and ascending in newness of life to the presence of God as their justification (Rom. 4:25). You say you believe this testimony. I now point you to the pardon from God to you, on the ground of Christ's death, as summed up in Gal. 3:13: 'Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.' Now, please read that over; read it again, and again. Do you believe that message?"
"O, I see, I see; it's all in the document, of course. How stupid I have been! Christ hath redeemed me; I have never believed the word." And a happy smile broke over the inquirer as he looked at the word.
"That is right, my friend. God has given you light. Make much of the document. Rest only upon that as the ground of assurance. Now, one word as to the life you are to live as a saved, a redeemed man. Redeemed means bought – what did Christ pay for you?"
And we knelt in prayer and the Saviour rejoiced over another blood-bought soul, saved by grace.D. W. WHITTLE,
In Messiah's Herald.
Brother Whittle's illustration is good: We would that all might realize that their justification is based not on their feelings, nor on good resolutions, but upon the ransom, purchased by the precious blood of Christ. [R247 : page 6]
Death is the great prison-house. Sin is its bolts and bars. Our ransom – pardon – opens those bolts and bars, thus setting us at liberty to go forth, and the loving voice of Him who redeemed us calls us to come forth and become his Bride. Oh! what love! Some of (us) the prisoners "have an ear to hear," and have accepted gladly the call to become joint-heirs with him in the coming kingdom. Others are so degraded by prison life that they are "blind and cannot see afar off." Sin hath blinded their eyes, and some are so deaf that they have no "ear to hear" the message of liberty and ransom.
But what – how many of those prisoners were ransomed – pardoned? Is it only those who now have the hearing ear and unclouded vision? If so, Jesus' death will affect but very few. But no, the ransom was given for all the prisoners, every child of Adam – for those more degraded as well as for those yet possessed of sensibilities;
We thank God that he is showing us a little of his boundless love, and the value of Jesus' death, as being great enough to ransom all from the great prison-house of death. He came to "bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and opening of prison doors to them that are bound." This was the substance of Jesus' preaching, and it is proper, as the theme of all the church, which is his body, during this Gospel Age (or "acceptable year").
But the Millennial reign will not be a proclamation, but a performance of the things now proclaimed. The great prison-house – death – is to be destroyed, and the blind and deaf shall all be brought to know of their redemption through his blood – that Jesus Christ (by the grace of God) tasted death for every man – to be testified in due time."
For the sharing with our Lord as his Bride, in this great work of blessing and liberating those who were our fellow prisoners, we are called. When this "church," "little flock," "Bride," is perfected, at the resurrection (of which they will constitute the "first" or chief) "then shall be brought to pass the saying which is written" by the Prophet Isaiah 25:6-8. He will destroy the covering of death spread over all people and the vail of ignorance spread over all nations. He will swallow up death victoriously. Then the prisoners will all come forth out of the pit (tomb) – "Then the blind eyes shall be opened and the deaf ears shall be unstopped." (Isa. 35:5.) – [EDITOR.]
Commenting on this fact a New York paper says that in the public schools of that city the best pupils are very apt to be Jews. They take the lead both in scholarship and deportment so often that the principals expect to see Jews at the head of the classes. When prizes were given not long ago to the pupils of the grammar schools who had made the most creditable record during a specified time, the majority of them were carried off by boys of Hebrew parentage.
The hope of our change from the human, earthly nature, to a spiritual, heavenly nature, is of course the grand climax of our hopes. As begotten ones, we long for birth into the full and express image of our Father's person, into the glory of Christ's glorious body. This being the case, it is not to be wondered at that this most coveted thing is ever supposed to be the thing expected, when any date is referred to as being the fulfillment of a prophetic period.
We continually meet with this difficulty in referring to the present year, 1881. Since all know that we expect the Saints to be changed from human to spiritual being, and since we frequently refer to October of the present year as the terminus of a prophetic parallel, some readers have supposed that we expect the change at that time. This is not the case; we look to October of this year, as the limit of favor – the end of "the acceptable year (time or age) of the Lord" – the closing of the "strait gate" to the "narrow way" of opportunity to become a member of the Bride of Christ and partaker of his Divine Nature.
The Gospel age has been a period of selecting from the world those that have made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice (Psa. 50:5, and Mal. 3:17.) They shall be his Bride. It has been a period of "sealing" of the saints – a marking of them off as separate; and our understanding of the matter is, that this choosing and sealing will cease in October and whoever would be of the "Bride, the Lamb's wife" must consecrate and sacrifice before that time, or it will be too late. Now some one will doubtless suppose from this expression, "too late," that we expect that the Bride will be withdrawn from the earth, and therefore it will be – "too late." Not so, however; we expect that while they will all be counted sealed and selected they may not be changed for some time after: We do not pretend to know how long, but believe that there is a work of instructing the "great company," to be done before their translation – change.
Do you then believe that all those who are not thus consecrated and sealed before October are lost? – is asked by some one not familiar with our views. We do not believe that they will be "lost" in the sense generally understood by that word, viz.: to be put into everlasting torments: But we do believe that all such will have lost the great "prize of our high calling" – lost forever the opportunity of becoming members of the Bride of Christ – joint heirs with Him and partakers of the Divine nature. They still will have the old or human nature and it, Jesus has redeemed, and promises that it (when the Bride is complete – in the Millennial age) shall be restored to its original (human) perfection.
If then, we do not expect that the completion of the Bride will be indicated by their change, what do we expect as a sign then? We expect no sign visible to our physical eye; it has been with the eyes of our understandings enlighted by God's word that we have seen all that we do see, of what is now taking place – viz.: "The Harvest" and the presence of our Lord. And it is by that same eye of faith that we expect to see "the acceptable year (age) of the Lord" close, and "the day of vengeance of our God" commence with October next. This same thought is conveyed by the prophet when he says (Isa. 63:4): "The day of vengeance is in mine heart for the year of my redeemed is come" – vengeance follows immediately upon the completion of the "little flock."
This transition period following the Gospel age and preceding the Millennial age is often mentioned as "a time of trouble," or "day of vengeance" designed to punish evil doers and to prepare the world for the blessed reign of righteousness under "The Prince of Peace." See the following texts: Prov. 6:34, Isa. 35:4; and 34:1 to 8, Rom. 12:19, Heb. 10:30 and 2 Thes. 1:8, some of which are symbolical.
This "day of vengeance" began chronologically in 1874, but the first seven years of it seem marked off upon the nominal church here, as a time both of trial and favor, just as the parallel period of seven years, was to fleshly Israel. Seven years there, (the seventieth week of Daniel 9:27) of favor – trial and separation of "Israelites indeed in whom was no guile" from nominal Israel. Seven years here, (the exact parallel) of favor – trial and separation of the Christians indeed (entirely consecrated) from the nominal church of professors.
Now if this be the correct understanding of the Word, we may expect vengeance to commence in October. As we have already shown, this vengeance begins with the nominal church and will cause pain, anguish, "vexation" and symbolic "gnashing of teeth" among those who are taught and governed by church creeds instead of by the word of God – among those who recognize Synods, Councils, Conferences, Presbyteries, etc., as the heads, "standards" and "authorities" from which emanate the laws by which they are governed, instead of recognizing Christ as the only head and authority – as Paul puts it: "Holding the head (Jesus) from which all the body... having nourishment, increaseth with the increase of God" – in grace and knowledge: (Col. 2:19.) Whose law – the Word – should be the ONLY "law" or "standard" for those who are truly his members.
Terrible indeed will it be to those, to find their organizations crumbling and their laws and creeds torn to shreds and their "standards" and "authorities" (their heads) losing power, being cast off and disregarded. ["Woe unto them that give suck (teach) in those days."] It will be because the true Head, Authority and Standard of the church – Christ, shall have taken to himself his great power, and begins his reign (Rev. 11:17) that these false heads, "standards" and "authorities" – will be overthrown – for "His lightenings (shall) enlighten the earth." Light and knowledge will so increase that all forms of error and evil will be finally dispelled by "the bright shining of the present one." (2 Thes. 2:8.)
Let none hereafter think, that we are expecting translation this year; and to those who did so think, we suggest a second careful reading of the article in the May number headed [R248 : page 7] "The Year 1881." Let us add, that while the "vengeance" or "trouble" will be no longer hindered after October, yet, it does not follow, that great results need be looked for in a day. It will require months and years for its full accomplishment.
It has been asked what do you mean by saying "come out of her" – do you really mean for people to sever their connection with the church of Christ? By what authority do you denounce the church of Christ – or lay anything to the charge of God's elect – in which we know of many undoubtedly the Lord's Jewels?
Ah yes, there is your mistake. We never advised any one to sever their connection with the church of Christ ("whose names are written in heaven.") No, far, far from that. We never denounced that church whose creed is the Word of God, whose organization is that of the Spirit; and whose union is in the "bonds of love;" and when we quote the denunciations of the Word, we do not offend "God's elect" – the Saints – because, "Great peace have they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them." Nor have we ever claimed that the nominal church is devoid of those whom the Lord calls his "jewels": on the contrary it is because there are such in the nominal church, that the Spirit through the Word calls to that very class and to them only – "Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues." And those who do not free themselves and come out from bondage to creeds and isms we shall be forced to conclude are so bound by "the fear of man that bringeth a snare," that they have obeyed men, rather than God, and consequently are not "overcomers."
Look about you in the nominal churches, you who think that they are the church owned by the Lord as the chaste virgin soon to be made his bride; apply the scriptural conditions of discipleship to them and to yourselves and let them judge themselves whether they come near the standard: Jesus said "If any man will be my disciple let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Now do you think there are many in the nominal church who are thus entirely consecrated – time, money talents, reputation, all? All of the members of the real church are thus consecrated, but few of the nominal. Have you any reason for supposing that one in ten of those who are professors, are performers of this their covenant? Yet, those who are thus following in the footsteps of Jesus, are the only ones who are overcoming the world and who will be his joint-heirs. Of the others, some are being overcome by the world and others never were consecrated, consequently always were of the world.
In conclusion, let us add: If you realize that we are now in the "harvest," you can readily see that the work in order is to separate and divide. The work of the Reaper King, now present, is to gather his jewels, and he calls his sheep by name, and they know his voice and they follow him.
When we come to see the matter from the right standpoint, we realize that nothing is really injuring and crippling the usefulness and influence of the truly consecrated "little flock" so much as the great worldly-minded institutions claiming the honor of being the followers of the meek and lowly Saviour – who indeed draw nigh to God with their lips, but whose hearts are far from him. By attending to making clean the outside they divert their own attention from the real inward condition, and so exalt the commandments and creeds of men as to inspire their members with a fear of future torment if they should think for themselves. It is from these institutions which have gained so strong a hold upon society as to be able to threaten with ostracism any who venture to gainsay their mandates, which "make void the law of God (His word) through (their) traditions, that God's word calls, "Come out of her" into a place of freedom from man and man worship and creed worship, to a place where you can worship God and be taught of God; come out where you can grow in grace.
Many will and have said – are there not many "good people" still in the church? – and because of them we cannot condemn it – neither will we leave it. Ah but Jesus condemns it and says – "I will spew thee out of my mouth." – (Rev. 3:16.) The call comes to all these "good people" and will test their goodness. If not obedient, they are not reckoned good in God's sight, but as partakers of Babylon's sins, and they shall be sharers in her plagues. Let not these be stumbling blocks in the way of your obedience; consider God's call to you as imperative as though you were the only jewel to be saved.
The call now is, come – from "the housetop," "the bed" and "the mill": The message is, "gather my saints (holy ones) together, (out from among the tares,) unto me; those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." – (Psa. 50:5.) Those who sacrifice all in willing obedience are his "jewels."
The revised version of the New Testament recently published to the world by the translators, has excited very general attention and criticism among all interested in God's word, as it should, being so important.
We might offer commendation of their course in omitting certain interpolations – passages not found in ancient manuscripts, etc., but this is needless for of course it was their duty to eradicate all words of men. We regret to notice that all of these interpolations have not been excluded – perhaps the most important of these stumbling blocks being the first clause of Rev. 20:5 – "The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" – already referred to in these columns.
We notice that the words – Christ and Baptize are left untranslated as in the old version; these are Greek words transferred into our language and it would have been a help to the general reader had the English of them been given, viz.: anointed and immersed. The Greek word hades left untranslated in the new version, is certainly better than to have it as in the old version rendered hell, which to the general reader conveyed anything but the correct meaning – though all scholars well understood it to mean death or the condition of death.
We have heretofore called your attention to the fact that the Greek words, kosmos, oikoumenee, and aion, are in the old version all translated by the English word, world, which does great violence to their meaning and grossly misleads the reader. We are very much surprised to find that the new translation leaves them just the same: we are at a loss to see how men of so much learning could do so by mistake, for doubtless each of them would if asked, particularly answer that kosmos signifies the world of mankind, or present order of things – that oikoumenee signifies the habitable [R248 : page 8] earth or land; while aion means an age or period of time. It is because of the mistranslation of this last word that so many have been led to expect "the end of the world" at the second advent of Jesus, instead of the end of the gospel age, and hence they are expecting "a wreck of matter and a crush of worlds" instead of the ending of one age and gradual beginning of another which is now in progress. Can it be that the learned translators feared that articles of human creeds would have been exposed as false and erroneous by a proper rendering? Only error requires covering – truth courts the light and always shines the brighter for it.
The Greek word psukee signifying existence or being is in Matt. 16:26 rendered life – "What shall a man be profited if he shall gain the whole world and forfeit his life – or what shall a man give in exchange for his life?" This is certainly a great improvement over the much misunderstood word soul. Had psukee in every case, as here, been translated life or better – being, it would have helped people in the understanding of God's word, but, at the same time it would have dissolved some of the mysteries with which the traditions of men – the church creeds – have surrounded the nature and destiny of man – and that might destroy confidence in those creeds – hence psukee is generally translated by the mysterious word soul as before, the above exception and a few others being made because it would here have been very absurd to translate it soul and would have conflicted with the very idea the creeds and traditions seek to uphold – viz.: that soul is a thing in a man yet separate from him. From the orthodox (?) standpoint how absurd it would sound to say "Whosoever would save his soul shall lose it." – (Luke 9:24,) or to translate the word psukee, soul in Matt. 10:39, or Mark 8:35, and Luke 17:33. Yet in these the same word occurs which elsewhere is translated by the mysterious word soul.
"The reader has been led to infer that this was among the most approved and clearly stated ideas of the original scriptures. Nothing can be more unfair. The word godhead is not good English: it means nothing in itself and conveys no idea to the reader. What is a godhead? The idea in the original is simple and beautiful. We will note the three texts wherein it occurs. Acts 17: 'Being, therefore, already offspring of God, we ought not to be supposing that which is Divine to be like unto gold, or silver, or stone, etc. (Rotherham.) Rom. 1:20; 'For his unseen things from a world's creation are to be clearly seen by the things made being perceived, both his eternal power and divinity.' (Rotherham.) Col. 2:9: 'For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the completeness of the Divine nature in a body.' The word godhead like the word trinity, carries with it the idea of a society, which is not the idea of the original. Had the word been left out of the revised Testament it would have removed another impression from the 'three-in-one-God' theory. Modern criticism has forced certain interpretations from the sacred texts, and it will be a long time before doctrinal harmony and Biblical exegesis will expurge from the creed of man the theories of endless misery, the destruction of our globe, and the heathen dogma of the God society, or trinity. No effect on the part of authorized versions will succeed in bolstering up theories which are contrary alike to sound reason and the Scriptures of truth."
Taken as a whole, however, the new version is as good as we could expect: it is better in fact than we did expect, for well we all know that a man's creed or belief as to the general teachings of the word, must have an effect and bearing upon his translation of any particular passage which in his judgment would cause it to conflict with the general teachings. Then too, it is almost impossible to translate word for word from the Greek to the English language and if this were accomplished as is attempted with considerable success in the translations known as "Rotherham's, Young's and The Diaglott it produces a reading so peculiar and rough that it would not meet with acceptance by the general readers and any attempt to give a smooth English reading gives opportunity and license for the use of the translator's personal views on the passages translated.
We say then: Thank God for the "New Version;" it is a step nearer pure light and perfect truth at least; it will serve too to draw the attention of all to the basis of all faith – God's Word – and away from church creeds – the traditions of men – the sandy foundation upon which the faith of most of the nominal church is at present resting.
But as every progress in knowledge is a step toward freedom and a blow to bondage so is this comparatively good work, to prove a powerful element in the storm which already begins to sweep over the nominal church of all denominations, and which eventually will sweep away all refuges of lies (Isa. 28:17) – all the falsities and errors of those who exalt themselves, their words and their churches which they have organized and rule: instead of exalting the Lord and His words and His church (whose names are written in heaven) which He organized at Pentecost and the rule of which He has not given to another.
We present to each of our readers with this issue, a "Chart of the Ages," (unfortunately printed June, instead of July supplement) with the suggestion that you hang it in some convenient place where it will be often in your sight; that its diagram of the narrow way to life, may be a constant and helpful reminder to you of the way our Leader trod; that thereby you may be enabled to make your calling and election sure.
We hope too, that you will so place it, that it will be an object of interest to all who may visit you, and that you will so familiarize yourself with it as to be able to explain its teachings to them; thus each reader will be a preacher of the "narrow way to life" – to Glory, Honor and Immortality, so soon to close; and also of the plan of God for the world's salvation, which is only just beginning. May God make you able ministers of his word.
The Chart should have your careful attention and study for at least one month: for this reason, and to allow needed time for other parts of the service, this paper and chart supplement will constitute the July and August issue. Therefore you may expect nothing more until September.
We have a number of inquiries relative to tract No. 6, (written by Bro. A. D. Jones) asking whether the editor's views are in harmony with those expressed in that tract. To which we answer that it is quite possible for different persons to have somewhat different ideas regarding the manner of the unfolding future, though they be entirely agreed with reference to the work of the past, present and future. We are for instance, not much in sympathy with the idea that the "Perihelion of the planets" is to bring "a carnival of death," and for this reason have refrained from mentioning the harrowing details furnished by astrologists as the probable result. It may be that such a dreadful scourging is to come upon the world so soon, but from our understanding of prophecy we expect that the carnival of moral pestilence, spiritual famine, and death will come first, upon the nominal church – the sort of "pestilence" and "arrows" referred to in Psa. 91 from which nothing will shield but the "truth." (vs. 4.)
But while we do not expect such literal plagues, we do not venture to gainsay the astrologers and their predictions; it is possible that both astrology and scripture may be correct concerning the coming events, but our confidence and sole reliance is on the latter. To compare notes we suggest that Scripture indicates that the nominal church is to be given over to tribulation and be shown no favor from October of this year; and every thing seems ripe for just such a thing: On the other hand the astrologers began as far back as 1871 to predict what would occur in 1880 and 1881. But though the largest planet Jupiter has already reached the point of perihelion (more than nine months ago) and though Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction six months ago, yet there is nothing except unusual rain storms thus far to justify the awful pictures drawn.
It is objected that practical preaching is the right kind of preaching, and that prophecy is not practical. Is this true? It is not true. The preaching of the Ten Commandments, the social virtues, and the neighborly and moral duties may be called practical preaching by some, but it is not so in the Christian sense of the word. The most successful preaching is the preaching of the cross in which Paul gloried, and the crown for which he waited. The two advents are the poles around which the orb of duty rolls – the strong foundation on which the morality of the new man reposes. Faith lays hold of the cross, the fountain of divine mercy, and out of love to Him that first loved us, brings forth in the heart and life of the believer the fruits of righteousness. Hope looks forward to the crown, and the kingdom, and the promised inheritance, to nerve us for the trials and duties of life, and make us victorious over all our spiritual enemies. This is practical religion. Doctrine is the root and basis and motive of practice; and in the whole range of theology there is not a more practical doctrine than the second advent – no, not one. I challenge you to show me a duty of which it is not in one way or another made the motive.
Read, and consider the following texts of Scripture. It is the motive for patient waiting, 1 Thess. 1:10; for divine hope, Titus 2:13; for moderation in all things, Phil. 4:5; for prayer to be counted worthy to stand before the Son of man, Luke 21:36; for long-suffering patience, James 5:8; for heavenly-mindedness, Luke 21:34; for perseverance in spite of persecution, 1 Pet. 1:7; of godliness and holy conversation, 2 Pet. 3:11,12; it is the motive for earnest preaching, 2 Tim. 4:1-3; for fighting the good fight of faith, 2 Tim. 4:7,8; for reverence and godly fear, Heb. 12:26-28; for sobriety and watching unto prayer, 1 Pet. 4:7. This is practical preaching; but if you preach these duties without the Advent, which is their chief motive and strength, you are asking the people for bricks without giving them the straw – the steam is taken from the engine and the train stops.– Messiah's Herald.
If the belief of the coming of the Lord has so much power to mould and influence the child of God, what indescribable power and influence should and does the belief that he has come – is now present a spiritual being – the "harvest" now progressing under his supervision as the chief reaper, and the gathering of the ripe wheat now being in progress and soon to be finished and the righteous then made to shine forth as the Sun in the kingdom of their Father – what effect as a separator and sanctifying power, should this truth have we enquire? What preaching can be so powerful?
Ques. BROTHER RUSSELL – Will it be the work of the Millennial age to restore mankind to perfect human being or will they be raised from the tomb perfect men – justified to perfect life by Jesus' ransom?
Ans. It will be the work of the entire age to bring mankind to perfection of human being: It is called "the times (years or age) of restitution" – though all may not reach perfection at the same time, yet all who do not then sin against light – the sin unto death (second death), will be perfected during that age.
They are justified in the sight of God (the Father) by the death of Jesus for their sins, therefore, the Father's law no longer condemns them to the tomb and Jesus by purchase has the control of them and during the Millennial age will "restore all things;" and when all are brought into harmony and perfection – at the end of that age – the Son also delivers up the kingdom to God even the Father – (1 Cor. 15:28.)
A. The beating referred to (Luke 12:47,48) has reference not to the world but to Jesus' disciples (servants) who will be living in the end or "harvest" of this age. The "little flock" will be "accounted worthy to escape all" while the greater part of Jesus' servants because not in harmony with his plan, etc., will go through the great time of trouble which closes this age and introduces the Millennial age – some of these will pass through a severer ordeal than others, (many or fewer stripes) as they had neglected knowing and doing the Master's will. But the principle will apply during the next age also.