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.
TERMS: – Fifty cents a year, postage prepaid. You may send paper-money or three cent stamps to the amount of two dollars by mail at our risk. Larger amounts by Check, P.O. Money Order or Registered Letter, payable to C. T. RUSSELL.
Foreign Postage being higher, our terms to foreign subscribers will be 65 cents a year. Please send us no foreign money or postage stamps as we can make no use of them. Remittances may be made by Postal Money Orders.
A prominent point of interest now engaging the minds of all, is the Egyptian War. War has commenced – Alexandria, the capital, is in ruins – the rebelling Pasha of Egypt is fortified at Cairo, and it is reported that a Mahometan Messiah has arisen, and is marshaling numbers of Mahometans, and marching to the defense of Cairo. It has but begun, and no one can tell where, or when it will end.
"Second Advent" papers abound with exciting comments on this war, claiming that it is the battle or war "of the great day of God Almighty." (Rev. 16:14.) Many of our readers doubtless sympathize, to some extent, with this view. It is but natural that expectation should make haste to reach fulfillment; but we suggest to all – have patience, this is not the war of Rev. 16:14. It may, indeed, have some bearing on the future, not at present discernable; but it is not the war which closes the great day of God Almighty. That battle is the seventh plague, and is brought about as a result of the six plagues which precede it.
In our next, we expect to show that the first six plagues will be upon the nominal church – Babylon – the results of which will be to "gather," or array the people and their rulers against each other, and that this general conflict between priest and people, rulers and ruled, capital and labor, is the "battle" or conflict represented by the seventh plague – the conflict of the great day of God Almighty, in which all oppression and bondage shall cease, by the overthrow of the great and mighty in church and state; (Rev. 19:18-21) a preparation for the true King of earth to exercise his authority. This will not be fully accomplished, as we read prophecy, until A.D. 1914.
But our part in the conflict of this "great day of God" has already commenced. We fight not with flesh and blood, but with gigantic systems of error, with spiritual wickedness in exalted positions, against falsities honored by time and wealth and earthly learning – against great Babylon, mother and daughters. Are we each fighting a good fight – are we overcoming and getting the victory [R378 : page 1] over the symbolic Beast and Image – or are we being overcome and kept in bondage by them? (Rev. 20:4.)
To be an overcomer now, requires close application to the one thing in hand – the conflict. Hence, it is necessary that our time and attention be kept as much as possible free from the thronging cares of life, which, if permitted, would swallow us up. It is to this special time that Jesus directs our attention, saying: Take heed, lest your hearts be overcharged with the cares of this life. (Luke 21:34.) To overcome, we need the armor which God has provided. We obtain it from the Word of God, and it requires time and care to fit it and learn to use it. We cannot, therefore, spare our valuable and needful time to attend to worldly things, plans, and speculations; but only the things needful. All else must be laid aside – every weight – while we take to ourselves the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the conflict of this evil day. (Eph. 6:13.)
During the warm weather some of the preaching brethren are finding open-air meetings very advantageous, and the minds and hearts of some are thus being reached. We commend the plan to all others. Get a shady lot, or park, or market place, as the Master did, and thus speak to the people. The common people now, as then, will hear gladly the "Glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." Tell them why you thus come to them – to bring them joy and peace, through the knowledge of the real character and plan of God. Tell them why you are not and cannot belong to any of the sects or divisions, and can recognize only the ONE CHURCH of Christ. Point out how their teachings are confusion, Babel, contradiction. Show the contradictory teachings on "Election" and "Free Grace"; and show the proper position of both of these doctrines in the true plan of God from the Word. Show up the errors of the sects in all their naked deformity, by which they distort the truth of God, and turn it into a lie; but do it all in the spirit of love, showing that the systems, and not the true Christians bound by those systems, are denounced by the Word of God, and condemned to overthrow. (Rev. 18:2,3.) Show that the call of the Lord to all who are truly his is to come out of Babylon (Rev. 18:4) into joy, peace, and liberty in Christ. Let your speech at all times be seasoned with grace (favor), and as ye go, preach – the kingdom of God is at hand.
A St. Louis brother writes that he purposes, while off on a vacation, to hold some public meetings, and read sundry WATCH TOWER articles. This is a good suggestion for many who have no practice in preparing sermons. The suggestion is offered, also, that at evening meetings, when twos and threes and dozens assemble, it would be far better to take up and discuss with the Scriptures bearing thereon, one and another of the articles in the TOWER. It would be vastly better to thus study God's Word, than to spend so much time, as some do, in vain repetitions and telling of "experiences." Try it, brethren and sisters; and let all take part in the search for truth, and seek diligently till you find it – clear, beautiful, and invigorating.
Precious letters still come, showing that others of our Father's children are coming to rejoice in the light, and to be refreshed by the truth. God be praised: He is his own Interpreter, and he will make it plain to all who have an ear for the voice of the Lord, our Shepherd. We are glad to see how much some are trying to spread the glad tidings, and we are sure our Father is well pleased also. Freely we have received; freely let us give. We subjoin extracts from a few of the letters received. page 1
I would like to have those outline notes for six sermons, with the chart. I am doing what I can for the truth. One brother in my class has embraced the truth, and is rejoicing in it, and is hungering for more; others are inquiring the way. My heart burns within me as the Lord opens to me the Scriptures. I see new light and new beauty in his Word as never before. My wife has been reading the "Tabernacle," and rejoices with me in the truth. I want to instruct my children in the right ways of the Lord. Please send eight or ten more of the "Tabernacle," also ten "Food." I enclose $5 for Tract Society.
I have some good news to convey to you. For years my dear husband has been so opposed to churches and ministers, that I have had to endure a great deal on account of them, and I knew the greater part he said was true, but I never said anything one way or the other; and for some years I have felt that the Saul's Armor of Creeds did not fit; the yoke chafed me very much. I never was that kind of a Christian that took in all I listened to without thinking for myself; and because of this, I have been considered peculiar; but thank God it is the peculiar people God is gathering to himself. I have been struggling to be free for some time, but yesterday I died the death, to Sectarianism. I sent in my resignation to both my Sunday class and church. I did not even ask for my certificate of membership. I counted the cost, and already it has been said I had accepted false doctrine. Bless God for such a doctrine!
I told my husband this morning, and I said, "Now, I would like to have a Bible-class in my own home, something I have wanted so long." I knew if God would use me in that way he could bring his mind into accord with it. He consented, though once he said I should never have a prayer meeting in his house. Where shall I begin to praise God for his goodness. Now, I intend to use all my efforts in the good work; pray that God will teach me how.
I returned home last week. While absent, I met with a few of the dear ones in their homes; and the result was renewed strength and more courage to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." O, what a privilege to be permitted to have part in the great work just dawning upon us.
Two sisters came in on Sunday, and we read the article on, "The Holy Spirit," in last ZION'S WATCH TOWER. I would like, if I could, to express the feast it was to us; we forgot all else for almost five hours.
I was led to ask myself, Am I doing all I can? and the answer came, no. I resolved that a portion of every day should be devoted to a special effort in the Master's work, either by word, deed, or pen. There are some dear ones near me I shall visit this week. My time, talents, and all I have are Christ's, and he is mine. I desire, most of all things, to be in complete subjection to our Head.
I am doing all I can to spread the "glad tidings"; perhaps have been the means of doing some good by talking, and use of the little books. For some time I have been attending Bible reading of the Y.M.C.A. I am seeking an opportunity to speak at some of these meetings. Many of these young men think they are doing a great work for Jesus. They seem very sincere; they pray and strive for what they are taught to suppose is the Spirit of Jesus. Their chief exercise is to pray and give what they suppose is testimony for Jesus, apparently without any correct understanding of it. Their practice is to stop [R378 : page 2] persons on the street, and abruptly demand to know if they are Christians, or saved, as they call it. There is a wonderful power here, if it could be properly used. But patience! patience! it will come all right, just as soon as their eyes are opened. As soon as possible we will get a small society of the consecrated ones as a nucleus for extending the truth. In my own case, truth seems to develop wonderfully, and I have a strong desire to make it known. Yes,
"I love to tell the story,
It did so much for me."
I expect to travel a couple of months, starting soon. If so, I will read in public some articles from the TOWER, in towns where I may stop a few days, and may do some good as the agent of our Father and our Lord Jesus.
Last Saturday I received a sample copy of ZION'S WATCH TOWER – I don't know how you came to send it to me; I can hardly understand it, but in the supplement to it I see something grand. I am teachable, and if I get your meaning, that the restitution of all things means also the salvation of all men, I want to learn more about it. Send me the paper and other reading matter; I will carefully read them. I have been preaching twenty years, but I want to know all truth and God's plans, etc.
Yours, in search of truth.
[As you read more, you will understand better how we anticipate a salvation of all men from the Adamic death. When saved, they may live forever if they will; or die the second death for their own willful sin against knowledge and ability. – EDITOR.]
We are here on the frontiers of Kansas. We have never regretted sending for the WATCH TOWER. It has brought light into our minds, and it has so perfectly explained some portions of the Scripture, that it seems as though the dark clouds are passing away, and the true light is shining upon us for the first time in our whole lives. We have been church members for forty years, but we have learned more from the WATCH TOWER than we ever learned from the pulpit. There are some here who are inquiring for the truth, and we think that if we had some pamphlets or papers to circulate through this country, it would be sowing the precious seed of God's truth. This is the time when the true followers of Christ should work, for it seems to me that the churches are all asleep. They are starved to death. Please send some of the "Food for Thinking Christians," and we will circulate them.
Enclosed please find a small sum ($5), for the purpose of spreading the "glad tidings" of salvation from death, for all of our race. The more I read of the plan of salvation the better I like it. I am but a babe yet, but I am learning. I am doing what I can with tongue, papers and books. Hoping many may be enabled to see the light, and that I may be the means of doing some good, I remain,
"I do not like to speak of it to people generally, they are so unbelieving; but I can tell you. The children were jumping off from a bench, and my little son fell and broke both bones of his arm below the elbow. My brother, who is a professor of surgery in the College at Chicago, was here on a visit. I asked him to set and dress the arm. He did so; put it in splints, bandages, and in a sling. The child was very patient, and went about without a murmur all day. The next morning he came to me and said, 'Dear papa, please take off these things.' 'Oh, no, my son, you will have to wear these things five or six weeks, before it will be well.' 'Why, papa, it is well.' 'Oh, no, my dear child, that is impossible.' 'Why, papa, you believe in prayer, don't you?' 'You know I do, my son.' 'Well, last night when I went to bed it hurt me very bad, and I asked Jesus to make it well, and he did make it well, and it is well.'
I did not like to say a word to chill his faith. A happy thought came; I said, 'My dear child, your uncle put the things on, and if they are taken off, he must do it.' Away he went to his uncle, who told him he would have to go as he was six or seven weeks, and must be very patient; and when the little fellow told him that Jesus had made him well, he said, 'Pooh! pooh! nonsense,' and sent him away. The next morning the poor boy came again to me, and plead with so much sincerity and confidence, that I more than half believed that he was really healed, and went to my brother and said, 'Had you not better undo his arm, and let him see for himself? then he will be satisfied. If you do not, I fear, though he is very obedient, he may be tempted to undo it himself, and then it may be worse for him.' My brother yielded, took off the bandages and splints, and exclaimed, 'It is well, absolutely well,' and hastened to the door for air to keep from fainting.
He had been a real, simple-hearted Christian, but in his student days wandered away; but this brought him back to the Lord. Strange, if it had not. To all this I could say nothing, if I had been ever so much disposed, in the way of accounting for it, upon any other hypothesis than that of the little fellow himself, that Jesus had made him well."
This account seems to come in such a way as to be reliable. No Christian can doubt the ability of the Lord to heal at the present as well as in the past. The fact that such cases are more seldom than in the apostles' days is nothing, when we remember that the gifts of the spirit in the early days of the dispensation, were to convince, not saints, but unbelievers. (1 Cor. 14:22.) Now the world has many proofs of the truth of Christianity which then it did not have, and which made miracles and gifts necessary, as a proof that the teachings were of God. However, let no one confound the above or similar answers to prayer, with the "gifts" of the primitive church; they are not the same. Those who possessed the gift of healing, did not pray, but commanded the healing.
The above is more like what James mentions (5:14,15.) – The prayer of faith. It has been the privilege of the church throughout the entire age – in sickness, as in every trouble, to –
But which cases shall we take to the Lord – every case? It could do no harm to take the smallest scratch or pain or bruise to the Lord in prayer, yet, certainly we cannot understand James' teaching to apply to such trivial affairs, else the "elders of the church" would be kept busy with one or two large families. James' prescription, it seems to us, applies to a case where, what can be done, has been done, and the sufferer is at death's door. If it please our Lord to give so marked a healing as the one above recorded occasionally, we rejoice with those that rejoice.
We expect that such manifestations of favor may become more frequent from this on; but we would call attention to the fact that those who have consecrated life, strength, mind, and all to God – a sacrifice which he has accepted – cannot, with propriety, ask to have back what they are sacrificing. [R379 : page 2] This thought is strengthened when we recall that neither Jesus nor the apostles were ever the subjects of miraculous healing. The power of Jesus was exercised in healing the people; but when he was weary, instead of seeking a supernatural supply of strength, "he sat on the well." (John 4:6.) When the multitude hungered, he fed them by supernatural power; but when he himself hungered, he would not command stones to become bread, to satisfy his hunger, but rather sent his disciples to a village to buy meat. (John 4:8.)
Jesus, by asking, could have had more than twelve legions of angels to protect his life from death, but would not ask. (Matt. 26:53.) Because he had consecrated himself to death, he could not ask nor use supernatural means to retain his hold on life. To such an extent was this true, that even his enemies remarked it, saying of him when on the cross: "He saved others, himself he cannot save." No, we thank God that he did not save himself, else we should have had no Redeemer. And we pray that all those who have consecrated themselves to God – to be "conformed to his death" (Phil. 3:10.) – may be enabled, not only to not keep back any part of the price, but to see so clearly the dependence of glory with him, or the suffering with him, that they will not ask physical healing for themselves, however much they may ask it for the people.
God's favor to us in Christ is not to be measured by our physical, earthly blessings, but by the spiritual favors which we receive from him. Thus it was when Paul asked at one time, the removal of a physical difficulty – "a thorn in the flesh" – God refused to remove it, but told him that his favor (grace) would more than compensate him – "My grace is sufficient for thee," is the language of the Lord to all who suffer with him that they may also be glorified together. (2 Cor. 12:9.)
THE Jewish relief committee of this country announces that it can render no more aid to the Jewish refugees from Russia – their funds are exhausted. Any steamship company hereafter bringing paupered cripples will be liable for their return according to Law.
The poor creatures who arrive here are truly pitiable, and unable to make themselves understood, even to their Jewish friends. Sixty started back to Europe on July 22d. This is indeed "the time of Jacobs trouble, but he shall be saved out of it."
Ques. – I am told that it cannot be proved that the Hebrew name Jehovah, is the distinctive name for the Almighty Father; but that it is applied only to Christ. Can you give a satisfactory answer to this statement?
Ans. – It is the opinion of some that the Hebrew word el applies to our Heavenly Father, while the name Jehovah applies to Christ. This is just the reverse of the truth, however. The Hebrew words el, and elohim, are general terms, meaning mighty ones. They are applied to Jehovah, to Jesus, to angels, and to men. (See April No. – "The Word of God.") Not so with the word Jehovah, however. We cite a very few out of the many, to prove that this name belongs alone to the great first cause of all things: Isa. 42:8. "I am the Lord (Heb. Jehovah); that is MY name, and my glory will I not give to another." Exod. 15:3, "The Lord (Jehovah) is a man of war; the Lord (Jehovah) is his name." Exod. 6:3, "I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God (el) Almighty (sheddai); but by my name JEHOVAH, was I not known to them." Psa. 83:18, "That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth."
Jehovah is frequently represented as the Saviour of mankind; that is, he was emphatically the Saviour in that he provided a Redeemer in the person of Christ. Thus we read, Isa. 43:3,11, "For I am the Lord (Jehovah) thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour."..."I, even I, am the Lord (Jehovah), and beside me there is no Saviour." Hos. 13:4, "I am the Lord (Jehovah) thy God, from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no God but me, for there is no Saviour beside me." Jesus is also called our Saviour, and properly so, in that he was the willing agent for the accomplishment of Jehovah's plans.
We confidently assert that the name Jehovah is never applied in Scripture to any but the Father. It is for those who claim the reverse to give a text, and show its applicability to Jesus or any one else than the Father. Here is a way to prove the matter conclusively – the New Testament writers quote much from the Old Testament; do they ever quote a passage in which the word Jehovah occurs, and apply it to Jesus? We claim that they do not. On the contrary, we will give one out of many similar quotations, in which it is clearly applied, not to Jesus, but to the Father. Psa. 110:1. "The Lord (Jehovah) said unto my Lord (adon – master) sit thou," etc. Note carefully the application of this by Jesus (Luke 20:41-44), and by Peter. (Acts 2:34-36, and 33.) This one text is sufficient until answered. If any one can twist it, we have others ready.
Ques. Please explain Rev. 20:8. Is it to be understood that Satan, at the close of the Millennial age, will deceive a multitude as the sand of the sea?
AN edict signed by the czar and published in the official Gazette of St. Petersburg virtually bankrupts every wealthy Jew in Russia. It provisionally suspends all payment for contracts or debts due to Jews, prohibits them from settling outside towns and villages, and otherwise provides for their speedy extirpation throughout czardom.
Silent, like men in solemn haste,
Girded wayfarers of the waste,
We pass out at the world's wide gate,
Turning our back on all its state;
We press along the narrow road
That leads to life, to bliss, to God.
We cannot, and we would not stay;
We dread the snares that throng the way,
We fling aside the weight and sin,
Resolved the victory to win;
We know the peril, but our eyes
Rest on the splendor of the prize.
No idling now, no wasteful sleep,
From Christian toil our limbs to keep;
No shrinking from the desperate fight,
No thought of yielding or of flight;
No love of present gain or ease;
No seeking man or self to please.
No sorrow for the loss of fame;
No dread of scandal on our name;
No terror for the world's sharp scorn;
No wish that taunting to return;
No hatred can our hatred move,
And enmity but kindles love.
No sigh for laughter left behind,
Or pleasures scattered to the wind;
No looking back on Sodom's plains;
No listening still to Babel's strains;
No tears for Egypt's song and smile;
No thirsting for its flowing Nile;
No vanity nor folly now;
No fading garland round our brow;
No moody musings in the grove;
No pang of disappointed love;
With the brave heart and steady eye,
We onward march to victory.
What, though with weariness oppressed –
'Tis but a little, and we rest.
This throbbing heart and burning brain
Will soon be calm and cool again.
Night is far spent, and morn is near, –
Morn of the cloudless and the clear.
'Tis but a little, and we come
To our reward, our crown, our home;
A little space – yet more or less,
And we have crossed the wilderness,
Finished the toil, the rest begun,
The battle fought, the triumph won!
"You have an anointing from the Holy one; you all know it." (Rendering of Sinaitic and Vatican MSS.) "The anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you, but the same anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true." (1 John 2:20,27. Diaglott.)
Some have gathered from this, that among those who are fully consecrated to the Lord and have received the anointing (that is the mind, will or spirit of God – the same mind which was also in Christ Jesus our Lord) no teachers are to be recognized and that none are needed, as all shall be taught of God. To this we object, that God hath set in the Church apostles, teachers, &c., for the edifying of the body. We suggest that if the teachers be of divine appointment, those taught are divinely taught. See (Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Tim. 4:2-5; John 13:20.) We believe that John does not contradict other Scriptures which show that God had appointed teachers in the church. We believe the proper understanding of his language may be found from its connections.
John tells the church that there are some of the nominal church who have become Anti-christ – i.e., opposers of Christ. He urges them not to be in any way connected with such, nor led away by them. (1 Jno. 2:18,19.) He concludes his argument by assuring them that he has confidence in them, and that as they have the Spirit – mind of Christ, they will be competent to judge between these sophisms of men, and the truth. Having themselves the anointing, or mind of the Lord, they can easily discern a different spirit under whatever form or guise it may present itself, even without any special teacher to point out the doctrinal flaws of their arguments. He says: "I have written these things to you concerning those who (would) deceive you. But the anointing which you received from him, abides in you and you have no need that any one should teach you; but the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true." (vss. 26,27 Diaglott.)
We have often remarked how some, almost intuitively, discern truth or error. It is because the Spirit of Christ (the spirit of truth) abides in them, that truth has an attracting, and error a repelling influence. We would not be understood as favoring a following of impressions and a neglect of the appointed means of instruction. No, but we believe that in addition to the Word and its God appointed expounders, it is essential that we have also the mind of Christ, the spirit of consecration and sacrifice, which is also the spirit of truth, else we might be deceived into a misconstruction of the plainest statements of God's word. But if we keep close to Jesus as his followers, drinking more into his spirit of sacrifice and love, and searching the Word to know the Father's will, then we may be proof against all the attacks of error.
Note the principle in operation in the nominal churches. Having lost the spirit of sacrifice – the spirit of Christ, and having contracted a spirit of ease and pleasure loving – the spirit of the world, she soon convinced herself that the sufferings were past, and the reign of glory and conquest begun. Papacy thus developed, accordingly bent her energies to the obtaining of power and the persecuting of all opposers. The various Protestant sects sprung up with a measure of the spirit of self sacrifice and crucifixion – deadness to the world, but these soon began to covet a joint reign with the kingdoms of earth. They sought power, influence, and wealth. They too gradually received of the spirit of the world as they lost the Christ spirit of sacrifice. Thus losing the anointing, it is no wonder that as sects they drifted into error. As a consequence of having lost the spirit of truth, they find it easy to satisfy their minds relative to the Word of God, and laying it aside, they teach for doctrines, the traditions of men; claiming of course that it has Scriptural support.
One of the natural results of such looking at spiritual things with the spirit of the world, is to get God's dealings and plans distorted and confused. So much is this the case, that intelligent people of the world see its weaknesses and cannot honestly support that which involves so many and glaring absurdities. Intelligent Christians can only accept of church theories and creeds, by shutting their eyes and ears and determining not to think on religious things. Thus the loss of the spirit of truth, caused the loss of the truth itself, and turning the truth of God into an apparent lie, it has become the chief cause of the wonderful growth of Infidelity both in and out of the church.
At a meeting of the Mansion House Committee for the Relief of the Russian Jews, it was stated that the amount of £82,458 had been collected, of which there remained £25,000. It was resolved to send commissioners to Hamburg to superintend the departure of the emigrants.THE REFUGEES IN TURKEY.
Our Constantinople correspondent sends the following: – "Turkey is about to share with the United States the honor of providing an asylum for the Jewish fugitives from Russian and Roumanian intolerance and persecution. Mr. Lawrence Oliphant and Mr. James Alexander – the Moses and the Aaron of the situation – are now here, and several hundred half-naked and starving men, women and children, forming the advance guard of the exodus, have already arrived in Constantinople. All the emigrants with whom I spoke expressed their joy at getting out of Russia, and declared that they had left behind them thousands of their co-religionists whose only immediate object in life was to get out of Russia, no matter how, even if they knew they must die of want in any other country. A general influx of Jewish refugees in Constantinople would involve the greater misery and suffering where there is already great privation and want among the poorer classes of the regular inhabitants. Such an influx is, however, deemed inevitable, and the only hope is, that the general stampede toward Constantinople can be retarded for a few months, when preparations of some kind can be made to lessen the suffering. In the meantime the Jews already arrived are provided with food by means of local subscriptions, and the Mansion House Committee has been applied to for funds. Besides an exodus from Russia, we are threatened with an exodus from Roumania.MR. OLIPHANT'S MISSION.
"Mr. Lawrence Oliphant, who recently arrived here from Jassy, states to me, that although no violent outbreak has yet occurred in Roumania, nevertheless the entire Jewish population is in hourly dread lest the outrages which spread like a contagion from Balta to Bessarabia shall in turn extend to Roumania, where, within the past few weeks, the Jews have been deprived of almost all their civil rights – where they cannot hold land, nor pursue their trades or ordinary occupations, nor even peddle their wares in the street, and where life has become intolerable. There are over two hundred and sixty-five thousand Jews in Roumania, and Mr. Oliphant believes that over two hundred thousand of them will emigrate. Sentiment and reverence for the traditions of their race draw them to Palestine rather than toward America. Last week the Central Jewish Committee, which represents forty-nine local committees, met at Jassy, and 200,000f. were at once subscribed to start an exodus fund. The Roumanian Jews added to the Russian Jews, will so augment the numbers coming to Turkey that all preparations for caring for them will probably prove inadequate; and Mr. Oliphant issued circulars from Jassy begging and imploring them to delay their departure for at least four months. The Sultan does not want to have another imperium in imperio in his dominions, and consequently will never consent to the formation of any autonomous colonization scheme in Palestine. He has, however, expressed his warmest sympathy with the oppressed Jews, and the Turkish authorities are instructed to issue Ottoman passports to all Russian and Roumanian Jews who express a desire to settle anywhere in the Ottoman dominions, with the sole exception of Palestine."CONSTANTINOPLE, June 7, 1882.
A deputation representing over forty Russian and Roumanian Jewish communities, waited on General Wallace, earnestly urging him to exert his good offices with the Sultan to enable them to colonize Syria in groups of 200 to 500 or 1,000. The Jewish refugees here are starving, and more are still coming. General Wallace has asked for instructions from Washington.
If there is to be a second, it implies that there has been a first. Not only so, but the second must be like or similar to the first, or it would not be a second. Neither an apple nor a pear would be a second peach; so the second death, like the first, must be a cessation of life or being. The second death is spoken of with reference to humanity; and, since the first death – Adamic – passed upon all men, it follows as a matter of fact, that the first death must be abrogated or set aside in some manner, before the second death would be possible.
Death is the wages of sin. The first – the wages of Adam's sin – passed upon all men. He, having forfeited his right to life, began to have the penalty executed on him – "Dying thou shalt die." He could not, of course, give to his posterity that right to, and perfection of, life which he no longer possessed. Hence all partake of the depravity both mental and physical, and all partake of the penalty – Dying we die. In fact, we are born in a dying condition, or under the rule or dominion of death. This universal death, we call Adamic death, because our father Adam was the direct cause or source of it.
Were it not that this Adamic death is to be destroyed by Christ, there never could be a second death. Life once forfeited, could not be forfeited a second time, unless it first be restored. This restoration to life is called a resurrection (Gr. anastasis – a setting up again – rebuilding – restoring.) Jesus obtained of Justice the right to restore mankind to life, by giving himself a ransom for them – a full satisfaction to the claims of justice. He bought us with his own precious blood. (1 Pet. 1:19; and 1 Cor. 6:20.) Hence it is that he can say, "O, death, I will be thy plagues; O, grave, I will be thy destruction." (Hos. 13:14.) He presently, when united with his Bride, will begin the work of destroying death by raising all mankind out of it – "There shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust."
In the resurrected condition in the Millennial Age, each member of the human family will have an individual trial, testing his willingness to be obedient to the will of God. And the hope is, that the large majority will "choose life and live," being helped in their choice by the bitter experiences of the present Adamic death. Nevertheless, Scripture reveals the fact, that in that age some will sin against light, knowledge, and liberty, and die the second death – the wages of their own, and not of Adam's sin.
The Lord shows the above differences between the first and second death, and the present and future age, in Jer. 31:29,30. "In those days they shall say no more, 'The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. [R381 : page 4] But every one shall die for his own iniquity: Every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge" – "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek. 18:2,4.) This is a pointed Scripture; it shows that in the coming age the parents' sins will not be upon the children; consequently it describes a time when the first death has been abolished. But it tells of a second death too, for it informs us that then, after release from death once – then, the soul (person) that sinneth, it shall die. This could be no other than the second death.
The first, or Adamic death is an extinction of being, but is called a sleep, because God had foreseen and forearranged that in due time all should be made alive. hence, while really dead, and returned to the dust from whence they came, yet not so in God's sight – they "all live unto him." From the standpoint of his plan and power, they shall all awake again to life. They only sleep until the great Millennial day. But the "second death" is not a sleep, because there is no hope of a resurrection from it. Nowhere in Scripture is there any promise of release from it – "There is a sin unto death (a sin against light and opportunity). I do not say that ye shall pray for it." (1 John 5:16.)
The first, or Adamic death, was accompanied by pain and distress in dying; but all pain and consciousness ceased when the death was complete. So with the second death, it doubtless will be accompanied by a certain amount of agony, but the agony will be at an end when the second death is accomplished. Because there will be no resurrection from it, because the second death will never be destroyed, therefore it is called ever-lasting punishment. The punishment or wages is death, and the second death is everlasting, because it will never be undone.
Does some one say – death shall be destroyed – there shall be no more death? We ask which death will be destroyed? – is it not the first; the death that passed upon all for Adam's sin? Yes, and its destruction was often foretold, and the ransom to be given for the Adamic transgression was often typified in the sacrifices of the four thousand years previous to Jesus' sacrifice – the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Having taken away their sin by paying their penalty for them, he obtained the right to take away that death which was on the whole world as the punishment of Adam's sin. But Scripture is silent regarding any ransom from the second death. On the contrary, it says of those who sin willfully against full light and truth, that "there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins [We would no longer have any of the benefits arising from the sacrifice]. Henceforth such are exposed to the full penalty of their own sin – the second death. (Heb. 10:26,27.)
But by taking a full Scriptural view of the subject, we may readily convince ourselves that the second death will never be destroyed. Call to mind the fact that a Saviour from the Adamic sin and Adamic death was necessary, for "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission" of sins. (Heb. 9:22.) Call to mind also, the Scriptural teaching that every sinner requires a Saviour, and you will see that if a thousand persons sinned thus individually, it would require the death of a thousand redeemers to set them free from the second death – one for each. This was God's reason for condemning the entire race in the person of one man, viz. – that they should require only one redeemer; and only one redeemer was provided. The race which was condemned to death because of one man's sin, could, with justice, be released from death through the one Redeemer. (Rom. 5:18,19.) Witness herein the economy which pervades all of the Divine plans. Truly he condemned all in one that he might have mercy upon all through another one. "Since through a man there is death, through a man (Jesus) also there is a resurrection of the dead." (1 Cor. 15:21.)
Some, overlooking the fact that God is just as well as loving, have arranged a theory for the ultimate eternal salvation of all men; and, anxious to hold their theory, they are in danger of neglecting the Scriptural doctrine of a second or everlasting death, for which there is no sacrifice and no promised redemption. These tell us that the "second death" is a symbol, and is used in speaking of symbols; hence, it cannot be understood as applying to mankind, but to systems.
It is a matter of regret, that a desire to uphold a theory should lead any one to take this ground, for it is not true. Nowhere is second death applied to symbols or systems. We demand a Scripture for such an assertion. As a proof of its use relative to systems, we are referred to Rev. 20:14,15; and 21:8. We recognize the fact that this book is full of symbols and word-pictures, but its pictures are full of meaning; and it abounds also in literal statements. This is no excuse, however, for ignoring its teachings as meaningless. If systems are mentioned as dying a second death, it would prove that such systems had once existed, died, revived, and then died again. Many false systems now exist, which must die with this evil age. But will such evil systems come to life again, and flourish during the Millennial reign of Christ, and need at some future time to die a second death? Nay, verily. But all should notice that the expression "second death" or any equivalent expression is never used in the Bible with reference to systems.
There is not the semblance of a system connected with the account of the second death in the above references. One reads: "And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire."
Here the words "lake of fire," are used symbolically, as elsewhere, to represent destruction; but no systems are mentioned as being destroyed here. The scene is laid in the Millennial Age, when, under the reign of Jesus and his Bride, Satan is bound, and the White Throne (reign of righteousness) is established in the earth. Then the dead, small and great, being brought forth from death and hades, are judged or tried by the opened books – the Scriptures. Then a record will be made of all worthy of ever-lasting life as God's human sons – called a book, or record of life, or of those worthy of life.
[A book or record of life is made during this Gospel Age also – but a different one entirely. The one now being made is of those accounted worthy of the new nature – to be changed from human to divine beings. Hence we see that there are two books of life – one for the overcomers of this age – new divine creatures, and "another" book of life for those who are counted worthy in the next age.]
As the work of raising mankind out of the Adamic death and the tomb progresses – they (death, and hades – the grave) are said to be destroyed or "plagued," or cast into a lake of fire – cast into destruction. [R382 : page 4] When the last one has been delivered from the power of Adamic death and the tomb, then the lake of fire [the judgment] will have destroyed death. But while the judgment of God (symbolized by fire) will thus destroy the Adamic death, it will also be the agency for destroying all men unworthy of life. And thus it is that it is to them the second death, as we read – This is the second death, even the lake of fire. And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20:14,15. Rev. version.)
In the succeeding chapter we have a pen-picture of the Millennial Age, in which the church and her Head – Jesus – are in glory, and the throne or kingdom of God is established among men. Through this glorified church, God dwells with men, and the Millennial Age of blessing progresses. During that age the former things (sorrow, pain, and death as results of Adamic sin) pass away, and death (Adamic) shall be no more. (Verse 4.) This is accomplished by him that sits in the throne – the Christ, head and body; hence it cannot in any sense belong to this age, when we pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth." It must belong to the coming age, when the words of the Master will be fulfilled: "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Speaking of those of that Millennial Age who overcome, or are found worthy of life, we read that they shall be God's sons – earthly sons, as Adam before he sinned was an earthly son. (Luke 3:38; and 1 Cor. 15:47,48.) Then, speaking of the class found unworthy of life in the close of the Millennium, after having enjoyed all its privileges and favors, we read – "The fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars – their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death." The judgments of God which shall devour these, are here, as elsewhere, represented by the two most destructive agencies known. (Fire is everywhere a figure of destruction, and burning brimstone is the most deadly agency known. It destroys every form of life.) This is the second death, because as we were just informed (verse 4) the general death – Adamic – was no more – it had been completely destroyed by taking out of it the entire race.
Who can object to this decree of Justice, that all who will not come into harmony with the God of love and his loving plans when full knowledge and ability are possessed, should be cut off from life – die for their own sins – the second death. God will have a clean, sinless universe, all harmonious, all perfect; and to accomplish this he must either coerce men, or destroy those who would require coercion. He tells us that the latter is his plan, and it becomes us to assent to it. Does some one say that God's mercy endureth forever, and he will raise men from the second death, and give them further opportunity? We answer that if sin is willfully and persistently pursued regardless of knowledge, regardless of ability to do right, regardless of punishments, it would be useless to repeat the same operation. Besides this, we have shown that a ransom price and redeemer would be necessary for each sinner, and God reveals no such plan in his Word. Is it best to attempt to be wise above what is written? Does not every Scripture bearing on the subject teach that Christ and his Bride will reign a thousand years, and that in that thousand years all evil and every enemy of righteousness shall be destroyed – even death [Adamic] the great enemy? Then the entire earth and its nations – all whose names are in the second book of life (the others being destroyed by the second death) will be delivered up to God, even the Father. 1 Cor. 15:28; and Rev. 20:4. Though Lazarus and various others who were brought to life, died again, theirs was not a second death, because they were never fully brought from under the dominion of the first, or Adamic death. They were merely aroused for a time from the unconsciousness of death, to a small measure of life, soon to relapse again to sleep until the morning when Adamic death shall be swallowed up in victory.
We have treated the subject of the second death above, from the standpoint of the next age entirely, applying it only to those who, during the next age, will first be actually set free from the dominion of the Adamic death, and then, by willful sin, bring death upon themselves – the second death. But it is used in Scripture with reference to this Gospel Age also. Now, those who have an ear to hear, and who believe God's Word, are informed of his purpose to bring all men to life again through the resurrection, and it is our privilege to anticipate that perfect, or restored and sinless condition of the next age now. By faith in God's Word and power, we reckon ourselves and are reckoned of God, as justified freely from all sin – no longer under the Adamic curse, but free from all the curse of Adam's sin, and from its penalty – death. By faith we see Jesus to be the full satisfaction of the claims of justice. Thus we reckon ourselves as alive from the dead. Death had passed upon all, and upon us among others; but now we know that we were bought with a price, and we think of ourselves as free from Adamic death – as human beings having perfect life again.
But this is all an imputed or reckoned perfection – not actual. It is so reckoned by God and by ourselves, because of the efficacy of the ransom price. It is by faith only, that we realize it – we believe God that our life has been ransomed by him who gave himself a ransom for all. So far as sight goes, we have no evidence of a restored right to life. Aches and pains and death continue with us, as with others, but "we walk by faith, and not by sight." Do you ask, what good the knowledge does us, since we experience no physical benefits more than the worldly? We reply, the knowledge of our redemption is valuable; it gives us hope and joy; it enables us to come to God as our reconciled parent – reconciled 1800 years ago by the death of his son – reconciled while we were enemies and sinners. Thus it opens up communion and intercourse between us and our Heavenly Father. But more; when we come into communion with God, he tells us of his plans, and he [R382 : page 5] offers to make us co-workers with him if we prove ourselves worthy of so great a privilege. To prove ourselves worthy of being co-workers with him, we must consecrate ourselves to death, and follow the example of Jesus, presenting our bodies living sacrifices to God.
We must become dead to the world and to all its earthly ambitions, honors, etc. If we do so, we thus consecrate ourselves to the second death. How? In this way: With all others, we were subject to and already under the dominion of the first or Adamic death. (Don't forget that all our steps since are steps of faith – walking by faith and not by sight. What we receive and do by faith, is counted as instead of the actual.) Thus we became free from Adamic sin and its penalty – death. Then, by faith, we gave our justified humanity a living sacrifice to God. When the sacrifice ends, we will be dead – "Be thou faithful unto death." When such justified and consecrated ones die, it is their second death. Now, hear Jesus' words: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life...He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."
Does not this teach us that some will, and some will not be hurt, by passing into the second death? The overcomers of this age will not be hurt by it. Nay, they will be benefited by it. Jesus, we are told, took our human nature in order to die for us, and when he laid it down in death – a sacrifice to God – the human nature was gone forever, but he was born from the dead, of the Spirit, and in his resurrection was perfected in the Divine nature and likeness. What the sacrifice of Jesus did for him (Phil. 2:8,9), our sacrifice is to do for us. Unless we lay down the human nature in complete sacrifice – even unto death – we cannot become partakers or sharers of the Divine nature.
Jesus did not die the second death, because he was not under the Adamic penalty. We were of the condemned race, and being justified by his ransom, we become sharers in HIS death, which was not the Adamic. Thus we shared by nature in the Adamic death, from which we flee, and rejoice to be delivered; but we seek and rejoice to be "dead with him" that we may also "live with him" on a higher than human plane of being. (Rom. 6:8; and 2 Pet. 1:4; Phil. 3:10.) Thus we prefer to sacrifice our humanity because of our faith in God's promise of a higher nature, rather than to share with our human father, Adam, a restitution to the perfection of human nature.
Ah, yes, we can thus see a force and depth in Jesus' words: "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." But there are some who will be hurt – badly hurt by the second death – it will be to such, the end of all life and hope and being – everlasting death. We have seen the class who will thus die in the end of the Millennial Age – for their own sins; now, let us look at a class who, during this Gospel Age, die the second death, and will have no resurrection from it. This class is spoken of in 1 John 5:16. There are sins not unto death, and there is a sin unto death; I do not say that ye should pray for it. The Apostle is not referring to the Adamic sin and death, [R383 : page 5] for it passed on all. Consequently, he must have reference to an individual sin and its penalty – the second death. As he does not define what the sin is, we will seek further light on the subject. But here we remark that this sin could be committed in this age, only by one who had been justified by faith from the Adamic sin and death, for they could not die for their own sin until they had been reckoned free from the Adamic penalty.
Paul gives us a description of the sin unto death, and shows us that none could commit it (now) but those who have been justified and consecrated themselves. The Apostles could commit it; we could commit it, or any one who has already enjoyed by faith, all the blessings due him as a member of the redeemed race. Paul says: (Heb. 10:26, Diaglott) "If WE should voluntarily sin AFTER having received the knowledge of the truth (a thorough understanding), there is no longer a sacrifice left for sins." [The share of such, in the sacrifice of Jesus, is exhausted – he died to redeem and liberate us from Adamic sin and its penalty, which came upon us without our will or choice: His sacrifice is abundant to cover every weakness and imperfection arising in any way from that source; but his ransom does not cover our willful or determined sin.]
Voluntary sin does not mean the relapse for a time, through the weakness of our will power, into what we now see to be sinful; but, as explained by the context, it is an open apostasy – an ignoring of their share in the sacrifice. Verse 29 describes the willful sinner against light, as "having trampled on the Son of God, and esteemed as a common thing [lightly esteemed] the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the spirit of favor."
As to what is meant here by trampling on the Son of God and esteeming his blood a common thing, we leave to the reader to decide for himself. The only way in which we can conceive of this being done, is a method now springing into popularity; namely, the disclaiming of the necessity of Jesus' death as our ransom price from the just penalty of sin – death. Sin is a reality, its penalty – death – is a reality, and a release from it is obtained only by the giving of an equivalent for us. This was done by him "who loved us and gave himself for us" – "For ye were redeemed not with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ." Those who realize themselves bought with this price, value the blood, or sacrificed life of Jesus as "precious"; while those who claim that we are not thus redeemed or purchased out of death, set aside the value of Jesus' death, and count it as the death of any one else – a "common" or ordinary thing, which paid no penalty for us.
This view, that Adam's sin needed no atoning for, other than man can give, and hence that Jesus' death purchased no release, has long been held by Universalists, Unitarians, and others, but the force of the text quoted, is not applicable to those who never saw the value of Christ's ransom. It refers to a class who, having once seen its value, and been sanctified thereby, turn about and begin to underrate its value and esteem it a common thing. "My soul come not thou into their secret."
Here we see who can in this age sin (individually) the sin unto death – the second death. It is not the poor blasphemous wretch steeped in sin and death, who has never yet tasted that the Lord is gracious; nor the ignorant religious professor who loves and serves mammon, and knows God only enough to fear him; but it is the well enlightened, who were once partakers of the spirit of adoption – the spirit of Christ – and who have been sanctified or consecrated. These only can now commit a sin unto death – it will be their second death, since by faith they had been justified and released from the condemnation of the first, the Adamic death. We expect no resurrection for these. The same Apostle, speaking of this class elsewhere, (Heb. 6:4-6) indicates that, having taken this step of willful sin, it is impossible to move them to repentance afterward. This class, like a similar class in the next age, will be badly hurt of the second death – They lose all.
Peter says of such – "If, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (their ransom), they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness." (2 Pet. 2:20-22.)
"You express your sympathy with the persecuted people of the Jews – persecuted under circumstances more atrocious, more vile, more greedy, more grasping, more covetous, more detestable in every sense of the word, than any other persecution that I have ever heard of in modern times. This persecution has been governed by greed from beginning to end, and it has exceeded in anarchy and spoliation and bloodshed, the records of almost all the persecutions that I have read of, even in Roman history. I cannot but believe that a very serious issue awaits the Russian empire. I remember my learned and valued friend, Dr. McCaul, once quoting to me a passage which I could not understand in the Book of Isaiah. Speaking of the Jews as a nation, the prophet uses the words, "terrible from their beginning hitherto." I could not understand that passage, because the Jews have seldom gone beyond their boundary for the purpose of aggression; but the Doctor gave me the true interpretation – I have held it ever since, and I hope every one of you will hold it. "Aye," he said, "they are 'terrible from the beginning hitherto,' because no nation ever injured the Jews without smarting for it."
Now, there is a kindred feeling to that shown by Russia, though it is restrained in expression and in operation; there is a strong anti-Semitic feeling among the Germans, but it rests on totally different grounds. A vast number of the Germans are deeply hostile towards the Jews, and I heard the solution of that only a few months ago, having suspected it before. A friend of mine being in Berlin, got into conversation with a very great man there, a man who knew what he thought himself, and who also knew what others thought. My friend said to him, "What is the history of this strong anti-Jewish feeling which you have in Berlin and throughout Germany?" He replied, "Do you want to know?" "Yes." "Then," he said, "I will tell you. These Jews, if they go into commerce, become the first merchants; if they go into the banking line, they become the first bankers; if they go into law, they become the first lawyers; or if they go into literature, they beat us all. Whatever career they undertake, they drive out the Gentiles; and I tell you, sir, we won't stand it." There is, in fact, a great jealousy of that wonderful people who are now coming to the front. And what a sign of the times it is, that wherever the Jews are, they are either the most prominent people to be persecuted, or the most prominent people to take a lead in all the various professions!
Now, the question arises, "Will the Jews return to their own land?" A great number of them are going to America; they will go anywhere if they can there find freedom from persecution, and ease to pursue their career. I do not think there is, so far as I can make out, any great desire among the Jews as a nation to return to their own land. And this I know from authority, that the wealthy Jews of England – I do not know whether this is the case with the wealthy Jews of other countries – are very adverse to it. I had it from an influential Jew's own lips, that the wealthy Jews of England do not wish that any Jew whatever should return to the land of his forefathers. But there are many ready to go, and it will depend upon the contributions made by faithful Christians whether they shall be enabled to go in greater or smaller numbers.
Another question arises, "Will this persecution cease?" I do not believe it will. It may cease for an interval but it will recur in successive periods. And there is every reason why it should do so. The persecution of the Jews in Russia and Poland does not depend upon religion or nationality. These have nothing whatever to do with it. The Russians would persecute any people in the same position as the Jews. Bear this in mind, that the Jews hold in mortgage a very considerable part of the landed property of Russia; that they hold in their debt a very large proportion of the peasantry, and very many of the shopkeepers in different parts of the empire. Every single opportunity which now presents itself to the Russian people for plunder and spoliation of the Jews is almost sure to be seized. In the destruction of the Jews, and of their papers, Russians get rid of documents by which they are bound, and which might be brought as evidence against them; and so long as there is property to be laid hold of, so long will you find the Russian people rising against the Jews.
The Russian people would not, perhaps, if left to themselves, be so greedy or so violent; they are encouraged by the officials of the Russian [R384 : page 5] empire, many of whom are indebted to Jews. This I had on official authority, that at the very last outbreak in Balta, while the Jews were being persecuted, the police stood by and would not allow the Jews to protect themselves, while they, at the same time, encouraged the peasantry to come in with their carts and wagons to carry away the plunder from the Jewish houses. It has been shown that the Government is paralyzed – that part of it, I mean, that wished well to the Jews. I believe the present Emperor to be a humane man; I believe him to be a just man; but, although he is a despot, he is as perfectly inefficient for the government of his empire as though he [R384 : page 6] were a baby two years old. He has no will of his own, and is surrounded by officials of an anti-Semitic character. The Russian empire is lost in profligacy and wickedness and every description of vice. Whatever else it may be, this persecution is a sign of the end – I should rather say, perhaps of the beginning of the end – of that great end which, God be praised, cannot be far off."
Thus, we see the attention of the whole world is being drawn to the restitution of the Jews, now commencing. The attention of all thinking Christians is being drawn to it. The leading religious papers – such as the "Independent" – find the interest in the subject so great, that, though hitherto they have shown opposition to Millenarian views, yet now they are calling attention to this marked fulfillment of prophecy now in progress. Yet, though they see this, they fail entirely to grasp the import of it. Lord S., in closing his remarks, came much nearer the real import of the Jewish exodus than do most thinkers on the subject, when he said, "This persecution is a sign of the end – of the great end, which, God be praised, cannot be far off." Yes, it is a sign of the end – the end of this age, and the beginning of the age of restitution – the Millennium. It is a sign of the end of "the present evil world," or dispensation of evil. It is the precursor of the World to come – the dispensation of truth and righteousness, in which Jesus and his Bride – the spiritual seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:29.) – shall reign over, and bless all the families of the earth, through Israel, after the flesh, who must first be restored to influence, and power.
Israel is the anti-typical "fig tree," cursed and blighted by the Master, because it bore only leaves; and it is Israel that he refers to again, saying, When ye see the fig tree putting forth leaves, then know that summer is nigh – then lift up your heads and rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28-31; Mark 11:13,14.) Note the wonderful adaptation of the fig tree as an illustration of Israel's returning favor. It puts forth its fruit before its leaves appear; and when the leaves appear, the fruit is ripe. It is a staple article of food, and also possesses medicinal qualities. So Israel begins to show marked signs of the approaching summer. And when the rich foliage of God's favor covers Israel, and is manifest to all, she will be ripe and ready for the work of blessing, feeding, and healing the nations according to God's plan. Jesus, seeing the leaves on the fig tree, had a right to expect ripe fruit, especially as the "time for (harvesting) figs was not yet" fully come. So with Israel, when cursed, they were full of leaves, or professions and appearance of faithfulness; but when searched in their harvest time, were found lacking fruit – and cursed for the age.
Yes, Earth's winter time, with its cold, and blight, and storms, is nearly over; the gracious, and fruitful, and beautiful Summer is nigh. Spring has come; the fig tree is "putting forth"; yet we must look for more storms, more trouble, just as in nature, the Spring equinoxial storm is one of the most severe. Jacob (Israel after the flesh) is to be delivered during a great "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation." "It is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it." (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1.)
It is very remarkable that Christian people cannot appreciate Paul's statement, that the fleshly house were cast off from God's favor during the time his favor has been manifest to the spiritual house. How strange that they cannot see from this return of favor to "Jacob," that the end of favor toward the spiritual house has come – that the end ("harvest") of the Gospel age is now upon us.
Like some of old, the church today cannot "discern the signs of the times." (Matt. 16:3.) But it was then, as now, the nominal church which discerned not. Those truly taught of God are, to that extent, not in darkness." Ye, brethren, [brethren in Christ, holding communion with God, through his Word, which is able to make wise] are not in darkness." (1 Thes. 5:4.)
The great mass of the Church see the signs now taking place, but are so blinded by their creeds and traditions, that they cannot "discern" or understand them. How clear to the unfettered and discerning mind are the words of Paul: "I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery...that blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, and so [then] all Israel shall be saved." [No one can question that Paul refers to the blinding of fleshly Israel, and consequently to the saving, or bringing back to God's favor, of that people. But one of the most pointed things in this expression is, that this saving of fleshly Israel, will not be "until the fullness" – full number "of the Gentiles be come in." In other words, the restoration of the fleshly house to the earthly promises, cannot take place until the Gospel call to the heavenly promises has ended, by accomplishing the work of selecting a people for his name – the Bride of Christ.] Paul proceeds, and adds to the strength of his own statement of God's plan, by quoting from the prophets: "As it is written, there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer [the Christ, head and body complete – the Bridegroom and Bride made one – the great Deliverer, both of Israel and the world, who will set at liberty the captives of death], and shall [first] turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins." Rom. 11:25-33. Compare this with James' statement, Acts 15:14-18. After referring to the taking out of the Bride from the Gentiles – "a people for his name" – James quotes a prophecy, which will be due to be fulfilled after the Bride, for his name has been selected, saying: "After this, I will return [cause my favor to return to Israel], and will build again the tabernacle [house – nation] of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up [Note well why God will rebuild Israel], that the residue of men might seek after the Lord."
Truly, then, the re-gathering of Israel is a sign of the end of this age – a sign that we are living in the harvest time, for "the harvest is the end of the age." (Matt. 13:39.)
Let those who deny the restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, take notice that the restoration of the Jew to the Canaan land of promise, is only a beginning of the work of restoring all nations and all things. "For the Lord will save the tents of Judah first." (Zech. 12:7.) The restoration of the living is only a first part of restitution, for "all nations shall come and worship before thee." This will include the dead – "There shall be a resurrection (anastasis – bringing up to perfection) of the dead, both of the just and the unjust." (Acts 24:15.)
But as Israel was thirty-seven years in falling, viz., from A.D. 33, when Jesus gave them up and left desolate their house, to A.D. 70, when their national existence ended; so we expect that they will be thirty-seven years in rising, or from 1878 to 1914, the end of the times of the Gentiles. This time of their re-gathering and restitution to favor, will be a time of great trouble – it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be delivered out of it. As when they came out of Egypt over three thousand years ago, it was in the midst of great trial and distress; so now their deliverance will be, not without its distress, as it is written – "According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvelous things: the nations shall see and be confounded at all their might." (Micah 7:15.)
But we are also told, that the exodus now from among all nations, will be so much more a marked manifestation of God's favor than that from Egypt, that the latter, which has heretofore been the great and marked feature of Israel's history, will sink into comparative insignificance, when compared with the coming deliverance from among the nations. Thus we read: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north [Russia], and from all the lands whither he had driven them. And I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers." Jer. 16:14,15.
Jesus said, "No man can come unto me except the Father draw him." (John 6:44.) And the Prophet Isaiah replies, "They shall be all taught of God." Yes, says Jesus, "And every man (so taught) cometh unto me." (John 6:45.)
God, however, does not teach all in the same time, and way. For 6,000 years he has been teaching the world the exceeding sinfulness of sin and its bitter results, permitting them to remain in ignorance of his love. By and by, he will teach them the blessedness of virtue and holiness, and reveal to them his loving character. When? we enquire; and Isaiah replies, When "the glory of the Lord (through the Christ – Rom. 16:27) shall be revealed...all flesh shall see it together." (Isa. 40:5.) Before the glory of the Lord can be revealed in the Christ, a special course of training is necessary to develop that body. It is to be composed of a little flock of human beings who sacrifice their humanity and are exalted to divinity. These, all of whom except the head, (Jesus) were found under the curse of a broken law, to be finally lifted to that amazing height, require a special course of training.
Since we are of those called to walk that pathway, it becomes a matter of intense interest to understand what is the holy Spirit, and what the object and manner of our training? The Scriptures reveal the holy Spirit as the influence or power of Jehovah. And, since the Christ also partakes of the Divine nature, it is called the Spirit of Christ. The holy Spirit of the Father will dwell richly in the Son and daughter – Jesus and his bride. Nor should we, as the prospective bride of Christ, fear to claim our title as the daughter of the King. (Psa. 45:13.) Is Jesus "the express image of the Father's person?" (Heb. 1:3.) – We shall be like unto his glorious body. But though we shall be thus highly exalted to the same nature, the superiority of relationship – the headship of Father over Son, and of the Son over his bride, will always exist. (1 Cor. 11:3.)
A being may be controlled by the holy Spirit willingly or unwillingly, known or unknown to himself, yet not partake of the Divine life – not be begotten of the Divine spirit. All beings are so controlled; even Satan and his host, though unwillingly. Prophets and holy men of old were willing subjects who spoke as they were moved by the holy spirit. Angels are the willing subjects of the holy Spirit, yet unto which of the Angels said God at any time, "Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee!" But "when he bringeth the first born (the Christ complete, head and body glorified into the world,) he saith, 'And let all the angels of God worship him.'" Why? Because he has become a partaker of the Divine nature. It is fitting that all other forms of life should worship Divinity.
The holy Spirit is exercised in the creation of various orders of intelligent beings, each perfectly adapted to the end of its existence; but one small class only, the "little flock," will be given that form which will be "the brightness of (God's own) glory, and the express image of His (own) person," and "filled with all the fulness of God." (Heb. 1:3; Eph. 3:19.)
The Divine power or holy Spirit of God is not only exerted in creating, but also in upholding, directing and controlling all things which he has created, whether animate or inanimate. But the holy Spirit is exercised in a marked degree, in behalf of those now begotten, and finally to be born into the Father's express image. It directs the newly begotten creatures through the pathway of the suffering and death of their humanity, and upholds them by becoming their "comforter," by unfolding the exceeding great and precious promises of God's Word – "For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." (Rom. 15:4.) It shapes and controls all circumstances, so that they all work together for their good.
Now with this idea of the holy Spirit – that it is not a separate person from God, but rather that it is the mind, influence, or power of Jehovah, let us notice its object, and means, of preparing those who shall be of the anointed body. In Eph. 4:12, we learn that the object is, the complete qualification of the saints – the body of the anointed – for the work of service. (Diaglott.) From other Scriptures we learn that this service is to consist in redeeming, restoring, ruling, and blessing all the families of the earth, during the incoming age of a thousand years. In what further developments of God's plans, they may be afterward engaged, we are not yet informed. But the Divine family will always be gloriously engaged in carrying out the will of its Head – Jehovah – our Father. [R385 : page 7]
With such an object in view, what means are being employed for its accomplishment. We have seen that it is a little flock of human beings who are being chosen for the high office. Though not all, yet many of the human race were called, yet few of those called, will be chosen, because not obedient to the call. Are we of those called? Yes. Our calling was made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who brought immortality to light through the Gospel. (2 Tim. 1:10.) And the holy Spirit was given as a guide and comforter of the heirs of immortality, ever since Jesus was glorified. (John 7:39.)
Though the little flock is now human, when they become Divine, like God, they cannot longer retain their humanity, for God is not a combination of Divinity and humanity – different natures are necessarily separate and distinct. Human nature is all we have, and when we consecrate that to death nothing remains. But the instant we completely consecrate ourselves to death, we are begotten by the spirit of God to the new, divine nature. Since that time, old things (human hopes, ambitions, desires etc.) have passed away; behold all things are become new. We are now embryo "new creatures."
This new nature, begun at the time of consecration, must continually develop until born into the perfection of the divine nature. As the new continues to develop, the human gradually dies, until the death of the one, and the perfection of the other is complete. As "new creatures," we have a measure of the life, spirit, mind of our Heavenly Father. This energizing spirit enables us to carry out that which we covenanted to do – viz. to make subject, and keep under, our mortal (human) body – crucifying its desires daily, so that its will shall not rule, and these bodies reckoned dead indeed unto their own desires, are made alive unto God – compelled to do the will of the "new creature." Thus while the old mind is treated as if dead, the effect of the new mind is to quicken these mortal bodies, counted dead, making them the living active servants of the new mind. Thus, Paul explained that if Christ (the Christ spirit) be in you, the body is dead to sin, but the dead body is quickened into life (made active in the divine service) by his spirit which dwelleth in you. (See Rom. 8:10,11, Diaglott.)
The results of this new sap (the new mind, the spirit, power, or will of God, dwelling within) introduced into the dead tree, is seen in the fruits. Now the fruits of the spirit are love, faith, diligence, patience, humility, etc.; in short, Godliness (God-likeness) and "if these things be in you and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the KNOWLEDGE of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:5-8.) Such a spirit we are told (John 16:13) will guide us into an understanding of all truth due. It will guide the body as a whole, into all truth.
If we are thus led of the Spirit, we will take God's standpoint of view in every matter. Our love, will beget a desire to know that we may do his will; our diligence and patience, will leave no means unemployed to gain that knowledge; our faith in God, will lead us to place implicit confidence in his word regardless of all the traditions of men to the contrary; our meek humility, will cast out pride and love of self exaltation; enabling us to accept of truth through whatever channel it may flow. Such will cherish no preconceived ideas of their own, when found inharmonious with God's word though their names are connected with them. No, the Spirit of God in us enables us to take his standpoint and to desire TRUTH, for the upbuilding of the "new creature."
This is the sole object of truth. It is not given merely to gratify curiosity, nor simply to reveal God's character, but by that revelation to transform us into his likeness. Therefore God has so carefully provided us with means for ascertaining truth when due, with such certainty that not the shadow of doubt may linger about it. He has given us the holy Spirit (spirit or mind of Christ) as our infallible guide, in the understanding of his written word. The measure of the Spirit first received, leads us into some knowledge of God, and that knowledge enables us to drink more and more into his Spirit. Thus we continue to grow in knowledge and favor with God.
While the exceeding great and precious promises revealed by the Spirit inspire with joyful hope, we find it to be God's will, that for the present we must tread the thorny path of suffering, even unto death. But in this, the Spirit of God becomes our "comforter," not by removing our distresses and trials, but by unfolding the glory, honor and immortality promised in God's Word. Thus we are indeed comforted and enabled to esteem them light afflictions, not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." (Rom. 8:18.) And again, who possessing the Christ spirit has not found wonderful comfort in the blessed rest from pride, envy, strife, and vain glory? While enabling us to take God's standpoint – with him viewing the necessity of present evil, and the all-sufficient [R386 : page 7] remedy to be developed and manifested in due time – we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Truly we have "meat to eat that the world knows not of," and a peace and joy which the world cannot give nor take away.
The indwelling of the Spirit of God then, we see to be the first, and all important agency, in acquainting the body of Christ with the revelation which God has given relative to his plans and purposes, and in building up the "new creature." It is not God's plan however, to build each member up in the knowledge of the truth independent of every other member. No, each member of the body must perform its part toward the building up of the whole body; and no one member can say to any other member, I have no need of thee. Some members of the body may be able to do greater service than others, but the least is necessary. Paul tells us that God appointed some of the members as Apostles, (the specially sent founders of the faith,) and some Prophets, (Interpreters of his Word) and some Evangelists, (Proclaimers of the good news) and some Pastors and Teachers. (Feeders, care-takers, teachers of truths learned, to the sheep and lambs.) All these, he tells us, are chosen for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, (a ministry to the world, in the coming age) for the edifying (building up) of the body of Christ.
Paul says we should all earnestly desire, or seek to cultivate, the best gifts of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:31.) But in vs. 29 he intimates that all may not obtain the same gifts – "Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets? Are all Teachers, etc.?" But though some of us may possess none of these gifts, yet as the Lord's sheep we may all be full of love ("charity") and love is the greatest gift of all. Without it the others prove worthless. Therefore let us follow after love; and desire (seek to cultivate) the other gifts that thereby we may render greater service. Even the different sheep promptly and lovingly obeying the voice of the great shepherd, now present, and feeding in the rich green pastures to which he has led them, by their example invite other sheep to do the same.
But some inquire, How shall we know what is truth when different members differently interpret the Word? We answer that just here is where we must apply the test. – Which interpretation brings harmony – which confusion? If we have been careful students, walking in the shining pathway, we need not long hesitate in discerning truth. We should avoid following human teachers as leaders. Their teachings should be received only so far as they harmonize with the word of truth. Who can tell but that an able teacher might become puffed up with a fleshly mind, and thus losing the spirit of truth, soon get far out of harmony with the Word.
The Spirit of God in us, will enable us to discover that such are permitting the old nature to come to life; and to such extent as that old nature triumphs, will the light of the new nature become darkness. If the old nature is not speedily subdued, more and more of error will come in, until the light that was in them becomes total darkness – and "How great is that darkness." No increase of light through such, should be expected, until the old nature has again been crucified. Nor will the indwelling Spirit of truth permit us to follow such, though they may have been right-hand members. We will not love a right hand more than the Head. Therefore we should always look to God as our Teacher while making use of all the helps and agencies through whom he is pleased to bless us.
Thus the members of the "one body of Christ," all "taught of God," "called in the one hope of their calling," being "knit together in love" and "holding the Head" in supreme reverence, shall "all come in the ("full assurance" and) "unity of the faith" and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man (the Christ complete) unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Thus complete, they will be perfectly prepared "for the work of the ministry" – restoring, ruling, and blessing the world in the incoming age.
THE Jewish exodus from Russia has assumed such large proportions as to furnish a no mean parallel to that famous ancient one of the same race from Egypt. The great body of them are poor, in fact are wholly destitute of means, but Providence seems to be with his chosen people now as of old, and through moving into activity the sympathies of the charitable, is furnishing the manna necessary for their subsistence. Baron Hirsh, the well known Jewish banker at Paris, has contributed 1,000,000 francs toward their support.– Pittsburgh Times.
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Heb. 10:31.
It is doubtless because of our present imperfect, dying condition, that we are seldom able to reason clearly on any subject, examining all sides of a question. This difficulty confronts us continually. One mind grasps only "election"; another sees only "free grace": One sees God, only as an austere tyrant, cold, pitiless, and just; another sees Him only as kind and loving, and too tender to be just.
While our tendency to one-sidedness in such reasonings is more to be pitied than condemned, yet it becomes all who realize this weakness, to guard against it, and to lay aside all prejudice, and take into account every side of such subject, as presented in God's Word, that we may "see light in his light."
Thus viewed, we find the doctrines of Election and Free Grace, both taught in Scripture, and as heretofore shown, beautifully harmonious. And thus we have found God perfect both in Justice and in Love. "The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy" – "God is love." It is equally true that there is no unrighteousness with God – "Justice is the habitation of his throne." He will not condemn the righteous; and he will by no means clear the guilty. Every deed must receive a just recompense of reward, whether it be good, or bad. As we continue this investigation, we shall find that this uncompromising, impartial justice of God, no less than his love, is the firm, strong foundation upon which our hopes of the future must build.
Our conceptions of God, and of his dealings, are based largely upon our own methods. Because we imperfect beings exercise our pity and love often at the expense of justice, therefore we are apt to suppose that God's methods are the same.
You frame a law for your children based on their supposed ability to obey. You may find that you have made an imperfect law – one too severe for the ability of your child; therefore, when your child violates it, your sense of justice, as well as of love, calls for a remission of part of the penalty. Or your law may be none too severe, and you may be so lacking in justice and proper government, that when the child disobeys, your mercy tramples upon your own law, and you fail to punish. But with God it is different. His mercy and love can never trample upon his justice. "True and righteous are thy ways, Lord God Almighty. Judgment (wisdom) and Justice are the habitation of thy throne."
"Forever firm Thy Justice stands,
As mountains their foundations keep."
God deals only with perfect things. As God created man, he was good – "very good" – perfect. (Deut. 32:4.) God being perfect, could give only a perfect law for the government of his creatures. That perfect law, in brief, was obedience to his will. God made one penalty for violators of his just law: It was that such being should be deprived of existence – "Dying thou shalt die" – "dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Gen. 2:17; and 3:19.) This penalty could not be remitted, because it was just, and to remit it would be for God to act unjustly. It was not too severe a penalty, for God [R386 : page 8] is too wise to err. We may see, as God does, that anything short of perfect obedience to his perfect will and law, would create trouble and general discord not only to the sinner, but to all associated with him; therefore, it is a merciful provision for the good of all God's creatures, that "the wages of sin is death."
The same attribute of Justice which was a guarantee of his communion with his Maker, and which provided the bliss of Paradise to Adam while obedient, became the avenger of the broken law, inflicting the penalty by driving man out of the garden, and cutting off his communion and fellowship with God. We cannot doubt that Adam sought anxiously to have his sin of disobedience forgiven, and to be reinstated to a right to life in Paradise, and to favor and communion with God. But the law of God was inexorable. God could not excuse the sin, for he cannot look upon (the least) sin with any degree of allowance. (Hab. 1:13; Psa. 5:4,5.) He could not grant him a free pardon, for he was justly guilty, and he could "by no means clear the guilty." (Exod. 34:7.) The penalty (death) had to be inflicted, and it was.
To have pardoned Adam, God would have made himself a liar, for he had said: "In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying thou shalt die." Had God broken his word and law in that instance, our confidence and trust might well be shaken in every subsequent promise of his Word. The absolute unchangeableness of [R387 : page 8] God is the firm foundation upon which all his loving promises rest. For the same reason, we know that God can never pardon sin. [Recall the distinction heretofore shown between pardon and forgiveness. The word pardon does not occur in the New Testament, and in the Old Testament it should be translated forgive.] God's verdict is that "the wages of sin is death," and since he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, therefore, death will always be the wages which his justice will inflict on sinners. If he changes not, he will never look upon sin with any degree of allowance, and there could be no stronger proof of a time coming when evil and evil-doers shall be no more.
But does not this unswerving justice render God's Love and Mercy powerless – is not the sinner therefore, hopelessly lost in death, even beyond the reach of infinite love? No, God's wisdom and love have provided a way by which he can be just, and yet forgive and receive the sinner back into his favor. This is the glad tidings – that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." Then we see that while God could not pardon, or excuse sin, and could not remit its penalty unconditionally; yet, in some way, he was able to do it through Christ. How, through Christ? Could Jesus do what Jehovah could not – could he unconditionally remit our sins? No, but "he bore our sins in his own body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24) – that is, he bore the punishment of our sins there – death. The Father "laid upon him the iniquity of us all." (Isa. 53:6.)
This was not unjust on God's part. There could be no injustice in laying our stripes upon Jesus, provided Jesus was willing to suffer – "the Just (one) for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." (1 Pet. 3:18.) We are assured by any number of Scriptures, that Jesus did share in the Father's plan for our "ransom from the grave." (Hos. 13:14.) One text will suffice for proof of this: "Consider him (Jesus) who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame." The joy set before Jesus was, doubtless, the promise of his exaltation to a place of honor and power higher than he ever before enjoyed. (See Phil. 2:9-11.)
Thus we see that the Justice of God did not render his love powerless, but each adds to the brilliancy of the other. "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9.)
Now, what Jesus did for the race was to redeem, ransom, or purchase them. "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things...but with the precious blood of Christ." (1 Pet. 1:18,19.) "Ye were bought with a price." (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; and 2 Pet. 2:1.) But we hear an objector – You are using the word bought in its ordinary sense – this is too much of "a commercial idea." We inquire, what other way could we use the word, without wresting the Scriptures? The word has only one signification. The Greek word from which bought is translated, is agorazo, and conveys the "commercial idea" in the fullest sense; it means to purchase in open market. It occurs twenty-one times in the four Gospels in connection with buying food, linen, fields, meat, etc.
If the commercial idea is correct – if we were bought, something was given for us, and to some one. Paul says – "The man, Christ Jesus... gave himself a ransom (antilutron – an equivalent price) for all." (1 Tim. 2:6. See also Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45.) In answer to the question, to whom he paid the price or gave himself, the Apostle tells us that "Christ...through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot, to God." (Heb. 9:14; and 7:27.) The sacrifice lasted for three-and-a-half years, ending at the cross; but it was presented before God on our behalf when Jesus ascended. The Holy Spirit, since Pentecost, has been a witness of our forgiveness for Christ's sake – on account of Christ's ransom. It is most abundant proof that Jesus' sacrifice was acceptable and well pleasing to God. Since then, remission of sins and resurrection from death are preached in his name. This was never preached before, because, until then, our ransom price had not been paid. (Luke 24:47; Acts 5:31,32; and 13:38; and 3:26; Matt. 28:18,19.) Though some were permitted to commune with God before that, it was only after a sacrifice had been offered, typical of Jesus' better sacrifice.
From what were we purchased, or redeemed – from eternal torment? No, let Scripture answer – "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death." Hos. 13:14.
Justice held the race in the prison of death, and to purchase their release was the object of Jesus' death. We were in death because of sin, and he died for our sins, that by taking our place in death, we might go free. And now we wait, during this Gospel Age, until the Bride shall be selected, and expect that then all the prisoners in Adamic death will be set at liberty – restored to life.
Then if Jesus is our Purchaser, all men belong to him and are under his control, subject to his authority. He may do what he pleases with the race; hence we read, "Ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." (1 Cor. 3:23.) If he is their purchaser and owner, he has a right to do for them what he pleases. His plan is briefly expressed by Paul: "Who will have all men to be saved (saved from Adamic death) and (then) to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:4.)
Thus we see why it is that "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." (John 5:22.) It is because the Father has already judged all in Adam, and condemned all to death, and could not treat with sinners except through a Redeemer who became a mediator (go between.)
The mediator is in full harmony with the Father's law, and designs bringing all mankind who will, to a knowledge of the truth, and to perfection of manhood. When this work is accomplished, he will cease to act as a "mediator," and the responsibility of the perfect restored man will be direct to God, the Father, as it is written: "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power... and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also, himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." (1 Cor. 15:24-28.)
From this standpoint we can see how and why "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." It is because, if in his hands, though loving, he is just, and cannot look upon sin with any degree of allowance. If in his hands we know that the slightest imperfection must condemn us to death, how graciously, then, has God provided a "cleft rock" for our shelter, a perfect covering for our nakedness, in the person of Jesus our Lord.
When Adam sinned, and prayed that God would excuse his sin, and not inflict the death penalty, as no doubt he did, and when he found his entreaty vain, then he, and all his race, found that it was indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But Paul's language implies that some might again, a second time, fall into God's hands, and again find it a fearful experience. He has graciously placed us all in the hands of Christ, and has committed the judgment or trial of all to him, in order that whosoever will, may come to perfection again, and live forever in harmony with his law, which in their present fallen condition they could not keep. A way by which we could now fall into the hands of the living God, is by coming out from under the covering of our cleft rock, ignoring the ransom price, and "counting the blood of the covenant a common thing." Any who thus withdraw themselves, are exposed to a second condemnation to death, at the hands of God – the "second death," for which "there remaineth no more a sacrifice." Truly, then, for anyone not absolutely perfect, and able to keep God's law perfectly, this leaving of the covering of Christ's ransom is a fearful thing."
This is the evident teaching of this Scripture and its connections; but only those who have come to a knowledge and recognition of Jesus as Lord and Redeemer, who have accepted of justification through his ransom, and have thus come under him, into his hands and from under the curse of Adam's penalty, could again fall into the Father's hands, for all unjustified are yet in the Father's hands, and under his condemnation. Only those who are justified by faith have escaped the condemnation, consequently only these could be again condemned, or fall again into the hands of God. (Rom. 8:1.) Note the context: It teaches that the falling into the hands of God, is the second death. Verses 26-29 (Heb. 10) show the class to be the willful sinners, who sin against knowledge, do despite to God's favor, count the blood of Christ a common or ordinary thing, and fail longer to recognize it as their ransom or covering. Such take off the garment of Jesus' righteousness, and have only the filthy rags of their own righteousness in which to present themselves to God. The condition of such, is a fearful one. When Adam had sinned he made aprons of fig leaves, to cover himself, but God provided coats of the skins of animals. This was but a figure of the condemnation of the race and our need of a covering for sins. Our righteousness is like the fig leaf apron – flimsy, worthless, and unable to cover us. The skins provided by God, typify the robe of Christ's righteousness which God has provided. Giving the robe to Adam cost the life of the animal; so the robe of our justification, cost the life of Jesus. Our redemption was bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ as a lamb slain. [R388 : page 8]
Verses 28 and 29 contrast the penalty for forsaking the true mediator, with the typical penalty under the law for forsaking the typical mediator, Moses. "He that despised Moses' law, died without mercy:" ..."of how much sorer (worse) punishment...shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy (common) thing"? The penalty under the type was DEATH, without mercy; but was only a cutting off of a life which at most could continue but a few years. It was only a hastening of a death penalty already impending, and from which penalty God has provided a redemption for every man. But they who knowingly despise the anti-typical Moses and the anti-typical sacrifices for sins, will have a much more severe penalty, in that they will suffer the second death, from which there is no redemption, no salvation, no resurrection, promised in God's Word.
All who see the force of this Scripture will realize the necessity of keeping under the cover of the blood of sprinkling, our ransom price, our substitute, who gave himself a ransom for all – who is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins (the church's) and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
The Scripture everywhere keeps up the distinction between the church and the world, as in the foregoing text, and note the fact, that there will be two distinct presentations to the Father. First, the church, when perfected at the end of this Gospel Age, will be formally presented to God, as we read: "Unto him (Jesus) that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God (Jehovah) our Saviour (through Christ) be glory and majesty and dominion and power," and "The trial of your faith (shall) be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. (Jude 24,25; 1 Pet. 1:7.) Secondly, those of the world, who, after trial, during the Millennial Age, are found worthy of life, will then be presented to the Father. (1 Cor. 15:24.)