The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he cannot and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
This paper will be sent free to any of the Lord's poor who will send a card yearly requesting it. Freely we have received and freely we would give the truth. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat – yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." And you that have it – "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently – and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." – ISAIAH 55:1,2.
Some of our dear readers in England and Scotland noting the statements of the "View" in our October issue, have written us stating that the work and interest there is probably much beyond our appreciation or the number of names on our list; because there it is quite customary among the middle classes for several persons to take papers in partnership and read by turn. One Brother who takes seven copies reports quite an interest among the numerous readers who have become interested, one after another as the light spreads. Quite a number in this country, too, hasten to report good results from efforts and sacrifices made, in the spread of truth and the awakening of some who were asleep in Zion.
The "new plan" for harvest work at the eleventh hour mentioned in our September TOWER is working successfully though some are discouraged because so few have "an ear to hear" what the spirit saith to the church in this, the Laodicean period. (Rev. 3:14-22.) These should not forget that nothing different should be expected; that according to God's word only a few, "a little flock" can see the truth amid the surrounding darkness with which the God of this world has enveloped the hearts and minds of men. The time when truth will be popular and when all can see and enjoy the light, is the coming age when the prejudiced blinded eyes are opened, and the Sun of Righteousness shining forth shall dispel the darkness, error and misrepresentation. Now your labor and sacrifice are made possible and the trial of your faith and fidelity is effected through and by these unfavorable conditions. We must overcome if we would as overcomers sit on the throne of Millennial glory with Jesus the great overcomer, our Head and Pattern, as well as our Redeemer.
In our labor for any object we should labor wisely to procure the best results, and in this service of the truth wisdom is specially necessary, and in proportion as we see and realize its grandeur and importance, we shall seek to present it with the greater wisdom, if haply we might win some. Jesus' words should ever be remembered and practiced, "Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves." In the words of Paul we should "study to show" ourselves "approved unto God," workmen needing not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, and wisely presenting it in such manner as to avoid choking the babes in Christ (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:4), and at the same time to give to them when and as they are able to receive it – "meat in due season." Matt. 24:45.
If any consecrated one lack wisdom, let him ask of God, seeking it by prayer and study, and he shall grow in grace as he grows in knowledge and in love. We multiply our efficiency as we daily study to show ourselves approved unto God, and practice what we learn. Some incline to think that all of the truly consecrated ones in the various sects have been reached by these harvest truths; but this is not the case. We have fresh evidence of this daily as one and another receives the light with rejoicing and enters the service of truth heartily.
So surely as some fail under trial of being "OVERCOMERS," some other one must be awakened and tested to take the place of the unfaithful one who puts his light under a bushel for fear of the reproach, the cost, and drifts into indifference and outer darkness. Hence the pointedness of our Lord's words – "Take heed, let no man take thy crown." Take heed lest being on the race-course with the goal and crown in view, you should allow ease or any worldly interest to hinder your full and hearty sacrifice, and thus fail under trial to be an overcomer. We should grow in faithfulness as we grow in knowledge.
The joyful mission given us is to spread the glad tidings. By our faithfulness we show our appreciation, and are given evidence in our own trial whether or not we love the Lord and the Truth more than all else. Thus God sifts and searches his children to prove the overcomers, to select those who shall be accounted worthy of joint-heirship with Jesus the great overcomer. Grace sufficient to keep us from falling and to present us blameless in his presence, even in this "Evil day" is provided, but in such manner as to fully test the thoroughness of our consecration.
As an illustration of the fact that others are still to be reached, we will mention the case of Bro. Otto von Zech of this city. For a number of years past, Bro. Z. had labored as a minister of the German Evangelical Lutheran church, and verily thought that he did God service, and his conversion from error to truth and from the service of error to the ministry of truth, have been almost as sudden, though not so miraculous as Bro. Paul's.
The November TOWER was God's instrumentality for reaching the eyes of his understanding and letting in a little of the eye-salve of truth, which soon brought distinctness of vision, because he applied it earnestly in the love of the truth.
About one year ago we concluded to send a copy of the TOWER regularly to ministers of all denominations in Allegheny, and Bro. Z. got a copy regularly with the others. Having much reading matter, however, and being very busy with the duties of his office, he let the TOWER go into the waste basket unnoticed until the last number, to which his attention was called providentially, he believes. Thoughts which it suggested were the entering wedge and the result illustrates the words of Scripture, "The entrance of thy truth giveth light."
Bro. Z. was rejoiced to find that our office was in his own city and hastened for further reading matter, which being received into a good and honest heart, quickly germinated and brought forth the fruit of sacrifice. Bro. Z. explained that for several years he felt an interest in the Scriptural teachings relative to the Millennial reign of Christ, but was hindered by the fact that he could see no way of harmonizing the general view concerning the Millennial reign, with other facts of reason and Scripture. He saw that to suppose that Jesus would come again in the flesh – a man, and sit upon an earthly throne, etc., would be at utter variance with the general spirit and tenor of God's Word, and this together with the barriers thrown about him by the strait-jacket rules and doctrines of Lutheranism, had been sufficient to put a stop to progress in that direction.
When he came in contact with the truth set forth in the WATCH TOWER publications it furnished the very connecting links which he had so long sought in vain, and one coil after another of the formerly tangled and knotty cable of truth became straight and strong and useful.
The key which seemed to set all things straight came in his seeing the distinctions between the Church and the World, and God's provisions for both, and the two natures which these two classes will have even when each is perfected. He then could see the earthly Jerusalem with its earthly splendor, composed of the first-fruits of humanity, and the spiritual Jerusalem, much higher, the spiritual government with its glory that excelleth earthly and visible splendors – composed of the Christian Church of overcomers, the first fruits of those who shall attain to spiritual being.
What will he do? you ask. Will he leave all his old-time fishing tackle and become a follower of the Lord alone and be made by him a fisher of men? No, he will never leave the Lutheran Church, for he has already done so. Like Paul, immediately he conferred not with flesh and blood, but acted promptly on his convictions, recognizing in Christ the only Head and Ruler of the true Church which is his body, as against the false heads and laws which men ignorantly and deludedly place themselves under – Luther, Wesley, Synods, Presbyteries, etc.
He saw that he could no longer sprinkle unbelieving babes, and call that the baptism into Christ referred to in Rom. 6:3,4. He could no longer teach nor in any way sanction the teaching of errors which for long years had bound his own heart and hindered his growth in the grace and knowledge and love of God, and on the contrary he felt, if he would prove himself worthy of the light, he must let no moments go to waste, but use every talent to offset his former influence and teaching, and to bring to others the blessed truths to which his own eyes have recently been opened.
In considering what he should do, he concluded that he could not, like Luther, step out and boldly announce the truth to his congregation or nail his articles of faith to the church door to be read; because the Lutheran daughter had learned a lesson from the Papal mother's [R806 : page 2] experiences at that time, and tied its ministers more closely and carefully, so that whereas Luther's oath was to teach the SCRIPTURE, Bro. Z's oath as a minister, like that of others serving sects instead of serving God only, bound him not to teach the Scriptures, but to teach [R807 : page 2] only such doctrines as Lutheranism has endorsed. Bro. Z's only course, therefore, was to resign his office to the HEAD of the Synod to which he belonged. This he did, and took a commission to preach the good tidings from a far higher authority than Presbyteries, Councils, Conferences, or Synods and their heads; even from him whom God gave to be head over the church which is his body. He gave to all his consecrated followers authority to preach the good news of a new covenant, another chance to all mankind to gain everlasting life. Their first chance having been lost by their father Adam, the second is secured by the death of Christ. This new covenant, sealed by his blood, all the followers of the Lord Jesus are commissioned to preach, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15.
Bro. Z. prepared a brief statement of his course in leaving the Synod and his present views, which has been printed and sent to his ministerial associates in the Lutheran Church and given to his congregation. It is in German, and as we have printed twenty thousand copies to be used as a tract among our German-speaking friends, we invite those who can use them judiciously to write to us for them at once, stating how many they can use to advantage – wisely. This may be the Lord's movement in preparing for an issue of the TOWER translated into German. Where he leads we will endeavor to follow, as he opens the way.
Our brother's dear wife willingly shares the sacrifices which this step involves, and together they are anxious to make their calling and election sure. In thus promptly following the good Shepherd whose voice they both recognize, they resign all visible means of support for themselves and five young children, relying simply and only on the Lord's promise and their own honest hearts and willing hands to supply their necessities in whatever way he may indicate, assured that his promises never fail.
May the Lord give grace and strength to these and all the anointed ones, that they may be enabled to run with patience to the end of the brief course of sacrifice, and afterward crown them with eternal glory.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – The Lord has graciously provided me with a "companion." It happened in this wise. I was staying for a week at a "convalescent home." There were sixty inmates; but my way was not opened to do work until the day before I came away I put a copy of "Food" into an old gentleman's hand, asking him to read it and if he liked it to send to me his opinion upon it. A week or two after I was made aware that the seed had been dropped in splendid ground. The old gentleman cannot tell his thanks; says it is what he has been looking for for many years. He has seen much of the "Behind the Scenes" life of the churches – Methodist, especially; he was sick at heart and almost an infidel. The only hope he could hold out to himself was that there must be a God: but he couldn't see that God was a loving Father. Now if you could see the joy and gratitude that lights up his countenance you would be repaid for all the labor you have been privileged to perform, and yet I doubt not he is one of a goodly number. His life he says is lit up with a new light. He can feel the Rock underneath his feet at last – he has been trying to find this for many years. Now he is fully satisfied that the Lord is good, that "God is love." He sorely wants to get hold of Young's Concordance, and so do I. Can't you send them over? If they cost a dollar postage it will be much cheaper than we can get them here. If you can, please do so. Enclosed you will find P.O. If they cannot be sent you must put the money to anything you think well. Only please send word what can be done, if you possibly can.
Now we want very badly to know what "plan" you have in hand for those who have time on their hands. Brother __________ has all his and wants very much to get to some definite work although he has not by any means been idle since reading "Food" and "Tabernacle." I have loaned him my papers for back years. He will write to you himself directly when we hear from you.
I am so thankful for a companion to correspond on points dealt with in TOWER, &c. It is a grand means of establishing one, almost all has had to be done by letter so far, but D.V. we hope to have a week together soon. I bless God and pray for you and the brethren daily. Also for the dear ones who are still in Babylon, for there seem to me many whom the Lord loves and favors, still in sectarian bonds. I am thankful to say I've not had it all smooth since resigning all membership and office in the old church, but I trust the Lord will keep me humble. My faith in God's present power to heal has been greatly enlightened and strengthened by reading the articles in last TOWER. Cures are being wrought in England. I am fully convinced that we are in the "day of the Lord." Oh! may he keep us, and may we having put on the whole armor of God be able to use it and having done all to stand. The Lord bless you and use you ever more and more for his glory. With heartiest love, I am dear Brother, yours affectionately in Christ.
BRO. RUSSELL: – I enclose 50 cents for the WATCH TOWER for one year. I have already received four numbers. I see in Vol. 7, No. 1, your suggestion to the consecrated. My dear Brother, I have not been in possession of this new light long enough to know hardly what I am. I am like a man coming out of black darkness into a brilliant light (suddenly). I can't discern clearly as yet. I was raised in the M.E. Church, at twenty-five went off into infidelity, at thirty I got a book teaching annihilation to the wicked. In 1879, I became a member of the Missionary Baptist church; am one yet, but have been dissatisfied on account of the scarcity of spiritual food. I have at times wondered if any would be saved; and at times have thought we were all wheat; but never thought of the millennium as a day of joy only to those yet alive in the flesh at our Saviour's coming. Of course have wished that I could live until that time, but then I supposed we would all see him with the eye of flesh. I mean those alive. I can say and believe differently now. Standing on the TOWER, the whole Bible is in harmony. God is just and merciful and greatly to be loved, and our Saviour is a success – not a Saviour to just a few, but to all, by the resurrection of the dead. Redeemed from the curse upon Adam for disobedience, each and every man is resurrected and put on trial for himself, and not for another. I feel that I can thank God with my entire soul or being for this teaching. If the world could only realize this, the knowledge of such goodness and mercy on God's part towards men would cause all men to love and serve him. My prayer for two years past has been for more light, and for humble and willing submission to God's will. I have tried to be as potter's clay in his hands, to be moulded by his pleasure, and I thank him now that my prayers have (I believe) been answered. I am very much interested in the Tabernacle Teachings, but have not a clear understanding of half of it yet, though I hope to before I stop. I do not see any stopping place; in fact it appears to be Plus Ultra all the time. But my letter is now very much longer than I would have written to any other Editor unless I was writing for publication, which I am not now. I feel great love and esteem for you and yours, and may our Master uphold and sustain you ever, is my earnest prayer.
DEAR SIR: I remember not long ago that one of your correspondents mentioned the disappearance of the books, "Food" and "Tabernacle," saying that they were apparently mislaid, but indicating that they might be mislaid on purpose. My experience is very similar. I have had twelve "Food for Thinking Christians," and I have but one left, and I am entirely unable to get any of the others, although I have asked for them repeatedly. Perhaps you will be interested in the history of one of them. I sent a copy of the "Food" to a Methodist minister, formerly stationed here. He read the book because I asked it as a favor, but all the result that I ever knew was the remark that "I must be losing my mind." However, the young girl who was the bearer, took it away with her to one of the large mountain hotels where she was to act as waitress. There were also a great many other young men and girls there, and strange to say, many of them were interested. It attracted their attention, one in particular, a Romanist; another a young man who, if I remember rightly, was to enter the ministry. He was so entirely carried away with the book that he knew parts of it by heart; but at the close of the season he begged to have it left with him, and he has it now. So if the minister did not appreciate it these did. It is discouraging to have some prominent orthodox Christian say to one, "I do not see what you find in that book so very interesting;" and that is what they say sometimes, and of others, they think the whole thing is a delusion and a snare. I know one has to think over it, but to many it seems of such unfathomable depths that they give it up after trying for a little to comprehend. If you will send me one more book, "Food," I will make one more attempt to interest some one. I know the books have been read, more or less, in every case except one – a Unitarian. I do not know in this case. I have long thought I would write you and give account of all the printed matter you have sent me from time to time, but did not really think it worth while until I read from last paper where you speak of being encouraged by "the thousand postal cards;" so perhaps you may find something in this letter to encourage you somewhat. I have reached a good many after all, as I think it over.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: Some of my letters and remarks may sound as though I was discouraged, but I assure you that I am not discouraged. I expect to work on, and not to sit down at ease nor think the victory won till I have obtained my crown. I believe that if my work and efforts are to make known God's truth to his honor, glory and praise, I shall be blessed at least, if not others, if I am faithful. I greatly rejoice in the hope that soon with Jesus and those who shall be heirs with him to the kingdom, I shall not only see many convinced of the truth in its purity, but that we will behold all systems of oppression and error crumble and fall through its mighty power. For this joy set before us we endure the cross and despise the shame. Yours in this blessed hope,
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: I have not been able to do much in the Master's service. I just got a number of samples of Z.W.T. when diphtheria became epidemic in this place, and two of my children were taken sick, but they have both recovered. One family here lost three children, another two, and some one by the scourge. We were quarantined for a while. Since I am allowed out I have gathered up some of the samples. I traveled all one day in the country, where I had twenty samples out, and only took one subscription; and on my way home at night, weary with my day's walk, and trying to take a kind of an inventory of the visible fruit of the day's labor, the adversary tried to discourage me. Well I soliloquised like this: If I were working for dollars and cents I should have a poor showing for the day's work, but thank God I was not looking at the things that are seen, neither was I seeking to lay up treasures in a bag with holes in it. The Lord blest me with these words – Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap – upon this condition – "that we faint not." Oh, I am so glad that we have such a good Paymaster and a Captain who is able to lead us on to certain victory. I am glad that God reveals himself to me as an Almighty God, and one whose mercies are over all his works, and that the groaning and travailing time of creation is soon to be followed by a time of rejoicing. I find that the spiritual pulse beats very feebly among the people. I find people of the world and professors in general the same – interested more in everything else than they are in the subject of religion. The great mass will not read anything on the subject, but there is now and then one who has a spiritual appetite, and is strengthened by the truth. I am hoping soon to get out and hold some meetings, and by the grace of God to stir up the minds of the people, so that they will be inclined to search and see whether these things are so. On the whole I am greatly encouraged in regard to the work here. Praying that God may strengthen us more and more to carry on the war against the powers of darkness, I remain your brother in Christ,
Unto him that hath thou givest
Ever "more abundantly."
Lord, I live because thou livest,
Therefore give more life to me;
Therefore speed me in the race:
Therefore let me grow in grace.
Deepen all thy work, O Master,
Strengthen every downward root,
Only do thou ripen faster
More and more thy pleasant fruit.
Purge me, prune me, self abase,
Only let me grow in grace.
Jesus, grace for grace outpouring,
Show me ever greater things:
Raise me higher, sunward soaring,
Mounting as on eagle's wings.
By the brightness of thy face,
Jesus let me grow in grace.
Let me grow by sun or shower,
Every moment water me;
Make me really hour by hour
More and more conformed to thee.
That thy loving eye may trace,
Day by day, my growth in grace.
Let me, then be always growing,
Never, never standing still;
Listening, learning, better knowing
Thee and thy most blessed will,
That I may reach thy holy place,
Daily let me grow in grace.
"Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ, whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David? He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit [i.e., by inspiration] call him Lord, saying, The Lord [Jehovah] said unto my Lord [Master or Ruler] Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool, – If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?" Matt. 22:42-45.
Some of our day, like the Pharisees of old, too indolent and too indifferent to search, are not able to answer this question, and are provoked by having such questions asked – and they are not slow to brand such as "controversial and unprofitable questions." But let it be remembered that the Lord himself asked this question, and implied that in such an appreciation of the subject as would enable us to answer it lay a key to a clearer appreciation of himself and his mission. Therefore let us examine this important and profitable question and obtain the key and the knowledge therefrom.
We find two general views relative to Jesus: one seems to reject his Lordship [R809 : page 3] entirely and considers him only as David's son and Joseph's son. Another class goes to an opposite extreme, and while acknowledging the Messiah as David's Lord, or Ruler, they virtually deny that he is David's son. They claim that the Messiah was a mixture of the divine and human natures, in fact that he was a mixture of three distinct persons in one person, and that because of this mixture of natures, he could be and was, at one and the same time both David's son and David's Lord. And their wonderful wisdom and faith (?) goes still further and claims that by virtue of this mixture he was both his own son and his own Father and Lord. A right exercise of reason fails to discern in this absurdity any answer to Jesus' question, – How could David's Son be his Lord? Such an absurdity is nowhere taught in the Scriptures and nowhere illustrated in nature. Two natures cannot mix except to produce an imperfect thing. Such a ludicrous absurdity even the Pharisees would have been ashamed to advance, and they took the more sensible course of holding their peace and asking no more questions.
But so strong is the faith (?) of the nominal Church on this point, that like the Pharisees of old, they would not dare to ask Jesus and the Apostles to explain how this could be, fearing that they might make manifest the absurdity of their traditions by a clear presentation of the truth. This theory virtually denies that Christ should be or was the Son of David, and implies that he only pretended to be such. They claim that he was not really a man during his earthly career of 33 years, but all that time was really a spiritual being, who merely went about in human form, appearing to be and pretending to be a man, but not actually such. Dare any thus charge him in whose mouth was found no guile? Both of these classes of theorists should carefully note that the Scriptures assert both things of Jesus. He must be both David's Son and David's Lord. He must be both the stem or branch out of David's roots, and in some way David must be seen to be a branch or shoot out of Christ as a root. This is pointedly expressed by Jesus himself in his last message to us – we might say that his last words were "I am the root and the offspring of David." Rev. 22:16.
In our September and October issues we pointed out how the "Undefiled One" was the offspring of David through his mother Mary, yet because the life germ came not from Joseph, and was not from the condemned Adamic stock, but was a life transferred from above, therefore he was when made flesh, separate from sinners and uncondemned – the undefiled one in whom was no sin, but yet a man, of human nature, but not a sharer of our imperfection, except as during his ministry, he voluntarily took our sicknesses (Matt. 8:17; Isa. 53:4). We shall not, therefore, here stop to show how he was David's Son, stem, or branch, considering that we have done this to your reasonable satisfaction, but shall proceed to show how he is David's Lord and Root; first, however, we pause to remark upon the unreasonableness of the claim, that while on earth, Jesus was only pretending to be a man, pretending to be tried and tempted like as we are, pretending to be weary, pretending to be hungry, pretending to be very sorrowful, pretending to pray, pretending to suffer, and to die. To refute this theory which implies false pretense, we simply refer to the Apostle's words that he who was rich became poor for our sakes; not merely pretended to be poor, but actually became poor, or of a lower nature. He humbled himself for the work, says the Apostle, taking our nature. (Eph. 2:7,8.) The necessity for his coming to earth at all, proves that he became a man, for as millions of bulls and goats slain for sin, as sin offerings, could not take away sin, so the sacrifice of millions of angels or of Jehovah himself, could never, according to divine arrangement, take away sin for the same reason: viz., they would no more be a corresponding price for condemned man, than would bulls and goats, because they are of different nature. As shown in our October issue, the Mediator – the man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom [Greek antilutron – a corresponding price] which proves that he was a man, for nothing else would be a corresponding price; and it proves also that he was a perfect man, for nothing else would be a corresponding price for the sin and penalty of the first perfect man – Adam. (Rom. 5:17-19.)
Coming to the consideration of the Lordship of Christ, it is in place to remind some of our readers, that our English word lord is used to translate a number of words having somewhat different meanings in the Old Testament Scriptures, the principal one of which is Jehovah, and always refers to the Lord of all other lords; other words used, signify master or ruler, or governor, etc. But in the New Testament, the Greek, like our English Bibles, makes no distinction, and whether Jehovah or an inferior master is meant, must be judged from the context; or by the Hebrew, where the expression is a quotation from the Old Testament. In the case under consideration, we have a quotation to deal with; Jesus quoted from Psa. 110:1, "The Lord [Jehovah] said unto my Lord [adon-master] sit thou, etc." It is well that we should remember also that angels in olden times, sent to bear messages to mankind, were addressed by men as Lord – i.e., superior or master. In this sense Jesus before he became a man was man's superior; and when a man he was perfect, and hence still far superior to those about him; and in addition to this as the agent or messenger of Jehovah, he was a Lord, a master, a teacher, among men. Thus he said to his disciples, "Ye call me Lord and master and ye do well [or properly] for so I am." (John 13:13.) But he was not then Lord in the sense which David's prophecy implied, and to which our Lord's question referred except in a reckoned sense, until he had finished his trial and sacrifice, and was raised from the dead.
When we come to examine the Lordship of Jesus referred to by him in the text under consideration, we find that it has reference to a Lordship much beyond any of these suggestions. The sense in which it is used is made clear by Rev. 22:16, "I am the root of David," that is the father or progenitor of David.
Adam was the original root from which humanity sprang as so many shoots or sprouts. The root was originally sound and perfect, "very good" but was blighted by sin. As a result, all the sprouts are weak and sickly, dead or dying. Jesus was, so to speak, a new graft into the human stock, whose vitality as a grafted branch, became a new root by burial or planting. [Those familiar with the culture of the grape-vine will appreciate this most and can see clearly how the new grafted stem could become the new root to a new and perfect vine of the same kind and quality of the buried branch.]
Thus seen Jesus became the new shoot, stem, or BRANCH out of David when born of a virgin; but it was in his death, burial and resurrection that he became the ROOT by whose vitality David and all the withered, dying Adamic sprouts will be RESTORED – brought to all the perfection of existence which the original root, Adam, failed to bring to them through his own blight. Hence, Jesus is called the Life giver, the Restorer; and the time in which this, his great work, shall be accomplished, is called "The times of restitution."
Thus seen, Christ becomes the Father of the human race during the Millennial age, for a life-giver is a father. Then he shall be called the "Everlasting Father" by the restored human race. Thus, he who as a man, was a son or offspring of David, becomes the root, the Father, the Lord of David, and as truly of others, as of David. Here applies the prophetic statement concerning the appointment of these ancient worthies – Abraham, Isaac, David, to honored service during the reign of Jesus and his joint-heir, his bride, his body, viz., "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." (Psa. 45:16.) These who were once the "fathers" shall be Christ's children; instead of his roots, they shall be his branches. He who once, as the man Jesus, was the Son of David, shall as the restorer and life-giver of David be his Father and Lord.
But let us notice when these changes occurred. He was not the Son of David before he left the higher nature and became a man – a branch out of the roots of Jesse. (Isa. 11:1.) Nor is he yet David's Lord, in the sense here considered, that is, as David's father, except as recognized prophetically, for David has not yet been made alive from the dead. The race, as a whole, is still clinging as withered or withering branches to the original root Adam: the New Root, though full of vitality, has not yet sprouted forth (except as in the Christian Church fresh rootlets have been put forth). The sprouting awaits the spring time of God's appointment and favor, the Millennial Age – the resurrection or restitution times. Though he is not yet, he shall be called, and truly, "the everlasting Father," or the giver of perfect, everlasting life.
From this it appears that Jesus becomes the "ROOT," Lord, Life-giver of the race, by virtue of his death and resurrection, and hence that in this sense he was not David's root or Lord before his death. This agrees perfectly with the statement of the Apostles on this subject.
Peter argues the whole subject in Acts 2. After assuring us that Jesus was a man (verse 22), and that he died and was raised out of death by divine power, and highly exalted (verses 23,24,33), [R810 : page 3] he refers us to this exaltation, saying, "Know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ" (verse 36). In other words, it was by virtue of his obedience to death that he was made LORD.
Note further Paul's words on this subject: "To this end Christ both died and revived, that he might be LORD, both of the dead and the living." Rom. 14:9. How forcible! Paul says, Jesus died that he might be Lord; Peter, that he was exalted by the right hand of God who hath made him Lord. He became David's offspring in Bethlehem; he became David's Lord and the root from which David must receive life at his resurrection, and by virtue of his death. As the Apostle says again, "Jesus Christ our Lord...was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power [might and authority]...by the resurrection from the dead." (Rom. 1:4.) The might, authority, or power, was gained by his sacrifice; it was recognized of God, and declared to men, by his resurrection. He had delegated power and prospective authority before, but not until after his sacrifice declared acceptable to God by the fact of his resurrection did he say, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matt. 28:18.) Having bought all, he now has power and authority over all. Wherefore it is written, "He is Lord of all."
To be Lord of the dead, implies the right, authority and power to give them life, to restore them to life and its privileges; and secondly, it implies that the dead are so completely dead – annihilated – as to need another Father to regenerate or re-create them – to give them anew the impulse of life. [R810 : page 4]
That Jesus had not such right, authority or power until he had given himself a ransom [a corresponding price] for all, scarcely requires argument. Jehovah had condemned mankind to death, and had therefore permitted the great enemy to have (Heb. 2:14) dominion or power over all; and to suppose that Jesus would or could present himself in the world as the Lord of those dead, before he had redeemed them, would be to suppose that he came to oppose the Father's authority, and in defiance of his pronounced penalty, to order the release of those prisoners on his own authority. But Jesus disclaimed any such attempt when he said, "I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." It was the Father's will, and the Son's course, to give himself a ransom for all, that thus he might rightfully become Lord of all by the purchase of all with his own precious blood. Having bought all, he declares not only his power, but his will (still the Father's will) to be, that all may be brought to a knowledge of the truth, that thereby, under his righteous administration, they may all by obedience come to perfection and life everlasting.
Some may think that Jesus gave evidence that he was Lord of the dead, and as such had power to restore them to life before he died? We answer, No; Elijah and Elisha similarly awakened the dead for a little time; but neither they nor Jesus claimed to do it by their own power. It was the power of Jehovah delegated to, or active through them. (John 14:10 and 10:25.) But neither they nor Jesus ever released any from death fully to perfect life; nor was it possible to do so, seeing that all were yet under condemnation of death until the ransom for all had been given. In harmony with this is the statement that Jesus in his resurrection was the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18) – the first one fully and perfectly released from death.
In perfect harmony also is Paul's statement (Phil. 2:6-11), that God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name...that every tongue should confess that Jesus is LORD to the glory of God the Father – because he humbled himself to manhood, and then to death, even the disgraceful death on the cross, in obedience to the Father's plan for our redemption.
Now, looking at the words of Jesus, we can see how he was David's Son, and yet is to be David's Lord or Father. And noting the prophecy referred to by Jesus in this connection, and also referred to by the Apostles (Matt. 22:4; Heb. 1:13), viz., "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool," we see that this refers the Lordship of Jesus to a time after his sufferings and trials were ended. After he had been accounted worthy of exaltation, then he was exalted, and before that time he could only be called David's Lord prophetically. Jehovah would not, could not, justly give him the dominion and subdue it under him until it had been released from the curse, bought with a price: And that just price he paid, and is therefore now rightfully LORD, by Jehovah's appointment.
"All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall:
Bring forth a royal diadem,
And crown him LORD OF ALL.
"Let every kindred, every tribe,
On this terrestrial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown him LORD OF ALL.
"Sinners, whose love can ne'er forget
The wormwood and the gall,
Go, spread your trophies at his feet,
And crown him LORD OF ALL."
"Ye favored seed of Adam's race,
Redeemed from Adam's fall,
Hail him who saves you by his grace,
And crown Him LORD OF ALL."
"For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." Heb. 2:11.
This portion of the word is of a highly important character, and of great concern to us, for it clearly reveals our relationship to the law of the highest. It is vastly important that we understand from the word of God what is written concerning the calling, character and relation to the world, of the individuals that sustain so close a relationship as is implied by the brethren of Christ, so that we can compare our character and relation to the world, with what is written concerning the same in the word of God, and see whether we are able to identify ourselves with the inspired portrait of the characters of those who shall finally be reckoned the brethren of Christ, the Son of the living God.
Who is it that calls them? for if they are called, some one must call them. We will refer to the word and see if we can find who it is that calls, and how they are called. "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called." Rom. 8:30. "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began. 2 Tim. 1:9.
How does God call? Let Paul answer: "Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thes. 2:14. Then God calls by the gospel. What is the gospel? It is the voice of God by Jesus Christ proclaiming glad tidings of a coming kingdom. God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, wherefore he saith, "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart." Heb. 3:7. Jesus called by the gospel when he was on earth, and then he gave the commission to his disciples, and so the calling goes on through the long dark night until the fulness of the gentiles are come in. "My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me and I give unto them eternal life." John 10:27. The sheep are the same as brethren.
We will now notice what is meant by following Jesus as the Good Shepherd who giveth his life for the sheep, for it is said that his sheep follow him, and if they follow him they must pass through the same road that he passed; and a description of the follower of Jesus will also describe the character of the brethren. Well, we cannot follow Jesus in repentance, for he knew no sin, but we can follow him in immersion, and in reality this is the first step that can be taken in following Jesus."
After he was baptized Jesus was tempted of the devil, and must the brethren who follow Jesus, follow him in temptation? Yes, it is necessary that we be tempted. He tempted Jesus, and shall he not tempt us? My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope. So, then, temptations are necessary, that our faith may be tried and patience wrought [R811 : page 4] out in us. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life. God who calleth us is faithful and will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able to bear; but will with the temptation make a way to escape that we may be able to bear it.
If we endure the temptations that befall us, we shall be able to identify ourselves with the character of the holy brethren as recorded in the word of God. Read Luke 22:28-30.
The many brethren that compose the body of Christ are like Christ in worldly circumstances. "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called."
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him." 1 Cor. 1:26; Isa. 2:5. Jesus was very poor and humble when on the earth. "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man hath not where to lay his head." "Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich." As he is, so should we be in this world.
Brethren, let us now consider our love to each other. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another." "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light." "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." "And this is the message that ye love one another, even the message that we heard from the beginning."
If what we have said concerning the poor circumstances of the called of God, be true, it is very easy to understand these striking characters of poverty and affliction which describe the circumstances of the majority of the called of God; and these characteristics of poverty are synonymous with the tribulations and sufferings through which we must enter into the kingdom of God. "And if we suffer with him we shall also reign with him." "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him." We notice also, that some were able to feed the hungry, and clothe the naked, and entertain the stranger, and minister to the sick and prisoner, which illustrates the love that exists among the real brethren of Christ. "Hereby perceive we the love of God because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled, notwithstanding ye gave them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" 1 John 3:16-18; James 2:14-17.
Thus, we have in these two statements of the apostles, a sample of faith which worketh by love, a pure, holy love, the first fruit of the holy spirit; a love far different from the sectarian love of the present day, that loves only its creed adherents. This love which is shed abroad in the hearts of believers by the Holy Spirit which is given unto them, is found only in one sect, and that sect was everywhere spoken against in apostolic times. Acts 28:22. And this sect is everywhere spoken against to-day. I candidly ask the question, brethren, with all sincerity, can a man be a brother of the Lord Jesus today, and not be hated by the world? Has human nature changed, or has the word of God ceased to be true since Christ and his apostles ended their ministry? "Marvel not my brethren, if the world hate you, we know that it hated him (Christ) before it hated you." "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of this world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:19. Are not the disciples of Jesus hated by the world today, as they were 1800 years ago?
But where shall we go to find the world today? The civilized world is called the Christian world today. So, then, if this be true, there is no world to hate the brethren of Christ. But, may it not be a mistake to call the civilized world "Christian?" Then, we have Christian nations, and all these nations fully equipped for war, and ready to slay each other. Whereas, we read in the Book of God of only one Christian nation composed of individuals that must not fight, nor "resist evil," and when "smitten on one cheek to turn the other also." Thus, if the word of God be true, it is a great mistake to call the nations "Christian."
Then, again, the so called Christian world is divided into three great churches, the Greek, the Catholic and Protestant; and the Protestant is divided into a great many more churches. Yet on the authority of the Book of truth, none of these churches is "the church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth." Let there be no schism in the body, the "church." Where, then, shall we find "the church," the body of Christ? They are in the world, not among all churches, but among all nations; and, furthermore, they are in Christ, and also in the doctrine of Christ.
This may sound strange to some, that one cannot be in Christ without being in his doctrine. Well, let us hear how the Word reads: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed." 2 John 10:11. In the face of this statement, who will say doctrine is not essential to salvation? The word of God, and the doctrine of Christ are identical. "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." "He that abideth in the doctrine [R811 : page 5] of Christ, hath both the Father and the Son."
Now, all can see where the brethren of Jesus stand, and where the world. The relation of the brethren of Jesus to the world during the period of Satanic government is, that of enmity and isolation; "The friendship of the world is enmity with God." "In the world ye shall have tribulation." The church and the world are antagonistic to each other. There is enmity between the woman's seed and the serpent's seed. "He that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." You cannot wed the true church with the world; you might as well expect oil to mix and remain with water, as for the brethren of Jesus to love and fellowship this present evil world. "What communion hath light with darkness, or Christ with Belial?" "If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him." "Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing." "Evil communications corrupt good manners." The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. And what a striking similitude there is here between Jesus and his brethren. He was in the world, and the world knew him not. Though we are not known by the world, yet "God knoweth them that are his," and Jesus knows his sheep, and they follow him. The followers of Jesus are looked upon by the world as a worthless set of men, despised and rejected, and made the object of ridicule and contempt, just as Jesus was. As Jesus came forth from the dead vitalized by the Spirit of God and the power of an endless life, and became the first born among many brethren, so will the brethren spring into immortal being, bearing his glorified image, when he appears to avenge his own elect. Then let the world scoff and ridicule, and persecute, and if the will of the Lord be so, put to death; they cannot obliterate the future immortality. If we would follow Christ, we must suffer. If, when we do well, and suffer for it, we take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21.
Such is the position of the brethren of Jesus in this world, out of which they have been chosen. I tell you the brethren of Jesus are not interested and engaged in building fine houses and desiring to dwell in elegant and decorated mansions, and arraying themselves in costly apparel, and embellishing their persons with jewelry of corruptible gold and silver. They are content with such things as they have, and by faith are persuaded that they have a better and enduring substance that will outrival all the glittering splendors of earth, and shall remain eternally unblemished by the rust and decay of time. The substance of things hoped for is about to be revealed; the dark night of sin and suffering is far, very far spent; the glorious morn of heavenly glory is about to break upon the world, and the little flock that have kept the testimony of Jesus, and shared with him in sufferings and temptations, are going to take the kingdom, and will be associated with Christ in the work of restitution that shall perfect forever the nations of the [R812 : page 5] renovated earth. Then will the holy prophets, apostles and saints, be eyewitnesses of the glorious events that they long ago foretold, believed, and for the faith in which they once suffered and were put to death. Abraham, the recipient of the promise, will behold the fulfillment of the promise, that in his seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. The resurrected church, (the royal seed) will attest its fulfillment; the renovated nation of Israel, and through them the universal conversion of all nations, will attest the farther and universal fulfillment of the God-given promise, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." The glorious verification of eternal truth approaches; the sheep have nearly all heard the voice of Jesus; the times of the Gentiles are knelling to a close. Be ye also ready and watch unto prayer.
We observe this day as a law of the land, and with rejoicing and thankfulness for so favorable a time for worship and study. But we do not keep it for the Jewish Sabbath, nor as the Jew was required to keep it under the Law Covenant. Why? Simply because we are not under the Law Covenant, and we are not subject to any man's judgment, in meat, or in drink, or in respect to a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath day, "which are a shadow of things to come." Col. 2:17.
The law was but one law (not ten), and to break one of its parts is to be guilty of all. It promised life everlasting to all who kept it, but none of Adam's sons or daughters ever kept it, and all die. It is a perfect law. All its requirements are holy, just and good, and it requires the full measure of a perfect man's ability to keep it. God knew, but the Jew did not know, that when he – the Jew, agreed to that covenant he signed his own death warrant; and it was said unto them, "Ye cannot serve the Lord." He will not forgive sin. But they accepted the terms, and witnessed against themselves. Josh. 26:19-22.
"The law made nothing perfect," and was disannulled on account of its weakness or unprofitableness in this respect (Heb. 7:18,19) because of man's weakness and inability. God could not fit a law down to their condition. He could give no other than a perfect law. He could not look upon sin with any degree of allowance, and his law could not therefore give life to the being who failed of obedience in one point; he was guilty of all (James 2:10). "For if there could have been a law given that could have given life, verily righteousness (and hence life) should have been by the law" (Gal. 3:21). But as we have shown, there could no such law be given, and there was "none righteous, no not one" (Psalm 14:1-3; Rom. 3:10) – none up to the standard of perfection required by the law; hence not approved by it as worthy of life everlasting.
"Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions (for how long?), till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made" (Gal. 3:19). By that time it had served its purpose. It was a ministration of death written in stones (2 Cor. 3:6-17). The Jews were placed under the "letter" of it, and the world has witnessed its enforcement upon them.
The common impression is that the "letter" of the law is much more lenient than the spirit of it, but from our last reference (in Corinthians) Bro. Paul affirms the contrary. "The letter killeth." How glad we are that we are not under the letter of it (as the Jew was), for we could no more keep it than could the Jew. "For by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight." None but our Lord ever could claim life under the law. He was of another life germ than the Adamic, though born of a woman. Made under the law, he magnified the law and made it honorable by showing that it was good and right, and that a perfect being can keep it and delight therein.
The world of mankind will not be placed under the "letter" of the law actually as the Jew was typically until in the Millennial Age under the new covenant, when God "shall take away their sins." Then ability will be given to keep it, as implied by the process of writing it "upon their heart," "in their mind," on their nature, as in the first perfect man, and not on tables of stone, as in the type. Then none need say to his neighbor, "Know ye the Lord?" for his image will be in small and great. The vail which hides the liberation from this ministration of death under the old, and obscures the glories of the new covenant, is yet upon the heart of the Jew and the world. "Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord the vail shall be taken away." 2 Cor. 3:16. See Jer. 31:29-34.
Christian union is a hobby with many at the present time. It is the pass-word to the very inner temple of self-styled "orthodoxy." Men will talk of "a sweet union of loving hearts" when there is not a principle of true union with them. We think this is well calculated to fulfill prophecy, by securing union of action on certain popular points where there is no union in principle. Mr. Hammond, in his "union revival meetings," takes pains to let it be understood that he can work with "all who believe in Jesus;" with Catholics as well as Protestants. Most other revivalists do the same. If they can, why are they Protestants? And was not the work of Luther worse than useless? Wherever this cry of "union" is raised; the spirit of true reform is lacking; there is a sacrifice of truth for an empty name.
Catholicism never changes its policy. It may change its action for the sake of policy, but it is the same now that it was in the days of Luther. When Protestants bow down to the name of "union" so as to unite with Catholics, or try to, it is because they have lost every true element of the Reformation.
But they cannot unite with Catholics for the reason that Catholics will not unite with them. And this shows that the Catholics are more consistent than they. Catholics know very well that there is an "irrepressible conflict" between the two: and an impassable gulf, which must remain as long as Catholics are Catholics and Protestants are Protestants. When names are preferred to things; when shadows are counted more real than substances, and when principles are sunk out of sight for mere feeling and momentary triumphs, then there is union, but it is on the same basis of that which was effected between Pilate and Herod.
Jesus came "to bear witness of the truth," and to unite hearts in the truth, but to separate between mere professors, and them who love and obey the truth. If we have the truth, it is our duty to maintain it. This cry of "charity" and of "loss of influence," is a mere delusion, raised to frighten timid ones whose hearts are not established in the faith. Charity "rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth." We have no right to any influence which we cannot use to the glory of God and to the advancement of his cause. Let us "hold fast the form of sound words," for the truth is not ours to compromise or to trifle with. In all ages they who have adhered to the truth without swerving have lost their influence with the worldly and time-serving, but they have glorified God and received his approval. – Selected.
The Catholic says: – "The desire for the union of Catholics and Protestants is most laudable and one which every sincere Christian longs to see realized. Our separate brethren will always find the doors of the Catholic church open to them, whenever, either as individuals or as a body, through the grace of God, they are urged to enter. They will find, too, all the loving tenderness of a mother for her long lost children lavished upon them. This is what they may reasonably expect. There can be union in no other way. Certainly not, in the sense the Protestant mind attaches to the word. The Catholic church, in the questions at issue between Catholics and Protestants, as such, never compromises, because she cannot."
In accord with this spirit of so-called liberality and union we note the fact that when the celebrated Roman Catholic prelate Cardinal McClosky, of New York, was dying, the "Baptist Conference of Ministers" offered up to God earnest prayer for his recovery. It is needless to remark that their prayers were rejected, but nevertheless this furnishes a powerful illustration of the growing sympathy between "the mother church" and the daughters and the baselessness of the name Protest-ants as applied to the daughters today. This is not because of any doctrinal change on the part of the "mother" but rather of the daughters; who in fact are ignoring the doctrines of Christ in their great effort for outward union and increase of members and wealth. This also furnishes an illustration of the theme made prominent in our last issue – "The Province of Prayer."
"What Father Walker says (i.e., that he would as soon administer the sacraments to a dog as to Catholics who send their children to the public schools) is only what has been said over and over again by the bishops in their pastorals all over the world, and we heartily indorse it." – N.Y. Tablet.
"No Bible shall be held or read except by priests. No Bible shall be sold without a license, except upon the pains and penalties of that mortal sin that is neither to be forgiven in this world or in the next." – Council of Trent.
"Moreover we confirm and renew the decrees delivered in former times by apostolic authority, against the publication, distribution, reading and possession of books of the Holy Scriptures translated into the vulgar tongue." – Pope Gregory XVI.
"The following is from the bishop's oath: – Heretics (Protestants), schismatics and rebels to the Pope or his successors, I will, to the uttermost of my power, persecute and wage war with."– E. Trumpet.
"Jesus asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others Jeremias or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said THOU ART THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter. And upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matt. 16:13-18.
The Church of Rome has taken advantage of this language of our Lord to Peter, and attempted to base upon it authority for her Popes, the claimed successors of Peter through the laying on of hands. As her history dates back to the days of the Apostles – for even then the Mystery of Iniquity began to work, as the Apostle testifies 2 Thes. 2:7: – she had but little difficulty in establishing her claim of succession, the influence of which is powerful among an ignorant and credulous people. The practice of laying on of hands was quite common in the early Church, both the Apostles and other disciples did it (Acts 6:6; 13:3). At such times special gifts were sometimes imparted and sometimes not (Acts 19:6; 13:3); and the Apostles never intimated that by this means or any other they conferred upon any one authority to preach the gospel, or serve the Church. That authority comes to all the Church through the anointing of the Spirit of truth.
Nay more, none can be of that anointed body except they be preachers to the extent of their ability or talent. Those who use not the anointing, given for that very purpose (Isa. 61:1), are reckoned unfit for the kingdom honors. Matt. 25:25-30.
This far-sighted stroke of policy on the part of the Church of Rome, needed only another to make it permanent, and that was, the denial of the right of private judgment to individuals in interpreting the Scriptures. The Church of Rome claims the sole right and ability to do this, and her faithful must abide by her decisions. Nor has Protestantism (so-called) been slow to reap what advantage she could from these deceptive and ensnaring claims. Though it could not openly claim with any show of possibility, an apostolic succession, it endeavors to create an impression that its clergy is a special class, endowed with power, authority and ability to interpret the Scriptures, which other Christians do not possess. As the people had so long been under this deception with regard to the Roman clergy, it was only necessary that the superstition be fostered a little – as it was when Protestant preachers began to assume an air of authority and superior wisdom – and that the truth on the subject be left in the back-ground. And now that the growing intelligence of Christian people is beginning to demand a scriptural foundation for the authority claimed, strenuous efforts are being put forth by Protestantism to discourage on the part of the people, all independent thought in Bible study, and to restrict investigation to the conclusions of approved sectarians. To this end the S.S. Lessons are guardedly arranged so as under a guise of liberty to fetter thought so far as possible without seeming to do so.
That no such idea as that Peter was the rock on which the Church should be built, was intended by our Lord, or gathered from his words by Peter, to us is evident. Jesus had asked, "Whom do men say that I am"? Then bringing the question home more closely, "But whom say ye that I am"? Peter's loving devotion found quick and strong expression – "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus as quickly and warmly responded, "Blessed art thou, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee that thou art Peter – a rock or stone. And on this rock I will build my Church," etc. His name previously was Simon, henceforth it is to have the name rock or stone added, for Peter signifies rock. Because Simon was first to express the grand foundation doctrine upon which [R813 : page 6] the Church of Christ was to be built, viz., that Jesus is the Messiah, Jehovah's anointed one; therefore he was honored by the name Rock, or Peter, as a memorial of his being the first to recognize the great Rock, Christ Jesus.
The Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation harmoniously teach that Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, is the Solid Rock Foundation on which his Church was to be, and now is being built. Christ Jesus, not Peter, was the stone of stumbling and rock of offence which Jehovah laid in Zion, and over which both the houses of Israel stumbled as predicted – Isa. 8:14. When Peter, instructed by Isaiah, declared that the nominal Gospel Church, like the Jewish Church, should stumble over Christ the "foundation corner stone" of the true Church, he had little idea that the apostacy would claim him as the stone on which the Church is built.
Peter's own words to the Church are, "Draw near to him [Christ], the living stone, rejected by men, but by God chosen, honorable; be yourselves also built up as living stones, a spiritual house, for a holy priesthood, to offer sacrifices, well pleasing to God through Jesus Christ, because it is contained in the Scripture, "Behold I place in Zion a Foundation-corner Stone [Christ], chosen, honorable, and he who confides IN IT shall not be ashamed....This Stone which the builders [of the Nominal Church] rejected [substituting the name of Peter, Peter himself declares], is made the Head of the corner." 1 Pet. 2:4-7. – Comp. Diaglott.
In an ordinary building there is no chief or head corner stone; but the idea in the mind of the Apostle seems to be that of a pyramid whose chief corner stone is the top stone which is a perfect pyramid in itself. The top stone is also the foundation stone of this wonderful building of God. The foundation is laid in the heavens, and all that is built thereon must be built in conformity to the lines of the heavenly architecture. As the invisible power of earthly attraction holds an earthly building to its earthly foundation, so the invisible power of the heavenly attraction will secure the building of God on its firm foundation laid in the heavens. Jesus, Jehovah's Anointed – the Rock of Ages. 1 Cor. 3:11.
"On this Rock I will build my Church." All the members, Peter included, will be built on that same rock – not on Peter, nor on any system which either directly or indirectly claims Peter as its rock, but on Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, our Redeemer and our Lord. Those who plant themselves on any other foundation will never be built in to the glorious spiritual temple – the true Church of Christ.
While the Lord declares his purpose to establish his Church on the enduring Rock of Ages, and to clothe it with power and glory, he shows us that before the realization of our hopes, we must all die – the head and every member of the Church must die, but he also gives us the comforting assurance that "the gates of hell [hades, the grave] shall not prevail against it." Through sacrifice, even unto death, the victory over death is gained. Death cannot prevail against Divine power and hold the Church captive. Though death swallows up every member of the Church, all shall come forth to victory: a victory foreshadowed by the resurrection of the great Head of the Church. 2 Cor. 4:14; 1 Thes. 4:14.
He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. – Matt. 10:39.
The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). Many such, however, have undertaken to interpret "the things of the Spirit of God" – and have thus become blind guides, leading multitudes into error, and filling their minds with gross darkness.
In this way those powerful organizations known as churches have been established, and by their opposition to the truth, and those who hold the truth, have become anti-Christ. (Adversaries of the true Church – the anointed body [R814 : page 6] of Christ.) The same spirit which in our day has become so formidable, manifested itself in Apostolic times (1 John 2:18), and has been alive during the entire history of the Gospel Church.
This accounts, in part at least, for the fact that the nominal church is so largely composed of the unrenewed, and that the many forms of worldliness which are so pleasing to the "natural man" are not only permitted, but declared to be in harmony with the Divine will. The renewed mind, however, readily distinguishes between the ways of "this present evil world" and the "path of life."
The one is a narrow way with a strait entrance, and requires the most assiduous effort to tread therein; the other is a broad way with a wide approach, and many who presumably desire the way of life, find themselves drifting with the multitude in its seductive paths.
None need, however, to remain long in doubt, for it is plainly enough marked out in God's Word; and though the ministers of darkness be vigilant in their endeavors to captivate, only the unwary will be led astray.
Prophecy declares, referring to the Anointed, Thou wilt show me the path of life (Psa. 16:11); and Paul teaches that Jesus, to whom the Father first revealed this way, has brought it to light through the Gospel. (2 Thess. 1:10.)
Now all believers have it plainly made known to them, both by the teaching and example of him who declared himself the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6.)
As this is a prize never until the Gospel Age placed within the reach of any, and as Scripture teaches that it is attainable only during this age; it is of the utmost importance that all who desire it should strive lawfully.
He that would be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matt. 16:24.)
However contrary the desires of the flesh may be to "the law of the Spirit of life," this law must have supreme jurisdiction, and they that are Christ's must crucify the flesh with the passions and desires: (Gal. 5:24 – Diaglott), must present their bodies a living sacrifice, (Rom. 12:1.) Not the sinful propensities of the depraved nature alone must be subdued; the life to which we are justified by our faith in Jesus' ransom must be laid down, even as he laid down his life. (John 10:18.) We thus account that we are "crucified with Christ." While the Head only was actually put to death on Calvary, all the members of his body reckon themselves crucified with him; and all drink of the cup of which he drank, and all are baptized with the baptism with which he was baptized.
Jesus' self-denial meant the free surrender of all his natural rights and all his ambition as a man among men. It meant the relinquishment of all desires to accomplish his beneficent work by any methods that might glorify himself; and a complete surrender of his own will to that of the Father. His prayer was, Father, glorify thy name. (John 12:28.)
Need we wonder that he spent long nights in prayer and communion with the Father that he might receive strength to hold steady to a purpose on which hinged such momentous issues – to thus open and "consecrate a new and living way"? Can we wonder that Jesus declared, Few there be that find the way of life? That many that have followed blind guides will be doomed to bitter disappointment, we have conclusive evidence. (Matt. 7:23.)
The narrow way till him I view," let each make new resolves and take fresh courage, knowing that the crown is almost in view.
"Tho' the night be dark and dreary,
Tho' the way be long and weary,
Morn shall bring the light and cheer;
Child, look up, the morn is near.
"Tho' thine eyes are sad with weeping,
Thro' the night thy vigils keeping,
God shall wipe thy tears away,
Turn thy darkness into day.
"Tho' thy Spirit faints with fasting
Thro' the hours so slowly wasting,
Morn shall bring a glorious feast,
Thou shalt sit an honored guest."
JESUS was made perfect as a man; for as such he was perfect, else he could not have been our ransom. One imperfect being could not redeem other imperfect beings. As shown in the typical sacrifices for sin under the law, the sacrifice must be without blemish. So, too, with the antitype – the real sin-offering – the Lamb of God, that took away the sin of the world, was perfect without a single blemish – "a lamb without spot." (Heb. 2:10.)
"Zion heard and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord." – Psa. 97:1-8.
So says the Psalmist speaking prophetically. Taking a standpoint future, and looking back, he tells how Zion and Judah were made to rejoice by some special tidings of great joy. Was it the tidings of a long promised Messiah for whom the world had been looking for four thousand years, now found in Bethlehem? This was good news, but not the tidings referred to. Was it the message that the sacrifice is accomplished which has procured man's redemption? That is the foundation of all their hope, but that is not the special cause of rejoicing mentioned here. Was it that the crucified one has been raised from death by the power of the Father? That was glorious news; for in that God hath raised him from the dead, he hath given assurance unto all men of the acceptance of his sacrifice as a satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, and therein, all who believe, may read their title clear to everlasting life.
But there is still another cause of rejoicing mentioned by the Prophet, and it is the greatest cause of rejoicing we have ever yet had. It was blessed to know that the plan of God had so far progressed as to secure the birth, death, and resurrection of the promised deliverer; but it would be still more blessed to know that the plan has so nearly reached its glorious consummation as to show that the time is fulfilled for the actual establishment of his kingdom and the commencement of his reign which is to bring mankind into the actual possession of the life and blessings secured by the ransom, and this is just the message that now comes to us; and those who believing, realize it, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: "The Lord reigneth! and the fulfillment of every foretold sign of his presence bears witness to the fact.
But where is the Zion that rejoices? We see that it is not all who claim to be of Zion; it is not the great nominal church for they turn away from the message, and say, Where is the promise of his presence? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning. They have forgotten the foretold sign of his presence, and the object of his coming, and [R815 : page 7] do not desire his appearing. But the true Zion are now made manifest. They hear of his presence, remember the foretold signs and realize their fulfillment; they mark the accumulated testimony of all the prophets, and they have learned from the Scriptures that the object of that reign is the restoring and blessing of all the families of the earth, which he purchased from the dominion of death nearly nineteen centuries ago.
In view of this good news the Prophet not only foretells Zion's rejoicing, but he calls upon the earth to rejoice with her – "The Lord reigneth! let the earth rejoice." (ver. 1.) But the earth is not yet prepared to rejoice; for "Clouds and darkness are round about him," (ver. 2), and they cannot see the blessings beyond because they walk only by sight, and not by faith. They do not know the Lord and have neither faith nor interest in his coming. They will only come to realize his presence in the exhibition of his power, under which they will first suffer before they can be blessed; for the powers of this world must either melt or be overthrown in the great time of trouble which accompanies the setting up of the kingdom of God.
Notwithstanding the fact that mankind has been oppressed, and trodden under foot, and kept in ignorance, poverty and distress, by the powers of this world; notwithstanding the fact that by injustice, and war, and blood-shed, and tumult, and strife, the powers that be have gained and retained their mighty influence, men fear their overthrow lest the greater evils of anarchy and confusion prevail. They have come to regard those systems of oppression with a measure of pride, and have partaken of and manifested their spirit, and millions of men have given their lives for their defense. But the children of God regard them in a very different light.
The different estimates of the kingdoms of this age by the world and by the saints is strikingly illustrated by the two visions of them to Nebuchadnezzar and to Daniel. To Nebuchadnezzar they appeared as a great image of glory and power, the head of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the thighs of brass, the legs and feet of iron, the feet being partly of iron and partly of clay. These four divisions represented respectively the universal dominions of Babylon, Medo Persia, Grecia and Rome. These have succeeded each other and held the dominion of the earth since the days of Nebuchadnezzar, and we are now living under the decaying power of the Roman dominion as illustrated in the mixture of iron and clay which formed the feet of the image. The stone which is to fill the whole earth is about to smite the image and utterly destroy it. (Dan. 2:34-45.) The kingdoms now in existence, represented in the feet of the image, received their power and authority originally from the Papacy, or some of her protesting daughters and imitators, who crowned them or their ancestors, and still they claim, according to their word, that they reign "by the grace of God." Men dread the destruction of this great image of human power which has overawed, overpowered and deceived them for so many centuries, and would avert its destruction if they could.
But to the children of God, as to the prophet Daniel, these same four universal powers appear as four dreadful, ferocious wild beasts – a lion, a bear, a leopard, and another beast so great and terrible as to almost baffle description. These represented respectively the same governmental powers as those illustrated in Nebuchadnezzar's vision. The last and most terrible beast was Rome, and how terrible has been its history of crime and oppression and wickedness! The days of its triumphal march were filled with the groans of martyred saints, with the wails of the widowed and orphaned, with the boast of malice and licensed crime and oppression, with high-handed tyranny, and with a brazen-faced impudence which flung defiance in the face of the Almighty. Well may we rejoice that our day witnesses its waning power.
Although as its power has waned, we have seen that greater liberty and happiness has been enjoyed by mankind, yet we see that full liberty and perfect happiness cannot be enjoyed until the last vestige of its oppressive power is destroyed, until it is hunted out in every hiding place where it secretly lurks, until its pernicious doctrine of the divine right of kings to oppress and impoverish the people is fully eradicated, until its blasphemous utterances against the God of heaven are made fully manifest, though hiding even under the name of Protestantism, until its great power is utterly destroyed, and its very memory has become a hissing and a by-word.
Is it any wonder that Zion rejoices as she realizes the presence of him who has been consuming this power with the spirit of his mouth (by the manifestation of his truth), and who is to completely destroy it with the brightness of his presence (Gr., parousia)? 2 Thes. 2:8.
Notice the indications of his presence mentioned by the Psalmist, and now coming to pass: "Clouds and darkness are round about him." The storm clouds that are now gathering are visible to all the world, and darkness – ignorance of God's ways – everywhere prevails. The Church nominal, as well as the world, is in total ignorance of what the outcome shall be.
"His lightnings enlightened the world; the earth saw and trembled." In the midst of the dark forebodings of the gathering storm come the lightning flashes of truth, due in this time of his presence, and because of his presence. Truth on various subjects is thus being revealed. Men are getting ideas which they never dreamed of before. The spirit of inquiry is abroad. Men are beginning to inquire, What are our natural rights? How did kings and emperors get the right, if right it is, to rule over their fellow-men and to oppress them for their own advantage? By what fair (?) means do some men, with little or no labor, acquire millions of money, while others, by severest toil, can scarcely gain life's necessities? By what means do the comparatively few gain and retain a monopoly of the blessings of life, while the great mass of mankind live in poverty and discomfort?
Gradually, but rapidly, the masses are coming to see that the overplus of power is in their grasp, that their overwhelming numbers and force only want systematizing and organization, and to this work great efforts are now being directed, and beneath the tread of the mustering hosts and their accumulating power, thrones tremble. The lightning flashes of truth are bringing about these changes. The increase of knowledge, the general diffusion of education, the multiplying of inventions, the general interchange of thought, the wider range of commercial interests, the rapid modes and cheap rates of travel and the advantage that is taken of it, the multiplicity of books and periodicals, and the wonderful power of the daily press – all these influences have been waking men up to an appreciation of their manhood, and they will not long permit it to be ignored and trampled in the dust for the selfish aggrandizement of the few. Gross ignorance and superstition are rapidly becoming things of the past.
But it is not to be presumed that these efforts of the masses will proceed on the golden mean of propriety. No; like a pendulum, they will swing to the very opposite extreme of impropriety; and hence the great trouble, the anarchy and confusion which will result. This destructive trouble is represented by fire – "A fire goeth before him and burneth up his enemies round about." It will destroy the enemies of God and men, the oppressive organizations of both church and state, and thereby liberate the people.
But it will soon be discovered that the liberty gained is even worse than the oppression from which they have escaped. The unrestrained liberty of all men in their present fallen condition, would be the worst evil that could befall the world. And such anarchy will be the result of their efforts. This is all they will be able to accomplish, and in so doing they will exhaust their power. None will be able to assume the control, and direct affairs to a satisfactory settlement. Thus men will become convinced of their own utter inability to rightly adjust the tangled problem. This is just where God wants to bring them that they may hear him say, "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth." (Psa. 46:10.) He will say it not by voice, but by the manifestation of his power, and then men will be prepared to realize that "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." The new heavens (the new kingdom) will declare his righteousness, and all the people shall see his glory. Those who have worshiped those false systems of church and state as idols, will be confounded when thus they witness their complete destruction. (verses 6,7.)
Again says the Psalmist prophetically, "The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth." (verse 5.) Mountains and hills are symbols of governments. Some will melt under the fervent heat, while others will be carried forcibly into the midst of the sea. (Psa. 46:2.) We have today in Great Britain an illustration of a mountain melting. It has enough political wisdom to see the rights, and to concede some of the demands of the people. It is melting and flowing down to some extent to the level of the people's interests. If all the governments would do this, if they would all melt down and fully concede to the people their rights, then much of the great calamity of revolution would be averted; but this, all will not do. The [R816 : page 7] policy of Russia, for instance, is to concede nothing to the people, but to retain all its oppressive power intact. It will not melt; therefore it shall be forcibly carried in the tumult of revolution "into the midst of the sea." The sea in symbolic language represents the masses of the people unrestrained by law and order; hence the carrying of a mountain into the midst of the sea, would signify the overwhelming of a government in a revolutionary uprising of the masses. (Psa. 4:2.)
As Zion sees all these things coming to pass, she recognizes in them the evidences of her Lord's presence and the preparation for the kingdom of heaven, and knowing what the glorious outcome will be, and that shortly, she rejoices notwithstanding that clouds and darkness are round about him for a time. She knows that
"Behind a frowning providence"The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice" also; for it is great cause for rejoicing if they could only have faith to realize it. But we rejoice further to know that though their eyes are now so blinded by prejudice and false doctrine that they cannot see the evidence on which to rest faith, by and by their blindness shall be removed and they shall have the evidence in demonstration.
He hides a smiling face."
The first to realize it after Zion, will be the daughters of Judah, fleshly Israel, whose blindness shall be taken away. Already we learn that the blindness is beginning to be turned away. Soon all the daughters of Judah will see and rejoice together because of the Lord's judgments against oppression and tyranny, and because of the returning favor of his "Covenant people." Soon the glory of the Lord will be revealed to all; the [R816 : page 8] clouds being rolled away the Sun of righteousness shall shine forth with healing [restitution] in his beams and all flesh shall recognize it together.
"The force of education is making itself felt in all European countries, and in the old way, too, of producing commotions and turbulence. Wherever it appears it turns the world upside down. In France it has changed the whole complexion of the national politics. In Belgium it has excited active and tumultuous interest. In Russia it has led to violence characteristic of that country, and we read that in Spain it is giving warning to the clericals that their reign must soon come to an end. The tremendous movement that is in progress in England also, a movement that under any other man almost than Gladstone would be a revolution, is due to the fact that the peasantry are getting the benefit of schools and other means of intelligence and training. In a way that is similar, and yet different, the same result is being reached in heathen countries under the operation of Christian missions."– United Presbyterian.
We are glad that our neighbor is getting its eyes open on this subject. It should notice also, that education and thought are breaking the fetters of fear, which have so long kept many in the nominal Churches. Some are coming to recognize the real Church whose names are in heaven, and to approach the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, while others, deceived by the creeds are discarding the teaching of the Bible totally and becoming so-called Rational Christians, really Unbelievers.
MY DEAR MRS. RUSSELL: It hardly seems right to trouble you again with my questions, but you and Mr. Russell have helped me so often perhaps you will once more. I feel sure the teaching of the WATCH TOWER is true. I would not go back to the old way of trying to believe for anything. I know that God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven my sins. I believe I have no will of my own; at least I try not to have. It seems right and just that some should inherit divine life. I realize that for others. But do you think it wicked when I tell you that to be a perfect human being is all I can desire for myself? To have my father and friends who are gone, back again; to have sin blotted out of the world; never to be sick or know sorrow of any kind; to live as God intended his children to live. It is almost more than I can bear to think of. Anything beyond or better is as unreal to me as the thoughts of heaven used to be when I was taught that some time we would go there. Is it wrong for me to feel so, and are there not others who feel the same way? Surely I am not the only one. I am afraid to settle down and take all the comfort I can, for fear I have neglected something. Can you help me? Yours truly,
MY DEAR FRIEND: With reference to your question I would say that if you never started for the great prize of our high calling – the divine nature – then you are perfectly right in looking for the glory and perfection of human nature, and that will indeed be a glorious and satisfying portion. Those who made an entire consecration within the acceptable time, or the time when they were acceptable as LIVING SACRIFICES, which time we believe ended with the fall of 1881, should not turn back. If they offered themselves unreservedly to God within that time, they were accepted of him and sealed with the spirit of adoption, which enables them to appreciate every item of truth relative to their new inheritance – the spiritual – the Divine nature which they desire and long for above every thing else. God will never fail to fulfill his part of the covenant if we keep our part of the contract – to sacrifice our human nature and all that belongs to it.
But if such a one who has covenanted to sacrifice all – even unto death – and who has received the spirit of adoption – the earnest of his divine inheritance – turns away from it and despising his covenant, seeks to regain and attain the perfection of the human nature, he will surely fail and lose both – all. If such a one seeks to save his life he will lose it; but, if according to his covenant he loses it, gives it up, sacrifices it, he will save his life as a "new creature" spiritual.
If, however, your consecration has been since that time, then the earthly glory is for you, and you may begin at once to conform to the principles of the new heavenly kingdom now being set up, though the world is not yet aware of it. You may begin at once to grow up toward perfection as a human being.
Now, I judge you can tell just where you stand. If you ever started for the heavenly glory and kingdom, and received the seal of adoption, I beseech you turn not back – neither to the right hand nor to the left; but press on and make your election sure by fulfilling your covenant. But if yours is the earthly inheritance, strive to conform as fully as possible to the will and plans of God. Those first and foremost to recognize the new kingdom and to conform to its laws of love and justice, will be first blessed by it.
Many have sung "I want to be an Angel," etc., who want nothing more than, that they preferred to be angels in heaven, to going to a place of torture, because they have been taught that their lot must be one or the other.
Sometimes when logs are being driven or guided down stream to their destination or market-place, there comes what might be called a jam. The great mass of timber refuses to move. Then the skill of the drivers is soon manifest in the rapidity with which they discover the cause of the obstruction. One certain log is found which holds the key to the situation. Dislodge this, and the vast body begins to move again, though the work necessary to bring about the much-desired result is attended with more or less danger to the one undertaking it. Ropes are often attached to the body, which, being held by the hands of others, serve to lessen the danger of being caught by a sudden start of the huge pile.
So in the progress of humanity towards its grand destiny, there comes a sudden check, confusion takes the place of harmony and advancement. Some one is raised up to cut the key log of a tremendous error, and then the race moves on its homestretch with an accelerated ratio. Luther, Wesley, Channing, each in their day dislodged mighty errors from the minds of many of their generation.
Again, there comes up into the ear of God the deep longing of tens of thousands for some one who will deliver them from their present dilemma of painful doubt and indecision. Go back to old ideas they cannot; accepting new ones is seemingly impossible, and so there is a jam. Old cherished ideas cannot be given up until something better is given to take their place, until the reasonableness of the new departure and its connection with the real truths of the old is seen. Divine wisdom is needed to say the right words at the proper time. Then the tares of error can be separated from the wheat of truth without rooting up "the wheat with them."
"A bending staff I would not break,
A feeble faith I would not shake,
Nor even rudely pluck away
The error which some truth may stay,
Whose sudden loss might leave without
A shield against the shafts of doubt."
Ques. – What will be the nature of the liberty into which the whole creation is to come, when the sons of God are manifested? See Romans 8:19,21.
Ans. – The nature of the liberty is indicated by the Apostle by his contrasting it with bondage in the same verse. The bondage was of "corruption" i.e. death, with all concomitants of pain, sickness and sorrow. For six thousand years it has proved itself a terrible bondage, one from which mankind could not escape. But a Saviour came and ransomed the whole creation, the entire world of mankind, giving himself a "corresponding price" for all; and as a result has obtained control of mankind, and the right by purchase (with his own precious blood) to open the tomb and release all men from every cord of bondage which now binds them.
By virtue of the ransom which he gave for all, he declares "there shall be a resurrection, (a lifting up to perfection) both of the just and the unjust." I have the keys (symbol of right, authority and power) of death and hades." Rev. 1:18
To release men from the bondage of death is to restore to original perfection. Adam was a perfect man "crowned with glory and honor" (Psa. 8:5), and in God's sight "very good" until he sinned; because of sin he was delivered into "the bondage of corruption" according to the will and law of God. But since by his atonement sacrifice the Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world, it becomes his right and privilege to save men, by liberating them from the WAGES of those sins, viz.: from the bondage of corruption – death.
This deliverance from corruption's bondage was the theme and substance of Jesus' preaching, not only as indicated by his recorded words, but as prophesied beforehand: The spirit of the Lord God is upon me because he hath anointed me to preach the good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim to the captives, LIBERTY, and to the prisoners RELEASE, (Isa. 61:1.) Yes, this was Jesus' mission and message, and it was illustrated by his miracles, by which he manifested forth his future glory – the work of healing, restoring, liberating from pain, sorrow and death, into the liberty of manhood – the liberty enjoyed by man while yet a "Son of God," (Luke 3:38), before he became a sinner. To this liberty or freedom from death and trouble, the whole creation shall again be restored – the glorious liberty common to sons of God on whatever plane of being they may be, whether sons of human nature (Luke 3:38.) sons of angelic nature (Job 38:7.) or sons of the divine nature (1 John 3:2; 2 Pet. 1:4). The same glorious freedom from death belongs to all the sons of God.
While the human creation shall be delivered from bondage to present death which came on account of Adam's sin, and is to be removed because of Christ's redemptive work, it does not follow that they shall retain their liberty. They may retain it, and from present experience will know the value of retaining it, yet they will ever be able to place themselves in bondage at their own option, but only by deliberate, wilful, sin against full light and knowledge. The second or wilful bondage is called the Second death, from which, deliverance is never promised.
The time for the deliverance of the world from present bondage to corruption (that which came as a result of Adam's sin – Adamic death) is referred to by Paul. Jesus did not deliver the prisoners at the time of his first presence in the world; he merely preached deliverance to the captives and opening of prison doors. True, when reproved by the self-righteous Pharisees (zealous for the Sabbath, but ignorant of its real significance) for healing a woman on the Sabbath day, he said: "Ought not this woman whom Satan hath bound lo these eighteen years be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?" Luke 13:16. He did release her from the special infirmity but not from all the bondage of corruption; she was still subject to pain and death – the bondage of corruption – and the little release which Jesus granted her was only an illustration of the full and complete release which he would grant in the "times of restitution of all things" – the great antitypical seventh day or Sabbath.
The time for this removal of the bondage of corruption from humanity, permitting them to return to the glorious perfection of Eden, is when the special class of sons selected during this Christian Age, as the BODY of Christ has been made perfect with their head, Jesus. Then will come the manifesting of the power of those divine sons in the liberating, restoring, perfecting of the human family to the proper liberty of sons of God, secured for them by the ransom. This liberty will be fully attained by all willing to accept of it, by the end of the reign of Christ. It is the very object of his reign as promised, to thus bless all the families of the earth.
This work is at once a Greek and Hebrew Lexicon giving the meaning of the original terms in English, and also a Concordance giving each word of Scripture and the words which they translate. The value of the work is becoming more apparent daily, as theorists attempt to palm off a private interpretation under a guise of "a better definition of the original."
Price to our subscribers, $2.25; usual price, $5.00. If sent my mail, the postage should be added, viz.: 54c., and 10c. additional if you wish it "registered." This is the latest revision. – "THE AUTHOR'S EDITION."
For the benefit of new readers we would state that this is a Greek Testament. Under each Greek word the corresponding English word. It is thus the most literal translation of the New Testament. Besides this, it has in another column alongside a very clear and emphatic translation, showing the emphasis of the Greek, which is generally lost to the English reader.
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