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As per appointment in our last issue quite a goodly company gathered at Bible House chapel, Allegheny, on March 30th. About two hundred were present, chiefly the Allegheny congregation – about fifty coming from the surrounding towns of Pennsylvania; New York, Ohio, District of Columbia, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nevada being also represented.
Eighteen adults symbolized their full consecration even unto death and their hope of a resurrection, by immersion. The interest was good, the feeling deep; and while the signification of the unleavened bread and the unfermented fruit of the vine were explained, hearts full of gratitude for the great gift of God's love promised renewed zeal in being broken in the service of the Lord as members of the one loaf (1 Cor. 10:17), and in drinking of his cup of self-denial and suffering for righteousness' sake. [R1514 : page 98]
The following we take from a recent number of the Pall Mall Gazette: – "For the first time for 334 years, or at any rate since the Reformation, the Mayor and corporation of Southampton [England], on Sunday morning, in their official robes, and attended by the mace bearers and borough police, attended divine service at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church. The occasion was made a great festival, and Mozart's Seventh Mass was sung to the accompaniment of a string band....In the course of his sermon Canon Scannell said that day was the highest and most beautiful day for Southampton after the last three hundred years of estrangement and mismanagement. There had been no brighter day than that in his life, which had brought them together for the first time for three centuries. That day had been approaching for the last twenty years. Some of his best friends had been Protestants, and he felt happy that that day had come which had brought them together. At the close the civic body was escorted from the church by the canon, the officiating priests, acolytes, and choir in their vestments, carrying the candles, crosses, banners, etc., and the procession was watched by thousands of people. It is, perhaps, worthy of note that not one member of the corporation is a Roman Catholic, and the Southampton corporation are said to be the first public body in the country to officially attend a Roman Catholic Church in this way."
Patent Binders of a size suitable for the TOWER for two years' issues, and with the name of our journal and the dates 1893-1894 stamped in gilt on the side, are now ready. Those therefore who hereafter order Binders should specify whether they want these for coming years or those for 1891-1892 which have no dates stamped on them. These are extremely desirable for preserving your TOWERS in a convenient form for future reference. Price fifty cents each.
|VOL. XIV.||APRIL 1, 1893.||NO. 7.|
"Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question." – Acts 24:21.
– "When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked." – Acts 17:32.
– The prophet David "spake of the resurrection of Christ: that his soul was not left in hades." – Acts 2:31.
– Christ was proved or "declared to be the Son of God with power...by the resurrection from the dead." – Rom. 1:4.
– "Now if Christ be preached, that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" – 1 Cor. 15:12.
– "But if there be no resurrection of the dead then is Christ not risen." – 1 Cor. 15:13.
– "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain; – and your faith is also vain; – and we are false witnesses; – and ye are yet in your sins; and they that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." – 1 Cor. 15:14-18.
– "But Christ is risen from the dead, and become a first-fruits of them that slept." – 1 Cor. 15:20.
– "For since by a man [Adam] came death, by a man also [Christ] came the resurrection of the dead." – 1 Cor. 15:21.
– "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus ...hath begotten us again unto a hope of life by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." – 1 Pet. 1:3.
– The Apostles "taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection of the dead." – Acts 4:2.
– At Athens, Paul "preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection." – Acts 17:18.
– Paul said, "I count all things but loss... that I may know him [Christ] and the power of his resurrection;...if by any means I might attain unto the [chief] resurrection of the [chief] dead." – Phil. 3:8-11.
– "Blessed and holy are all they that have part in the first [chief] resurrection." – Rev. 20:6.
– "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just [justified believers] and the unjust" [now unjustified]. – Acts 24:15.
– Some "concerning the truth have erred, saying, that the resurrection is past already." – 2 Tim. 2:18.
No other doctrine is made so prominent in the New Testament as that of the Resurrection; except it be that of the second coming of our Lord and his kingdom glory, or his first advent and sacrifice for sins. And yet, so far has modern popular theology drifted away from that of our Lord and his Apostles that, the resurrection of the dead is scarcely ever preached upon today; and it would be a great convenience, indeed, to many ministers of all denominations, if the entire doctrine of the resurrection could be expunged from the Bible: It would save them from many perplexing questions which they can only ignore or seek to evade, instead of answering them. What a proof this furnishes that the Bible is not what infidels assert – the work of knavish priests. Had such made it they would have made it more to their pleasement – to support their theories. [R1508 : page 100]
If the reader ever heard one sermon on the resurrection from any so-called "orthodox" pulpit he was remarkably favored. And yet that is scarcely true, either, for what he heard was probably such a medley, such a confusion, that his ideas were worse confounded after hearing than before. Such exceptional ones probably heard such a discourse as was reported in the public press about two years ago, delivered by a very learned and able Presbyterian Doctor of Divinity to a Brooklyn audience.
This D.D. explained that the resurrection will consist in a regathering and revivifying of all the bones and sinews and flesh and skin, etc., that ever constituted human bodies, regardless of how they had been disposed of, by fire or mouldering or otherwise: No matter if parts had been destroyed by accident or eaten by [R1509 : page 100] fishes or beasts of prey; or if they had rotted and gone as fertilizer into various fruits, vegetables, grasses, etc., and thus been over and over again transformed.
He explained "the last day" to mean a final twenty-four hours before the burning up of the world, and pictured that an after portion of that twenty-four hours would be devoted to a work of judging the world, while the forepart would be occupied by the resurrection work; and he pictured the air black with hands, arms, feet, fingers, bones, skins, sinews, etc., of the billions who have lived and died, seeking the other parts of their bodies; and that then the souls would come from heaven and hell and be imprisoned in those resurrected bodies.
What an unscriptural and nonsensical view! And yet, how could the man think or preach differently on the subject seeing that he believed firmly in a "resurrection of the body," which very words nearly all "orthodox" creeds of "Christendom" recite? And how could a body be resurrected in any other way than by gathering together again the various parts and members which once composed it? In no other way, of course. And if the "resurrection of the body" is the resurrection specified in the Bible, we as well as others are shut up to the nonsensical and ludicrous view expressed by the Brooklyn D.D., as above stated.
But the Bible contains no such statement; and such an inference is as unwarranted as it is unreasonable. The reason which led to this statement that the resurrection would be merely that of the body is quite evident. The teaching had gradually crept into the Church that what seems to the five senses to be death is not such in reality: none are dead – saints nor sinners – but all more alive than ever, when to us they appear to be dead. With this idea before the mind, many lose sight of the Scriptural teaching of a "resurrection of the dead" [beings, persons, souls]; and hence they altered it to suit their changed ideas, although it is still "a very inconvenient doctrine to get around." Because after having preached in the funeral discourse that the deceased is "free now" and "no longer hampered and encumbered with a body," it is confusing to read from the Bible as a part of the funeral service about the "hope of a resurrection of the dead," when they hope that their friends are not dead, and would be glad to hope that they would never have anything more to do with what they term the "prison-house of clay" – the body. It is confusing, too, to read the Apostle's words (specially intended and suited for such an occasion) about the second coming of Christ, and the blessing at that time, by a resurrection of "them that sleep in Jesus" (1 Thes. 4:14-18); and the expression, "Wherefore comfort one another with these words," only adds to their confusion; for no other words would be so comfortless to them; because of the unscriptural views they entertain.
But while, as we have seen, the theory of a "resurrection of the body" – the recovery and reorganization of the original atoms of matter – is nonsensical, as well as without Scriptural warrant, let none so regard the doctrine of the resurrection of the soul or being, which is taught in the Bible, and which is reasonable.
In the Bible the word resurrection is found only in the New Testament; it is the translation of the Greek word, anastasis, the meaning of which, as given by Prof. Young's Concordance [R1509 : page 101] (a standard authority), is, "A standing or rising up." Liddell & Scott's Lexicon defines the word similarly, viz., "A making to stand or rise up; awakening, restoration."*
Other Greek words are used when referring to the temporary awakening of dead ones who afterward died again, as in the case of Lazarus, Jairus' daughter and others; but neither the Greek word anastasis nor its English equivalent, resurrection, is used in such cases. We are not questioning that the English word resurrection is often used with only a limited signification; but we are calling attention to the restricted use of the Greek word. And we insist that it is only by giving it the full weight of its meaning that the importance of our Lord's work as man's Redeemer can be fully appreciated. To say that the ransom given once for all by our Lord secured a resurrection (anastasis) for all, and then to define that word as merely signifying a re-awakening, to a spark of life as now enjoyed, would be to rob the Lord of the honor of his great work, by robbing the word "anastasis" of its full import. Our claim is that this word contains the thought of a full restitution of all that was lost – human perfection – and not merely re-animation. It was all that was lost that our Lord died to recover; and the promise of a resurrection is therefore the promise of the restoration of what was lost and redeemed. This has been provided for all, and must be given or offered to all – whether then they accept of it or reject it.
To get the full force of anastasis – "restoration," "rising up" – we must remember from what a height man has fallen into death. The resurrection (anastasis) secured for mankind by their Redeemer is a full and complete raising up (or restoration) to all that was lost, for all, by one man's (Adam's) disobedience. "For as by a man [Adam] came death [with all the degradation which that word implies – mental, moral and physical, culminating in utter dissolution – utter loss], even so by a man also [the man Christ Jesus] came [i.e. was secured] the resurrection" [anastasis – a complete restoration to all that was lost; a full rising up to the grand heights of perfection – the image and likeness of God at first enjoyed].
The Millennial age is to be the resurrection day for the world of mankind; but it will be optional with each individual whether or not he ever attains this grand perfection, provided for all in Christ. It may at first seem strange to say that the dead will be obliged to co-operate in the matter of their own resurrection (to perfection) or else never obtain it; but such is the Scriptural representation. The dead will not be required to aid or co-operate in their awakening from their graves; for "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave" (Eccl. 9:10; Psa. 6:5), and they, therefore, could neither assent to nor oppose their awakening. That work will be done for the world by their glorified Redeemer, who declares, "All that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth: [that is, all will be awakened; [R1509 : page 102] but there will be two classes, who will be awakened under different conditions, as our Lord proceeds to show, saying,] they that have done good [that is, those consecrated ones who are good and acceptable to God through Christ] to a resurrection life [That is to say, this class will come forth from death with a perfect life, a completely resurrected or raised up life, over which death shall no longer have any power or control]; and they that have practiced evil [surely this includes all of the fallen race except the few above referred to, the consecrated, holy ones] unto a judgment [or trial] resurrection" [ – an opportunity for full raising up if they will conform to the discipline and chastisements of that thousand-year judgment-day of Christ's reign].
In harmony with this, the true and full meaning of anastasis – a complete or full raising up out of death – is our Lord's expression to the Sadducees who inquired concerning a woman of many husbands, "In the resurrection [anastasis] whose wife shall she be? (Luke 20:33.) Our Lord avoided giving them a direct reply, perhaps because it would have required a long discourse concerning the future, for which they in their cavilling spirit were wholly unready, and perhaps because the due time for information respecting God's methods and dealings during the Millennial age were not yet due to be explained. So our Lord's reply, in effect, was, – Ye err, because ye do not understand the Scriptures respecting how matters will then be, nor do ye appreciate the great power of God by which he is able to work all things according to the counsel of his own wise plan. Then, turning the subject away from the suppositionary case suggested by the Sadducees, our Lord took occasion to drop a word of instruction respecting the first or chief resurrection – the resurrection of the blessed and holy. (Rev. 20:6.) A knowledge of this resurrection would be meat in due season to them that stood by, while a direct reply to the question would not be, so our Lord said: "The sons [R1510 : page 102] of this period marry and are given in marriage, but those who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that period and the resurrection [anastasis] out from dead ones will neither marry nor be given in marriage; neither can they die any more: then, like the angels they will be, and sons of God – becoming sons by THE resurrection." The emphasis on "resurrection" and "dead" here, intensified by the expression "out from dead ones," leaves no room for doubt that the Lord referred to the First Resurrection.
It will be perceived that in this statement our Lord omits any reference to the masses of the world and their opportunities for restitution to human perfection through a judgment-resurrection, a resurrection depending upon their co-operation, during Christ's Millennial reign, when, under him, their head, the saints (the holy ones who shall be accounted worthy of that first or chief resurrection to spirit conditions) shall judge the world. – 1 Cor. 6:2.
There is nothing in the word resurrection, nor yet in the word anastasis, to limit or in any way determine the nature or organism of the one who experiences resurrection. If a resurrection of the body were predicted, then it would imply that exactly the same body would be raised up: and, since the human family are all flesh-beings, it would imply that the very same bodies now possessed, with exactly the same atoms of matter, would be "raised up." For the exact meaning of the word anastasis must be born in mind, viz., "restored" or "raised up." – Liddell & Scott.
If then the human body which dies were the thing to which resurrection is promised, nothing more or less than the same body with its same atoms, same defects, and the same peculiarities, could be expected: and, as a result, resurrection would be merely a renewal of present, unfavorable, fallen conditions.
But it is not the bodies of men that God promises to resurrect, but the men themselves – the beings (in the English Bible translated souls). It was Adam as a whole that sinned, – Adam, the living soul (being), and not merely his body. It was Adam as a whole, as a living soul (being), that was sentenced to death, and it was the souls of his posterity yet in his loins, unborn (Heb. 7:9,10; Exod. 1:5; 1 Cor. 15:22), [R1510 : page 103] that shared in him the penalty – "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."
In harmony with this it would seem reasonable that when Christ redeemed man from this death-penalty, his soul must have paid man's penalty. And so we find it clearly stated of our Redeemer: – His anguish was a "travail of soul:" His soul was "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death:" "He poured out his soul unto death:" "He made his soul an offering for sin" – a corresponding price for the soul of Adam and all in him. Thus God redeemed our SOULS from destruction. – Psa. 49:15.
And it is those souls condemned in Adam's soul, and redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ's soul, that are to have a resurrection. The Scriptures, when speaking of this, do not always use the word soul, but it is always implied; as, for instance, in the statement, "As in Adam all [souls – beings] die, even so all [souls, beings] in Christ shall be made alive;" and again, "There shall be a resurrection of the dead [souls, beings], both of the just [souls, beings] and of the unjust [souls, beings]." Wherever character is expressed, as here by the words "just" and "unjust," it is evident that not bodies but beings are meant; for although we might say lean or fat, beautiful or homely bodies, character cannot be predicated of bodies merely: a body cannot be either just or unjust: the soul or being is always understood where character is asserted or implied. [What is the "soul?" will be more fully discussed at some future time.]
While a soul or being is more than a mere body, yet there can be no being, no existence, no soul, without a body. But then, again, there are different kinds of bodies, – "There is a natural [animal] body and there is a spiritual body" says the Apostle, explaining this question. (1 Cor. 15:44.) And the kind of body determines the nature of the being or soul.
Beings with spirit-bodies are spirit beings, or heavenly beings – as God, and angels; a further distinction being shown amongst these spirit-beings in that those possessed of inherent life (immortality, – God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ) are said to be "of the divine nature" – far above angels, etc. (Eph. 1:21.) And this is the grade of spirit body and being promised to the overcoming "bride" or "body of Christ," the "royal priesthood." 2 Pet. 1:4.
Beings with the highest order of fleshly bodies, of the earth, earthy, are called human beings; – animal souls or beings; the highest of all earthly or fleshly beings or souls, – originally in God's likeness; and, as his representative Adam was, the King of Earth. – Psa. 8:5,6.
Since the human family is evidently a fleshly, earthly race, and not a heavenly or spiritual one; and since the inspired Apostle assures us of this fact, saying, "That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is animal," "the first man was of the earth, earthy." (1 Cor. 15:46,47), we must conclude that, unless something should occur to work a change, the promise of a resurrection (anastasis, "raising up," "restoring"), when applied to Adam and his family, would mean simply a restoration of his being (soul) to its original powers possessed before his sin and fall – when he was the earthly likeness of his Creator, and upright. – Gen. 1:27; Eccl. 7:29.
Since the word anastasis merely signifies to "raise up," as from a fallen to an upright, or from an imperfect to a perfect condition; and since it applies to the soul or being of man, it is evident that unless there be some change of nature since the fall of the race in Adam, raising up would imply nothing more and nothing less than raising all the way up to that standard of perfection and divine likeness represented and lost in Adam. Of the vast multitude of the human family it is true, that they are of the earth, earthy; of human nature, like father Adam, except that they have fallen farther from the divine image in which they were created in him. But this is not true of all, as we shall see.
The Apostles Paul and Peter clearly explain to us that during this Gospel age God has been selecting a peculiar people, a little flock, to be joint-heirs with Christ, their Redeemer and Lord, in the Millennial Kingdom, which is to bless all the families of the earth. And they no less clearly assure us that those who shall be of that "bride" class will be changed in [R1510 : page 104] their resurrection, to a new nature, the divine nature, that thereafter they may be with their Lord, and be like him, and see him as he is. – See 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:2. Compare also our Lord's words in John 17:24.
The same authoritative teachers assure us that, in order to secure such a change in their resurrection (necessary to all who will be members of that Kingdom), a certain change must take place in them before death. This latter change is Scripturally called a begetting of the spirit, and the resurrection change is called a birth of the spirit. That which is begotten and born of the spirit will be a spirit-being, and no longer a human-being. As that which is begotten and born of the flesh is flesh, so that which is begotten and born of the spirit is spirit. Nicodemus, and the Jews generally, thought that when the due time should come their nation would become God's Kingdom – a fleshly kingdom under a fleshly Messiah. But our Lord corrected Nicodemus' error, and assured him that all who would ever become members of that Kingdom, or who should even see it, would have to be begotten and born again, – a second time, – of the spirit of God. – See John 3:5-7.
The Apostles explain that the begetting to this new nature comes only to believers, already justified by faith in the Redeemer; and that, while the justification of believers comes to each as a free gift through Christ, this begetting to be new creatures "of the divine nature" comes to us directly from the Father, and that as a result of our full consecration to him. The Truth, the word of God's grace, – "our high calling which is of God" – is the begetting and quickening influence which starts the new, consecrated life in all who are properly exercised thereby. The Apostle says: "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us." – 1 Pet. 1:3.
The Gospel age is exclusively devoted to this work of begetting and quickening and preparing of the true Church, the "little flock," for birth to the divine nature, and thus to an inheritance in the promised Kingdom which flesh and blood (souls or beings of human nature) cannot inherit, nor even see. (John 3:3,5.) The resurrection of the Church includes the resurrection of Christ Jesus, who is the head of the Church which is his body. (Eph. 1:22,23.) This resurrection is not only the chief or first resurrection in the sense of being the grandest and most wonderful "raising up," far above human and angelic natures – to the very pinnacle of glory and power, the divine nature – but it will also be first in order. And upon its completion, all other features of God's great plan for human salvation wait and depend.
This first (chief) resurrection began over eighteen centuries ago, when the head of the Church arose, the first-born from the dead. Since then, one after another, a "little flock" of believers, after sharing in justification under the New Covenant sealed by the Redeemer's sacrifice, consecrating themselves to the Lord and becoming joint-heirs with Christ in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal. 3:29), have been begotten and quickened to this course of action by the exceeding great and precious promises of God, and sealed by the holy spirit of promise, which continually, by God's Word [R1511 : page 104] and providences, bears witness that they are "accepted in the Beloved;" and that if they suffer with him they shall also reign with him; – if they be dead with him they shall also live with him. (Rom. 6:8; 8:17.) "Beloved, now are we the sons of God [begotten to the divine nature, witnessed by the spirit of adoption which enables us to recognize God as our Father]; but it doth not yet appear what we shall be [what shall be the peculiarities of our new bodies which we shall receive when born from the dead as sharers in Christ's resurrection], but we [do] know that when he [Christ] shall appear, we shall be like him; because we shall see him as he is [not as he was]; and none can see spirit beings as they really are except such as are also spirit beings – even as none except those begotten of the spirit can now understand spiritual things. – 1 Cor. 2:14.
The Apostle Paul gives a most complete discourse on this subject. (1 Cor. 15:12-28,35-55.) First, he proves that faith in a resurrection [R1511 : page 105] is a part of Christian doctrine, without which the entire fabric would be senseless. Secondly, having proved the doctrine, he shows that our Lord's resurrection is God's guarantee of a resurrection to all our race, for which Christ died. He proceeds to prove this fact and its reasonableness (verse 21) in that as by Adam came death to all, so by the man Christ Jesus the resurrection blessing is made applicable to all. Notice, however, that although a full resurrection up to perfection is made applicable to all, by God's plan, it does not follow that all will obtain it. It is only for those who shall successfully pass a judgment or trial to prove their worthiness of it under God's conditions – the New Covenant. It is made applicable to all, in that the terms will be such that all may avail themselves of the offer, in Christ. Next the Apostle shows that "as all in Adam died, even so all in Christ will be made alive [i.e., fully escape death], but each in his own order or class. – Verses 22,23.
He next pointedly shows, in a few words, what we are here seeking to elaborate: namely, that only those who get into Christ by "faith in his blood" will ever get the perfect life which he has provided, and will make possible of attainment to all. And he shows that of these who come into Christ, into the household of faith, there will be more than one class or order – each one in Christ will be made alive, or fully "raised up" out of death, in his own proper class or order. These orders he shows to be two. The "first-fruit" class, the "members of his body," will be first in order and first in rank. Because associated with Christ in sacrificing, during this age, they shall be accounted worthy to have part in his resurrection – the chief resurrection. – Phil. 3:8-11; Rom. 6:5; Rev. 20:6.
"Afterward [that is, next in order, or the remainder of those to be made alive in Christ, will be], those who are Christ's during his [second] presence [during his Millennial reign]. Then will come the end [the finish of the great salvation which he began by the sacrifice of himself once for all], when he shall deliver the [Millennial] kingdom to God the Father, – when he [Christ] shall have put down [by love or by force] all rule and all authority and power [opposed to righteousness, truth and love; – opposed to God and his perfect law]. For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. [His Millennial Kingdom, having been arranged for the very purpose of releasing those who shall desire to be in harmony with God, when made fully aware of his real character and plan, and of destroying all who, under similar knowledge, are wilful opponents of God and righteousness, cannot cease until all these ends are fully accomplished. The enemies to be humbled in the dust include not only evil forces, moral and physical, but also all persons who wilfully become associates in and parts of those evil things. The enemies will therefore be both animate and inanimate.] Even the last enemy, THE death shall be destroyed: for he [the Father] hath subjected all things under his [Christ's] feet."
It was an easy matter for those whom Paul addressed to believe that when the Millennial Kingdom should be in operation sin and sinners would be brought low; but the point most difficult to them, and the one which the Apostle was now seeking to impress, was that the death which had reigned over and conquered the race through Adam's sin had now become an enemy, an opponent of God's plan: and hence would surely be destroyed by the reign of Messiah. Death had not always been an enemy or an opposer of God's plan: once it was his servant, executing upon fallen man the penalty pronounced by God. But now, since Christ had paid the ransom price for Adam and for all condemned in him, this Adamic death is no longer to be accounted as a servant of God to execute justice, but as an enemy which the Redeemer of men is fully authorized and empowered to destroy – thus liberating from its bondage all for whom he died – "every man," all who died in Adam. (Rom. 8:31-39.) This destruction of the death from which Christ redeemed us, the enemy death, does not have any thing to do with the Second Death, to which, under Christ's rule, all will be subjected who, when released from the Adamic death and granted a new trial for life, are found wilful sinners. The second death will be the friend [R1511 : page 106] rather than the enemy of all who love righteousness; for in it "the abominable," and they only shall be destroyed – and that utterly.
Verses 27,28, show that Jehovah alone is superior to our Lord Jesus, and that after subduing sin and death Christ as well as all things will be subject to the Father, who will be recognized as THE GREAT I AM, in whom the all in all of majesty and power will inhere.
Having thus proved the fact of a general resurrection, and having shown the two orders – the Christ order, including every member of the body of the Christ who is to be like him and with him and a sharer of his glory and divine nature, and having shown the other class who will get life in Christ during the Millennial reign, the Apostle comes to particulars respecting these two classes (verses 35-54), in answer to a supposed question – "How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come?"
First, he treats the two classes together, saying, It is with man in death and resurrection as with the planting of grain and its reappearance. If you sow barley you expect barley; if you sow wheat you expect wheat to come up. So of whatever kind or nature a person is when he dies, he will be of that same nature, perfected, in the resurrection; – a resurrection will be a raising up of the same kind that goes into death.
All men are of the human nature, of the Adamic family, of the earth, earthy. Hence, with the exception of those begotten by the word of divine promise to the new spiritual nature (and who by reason of this change belong to "the order of Melchisedec" and are "new creatures in Christ," "members of his body"), all the race of Adam die in Adam's nature, human nature; and if raised up to perfection would attain the perfection of man-hood. But those begotten of the spirit to the spiritual nature will, when resurrected, be perfect spirit-beings. To the Adamic seed God has given a grand and wonderful human or flesh body, whose grandeur may be conjectured if we can imagine all the grand qualities and gifts which we see exhibited exceptionally in poets, philosophers, musicians, orators, mathematicians and physical prodigies combined in one person. These human qualities lost by all the race to a greater or less extent will still belong to those of the Adamic seed who shall be fully resurrected out of the death-loss sustained in Adam's fall. But to the new seed, which is Christ (Head and members), God has promised a yet more glorious spirit-body, the wonders of which we but little comprehend as yet. – 1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 2:9-10.
In verses 39-41, the Apostle introduces a description of the first or chief resurrection, in which the Church is especially interested, and shows that as there are various grades of earthly beings (fish, fowl, cattle and man), of which man is the lord or chief, so also in the spirit realm there are various degrees or grades of beings – the angelic being one, and the divine nature chief of all. So he reasons that as we can conceive of harmony and perfection, with variety, in the earth, perfect horses, dogs, cattle and men, so we can likewise conceive of similar variety in perfection amongst spirit beings. We may judge something of what human perfection will be by imagining all the wonderful powers of mankind exercised to the full by each. But although we know less about the spirit realm, we do know that spirits, powers and glories differ from human powers and glories. The glories yet diversities of the spirit world being well illustrated by those of the sun, moon and stars.
In verse 42 the Apostle fully reaches his topic saying, "Thus is the resurrection of the dead."
Some who fail to see the two classes or orders in resurrection, and who claim that all will obtain spirit bodies in resurrection, urge that the above words apply to all who shall ever be resurrected, and that the description following is therefore applicable to all. But if the careful student will take his Emphatic Diaglott or any Greek New Testament he will see that the words "resurrection" and "dead" are both emphasized in verse 42; as though the Apostle would say, Thus will be the special or first resurrection, of the special class of the dead. To ignore this feature of the Greek is to blind one's self to the real force of God's Word. It may [R1511 : page 107] be asked, May it not have been a custom with the Apostle to use emphasis when speaking of the resurrection in general? We answer, No; [R1512 : page 107] and refer the student to other instances of the use of the same expression without emphasis in the same chapter. (See verses 12,13,21.) And be it noticed that in each of these verses the words "resurrection" and "dead" do not refer to a special class and a special order of resurrection, as in verse 42. Furthermore, notice that whenever the Lord or the Apostles refer to the resurrection of the overcomers, the word resurrection is in every case made emphatic, and when the word occurs in a general way it is without emphasis.
In the following texts anastasis is without the Greek article and hence shows no emphasis, – indicates no special peculiarity: Matt. 22:23; Mark 12:18; Luke 2:34; 20:27; John 5:29. (Here, instead of emphasizing the word anastasis by adding the article, the special resurrection is pointed out by calling it a resurrection of life, because those who share it will be perfected in life at once; the contrast being shown again in the statement that the others will come forth to a judgment-resurrection or a perfecting obtainable only through judgments, discipline, etc.); Acts 17:32; 23:6,8; 24:15-21. (As already noticed the Apostle is here showing that his faith in a resurrection or perfecting is not only for those now justified, but that it extends beyond this small class and includes a hope of perfecting for many now ignorant, sinful, unjustified), Acts 26:23; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:12,13,21; Heb. 6:2; 11:35; 1 Pet. 1:3; 3:21.
In the following texts anastasis has the Greek article, showing emphasis and indicating that the first or special resurrection is surely meant: Matt. 22:28,30,31; Mark 12:23; Luke 14:14. (This text should not be understood to mean that Simon would be rewarded for his kind act by a share in the special resurrection, but that he would get a reward for it after the special resurrection of the Christ shall have introduced the new Kingdom – when Simon and the world in general will be granted full opportunity for life everlasting in and by a judgment-resurrection.); Luke 20:33,35,36; John 11:24,25; Acts 1:22; 2:31; 4:2,33; 17:18; Rom. 6:5; 1 Cor. 15:42; Phil. 3:10,11; 2 Tim. 2:18; Rev. 20:5,6.
Mark well that it is not our claim that anastasis without the article, never refers to the Lord's resurrection; but that the emphasis when used with anastasis always marks the statement as relating to the chief or spiritual resurrection. The apostles frequently spoke of our Lord's resurrection without calling attention to the fact that it was of a superior kind, just as we frequently do. They indeed often and properly enough use the word egeiro in speaking of our Lord's resurrection (as in Acts 5:30); but this word simply means, "to awaken, arouse, stir (Liddell & Scott). This word is used in speaking of the temporary awakenings of our Lord's miracles; as, for instance, in referring to the awakening of Lazarus (Jno. 12:1,9,17), of Jairus' daughter (Mark 5:41) and of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:14). This word is also used without reference to dead people: for instance, when our Lord was asleep during the storm on the lake – the disciples "awoke [egeiro] him" and "he arose [egeiro] and rebuked the winds." (Matt. 8:25,26.) "It is high time to awake [egeiro] out of sleep," the Apostle urges. (Rom. 13:11.) And again he says, "Awake [egeiro] thou that sleepest." (Eph. 5:14) referring to the thoughtless. These comments apply also to the word anistemi frequently rendered arise, arose, etc., but never rendered resurrection.
But not so with the word anastasis (resurrection): it is never used except with reference to the raising up of dead beings, – souls. And we hold that its use agrees in every instance with the thought of a full raising all the way up to perfection (and that it never refers to a mere reanimation or awakening) except it be in one instance out of the forty-three above noted. That one instance is in Heb. 11:35, where anastasis occurs twice, rendered raised to life again and resurrection. The first of these is generally understood to refer to the re-awakening of two children, by Elijah and Elisha; but we believe that had he referred to these the Holy Spirit would have guided the Apostle to the use of the word egeiro as in the case of Jairus' daughter [R1512 : page 108] and the others awakened by our Lord. We prefer, therefore, to understand the word anastasis here the same as in the other forty-two uses of the word – a full raising up to perfection – and hence must suppose that the Apostle means that certain women, although not sharers in the battles, were sharers in the losses and the faith – their faith in God's promises permitting them to look into the future and to trust God for the resurrection of their dead ones; indeed, to sorrow not as others who have no such hope. This view finds support also in verse 39: "These all, whose faith was attested, did not obtain the promised blessing, God having provided a superior portion for us [the bride, the body of Christ], that they without us might not be made perfect.
Finally, dear readers, let us remember that the reward, "Well done!" and the chief resurrection are not for those who have a clear knowledge and strong faith, merely, but for those who through their knowledge and faith become "overcomers" in deed and in truth. But the more clearly we see that a full, complete resurrection of being is freely provided for all of Adam's race in our great Redeemer's sacrifice, the more we can appreciate that sacrifice and the more we should love and esteem both the Giver and the Gift. And the more clearly we see that the attainment of the spiritual plane of perfect being, to which believers during this Gospel age have been called, is dependent on three things – (1) begetting of the spirit, under the sanctifying power of the word of his grace, (2) quickening to activity in God's service and to self-sacrifice by a still fuller appreciation and under the same sanctifying influences of the same spirit of the Truth, and (3) a resurrection-birth to the perfection of the new nature to which we were begotten and quickened – the more grace it will give us in considering what manner of persons we should be, as copies of our Redeemer, if we would make our calling and election sure. And the more clearly we see that a trial or judgment in the present life is essential to a part in the chief resurrection, the more reasonable it will appear that all of the world, who during the next age will be granted an opportunity for everlasting life under perfect conditions, must have a trial or judgment, and that therefore the period of Christ's reign is the thousand-year judgment-day and that a judgment-resurrection will progress therein – the willing and obedient obtaining perfection and life at its close, the disobedient, rejecting that gracious provision, being then "destroyed from among the people." – Acts 3:23.
Let us who have been begotten of the Spirit, with the great Apostle, count all other prizes but as loss and dross that we may win Christ – win a membership in that glorious body – and be found in him; if by any means (by fellowship in his sufferings) we may obtain a share in his resurrection – the resurrection. – Phil. 3:8.
I'll live because Christ died for me,
And lives again to set me free
From imperfection and from death,
Through favor of our God.
No fear of death can bring me care,
His robe of righteousness I wear;
My sin is covered, praise the Lord,
Through favor of our God.
I've passed from death to newer life,
I'm reckoned with the Bride, His wife,
I wait the call to join the feast,
Through favor of our God.
I'll reap with Him while yet I may,
And follow in the narrow way;
From tares I'll separate the wheat,
Through favor of our God.
I'll see Him as He is, and reign
With Him till thousand years shall wane,
In giving life to countless dead,
Through favor of our God.
The "little flock," exalted then,
With Christ, their Head, shall draw all men
To Him, with golden cords of love,
Through favor of our God.
The King's highway of holiness,
Will soon be opened up to bless
The human race with lasting life,
Through favor of our God.
The earth like Eden then shall bloom,
And sin and sorrow find no room,
For one and all shall know the Lord,
Through favor of our God.– HENRY FITCH.
"There are now over 100,000 Jews in the Holy Land. The Jewish population there is larger than it has been at any time since the end of the first century of the Christian era. Nearly four-fifths of them have gone thither from other countries within the last few years, and they have been going thither this year more steadily than ever before. In former times only a small number of Jews were permitted to live in the country, but the restrictions upon their settlement in it and upon their ownership of land have been removed, and they are now at liberty to re-people it and take possession of it. The number of Jews who have returned to Palestine during the dozen years in which they have been free to enter has been greater than the number who returned after the Babylonian captivity, twenty-four centuries ago.
"In the city of Jerusalem itself, according to a report of the British Consul there, the Jewish population is now fully 40,000, and a large part of the real estate in and around the city is in Jewish hands. The number of synagogues, schools of learning, hospitals, and other public institutions is constantly increasing, the water system has been improved, new streets have been opened beyond the walls, telegraphs and electric lights have been introduced, several factories have been set up, and the new railway to Jaffa has already stimulated the activity of the population in various ways. 'Palestine will soon be ready for the Jewish race,' says Rev. Dr. Kelt, of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem, in a letter to the London Times.
"The reports from the northern part of Palestine are favorable. There is activity at Acre and along the route to Damascus. The wheat raisers there are rejoicing in the prospect of finding markets for their crops; so are the raisers of olives and other fruits. The soil in that region is well adapted to the growth of cotton.
"A number of important public works have been undertaken in various parts of the country between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean; and we hear of yet other projects in which the Hebrew capitalists of England and France are prepared to invest all the money that may be needed.
"It will undoubtedly take a long time to regenerate Palestine, but we infer from the news received from Jerusalem that the work of regeneration has been begun. It must take a good many years to give the predominance to the Jewish element in Palestine; but if the number of Jews there should increase for the next ten years at the rate at which it has increased during the last ten years, the Jewish population in the Holy Land will run over a million very soon after the opening of the twentieth century.
"The shutting out from this country of the Jewish as well as other European immigrants, has already had an influence upon the Palestinian movement."– New York Sun.
Since we have become new creatures in Christ we are finding new treasures – treasures of divine knowledge which will never pass away, treasures of experience and wisdom developing in us what the Lord recognizes as precious graces of character, treasures of good works that shall not be forgotten when the day of final reckoning shall make them manifest, and treasures of heavenly friendships that shall never be severed while the years of eternity roll.
When the heavenly Banker says, Well done, good and faithful servant, and the treasure of heavenly approval and love and commendation sinks down deep in our enraptured hearts, tell me, will we not feel that the measure of joy which began even here and was numbered [R1513 : page 110] among our choicest treasures has there gained compound interest? And when a precious [R1514 : page 110] saint then glorified greets us with tender, grateful love, saying, You helped me hither, or You recovered me from falling when my feet had well nigh slipped; and when another and another of these treasures throng about us to bid us welcome to their midst, will we not indeed rejoice over the investment of toil or care or effort of any kind which has brought such results.
Besides the treasures of friendship which will never die, there will be treasures of love that will never grow old, treasures of esteem for the sake of our work and personal sacrificing that will never be forgotten, treasures of experience that will serve us eternally, treasures of wisdom that will enrich us forever, treasures of divine approval that will wreath a halo of glory around us which shall never pale, and treasures of glory, honor and immortality beyond our present powers to fully appreciate.
Let us heed the Master's words – "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
My Dear Sir and Brother: – I have again to tender you my best thanks for your kind attention in sending me a number of "Zion's Watch Tower" and "Thy Word is Truth," which I received a few days ago. I read "The Plan of the Ages" with very great interest and pleasure: for it has confirmed many ideas I already possessed, and developed others which were latent and vague in my mind. I am happy and thankful to say that since my early youth, I was enabled to acquire, through God's grace and my dear father's instrumentality, much knowledge, which gave me much higher ideas of the Almighty's wisdom, justice and mercy than are generally possessed by nominal Christians. "The Plan of the Ages" did not come to me, therefore, as a revelation, but as a joy-giving confirmation of ideas I had already acquired. To a dear friend of mine, however, it has been a source of new light and of much comfort. He is delighted with it, and wishes to write to you on the subject.
I enclose five dollars. Kindly take out one year's subscription for me to "Zion's Watch Tower" and for the remainder send me as many of the three volumes of "Millennial Dawn" as the money will buy, as I wish to send them to several friends both here and in Europe. I hope to find, in the "Watch Tower," articles which may do good in this country if translated and published in Spanish; I might even undertake the translation of the "Dawns," if I had the funds to have them published.
GENTLEMEN: – I have pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of three copies of the Tower, duplicate Tracts, etc., for which I have returned thanks to Him who bestows every good gift. I desire to say to Brother and Sister R__________that I received much light and strength in coming to the Lord, through the aid of The Plan of the Ages. It carries with it a substantial blessing to every reader who is seeking light and truth with a sincere heart. It takes away the hideous thought, that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a monster of cruelty, ignorance and injustice, [R1513 : page 110] and reveals, instead, that he is wisdom, justice and love. Truly the light shines more and more unto the perfect day.
Great and mighty works has he wrought in me, and he is doing the same for others here, all so quietly, yet surely. Through the power of God and the grace of our blessed Lord, I am free from bondage to the old nature. I know and fully realize why the Apostle with such vehemence urged upon all to put on the whole armor of God. As a man, I have been exercised until I look upon my past life with shudders of horror. [R1513 : page 111]
May the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with both of you, with all of your fellow laborers, and with all them who love our blessed Lord in truth and sincerity. Yours in the faith,
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY:
I received in due course your postal card and Tracts, for which I beg to express my thanks. The papers were carefully read, and, I am frank to say, made clear to me many things which formerly appeared dark and unmeaning. As soon as I possibly can, I shall arrange for a regular supply of your semi-monthly WATCH TOWER; and I mean to procure, as soon as I can, the present volumes of Dawn.
I am fully convinced that my perusal of the first volume of DAWN opened my eyes to the truth. I read the book eagerly, and consulted nearly all the Scripture references as I went along. The result was an awakening. I thought much over it, and perceived at last what it was to walk in the way of life. The Bible became like a new revelation to me. I read it with feelings of delight. It is not now a labor or a duty, as once it was, but I turn to it with eagerness and joy.
There are souls here inquiring for the way of life. I speak of those who, quietly, and without intending to inform any one of it, are seeking God. They give evidence of sincerity. These I try to reach, for I consider the soil to be such as will bear fruit. As for the others (the great majority) all that seems possible now is to hope and pray that God will open a way whereby their hearts can be reached.
TOWER PUBLISHING CO., GENTLEMEN: – For enclosure please send me The Time is at Hand and the Watch Tower commencing with the January number. I have read and studied The Plan of the Ages, until the facts therein stated are perfectly clear to my mind. At first I rebelled against its teachings, could not have it so and would not. Then I said, If this is the truth, I must take it, whether it is palatable or not – like bitter medicine to a sick body: hard to take, but good in its effects. Truth is what my sin-sick soul needs; and it shall have it is the decision of my sanctified will.
I did not intend to write you a letter (nothing but an order), but I know it will cheer you to know that your book has done me good, and that I have lent it to several others who have read it with benefit.
As an illustration of the text, "The entrance of thy truth giveth light," we subjoin extracts from four letters received within five weeks from a Brother in Iowa. Each letter represents a growth in knowledge and love and zeal.
TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY: – I hereby acknowledge the receipt of your Tracts, Thy Word is Truth and The Wonderful Story. I read them over with interest and benefit; and now, according to your offer, I send for Tract No. 12 and any other you may be pleased to send. At first reading of "An Answer to Ingersoll" I thought it too liberal, but on reading "Pulpit Infidelity" I apologize for any uncharitable thoughts I might have entertained. I am a learner, and anything that will teach without injury I want: others I do not want.
Thanks for samples of ZION'S WATCH TOWER received. At first I suspected a snare, and was ready at the first appearance of the cloven hoof or wolf in sheep's clothing to "flee away;" for nowadays we have to watch. But I keep in mind that as I am Christ's, no man is able to "pluck me out of my Father's hand." So I send you $1.00 for the three volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN and Tracts. Have read February TOWER; and though on first reading its doctrine seemed strange, I find that it clears up many passages of Scripture hitherto not understood.
I hereby acknowledge the receipt of the DAWNS. I do not know how to express myself: I am so delighted with them and your other publications. It was really Providential [R1513 : page 112] that I saw your tract The Wages of Sin. First I thought it was too Universalistic; then I thought it was too Purgatorial; and I did not know what to do until my regular Bible lesson (Ezek. 15:44-45) confirmed the tract. I find it is just like Christ Jesus to be just to all men. Oh! praise his name! the Scriptures began to unfold to my poor, benighted mind. I know what it is to fellowship with him in joy and pleasure, and am learning (slowly to be sure) to suffer with him; and know that I am accepted in the Beloved. I stand alone in my community, but I cease not to do the work he has appointed me, nor will I.
I have read the three DAWNS critically as I can, and I must say they have to a great extent revolutionized me; and, though your DAWNS struck me a little contrary at first, I soon got righted. Oh, the blessedness of this truth! He has led me in a way I know not, but he doeth all things well. I have fought a good fight up to the present time and have the armor on awaiting his orders.
You may be and probably are spoken against; but I am with you: not that I have hastily adopted these teachings; but I was ready for the DAWNS. I did not know what I wanted, but they filled the aching void.
I have since shown my faith by my works, by handing in my resignation to the church to which I belonged, and am now free. I want your prayers for me, that I may see you at the marriage of the Lamb.
DEAR BROTHER: – Thanks for the knowledge of which you are the channel. A few weeks ago I came across your MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., and at the time I was struck with the facts therein enunciated, but did not take hold of them. However, I could not get away from the thoughts induced by the first reading, and so determined to have another perusal; and how any rational being could fail to perceive that plan as set forth in the Scriptures I should be at loss to understand, if I had not had experience with the blinding effects of tradition. "Take hearsay for granted, and never mind searching the Book" was my motto – and is that of many at the present time.
True, I called myself a Christian, and did believe in Christ as a Redeemer, but I had absolutely no idea of the extent and benefits of the Redemption. But now, thank God, I know in what my duty consists, and am striving to run the race, keeping only the goal in view.
I am in daily contact with Spiritualists and others of similar beliefs, and some with no belief at all, and would ask for your prayers, that the light may shine, and that I may be given the requisite strength to keep my light shining – not burning, simply, but shining. I shall not forget you; and may you long be spared to continue the work the Master has given you to do.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – The DAWN series has brought great light and joy and peace to our home. We had been studying and groping for some time, to find what the second advent of Jesus Christ meant to the world; and since we have come to "understand," we have had the pleasure of helping to lead some others into the Truth.
Your brother in Christ,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Some time since, I bought MILLENNIAL DAWN of one of your colporteurs, and have given the three volumes a careful reading; and though your ideas are somewhat different from my own, yet I feel drawn towards you, as one after my own heart. For many year past, I have been making myself ready for the appearing of the glorious Bridegroom, having been connected with those expecting his soon appearing since 1842.
While I have been a believer in restitution and in the reign of Jesus and his bride over the restored earth, I have not attached such importance to the ransom-price paid by the blessed Redeemer for all mankind, as I ought to have done. Truly it is the goodness of God that should lead men to repentance, and not his supposed wrath.
Dear Brother, everything I have is on the altar, and has been since I was called out, seventy-three years ago. I still holding myself ready to do my blessed Master's will, to follow him through evil as well as good report, and to say at all times, "Not my will, but thine be done."
Your brother in hope,
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Dr. Carroll, Superintendent of religious statistics of the last census, presents some interesting facts. The membership of the Presbyterian, the Methodist Episcopal, the Reformed, the German Reformed, the Lutheran, the Congregational, the Disciples, the Roman Catholic and the Jewish churches shows a total of 12,487,382; while of this total the Roman Catholics are accredited with 6,250,045, or more than one half. These are the figures given by The Christian at Work.
The Christian Union for April 1st, in the "Outlook," says, after speaking of the bitter opposition, by a member of the German Reichstag, to the Jews: "There are many indications that the anti-Semitic feeling in Germany is spreading."
The same journal, speaking of affairs in Belgium – the working classes demanding universal suffrage – says, "In the event of a failure to make that concession, very serious industrial disturbances will undoubtedly take place."
"The Hebrews residing in that part of Russia are, what with their own natural shiftlessness and the various late prohibitive laws which have kept them out of their regular easy and paying businesses, in a somewhat precarious condition anyway nowadays. They live mostly a from-hand-to-mouth existence, and have nothing to fall back upon in case of need. The late failure of the crops and the consequent famine have, therefore, come down with crushing force upon them, and their sufferings have been terrible. On top of this the winter has been extremely cold, and this suffering has been added to the others. At last the cold, hunger and need drove the poor inhabitants of the above mentioned town of Jarnitz, which may be taken as a sample of all the other towns of that region, to an extreme step.THE POOR IGNORED BY THE RICH.
"On an appointed Saturday all the sufferers arranged to meet for a general consultation in the local synagogue. Once assembled there, for a long time they discussed their troubles and sought for some remedy. No one could suggest any remedy. At last it was decided that the local rich Hebrews had not done their duty and to make an appeal to them. The rich ones refused to pay any attention to the deputation, and ordered them away.
"The result of this cold-blooded repulsion was almost electrical on the crowd. As one man they threw themselves into a street-riot. Honor, honesty, safety, all were forgotten under the terrible pangs of hunger and the stinging realization of the heartlessness of their co-religionists.
"The riot lasted for five hours and was aimed exclusively at the houses of the rich. Windows and doors were broken in, all that could be was carried off, the rest destroyed. Nothing that could possibly be made away with was left.
"Meanwhile the police had taken the alarm, but could at first do nothing in the face of the immense crowd. When, at last, help had arrived, the riot was nearly over. The Chief of Police was then about to take extreme measures and vowed to bring all the offenders to justice. When, however, upon investigation, he learned all the particulars, and that three Hebrews had died that same day from hunger, he decided that no further action was advisable in the matter. Not only that, but he himself started a subscription for the relief of the sufferers.
|VOL. XIV.||APRIL 15, 1893.||NO. 8.|
"In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with the God, and the Logos was a God. The same was in the beginning with the God. All things were made by him [the Logos], and without him was not anything made that was made." – John 1:1-3.
The Apostle gives us in these words a brief statement of our great Redeemer's pre-human history. We adopt the word Logos as one of our Lord's many names. Dr. Adam Clarke also advocates its use in this manner, saying, "This term [Logos] should be left untranslated, for the very same reasons why the names Jesus and Christ are left untranslated. As every appellative of the Savior of the world was descriptive of some excellence in his person, nature or work, so the epithet Logos, which signifies a word spoken, speech, eloquence, doctrine, reason, or the faculty of reasoning, is very properly applied to him."
Another difference, between the above translation and the common version, is the addition of the italicized words a and the. These are supplied in order to give the reader the true sense of the Greek text, in which the presence or absence of the Greek article is very important. In the above translation the represents the article, while a shows that the article is lacking.
With this translation verified and appreciated (as can be done by consulting any Greek Testament or any Greek scholar), these verses, long doubtful and obscure to so many, become luminous. In them John tells the same story that our Lord tells us over and over again (See Rev. 1:8,11,17; 2:8; 3:14; 21:6; 22:13), that he is the beginning and the ending, the first and the last, of the creation of God.
The Apostle Paul adds his testimony in the same line, saying, He "is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation: for by him were all things created....All things were created by him and for him." (Col. 1:15.) The Heavenly Father had no beginning, but is from everlasting to everlasting the same. Our Lord's great honor is shown in that he was not only the first of God's creation but the last. From this we are to understand that the great Jehovah did not directly employ his own power in creating either men or angels; but that he delegated his power to his Only-begotten Son – using him as his honored agent and representative in every case – in every respect giving him the pre-eminence over all others; second only to himself.
But although our Redeemer had always occupied the place of honor in the heavenly courts, it was not until his faithful obedience to the Father had been tested to the extent of his changing nature to that of man, and then giving himself as fallen man's ransom, that he received his present unexcellable glory and [R1515 : page 115] honor. It is since his resurrection that the message has gone forth – "All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me." (Matt. 28:18.) Consequently it is only since then that he could be called the Almighty (as in Rev. 1:8). The Heavenly Father has always been almighty, and [R1515 : page 116] this all-power or all-might was never given to him, but was his eternal possession. But now that he has given the same power to his Only-begotten and well-pleasing Son, our Saviour, both we and angels delight to know it, and delight to honor him whom the Father has so highly honored, and whom he has instructed us to honor, saying: "That all should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." – John 5:23.
The Apostle's words in Philippians 2:6 have (by a bad translation, at the hands of those whose judgments were warped by an erroneous view) been turned about and made to say the very reverse of what he intended.
The Apostle is showing Christ's faithfulness or loyalty and obedience to the Father. Not satisfied with referring to his earthly course, he goes back of it to the time when our Lord was a spirit being, before he humbled himself by his translation or change of nature to a lower one, – from spiritual to human nature. The Apostle seems to have had Satan's course in his mind, – contrasting his wrong course and its end with Christ's proper course and its glorious results. Satan did not hesitate to rob God of his glory, saying, "I will ascend above the stars [above the other bright ones of the angelic host – I will be a leader, a chief], I will be like the Most High" [I will pose as another Potentate a rival and peer of Jehovah]. (Isa. 14:14.) But, says the Apostle, Christ, when a spirit being in God's form, thought not of robbery to be God's equal, "but [on the contrary, in obedience to the Father's plan] stripped himself [of the glory and dignity already enjoyed], taking a bond-servants form, being made in the likeness of men. And [afterward], being in the likeness of men ["Made flesh" – Jno. 1:14], he [still further, and in harmony with the same obedient spirit] humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, [and, yet more humiliating] even the death of the cross. Therefore [because he did not attempt to usurp, but on the contrary was humble] God hath supremely exalted him, and given to him a name [honor, title, dignity] above every [other] name."
What a wonderful contrast! Satan, who attempted to rob God of his honor and station, is cast out, and will ultimately be destroyed. Christ, who humbled himself in every sense of the word, has been exalted to the very position which Satan coveted. And the Apostle recounts this matter in order to enforce upon all followers of Christ that, like their Master, they should be humble and unassuming – humbling themselves that they, too, may be exalted in due time. – See the context: verses 3-5.
The word Godhead occurs three times in the Scriptures – Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:20; Col. 2:9. It is a meaningless word, and merely a bad translation. It should be rendered Divinity or Deity, and then would be intelligible.
These are among the great titles of our glorified Lord, predicted through Isaiah – 9:6.
In our issue of June, 1892, in which this subject was much more thoroughly examined, we showed the meaning of the word "God" to be mighty one. We gave instances in which this same word (in Hebrew, El and Elohim) is used when referring to great men and angels. Our Lord would be reverenced and titled Very Mighty or Very Great.
The signification of the title, "Everlasting Father" or Father Forever, is seen when we remember that the special meaning of father is life-giver. Jehovah is the Life-giver of all creatures in the sense that he is the fountain from which all life originally proceeded. But after man had forfeited his God-given privilege, by disobedience, he needed a new life. And Jehovah sent forth his Only-begotten Son, to become man's Life-giver, by redeeming man's life with his own and then giving the new life to whoever will accept it under the terms of the New Covenant, which he mediated.
Since all of our race have thus been redeemed, and restitution to human perfection is thus provided for all, through this Life-giver, [R1515 : page 117] he will be known to the redeemed world as their Father Forever, the one through whom their redeemed, restitution life was obtained. The propriety of this is evident when it is remembered that the restitution life which our Lord will give the world was purchased by him with his own precious [life] blood.
The "little flock" now being selected as "members of his body," his "bride," would also have been of this class of children of Christ, were it not for their high-calling to become his "brethren," "body" or "bride," and to experience the change of nature which this calling implies and necessitates. To fit these for their "high-calling," they are begotten again (from the restitution-life hopes obtained through faith in Christ), to the divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4.) This divine nature was not purchased by our Lord Jesus; hence he is not the father or giver of it. Jehovah alone gives it: hence the Apostle declares, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us," and Christ is "not ashamed to call them Brethren."
Judge not; the workings of the brain
And of the heart thou can'st not see;
What looks to thy dim eye a stain,
In God's pure light may only be
A scar, brought from some well-won field,
Where thou would'st only faint and yield.
The look, the air, that frets thy sight,
May be a token that below
The soul had closed in deadly fight
With some internal, fiery foe,
Whose glance would scorch thy smiling grace,
And cast thee, shuddering, on thy face.
The fall thou darest to despise:
May be the angel's slackened hand
Has suffered it that he may rise
And take a firmer, surer stand;
Or, trusting less to earthly things,
May henceforth learn to use his wings.
And judge none lost; but wait and see,
With hopeful pity, not disdain;
The depth of the abyss may be
The measure of the height of pain
And love and glory that may raise
This soul to God in after days.
"Ye shall not surely die." – Satan – Gen. 3:4.
God's blessing upon his prime agents, in his purpose of peopling the earth – "Be fruitful and multiply" – embraces in it the full power and authority of the agents to bring forth the race entrusted to them.
God's purpose did not contemplate a dead race, but he had made bountiful provisions for the happiness of a race of perfect beings, reflecting moral and intellectual qualities the exact counterparts of his own; and while he well knew and had arranged for all possible contingencies, he did not design them. He could not design or "do evil that good might come." In his purpose the race was already alive, and hence alive in the agents prepared and empowered through his blessing.
This recognition of things that are not (yet) is lawful and right in view of the certainty of the agents employed and the steadfastness of purpose in him who "worketh all things after the counsel of his will" and according to his own purposes.
To say that "By Adam all die" does not change the relationship nor responsibility of Adam – Levi is said to have paid tithes to Melchisedec while yet in the loins of his father. (Heb. 7:10.) The case is not altered whether we say the tithes were paid by Abraham or in Abraham. Adam, then, did not represent a dead race, neither was he on trial for a dead race, but he certainly did stand for and represent a living race – God's purposes were centered here: outside of Adam God had made no [R1516 : page 118] provision, unless as contingencies should arise to make them necessary for the completion of his benevolent plans. In Adam were wrapped the destinies of the race; from him it should inherit life, and that life was in him, so that, instead of not living in him, mankind had no other source of existence; and when the hour of Adam's testing came, the crisis of the race had come, and the fatal sequence is that he entailed death upon mankind instead of any right to life. Thus by Adam all die, while yet in him, for none had yet been born when he fell under condemnation. The sentence was pronounced, and its justice is open to the investigation of all intelligences; and the very throne of Jehovah depends upon its being found "True and righteous altogether."
Thus we see that the race never had life: its inheritance was death; for a condemned thing is already dead and can only resolve to "dust as it was." Evolution upwards, or out of death, is wholly impossible; for there is nothing left. The "dying now" is not "a double infliction of the penalty," but a carrying out of the sentence – destruction.
There is no hope but in a Ransom – a man's life for a man's life. That only can remove the legal hindrance and permit the call, "Return, ye children of men," without impugning the exact justice of the penalty.
Thus we see that Satan can devise no scheme offering hope for man except it be upon his prolific lie. And so we find this according to the latest deduction (erroneously drawn from Scripture statements of God's designs and foreknowledge) to be as follows: "Hence death as a result of sin could not have been, either in fact or design, more than temporary. The wages of sin is death – looking forward to deliverance – eternal life!" In other words, "Ye shall not surely die."
Good men of all ages have conceived of deliverance upon reasonable hopes within their experience and conceptions of God, having no grounds for a formulated theory save the one that makes God a liar; but how much severer ought our judgment to be, if we, after seeing God in the amazing revelations of himself, should wilfully reject the only basis and means of the designed and soon to be accomplished deliverance, and insist upon the same errors?
In 2 Cor. 13:5, Paul says, "Try your own selves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not, your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" The context apparently shows that the Corinthians had accused Paul of having no influence over them for good, and his ministry as being weak and insignificant. Paul replies by telling them to look at their present condition as compared with their past, see the change that has taken place in their lives, see the possession they now have, and in the light of these things let them say whether his influence over them has been for good or not, or if his ministry is weak and insignificant. Again, in 1 Cor. 11:28, the same Apostle says, "Let a man examine himself." But in this Paul means only to interpose a caution to prepare the receiver to eat the Lord's supper worthily.
It is impossible to know ourselves by looking at the present. We only partly know ourselves as we see our life in the past. Every day our actions surprise us, and frequently we find that we have done the very thing we never thought we would do. I suppose Abraham did not really know the strength of his faith till called upon to sacrifice Isaac. In the light of that trial he could estimate the real strength of his faith. In the shortness of memory we fail to profit by past mistakes. In every action of ours there are so many details giving rise to so many causes of actions which may differ in each action, thus making it impossible for us to judge truly of our own condition. The Greeks had a favorite motto among their philosophers, "Know thyself;" but by this they did not mean to teach that by merely looking into their own actions they came to understand their own character and became able to estimate their real worth, but [R1516 : page 119] rather that each one should examine the basis and facts of his philosophy for himself, and not be content to receive them second-hand. Then, again, many people do not grow better from rigid self-introspection. The bad only see good and excuses for the evil in their lives. The good only see evil in theirs, and sadden their lives by deploring it. One of the saintliest women I ever knew, and whom all reverenced, began to direct her attention to her own life, to examine it, to search it, and to question whether she did truly believe or not, till in a few months she concluded she had no faith, that her life was full of evil deeds, that she was unsaved and had no hope, and that there was none for her; and in this state she lives to-day.
We make a distinction between heart-searching and life-searching, which many fail to make. Our hearts, that is our wills, should be perfect; but our lives cannot be perfect, because "we have this treasure [our new wills or new hearts] in earthen vessels [in imperfect bodies]." He, therefore, who judges of his acceptableness with God by judging of his perfection or imperfection in thought, word and deed, must condemn himself, if he be honest and if he have a proper estimate of perfection in these respects. But he that judges his heart, his motives, his will, his intentions, should always be able to find it true to the Lord, – however much his life may come short of his new will, – the mind of Christ begotten in him by the exceeding great and precious promises of God's Word.
We are not merely to ask ourselves whether we love God, but also whether our love takes the practical form of willing and trying to serve God. This, his Word indicates, is the real [R1517 : page 119] test; – not what we succeed in doing, but what we honestly and earnestly try to do.
The mother never questions whether she loves her children or not, but shows her love by her services; the industrious man never stops to wonder if he is industrious. Christ says, He that heareth my words and doeth them, he it is that loveth me.
We can know our hearts only as God, who sits as a refiner of gold, tries us: under the hand of his proving we learn to know ourselves. God does the searching to see if there be any evil way in us. He searches, tries and proves us, and not we our own hearts. The Christian only grows Godlike, strong in faith and hope, as he learns to look away from himself to the Son of Man. It is said that one of the gifted painters of the world stood before the masterpiece of the greatest genius of the age. This he never hoped to rival, nor even to equal, yet the infinite superiority did not crush him, nor cause him to despair. He saw realized those conceptions that had long floated vaguely before him in unsubstantial form; in every line and touch he felt a spirit immeasurably superior. As he stood gazing at it his heart swelled with emotion, his feelings became elevated, and he turned away exclaiming, "And I, too, am a painter." Let the hesitating believer look on Christ, the embodiment of the highest and holiest of all conceptions, till his heart can feel his spirit and touch, then he can turn to the world, believing and declaring, "I, too, am a Christian."– Sel.
When, in 1852, it became evident that my plan of forming a colony of French Canadians on the fertile plains of Illinois was to be a success, D'Arcy McGee, then editor of the Freeman's Journal, the official paper of the Bishop of New York, wrote me to know my views, and he determined immediately to put himself at the head of a similar enterprise in favor of the Irish Roman Catholics. He published long and able articles to show how the Irish people, with few exceptions, were demoralized and kept down in the cities, and how they would soon be raised to the top if they could be induced to exchange city grog-shops and saloons for the rich lands of the West. Through his influence a large assembly, principally composed of Irish priests, to which I was invited, met at Buffalo in the Spring of 1853. But what was [R1517 : page 120] his disappointment when he saw that the greater part of these priests were sent by the bishops of New York, Albany, Boston, etc., to oppose and defeat his plans! He vainly spoke with the most burning eloquence for the support of his pet scheme. The majority of the priests coldly answered him in the name of their bishops: "We are determined, like you, to take possession of the United States and rule them; but we cannot do that except by acting secretly, and by using the utmost wisdom. If our plans were known they would certainly be defeated. What does a skilful general do when he wants to conquer a country? Does he scatter his soldiers over the farm lands and spend their time and energies in plowing the fields and sowing the grain? No. He keeps them well united around his banners, and marches at their head to the conquest of the strongholds. He subdues the large cities one after the other; he pulls down the high towers and the citadels which he meets on his way. Then the farming countries are conquered and become the price of his victory without moving a finger. So it is with us. Silently and patiently we must mass our Irish Roman Catholics in the great cities of the United States. Let us remember that in this country the vote of one of our poorest journeymen, covered with rags, has as much weight in the scale of power as the vote of the millionaire Astor, and that if we have two votes against the millionaire's one, he becomes as powerless as an oyster. Then let us multiply our voters, let us call on poor but faithful Irish Catholics, and gather them from the far corners of the world into the very hearts of those proud citadels which the Yankees are so proudly building up under the name of New York, Boston, Chicago, Albany, Buffalo, Troy, etc. Under the shadows of those great cities the Americans consider themselves as a giant and an unconquerable race. They look upon the Irish Catholic with the utmost contempt, as only fit to dig their canals, sweep their streets, or humbly cook their meals in their kitchen. Let no one awake these sleeping lions to-day; let us pray God that they may sleep and dream their sweet dreams a few years more. How sad will be their awakening when, with our outnumbering votes, we will turn them out, and forever, from every position of power, honor and profit! What will these hypocrite sons and daughters of the fanatical Pilgrim Fathers say when not a single judge, not a single school-teacher, not even a single policeman will be elected if he be not a devoted Irish Catholic? What will those so-called giants think and say of their unsurpassed ability, skill and shrewdness when not a single governor, senator, or member of congress will be elected if he be not sincerely devoted to our Holy Father, the Pope?
"What a sad figure those Protestant Yankees will cut when we will not only elect the President, but fill and command the armies, man the navy, and have the key of the public treasury in our hands! It will then be the time for our devoted Irish Catholics to give up their grog-shops to become the governors and judges of the land. Then our poor and humble Irish mechanics will come out from the damp ditches and the canals to rule the cities in all their departments, from the stately mansion of mayor to the more humble, though not less noble, position [R1518 : page 120] of school-teacher.
"Then, yes, we will rule the United States, and lay them at the feet of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, that he may put an end to their godless system of education, and sweep away those impious laws of liberty of conscience which are an insult to God and man."
But the Irish Roman Catholics were taught to consider San Francisco as their "promised land," and the rich inheritance God had in store for them. The consequence is, that when you find only a few American, German and English millionaries in San Francisco, you count more than fifty Irish Catholic millionaries in that city. It is to San Francisco that you must come to have an idea of the number of great and powerful organizations with which the Church of Rome is preparing herself for the impending conflict, through which she hopes to destroy the system of education, and every vestige of liberty and human rights in the United States, as she bravely and publicly announced it not long ago in her most popular [R1518 : page 121] organs, the Catholic World, of New York, and the Catholic Review: –
"The Catholic Church numbers one-third the American population, and if its membership shall increase for the next thirty years as it has for the thirty past, in 1900 Rome will have a majority, and be bound to this country and keep it. There is, ere long, to be a State religion in this country, and that State religion is to be Roman Catholic. The Catholic is to wield his vote for the purpose of securing Roman Catholic ascendency in this country. All legislation must be governed by the will of God, unerringly indicated by the Pope. Education must be controlled by Catholic authorities; and, under education, the opinions of the individual and the utterances of the press are included. Many opinions are to be furnished by the secular arm, under the authority of the church, even to war and bloodshed."– Catholic World, July, 1870.
"While a State has rights, she has them only in virtue and by permission of the superior authority, and that authority can only be expressed through the church. Protestantism of every form has not had and never can have any right where Catholicity has triumphed, and therefore we lose the breath we spend in declaiming against bigotry and intolerance and in favor of religious liberty, or the right of any man to be of any religion as best pleases him."– Catholic Review, July, 1870.
Almost all these secret associations are military ones. They have their headquarters in San Francisco, but their rank and file are scattered all over the United States, from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean. They number 700,000 soldiers, who, under the name of United States Volunteer Militia, are officered by the most skilful and able generals of the great Republic.
These three productions come down to us from Jewish archives of sacred religious literature; and, notwithstanding the imperfections of the writer, they come with clear indications of divine supervision and inditement. The wisdom expressed is above that which is natural to our fallen humanity. It is not necessary to the reverent study of the moral philosophy therein set forth that we should either forget or ignore the defective moral character of Solomon; for even the story of his life with its checkered manifestations of virtue and vice is no inconsiderable part of the lesson of these books.
In 1 Kings 3:11,12 we have the assurance of the divine inspiration of the wisdom of Solomon: "And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment, behold, I have done according to thy word. Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee." But while we recognize and duly appreciate the wisdom of Solomon, we also mark his typical character, and perceive that only as a type of Christ could the fulness of the promise belong, of wisdom and riches superior to any preceding or succeeding him. In this light the statement of our Lord (Matt. 12:42) – "A greater than Solomon is here" – is in perfect harmony with 1 Kings 3:12. His peaceful and prosperous reign, his famed wisdom and his marvelous wealth and glory were typical of the Millennial reign of Christ, though it all falls far short of the glory of the antitype – as types always do. As a type, the peace of his reign in contrast with the warlike reign of his father David is strikingly similar to the predicted peace of Christ's reign in contrast with the turmoil and war and confusion [R1517 : page 122] of the Gospel age which precedes and prepares the way for the reign of his Son and for the building and establishment of the glorious temple of God, whose living stones are now being made ready, even as David similarly prepared the materials with which Solomon built the typical temple.
The Book of Ecclesiastes seems to have been written in later life, when the heart had grown sick with excess of sensuous pleasures and the lack of the real happiness which comes from a close and perfect walk with God, when he turned from all his riches and honors with the sad refrain, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." From his own experience he proves the truth of his theme, and counsels to others a different course from that which he himself had pursued, saying, "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth....Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man." – Eccl. 12:1,13.
The Book of Proverbs was probably the latest production of Solomon, when not only the promised wisdom from above, but also an experience gained under very peculiar and varied circumstances found expression in numerous concise and pithy sayings for the guidance and instruction of all who would live godly. These are frequently quoted and referred to in the New Testament. [R1518 : page 122]
II. QUAR., LESSON V., APR. 30, PROV. 1:20-33.
The Book of Proverbs is a poem, the first nine chapters of which are a discourse on wisdom, which is personified. (The major part of the Book consists of the proverbs of Solomon, some of which – chapters 25-29 – were collected and added later by King Hezekiah. Chapters 30 and 31, however, do not claim Solomon for their author.)
It has been inferred that the personification of wisdom in this Book was meant to represent Christ; but when we consider that wisdom is one of the divine attributes, it is evident that wisdom existed even before our Lord Jesus, although he was the beginning of the creation of God, the first born of every creature. But so perfectly did our Lord Jesus exemplify the divine wisdom that it is not at all strange that some have inferred that wisdom, here, personified Christ, instead of recognizing Christ as the personification of that wisdom which from eternity was an attribute of Jehovah. It is described by the Apostle James (3:17) as coming "from above," and as being "first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy."
In contrast with this heavenly wisdom he places what the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 3:19) calls "the wisdom of this world," which James says "descendeth not from above, but is earthly;" and, worse than that, it is "sensual;" and, worse still, it is "devilish." It is the kind of wisdom which delights in envying and strife and confusion and every evil work. (Jas. 3:14-16.) It is the wisdom of selfishness which, regardless of the rights and interests of others, seeks to grasp and hold every thing for self. This kind of wisdom, Paul says, "is foolishness with God; for it is written [Job 5:13], 'He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.'" – 1 Cor. 3:19.
All of the fallen human nature have more or less of the earthly wisdom of selfishness, which disposition continually gravitates lower and lower unless it is resisted and displaced by the heavenly wisdom whose fruits are love, mercy and truth. This heavenly wisdom, we are told, has its beginning in the reverence of the Lord. That is, we must look away from our own narrow thoughts, plans and schemes and allow our minds to dwell upon the grandeur of God's benevolent, loving and glorious character until a gleam of his glory awakens in us a feeling of admiration, veneration and love, and then of longing to be conformed to his image. And while we, as God's faithful children, thus look and hold ourselves in position to receive the impressions from above, the divine likeness is traced upon our hearts, as we study God's revelation; and the heavenly wisdom begins to manifest itself in the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
Those who thus reverence him, the Lord is pleased to recognize as his sons, and to acquaint them with his plans for their salvation through the great redemption which his [R1518 : page 123] wisdom provided; and to such the counsels of these Proverbs are addressed, while warnings are given to others. Thus we read –
CHAPTER 1:8,9 – "My son, hear the instruction of thy Father [God], and forsake not the law of thy mother [God's covenant of justification and regeneration in which we are begotten to newness of life]: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." Those only are accounted sons, who are thus begotten of the truth and in covenant with God.
VERSES 10-19. "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not," etc. The counsel here, while it has reference to all enticements of sinners, has special reference to a condition of things which was prophetically foreseen – not necessarily by Solomon, but by the Lord who indited the matter, merely using Solomon as his mouthpiece. The picture drawn corresponds exactly with that condition of things predicted by other prophets, and by the apostles, which was to come to pass in the end or harvest-period of the Gospel age, when great Corporations, Trusts and Monopolies, on the one hand, and Unions and Labor Federations on the other, would offer their enticements to the iniquitous business of shedding innocent blood and fattening on the spoils of the slain. – See Jas. 5:1-6; Mal. 3:5.
These two parties are now addressing everyone: the Capitalistic party addresses its temptations only to those who have money and influence of which they desire to make use; the Labor-Union party addresses all others. But the voice of the Lord, the voice of true Wisdom, says to all God's people: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." Both of these parties present worldly-wise arguments based on selfishness – opposed to justice as well as to love.
Capitalism says, and truly, We have the brains, but are in the minority: we are prosperous, but less contented than ever. Let us enlarge our ambitions; let us unify our interests so that our rule and prosperity may be prolonged, even though the masses are awaking and may attempt resistance, in this dawn of a new era.
Laborism says, and truly, If we were ignorant and asleep in the past, we are awake now; if we were contented in the past with less, we are discontented now with more. Let us unite our muscle and skill and squeeze Capitalism into subjection to us; let us appropriate the fruit of their brains.
Both are saying, "Come with us [join our Union or Trust], let us lay wait for blood" [for opportunities to squeeze the life out of those under our power: let us make, for instance, a "corner" in wheat; let us buy up all the wheat in the market, fix our own prices and so control the market that we can financially kill the small dealers and wring the revenue out of the public – the masses, both rich and poor. Or let us play this game in oil or corn or any other commodity. Or let us make a corner in the skilled-labor market, by getting up a strong Union and ordering a strike; by "boycotting" [R1519 : page 123] all who oppose us, and by financially killing fellow workmen who will not join with us. Let us look out for Number One, – ourselves. Thus both combinations seek to prey upon each other for selfish ends, and generally to the disregard of justice]. "Let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause." [Let us watch for our opportunity to take advantage of their ignorance of our movements, etc. And generally it is the innocent who suffer most from such conspiracies.] "Let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole as those that go down into the pit." [Present efforts are not for existence merely (for all are prosperous as never before), but for control. Capitalism wants full control, and Laborism wants no less. Each would swallow up the smaller of his own kind, and then effectually crush the other. Thus, say they], "We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil." Thus, like ocean wreckers, they would grow rich upon the losses and injuries of others.
"Union" is the watchword of both these great opposing parties. Both sides cry (Verse 14): – "Cast in thy lot with us; let us all have one purse"[ – let us put our money and skill together; thus only we can succeed, and control the markets, and reap the harvest]. But what saith the Lord? –
"My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path; for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. [Each party can see the devices of the other, and each "snare" and device will be check-mated by the other side; and ultimately each party will become entangled in the snare set for the other. As we read, –
"But they [these conspirators] lay wait for their [own] blood; they lurk privily for [R1519 : page 124] their [own] lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain, who taketh away the life [or living] of the owners thereof" – for the time is coming when the overwhelming numbers of those oppressed by these systems will arise in their fury like the raging waves of the sea, and anarchy will prevail – the predicted "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." (Dan. 12:1.) And who but the blind cannot see this very trend of events to-day? But who but "the wise" will heed these instructions of the Lord – the instructions of Wisdom? – Dan. 12:10.
"Wisdom [the voice of righteousness and of prudence – the voice of God] crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets; she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates, in the city she uttereth her words." This is truer to-day than at any other time in the world's history. Never before were the obligations of human brotherhood forced upon the attention of all men as they are to-day; and men are coming to see, though they be not free to admit it, that the only solution of the great social problem now before the world is found in the "golden rule."
"We will have to act on that new rule we hear so much talk of in the papers nowadays," said a business man recently to a perplexed associate. "What's that?" said his friend. "The golden rule," he replied, and his friend assented. Yes, the "golden rule" is coming to the front, even in the newspapers, and men are obliged to consider it, whether they are ready to act upon it or not. Thus wisdom crieth in the streets in the city – everywhere – saying,
VERSE 22. "How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity [ – will you prefer to remain in ignorance of the just and right ways of the Lord]? and the [proud] scorners delight in their scorning [of justice and truth], and fools hate [that real] knowledge [which cometh from above, preferring the ways of selfishness]?"
VERSE 23. "Turn you at my reproof." But they will not turn, because, as the Psalmist says (Psa. 2:1-3), they "imagine a vain thing" – they "take counsel together against the Lord and against his Anointed [King, who has come to rule in righteousness, and whose presence and power is now forcing upon the minds and consciences of men the perplexing questions of this eventful hour, and their only right solution]." However, they will not be permitted to plead the excuse of ignorance of the right ways of the Lord; for the Lord says, –
VERSES 24-27 are in exact agreement with the prophecy of Psalm 2:4,5 showing not only that men will not heed the reproofs and counsels of this hour, but also predicting the disastrous results that will ensue. When the Lord has clearly set before men the momentous issues of this "day of preparation," and they have disregarded them, and scorned the reproofs which the occasional outbreaks of dissatisfaction and discord shall have brought, then he will begin to speak to them in more positive and commanding tones, saying – "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh – when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you."
The thoughtful observer of the present social and political aspect of the world can easily see that if the voice of Wisdom and Prudence be not heeded among men the culmination of the present unrest will be a terrific whirlwind. (See also Jer. 25:31,32.) "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them IN HIS WRATH, and vex them in his sore displeasure."
VERSES 28-32. It will not avert the trouble for men to call upon the Lord then. If they despise his counsel and reproofs to such an extent as to make necessary the exhibition of his wrath and righteous indignation for their correction, the Lord will not cease to scourge them because of their crying, but the penalty of their evil courses shall be given in such measures as to make a lasting impression. It will therefore be "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation;" "no, nor ever shall be" (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21), because so thorough will be the correction that it will never again need to be repeated. "Therefore shall they eat the fruit of their own way [for the "whirlwind" of trouble will be the natural [R1519 : page 125] result of their selfishness], and be filled [to satisfaction] with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple [from their ignorance will be to the earthly wisdom of selfishness and not to the heavenly wisdom with its fruit of love and peace, and will work their injury. It] shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." Their own feet will be caught in the snares they had set for others. The very fact that, by their selfish, oppressive and unrighteous course, they were able to amass great fortunes will, by inciting the jealousy and hatred of the masses, make them a prey in the time of trouble – special targets for the venomous arrows of hatred. – Jas. 5:1-6.
VERSE 33 is a promise in which the few, who are wise enough to heed the instructions of Wisdom, may take comfort, even in the midst of the calamities that shall overwhelm the world. "The Lord knoweth them that are his," and "The angel of the Lord encampeth around about them that are his, and delivereth them. – Psa. 34:7.
The voice of heavenly Wisdom found clear and forcible expression through the lips of our Savior, who was the personification of God's wisdom as well as of his love. His message was that Love, not Selfishness, should be the rule of life, if true happiness would be obtained. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" states this law in practical form. It has sounded down the centuries since, awakening thought and civilization wherever heard. It is the greatest leveller and equalizer; for it ignores class and caste.
But alas! many respect it merely because it lifts them up; and, when getting up from the slough of despond themselves, they forget to practice this precept toward others who are lower down than they. Thus many have used and are using the precept of Love in a selfish spirit. They desire that those more favored shall exercise this principle of Love toward them, but they will not exercise it themselves toward those above or those below their own social plane.
Only the "little flock" are to any appreciable extent even seeking to obey in spirit this voice of God – this voice of heavenly Wisdom: and these are often misjudged and misunderstood, as was their Lord and Redeemer, by the world in general, whose motive power is Selfishness.
The civilized world stands to-day in a false position: professing to be Christ's Kingdom and to be ruled by his law of Love, it is really the kingdom of the Prince of this world – Satan – and operates in general under his law of Selfishness. God will demonstrate this as soon as he has finished the selection of the "Bride," the "Body" of Christ. He will show the difference between the holding of a truth in unrighteousness and the practice of a truth in its real spirit or intent. The result will be the breaking into pieces of these false kingdoms of Christ (Rev. 19:15), the establishment of the true, spiritual Kingdom of Christ, the full enlightenment of all the people and the full establishment of the law of Love, in fact as well as in name.
It is as a means toward this end that God is now permitting the world to run riot in the spirit of this world (Selfishness) that the counsel of heavenly Wisdom may be justified when those moved by earthly wisdom (Selfishness) shall be snared in their own devices. [R1520 : page 125]
To his people God saith: "Wait ye upon me [Be patient, Brethren]; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them my fierce anger; for all the earth [society] shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy; and then will I turn unto the people a language of sincerity [love will then mean love], and they shall all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent." – Zeph. 3:8,9. [R1520 : page 125]
II. QUAR., LESSON VI., MAY 7, PROV. 3:11-24.
With a clear understanding of the purpose of this book, which, as we have seen, is for the moral instruction of all of the children of God (those who are now his children, or those who shall become his children during the Millennial age), there is less necessity for explanation than for careful personal consideration and application. They are certainly worthy to be bound about the neck and written upon the table of the heart. – Verse 3.
VERSES 13-18 represent the happiness and blessedness of the man that findeth wisdom – not the wisdom of this world which is foolishness with God, and which is earthly, [R1520 : page 126] sensual and often devilish (1 Cor. 3:19; Jas. 3:15), but the wisdom of meekness that is from above, and is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." (Jas. 3:13,14,17.) Those who have this kind of wisdom – viz., that attitude of heart and mind which fits us to receive the instruction of the Lord and to profit by it – are sure to get understanding of whatever truth is meat in due season for them. "The wise shall understand." And in the understanding of God's ways there is joy and peace and blessing which the world can neither give nor take away. Verse 18 is a beautiful reference to the restitution to the trees of life and the Edenic bliss, of all who shall "lay hold upon" and "retain" that heavenly wisdom of meekness and entire submission to the will of God. And truly, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."
VERSES 19,20. It was this same kind of wisdom, described above as pure, peaceable, merciful and kind, that actuated God when he established the heavens and founded the earth. And in consequence we see the beautiful harmony of the material universe, and experience the blessings of those beneficent laws of nature so beautifully adapted to our necessities.
VERSES 21-26 are words which we cannot well afford to disregard: "Sound wisdom and discretion" (wise policy) are not only the course to eternal life, but even in the present time they bring grace, the favor of God, and preserve us from fear and from stumbling; and the Lord will keep the feet of all such from being caught in the snares of the adversary.
VERSES 27-30 counsel fair dealing with our fellow-men.
VERSES 31-35 counsel patient waiting for the rewards of righteousness and that we should not envy the wicked who prosper in the ways of oppression. [R1520 : page 126]
II. QUAR., LESSON VII., MAY 14, PROV. 12:1-15.
The simple teachings of these proverbs are so plain as to need no explanation; but they are worthy of careful and prayerful pondering. They suggest a series of questions for self-examination which every child of God would do well to propound to himself in the quiet retreat of his accustomed place of prayer. Let him not ask himself, Am I perfect in every thought, word and deed, knowing that none of the fallen are so; but let him ask (verse 1), Do I love instruction and knowledge? am I seeking for it daily in the line of God's Word and providences? and am I ready to consider and heed reproof rather than to spurn and resent it? VERSE 2. Are the purposes of my heart all pure and upright, bringing with them a constant sense of the Lord's favor? VERSE 3. Am I rooted and grounded in the principles of righteousness, so that I will not swerve and cannot be moved? VERSE 4. Am I faithfully acting my part in my station in life – in my relationships to my fellow-men and my family?
VERSE 5. Am I keeping a vigilant guard over my thoughts, that they stray not into forbidden paths? VERSE 6. Am I ever ready to defend the righteous against the snares of the wicked? In these days when the wicked are devising perverse doctrines to overthrow the faith of the righteous, am I zealous in my endeavors to establish them in the right ways of the Lord? VERSES 7 and 8 are precious promises to the righteous. VERSE 9. "He that is despised and laboreth for himself is better than he that aimeth after honor and lacketh bread." How true!
VERSE 10. The truly righteous extend their tender mercies to the lower creation, as well as to human kind. VERSE 11. The true child of God is no idler or visionary dreamer. VERSES 12-14. The rewards of virtue and the penalties of wrong-doing are sure to follow, sooner or later, and every act will meet its just deserts in due time.
VERSE 15 cannot be too carefully considered – "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes." Herein is the danger of an evil course: it is deceptive to those who take it: the wrong-doer, having succeeded in justifying himself, finds the downward course smooth and slippery, until the retracing of his steps becomes almost impossible. "But he that hearkeneth unto the counsel of the Lord is wise."
The Golden Text is very suggestive. A righteous life may indeed be compared to a tree of life of whose virtues others may partake and live. And blessed are those whose wise and righteous course of life becomes a constant incentive to virtue, winning others away from the path of sin and ungodliness to righteousness, peace, faith and trust in God. [R1520 : page 127]
II. QUAR., LESSON VIII., MAY 21, PROV. 23:29-35.
Here we have a pen picture of the drunkard, true to life; and those who pursue this folly find themselves finally bound in the galling yoke of a terrible slavery. Would that this curse were banished from every land. And, thank God, the time is not far distant when, under the established Kingdom of God, this evil shall be thoroughly and promptly dealt with. No such stumbling stones as enticing saloons will then be permitted to stand in the way to tempt the weak. Gather out the stumbling stones and cast up a highway for the people, says the Prophet (Isa. 62:10); and when this is done not a single evil – licensed or unlicensed – shall be permitted a footing.
But a highway, a broad thoroughfare (the established new covenant), gently sloping upward to life (for a grand reversal of public sentiment will make the way easy of ascent) will be there; and the ransomed of the Lord (the whole human race) shall go up thereon. Every step in this way shall bring its reward of peace and joy: and they shall come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads ...and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isa. 35:10.) Blessed times of restitution and refreshing! Our hearts sing for joy in anticipation of the nearness of those blessings for all mankind. [R1520 : page 127]
II. QUAR., LESSON IX., MAY 28, PROV. 31:10-31.
This lesson is poorly chosen: it is an ideal woman, pictured by an uninspired pen, which is not at all the present ideal. This is not a part of Solomon's writing, but, as stated in verse 1, was written by King Lemuel. We have no sympathy with the thought that a true wife should purchase fields and plant vineyards (verse 16), spin, weave, even toiling into the night (verse 18,19), and rising before daylight prepare breakfast (verse 15); and all this while her husband, well fed and well clothed, sits a member of the City Councils. – Verse 23. [R1521 : page 127]
The Golden Text is the best of this lesson; especially the latter clause. The Christian woman, like the Christian man, while careful to be faithful in the duties of home and family will "seek first [chiefly] the kingdom of God and [conformity to] its righteous requirements," making the fields, vineyards, silks and wealth quite secondary considerations. Few, if any, women of the Lord's choice – few of those who will be of his "little flock" – will have all the points of Lemuel's ideal woman.
King Lemuel's wisdom on strong drink (verses 6 and 7) is also contrary to the true wisdom.
DEAR BROTHER: – We would have liked so much to be with you at the Memorial this year, as once or twice before. However, we were present with you in spirit. At about the same time you and others of the Church were commemorating the death of our precious Redeemer, we, in this place, were assembled for the same purpose, there being twenty-two present, seven of whom symbolized by immersion the entire consecration and baptism of their wills into Christ.
We enjoyed a very precious season: our dear Head seemed to be very near and dear to us at that particular time. We also remembered our loving Father, and how much it must have cost him to give such a valuable gift as a ransom for us. In closing, we sang Hymn 276, and went each to our homes, there to ponder over all that occurred on that memorable night and the day following, in which he was delivered for our offenses.
We trust, dearly beloved in the Lord, that you likewise enjoyed sweet communion with Him who loved us and gave himself for us. May we, even as he did, be true to our consecration, until the sacrifice is wholly consumed upon the altar. This is the earnest prayer of
Your humble brother and servant,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – We observed the Lord's Memorial Supper at our house on the night of the 30th. Though few in numbers (twelve), and poor in oratory, we had a blessed season of harmonious communion, while with much joy of heart we symbolized the appropriation to our unworthy selves of the life and page 128 righteousness of our Redeemer, and pledged ourselves afresh to follow voluntarily in his footsteps even unto death. Pray for us, dear brother, that by his grace we may faithfully fulfil our covenants.
Your fellow servant in love,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Our little meetings proved a season of sweet refreshing and communion to the few permitted to meet together. We spent parts of two days in study and thanksgiving, ending last evening by keeping our Lord's supper in commemoration of his death. After a careful study of the symbols, bread and wine, discerning the Lord's broken body and shed blood, realizing that the whole body or "loaf" is to be broken as the head has been, and thanking God for the gift of his Son and for the privilege of being broken in his service, we gladly partook of the emblems. Those of "like precious faith" know from experience the blessedness and peace which come to our Father's children at such times.
"Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,and then parted – I trust with a deeper sense of our own unworthiness and of Christ's sufficiency. May those precious moments and blessings often be our experience.
Which before thy cross I spend,"
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – About eight interested ones met here to commemorate the death of our dear Redeemer. In the afternoon we had a grand experience meeting – grand because each one had something to say about the wonderful way he had found the precious truths now due to the truth hungry.
The meeting was opened by the reading of the first chapter of 2 Peter. Especially appreciated were the words: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
In the evening we came together to partake of the bread and wine in remembrance of the sacrifice our dear Master made on the cross for our redemption, and it was truly an impressive time. Brother Cole conducted the service by prayer and reading appropriate Scriptures, followed by some profitable remarks which were listened to with earnest interest. Others also spoke with much feeling and gratitude for such a display of God's love for poor humanity.
We remembered the dear brethren and sisters elsewhere who were enjoying the same blessed privilege, knowing that the same love and affection for our dear Master filled your hearts as it did ours, and doubting not that you remembered us with the same kind feelings.
Your brother in Christ,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – On Thursday evening, March 30th, at 7:30 P.M., the Anniversary of our Lord's death was celebrated at my house. There were eighteen in attendance, the number being larger than on any previous occasion. The meeting was opened by an appropriate hymn, followed by prayer; then another hymn, after which a portion of Scripture was read and a suitable article selected from the TOWER.
We considered the true import of the emblems, how they not only signified our Lord's sacrifice by which we are justified to human life and all its rights, but also how they signified our own consecration to be joined in sacrifice with him and to be dead with him. With additional remarks I endeavored to make the subject clear, and as plain as possible. After the lesson we sang another hymn, then prayed, after which the sacrament was administered. Then a final prayer and closing hymn.
I was very glad to read Brother Adamson's letter in March 15th TOWER. It did me much good. The next day after reading it, I started out to distribute some tracts. A few days later a gentleman called to thank me for the tract I had left at his office, and desired to know whether he could not get more for his Sunday School. Have supplied him with 150 copies of Thy Word is Truth, which he has promised to distribute next Sunday. I hope some good may result therefrom. On a separate sheet I enclose his subscription to the TOWER.
Your brother in the Redeemer,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – For the Memorial Supper and all day Friday meetings, we obtained the use of a small Baptist meeting house. About sixty brethren and sisters of this city and vicinity met to commemorate the Lord's death. We had a very blessed season, the Lord manifesting his grace among us. On Friday about forty gathered for a season of Bible study and communion. Friday evening we had baptism services, and fifteen symbolized their immersion into Christ. Since then four others have asked to be baptised.
With love and greetings in Christ,