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June 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

VOL. XXXVIJUNE 1No. 11
A. D. 1915 – A.M. 6043
CONTENTS
The Coming Storm and Its Glorious Outcome 163
The Last Great Day 163
Present "Signs of the Son of Man" 165
"Plagues" Upon Babylon 166
Gentleness A Characteristic of The Christ 166
Faith the Mainspring of Consecration 167
"Who Is My Neighbor?" 168
Thankless, Rebellious Absalom 169
Solomon, King of Israel 170
Different Phases of the Word Temptation 171
How God Tempted Abraham 171
Why God Cannot Be Tempted to Evil 171
The Father's Wise Counsel 172
God's Ways as Shown in Nature 172
The Class to Be Honored by the Lord 173
Hating the Sin, Loving the Sinner 173
The Sin of Self-Sufficiency 174
Interesting Letters 174
Infidel Thanks God for Pastor Russell 175

'I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me.' Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. – Luke 21:25-28, 32.

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THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION
T
HIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.

Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.

This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated, – Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (I Pet. 1:19; I Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (I Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to – "Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God" – "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed." – Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken; – according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God" – peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age – ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him. – 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium. – Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time." – Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir. – 1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age. – Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom – the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church. – Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.

PUBLISHED BY
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
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STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES

THESE STUDIES ARE RECOMMENDED TO STUDENTS AS VERITABLE "BIBLE KEYS." PRICES ARE NET AND BARELY COVER COST OF PRODUCTION.

SERIES I., "The Plan of the Ages," gives an outline of the Divine Plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restitution: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1 ½d.)

This volume has been published as a special issue of our journal at the extremely low price of 5c. a copy, in any quantity, postage included. (To foreign countries, 9c.) This enables people of slender purse to herald far and wide the good tidings in a most helpful form.

SERIES II., "The Time is at Hand," treats of the manner and time of the Lord's Second Coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1½d.)

SERIES III., "Thy Kingdom Come," considers prophecies which mark events connected with the "Time of the End," the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter on the Great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1½d.)

SERIES IV., "The Battle of Armageddon," shows that the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord's great prophecy of Matt. 24 and Zech. 14:1-9: 688 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6½d.)

SERIES V., "The Atonement Between God and Man," treats an all-important subject – the hub, the center around which all the features of Divine grace revolve. Its topic deserves the most careful and prayerful consideration on the part of all true Christians: 640 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6½d.)

SERIES VI., "The New Creation," deals with the Creative Week (Genesis 1 and 2), and with the Church, God's "New Creation." It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the Body under the Head: 750 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6½d.)

The above prices include postage.

[R5703 : page 162]

BEREAN BIBLE STUDY CLASSES

From various quarters we learn that the Berean Bible Study Classes are increasing in number. This is very gratifying, of course, but at the same time it is leading into a certain difficulty. Where Classes exceed twenty or so in number, they become unwieldy and proportionately less of a blessing and an aid. No matter how skillful the leader, it is impossible to do justice to larger Classes within reasonable hours. We offer a suggestion: namely, that the entire Class have a special time or times for meeting on Sundays when a part of the service might be in the nature of a short address, or several of them, from different Brethren manifesting ability along that line. Then, during the week, have Classes in homes in various parts of the city or town under different brethren manifesting ability as Class leaders. These new Classes, ranging from ten to fifteen, will have the opportunity of growing somewhat and then, later, develop into additional classes. Thus the witness of the Truth will reach larger numbers, and various districts will be served, each and all having opportunity of participating at every meeting.

This same rule, we believe, will be found advantageous in respect to the Wednesday evening prayer, praise and testimony meeting. Let us never forget the importance of furnishing an opportunity for each consecrated Brother and Sister to participate in the Class Studies and in the testimonies. "If thou believe in thine heart and confess with thy mouth" is the Lord's suggestion of proper faithfulness. It is those who are thus faithful who usually reap the greatest blessing. page 162

"WRIGHT" DE LUXE FAMILY BIBLE

We have secured, at a very low price, a supply of beautiful, illustrated Family Bibles and offer our readers the benefit of the bargain. This Bible is 8 x 10½ inches, 2¼ inches thick, weighs 6¼ pounds, is bound in black seal skin over boards, gilt edges, nine-point type, nearly 1,400 pages containing over 800 text illustrations. It also contains family records and a concordance. Equal to $6 Bibles; our price, $2, charges prepaid.

BETHEL HYMNS FOR JULY

After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for July follow:

(1) 299; (2) 230; (3) 259; (4) 78; (5) 14; (6) 50; (7) 303; (8) 293; (9) 144; (10) 164; (11) Vow; (12) 145; (13) 105; (14) 25; (15) 324; (16) 100; (17) 165; (18) 119; (19) 78; (20) 87; (21) 110; (22) 321; (23) 240; (24) 155; (25) 272; (26) 291; (27) 195; (28) 305; (29) 241; (30) 198; (31) 311.

[R5695 : page 163]

THE COMING STORM AND ITS GLORIOUS OUTCOME
"He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven....Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord." – Psalm 107:29,30,43.
PSALM 107 seems to be prophetic, tracing to a considerable degree the experiences of the Church of Christ throughout this Gospel Age. It may be applied individually and also in a world-wide, international way. The cause of all the trouble in the world is sin. There might be various ways of trying to remove the difficulty, but God in His Wisdom arranged the one Plan. He will permit sin to bring storms and difficulties of life so that humanity shall be tossed about, and thus learn to appreciate our great Savior, whom God has provided to be the Great Deliverer of the Church and of the world. The whole matter has been arranged in a judicial manner, and in due time Christ will have the full right to bid all storms to cease and to bring order out of confusion. Yet this must await the Divine appointment. During the present Age the Church class has been selected, and the storms and difficulties of life have been valuable to them in developing faith, hope, patience and in preparing them for the Kingdom honors, privileges and opportunities.

The world's storms, according to the Scriptures, have been varied and have occurred at different times, according to the conditions of mankind – sin and selfishness always stirring up a storm on every possible occasion. There have been many storms in the past – wars, invasions, tumults, etc. – all started from envious, selfish motives, or because of great injustice on the part of others. [R5696 : page 163] Great nations have envied one another their increase of wealth, and have preyed upon the weak. Anger, malice, hatred, strife, the works of the flesh and the Devil, have been cultivated. Now, having sown thus to selfishness, mankind are experiencing a mighty whirlwind on the social sea. This great storm has not yet reached its height. Our thought is that it will be much greater before the Lord will step in and say, "Peace, be still!" He has permitted this awful storm; for He knows how to make it work out for the good of humanity.

It is ours as God's people to favor peace and righteousness and to live in harmony with these conditions. But it is ours also to know what is coming on the world – more, it is ours to know the outcome, to know something of God's Truth. The Lord has already given us an inward peace which no outward storm can affect. We are trusting in the promises He has given. We realize what the present condition is, and rejoice that the Church will soon be glorified. What a lasting peace and joy will then be ours beyond the veil! This realization brings into our hearts even now great rest of soul, a great calm! We remember that God is able to make all things work together for good to us, and He has promised so to do; therefore we may have blessed experiences coming out of these stormy times and trials of life.

The Lord has a peculiar way of bringing peace to His people – not usually by interference with people of the world. The storms of life may go on just the same as ever; our way may be just as thorny as ever. But the Lord speaks peace to us! We hear His Voice, the Word of God! By the knowledge He gives us, by His precious promises, He assures us of His Wisdom, His Love, His Power, and of His loving purpose for His people. These things give us peace and rest of heart in the midst of outward trials and trouble. He makes known to us also His great Plan for the world in general. He informs us now of the significance of the present conditions and of the glorious outcome of the great trouble about to break upon the whole world.

THE LAST GREAT DAY

We are in the "last days" mentioned by the Apostle Paul. He says, "In the last days perilous times shall come. Men shall be...covetous, boasters, proud,...traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God....From such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:1-5.) Our Lord Jesus repeatedly mentioned "the last day," and declared that certain things would occur in the last day. We understand Him thus to be referring to the great Seventh Day, the thousand-year Day of His Kingdom. For instance, He said, in speaking of His disciples individually, "And I will raise him up at the last day."

The Scriptures speak of the last Day as being the end of this present Dispensation, the end of the present reign of evil. Our Lord referred to the closing days of this Age when He said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man." All the Scriptures referring to this Day seem to point to the great commotion to come at this time. The Prophet Daniel seems to speak of the present Dispensation as a "time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." This was to be, he declared, "in the time of the end." Our Lord speaks of it: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days be [R5696 : page 164] shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the Elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:21-25.) St. Paul tells us that the fire of that Day shall try every man's work of what sort it is. The Apostle Peter describes it vividly in his second Epistle. That Day of trouble and the glory to follow are the theme of all the holy Prophets.

The troubles of this Day are not all of the same nature. Jesus tells us that some of His followers will be accounted worthy to escape the troubles coming upon the world, which St. Peter says will involve the whole earth. In the fire of that Day, some who are children of God will be found to have built their house of wood, hay and stubble, even though building upon the true Foundation, Christ. All their superstructure will be burned, and themselves "saved as by fire," as the Apostle Paul tells us. Others of the Lord's children will be found to have built upon the true Foundation "gold, silver, and precious stones"; and thus their works will stand. They will have a superstructure of truth and loyalty to the Lord built upon the Foundation, and this will not be burned. Their building will stand the "fire" of this great Day.

As the Apostle Paul in all his Epistles addresses himself to the saints in Christ Jesus, we understand these words (1 Corinthians 3:11-15) to refer only to those professing full consecration to the Lord, the Church of Christ. The true saints must all suffer; for as St. Paul forewarned, we must "through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22.) "Hereunto were we called," St. Peter assures us. (1 Peter 2:21.) But all these things only work out for us an exceeding and eternal weight of glory, if we are properly exercised thereby.

THE NOMINAL SYSTEMS OF TODAY

But, as already intimated, we find a very large class today professing to be of the Church of Christ, and millions of money are being spent by these for the worship of God according to the ideas of the nominal church systems. Fine church edifices are built and dedicated to the Lord. Grand organs and trained choirs are furnished. Gymnasia, "smokers," culinary departments with dining-rooms, etc., are provided. These churches are supported by people a large number of whom are very noble in many respects.

From one viewpoint it would seem that people who are spending so much money every year for church purposes must be quite religious and very anxious to do God's will. We read of how many millions of dollars New York City spends annually for its ministers, churches, etc., etc. But we find, in fact, that in all these churches there is a great deal of formalism. Those who sing their hymns are hired to do so, and they say that they have no particular interest in religion, but are merely doing it for so many dollars. Not many of the ministers will acknowledge that their service is of much the same nature, but there are those who think that the majority of them are serving in a similar manner. Does the Lord recognize and accept such service? (See Amos 5:20-23; Isaiah 1:13-15.) It is not for us to judge the heart; but on every side we find headiness, boastfulness, pride.

We do not know how the Apostle Paul could better have described present conditions if he had been living here today. If anything is said to these zealous workers in the Churchianity of our day about the worldliness, pride and errors of the churches, there is a toss of the head, even though some of them acknowledge that there is much that they do not approve of. It is found necessary to have concerts, teas, frolics, etc., in the churches to raise money; for, it is claimed, if they did not have these things, nobody would come to church except the preachers and some who hold office, and who attend to perform the duties for which they are held responsible. One such church official said to the Editor of THE WATCH TOWER, "I am in duty bound to go to church so often, but I will get out of the office as soon as I can." Having had the duty of Elder thrust upon him, he intended to escape from it as soon as possible.

THE PRESENT IDOL OF CHRISTENDOM

Money-love, acquisitiveness, seems to be the controlling factor today. True, many who have a great deal of money are giving it out by the millions of dollars; but ours is a money-loving day. And it is not merely the rich who have this love of money. We find it everywhere. The chief desire is to get money – not to lay it up in banks, but to spend it; people like the pleasures which money will buy. It is a money-spending time as well as a money-loving time. Pleasure holds riot today, and money is honored and everywhere sought. Our former superstitious ideas of the better blood of some than of others – "blue blood" – we in America have been largely relieved of. We have therefore not that love of aristocracy and so-called "noble birth" which prevails in the old world. People formerly believed that the kings and the nobility were of a different race altogether from the common people. But now love of money and of that which money will purchase – pleasure, power, influence – have driven the world mad. Money is worshiped as an idol. If one has money, he can get nearly anything he wants. Many such people have a form of godliness, without its power. The Apostle says, "From such turn away." – 2 Timothy 3:4,5.

This condition of things has grown by degrees. How shall we turn away from those who worship these false gods? We turn away in the sense that we do not follow in the same course. We keep our hearts from the love of pleasure and worldliness and from the greed of gain. We turn away from all these things, and go in a different direction. This seems to correspond with what the Lord says in Revelation 18:2,4. When revealing to the Apostle John the condition of Nominal Zion, in our day, and speaking prophetically as though in our day, He says, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen....Come out of her! The Lord's true people are to follow the Lord's direction here. They are to stand free from this bondage to error and worldliness, and set a good example to others also; and then they are to wait for the Lord's further instructions and for the accomplishment of His glorious purposes. We need not hope at all to turn the tide – one man or a thousand men or a million men would be powerless to turn the tide of Babylon today. She is fallen; therefore forsake her! – Jeremiah 51:6-9. [R5697 : page 164]

OUR QUIET, CONFIDENT STRENGTH

God entered into His rest when His creative works were finished in the earth, so we, the true Church, shall soon enter into our rest, the perfect rest beyond the veil. God has placed the whole matter in the hands of Christ to accomplish in the appointed time. We have confidence in the Lord and in His times and seasons; therefore we are very restful, and in coming out of Babylon we are not worried nor anxious and distressed about others. God will bring order out of all the prevailing confusion. All who will prove worthy of everlasting life will ultimately be glad to work in the way the Lord shall direct.

The world today is drunk with certain false doctrines, and do not know what they are doing. If we were with people who were hilarious, intoxicated, we would better [R5697 : page 165] not try to sober them up, but stop association with them. Yet there may be some in that company who would love to be as we – free to serve the Lord. It is our duty to help everybody who is feeling after the Lord and amenable in any degree to the Word of Truth. We are to do good to all men as we have opportunity, "especially unto them who are of the Household of Faith." (Galatians 6:10.) It is to this end that we have been circulating the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, and holding meetings and showing THE PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, so that other earnest souls may, like ourselves, stand free from the general trend of our day and may live a life of sacrifice, and thus be prepared for the high exaltation coming to those who are faithful to God – a reward that we believe is now near at hand. Those who are thus prepared and panoplied with the whole armor of God will be kept in a condition of quietness and confidence known to no others in this great Day of stress, turmoil and shaking.

PRESENT "SIGNS OF THE SON OF MAN"

The way by which the Lord informs His faithful, watching ones of the import of present conditions in the world and of the nearness of Christ's glorious Reign, is through outward signs corroborating what we now see Bible chronology to indicate. A sign is an indication. The putting up of a baker's sign indicates that bread is to be bought there; a butcher's sign, that meat is for sale at that place, etc. Then we have the sign, or indication of coming storms, or of fair weather. We are not to expect to see shining letters across the sky or anything of that kind to indicate the Lord's presence; but there has been a sign in the Church for some time now – about forty years – the reaping of the ripe wheat. This has been a sign of the Parousia of the Son of Man. It has not been possible for the world to discern this sign. We also have the sign of the barren fig tree, the Jewish nation, putting forth its leaves. We see the foretold worldliness of the church systems. We see the beginning of the smiting of the nations.

When the great Time of Trouble shall break, the world will begin to see that a new order of things is somehow coming about; that a great change is impending. Conditions have not been so previously. As men see that the Son of Man is about to take His great power and that the Messianic Kingdom is coming in, they will be apprehensive, not appreciating the fact that this Kingdom is designed for the blessing of all. For a time they will not grasp the full situation. They will see the trouble, the paralysis of business, the distress of nations, socialism, anarchism, and their hearts will fail them for fear of the things approaching.

But all these things are now signs to us that the Lord is making ready to establish His Kingdom and is preparing for the fall of the Gentile kingdoms. This, however, will not at first be distinguishable to the world in general under the flaming fire of trouble. They will not know what to make of these things. We think that the majority of people are somewhat perplexed today. Men who are very prominent in social matters, financial matters, religious matters, are in great perplexity. Many of them are beginning to discuss the idea that the Kingdom of God is really approaching.

We are told by some of our friends who attended the great Peace Meeting held here in New York City last fall that the prominent speakers participating, among them the Vice President of the United States, made numerous references to the Prince of Peace as being just at the door. The Millennium was referred to in like manner. We do not know what this means, except that they think that the Son of Man is now coming in His Kingdom. We think that their perplexity will increase as they see still greater stress – financial stress, social stress – and as we enter the great Time of Trouble, "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." A Hebrew gentleman was telling the Editor that the Jews in Jerusalem are starving to death. To the four millions of Jews living in Galicia and Austria it seems to make no difference whether one army or the other passes through the country; for the Jews always suffer. Wherever the armies have marched, the homes have been devastated and the land laid waste. Recently the Jews have held a Mass Meeting in New York to collect money for their brethren in Galicia and in Palestine.

If any of you should meet a banker, should you engage in conversation with him, you will see his face grow very sober. In some instances the tears will come into his eyes when speaking of the alarming conditions in finance today. Many wealthy people will say that when this war broke out they were worth a hundred thousand dollars, but that they do not now know what they are worth. Their stocks and bonds are not salable. So there is today a trouble that reaches increasingly throughout the earth, affecting not only all Christendom, but heathendom as well.

VIEW FROM CLEFT IN THE ROCK

As our own eyes of understanding have opened, we have sought to show to the Church, and to the world as far as possible, the great Divine Plan of the Ages – wonderful, beautiful, far superior to anything human! Bible students the world over are reading the Bible and the signs of the times in a new light; for God's own time has come for lifting the veil of ignorance and darkness which for so long He has permitted Satan to put before our eyes. To our understanding the present war is pictured in the Bible, as due to begin in 1914. It is a great "wind."

Following the great war, the Bible teaches, a great earthquake – social revolution – will take place. In connection with that earthquake will come an exaltation of religious sects, Catholic and Protestant, on the side of the kings and princes – political, social, financial, religious. Next will come the downfall of all present religious systems. Speedily the symbolic "fire" of the Bible will consume the earth – anarchy. Following the anarchy quickly will come the long-promised Kingdom of God, for which Christians have prayed, saying, "Thy Kingdom come," most of them with but little conception of the true meaning of their words. During the Reign of that Kingdom, "a still small voice," the Message of Truth and Grace, will come to all mankind. The world's uplift will progress; and the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall gradually fill the whole earth. The longed-for haven of rest will then be attained, "the desire of all nations."

"MY SHEEP HEAR" – AND FOLLOW

All the true disciples of Jesus will see and hear in this present "due time." "My sheep hear My voice," said the Master. If any, therefore, are in Babylon and do not hear the voice of the Lord now calling them out of this great apostate System, our plain inference is that they are not His true sheep. This does not mean that all will hear at the same moment. Some are dull of hearing; they may not be living very near to the Lord. But so surely as they are His sheep they will hear; and so surely as they are following in His steps they will hear clearly, and obey promptly. They will be eager to come out of Babylon before her plagues come like a deluge, as they will soon come. We who now have the light should hold up the Lord's Message and point other Christians to the [R5697 : page 166] present condition of things, and let them hear the Lord and then make their decision.

"PLAGUES" UPON BABYLON

The "seven last plagues" to be visited especially upon Christendom do not mean a particular disease, as the black plague or cholera; but the word stands for trouble. The Scriptures indicate what these are – death, famine, revolution, distress, overthrow. These distresses will be both physical and mental. It will be a great trouble and distress to Babylon when she realizes that her walls are fallen. She has realized for some time that there was danger of a collapse, and has been seeking to repel anything that might come near to injure her walls. Many good people have been fighting for these denominations, thinking that they represent the Lord's people – being themselves bound more or less by the institutions of the present time.

We do not think that the Gospel Age fully ended in September 1914, but merely the Times of the Gentiles. The Gospel Age will not fully end, we believe, until the Gospel Message ends; and that will be when the door is shut, when the last member of the Very Elect shall have passed beyond the veil. It is our understanding that the elect Church of Christ, the Bride, will not remain in the flesh to do much of the teaching of the world, but will be glorified in the Kingdom either before or during the great Time of Trouble, and be ready to supervise the world's instruction from the spirit plane. The great conflict is before us. The Prophet Isaiah (63:1-6) depicts in very strong language the work of our Lord Jesus among the nations at this time and in the days just ahead. [R5698 : page 166] "He hath trodden the wine-press alone, and all His garments are stained with blood," the wrath of God. See STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. 4, pp. 18,19, and p. 51, par. 1. We believe that this work has already begun in the present European war, which is growing in severity and awfulness day by day.

After the Church shall have been glorified beyond the veil, the Ancient Worthies are to be her representatives in the world, taking oversight of the instruction of the peoples and ruling in human affairs; after the Messiah has commanded "Peace" to the angry nations and bidden the raging billows be calm. But there may be yet for a little while – just how long we cannot surely know – some work for the Church to do for the world this side the veil, before the Time of Trouble fully sets in, or at the time of its beginning. If so, we believe that this instruction to the world is now in progress.

"Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord," even though for a brief space His righteous sword shall be unsheathed for the punishment of iniquity and the overthrow of Satan's great Empire.

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GENTLENESS A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE CHRIST

"The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves." – 2 Timothy 2:24,25.
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HE words of our text were addressed by the Apostle Paul to Timothy, an Elder of the Church. The Lord's people, all who belong to the Body of Christ, are sons of God; nevertheless, they are all servants – bond-servants of Jesus Christ. Every true son would desire to serve the interests of his father, especially a just, loving father; and every faithful servant would wish to serve the interests of his master or his employer, particularly a noble, worthy employer or master. Our Lord Jesus, who was the special Son of the Heavenly Father, made Himself Servant of all, in order that He might serve the Father's interests, accomplish His will.

Our text is applicable to any servant of God, any member of the Church of Christ, whether he holds office among the brethren or not. It is an injunction which applies to all of the Church. Every spirit-begotten child of God is to teach according to his opportunity and ability, under the limitations of sex, etc., given in the Scriptures. "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." (Isaiah 61:1.) These words of the Prophet apply to every member of The Christ, Head and Body.

PROPER MANNER OF PRESENTING THE TRUTH

But the Message of the Good Tidings that the Lord has given us to proclaim is not one to be forced upon people. To be proper servants of the Lord, and in harmony with His arrangements, we must not strive, must not argue or quarrel. In meekness we are to instruct, not with an air of superiority, or a desire to show how much we know. Our Message is for those who have "an ear to hear." We are not to force ourselves upon people, not to intrude upon them, in order to make them hear. While we are to be ready to sacrifice our own interests to proclaim the Message of our faith, yet in so doing we are not to be strifeful, malicious or contentious.

We would not say of those who are inclined to be contentious in presenting the Truth that they are not members of Christ, but evidently they have not learned the better way. They have not sufficiently developed the quality of love; they are lacking in Heavenly wisdom in this respect. On one occasion two of our Lord's disciples came from a city of Samaria, the inhabitants of which would not sell them food, and indignantly asked of Jesus whether they should call fire down from Heaven to destroy them. In reply our Lord said, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them." (Luke 9:55,56.) So there are some today who are ready [R5699 : page 166] to quarrel on every occasion. Although this tendency does not prove that they are not children of the Lord, nevertheless, it demonstrates that they are not in the right attitude, that improvement is necessary.

The things pleasing to God are inculcated in the Scriptures. The Lord's followers are to be gentle to all men – not only to the brethren in the Church, but to all others. They are not to be strife-breeders, not always getting into a wrangle, but long-suffering, considerate of the opinions and preferences of others. There may be times when a Christian is put into a position where he will be forced to defend himself; but it is one thing to defend one's self in a reasonable way, and quite another to be strifeful and aggressive.

In endeavoring to carry the Truth to others, we should remember that our faith is not to be presented to everybody. "Cast not your pearls before swine." They will not appreciate your pearls. They will wish to do you injury because of not appreciating them. But while not strifeful, we are to be on the alert to hold forth the Word of Life. If the Truth is attacked and honest souls [R5699 : page 167] are in danger of being stumbled, we must, as the Apostle enjoined, "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." (Jude 3.) This does not mean, however, that we are to be quarrelsome, or to be disputatious, in the ordinarily accepted use of those terms. We are to be ever ready to proclaim the Truth on every suitable occasion – with moderation, meekness and humility, but with earnestness and zeal; for this is our business. If those to whom we present the Message of Truth are in the proper attitude, they will desire it. It is right, therefore, for us to be ready to lay down our lives in defense of the Truth and its interests.

The more cool, calm and self-possessed we are when opposed, the better we can defend and recommend the Message we bear. The greater the contrast between our spirit and that of our opposer, the stronger will be our argument for the Truth in the minds of others who may hear; and the more likely shall we be to disarm prejudice in the mind of the opposing one, if he be sincere and honest of heart. One who loses his self-control and becomes combative and disputatious defeats his own cause. One should never lose his head. He will be sure to say things that were better left unsaid and to manifest by tone and manner that he is not actuated by the Spirit of the Master. More harm than good might result from such a mistake. We are always to present the Message gently, kindly, forcefully. It may be necessary to be positive in our statements, but the spirit of the presentation is to be gentle, whether in private or in public.

QUALIFICATION OF A TRUE TEACHER

The Apostle says that the servant of the Lord should be "apt to teach." (1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Tim. 2:24.) St. Paul was here especially addressing an Elder in the Ecclesia. To be apt to teach is to have the teaching ability. Not all have the ability, the gift, of making things plain to others. There are some people who the more they say the less they are understood. If there are some who find themselves in this condition, they should use printed matter and then try to learn how to present the Message in a way that will be assimilable to the minds of others – making it clear, plain and logical. In the presentation of the Message to others patience is necessary. Be willing to go over the point again and again, having sympathy with those you are instructing, remembering how difficult you found it when you were trying to emerge from darkness into the light.

Whether presenting the Truth publicly or in private, never assume an air of superiority, never manifest haughtiness. Never allow yourself to become so irritated as to say, "I know more about this in five minutes than you do in a year"; nor even imply this thought in the expression of your face, or in tone or manner. You see, you can express yourself in these four different ways at once; but any one of the four would be sufficient to place a barrier between yourself and those whom you were endeavoring to interest. You are to be meek, lowly of heart, humble.

If some one presents to you an argument or a Scripture that he thinks contradicts your position, say to him, "Well, brother, let us see whether that is in harmony with the teachings of the Bible. We must accept as Truth only that which will harmonize all the statements of the Word of God. Let us prove the matter." Have a meek, teachable manner, one which shows that you are willing to learn from another if he can teach you something from the sure Word of the Lord. Thus your opponent will be more willing to hear what you have to say, if he is disposed to be at all reasonable.

Undoubtedly the Lord's people are learning more and more the lesson inculcated in our text – "the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all." It is a lesson that all must learn, Elders and Deacons and every member of the Body of Christ. It is necessary to our own character-building, and necessary in order that we may do more effective service for the Master. When at first we buckled on the armor and took up the Sword of the Spirit, we probably did some flourishing, and perhaps often did more harm than good. We felt that we had something that no one could argue down. But we have been learning to be more gentle, more wise, more patient, more loving; and thus we have become better qualified to be instructors of others. We have seen how we may injure the Cause of the Lord by a wrong presentation of the Truth, and how by proper presentation we may become more successful in doing the Lord's work, in reaching hungry hearts, and more pleasing to our great King, whom we all love and long to serve.

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FAITH THE MAINSPRING OF CONSECRATION

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised." – Hebrews 10:23.
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HE Apostle is here writing to some in the early Church who had given evidence of wavering, who were failing properly to hold on. He is telling them that while they had been faithful at one time they apparently had become lukewarm, at least, respecting the Lord and the Christian way. He intimates that the firmness of faith in the child of God, and the firmness with which he holds the profession of his faith, has much to do with his consistency in Christian life. Our faith was the mainspring that led each of us to make a consecration to the Lord. We believed that God had provided the Redeemer for the forgiveness of sin. We believed that we would be acceptable and our sins forgiven through the Lord Jesus Christ; and that we would be made sons of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus. These were the inspiring incentives that first led us to God. They served a good purpose in leading us to the decisive step.

St. Paul says that these Hebrew Christians had witnessed a good profession; but some of them, at least, had been growing more or less indifferent. He declares that although by this time they should have been teachers, they needed to themselves be taught again what were "the first principles of the oracles of God." They had lost part of their faith, their assurance in the Lord.

We all know from experience how things that are brought before our minds may afterwards become dim and hazy. When spiritual things become thus hazy, when we cannot grasp spiritual verities as once we could, when we are fearful and our joy in Christ is fading, we are getting away from this mainspring of our consecration. We are losing our faith. So let us earnestly hold fast to this anchor of our souls lest we drift and be dashed upon the rocks. Unless we do hold fast to our faith we shall lose everything; for "without faith it is impossible to please God." Without faith it would be impossible to gird on the armor and go forth to fight the good fight. We would never go out to a battle that we did not believe existed, [R5698 : page 168] or to a battle that we did not believe would bring any results, any reward for the hardships and suffering involved.

OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

The Apostle's argument is that we should hold fast the faith which began our Christian life and which is also to be the finisher of our Christian life. The Lord is able to carry us through and He will do it, if we do our part. But the terms on which the Lord has received us are that we purpose to abide faithful. Hence everything depends on our holding fast to this faith which we have professed, without wavering, without harboring any doubts and fears; and the basis of our faith in our ultimate triumph is the assurance that "He is faithful that promised." We know that in the Bible there are "exceeding great and precious promises" for us. While the Lord tells us that there is nothing in ourselves that we can depend on, He assures us that His grace is sufficient, that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We have only to lay hold upon it. If therefore we hold fast to our faith, we may obtain all that God has promised us. He will be faithful; He will not disregard His promises; He will do all that He has said.

If we hesitate and waver we are either losing our faith or losing the spirit of obedience and love. If, therefore, we realize that either of these conditions exists, we should go at once to the Word of God and to prayer, that our faith, love and zeal may be renewed. We should scrutinize our hearts day by day, to make sure that we are still loyal to the Lord, to see whether we are seeking to lay down our lives according to our covenant, to see whether we are developing the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. Thus we shall fulfil our vows, and there shall be "an abundant entrance" administered unto us into the "everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

"Awake, my soul, awake!
The precious days are flying!
Yield not to ease nor sloth,
The far-spent day is dying.

"Up, and gird on thy Sword!
Didst dream the battle ended?
The last fight's on – and no such Cause
Was ever yet defended!

"Not yet, but soon, the Prize –
One last, supreme endeavor
Is thine, and then the Crown,
The bliss, the joy, forever!"

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"WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?"

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." – Matthew 22:39.
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HESE words were quoted by our Lord in His summarizing of the Ten Commandments. Dividing the Ten Commandments into two parts, He showed that one part related to the duty and obligation toward God, and the other to the duty and obligation toward fellowmen, toward the neighbor. The first part calls for all the love of our heart, our being, our mind, our strength, for the Lord and His service; and the second part, which relates to humanity, calls for us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

In a special sense the Jews recognized themselves as being God's people. Therefore under the Law they recognized each other as neighbors; for they were all the people of the Lord. But they thought that while they should cordially love their neighbors, they should hate their enemies – all the outside nations that God did not recognize. However, the fact that God had in the past commanded them to slay or drive out the surrounding nations did not mean that the Jews should hate them and wish to do them real injury. Our Lord seems to indicate that the Jews had taken a wrong view of matters. He taught them that to love their enemies, and to do good to those who persecuted them, was the better way. He showed them that they should have a broad view, a benevolence that would take in all the world.

To this effect He on one occasion gave them a parable – that of the Good Samaritan. In that parable He pictured a man who was not a Jew ministering to a Jew who had been injured. A Jewish priest had seen the wounded man and had passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, not so close in relationship to God as the priest, is represented as looking at the man and then also passing on the other side. Then came this stranger, a Samaritan, one not in relationship to God at all. The Samaritan promptly served the injured man – anointed him and bound up his wounds. The man had been assaulted, robbed and maltreated. The Samaritan "set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him." He remained over night with the injured man, and when he left in the morning he gave some money to the inn-keeper and said to him, "Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee." (Luke 10:29-35.) Jesus declared that in this Samaritan of the parable they had an example of one who was a real neighbor.

This parable is also for our instruction today. If we appreciate the conception of a true neighbor which our Lord gave, and say that we have the same conception, then let us observe this Golden Rule: Whatsoever I would have you do unto me, let me do even so unto you. And if you feel that if you were on the roadside, plundered and injured by highwaymen, you would wish that some one would help you, then do the same to others, if you have opportunity. And so in all things. From this viewpoint the whole world are neighbors, no matter how far apart they are – whether they live on our side of the earth or on the opposite side. This the broad, general view shows our relationship and obligation to all the world, to one the same as another. All are our neighbors. All should be treated in a neighborly way as we have opportunity. There is no exception.

It will not do to say that one should be kind merely to those who have been kind to him, that to such only are we to act the part of a neighbor. In that event, the Samaritan would not have been the neighbor. He might have thought that as nobody had found him by the wayside [R5700 : page 168] and done anything for him, he consequently would not do anything either. The Lord, in this parable, and in His statement of the spirit of the Law as related to our fellow-men, was laying down a principle that all should be neighbors and treat each other in a kind, neighborly manner, which is the only proper rule amongst mankind. We are to express our love for our neighbor by being thoughtful and considerate of his welfare and interests, and helpful to him as far as is in our power, other obligations being considered.

When we come to the Church, there is a special relationship and bond between its members. We are to love one another as Jesus loved us. This is a new commandment. The Golden Rule is not a new commandment; for [R5700 : page 169] it properly belonged to man when God created him, and is designed to be the rule of life. The Jewish Law, as it related to the attitude of the people of Israel toward one another, had for its essence the Golden Rule. But Jesus said to His disciples, "A new commandment I give unto you." He meant this: Those who have become New Creatures have a new relationship; they belong to a new family – the family of God.

Our brethren on the spirit plane are nearest to us of any. Whoever is a New Creature, and thus a brother to all those who are New Creatures, is not merely to observe the Golden Rule, but is to be ready to do toward any and all of the brethren as Jesus did; namely, to lay down his life for them. He is not to say, "I would lay down my life for him, and so I expect him to be willing to lay down his life for me." No! Regardless of his own interests and life, regardless of what others do or do not for him, he is to be willing to spend and be spent for the blessing of the brethren. He is to have sacrificial love, which goes beyond the Golden Rule. Thus are we to be true disciples.

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THANKLESS, REBELLIOUS ABSALOM
– JULY 4. – 2 SAMUEL 18:1-15. –

THE STORY OF ABSALOM – HOW DIFFERENT FROM HIS FATHER – HIS WASTED OPPORTUNITIES – HIS CONTEMPTIBLE END AS A TRAITOR AND DISOBEDIENT SON WHO SOUGHT HIS FATHER'S LIFE – THE BOY THE FATHER OF THE MAN – THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PARENTS – THE CHILD WHAT THE PARENTS MAKE HIM – EUGENICS NOT SUFFICIENT.

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right." – Ephesians 6:1.
"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!"
O
UR Study of today discusses the death of Absalom. It is sufficiently explicit without comment. It will be of value to us, however, to look backward along the life of this young prince and to note some of his failures. In the first place, he was not well-born. His mother, King David's wife, was the daughter of a heathen king nearby. His mother may have been beautiful, probably was; for the Scriptures indicate that Absalom was a beautiful boy, a beautiful young man, having a fine, courteous manner and being a popular idol. He had the disadvantage of being a member of the royal family and not being required to labor with sweat of face.

Absalom is first brought prominently to our attention by his murder of his half-brother Amnon, to avenge his sister's honor. For this he fled to the protection of his grandfather. He was thus still further removed from any good influences associated with his father and with the true religion. After several years' absence, his father, who had never ceased to love him and mourn him, was induced to invite Absalom back to Jerusalem – where for two years more, he declined to receive his son into his presence. All of these influences were unfavorable to the young man, but none of them can excuse his treachery to his father, Israel's king.

ABSALOM'S CONSPIRACY

There were judges throughout the Land of Israel for the deciding of the ordinary causes of discontent; but when their decisions were unsatisfactory, appeal was made to the king as to a superior court. King David was busily engaged in preparing the materials for the Temple, which was not to be built until after his death. This may to some extent have hindered him from his work for the people as a superior judge, so that some of their cases, as in every superior court, were delayed of a hearing – tediously, it seemed to those impatient for desired results.

We are not sure, however, that there was anything lacking on King David's part as respects the administration of justice. We merely know that his crafty son, Absalom, made himself very popular. He was very gracious to the people, very familiar with them, always ready to hear their complaints; and he answered them very cunningly, expressing sorrow for their delay, and saying, Would that I were king! It would be different! Thus by deception, by intrigue, by falsehood, we read, he "stole the hearts of the people" from his father. The people really began to think that if they had such a man for a king, they would be immensely better off. They seemed to have overlooked entirely the fact that God was the King of Israel; and that, as the Bible says, King David merely sat upon the Throne of the Lord. – 1 Chron. 29:23.

Absalom was spectacular, a beautiful prince, with long, wavy hair. He rode in his chariot; and before him were fifty swift runners, his heralds. The thoughtless people admired this; and, apparently, at least one wise man was drawn away by the infectious infatuation of this glitter.

Absalom knew of his father's religious sentiments, which apparently he did not at all share. He realized that he would not probably be his father's choice for a successor; and that the time for a new king was not so very far off, as King David was becoming aged. Following Satan's course of ambition and disloyalty to God, Absalom became disloyal to his father. He recruited an army, proclaimed himself king, and did the matter so quickly and so thoroughly, with the sympathy of so many people whose hearts he had stolen, that King David and his regular army and the loyal ones of his court were obliged to flee for their lives. Our lesson recounts the battle which was fought between the superior forces of Absalom and the smaller forces of King David, who, however, were better trained soldiers. The victory came to King David. Absalom was slain, notwithstanding David's urgent request of his soldiers that they should not kill the young man, his son.

What a contrast we have here between the man after God's own heart and the man whom the people admired – the flashy, the showy, the ambitious, the deceitful, the intriguing, the rebellious, who sought his father's life! The man of God, notwithstanding his weaknesses, which were acknowledged and repented of, had a heart of loyalty to God, true as the needle to the pole; and he had a sympathetic love for his son which found expression in that notable dirge, "O Absalom, my son, my son, would God I had died for thee!"

A VERY IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE

The human will is wonderful, so that we might almost say that each boy is responsible for his own career. Our expression, a self-made man, is therefore not far wrong.

This, however, does not excuse the parent whose duty it is to see that a proper child is born into the world, reasonably gifted – not merely outwardly beautiful, but conscientious, just, loyal to God and to the principles of righteousness. Nor does it excuse the parent from giving the child proper conceptions of life, proper instruction; for the Scriptures say, "Train up a child in the way he [R5700 : page 170] should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." – Proverbs 22:6.

It seems pitiful indeed that, with all the preaching and teaching of centuries, so few parents realize their obligations toward the children they bring into the world. So few fathers realize that they are the protectors and caretakers of their wives and of their off-spring; and that not only is it their duty and privilege to select a noble, conscientious wife to be the mother of the family, but it is also their duty to place her under favorable conditions during the period of gestation, and generally to assist her to keep her mind and her heart pure, loving, noble, loyal to God and to righteous principles, to the intent that their child may be well birthmarked, of noble character – less seriously marked and blemished with sin than would otherwise be the case. Well do the Scriptures declare that the people perish for lack of knowledge. – Hosea 4:6.

True, we have eugenics thrust upon our attention everywhere; but to what purpose? Important as this teaching is in respect to health and proper choice of a life-companion, it sinks into insignificance in comparison to the principle we are noting; namely, that the mind of the mother during the period of gestation is stamping and impressing, favorably or unfavorably, the character of her child. It of course would not be possible for a mother to produce a perfect child; but with her own ideals high and true and unwavering, fixed upon things pure, noble and good, we know beyond question that her child would thus be greatly benefited both physically and intellectually, and also morally. On the other hand, as we have pointed out in the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, the perfect mother, Eve, could and did mark her son Cain with a jealous, unhappy disposition, which eventuated in his murdering his brother.

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SOLOMON, KING OF ISRAEL
– JULY 11. – 1 KINGS 1:1 TO 2:12. –

KING DAVID AGED – A FRESH REVOLT BREWING – SOLOMON CALLED TO THE THRONE OF ISRAEL – HIS ANOINTING AS THE LORD'S CHOICE – THE APPROVAL OF THE MULTITUDE – THE MEANING OF HIS NAME – HIS NATURAL ADVANTAGES AND PREPARATION FOR HIS HONORS.

"Know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind." – 1 Chronicles 28:9.
K
ING DAVID was seventy years of age; Absalom, his eldest son, had died in rebellion not long before the present lesson opens. David's next oldest son was Adonijah, whom the death of Absalom had made the heir-apparent to the throne, and who is supposed to have been between thirty and forty years of age at this time. Joab, for a long time the head of David's army, must have been well-advanced in years too, and probably was on the retired list, not merely on account of age, but because he had deeply wounded King David's feelings in disregarding his instructions that Absalom's life should not be taken.

Adonijah thought the time ripe for him to proclaim himself king, and especially as he had succeeded in gaining the friendship of Joab, the long-time military leader, and the friendship, too, of one of the prominent priests. He made a feast, to which were invited, apparently, all of King David's sons except Solomon, who was ostensibly known to be more or less a favorite with his father. The feast was held not far from Jerusalem, and the arrangement was made that in the midst of the feast one of the company should salute Adonijah as king. The others of his company were expected to echo the sentiment; and thus the movement would seemingly be a popular one and not a rebellion. It carried out much as planned thus far.

However, in God's providence, the matter was brought to the notice of King David, who promptly made the arrangement with the new general, Benaiah, with Nathan the Prophet, and with Zadok the priest, to have Solomon immediately placed upon the king's white mule, as a sign that the king had approved him as his successor. Then he was anointed in the name of the Lord; and forthwith the military salute was given, and the people of the whole city of Jerusalem shouted their joy, "Long live King Solomon." Next in turn, by King David's direction, King Solomon was brought to the throne and publicly crowned.

Adonijah, whose plans seemed to be working thoroughly, was astounded, and so were those with him, when they heard the clamor of the people, blowing of horns, etc., and later learned that it meant that Solomon had been crowned and enthroned. Adonijah feared for his life and fled; and his adherents melted away. Later, however, Solomon sent word to his brother Adonijah, assuring him of peace.

Thus beautifully King David's public career ended, not in an eclipse, but at his zenith, in his full maturity of old age, and in his perpetuation upon the throne in the person of his chosen son. To him may well be applied the poet's words:

"He sets as sets the morning star,
Which goes not down behind the darkened west,
Nor hides obscured amid the tempests of the sky,
But melts away into the light of heaven."
SOLOMON, SON OF PEACE

Solomon's name has come to signify wisdom; but originally, primarily, it meant Peaceful. It surely was a prophecy of his wonderful life, in which was no war.

Solomon was the son of Bathsheba, after she had legally become David's wife. Somehow, not explained, the Lord had revealed to David that Solomon was to be his successor; and David had promised Bathsheba to this effect. Solomon was born at a period when King David's activities as a warrior had very nearly closed and when the great double sin of King David's life and his repentance from it had, we believe, wonderfully moderated and chastened him. His loyalty to God in this serious matter, his earnest prayer for forgiveness and his realization of peace from God, apparently had made a new man of King David. Even though before this he had been loyal to God, he apparently was now still more devoted. The peace which he craved, and which was a mark of Divine forgiveness, may have had something to do with the gentle and thoughtful character of King Solomon, and something also perhaps to do with his name. It may have been given him as signifying that his birth marked peace with God on the part of his parents.

In any event, in Solomon we perceive a different character from that manifested by any of his brethren whose histories are recorded. He partook of his father David's religious disposition more than the others. He was thus highly favored, and really probably more gifted. Truly it is time for us to estimate to what extent [R5701 : page 171] others and ourselves are handicapped or blessed by dispositions and character-traits which we inherit.

Another thing favorable to Solomon would appear to have been the fact that his mother was not of a heathen family, but an Israelite, and therefore more in sympathy with the Divine arrangement, Law, worship, etc., than others of David's wives.

Additionally, the Record seems to show that King David, having in mind a successor to his throne, and perhaps by that time having realized that he had not done his full duty by his other children in allowing them to grow up under the adverse influences of the court, rectified the matter in the case of Solomon while he was still young, leaving him partly in his mother's care, and appointing him as the ward and pupil of the Prophet Nathan. This excellent start in life doubtless had much to do with Solomon's career, which we shall examine in our next Study.

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DIFFERENT PHASES OF THE WORD TEMPTATION

"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth He any man. But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust [desire], and enticed." – James 1:13,14.
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ANY people – and particularly those of oriental countries – have within them a fatalistic tendency; as, for instance, the Mohammedans would be inclined to say respecting any calamity that came upon them, "It is of God," and simply to submit themselves and make no further effort. These people would be inclined to have a similar attitude in respect to sin, and to say, "It is God's will that I should do wrong; and I am not, therefore, blameworthy. If His will is that I should sin, I will sin. If His will is that I should bear the marks of sin, I will bear the marks of sin." This is a grave error. God tempts no man to sin.

It is, of course, quite proper that we should recognize God's hand in His dealings with us and should be very submissive. But the Apostle points out that temptations are not of God, but of one's self. Many Christians are inclined to take the opposite standpoint to that of the Orientals and say, "There are no temptations from God; hence all our temptations are from the Adversary."

But the Apostle James points out that our temptations are the result of our own natural desires and weaknesses. These are stimulated from without – often from our companions and associates in life. All about us there are examples and influences toward evil, in various forms – enticements. These might be charged back primarily to Satan; for all sin entered into the world by him. Satan had to do with the beguilement of our first parents, and so had to do with the introduction of sin. And Satan and his demon hosts now operate, as far as possible, in conjunction with our weaknesses. But this does not clear us of personal responsibility; for none of these have power to coerce our wills. Our responsibility may vary according to the natural strength or weakness of our character. Therefore we are to "judge nothing before the time." It is a matter that God alone can fully judge – as to how much one can overcome.

God's people are to realize, then, that no temptation is of God; and, resisting temptation, they will be on God's side. They are to be overcomers of temptation, resisters of temptation, whether from within, or from the Adversary, or from the weaknesses of others, which might lead them into sin, into things contrary to God's will.

The Apostle says that God tempteth no man. If we should think of God as tempting us to sin, it would be a horrible thought; for by reason of His power, none could resist what He brought to bear upon us, and we would surely be overcome. But when we know that our temptations are not from God, we know that He will help us and will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able to bear; but that He will, with every temptation, provide a way of escape. He will protect us according to His promise, as we need protection and assistance. With this thought in our minds, we can be strong.

HOW GOD TEMPTED ABRAHAM

When we look back to the Old Testament, we read that "God did tempt Abraham," saying, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest,...and offer him for a burnt offering." The question arises, How shall we reconcile this statement, "God did tempt Abraham," with the statement of the Apostle that God "tempteth no man"? The reply is that St. James in our text is limiting the word temptation to temptations to evil. God tempts us to do good. He sets before us the "exceeding great and precious promises," the wonderful [R5702 : page 171] promises He has made to us. They act as magnets drawing us, as we might say. In this sense of the word we are tempted of God. But God does not tempt us to do evil, to commit sin. God tempted Abraham, tested him, not with a view to do him harm, but with a view to doing him good; and because Abraham stood the test, God could accord to him the greater blessings. And He did so! He gave him great blessings in this life, as well as a promise of greater blessings to be his in the life to come, in the resurrection.

The test for Abraham was that he should offer in sacrifice his son Isaac, in whom centered all the promises. By his prompt obedience Abraham gave proof of his loyalty. He accounted that God was able even to raise his son from the dead, that the promises might be fulfilled. (Hebrews 11:18,19.) When his loyalty had thus been tested to the limit, when the knife was raised to slay his son, the Lord through the angel stayed his hand and provided him with a ram for a sacrifice.

WHY GOD CANNOT BE TEMPTED TO EVIL

The further statement of our text is that God cannot Himself be tempted with evil. We inquire how this is. We remember that our Lord Jesus was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners"; but that He "was in all points tempted like as we [His disciples] are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 7:26; 4:15.) If Jesus was thus holy, and fully in accord with the Father, and the Father cannot be tempted, how could Jesus be tempted? We answer, Our Lord was perfect in the flesh, perfect as a human being. But humanity has its limitations of knowledge and of endurance. The human brain and the human body are not adapted to know everything or to bear everything. This is one reason why God does not tell us everything. We must walk by faith. The man who is begotten of the Holy Spirit, and who is able to understand many of the deep things of God, cannot appreciate all of the eternal things; for they are beyond his grasp.

We might take, for illustration, a dog, a very wise dog, capable of carrying out our directions to a considerable extent. Yet if we should try to talk to the dog about trigonometry, or higher mathematics in any form, or about astronomy, he would be – we could not say bewildered, but – unable to understand at all. And so between humanity and God there is a wide gulf. It is [R5702 : page 172] not possible for humanity to grasp all the parts, all the details, of the Divine Plan. Even with the begettal of the Holy Spirit we see things "through a glass darkly," and not face to face, the Apostle tells us. We shall, when perfected on the Divine plane, behold things fully, completely; we shall see from God's standpoint.

OUR LORD'S TEMPTATION

So our Lord Jesus, naturally perfect as a man, at baptism was begotten of the Holy Spirit and became a New Creature; but that New Creature lived in and operated through the human body; and as long as He was in the flesh, Jesus was subject to limitations. He was also surrounded by imperfect beings, their desires, their views, their imperfections. In order to sacrifice the earthly interests, then, He would need much faith. Therefore, He had severe trials of obedience to God, of faith in God. He was not tempted because of sin or weakness; for he had neither sin nor weakness. He was not tempted in the same respects as a natural man would be; for He was not like a natural man – He was spirit-begotten. He was tempted in respect to His obedience to God, in respect to trust in the Father's providential care. And we are tempted in like manner, for our development, that we may faithfully lay down our lives, may gladly give up the things that are seen, that we may attain to the things not seen.

In respect to strength and knowledge, our Lord as a man was evidently different from the Father. The Father could always know at once the good from the evil, and is not weak in any sense of the word – to be tempted by anything – is strong to carry out His own will, having no inclination whatever to sin, but a repugnance to it. Infinite strength dwells in God. Because our Lord Jesus assumed the same attitude toward sin, we read of Him: "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." (Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9.) All of the brethren of the Lord Jesus must take the same stand everywhere regarding sin, and especially sin in ourselves, and the tendency toward sin in us. A continual battle is going on in the Lord's disciples as they endeavor to follow His example.

So then, God tempts no man, neither is He tempted of any, to sin. He cannot be tempted of evil. Evil can have no influence with Him. Our Lord Jesus is now in that condition where He cannot be tempted. He is of the Divine nature, and perfect in power. And so when we shall have reached this same condition by the resurrection "change," we shall likewise not be subject to evil or temptation. We shall have perfect power, and shall be in full accord with that which is right, that which is of God.

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THE FATHER'S WISE COUNSEL

"My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways." – Proverbs 23:26.
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OLOMON, the wise man, had many wives; we may therefore reasonably suppose that he had sons. Yet to suppose that he addressed these words to one of his sons or to each of them in succession would not, in our judgment, seem reasonable; for we can scarcely think that Solomon would wish to call special attention to his own ways – "Let thine eyes behold My ways." He was not always a good pattern for a son to follow. It seems to us that we must look further for the meaning. We remember that Solomon was early granted special wisdom from the Lord, because of his earnest request in that direction just after he had become king. We might understand that he was personating Wisdom, that Wisdom was saying, "My son [whoever desires to be a son of Wisdom], give Me thine heart." Since Wisdom would be only another name for the Creator, we might understand that God is giving an invitation to His sons to give their hearts to Him and observe His ways. This, at all events, seems to be the good lesson that we may gain from this Scripture.
HOW SONSHIP IS LOST OR MAINTAINED

We see that God, who was the Father of our race, gave us our being, made us perfect, at first, in our father Adam. He also gave perfect life and being to the angels, and He wished that all these give their hearts to Him. They were His sons from the time they were created. Lucifer was a son of God. Adam was a son of God. The proper course for a son of God would be to turn himself over entirely to do the will of his Father. But in the case of Lucifer, we find that instead of turning his heart over to the Father, he was self-seeking and attempted to do his own will; and he miserably failed. In the case of some of the angels who kept not their first estate, though they were sons of God they did not give their hearts to the Lord; and they miserably failed. In sinning all these lost their sonship. Only by continued loyalty and obedience can sonship be maintained.

God has arranged that humanity may come back to Him. Likewise we understand that any of the fallen angels who repent may in the great Judgment Day come back into fellowship with God. His message would in due time be, to as many as desire to return to Him, "If you would be My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways."

Not until since the time of the First Advent of our Lord Jesus, had this opportunity of becoming sons of God been given to any of His fallen creatures, and then only to a certain class of the fallen race of Adam. These were called to be sons on the Divine plane of being, an offer never before made by Jehovah to any of mankind. Our Lord Jesus as a Son had wholly given His heart to God. And although when He came to earth this course of loyalty and obedience led by the way of tribulation, it led to glory, honor and immortality. Those who have since then sought to become sons of God, hear the message that the Father will not receive any except those who come through His Son Jesus as their Redeemer, and then make full consecration of themselves to do God's will.

We see that any who have attempted to be people of God and have stopped short of meeting these terms have made a serious mistake, and have not attained that which they wished to attain. We are to hold back nothing. We must yield full allegiance to the arrangements which God has made for our salvation. Our hearts must be brought into this attitude of full consecration, and held there. To those who in loyalty of heart meet all these reasonable requirements of the Lord He says, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." – Rev. 2:10.

GOD'S WAYS AS SHOWN IN NATURE

Those who give their hearts to the Lord are exhorted further to observe His ways. What does this mean? Are we to attempt to do all that we see God do? It is proper [R5703 : page 173] for the Lord to execute judgment and to lay penalties upon those who are out of the way, who need chastisement. Would it be proper for us to judge or condemn in this way? No. It is not ours to condemn, to pass sentence, on any. We may condemn sin, and may disapprove of what appears to be sin in act or word, and may kindly point out what we believe are good reasons for thinking it is sin. We may rebuke in love. But we are very liable to mistakes in such matters; and to condemn a person as unfit for the Lord's family, etc., is not our province. So we are not to follow the Lord's ways in this respect. But we see in the Lord's ways illustrations of His character – His Wisdom, His Justice, His Love, His Power. We note these qualities of His character by observing His ways; and they call forth our admiration and reverence. All God's ways will be ours sometime, but not yet; for we are not like Him, perfect, and not yet in a position of responsibility.

The world does not, perhaps, realize that they are copying the Lord's ways in very much that they are doing in this wonderful day – making force-pumps, engines, dealing with electricity, etc. Very few realize that they are attempting to follow God's ways. For instance, in the human body there is a wonderful mechanism by which the blood is pumped through the arteries and veins and by which the blood is checked. This mechanism is only copied in the best engines in the world. If men had only known how to copy from the nerves of the body, they would have known long ago how to run trunklines by electricity, etc. Any one who will observe God's ways will be much wiser than those who fail to do so. But the world knows not God. The people of God, however, even though they may not be inventors, may gain great blessings by observing God's ways in nature.

Note further the wonderful and superior wisdom manifested in the human body – a machine run with a very small amount of supply, which it takes at intervals and by which it is enabled to keep up the energies of life and its strength. And consider the horse. The amount of oats and hay that the horse will eat is comparatively small, yet the amount of energy and strength this will produce is wonderful. But with the human being there goes with this strength and activity an intelligence, a power to think and reason, which is very wonderful, and the more we examine it the more wonderful we find it.

GOD'S WAYS AS SEEN IN HIS WORD

When we become sons of God and begin to observe His ways, we begin to get faith, knowledge, the spirit of obedience, more devotion to God. All who are sons of God will study His ways. We especially learn of His ways from the study of His Word. This does not mean merely reading or memorizing the Bible. There are people who can quote whole chapters or books of the Bible, and yet do not understand what they read. In thinking that in the reading of so many chapters we are doing a meritorious thing we are mistaken. It is not the mere reading of the Bible that is helpful to the Lord's people, but with it the renewing and strengthening power working in us to will and to do His good pleasure.

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THE CLASS TO BE HONORED BY THE LORD

"Them that honor Me, I will honor." – 1 Samuel 2:30.
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HE words of our text are found in conjunction with the story of Eli and his family. Eli was God's representative in a very special sense – a priest and a judge of Israel. Eli's sons were also priests; yet they seem to have been egregiously wrong in their course of conduct, living in licentiousness, favoring injustice, taking advantage of their own position and that of their father to do violence to the principles of righteousness. Eli was reproved of the Lord because he did not maintain a proper control over his sons and prevent their doing the things that were unjust, unrighteous, contrary to God's will and a disgrace both to His Cause and to their priestly profession. These words of reproof were uttered to Eli, through the boy Samuel, as an indication of what was God's mind and to show him why the honor that had been given to him and his family would be taken away. The Lord's view of the matter is shown in the words of our text, "Them that honor Me, I will honor."
RESISTING THE PROUD, GIVING GRACE TO THE HUMBLE

We believe that this is a principle that holds good always. Now, today, those who are seeking to honor God He will be sure to honor. Those who are seeking merely self-honor may obtain some of that honor, may glorify themselves to a certain extent; but it will not be the Lord that will glorify them. In the service of His Cause, His Truth, they will not be honored by Him. "The Lord resisteth the proud, and giveth grace [favor] to the humble." The way to honor God is to seek to know His will and to do it from sincere hearts, to have God first in all our affairs, to show forth His praises. We are to never mind ourselves, our own honor. We are to serve in accordance with the principles which the Lord is promoting. To seek the glory of God is the proper course for us who are His children and whom He has blessed.

It might seem as if our text is in conflict in some sense with the words of our Lord, "Love your enemies." When we come to analyze the text carefully, we perceive that although the Lord says that He will honor them that honor Him, and declares, "They that seek Me early shall find Me," yet He does not say that He will do harm to those who do not love Him and honor Him. On the contrary, the Lord's provision is so comprehensive as to include "all the families of the earth." God thus loves those who are His enemies – loves them to the extent of providing a Sacrifice for them and a reconciliation with Himself. But He does not honor His enemies.

HATING THE SIN, LOVING THE SINNER

We may well believe that God loves those especially who seek to do His will. We are commanded to love our enemies, but this does not mean that we are to love our enemies in the same way that we love the members of the Body of Christ. The difference is that we would love our enemies with a sympathetic love, while we would love our brethren in Christ with a holy love, a love of kinship, of comradeship. Sin is not lovely to God; or to any one else who is in relationship with God and is possessed of His Spirit. Sin is a deformity, an enormity, displeasing to the mind, the Spirit, of God. But God has a sympathetic love for the sinner; and He wishes us to have the same, to be ready to do good to those who would do us injury, who would treat us unkindly, who would persecute us. We are thus to be imitators of God.

God has been pleased to choose certain ones of the human family to be His ambassadors. Instead of speaking to humanity directly, the Lord speaks through these representatives, His children. These are the ones He will be pleased to honor, to make His representatives – these who seek to do His will, who are loyal to His Word. Would God choose ambassadors who would not properly [R5703 : page 174] represent Him? Surely not! We, His children, can enter into the spirit of the Lord's testimony here; and it is for us, therefore, to seek to honor Him by showing forth His praises to others, both by proclaiming the pure Message of Truth and by our exemplary lives, that we may have His blessing now and may have the great honor that He has promised His faithful in the Kingdom, so near at hand.

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THE SIN OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY

"Everyone that is proud of heart is an abomination to the Lord." – Proverbs 16:5.
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RIDE would seem to be an inordinate and excessive amount of self-esteem or self-conceit. Everyone should have a reasonable amount of self-appreciation, to the extent that he would be able to know what powers he really has, so that he will not be negligent in the use of these. The feeling that would lead one to think he had no ability when he had ability would be an injurious kind of humility, an excessive humility. There are, indeed, differences of talents – some having a larger number and more valuable talents than others. These are to be esteemed and appreciated, but they are not to be a matter of pride.

Some use the word pride incorrectly. They say "I am proud of my family," when they mean, "I rejoice in my family," or, "I am very pleased with my family – I am glad that my family is what it is." To have an inordinate prejudice that would appreciate everything done by one's family or one's friends and depreciate everything done by the family or the friends of another would be wrong. There is no excuse for pride – and especially none for self-conceit. It is generally due to ignorance; although, of course, when due to ignorance, it is the more excusable.

The pride mentioned in our text is not due to ignorance. It is too great an appreciation of self. All such pride, the Lord tells us, is an abomination in His sight. This is not merely that God does not like it, but that there must be a reason why He abhors it. No creature has any real cause for pride. As the Apostle asks, "What have we that we have not received from the Lord?" We have absolutely nothing. If we had ten talents instead of one, our ability would be nothing to be proud of; we did not produce these talents. On the contrary, they were given to us. But to display the talents or to boast about them would show that we thought they were our own, and that we were proud because of our possession of them.

No man has a right to be proud because of receiving something from another. To that extent he is a debtor, a recipient. In the case of humanity, we are all recipients of the Father's favor. All of the blessings of life – both temporal and spiritual – are of Divine provision for us. And if we have many of these blessings, there is still no occasion for pride. Pride implies a self-sufficiency.

The Scriptures represent Satan as saying that he would like to have an opportunity of displaying his wisdom, his ability. He was confident that he could do something. He did not realize that everything that he had received came from God, and that the one blessed could not rise higher than the Fountain of Blessing. He did not realize that his wisdom and powers were inferior to those of God. Hence, Satan became a transgressor.

We may be sure that if the Lord's people cultivate any heart pride, they have thus a sign that they are not right in the sight of God. Even before they become the Lord's people He has assured them that if they are of a proud heart He will not receive such into His family, will not beget them of the Holy Spirit. Humility is the essential of all who would be of the Lord's family. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." – 1 Peter 5:6; Matthew 23:12.

PRIDE LEADING TO DESTRUCTION

Yet there is a spirit of pride in the world. Some are proud of their ancestors; others are proud of their talents, etc. It would not be good that God should bless those who have any other than a grateful feeling of being a recipient of Divine blessing. In fact, the Time of Trouble that is just upon us is the result of pride. All people seem to be proud. We may not be able to judge of the heart, but we do know of their attitude – their feeling of self-sufficiency. Each nation feels that theirs is the greatest talent, theirs are the finest guns, theirs the best everything; and it is this feeling of self-sufficiency that led the nations into the present conflict. Some of them express themselves as trusting that the Lord is on their side. They think that the Lord has always favored them – they are so good and so great that God could not help giving them the victory; and under these delusions they have gotten into this great war.

In respect to this great war and all the troubles that will ensue the Scriptures say, "The proud, yea, all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." (Malachi 4:1.) Pride leads into all sorts of mischief. Before the Millennium is over, God will see to it that there will not be a root of pride in the whole earth. So at the end of the Millennium there will be no pride amongst the inhabitants of the earth, but there will be an appreciation of God and of what He has done for mankind. There will be a spirit of thankfulness, gratitude, just as we believe it is in Heaven.

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INTERESTING LETTERS
SERIOUS FAULTS NEEDING CORRECTION
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

For quite a while I have been desirous of writing to you of some matters which happen in some classes, yet I have not had the courage to do so for fear I might be in error. The matter, however, has come to my attention so often, and it seems to be so injurious to the Lord's cause, that I am impelled to drop a few lines, asking your pardon for whatever may seem to you as bad judgment on my part.

Some good brethren are elected as Elders; they are zealous to do the Lord's will. Berean meetings are tendered them and accepted. Some of these dear brethren seem to get the thought that it is important to "feed" outsiders, but not so important to "feed the flock of God." So often when one comes to a Berean meeting, the leader will say as he opens the meeting, "Dear friends, I am sorry to say that I have not looked over the lesson," or, "I was so busy doing thus and so that I do not know where the lesson begins." Often I have heard this remark by leaders: "The class is pretty well posted on these things, and it does not make much difference whether I know much about it or not."

This thought seems to make them careless and indifferent. It seems to be so distressing to have a good-sized class and then hear the leader make such remarks of ignorance. What is the result? The meeting opens; a question is asked. Brother A. gives his view, then Brother B., then Brother C., then Sister D., etc. The views apparently conflict. A brother who thinks he knows all about it, says, "That is all wrong: it is thus and so"; then some more discussion follows; then the same brother again jumps up and says, "That is not right." The leader is embarrassed, and not having studied his lesson dares not say a word, and finally the question is passed by without any definite decision.

I notice that in some meetings some of the dear friends who are backward go home without opening their mouths, because they are not encouraged. Some who are well up are called upon to do all the talking, and sometimes the class has to sit and listen to a little debate between three or four.

Another matter: While it has been mentioned so many times in THE WATCH TOWER nevertheless some leaders, as well as the class, when they begin the lesson, have the question book in one hand and the STUDIES in the other. Since much reading is done, discussion is shut out, with the occasional remark, "It is so plain in the STUDIES that discussion is hardly necessary."

If these thoughts I have brought to your attention are out of the way, Brother Russell, kindly throw the letter in your waste basket. Nevertheless, until then, it shall be my earnest prayer to the Lord that something may drop from your guided pen which may correct these conditions and help the dear brother Elders to realize their responsibility in this branch of the Lord's service – feeding of the flock.

I daily remember you in my prayers, wishing God's comfort and strength in your trials and joys. With warm love,

Your Brother in the one Hope,

__________.

[If brethren chosen to be Elders are found incapable, it [R5704 : page 175] is the duty of the Class to elect others – perhaps some of less ability, who, by study, will be more helpful. A good leader is not the one who talks too much, but the one who, by coaching the diffident, will help them to the correct expression; or who, if the expressions are in his judgment incorrect, will very kindly suggest the proper thought without particularly calling attention to the mistaken views that have been presented – backing up his own expression with Scripture citations and citations from the "STUDIES."]

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FOUND "THE SATISFYING PORTION"
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST: –

At our recent election we, wishing to manifest our approval and appreciation of your pastoral care over us, through the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, THE WATCH TOWER and visits of the Pilgrim brethren, unanimously elected you as our Pastor until such time as your services this side the veil shall have terminated.

It may never be possible for you to be personally present to look after our interests, but realizing that the Lord has so wonderfully blessed us through you, through the above-mentioned channels, we cannot do less in showing our appreciation of His tender watch care over us, than to acknowledge in the way we have the channel through which those blessings have flowed.

Words fail when we would express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His full and complete provision for His Very Elect!

When we stop to consider that many of us searched for years before we found the "satisfying portion," when we consider that the vast majority of the professed ministers of Christ are unfaithful shepherds of the flock – "wolves in sheep's clothing" (Jeremiah 23:1-4), and that we despaired of ever finding the Truth because of the extent of the "famine" resulting from their unfaithfulness (Jude 12), we have cause for great rejoicing and thanksgiving that the Lord has raised up faithful shepherds who are not ruling with force and cruelty, but are feeding us in the green pastures of Truth and Love, free from all fear, undismayed and lacking nothing.

We esteem you very highly for your work's sake and fear we can never repay the debt of love we owe you. We assure you of our continually petitioning the Throne of Heavenly Grace for needed wisdom and strength to assist you from day to day, defending your character when "all manner of evil is spoken against you falsely for Christ's sake," as we have opportunity, and defending those principles of truth and righteousness which to your own heart are more precious than life itself.

Your brethren in Christ,

TWIN FALLS ECCLESIA. – Idaho.

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A JOYFUL EXPERIENCE
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

An experience which we recently had so filled our hearts with joy, it seems we must extend the blessing to you:

A sister requested me to go to the depot with her to distribute literature to passengers awaiting trains. I replied "Yes," but no sooner had the answer left my lips than various suggestions of the opposite spirit came to me. As we neared the station I felt "faint," but the thought of our prayer meeting text, "I keep my body under," came to me and I was glad for an opportunity to overcome. Everyone received the papers with a smile or a "Thank you," which encouraged me. [R5705 : page 175]

I suggested that we go to the cemetery and leave "Where Are the Dead?" and "What Is the Soul?" in the open mausoleums, which we did. On the car we noticed a young man reading his Bible and left a paper for him. We had not gone far into the cemetery when we heard someone call, and found it was the young man coming, tract in hand. We had thought him a Training School student and expected a "lecture," but he asked if we were associated with the I.B.S.A., saying he had been trying to find our meeting place, and had wired the Head Office for information. Then we learned that a relative of his had taken home a tract from a public lecture, through which he had sent for STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, had read these, and started out to identify himself with a class.

We invited him to our home and to the evening meeting, from which a brother invited him home for the night. The following day he symbolized his consecration.

Our cup of blessing was running over! I was so happy that for a time I could not pray, but could think only of the Scripture, "In everything give thanks," thanks, THANKS! Had given out hundreds of tracts, but never had been so filled with the Spirit nor received such "wages."

We never cease praying the Lord's richest blessings for you, hoping soon we shall meet in the Kingdom.

It was from our dear Brother Rutherford that I received the first message of Truth over four years ago.

Your sister by His grace,

MRS. E. L. BENNETT. – New York.

INFIDEL THANKS GOD FOR PASTOR RUSSELL
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL: –

It is with pleasure I take this opportunity to write and thank you for the comfort I have received from your STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. I will thank God for them as long as I have breath. I appreciate better than I can express the good work you are doing. I know that the Lord will reward you abundantly.

Although some of the preachers may try to paint you blacker than Satan, any man with a grain of common sense can see through their game. I am only a working-man with a limited education, and from what good I have received from your writings, I would be willing to stake life itself that you are not what your enemies paint you.

They say you are making infidels. We can thank God for such infidels (?). The sooner people get knocked off the creedal foundations, the sooner they will begin to build upon something solid, something reasonable.

I can say with positiveness that I know Pastor Russell's teachings are making Christians out of infidels, for I was an out-and-out infidel up to a few months ago. I feel that I would have remained so if I had not come in contact with the writings of Pastor Russell.

It was quite a few years ago that I made up my mind that death ended all, and that one would better get all he can out of life. But thanks be to God my eyes have at last been opened through the good Pastor of New York. I am now determined to do what I can to assist in spreading the Truth.

I should like some tracts that would assist evolutionists and Jews to an appreciation of the true doctrines of the Bible.

Brother Sargent, of Halifax, and Sister Mason, of the States, are doing a good work here. Please remember me in prayer.

Yours to win Christ,

J. A. TAYLOR. – Nova Scotia.

PROFITABLE BEREAN STUDIES
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

I have noticed in this and other parts of the country that some of the brethren leading Berean Studies seem to be under the impression that they are supposed to do a good deal of talking. Now, for the leader of a study to give a five-minute discourse on every question or remark is surely a mistake; rather he should see that his place is to see that the study is conducted in an orderly manner, endeavor to get expressions from as many as possible, and then with his own brief comment close the question.

Sometimes I have noticed, too, that there may be a brother in a class who has a good deal more ability than have the remainder. He will comment at length on every question and remark. Would it not be wiser for such a one to control his zeal that others not so able may feel more free to express their thoughts? We say sometimes that "brevity is the soul of wit." Brevity in our Berean Studies might be helpful all around. With much Christian love,

Yours in our Lord,

F. H. HARRISON.
ANSWER TO ABOVE.

[We agree that a leader of a Berean Class, to be most helpful, should draw the answers from the Class – otherwise the brethren might nearly as well each read for himself at home. We have endeavored to give this thought in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. VI. We cannot, however, agree with the writer above that the leader's comments should always be very brief. There might be questions which the most skillful leader would not be able properly to draw answers from the Class. In such cases, after doing one's best, the proper course would be for the leader to answer the question very thoroughly, but in as brief form as possible. Indeed, all of the answers or suggestions should be brief and to the point. Any one addicted to the habit of long talks on every question should be kindly reminded of proprieties by the leader in a private way at first, but, if necessary, in a kindly way before the Class. If he still persists, an alternative would be to ask the questions of different members of the Class by name, giving only a fair opportunity, and to avoid calling for general answers. This, however, is not desirable if it can be avoided.]

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page 177
June 1st

ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

VOL. XXXVIJUNE 15No. 12
A. D. 1915 – A.M. 6043
CONTENTS
Conquest of the Antitypical Canaanites 179
Christians to be Non-Resistant 179
Battle of Spiritual Israel Today 181
Courage in this "Hour of Temptation" 181
Prayer – Its Use and Abuse 182
"Abide in Me and I in You" 182
Blessings Easily Gained not Appreciated 182
Evidences of Possession of the Holy Spirit 184
The Source of True Promotion 185
Putting Down and Setting Up in the Church 186
"Ask What I Shall Give Thee" 187
Are Dreams Significant? 188
Dedicating the Temple 188
Preparation of the Living Stones 189
Work of the Glorified Church 189
How We Are to Wait on the Lord 190
Traits Necessary to Success 190
An Interesting Letter 191
Colporteuring in Office Buildings 191

'I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me.' Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. – Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 178

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION
T
HIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.

Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.

This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated, – Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (I Pet. 1:19; I Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (I Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to – "Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God" – "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed." – Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken; – according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God" – peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age – ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him. – 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium. – Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time." – Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir. – 1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age. – Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom – the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church. – Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.

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[R5705 : page 179]

OUR CONQUEST OF THE ANTITYPICAL CANAANITES

"Be thou strong and very courageous." – Joshua 1:7.
J
OSHUA records these words of Jehovah God, spoken to him at the time when, after Moses' death, he took command of Israel. The Israelites had then had their forty years' experience in the wilderness, and were just about to cross the Jordan and take possession of the land of Canaan. Joshua had become Moses' successor. The people had learned many lessons in their wilderness experiences; and now that Moses was dead, they looked to Joshua as their leader.

Joshua expressed his inability to serve in the place of Moses, through whom God had signally manifested Himself. But the Lord assured Joshua that He would bless him all the days of his life, even as He had blessed Moses. Joshua had been found faithful in all his experiences. He was one of the two survivors of the wilderness experiences who, when starting out from Egypt, were over twenty years of age. Because of the faithfulness of Joshua and Caleb, the Lord had promised them that they alone of all the adults who left Egypt should enter the Promised Land. The others had died in the wilderness, save Moses and Aaron, Aaron dying in Mount Hor and Moses a little later in Mount Nebo, before the people crossed over Jordan.

The Lord's exhortation for Joshua to be strong and very courageous was in connection with the instruction that the Israelites were to take possession of the land of Canaan and destroy the inhabitants of the land. This command of God has been a stumbling-block to many. They have supposed that the Bible could not be of God when it bears such instructions. They have felt that it would be an act of injustice for the Israelites to go in and possess Canaan. What right, they say, had Israel to kill those people and take possession of their land? It belonged more to the people who already possessed it than to anybody else. To invade their country, destroy their lives and confiscate their lands and their possessions would be very unjust. The course of Israel is held up as an illustration of the "land-grabbing" disposition of the natural man, which has seemed to grow stronger century by century, notwithstanding the increase of civilization and his professed appreciation of justice.

This is the view that many take, and much to their own injury; for they do not understand the matter they discuss. When we say that they do not understand the matter, we do not mean that they are people of inferior mind, but that they have not taken God's viewpoint. From any other than the right viewpoint, the whole course of Israel in this matter must seem to be unjust and ungodlike. From the right viewpoint, however, the matter is seen to be reasonable, just and righteous altogether. The sins and abominations of these Gentile people were such that their destruction was a very desirable thing. God had a great surprise in mind for this land of Canaan, which they inhabited. Moreover, the Jewish Age was an Age of Types. Both Israel and these corrupt Gentile nations were typical. [R5706 : page 179]

CHRISTIANS TO BE NON-RESISTANT

In the present Age, the Lord's people are not to take possession of either the persons or the property of others. They are not to destroy life under any circumstances. They are not to battle with any kind of carnal weapons. They are to be non-resistant. We are not of those who would defend the course of the professed Christian nations of modern times along these lines. As Christians, guided by our Master's example and instruction, we should seek to do good to all men as we have opportunity, and to leave them in peaceable possession of their homes, their property and their liberties. There is a great difference between the Divine Law of Love, which is the motive power operating in the true children of God today, and the law of selfishness, under which the masses of mankind – including the vast majority of nominal Christendom – still operate, and will continue to operate until the New Dispensation shall be fully ushered in by Divine Power.

Nevertheless, seeing that the true Church is separate from the world in the Lord's Plan and His dealings, we can look with comparative equanimity upon the overriding of justice and equity by the kingdoms of this world, and may realize that the Lord, especially at the present time, is taking advantage of their natural disposition toward warfare and conquest and empire-building. He will cause the wrath of man thus to work out certain features of His Plan which will prove later on to be for the blessing of the whole world, those now in their graves as well as those yet living.

Not being able to see behind the veil into all the gracious purposes of our Heavenly Father, and not being wise enough to know how these purposes could be carried out, the peoples of the earth are groping on in darkness, thinking they are managing their own affairs, not knowing that a [R5706 : page 180] Mighty Hand is so directing the affairs of nations that His own glorious designs shall be outworked in all things, not knowing that nothing can thwart His purposes. The Lord's people occupy largely the position of spectators in respect to the course of this world – its policies, politics, conquests, its frantic efforts to carry out its selfish projects. – John 17:16.

Were we to take a hand in the affairs of the world, on either side of the great questions with which they are grappling, we would surely be working contrary to the Divine Program. The Lord does not purpose to give the victory now to either party in the strife. We are to be separate from the world and to give our thought and attention, our sympathy and interest, to the affairs of the Heavenly Kingdom; and while our voices, if ever raised at all on such questions, should be raised on behalf of justice, mercy and peace, yet we can view with great composure whatever events and changes may take place in the world, knowing that our Heavenly Father has all power to overrule these matters to His own praise and to the ultimate good of mankind.

A RETROSPECTIVE VIEW

But the world tells us that we are too peaceable. They say that mankind could not get along without a certain amount of warfare. We answer that no one can understand God's methods except as he is guided by His Word, by the Spirit of the Truth. God's dealings are different in different ages and for different purposes. These seemingly conflicting presentations of God's will are perfectly reasonable and harmonizable from the proper viewpoint.

Let us see. Back in Eden, the sentence, "Dying thou shalt die," was pronounced upon Adam because of wilful disobedience to the Divine instruction that a violation of God's command would bring death. After the fall, mankind gradually became more and more estranged from the Lord. Many of the angels, who then had access to earth with powers of materialization, fell from their holy estate. Mankind became a prey to these angels who "lusted after strange flesh." (Genesis 6:1-4; Jude 6,7; 2 Peter 2:4, Diaglott.) This condition of things was finally overthrown by the great Deluge of Noah's day.

But in time the world again became very sinful. Then God made selection of one man from amongst mankind; namely, Abraham. He promised that if Abraham would walk in His ways, He would guide Abraham's affairs to his good and make of him a great nation and would bless his seed. And so we have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as God's special servants. The descendants of Jacob, God took into covenant relationship with Himself during the days of Moses. Under Moses as their mediator, God promised to be their God and to recognize them as His people. If they would be loyal to Him, He would bless them. If they should be disloyal to Him and go over to the idolatry of the neighboring nations, then He would punish them for their sins and give them chastisements; but He would not forsake them.

The peoples of Canaan were in a very degraded condition morally. They had progressed so far in sin that it was no longer advantageous that they should continue in possession of Canaan. The Israelites were to drive out these peoples – and they were to be destroyed when necessary. There were certain nations which God especially commanded Israel to utterly destroy. – Deuteronomy 20:10-18.

When thinking of this command of God, we are to rid our minds of the superstitions of the past. These people who were to be slain did not go into eternal torment, but into death, into Sheol, Hades, the tomb. This would be an unconscious sleep. Those who perished by the sword are still asleep; they are not in pain, not in anguish of any kind. They are merely cut off from life until the general awakening time; for God has made a provision whereby those people may return to life, may be called forth from their sleep. All the blessings of everlasting life God has made provision for through Messiah. Messiah is to have a Kingdom; and this Kingdom is to rule the world in righteousness (see Psalms 96, 97, and 72), blessing not only the living, but also those who have fallen asleep in death. (Isaiah 25:6-9; Hosea 13:14; Romans 14:9; 8:20,21, Diaglott.) Many Scriptures declare this in unmistakable terms. Indeed this is the tenor of the entire Word of God. The Divine Plan runs like a golden chain through the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments.

This great Messiah, who is yet to bless all the race of Adam, must needs be their Redeemer, and thus the Owner and Deliverer of the people, as the Scriptures declare. Through His sacrifice for man He has obtained the "keys of Hades and of death," as He tells us. (Revelation 1:18.) He gave His life as the offset to Father Adam's life. This purchase price has not as yet been applied for the world in general, but will be applied, we believe, in the very near future. The Millennial Kingdom of Christ is for the very purpose of giving all of Adam's children, not previously enlightened, as well as Adam himself, a full opportunity for everlasting life, after having had experience in the nature and results of sin.

From this broad viewpoint, we see that with these peoples of ancient Palestine – the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, etc. – it was a blessing that they died at the time they did. Vile and debased in morals, they were no benefit to themselves or to others. It was all the same whether they died by some kind of disease – consumption, pneumonia, cholera – or in some other manner.

Should any one ask, Why did God choose to have these ancient peoples die in battle instead of by disease? The answer is that the peoples inhabiting the land would be a constant menace to the morals of the people of Israel. They were not only idolatrous, but practised licentious rites, divination, etc. Furthermore, God purposed that the land should be put to a far different use. He had a great Plan, in which it was His design that Canaan should play an important part. The land and its inhabitants were to be typical of God's dealings with Spiritual Israel in the Gospel Age. The type in which the land of Canaan was designed of God to figure could not be carried out without the expulsion of these heathen, or their destruction.

SPIRITUAL ISRAEL EXPELLING THE CANAANITES

Is it asked what type was here shown? We believe that the expulsion and destruction of these sinful nations by Israel was a type of how the people of God today, Spiritual Israel, are to take possession of their human bodies. We are, as New Creatures, to conquer, to destroy, these tendencies of the flesh which would enslave us. If we do not overcome and destroy them, they will overcome and destroy us. We are to vanquish the evil propensities, evil habits, vices, thoughts, desires, which have inhabited our minds, and are by our new wills to take entire control and fill the place of the former occupants with holy, pure thoughts, desires, ambitions, purposes, habits.

These human bodies are now the property and possession of the Spiritual Israelites, the New Creatures in Christ. There is to be no peace between the New Creature and his flesh. We are to take warning from Natural Israel in this respect. Failure on their part to drive out [R5706 : page 181] and destroy their enemies completely, as God commanded, was a source of constant trouble and ensnarement, and a cause of much idolatry and sin to Israel. And their experiences "were written for our admonition." Our warfare against spiritual foes must result in the utter destruction of the fleshly mind, and will also mean the death of the human body.

This warfare of Israel against their enemies may also be a picture of conditions in the Millennium. During the Millennial Age the world, under the guidance of Christ and the Church, will be brought into a condition which will fit them to have possession of the whole earth. Satan will be bound for a thousand years. Sin and the curse of Adamic death now resting on the world will be destroyed, together with everything contrary to righteousness. All [R5707 : page 181] these things belong to the reign of that "strong man" who has so long oppressed the world. Christ, the Antitype of Joshua, will then be in control, and will show man how to exterminate these things of sin and thus eventually come into possession of the earth, the Eden of God, and each man be a king, a sovereign.

While the Natural Israelite was to be a man of battle and to take possession of the land of the enemy, we are not to see in this fact anything that was not in it. For instance, it was not the Israelites who were to say that they would go up and possess the land of Canaan. It was God Himself who was to give them possession. Nor are we to think that God was negligent of the real interests of these Gentile peoples. He declares that their iniquity had come to the full. It was no longer profitable at that time that their lives should be prolonged. Thus we see that justice was not infringed upon in giving the Israelites that land for an everlasting possession. This had been previously foretold by the Lord; but the testimony of the Lord, at the time the promise was made, was that it would not then be an appropriate time for its fulfilment, but that there should first be a dark time, until the iniquity of those nations had come to the full.

BATTLE OF SPIRITUAL ISRAEL TODAY

Coming down to the Gospel Age, we see that the Spiritual Israelites have had a great conflict. It is a warfare against the whole world – no warfare so mighty and so momentous has ever been waged. Yet the conflict fought by the Lord Jesus and His followers has not been a fight with guns or other carnal weapons. We have today millions of people in great camps intent upon destroying one another. They are being goaded on by their rulers. There may be here and there a Christian among them, one who has truly given his heart to God; but these are the exceptions. The great mass of the world acknowledge that they have taken no such step as consecration to the Lord. Yet they are instructed by their rulers that they are God's people and are fighting His battles.

According to the Bible, only the saintly, only those who have taken the specific steps laid down by the Master for His disciples, are Christians at all. All others professing to be Christians are merely imitations – "tares." Through a study of the lives of saints of olden time true Christians are enabled to see more clearly the mind of God, the will of God, for themselves. They gain from the lives of Moses, Joshua, the Prophets, and other faithful ones of past ages lessons of faith, of courage, of zeal. They are instructed that all these Scriptural records are meant as types and as admonitions for the Gospel Church; and they are thereby warned, strengthened and encouraged.

The Lord's people should not feel strong in themselves nor boastful, but, on the contrary, very humble and very insufficient – just as Joshua did. All of God's children are to realize their insufficiency in their own strength. They should feel that God has called them to a great work, and that they would make an utter failure unless the Lord gives His blessing. They are to look to the Lord and to receive His promises into good and honest hearts, believing that these promises are theirs, so long as they are loyal and true to Him. Thus doing, they may be strong, very strong; they may be very courageous.

SHINING EXAMPLES OF THE PAST

We have noted the courage of our Lord Jesus Himself, with a whole nation against Him! It has been thus with all His faithful followers – most of them the poor of this world, who have had very little wealth or influence or honor of men. The true people of God throughout the Gospel Age have been a humble class, yet they have been very strong and courageous. The people in the days of the Apostles "took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus" and had learned of Him. Those disciples of Jesus had seen His readiness to lay down His life in the Father's service. They had seen His courage when He was facing death of the most cruel kind, when He said, "The cup which My Father hath poured for Me, shall I not drink it?" And so we who have followed the Master since then have taken note of the spirit which our dear Lord manifested at all times, under the most trying and crucial experiences; and it has proven a wonderful inspiration to us.

The faithful ones have all along as a rule been little known in the world. They have not usually been of the great, the learned, the rich. In the past there may have been some prominent ones, some of noble birth, who were saints of God, living up to what light they had in their time; but they were the exceptions. We know that there have been many true saints who have lived quiet, uneventful lives, yet who have seemed to live up to all the light they possessed and to walk with God until they fell asleep in death. The world has generally ignored these saints of God, even when they were not actively persecuted. We cannot surely know who are entirely loyal and sincere at heart; but we may be sure that "the Lord knoweth them that are His." – 2 Timothy 2:19.

COURAGE IN THIS "HOUR OF TEMPTATION"

Coming down to our own day, there never was a time when more strength of character and more courage were needed than just now. The iniquities of the whole world, and especially of so-called Christendom, have now about come to the full; and all present governments are about to be swept away, to make room for the glorious Kingdom of God under the whole heavens – the glorious Reign of the King of kings. All the ecclesiastical systems of today, calling themselves the Church of Christ, are arrayed on the side of error and are battling against the Truth and its advocates. So we need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Whoever starts out to battle in his own strength against this stronghold of error will be sure to be defeated. But if he goes in the strength of the Lord of Hosts, and has Divine direction as to what he shall do or say, he may well be of good courage. Many earnest hearts are now asking for the Bread of Life, they are captives in Babylon or are famishing out in the "field," the world. These need our assistance.

Our strength will be tried – our hold upon God and upon the Truth, and our courage in defending the Truth. These will surely be put to the test; for Babylon is opposing our way. God will not have any in the Kingdom who [R5707 : page 182] have not faithfully endured. Yet in meekness let us seek to instruct those who oppose themselves to the Word of the Lord; and let us look for the hungry and thirsty ones.

We do not know in what form some of our trials and tribulations will come. But we who are living in this "evil day," yea, in the very close of this day – in the final "hour of temptation" – surely need to have on the whole armor of God. We need to have our loins girt about with Truth; we need the helmet to protect our minds, our intellects, from the shafts of error; we need the breastplate of righteousness; we need the Sword of the Spirit – the broad two-edged Sword; we need the sandals of "preparation of the Gospel of Peace." We need all these to overcome the Canaanites in our own breast, and to overcome all the surrounding obstacles.

Thus armored and furnished, we may indeed come off "more than conquerors" in the great conflict, which is daily increasing. We shall conquer "through Him who loved us and bought us with His own precious blood." Let the promise of the Master be our daily inspiration: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne."

"Arise, then, O Army of Gideon!
Let him that is fearful return;
Jehovah wants only the zealous,
Whose hearts with the love of Truth burn!

"Your sword is the 'Sword of the Spirit';
Your lamp is the light from His Word;
Your pitcher, this poor earthen vessel
You break at the voice of your Lord.

"Is your light burning bright in your pitcher?
Doth your trumpet give forth certain sound?
Soon the Sword of the Lord and of Gideon
The enemy's host will confound.

"For sure is the victory promised,
And great is the peace He awards;
Then 'stand' in your place, all ye faithful –
The battle's not yours, but the Lord's!"

[R5707 : page 182]

PRAYER – ITS USE AND ABUSE

"And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint." "Pray without ceasing." – Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
I
N THE first text under consideration, we see that our Lord used a parable to point out the lessons He designed to give. A parable is a word-picture designed to illustrate some truth, but is not necessarily a statement of facts. On the contrary, it seems very rarely to be a statement of facts, but is merely a suppositionary case. More than this, in a parable the thing said is never the thing meant, literally. The wheat and the tares of one of Jesus' parables were not literal wheat and tares, but were the children of the Kingdom and the children of the Adversary. So the parable here is of an unjust judge, who had no appreciation of justice. Notwithstanding [R5708 : page 182] this, a poor widow came to him again and again importuning for help. To get rid of her he finally gave her the relief desired.

The Lord uses this parable as an illustration of our coming to the Heavenly Father – not that the Heavenly Father is an unjust Judge nor that the Church is a widow, but that the parable is merely an illustration of the reward of importunity in prayer. The woman's persistency in continually coming to the judge illustrated what Jesus wished to emphasize. In concluding the parable, He says that if an unjust judge would grant this poor widow her petition because of her continued asking, what might we expect of our Heavenly Father? When His children cry unto Him day and night, He is sure to hear their prayers. This implies that the prayers are proper ones for the Lord to answer. We cannot think that God would do anything but that which is just and right and proper, and in harmony with this thought the instruction to the Lord's people is that in coming to the Lord in prayer we should make sure that we ask only for the things pleasing to Him. Therefore Christians who live near to God are the best qualified to offer prayer that would be acceptable and would be answered.

"ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU"

Our Lord Jesus was thoroughly informed regarding proper prayer. We have His own testimony, "I know that thou hearest Me always." He never had a refusal, because he always asked the things in harmony with the Father's will. There must be two conditions met in order that our prayers may be answered. We must first have accepted Jesus as our Savior, and then have made a consecration to God in His appointed way. These steps must both be taken before we can be in Christ at all. When accepted of the Heavenly Father in Christ Jesus, we become New Creatures in Him. It is to the New Creature that all God's promises apply. Whoever has not become a New Creature by being begotten of the Holy Spirit is outside of all these promises – but not outside of hope; for we see that, in God's Plan, there is a broad hope for all the world. But in this "acceptable time," none can offer acceptable prayer except in this special appointed way.

There is but one sheep-fold in the present time. Only those who are in this fold are in God's favor. These have a right to pray. But there is a second consideration, after consecration has been made; namely, Are these abiding in Christ or are they going out of harmony with Him? God's Word must abide in us – not merely that we should once have read the Bible through, or that we read so many verses or chapters each day – but the Word must remain in us, its teachings and principles must be assimilated and incorporated into our lives. Thus we shall be able to see what God's mind is, what is pleasing to Him, what we should ask for and what we should not ask for, under His terms. All who thus abide in Christ, and in whom His Word abides, may ask "what they will." They may ask anything that is guaranteed in God's Word, and this means that they may ask whatsoever they will; for His Word dwells in them richly, and they would not think of asking anything not authorized therein.

BLESSINGS EASILY GAINED NOT APPRECIATED

Our lesson teaches continuity in prayer – not merely that we pray once, and then say, "I have prayed about this matter, and now I will leave it." But the question may arise, "Why continue to ask? God knows every need. Why not leave the entire matter with Him?" The Scriptures seem to answer this question by showing us that we need to ask for our own benefit, that we may be ready to appreciate the answer when it comes. If we get things without our realization of our need of them, they would come to us so easily that in our fallen condition they would be unappreciated.

Indeed it is true that the majority of people receive daily many, many blessings that they are never thankful [R5708 : page 183] for; they do not appreciate them. God sends the sunshine and the rain, as our Lord Jesus told us, upon the evil and the good; and He intimates that these are great blessings from God. Yet how few people really appreciate the rain as a blessing from God! How few, when they see the sunshine, appreciate the blessing God is sending to them through the sunshine! Because these blessings are very common, and come without the asking, they are very little appreciated by the majority.

But the Christian, having the eyes of his understanding opened, appreciates more and more all these blessings as from the Lord. Therefore as he comes to realize his needs, and what is promised in the Lord's Word, he knows that he may advantageously go to the Lord in prayer that these needs may be supplied. His heart has come into that receptive attitude where he is ready to receive God's blessings thankfully and profit by them.

What, then, should we ask for as God's children? What do the Scriptures tell us to ask for? In the first place, they tell us not to use "vain repetitions." How should we understand this? Our Lord explains that we should not use vain repetitions "as the heathen do," who think that they will be heard on account of the number of times they repeat the prayer. The Chinese, for instance, have praying wheels, by which they can say a hundred prayers a minute. Thus they save time, voice, etc. But such prayers are only vain repetitions. Many professed Christians, we believe, practise vain repetitions; they say many prayers, which we fear often do not come from the heart, but are said over and over from an imaginary sense of duty or obligation.

NOT FOR OLD CREATURE, BUT FOR NEW

The proper heart condition would be one in which we would feel the need of the Lord's blessing and assistance, and would go to Him in a trustful attitude, presenting our petition, and waiting for His time and way to answer. As to the things that we should ask for, the Master points out in one of His discourses that the heathen, the people of the world in general, all not believers, ask for earthly blessings – "What shall we eat? What shall we drink? Wherewithal shall we be clothed?" So might a child pray for these earthly things in its innocence of mind. But children of God should pray for earthly blessings only to the extent that they would minister to the growth or usefulness of the New Creature.

As the Christian grows in grace and in knowledge he should come to realize more and more that he is a New Creature, and that the New Creature is to pray for itself and not for the old creature. The New Creature must take into consideration the needs of the mortal body which is its tabernacle and its servant, but must ask for this body only what will be necessary that the New Creature may properly develop, and may accomplish the work given him to do by the Lord. He may ask nothing merely that the old creature may be gratified; for the old creature is reckoned as dead. He may ask the Lord to supply his real needs according to His unerring Wisdom.

We should pray for strength to overcome the flesh, for wisdom to know how to deal with ourselves, for strength of character and for the development of the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. We should pray for spiritual food, for grace and wisdom to keep our garments unspotted from the world and to put on the whole armor of God. We should ask for wisdom as to how to understand the Word of God, and how to appreciate the Spirit of the Truth. All these things would be proper subjects of prayer, because they are part and parcel of what goes to make up the New Creation.

In these prayers for the higher things, we are not ignoring the body and its needs, though we are not to seek after the things that the Gentiles seek (the name Gentiles including all those who are not in covenant relationship with God). Those who are in this covenant relationship with God should not ask as do those who are not in such relationship. God does not hear the prayers of those who have never come into His family. They have not been instructed to pray. And we are to pray for things different from those for which they would pray. In all the words that Jesus spoke there is no suggestion that His disciples should pray for better shoes or dress or better home or how to pay off the mortgage. Jesus and the Apostles never prayed for such things. What they prayed for is a suggestion of what we should pray for.

We are to distinguish between prayer, petitions to God, and adoration. Any one may worship God, may bow down and adore Him. But in the matter of prayer there is a limitation. Only certain persons may pray to the Lord with any assurance of being heard. And these are they who have become His people by a definite covenant. Any who have come into such covenant relationship with God have the privilege of prayer. This was true of the Jews under the Law Covenant arrangement; and it is true of us who have made a Covenant of Sacrifice with the Lord through Jesus Christ. But even when privileged to pray, we must note the conditions of acceptable prayer. The conditions are that we should pray in harmony with the Divine will and not seek to bend the Divine will to ours. This would lead us to study the Word of God to find out the things which the Lord has promised us, and we should not ask outside of the Divine promises.

BODY CARED FOR AS PROPERTY OF NEW CREATURE

We should appreciate the fact that throughout the Gospel Age the Lord deals with His children as New Creatures in Christ, and that all His promises to us are to the New Creature. The New Creature is interested in the old body, because this body is its property. The body's interests are ours as New Creatures only in so far as these interests are beneficial to us in making our calling [R5709 : page 183] and election sure to our Heavenly inheritance, in so far as their consideration will in no wise interfere with our spiritual interests – but no farther. We are not, therefore, to tell the Lord what we prefer, but are to take what He sees best to give; for this will be what is for our best interests. This does not mean that we are not to mention to God our bodily needs. But we are to do so in the way that our Lord indicates to us in His sample prayer: "Give us this day our daily bread," our daily provisions, acknowledging that the daily food comes from Him, whether it is fine or common, bountiful or not. It will all be for the best interests of the New Creature.

The prayer of one who asks only in harmony with the Lord's Word is certain to be answered. Good earthly parents are pleased to give good gifts to their children, gifts that they see are for their children's real interests. But if they see that the child is unappreciative of favors received, they might the next time withdraw the favors until proper appreciation is manifested. And so it is with our Heavenly Father. In bestowing His best gifts He waits for us to become really hungry for them. He does this that His blessings may do us the more good when they are granted.

PRAYER FOR SPIRIT-BEGETTING UNNECESSARY

In respect to the giving of the Holy Spirit some people [R5709 : page 184] have a wrong conception. Many not consecrated pray that the Lord would give them the Holy Spirit; but they have not studied the Scriptures enough. The Lord gives the Holy Spirit without our asking for it specifically, just as with the disciples at Pentecost: they presented themselves before the Lord and waited. They were praying, but they did not know enough about the Holy Spirit to pray for it. But the Lord gave the proper thing at the right time. And so it is with us, irrespective of prayer for the Spirit, provided we meet the required conditions. When we make our consecration to God through Christ, we do not need to ask for the begetting of the Holy Spirit – no more than a child in its natural conception. The child does not ask for its own begetting. How could it? But after we have received the spirit-begetting, we should pray that we may have God's sentiment, God's mind, God's will, as our sentiment, our mind, our will.

God loves righteousness and hates iniquity. So we, realizing that we are surrounded by evil and selfishness, need to cultivate the spirit of love, that we may have that spirit which would appreciate and love righteousness. We are to learn gradually to love righteousness and to hate injustice and iniquity in large things and in small. We are to hate unrighteousness so much that we would scorn to do an injustice or an injury knowingly to anybody. The New Creature sees these things but dimly at first – what are just and what are unjust things, what are righteous and what are unrighteous things. We wish to have the Lord's sentiment as our sentiment in everything. Thus by studying the Lord's character as revealed in His Word, and striving day by day to be conformed thereto, we are "changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord." And thus we become more and more filled with the Spirit.

EVIDENCES OF POSSESSION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

As the child of God develops, the possession of the Holy Spirit is more and more evidenced in his meekness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love. These are the elements of character, of disposition, that God wishes us to have. These are to rule in our hearts, in our thoughts, and more and more in our outward lives. Anger, malice, hatred, strife, evil-speaking, envy, jealousy, all these are evidences of the unholy spirit, the spirit of the world and the Adversary, which we as children of the Heavenly King are to put away. They are the works of the flesh and the Devil.

Since all of us have a measure of the unholy spirit in our flesh, some more and some less, it is right to pray daily for a larger measure of the Spirit of the Lord, more and more of the spirit of harmony with His perfect will. But we must cooperate with these prayers; for the Lord never arbitrarily fills any heart with His Spirit, even after the begetting has taken place. By coming to the Lord in sincere prayer for these blessings continually, by asking along these lines, we shall be preparing ourselves to look for the evidences of the Holy Spirit in our life. We shall be enabled to see whether we have more meekness than we once had, or whether we still lack in meekness. We shall perceive whether we are more gentle and more patient, whether we have more self-control, and in what respects we especially need to develop more in spiritual fruitage. Undoubtedly all of these qualities are lacking to a greater or less extent; but as we watch and pray, we shall learn to find the answer to our prayers; and as we grow in knowledge, in love, in Christlikeness, we grow in likeness also to our Father in Heaven.

IMPROPER VIEWS OF PRAYER

Prayer, as we have shown, is very essential, absolutely indispensable, to Christian growth, yea, to spiritual existence. Yet we have never thought of praying in the extreme way that some do. We have never thought of telling the Lord all about His Plan and of our wishes as to how He shall govern the Universe, and when and how to bring to pass our own will. We think there is far too much praying along this line. The sooner it is stopped the better. In answer to the request of His disciples, the Master gave them a sample prayer, which was surely very different from the prayers that the majority of people offer, who seemingly do not heed the example at all.

The proper thing is to hearken to the Word of the Lord and not do too much speaking to Him. We are to do a great deal of listening, while He speaks to us. The poet has well expressed this important thought:

"Master, speak! Thy servant heareth,
Waiting for Thy gracious Word,
Longing for Thy voice that cheereth,
Master, let it now be heard!
I am listening, Lord, for Thee!
What hast Thou to say to me?"

We understand that the Bible is the Divine presentation of the Divine will, purpose, plan, concerning us as His children. It is the Truth that the Lord designs shall sanctify us. "Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth." So declares our Master. He does not say, Sanctify them through prayer! The Master's prescription is that we study the Word and become sanctified thereby. And who is wiser than He? If we have not written a volume on prayer, it is because we find no Scriptural authority or precedent for so doing.

While prayer is absolutely indispensable to the Christian, as we have said, yet it is the Word of God which teaches us God's will and Plan and which points out the way for us to go. We believe it is the failure to see this that has been largely responsible for the great want of faith of many professed children of God. No amount of praying will make up for a neglect of the study of the Lord's Word, which is the only Lamp to our feet given us as our Guide in this long, dark night in which sin has reigned in the world. "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." – Psalm 119:105.

We are to "pray without ceasing." We are to do this in the sense of not being discouraged when the good things promised us and asked for do not come quickly. We are to remember that the Word of Promise is sure. We are to rest in these promises and to continue to ask and to wait for their fulfilment – patiently, hopefully. Thus we pray unceasingly, "Thy Kingdom come," not by repeating the words every moment or every hour, but by continuing the thought, the expectation, the waiting for it, and by laboring in the interests of that Kingdom and in the preparation of our characters in order that we may have a share in it. We have known some to fall into difficulty by supposed communion with God – remaining on their knees for some time beside an empty chair on which they tried to imagine the Lord to be seated, etc., etc. We believe that they were in danger of falling into a snare of the Adversary by such unscriptural proceedings.

For our part we feel that the Lord has already granted so many blessings that we would be ashamed to ask for many more. Our own requests, therefore, must be few. The Editor's presentations at the Throne of Heavenly Grace are thank-offerings, praise-offerings, indications of his devotion to the Lord and trust in Him, petitions for wisdom and grace to guide in life's affairs. We recall the [R5709 : page 185] Divine promises all the time, and not merely when on our knees. We seek to live in harmony with our prayers, and would encourage others to do the same. However, we are not all constituted alike; and having stated the matter from the Bible viewpoint, as we believe, also as viewed in the SCRIPTURE STUDIES and in other WATCH TOWER articles, we must leave it, trusting that the Lord's providence will guide His people aright.

THE HOLY SPIRIT THE SPECIAL OBJECT OF PRAYER

The reason why the prayers of so many Christians are unanswered is that their prayers are for things God has not told us to pray for or that they were not offered in sincerity. They have asked for wealth or temporal blessings, or perhaps for the conversion of a specified number of souls at their revival meeting, or something else unauthorized, or they have not really desired what they asked for, if it was for spiritual blessing. The Lord might grant a request for some temporal thing to a babe in Christ who prayed in his ignorance, not being properly [R5710 : page 185] instructed. But it would be different with an advanced Christian. The little child at the table might ask for something improper and violate the rules of etiquette without blame; while a person of mature age, advanced in education and in knowledge of etiquette, should know better. The things for which the Lord's children should especially pray are specified in His Word. The Holy Spirit is the special gift of God to His children.

When we come to know that the Holy Spirit is the influence, the disposition of God, then we know what we are praying for. We want more and more of the Holy Spirit of God, that it may make us more gentle, more kind, more loving; we want more and more of the mind of Christ (mind and Spirit being used here interchangeably). We realize that we must strive to have this mind of Christ. If we day by day cultivate the spirit of the Devil, we cannot expect ever to attain the mind of Christ. If we determinedly cultivate the Spirit, the mind, of Christ, then the spirit of the Adversary can gain no entrance into our hearts; and we shall become more and more sound in mind. We come to know more and more the perfect will of God as we are filled with His Spirit. Thus we are being prepared for an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom.

PRAY IN FAITH, NOTHING DOUBTING

The Lord in the lesson under consideration, tells us that we must not "faint," the word faint being used in the sense of faint-heartedness – "Consider Jesus,...lest ye be weary and faint in your minds"; "for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." We may ask for more of the Holy Spirit, feeling that we need grace along some particular line. For instance, we may feel that we need more patience. While praying for patience, we should not say, "I shall never be patient; I was not born that way!" But we are to expect our prayer along this line to be answered. We are to ask and then wait for the patience, continuing our petition, knowing that the patience will come, if we strive for it in harmony with our prayers. An excellent and practical way to assist in this is to impose a punishment upon ourselves for every outbreak of impatience.

The Lord's people have long been praying, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth." This prayer has been offered for more than eighteen hundred years, and God's children have not yet seen His Kingdom established. Shall we cease to pray? Ah, no! We are assured that it will indeed come. Even now it is at the very doors! God's Kingdom shall be fully set up; and the time will come when there will be no disloyalty in all the earth, as now there is none in Heaven. Our prayers will not bring God's Kingdom one minute sooner than He has planned, but we pray by way of assuring the Lord that we are waiting for the Kingdom and expecting it in harmony with His sure promise. By so praying and not fainting, the children of the Lord are strengthening themselves. God's glorious Kingdom will be manifested – and soon! Then all who have attained the character-likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be exalted to reign with Him in this Kingdom.

[R5710 : page 185]

THE SOURCE OF TRUE PROMOTION

"Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south; but God is the Judge. He putteth down one, and setteth up another." – Psalm 75:6,7.
O
NE watching the stars night after night, would observe that while each one has its own motion, yet all seem to revolve around a fixed point which we call the North Star. This fixed star is apparently motionless, and therefore is a point by which a man may gage his course. As we all know, the magnetic needle of the mariner's compass always points due north.

From the clearer astronomical knowledge of our day, it has been ascertained that while the planets of our solar system revolve around our sun, yet there are vast numbers of other suns each having its own retinue of planets, which with their satellites are revolving around it as a center. Furthermore, Science declares that there is a far mightier Center, around which these countless millions of suns revolve, accompanied by their planets and satellites. This great Center seems to be associated with the Pleiades, particularly with Alcyone, the central star of this renowned group. For this reason the suggestion has been made that the Pleiades may represent the Residence of Jehovah, the place from which He governs the Universe. This thought gives new force to the question which the Almighty asked the patriarch Job: "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth the constellations of the Zodiac in their season?" – Job 38:31,32.

There seem to be fewer stars in the North than in any other part of the heavens. Thus the North seems to have been given a very prominent position, the other points of the compass giving it homage, as it were. This fact was observed by the ancients, as the Prophet Job declares – "He stretcheth out the North over the empty space, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." (Job 26:7.) Throughout the Scriptures the North seems to be closely associated with Jehovah's government of the earth.

LESSONS IN THE RESULTS OF SIN

For six thousand years this planet Earth has been a rebellious province in the Universe of God; and God has permitted mankind to work out their own designs, to manifest what they could do. He not only gave His chosen people Israel certain promises and blessings, but He afterwards gave opportunity also to various nations of the world to exercise great power, to become indeed world-empires, as representatives of Gentile wisdom, to show what the unregenerate heart could give to men in the way of order, law, prosperity, blessings, peace. The [R5710 : page 186] period during which He gave this opportunity to the nations is Scripturally called the "Times of the Gentiles," a period of 2,520 years, which began with Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at the time the Lord permitted His own typical kingdom of Israel to be overthrown, to so remain until Messiah's Day. – Luke 21:24; Ezekiel 21:25-27.

During this interim the world has had four great universal empires. These world-governments have attempted to bring various blessings to mankind, yet they have all proven weak so far as righteousness is concerned, and strong so far as evil and viciousness are concerned. Evidently this is the great lesson which God designed that mankind should learn – that in this fallen condition human government cannot be a success; that perfection of being and perfect conformity to the Divine Law alone can give true happiness; that mankind in their present sinful, dying condition, can meet with only ultimate failure and disaster. Thus through actual experiences mankind will come to realize their own helplessness and their need of God.

But while God has been permitting man to prove his own weakness, He has also been preparing for the blessing of the whole world, as He has foretold in His Word. The time when He will take charge of man's affairs, through the Kingdom of Messiah, will be the time when true and lasting promotion will be realized. All who will then come into harmony with God will receive this true promotion – the attainment of all the good things which were originally provided for mankind in God's Plan, but which were lost by the disobedience of our first father and our first mother, Adam and Eve.

"God is the Judge; He putteth down one and setteth up another." The Lord will put down the attempt of the great usurper Satan to rule the world. Satan, originally Lucifer, conceived an ambition to exalt himself to "sit upon the sides of the North," to "be like the Most High." (Isa. 14:12-17.) But very soon now he will be bound for a thousand years, and will finally be destroyed.

So far as earthly kingdoms are concerned, we may say that God has a general supervision over them in so far as they might otherwise thwart His purposes; and He sometimes puts down one and favors the exaltation to power of another. We are not able to say, however, that this putting down or setting up is in the nature of Divine judgment for sin; for some of those put down have not been the unworthy, and some of those raised to power have not been the best, but often very evil. God has been merely so overruling as to cause all things not only to work together for the ultimate outworking of the great Plan which He has arranged, but also to teach men the necessary lessons of the exceeding sinfulness of sin.

"MOUNT ZION ON THE SIDES OF THE NORTH"

God's particular dealings with the world will be in the future, and for the first thousand years will be through the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. All things are of the Father, and by the Son. In this glorious work of judging the world, Christ Himself will be the Judge, and the Church, His Body, will be the associate judges. They will render righteous judgment in all cases, will set up only those who come into full accord with God, and will overthrow and eventually destroy all others.

In the meantime God has a special dealing with His people – those who have already left the world, who have consecrated their lives to Him, who have been accepted through the Lord Jesus Christ and counted members of Christ's Body. These are in the way to a promotion, a prominence, greater than that of all others. Satan's ambition [R5711 : page 186] was for self-exaltation; Christ's ambition, on the contrary, was to please the Father and to do good. So likewise the class called to be Christ's associates in the Kingdom have a similar purpose and spirit to that of their Lord and Head. They also seek to do only the will of the Heavenly Father. They also are moved, not to promote their own selfish interests and to gratify their fleshly propensities, but to lay down their lives in carrying out God's great Purpose and Plan.

This is the class which will receive the preeminence over all other classes, all other stations, in earth or in Heaven. With their Lord they are to receive glory, honor, immortality. They will be exalted far above angels and be granted the Divine nature, as has been their Master and Forerunner. (Romans 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:53,54; 1 John 3:2,3; 1 Corinthians 1:26,27; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Peter 1:4.) These will share the First Resurrection, Christ's Resurrection. (Revelation 20:5,6; Philippians 3:10.) Their mortal bodies, now merely the instruments of the New Creature, will be laid down forever in death – "Sown in weakness," they will be "raised in power"; "sown in dishonor," they will be "raised in glory"; "sown an animal body," they will be "raised a spiritual body."

A careful study of the above citations of Scripture will be very helpful to those who are comparatively new in the study of the High Calling of the Church of Christ. It is a subject but little understood by Christians in general. But such is the great promotion which God purposes to give His true saints of this Gospel Age, and this promotion can be received from no other quarter than God Himself, on His own terms. This is the glorious inheritance of Zion. When she has been thus exalted and glorified with her Lord, it will be said of her, "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the North, the City of the Great King." (Psalm 48:2.) Thus the great eminence which Lucifer in his pride and presumption sought to grasp, that he might "sit upon the sides of the North," will be granted as a reward to The Christ, Head and Body.

PUTTING DOWN AND SETTING UP IN THE CHURCH

This is the great prominence which the people of God, called to this high station, should be seeking, by faithfulness, humility, love and zeal in the service of the Lord. During the present life, experiences of developing and testing are necessary preparations for this exaltation. All those begotten of the Holy Spirit as New Creatures are now called the Church of Christ, although the elect Church proper will not be organized and completed until the First Resurrection. Not until then will the personnel of the Church of glory be manifested. But God deals now with all those who have made a Covenant of Sacrifice. (Psalm 50:5.) When they meet, even two or three of them, the Lord's presence is in their midst; and each has the Lord's blessing in proportion as he has His Spirit. God is now judging in the Church through His Son. He is not judging the world at present.

The principle expressed in our text is operating now in the Church – the setting up of one and the putting down of another. That the Lord does take an active part in the affairs of the Church we truly believe. St. Paul says that "God hath set the members, every one of them, in the Body as it hath pleased Him." (1 Corinthians 12:18.) This surely indicates a Divine supervision in the Church. We believe that a great deal of trouble is caused by the failure of many of the Lord's people to view matters from this standpoint. They are too apt to forget about the supervision and oversight which the Lord is taking of His Cause. Some therefore have felt great distress [R5711 : page 187] if they were not elected to be a Deacon or an Elder in the Church. Instead of looking at the matter from this viewpoint – that the Lord Himself has the supervision of the affairs of His Church – they are too liable to think, It was that brother who opposed me, or this brother, etc.

We believe that these take a wrong view. Perhaps the Lord permitted the matter to result thus in order to test their humility. The Apostle James intimates something of this kind: "Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted, and the brother of high degree in that he is made low." We should look beyond the mere circumstances of the moment; we should consider and remember well that all prominence, all promotion, and all control of the Church, is in the hands of the Lord. Not only might the Lord wish to give a lesson to a brother who might have been a faithful Elder or a faithful Deacon, but it might also be a good lesson to the Class. They might have failed to appreciate what zeal, energy and ability this brother had. If so, their neglect to reelect him to the position would in time prove a lesson to them. The same is true in the case of a brother who has energy, zeal and ability with spirituality, who has never been elected to eldership by the class.

In any event it is for each of the Lord's children to exercise faith, and to remember that real prominence, true exaltation, is of the Lord. As the Apostle Paul shows, he that "desires the office of an overseer [from a real wish to serve], desires a good thing." So it is not wrong to appreciate such office in the Ecclesia; and we are to appreciate it when we are chosen Elders, because we shall thus have special opportunities for service and for laying down our lives for the brethren. But we are not to be self-seeking in the matter.

When brethren who have served as Elders or Deacons are not reelected, yet are rightly exercised and manifest no resentment, but say, "I am just as glad to serve in one place as another," and enter cheerfully into whatever service is open to them, it will no doubt prove a blessing to their own hearts, and also a blessing to the Class, who note their Christlike spirit. So such brethren should say to themselves, "I will do everything I can to forward the Lord's Cause. The vote of the Class has not given me the responsibility of initiative and direction, but I will do my best to help on in other ways the work of the Lord." Thus they would show the proper spirit of humility and submission to the Lord's providence in the decision of the Class.

"HE CALLETH HIS OWN SHEEP BY NAME"

We believe the principle of our text should be considered in the daily lives of all the Lord's people. Some may fail to see the particular interest which the Lord takes in each one who is His. Every true child of God is the Lord's in the particular sense of having entered into a Covenant of Sacrifice. We should always remember this. Thus as we grow in grace we shall undoubtedly come to see that all "the steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord, and He delighteth in his way." "He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken." (Psalm 37:23; 34:20.) The Lord will surely direct the path of such. The Master emphasized His peculiar and personal interest in each of His followers. He calls Himself their Shepherd, and says, "He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out." (John 10:3.) This means a very special supervision of the affairs and interests of each one of His true disciples. Whatever may come to these is not a matter of chance or luck.

The steps of the world are not ordered of the Lord. But God's people in proportion as they walk by faith and realize that "all things are working together for good to them that love God, to the called according to His purpose," in that proportion will they be able to have joy, blessing and peace in every experience that comes to them. Failing to do this, some of God's people, we continue to see, are fretting and chafing, feeling that things are working wrong with them, fearing that the Lord has forgotten them, or that the brethren have forgotten them, and that everything is amiss in their case. They are failing to recognize that God has to do with all backsetting. If He sees best not to promote them, not to use their talents for a time as they would like, let them learn a lesson of humility and submission, of patience and trust. Let them be willing to cheerfully await God's own good time for their promotion.

To us, then, the great lesson of our text is that promotion, exaltation, cometh neither from the East nor the West nor the South, but from Jehovah, who alone is the Judge, who setteth up one and putteth down another – and all in love. If the putting down seems at times to be the result of mistakes or lack of appreciation on the part of the brethren, let us remember that it has come in the providence of the Lord, and is designed of Him for our good, and perhaps for the good of others in one way or another. The experience will prove a blessing if received in the right spirit. "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." Nothing can by any means hurt us if we keep close to the Lord. Then in due time, we shall be promoted to sit with Christ in His Throne.

[R5714 : page 187]

"ASK WHAT I SHALL GIVE THEE"
– JULY 18. – 1 KINGS 3:4-15. –

WHAT ARE DREAMS? – WHEN THEY SHOULD BE FOLLOWED – SOLOMON'S DREAM – HIS HEART CONDITION REFLECTED – HIS REALIZATION OF HIS RESPONSIBILITIES – HIS HUMILITY – HIS REQUEST OR CHOICE – GOD'S APPROVAL AND THE HAPPY RESULTS.

"The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom." – Proverbs 9:10.
W
E HAVE nothing to indicate that Solomon ever became very haughty, proud, although he certainly would have been a marvelous man had his great wisdom, honor and wealth not affected in some degree the childlike simplicity which he expressed to the Lord in the dream recorded in today's lesson, which gives us a wonderful insight into Solomon's true character. Incidentally, it is valuable to every man, every woman, particularly at the beginning of life or in connection with the starting of any enterprise, and in proportion as the enterprise is a serious or a difficult one or one directly related to God and His Word.

Solomon initiated his reign by making a feast to some of his friends and the prominent people of his realm. The place chosen was Gibeon. The account tells us of his offering a thousand burnt offerings unto the Lord. This does not signify that a thousand animals were burned entire; but rather that certain portions of them, particularly the fat, were burned as an offering to the Lord, while the food portions became the basis of the [R5714 : page 188] feast. Less meat was eaten then than now, except on such feast occasions. We can see the wisdom of such a general acknowledgment of God and of His inauguration of a new king; and the feast for the people signifies figuratively the good will of the king and his desire to make his reign one of prosperity, blessing, rejoicing, and helpfulness to all. The Divine ordering of the matter was recognized by the Israelites, who perceived that all things were to be done with an eye to God's approval.

ARE DREAMS SIGNIFICANT?

It was during this feast, which probably lasted several days, that Solomon had the wonderful dream here narrated. That it was supernatural there can be no doubt. Similarly God revealed Himself to others in ancient times, and especially to His people Israel, who had come into covenant relationship with Him at Mount Sinai under Moses. But God was not in similar relationship with other peoples, who were, as we read, strangers, foreigners, outcasts – not in covenant relationship with Him.

Although the Christian Church is peculiarly in relationship with God, and in a much closer relationship than were the Jews under their Law, nevertheless we must not suppose that all dreams which even consecrated Christians may have are to be regarded as inspired. Very evidently the majority of our dreams are merely wanderings of our mind because we are not soundly asleep. For God to make fewer communications with Spiritual Israel by dreams would not signify a lesser interest in their affairs, but rather that He has otherwise provided for them, for their guidance – in the Bible. Additionally, we learn that He wishes us to walk by faith and not by sight; and to direct us continually by dreams would be to interfere with this walking by faith.

St. Paul gives us the key to the matter, saying that "the Word of God is sufficient," that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16,17.) But there is nothing to hinder God from using a dream as a means of instructing His spiritual children if that should seem at any time to be the appropriate course. Many of the Lord's people have had more or less experience with such profitable dreams, which seemed to give them the needed instruction or suggestion. Nevertheless there is but one sure way of receiving dreams; namely, to interpret them only in full accord with the Scriptures. The Apostle suggests that if an angel should proclaim to us any other Gospel than this, it should be rejected; and similarly, if a dream should suggest any other Gospel, it should be rejected. The Divine Word is to be the great talisman, test, standard, for everything for the Christian.

SOLOMON'S WISE CHOICE

In Solomon's dream the Lord appeared to him, saying, "Ask what I shall give thee." So God is asking of all who would become His children. He desires to do them good, but He wishes them to realize their needs and to make requests accordingly. The Apostle suggests something along this line, saying, "If any man [Christian] lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth liberally."

Solomon's answer in his dream shows us a beautiful simplicity of character for a young prince just come to the throne. He recounts God's mercy to his father David, and declares that this was in proportion as King David had walked faithfully with God in righteousness of heart. He expressed appreciation of the fact that God had brought even him to the throne because of Divine appreciation of his father David. Then he recounted to God his own littleness, weakness, and insufficiency for the great position. Touchingly he declared, "I am but a little child." This reminds us of the Apostle's words, "When I am weak, then I am strong." This was really the strength of Solomon's character; namely, that he was meek, was teachable, like a little child – not boastful or self-confident, not blind to his privileges and obligations.

Because of the responsibilities of the kingdom, for which he felt himself so incompetent, Solomon prayed, "Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to [R5715 : page 188] judge Thy people [to administer justice to them], that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people?" Is it any wonder that we read further that in the dream the Lord manifested His good pleasure at this request? "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 [justice]; therefore, I have done according to thy words: 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. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee, all thy days."

"I knelt before Thy gracious Throne,
And asked for peace with suppliant knee;
And peace was given: not peace alone,
But love, and joy, and ecstasy."

[R5713 : page 188]

DEDICATING THE TEMPLE
– JULY 25. – 1 KINGS 8:22-30. –

WHAT THE TEMPLE TYPIFIED – DOUBLE ANTITYPES – THEIR DEDICATION – KING SOLOMON'S PRAYER – GOD'S PERSONALITY – HIS DWELLING – PLACE IN HEAVEN – "THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE TEMPLE" – ITS ANTITYPE.

"My House shall be called a House of prayer for all people." – Isaiah 56:7.
P
OSSESSED of reverence for the Lord, full of zeal for Him, full of appreciation of the Divine promise that King David's successor should build the House of the Lord, the Temple, for which David had for years made preparations of money and valuables, we find King Solomon speedily giving attention to this matter. In the fourth year of his reign, preparations had reached such a development that the construction of the Temple was begun; and seven and a half years later the scenes of this Study were enacted – when the Temple was ready for dedication. Strange to say, it was dedicated about a month before it was completely finished. Doubtless this contained some important typical lesson, which we may some day more fully understand.

Built of white marble, the Temple must have been a very imposing structure, although not lofty. It was of but one story; nevertheless, its position on the mountain top surely gave it a very commanding appearance, its glittering, white walls overtopping the entire landscape. But we are interested in the Temple of Solomon more than in any other building because it was a type, as well as a reality. Let us note the Apostle's references to it [R5713 : page 189] and his declaration that its antitype is found in God's holy people – the Church. We read, "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" "For ye are the Temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." – 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16.

PREPARATION OF THE LIVING STONES

In the picture which the Apostle thus brings to our attention, the Church corresponds to the Tabernacle rather than to the Temple. As God was with the Children of Israel from the time they entered into covenant with Him until the Temple was dedicated by Solomon, He indicated His presence by a manifestation of the Shekinah Light in the Most Holy of the Tabernacle. And so with us now as Christians: from the time we become sons of God – from the time of our consecration, justification, sanctification and begetting of the Holy Spirit – our bodies are tabernacles, or temporary dwelling-places, of God's Holy Spirit. His Spirit in us is represented originally by the begetting influence which we receive as the start of our new existence as New Creatures in Christ Jesus; and that light, or holy illumination, spread abroad in us fills us with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God more and more. The Tabernacle in one sense of the word was a temple – in the sense that any place where God is would properly be called a temple, a holy place. But, as suggested, it is preferable that we think of our fleshly bodies as tabernacles of God – His temporary dwelling-place. In a fuller sense, by and by, there will be a great transfer. The Lord's saintly ones will be changed from flesh to spirit by the power of the First Resurrection, and will thus be more perfectly represented by the beautiful Temple which Solomon built.

But there is a still more beautiful thought brought to our attention by St. Peter. He tells us that the various members of the Church of Christ – the saints – are living stones, which are in process of chiseling and polishing, preparatory to the uniting of all these in one grand, glorious Temple of God beyond the Veil. (1 Peter 2:5,9.) Any not enduring the chiseling and polishing will be discarded as unfit for the glorious Temple.

The bringing together of these living stones beyond the Veil will be by the Resurrection Power, beautifully illustrated in the erection of Solomon's Temple, of which we read that its stones were prepared at the quarry and then finally assembled for the construction of the Temple, and that they were so perfectly shaped and marked for their various places that they came together without the sound of a hammer – without need for chiseling or for other labor upon them at the time of the construction. So, St. Paul says, the Church is God's workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10.) And His work will be so perfectly accomplished that there will be no need of rectification or alteration beyond the Veil.

It is this viewpoint that is especially interesting and profitable to the Lord's people. Such of them as can realize that they have been called of God to this High Calling, to membership in the Temple, can fully appreciate thereafter the necessity for the trials and difficulties of life which are shaping them, fitting them, for Heavenly glory, honor, immortality. These are the "all things" working together for good to them that love God – preparing them for the spiritual blessings and services of the future. – Romans 8:28.

WORK OF THE GLORIFIED CHURCH

When we think of the Church as the Temple under construction, it impresses upon us the thought that there is a future work to be accomplished. Why construct a Temple, and then not use it? Serious injury came to us through various errors of the past: for instance, the thought that the Church alone is to be saved and all the remainder of mankind to be lost; and a further thought, that at the Second Coming of Christ the world is to be burned up, and the Divine Plan ignominiously terminated. With such a view, the construction of the Church as the great Temple would seem to be a waste; since there would be nobody to be blessed by it.

However, as our eyes of understanding open more and more clearly, we begin to see beauty in the Divine Plan and arrangement. So far from God's Plan terminating at the Second Coming of Christ, it will merely begin there, so far as the world is concerned. The Church, in one figure, will be the Royal Priesthood for the blessing of all the families of the earth. (Galatians 3:29.) In the other figure, the Church will be the great Temple through which all the world of mankind may have access to God and return to harmony with Him.

Thus, eventually, this glorified Church, or Temple, will be the House of Prayer for all people, all nations – not that they will pray to a house, but that they will [R5714 : page 189] approach God through the glorified Church, in which His Presence will be manifested and His mercy will be available to all. From this viewpoint, the Temple with its Shekinah glory represented the Church in the glory of the future, in association with Christ; and God will dwell in and operate through that glorious Church for the blessing of the world, represented by all those who will worship God looking toward His Holy House.

DEDICATING THE TEMPLE OF GOD

There is an important thought in connection with a dedication which some seem to overlook. It was necessary for the Tabernacle to be dedicated, or set apart to God, before He deigned to recognize it and to use it. Similarly with all of God's people; it is necessary that they should positively and formally dedicate themselves to God and to His service before being recognized of Him and filled with His Spirit. It is not enough that they should know of Him and of the Lord Jesus Christ, and be persuaded of these things – not enough even that they should know something of the glories of the Coming Age as revealed in the Word of God. It is necessary, also, that they make formal dedication of themselves to God, fully surrendering their own wills that God may come into them by His Holy Spirit and, accepting their sacrifices, constitute them thereafter His tabernacles.

When the Temple was ready for dedication, Solomon presented it to God with the prayer which constitutes the basis of today's Study – a prayer beautiful in simplicity and indicative of King Solomon's perception of the great truth that God is a personal God, whose dwelling-place is not everywhere, but in Heaven. It shows us that the king fully understood that the Temple which he had made, like the Tabernacle before it, merely represented God's power and grace amongst His people. The presence of the Temple indicated that there were sinners who needed to be atoned for by its arrangements, and that mercy and forgiveness would be needed and that prayers toward God would be appropriate. "Hear Thou in Heaven Thy dwelling-place; and when Thou hearest, forgive."

So during the Millennium, all the world will have the opportunity of approaching God through His great Temple of which Jesus is the Chief Corner-Stone, and the Church the living stones under His Headship. And God will hear the prayers thus properly presented, and will forgive the sins of the people; and as a result the [R5714 : page 190] work of Restitution will progress to a grand completion.

As Solomon dedicated the Temple, so the Church of Christ will be dedicated, formally presented to the Father. The great Antitype of Solomon will do this; namely, the Lord Jesus Christ, presenting us all as His members, as the Temple which is His Body, reared up on the Third Day – the Third Thousand-Year Day from the time of His death – the dawning of the Great Sabbath. (John 2:19-22.) As a result of the dedication, the glory of the Lord will fill the House. The fact that the typical Temple was filled with the glory of the Lord before it was entirely completed seems to imply that at this present time there will be some manifestation of God's favor toward His Church in glorification while yet the work of construction is not quite finished. However, it is difficult to read prophecy in advance of its fulfilment. We must wait to see what will be the fulfilment of this feature.

"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform."

[R5711 : page 190]

HOW WE ARE TO WAIT ON THE LORD

"Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart." – Psalm 27:14.
T
HE expression, "Wait on the Lord," does not mean so much a rendering of service to the Lord, as a waiting for the Lord, a waiting before Him, to see what is His will for us. We do not understand that it has the thought of ministering to the Lord, as a servant would wait on his master, but of patient watching until we learn what our Lord would have us do. Each child of God should wait to be guided by Him, and not run on before Him unmindful of what is the Lord's purpose for him. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, [R5712 : page 190] and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths," is the counsel of the Wise Man. (Proverbs 3:5,6.) Many of the children of God have made mistakes along this line.

Having committed our ways to the Lord, we should go forward only as He leads us. If we are not clear as to His will, let us not be in too great a hurry, nor try to guide ourselves, but present the matter to the Lord in earnest prayer, asking that we may have no will or way of our own, but may be guided only as He wills. Then let us wait and watch for the indication of His providence, and follow as He seems to lead, leaving the results with Him. We are not to follow our own choice, without evidences that it is God's will. The question may sometimes be asked of us, "Are you going to do this way or that way? Are you going to this place or to that place?" Our attitude and our reply, if we have not as yet clearly ascertained the Lord's will in the matter, should be, "I am not yet fully decided. I will consider the Word of the Lord, to see how His instructions seem to apply in this case." Or, "I am watching to see what the Lord's providences seem to indicate, and am praying over the matter, that I may be guided aright." The poet expressed the right thought:

"I am afraid to touch
Things that involve so much."

Those who wait on the Lord do not always seem to prosper best, from outward appearances. But the Psalmist declares that we should be of good courage as we thus wait on God. We are pursuing the right course, and shall have His blessing. We make no mistake when we wait upon Him. Others may seem to be getting ahead of us at first, but we are to "wait on the Lord."

Take no step unless you feel sure that the Lord is directing and guiding. Watch for the meaning of His providences. Study His Word. Let not your faith depart from its moorings. "Be of good courage!" "Good" courage is courage of a good degree, not merely a little courage. Be of strong courage; "and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord." The word heart here may be understood to mean the soul, the being – especially the intelligent portion of us. The Lord will support us, He will fortify us and make us strong to bear, strong to do His will as it is made known to us. They that wait upon the Lord shall not want any good thing.

TRAITS NECESSARY TO SUCCESS

Courage, fortitude, persistency, in the service of the Lord are very necessary to the child of God. Such traits are needful even to the world. Whoever lacks these qualities of character is pretty sure to make poor success in life. Lack of courage, lack of hope, is one of the chief causes of failure in the world. Our text, however, calls attention, not to the world, but to those who belong to the Lord. The precious promises of God's Word, which are only for His people, those who are wholly His, give these every reason for hope; they have full authority to be strong and of a good courage. The children of God will have trials and experiences similar to those of the world, besides experiences and trials peculiar to them as followers of Christ. These come not to us in a haphazard way, however, as to the world, but are under the direct supervision of the Lord.

Those who are new in the service of the Master might think for a time that matters should run smoothly for them, that they should not have the difficulties common to the world; that now as they were God's children He would protect them from afflictions and mistreatment. But as they study the Lord's Word, they soon see that this is not true; they see that they are to walk by faith, and not by sight. They learn that they are not to expect to have outward and tangible manifestations of His favor, but that they are to suffer with Christ – that hereunto they were called. (1 Peter 2:20,21; Acts 14:22.) They learn that they must be obedient, and they come to see what obedience means.

The Master learned obedience – learned what obedience meant – "by the things which He suffered." The narrow way is not an easy path. His followers learn that the Lord is now calling a class that have faith in Him, a class who accept His Word fully. In time they come, too, to see that "If God be for them, who can be against them?" If matters do not go as they had expected, if trials come, they will say, "We know that all things work for good to them that love God."

So these learn, as they are guided by the Word of the Lord, that they are to be of good courage as they pursue their onward way. There are many difficulties to be surmounted, and it requires courage to surmount difficulties. But the courage born of faith in God and in His "exceeding great and precious promises" strengthens them when otherwise they might be overwhelmed. It gives them a strength to which all others are strangers.

TRUST WHERE WE CANNOT TRACE

If a child of God becomes discouraged and loses his hope and strength, it is because he has lost his hold upon the Lord's promises to help. To lose courage is to lose [R5712 : page 191] faith. Loss of faith and courage makes a child of God powerless before his foes. We must trust our Father even when the meaning of His providences is veiled from our eyes and when our efforts to serve Him seem to be hedged up. We look back at the Apostles and their experiences. The Apostle Paul was very desirous of carrying the Message of the Gospel to others. Several times he tried to go into Asia, but he was not permitted to go. He began to wonder why this was, why his efforts continued to prove failures. But the Lord revealed to him that he was to go into Greece instead. In his first Epistle to the Church at Thessalonica, he writes, "Wherefore we would have come to you, even I Paul, once and again, but Satan hindered us." (1 Thessalonians 2:18.) But we are sure that the Lord would overrule the machinations of Satan and cause them to work out His own glory, and the lesson of patience and submission would be a blessing to His children.

We see that in the Garden of Gethsemane our Lord had not lost faith in God, but was fearful for a time. As He came to the closing hours of His experiences on earth, He wondered whether or not He had faithfully conformed to all the Father's requirements. He knew that the slightest infraction of God's Law would mean His death. Had He completed His sacrifice acceptably? Would He be ushered from death into Heavenly glory by a resurrection? Then He received from the Father the assurance that He had been altogether faithful. All the trials and difficulties which the Master underwent in the laying down of His life preceded Him as a sweet incense, a precious perfume, beyond the veil, into the Most Holy as shown in the type. – Leviticus 16:12,13.

A PROPER FEAR

After the Jewish high priest had crumbled the sweet incense upon the fire of the golden altar, after its fragrance had penetrated beyond the second veil and had covered the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat, he then himself passed beneath the veil. Every time the high priest raised the veil thus to pass under it he probably feared; for in case he had failed in any particular to carry out his sacrificial work acceptably he would have died as he passed under the veil. So our Lord Jesus knew that His work must be acceptable in the most absolute sense, else He would forever forfeit His existence. He would become as though He had not been; He would lose all.

There was no earthly being to give our Lord encouragement along this line. There was no one to say, You have done everything perfectly; you could not have done better. So the Master went alone to the Father for this assurance and for strength and courage. He prayed, "Not My will, but Thine be done"; and the Father heard His prayer and gave Him the needed assurance and strength. He was heard in respect to that which He feared; and during all that night and the following day, up to the hour of His crucifixion, He was calm and courageous.

So the Lord's people should have a proper fear. Proper fear is good for them. But it should not proceed to the point of hindering their efforts and dissipating their courage. They should have the fear enjoined by St. Paul when he said, "Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of us should seem to come short of it." (Hebrews 4:1.) This proper fear the Master had. He never became discouraged, never held back from the work which the Father had given Him to do. His fear was a filial one, which engendered a watchfulness and care, a circumspection of walk and of life, that He might be wholly pleasing to the Father. This all Christians should have. We should watch lest we neglect some privilege or duty.

This proper fear will lead us to careful inspection of ourselves. We should ask ourselves, "What do I believe? Why do I believe it? We should go over the ground again. We should again go over in our minds the proofs of the correctness of our Faith. By so doing, the Lord will strengthen us in the Faith, He will strengthen our heart. If any hope in themselves, and lean upon their own strength mainly, it will be to their advantage that the Lord shall allow them to come to the point of discouragement, that they may become more timid, may lose all self-assurance, may realize their utter helplessness and weakness and their need of leaning wholly upon the Lord, of looking constantly to Him for guidance and support. As the Lord's children thus learn to wait upon Him, to them is fulfilled the promise, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." – Isaiah 40:31.

[R5713 : page 191]

AN INTERESTING LETTER
COLPORTEURING IN OFFICE BUILDINGS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

For some time I have been wanting to tell you about our wonderful privileges and opportunities in the Harvest; and today when I read your letter in the May 1 WATCH TOWER to the departing members of the Bethel Family – that some of them might enter the Colporteur service – I felt prompted to write, that these and others might be encouraged, and that especially now, in your travels, you might encourage the Colporteurs in their work.

For the last year Sister and I have been making it a specialty to call on the business men in the large office-buildings; and have had very good success. We do not feel that this is due to any great ability on our own part, but that it is all by the Lord's grace and His "ever-present help."

Many dear Colporteurs do not realize what a great privilege they are neglecting when they do not call upon the business men; or, after calling on several they fail to arouse interest and become discouraged, while if they would persevere they would find their efforts crowned with success, just as much or more than in the homes.

We also find that delivering is so much easier among the business men, as we often get orders for several sets in one office, and sometimes for several hundred volumes in one building, all of which are quite sure to be delivered.

Business men, on account of the present financial condition, are becoming more and more awake and are looking for an explanation; besides, hundreds of these men are reading the sermons, have absorbed a great deal of Present Truth, and are anxious to get the books.

Many of us have been timid about entering the large office-buildings, fearing to meet these busy people. By letting them know that we will not be a nuisance to them, detaining them only a few moments, they usually grant us a little time, or tell us when they will be at leisure. It is best to see the Manager of each office before speaking to the employees.

In all the cities there are thousands of stenographers, bookkeepers and professional people, who cannot be reached at their homes, and therefore have never come in contact with the STUDIES. Many of them are earnest Bible students, and we feel it a great privilege to meet these and bring them just the help they need and are often looking for.

While at present sister and I principally are working in the cities, yet we have also had the same experience in the smaller places. Business men in the small towns are even more easily approached, and invariably want the whole set of STUDIES.

We are still rejoicing in the Master's service, and received many rich blessings at the three-day Convention here.

Yours in our Redeemer,
FRIEDA SCHLATTER. – Kansas City, Mo.

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International Bible Students Association Classes
STUDIES AND LECTURES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION