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MISSIONARY ENVELOPES. – The price of these is reduced to 25 cents per hundred, or $2.00 per thousand. (This includes expressage or mail charges of delivering them to you.) We want these messengers to go everywhere, bearing testimony to the Truth, and calling attention to God's gracious Plan of the Ages.
"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out [i.e., the judgment or testing of this world is now about to begin – the testing which shall result in casting out the present prince, Satan, who now dominates the world and who sways fallen men by ignorance, superstition, fear, etc.]. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL unto me." – John 12:31,32.
It seems strange that so simple a statement as the above can be differently understood by God's children. Our Calvinistic friends see in the word all no more than the elect, and in the word draw they see nothing but force or compulsion. Our Universalist friends get the all right, but hold the same erroneous view of the word draw.
Our Arminian friends, on the contrary, though they get the correct view of the word draw, namely, to constrain, or to exert an influence upon, but not a compulsory influence, nevertheless fail to get the true sense because they do not allow the true meaning to the word all. They see that all are not drawn now, and know nothing of the greater work of constraining love, in the Millennial age.
When, however, the passage is examined by those who have clear views of God's great plan of the ages, all is harmony, and no necessity is found for either belittling or exaggerating the meaning of such simple words as all, draw and unto. (The Greek word here rendered unto is pros, signifying toward.)
The passage predicts that though our Lord's death by crucifixion (verse 33) might seem like Satan's victory, it would really be the beginning of his overthrow, who for so long had held humanity as blinded slaves in sin, superstition and ignorance. While it looked like the defeat of the Son of man, it really was not; it led to his exaltation and power, whereby he should in God's due time free men from bondage to sin and death, and grant to all an opportunity of life – to draw all away from error and from love of sin and the service of Satan, to himself, and to obedience to him as the great ruler whom God has appointed. As the Prophet, Priest [R1227 : page 1] and King appointed of God to destroy sin and to restore to perfection all who will yield themselves to the drawing influence of the truth, he shall be exalted in his Millennial kingdom. Many who should know do not know that our Lord has not yet begun this work of drawing men unto himself. Thus far he has been receiving such only as are drawn to him by the Father's promises through the prophets, etc. His work of drawing will not begin until the Millennial kingdom has been established – not until the Father's promises have drawn out from the world a little flock to be the bride, the Lamb's wife.
All of God's dealings with his intelligent creatures are on this same principle of drawing, persuading and constraining, and not of compulsion. During the Gospel age the Father himself is the one who draws or persuades to righteousness by his truth. Our Lord Jesus attributes to him all the drawing of the present time, saying, "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him." The Father's work is to draw or call, and to select from among the called the "little flock" whom he shall accept with and under Jesus Christ to be partakers of the divine nature, to constitute his kingdom, and to bless and draw all the families of the earth, during the Millennium.
This, as the Father's part of the work, is beautifully illustrated in the type of the calling of Rebecca to be the wife of Isaac. Abraham typified the Heavenly Father, Isaac, the Lord Jesus, and Rebecca, the Church, the Lamb's wife. Not Isaac, but Abraham, called Rebecca to be Isaac's joint-heir. As Abraham sent Eliezer as his honored representative and servant with instructions how to select the proper person, and to draw or influence her to come with him to be Isaac's wife, so God has sent forth his Spirit – the spirit of his truth and the power of his truth – to call or draw, not all, but merely a desired class – such as gladly receive the messenger and willingly forsake their father's house (the human family), to become members of the divine family.
Abraham did not send his servant to call or draw any maiden whom he should meet, but, on the contrary, charged him strictly that he should not fetch one of the daughters of the Canaanites, but one from among those already related to him. So God does not call or draw sinners (represented by the Canaanites, to whom Eliezer was not to go,) to this high position of joint-heirship with Christ, but only such as are already justified, in harmony with God – friends of God.
The servant, in representing his mission and calling the bride, always spoke in the name of Abraham and as Abraham's servant, and not as Isaac's servant, though as a matter of fact Isaac was being served too, because Abraham's service and instructions included Isaac's interest. So the spirit of truth speaks to us who are now being drawn. We are told that we are called of God (Rom. 8:28,29); begotten of God (1 Pet. 1:3); adopted by God into his family by the spirit of adoption sent of God (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5,6); we are to come unto, and find access to, the Father (Rom. 5:2; Eph. 2:18; 3:12); and we are finally to be resurrected by the Father (1 Cor. 6:14). Thus the Father is credited with doing all the drawing of the Church, the bride, during this age, although our Lord Jesus and all the faithful of God have been his servants, ambassadors and representatives, represented also in the person of Eliezer, doing the calling and drawing in the Father's name.
This, then, the Father's method of drawing, is a proper sample of the drawing which our Lord Jesus will do when he shall, as promised, draw all men unto him. (The word draw in both cases is from the same Greek word helkuo. John 6:44 and 12:32.) Using the Father's work as an illustration of Christ's work, we know that there will be no coercion, no compulsion; that it will be by the cords of the truth that all will be drawn; and that those who would resist the spirit of the truth, when the Lord and all his gracious provisions are fully known, will be privileged to do so, none being drawn against their wills.
As the Father drew the Bride by the special promise of the heavenly estate, and will bestow upon her the divine nature in accordance with that agreement, so the conditions and promises by which our Lord Jesus will draw all are clearly defined. The promise which he will hold out will not be the same that the Father has held out to us – the "high calling" or "heavenly calling" – but an earthly calling. A calling and drawing to the restitution of all things lost in Adam will be the prize which he will set before all mankind, and for which all will be invited to so run as to obtain it.
The promises of full restitution of life – including perfect health and strength – and of all the honor and rulership of earth originally given to Adam will be parts of the drawing power which shall influence every man. Yet then, as now under the Father's drawing, there will be no compulsion; and notwithstanding the drawing of those promises, the wills of men will be free to choose between humility and pride, between God's law of love and Satan's law of selfishness, between good and evil.
If all other conditions were to be the same then as now, we might well reason that few would be drawn by the Redeemer, as only a "little flock" have been drawn by the Father. But we have already seen that in many respects the difference between now and then will be great. Satan will be bound; his deceptions, political, financial and theological, will no longer mislead those really seeking the truth and the right way. The way of holiness will then be a highway – a broad, open, public thoroughfare, upon which there will be no danger of pitfalls and snares, and whereon no ravenous beasts (false systems and false doctrines) shall go to torment with fear or to turn back the seekers of perfection of holiness. – See Isa. 35:8-10.
Not only will the way be so much more favorable than the narrow, thorny way open during the present age, by which alone the heavenly calling can be reached by those who have been called and drawn of the Father, but the call and drawing will be more attractive to mankind. It will be a drawing in perfect harmony with all that is good of human nature in mankind, whereas the call and drawing of this present age is in many respects (when rightly understood) the very reverse. The present call to the Church is to leave the human, earthly, all the visible delights and experienced pleasures, to seek after such as can only be seen by faith and grasped by hope. How much more enticing will be the call to "build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them, and long enjoy the work of their hands." – Isa. 65:21,22.
Even now, while the saints are called to the heavenly things, and exhorted to lift their minds from earthly hopes and ambitions, and to place them upon the heavenly things not seen as yet, how difficult all find it to do so at all times. How apt are earthly plans and ambitions to intrude and carry us captive to earthly things for a time. How difficult it seems for the very large majority of God's children to lift their affections and place all of them upon the Kingdom promised them, but seen only by faith – to live for that Kingdom, to spend all of time and influence (aside from the necessities of the present) in preaching that unseen Kingdom, not believed in except by the few.
On the contrary, do we not see that most of God's people grasp earthly reforms and seek to push them, instead of prosecuting the work for the promised but deferred and unseen Kingdom? Among these earthly ambitions are Temperance reforms, Political reforms, Financial reforms and Social reforms. All of these, and many more, are good and pleasing [R1227 : page 2] to God and will be regularly the order of the day under Christ's Millennial Kingdom. These are all earthly and tend toward earthly restitution, and for mankind in general they are the proper thing, and manifest the proper aspirations and ambitions. We are not objecting to such reforms, but while commending them, wish to have all see how much more natural it is to fall in with such works of restitution than with the one and only thing that the consecrated believers are now called to give their attention to – "Go thou and preach the Kingdom of God." – Luke 9:60.
Thus will the Son of man, because lifted up, (because he became man's ransom-price, and by virtue of his consequent exaltation to be man's King and Restorer,) draw all unto him, into harmony with him and the laws of righteousness. And as a result of the light then shed abroad and the knowledge of the truth then caused to fill the earth, and the drawing power of that light and truth, in connection with the promises and blessings of restitution, many, we hope and believe, will choose life by choosing to obey the New Covenant – the law of the spirit of life in Christ. But whether the vast majority will so choose and obtain life everlasting for the ages of glory and joy and peace beyond the Millennium, God only knows, and his Word makes no declaration on the subject, except what may be inferentially drawn from the only parable of our Lord which illustrates that Millennial age and the results at its close. (Matt. 25:31-46.) The inference which it would give is that a majority will obtain everlasting life, as sheep are more numerous than goats.
Do you know what the word ransom means? When you have found out that the Greek word, antilutron, rendered ransom, has a particular meaning, that it means neither more nor less than a corresponding price, then ask yourself whether you believe in it according to its true and only meaning? Do you believe that the Lord Jesus gave a corresponding price? that is, a price equivalent to the forfeited life of Adam, in whose condemnation you were involved and in whose redemption also you are therefore included? If so, you are a believer in the ransom; if not, you might use the word ransom in every sentence you uttered and yet not be a believer in it. Remember that no other definition of the word ransom is ever offered, even.
Let us briefly go into the philosophy of the ransom and ask a few questions which may assist some to clearer views on the subject and enable them to square and repair their belief in harmony with this, the fundamental principle of God's plan of salvation.
If you accept of the fact which the word ransom teaches – that Christ gave a corresponding price for all – then ask yourself, What was the price which he gave? Does he not say, it was his life that he gave as the price of ours? (John 10:15; 6:51.) Was that price not given to save us – to recover us out of death, to make legally possible the resurrection of the dead? Is it not written, I will ransom them from the grave? (Hos. 13:14.) Are you sure that you believe in the ransom, thus, according to its only meaning and use in the Scriptures? Make sure that you do so fully; for to believe something else about it and to use the word ransom in a wrong sense is only to deceive and ensnare your own heart, and will lead you bound hand and foot into the "outer darkness" of human philosophy – evolution.
Well, if you are sure that you have the correct idea of the corresponding price, look at the facts and ask yourself, When did our Lord pay that price for us? Does not the Apostle give the answer of this (1 Tim. 2:5,6), saying that it was the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all? When was he the man Christ Jesus? Surely not before he was made flesh, when he was a spirit-being with the Father. Surely not since his resurrection; for he is the man Christ Jesus no longer. He was made alive from the dead "a quickening spirit," of the divine nature, far higher than angels, while manhood is "a little lower" than the angelic nature. – Heb. 2:7-9; Psa. 8:4-8.
And as the price paid by the Lord was a corresponding price, does not this prove that those for whom this price was paid had lost or forfeited just such things as corresponded to what he paid? And does not this agree with the statement, oft confirmed in the Scriptures, that God created man perfect, upright, in his own image, only of a fleshly or earthly nature instead of a spirit or heavenly nature?
Is it not evident, then – since Adam was created in God's likeness, and not in a state of imperfection and sin; and since he lost his powers of perfect manhood and all right to their possession through disobedience; and since by losing these he and all in him became subject to death (Rom. 5:12) – that our Lord Jesus under the divine plan became a man for the very purpose of giving himself a corresponding price for Adam, and thus for all involved in the loss and fall through him? Is it not evident that he gave up his manhood on our behalf as a substitute for condemned Adam, that Adam and his children might be released from the tomb "in due time"? Is it not evident, then, that our Lord Jesus would not prefer to be a man, being now of a nature so much higher than the one that he humbled himself to take for our sakes, that he might be able to give the corresponding price? And is it not evident that even if human nature were higher and more desirable than the divine nature, our Lord could not take it again without taking back the price of our justification?
Do you know, now, whether or not you believe in the ransom? and are you able to see through the thin deceptions of some teachers who use the word repeatedly to give the impression that they believe the sentiments which the word represents, but who are nevertheless constantly teaching theories in direct opposition to the meaning of the word ransom and its use in the Scriptures? Settle this question at once and definitely; and then see to it that your every mite of influence, by word and by letter and by literature, is exerted for the ransom as God's Word teaches it, – a "corresponding price," its only definition.
One who has been somewhat confused by the growingly prevalent no-ransom views, which darken counsel and pervert the Scriptures by stringing together disconnected portions of Scripture and by using such words as ransom and restitution regardless of the meaning of the words, suggests the following questions, which, for the benefit of all, we answer publicly. Ques. Could not Christ be our ransom and yet not be our substitute?
No; the word ransom means all that substitute and redeem mean, and more. The word ransom not only signifies a price put instead of, or as a substitute for, something, but it means a corresponding price, a corresponding thing substituted.
Ques. Do you not misstate the case when you declare that Christ as our ransom is the Rock upon which all should build, the foundation of all true faith? Do not the Scriptures declare that "That Rock was Christ," without mentioning the ransom?
No, we do not misstate the matter. While acknowledging all of the features of Christ's work, we claim, and have repeatedly shown, that the work of Christ as our ransom is the foundation Rock upon which all other parts of his work for man's salvation are built, and that faith in his work as our ransom price is the solid rock-foundation, and the only foundation for all our hopes, present and future, through him. What is it to believe in Christ? Surely not the mere belief that such a person lived and died. No; many infidels believe this, and yet, rejecting the work which he accomplished as our Redeemer, our ransom-price, they have no foundation for faith in him. Besides, in the very case you cite (1 Cor. 10:4), the rock which typified Christ was the one from which the water flowed out as the result of its being smitten. That smiting represented Christ's crucifixion as our ransom. As the direct result of that ransom the water of everlasting life flows to the otherwise perishing. The source of life, the foundation of all faith and hope, then, is the smitten Rock, Christ as our ransom.
Ques. You have pointed out repeatedly the many texts which mention the value of Christ's death, the efficacy of the precious blood as the one and only propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins, which effects for us a release from sin and its penalty, death; will you permit me to inquire – How comes it, then, that the Apostle, while agreeing with you that "we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son," declares that "we shall be saved by his life?" He even declares that if Christ be not risen, we are yet in our sins. If Christ's death was our ransom-price, and effected our reconciliation with God, as you and the Apostles declare, how could it be true that if Christ had not risen, our guilt would have been unforgiven and we would have been without hope of a resurrection?
A careful study of the typical sin-offering (See next issue of the TOWER,) will show clearly the answer to this question. When the typical high-priest made atonement for sin, he first slew the bullock, which represented the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom (a corresponding price), putting it on the altar of sacrifice, where it was fully consumed. Then he, as the representative of Christ, the "new creature," partaker of the divine nature, took the blood of the bullock into the Most Holy and sprinkled it upon the Mercy-seat and before the Mercy-seat, thus representing a work done by our Lord Jesus after his resurrection, when he, as our great High Priest, "entered into heaven itself (the true Holy of Holies), there to appear in the presence of God for us" – there to present before the Father, as the payment of our sins, the merit or value of his own sacrifice at Calvary.
Just as in the type the slaying of the bullock and the consuming of it as a sacrifice did not effect the typical atonement nor typically take away the sin, just so in the antitype. Our Lord's sacrifice of himself did not take away our sins, nor in any way effect a reconciliation, nor justify us from our sins, nor secure to us resurrection life, until presented to God, after his resurrection and ascension. As in the type the death of the bullock became the means or price by which reconciliation and atonement for sin was afterward effected in the Most Holy, so in the antitype [R1229 : page 2] the death of Christ became the means, the merit, the price by which reconciliation and atonement for sins was afterward effected, when Christ our Lord arose, ascended, and presented before the Father the merit of his obedience, as the offset to the penalty against Adam and all his race – as substitutionary payment of the penalty against Adam, as his ransom price (a corresponding price).
When you have earned the money for the purchase of an article, that alone does not make the article yours. The money may lie in your purse and the desired thing will never be yours unless you present the money for it. So, our Lord's death, which corresponded to man's penalty, became in his hand a merit, a valuable thing, available for man's purchase or ransom, sufficient as a propitiation to settle or cancel the debt of the sinner. But the presenting of that price for us was not done at Calvary, but after our Lord was risen and ascended up on high. The presentation of that merit before the Father and its acceptance as our ransom price was typically shown in the type of the atonement, by the sprinkling of the blood of the bullock (blood of propitiation or satisfaction) upon the Mercy-seat or Propitiatory.
Did God then accept the merit of Christ's sacrifice as the full offset, ransom or purchase price for the world of mankind? Yes; God not only indicated that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was an acceptable one in his sight, but he in a special manner granted an acknowledgment that when presented to him as the payment, the price, the propitiation of our sins, he thus accepted of it.
The resurrection of Christ from the dead was the proof or evidence that in him God was well pleased, that his life and sacrifice were acceptable before God; and this became an assurance or evidence to men that he is the one through whom God intended to judge the world – to try or test men under full knowledge and opportunity, and reward all who will choose righteousness with lasting life. – Acts 17:31.
The descent of the holy Spirit at Pentecost was the evidence or proof that the sacrifice of Christ had been applied on our behalf as the price of our sins and that God had accepted it as such. It was ten days after our Lord ascended up on high before any forgiveness of sins or other advantage from his death accrued to men. What was our Lord doing in heaven during those ten days, while the disciples waited for the promised blessing? He was doing what was typified in the act of the typical high priest sprinkling the blood of the already offered and consumed sacrifice, as an atonement or propitiation upon the Mercy-seat or Propitiatory. He was presenting the merit of his human life given up as the price of our forfeited life, that he might, by thus meeting our penalty, have the right to offer lasting life, by a resurrection, to all.
Thus seen, the resurrection of our Lord was all-important. Had he not risen, he would have been proved a sinner, one not worthy of life and unfit to be our ransom price. Had he not risen, he could not have gone into the Holy of Holies, even heaven itself, there to appear on our behalf, to present to God the merit of the sacrifice he had made; and therefore we would have remained unbenefited. Remember, too, how he declared after his resurrection, "It is expedient for you that I go away." Had he not entered the true Holy of Holies and presented his sacrifice as our ransom, we would have remained in our sins, and the holy Spirit and the privilege of God's call to joint-heirship with Christ would not have been granted – for this favor comes not to sinners, but to the justified. And had Christ not risen, he could never do the great work of restitution for mankind. For be it remembered, only believers in his ransom-sacrifice are yet justified, freed from sins, or in any way forgiven. Of others it is written, "ye are yet in your sins." Only believers have escaped from the condemnation that is still upon the world (John 3:18). And these believers are such as not only believe that such a person as Jesus lived and died, but that his death was accepted of God as their ransom price. Others will be brought to a knowledge of this great foundation truth in the times of restitution, and when they accept of it, their sins will be blotted out. – Acts 3:19.
So then, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, but not at the time of the death, nor until it was presented and accepted as our ransom price. And we were justified freely by his blood [his sacrificed life], not when he died, nor when he presented it to the Father as the price of Adam and his race, but when we individually accepted of the offer of forgiveness and reconciliation – through his blood.
There are some among the faithful,
Waiting, watching every day,
Peering through the misty shadows
To the clear and lighted way;
Listening in the dusky twilight,
Waiting even in the night,
'Mid the toil and heat of noonday
Bending forward to the light.
And they speak in eager whispers –
"Can we see his chariot yet?"
"Will the Master come this evening?"
"Will the heavenly Friend forget?"
So they stand, these earnest servants,
Waiting, watching evermore
For the clouds to part asunder,
And reveal the open door.
There are troubled ones among them,
Looking through the weary night;
Some are God's dear little children
Watching for the dawning light;
Some are aged pilgrims, longing
For the Master's spoken word;
There are some in every country
Waiting, watching for the Lord.
And they take their daily duties,
And perform them as for him;
And they read his loving message
When their eyes are tired and dim.
They are living lives of blessing –
Lives of love for his dear sake,
While they wait with eager longing
For the morn of joy to break.
Now he doth no longer tarry;
Soon he'll fold them to his breast;
He will make his watchers happy
In this everlasting rest.
He will give them satisfaction
For their days of waiting here;
And their joy shall be unceasing
When they shall his glory share.
All of God's dear children trust in the precious blood of the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. They know, as Mr. Moody tersely puts it, that the blood of Christ is the principal topic of God's revelation, and the foundation of his great plan of salvation. They know that the expression, "blood of Christ," somehow stands for sacrifice of Christ, though they are sadly confused by false ideas on the so-called "trinity," and consequently upon what our Lord Jesus gave as the sacrifice for sins.
In this "evil day" the great Adversary of God and his truth is taking advantage of this confusion, this lack of clearness of understanding, to overthrow faith in the ransom, the foundation doctrine of Christianity. The process is, to scoff at the idea of blood cleansing from sin, and to insinuate that most Christians believe in having literal blood sprinkled on their hearts, or that they are cleansed from sin by plunging into a literal fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel's veins. Thus the idea of blood-cleansing is scouted as being on a par with the doctrine [R1230 : page 3] of everlasting torment, and belonging to the savage minds of the "dark ages."
As a matter of fact, no sane Christian people have ever held this literal and absurd view of the meaning of the blood of Christ. It has always been recognized as synonymous with sacrifice. Any fair-minded person can readily see this to be true as well of the use of the word blood by the Apostles, as in the hymns of all denominations of Christian people. Take that grand old hymn –
"There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins,
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains."
What could more clearly express the very essence of the Bible doctrine; and how absurd for any to try to make out that those who thus express their sentiments believe in a river of literal blood. The hymn expresses well and beautifully the very thought of the Prophet (Zech. 13:1), "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David for sin and for uncleanness."
There is surely an object in this misrepresentation of the general views of Christian people. Is it to confuse the mind, excite disgust at the thought of blood, and swimming in rivers of blood, etc., and then under the warmth of the denial: "Such is not my belief even if my fathers did believe it," to point out to the confused one a theory which it is desired to impress? It looks very much that way. The theory then advanced is, that when Christ's blood is mentioned, the word blood stands for carnal nature, and the understanding should be – Christ slew HIS carnal nature, as an example of how all his followers and the world in general should slay their carnal natures.
Ah! no wonder that, with such a theory to advance, the great Adversary first tried to excite disgust for any and every thing connected with "the blood." He well knew that, unless disgust for "the blood" should be aroused and form a barrier of mental prejudice, some of God's children would be sure to examine the forty-three places where the Scriptures mention the blood of Christ, and the many more where they mention the blood of animals which typified his blood. And if they would but investigate, they would find that which would prove fatal to the theory he wished to establish as new light.
The few who look to God's word for instruction find that in these forty-three times that the blood of Christ is mentioned, neither our Lord nor the apostles once hint that the blood of Jesus represented the slaying of his carnal nature, nor that he had in or about him anything evil that required to be destroyed. They find, on the contrary, that there was no cause of death found in him except in the sight of the hypocritical Pharisees. And they find that, to the contrary of the theory we are criticizing, these forty-three inspired testimonies on the subject declare unitedly, not that our Lord shed his blood for himself and as an example to all men to shed their blood for themselves and thus reach perfection, but that, whatever blood symbolizes, it is his blood that cleanseth us from all sin.
Yes, his blood became the basis for the forgiveness of our sins, made peace for us, opened up the way to reconciliation, and transferred us from the domain of sentenced culprits, back to sonship in the family of God. So says the great Apostle Paul – Col. 1:20; Heb. 9:12; 10:19; 13:12; Rom. 3:25; 5:9; Eph. 1:7; 2:13; Col. 1:14 and Acts 20:28-31. So declares the great Apostle Peter – 1 Pet. 1:2,19. So testifies the beloved Apostle John – 1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:5; 5:9; 7:14.
Truly the Word of God is sufficient that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished against all the wiles, glosses and sophistries of Satan. Even those who do not see clearly what the blood does signify or symbolize, can, without aid, quickly see that it means nothing at all like what this erroneous view would set forth. The idea of the blood of Christ signifying the slaying by him of his carnal nature is as far from the testimony of the above passages of God's Word as the East is from the West.
We answer by giving God's definition of what blood represents or symbolizes. The blood is the life. (Gen. 9:4-6.) "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have appointed it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls [lives, beings]: for it is the blood [sacrificed life] that maketh atonement for the soul [or being]." – Lev. 17:11,14.
By accepting God's definition of what blood signified, in all the sacrifices, as well as in the case of the "one sacrifice for all" which our Lord Jesus presented, all confusion disappears. As blood represents the life, the shedding of blood represents the loss of life – death. So then, the expressions – the Lamb slain, the cleansing blood of the Lamb, the precious blood of Christ, no more refer to literal blood than to a literal lamb, but to the death of Christ. True, our Lord's side was actually pierced and blood flowed out, but the expression, "He hath redeemed us by his blood" (by his death), would have been equally true and proper, if not a drop of his literal blood had passed from his veins; for it merely signifies that he redeemed us by his death – by the sacrifice or loss of his life. Thus it is written, "He poured out his soul [being – life] unto death;" and again that he made "his soul [being – life] an offering for sin." – Isa. 53:12,10.
So then, God's people have always had the pith of the truth on this subject, when believing that the "blood of Christ" meant the sacrifice of Christ. That is the correct thought. Their difficulty is, that when they come in contact with errors their lack of a clear understanding of what sacrifice Christ did make for the sins of the world, combined with erroneous ideas of a trinity, make them liable to be led astray from the foundation doctrine of Christianity – "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." Finding that they cannot clearly analyze their own views, they are very susceptible to the false view we criticize, which first ridicules the idea which no one holds, that it is the literal blood of Christ which washes away our sins, and then offers the proposition, that Christ's blood, when referred to in Scriptures, represents his slaying of his own carnal nature and desires, as an example to men, how they must each slay his own carnal nature and desires. According to this unscriptural theory each man would be his own Savior. And not only so, but if each would be a great Savior in proportion to the work accomplished, then the Lord Jesus would be the least of all; because, even those who claim that he had a carnal nature to crucify or slay cannot dispute that many men have far more of evil and sin working in their members to overcome than our Lord had. And if each slays sin in himself, the more degraded the man the greater the salvation, and the greater he is as his own Savior.
The life of the world in general was gone – forfeited in father Adam's failure when on trial – all not absolutely dead were dying. They were under the execution of the just sentence of God, "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return." God had decreed a sentence which would most fully manifest the law of the universe – that no sinner shall live – and one which at the same time furnished an opportunity for revealing to angels and to men his unswerving justice, his great love, and his boundless wisdom and power. When God decreed death as the penalty for sin, so that a ransom (a corresponding price – a just one to die for [or instead of] the unjust one – Rom. 5:17) would be necessary to the release of mankind from the sentence, he did so in full view of the course he would pursue. His wisdom foresaw the results of leaving Adam to his own free will – that in his inexperience he would not submit his will to the will of his creator and would therefore get into sin and under the sentence of death – extinction. And his wisdom also foresaw how his love could work out a plan for the salvation of his creatures. And he foresaw that the well beloved and only begotten Son would humbly consent to carry out the divine plan – to leave the glory and honor of the heavenly nature, and as the man Christ Jesus give himself a ransom for Adam and his race. – Phil. 2:7,8; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
Since the penalty was death, the ransom necessary to release the dead and dying world from the sentence under which all were, and to secure them restitution – resurrection – and an individual trial for everlasting life, was the death of this perfect man whom God thus provided. And this simple and easily comprehended plan was carried out. The man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom for all; – he died, the just for the unjust; – he died for our sins. The dying on the cross, the drops of bloody sweat in Gethsemane, the pierced hands and side and flowing blood were not necessary to our ransom. None of these things were the penalties of sin. God's sentence against Adam – "dying thou shalt die" – did not specify what manner of death, nor what amount of suffering should be connected with it. Death alone was the penalty, and had God's will been such, for our Lord to have met death in any other form than crucifixion would have been equally our ransom price. [R1231 : page 3]
Many do not see that in our Lord two things were being accomplished at once. Our ransom was being provided, and our Lord's extreme fidelity to the Heavenly Father was being tested and proved in the same sacrifice. As our ransom, death in any form would do; but as an unbounded proof of his humility and obedience to the Father's plan, the shame of the cross was added. – Phil. 2:7,8.
The result of his death as it affects himself is that he is now highly exalted and made partaker of the divine nature, that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. – Phil. 2:8,9; John 5:23.
The result of his death as it affects mankind is that it places the world in his hands as the purchaser, to the intent that, without violating the law and sentence of God (which he satisfied with his own [life] blood), he may restore men to perfection and offer everlasting life to all who will come into harmony with God's perfect law through him – under his direction and assistance. [R1231 : page 3]
Thus we are justified by his blood [by the life which he laid down for us]: our sins and imperfections are passed over, forgiven, covered by the merit of the ransom which he gave. Not only sins past and present, but also all future sins – all that are directly or indirectly the results of Adam's transgression – all that are not our own, that our wills do not approve of, are not reckoned any longer to those who are in Christ Jesus. No wonder these have joy and peace as they realize that there is now no longer any condemnation against them. – Rom. 5:1; 8:1.
Here begins the work of sacrifice and crucifixion with Christ to which many are invited, but to which few respond. It is [R1231 : page 4] a mistake, however, to consider this sacrificing as a slaughter of our sins or as having anything to do with the "slaying of the enmity" mentioned by the Apostle. On the contrary (under the Law, which was typical), no sacrifice could be offered unto the Lord that had any blemish or imperfection – blemishes representing sin. So it is that no one is ever invited to become a sacrificer with Christ until he has first been justified from all things – cleansed from all sins – by the precious blood [sacrificed life] of Christ. And if these who are cleansed from sins – justified from all things – are told that they may present their bodies ["holy and acceptable unto God" through Jesus Christ] as living sacrifices, it must be their justified selves and not their sins that they present, and that the Lord proposes to accept.
The "enmity" which the Apostle declares Christ abolished (Eph. 2:15) was not sin in himself, nor anything in himself; but in or by the sacrifice of his flesh, the man Christ Jesus abolished the enmity or opposition of the Jewish Law Covenant, under which fleshly Israel labored. When that Covenant which they could not keep was fulfilled by our Lord Jesus and passed away (Col. 2:14), all who had been under it were released from its requirements of absolute perfection which opposed and condemned them all, that they might receive through Christ forgiveness of sins – through faith in his blood.
The privilege of becoming joint-sacrifices with Christ is limited, as truly as is the privilege of becoming joint-heirs with him. "Now is the acceptable time." Both the privilege and the reward of sacrifice will end with this age. Now is the time when God will accept the living sacrifices of all who (after being justified from all sin by the blood of Christ) come unto God through him.
Such are not invited to sacrifice for their own sins, then, for their sins must be canceled before any sacrifice would be acceptable. But they are invited to sacrifice time, talent, influence, self-ease, and lawful self-gratification, in the service of the truth – in the general cause of God against the great enemy, Sin, and for the recovery of sinners out of it through Christ Jesus.
The sufferings of Christ, to a share in which all believers cleansed by his blood were invited during the Gospel age, will soon end. They will be filled up or completed. (Col. 1:24.) Then the glory will follow – the glory of Christ Jesus and also of all the members of his body, the church, those who suffered for the truth (not for their sins), sacrificing their justified selves with him and in the cause of God. Then the reign of righteousness will begin and none will have occasion to lay down his life for the truth's sake thereafter.
Many have believed in the precious blood and have had joy and peace in believing and then heard the call to the privilege of self-sacrifice with Christ; but few have responded, and hence few are chosen to be with him and behold and share his glory and his throne, and his new nature – the divine nature – far above both the human and the angelic natures, even in their grandest perfections. Let us, acceptable to God through the precious blood, make our calling and election sure. Let us lay aside every weight and hindrance and run with patience the race of self-denial to the end – looking unto Jesus, the author of our faith, to finish it by receiving us to the heavenly mansion.
"Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." – Job 14:4.
That the pre-existent Son of God "was made flesh and dwelt among us," is clearly stated in the Scriptures (John 1:14); that he was "holy," "undefiled," and "separate from sinners," is plainly stated (Heb. 7:26-28 and Luke 1:35); and that he knew no sin, while all other men are sinners, is also stated (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:18,19; and 1 Pet. 2:22). The Apostle's argument that he was able to, and did, give himself a ransom or corresponding price, for the forfeited life and rights of Adam (Rom. 5:17-19; 1 Tim. 2:6), proves the same. Because the first Adam was perfect until he sinned; hence one who could give a corresponding price or ransom must have been likewise perfect, without sin and free from its condemnation. The same thought is logically deduced from the statement that Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the Law (Matt. 5:17; John 8:46); for we know that the Law of God was the full measure of a perfect man's ability. Hence the conclusion is irresistible that he must have been a perfect man when able to do what no imperfect man had done or could do. – Psa. 49:7; Heb. 1:3; 4:15; 9:28; 10:5-10; Isa. 53:9-12; John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:19.
But notwithstanding the mass of Bible testimony as to his human perfection, some inquire, Can the possibility of this be scientifically shown? Others assert that it is an impossibility, and that the laws of nature are in direct opposition. They give unbounded weight to their imperfect understanding of nature's laws, and lightly cast aside the weight of Bible testimony.
The question, however, is well worthy of an examination from a scientific as well as from a scriptural standpoint, in order that the agreement of science and Scripture may be clearly seen. Science and Scripture always agree when properly understood. There is no law against our seeking evidence from every good source, but only egotism, or blindness, or both, will exalt human reasonings above the divine testimony.
We raise the query then: How came it that Jesus was perfect while his mother was imperfect? – who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Seeking to answer this query, the church of Rome promulgated the doctrine of the "Immaculate Conception:" not the doctrine that Jesus was miraculously conceived by the holy power of God, as recorded by the Evangelists; but that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was miraculously conceived, and hence that she was pure, holy, and free from Adamic sin and imperfection. But the originators of this doctrine could not have been far-seeing, or they would have known that by the same reasoning it must be proved that Mary's mother was of immaculate conception, and so all the way back to Eve, "the mother of all living," whose fall into sin before she bore any children is clearly stated in the Bible. See Gen. 3 and 1 Tim. 2:14.
The Scriptures hold out the thought that all EXISTENCE, LIVING ENERGY, or BEING, comes from the father and not from the mother. The mother receives and nourishes the germ of being until it is able to maintain an independent existence; i.e., until it is able to appropriate to its maintenance the life-sustaining elements which the earth and air supply. The living organism which she nourishes came entirely from the father. The word father has the significance of life-giver.
In harmony with this principle, God was the "FATHER," or life-giver, while the earth was the Mother of Adam, and hence of the human race (Luke 3:38). In harmony with this principle, the children are spoken of, as of or from their fathers, and borne by their mothers. (Gen. 24:47.) Thus the children of Jacob, counted through his sons, were seventy when he came out of Egypt; but if he or the twelve Patriarchs had daughters, which we cannot doubt, the children of those daughters were not counted as Jacob's children, they being counted to their fathers. And all of these seventy souls or beings are expressly said to have come out of the loins of Jacob. (Gen. 46:26,27, and Exod. 1:5.) So of Solomon it is said, that he came out of the loins of David. (1 Kings 8:19, and 2 Chron. 6:9.) So also the Apostle Paul and Israelites in general claimed that they all came out of the loins of Abraham; and of Levi it is written that "he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedec met him." – Heb. 7:5,10.
Thus also the whole race was in and sprang from Adam their father, but were not from Eve. And thus it is written that in (through) ADAM all die, but not in (through) Eve. Because the race came of Adam, it was therefore tried in him.
This, which the Scriptures teach, is the latest deduction of science on this subject of Progeneration, as applied to life in all its forms. Scientists find abundant and conclusive proof in nature that life or being comes always from the male. The simplest form of illustration is a hen's egg: Of itself it contains no life; no living organism could under any circumstance come of it, unless it be impregnated with a living organism by the male. The egg consists of the proper elements, and in proper proportion, adapted to the minute organism received into it; and under proper conditions that organism develops. The yolk becomes wholly the bird, while the clear liquid albumen serves as its earliest nourishment until it breaks the shell and is able to sustain itself by appropriating cruder elements of nutrition. The principles here involved are the same in human and other animals.
In view of these testimonies of the Bible and science, it is a reasonable deduction that if the father be perfect, the child will be so: the perfect progeny would absorb and appropriate only such elements of nutrition as were suitable and beneficial to its perfect development, throwing off through the operation of its perfect organism any other elements. On the contrary, if the germ of being be imperfect, it will appropriate whatever qualities its mother furnishes – good or bad. Being imperfect, it would be unable to reject wholly the poisonous elements of disease. This is on the same principle that if two persons eat of strong food, the one with good digestive powers can appropriate its nutriment and pass off its unwholesome qualities, while the other with weak digestion could appropriate little nutriment from the same food and would be injured by its evil qualities.
It follows, then, that had mother Eve alone sinned, the race would not have died. Had Adam remained perfect, his life unforfeited and unimpaired, his offspring would have been the same; the imperfections of Eve would not have affected them; being perfect, they would have appropriated good elements and have passed off naturally any elements of decay without injury. On the other hand, suppose that Adam had sinned and Eve had remained sinless, Adam's condemnation and death would have affected the entire posterity just the same; the most perfect nourishment given to imperfect and dying germs would never make of them perfect beings. Hence the appropriateness of the Scriptural statement, that "In Adam all die," and "By one man's disobedience...death passed upon all." (1 Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:12,19.) How wonderful the correspondence here between the first and second Adams and their brides. As the death of the race depended not upon Eve but wholly upon Adam, and yet she shared in the bringing of it, so the restored life of the race redeemed depends not at all upon the bride of Christ, but upon Jesus, though by divine favor it is arranged that she shall share in the work of RESTITUTION of "that which was lost."
The fountain, Adam, having become contaminated by sin and death, none of his posterity can be free from contamination; for, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." The reference here must be understood as applying to the man, and not to the woman: none coming from or out of the contaminated fountain can be clean. Hence, "There is none righteous, no, not one;" none can redeem his own life, nor give to God a ransom for his brother. – Rom. 3:10; Psa. 49:7.
It follows, then, that the only obstacle to the generation of a perfect man is the lack of a perfect father to give a perfect life-germ; and hence the teaching of Scripture, that in the case of Jesus a perfect LIFE-GERM, transferred by divine power from a pre-existent condition to the embryo human condition, was born "holy" (pure and perfect), though of an imperfect mother (Luke 1:35). That he was uncontaminated with any imperfection – mental, moral or physical – which his mother in common with the entire human race shared, is entirely reasonable, and in perfect accord both with Scripture and with the latest scientific findings and deductions.
Another fact which scientists are demonstrating to themselves, which seems to concur with Scripture testimony, is, that though life or being comes from the father, form and nature come from the mother. The scientific proofs of this are more abstruse and less easily grasped by the ordinary mind; and this, because in wisdom God has not only separated the various kinds, or natures, but in great measure has limited them, so that they cannot mix or blend beyond certain limits.
The clearest illustration of this principle that kind or nature comes from the mother, scientists have yet to learn, is found in the Scriptures. They furnish the principal and clearest illustration of the effect or result of miscegenation, or the blending of distinct natures, and prove more conclusively than science has yet been able to do, that NATURE comes of the mother, though the father's characteristics attach. Take, as an illustration, the offspring of the improper union between "the daughters of men" and those angels who kept not their proper estate, but degraded their nature: the progeny had the vitality of the fathers, but the nature of the mothers – they were renowned MEN. [Superior to the then decaying race, it would have had hard masters in those Nephelim had not God in goodness not only swept away the new race (new, because not of the same father) in the Flood, but restrained "those angels" who caused this trouble, depriving them [R1232 : page 5] of their former liberties. See articles in issues of June and December, 1884, and January, 1885, treating of these.] So great was the renown of these, that it is to be found with more or less distinctness in heathen mythologies to this day, and hundreds of years after their destruction in the flood, the false report that some of these were yet alive caused a panic among the Israelites while flushed with the victory of recent battles. – See Num. 13:33.
But the chief illustration of this principle is found in the fact that Jehovah, himself of the divine nature, has begotten sons of the same as well as other natures. He is the father of those of the angelic nature (Job 2:1; 38:7; Heb. 2:9), and of the human nature (Luke 3:38), as well as of the "NEW CREATURES" who shall be made partakers of his own divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4). The will or ENERGY of Jehovah operating upon spirit-substances produced and developed angels; operating upon earthly substances (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:47), man was produced. And when he would give us a clear conception of the generation of the new creatures to the divine nature, he represents them as begotten of his in the womb of the Covenant which he made with Abraham, which he symbolizes by a woman, Sarah, telling us that as Isaac was the heir of Abraham and child of promise (by Sarah), so we, as or like Isaac, are children of God, being children of the promise, or Sarah covenant. – See Gal. 4:23-31; 1 Pet. 1:3,5,23; 2 Pet. 1:4.
The same principle is illustrated in the fact that in the typical dispensation, prior to the Christian age, a child inherited blessings and privileges of its father, according to the favor and standing of its mother, thus again declaring that the mother's nature, rights, privileges and liberties attached to the child, though not of necessity the father's. See Gen. 21:10; Ex. 21:4; Gal. 4:30.
Again, Jesus' birth of a woman proves the same thing. The "holy thing" born of a woman partook of the woman's nature, i.e., human nature – "of the earth earthy." Though retaining all the purity and perfection of the pre-existent (spirit) state, the transferred germ of being (in harmony with this law we are examining) partook of the nature of the mother and was "made flesh" by being "born of a woman." Yet the "clean thing" came not out of the unclean race, but "proceeded forth and came from God" and was merely nourished and developed in Mary.
It is yet further in harmony with this same principle that though Christ has been highly exalted to the divine nature, and is no longer human, yet it is declared of him that he shall be the life-giver or father of the whole human race, while it is also shown that his work for the race is to restore the perfection of human nature, which was lost for all through Adam's sin; thus showing that he, as father, will be on the divine plane, while the restored race, as children, will be on the human plane, born out of a covenant of restitution, illustrated by Keturah, Abraham's third wife.
A prominent New York journal calls attention to the fact that of the total sum of $1,142,222.61 assessed in that city for charitable purposes for the present year, more than one-half will go to support sectarian charities, the figures standing:
Nonsectarian, . . . . . . . . $510,092.38 Sectarian, . . . . . . . . . 632,130.23 ------------ Total, . . . . . . . . . . . 1,142,222.61
The Children's Fold of the City of New York, . . . . . . $17,680.00 Protestant Episcopal House of Mercy, . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,134.63 The Shepherd's Fold of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New York, . . 5,000.00 ---------- Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . $31,814.63
Hebrew Benevolent Society of the City of New York, . . . . $60,000.00
Association for Befriending Children and Young Girls . . . $7,280.00 St. Joseph's Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf Mutes . . . . . . . . . . 20,700.00 Foundling Asylum of the Sisters of Charity . . . . . . 252,345.60 New York Catholic Protectory . 254,000.00 Roman Catholic House of the Good Shepherd . . . . . . . . 6,000.00 ----------- Total . . . . . . . . . . . . $540,325.60
We highly approve of real generosity and benevolence, but the people have a right to demand that public taxes be devoted to public and not to sectarian religious purposes. The influence of this money goes to spread or to support the errors of the systems dispensing the sum. How these large sums of money are spent, the public never knows, for no reports are required of these as of the city charities.
"I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." – John 11:26.
These were Jesus' words of consolation to Martha. They state briefly man's future hopes in, and because of, the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Let us analyze the statement, and, if possible, gain its full import.
The first statement – "He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live," teaches that only believers shall be resurrected – made to "LIVE." This may appear out of harmony with other statements of our Lord to the effect that ALL in their graves shall "come forth," until we recognize the full force of the words RESURRECTION and LIVE. We have therefore shown that the word resurrect signifies to lift or raise up again to perfection, and that since man's fall was from perfection as represented in Adam, his resurrection would imply a bringing to perfection again. But many Scriptures indicate that while the gospel church will be lifted to the perfection of the new nature in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the world will be resurrected or brought to perfection of their human nature gradually – the Millennial age being the times of resurrection or restitution.
By recognizing a similar fulness of meaning in the word "LIVE," we shall find that in the scripture under consideration we have the statement clear and easily understood, in harmony with all scriptures.
To LIVE means a great deal, in its full import. Adam and Eve lived, i.e., had life in perfect measure, before sin entered. When death entered, and the dying commenced, it was a process of ceasing to live. So death, the opposite of life, passed upon all men. From the standpoint of God's sentence all are dead (2 Cor. 5:14; Matt. 8:22). So then, though it is true that all in their graves shall "come forth," they will come forth with a small measure of life, such as men now have. [The most hale of the race to-day enjoy but a fragment of perfect life.] They will still be measurably in death. In this condition all shall come to knowledge, and whosoever believeth in the Ransomer, though dead, "yet shall he LIVE." Belief in the ransom will be necessary to the full acquirement of the favor purchased – LIFE.
In perfect accord with this view (and no other) is that peculiar statement of John 5:25: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall LIVE." [Sinaitic MS. omits "and now is."] According to the general conception this should read, they that live shall hear, but this would not have been true and in harmony with the plan; hence the peculiar and guarded expression used, which is only appreciable as we come to see more deeply into God's plans for that coming age. All are dead – under death's dominion; death has passed upon all. The Redeemer has come, the ransom has been paid, and in due time all the dead shall hear [be brought to a clear conception of it], and they that hear [receive or grasp it] shall [in due time] LIVE, reach perfection of life – perfection of being.
A few who were of the dead class have heard, more or less distinctly, in this age, of the ransom price given for our release. Those who have heard and accepted the glad message of pardon through Christ are told that by faith they may reckon themselves as being already alive – as having "passed from death unto life," although they are actually still imperfect and dying beings and will not be actually perfected and fully alive until our resurrection.
All thus by faith reckoned alive from Adamic death during the period of the gospel high-calling are privileged also to HEAR of a prize or high-calling offered during the Gospel age to believing sacrificers; and thus these have "access into THIS GRACE, wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom. 5:2) – in hope of sharing the divine nature and kingdom power with our Lord [R1232 : page 5] and Redeemer, Jesus.
But the due time, in which the great mass of the dead shall hear, will be when the "little flock" has attained the promised glory, and as members of the great Prophet shall teach and bless the people, bringing them out of their graves and opening sin-blooded eyes and prejudice-stopped ears, as it is written. – Isa. 35:5.
While the first resurrection, the resurrection of the "little flock," will be an instantaneous perfecting in life at the beginning of the Millennial Age, the resurrection of the world in general will be a slow process. All will be believers then, for knowledge will be so clear and complete that none could be in ignorance, and such as become obedient may progress upon the highway of holiness to perfection at its end. (See M. Dawn, Vol. I., page 211.) The end of this way and the perfection of LIFE will be attained by all the obedient, by the end of the Millennium.
In the light of the previous statement, this one becomes very clear and simple. It is God's assurance that any who reach the condition of LIFE may retain it forever, if they shall forever continue to be believers. It is the promise of everlasting Life. He who becomes alive, actually, perfectly, by resurrection work completed, if he continues a believer in and a follower of Jesus shall never die – to all eternity.
Paul, in his natural character, before his conversion, resembles Bonaparte more than any other man – I mean both in his intellectual development and energy of will. He had the same inflexibility of purpose, the utter indifference to human suffering when he had once determined on his course, the same tireless, unconquerable resolution; the same fearlessness both of man's power and opinions, and that calm self-reliance and mysterious control over others. But the point of greatest resemblance is in the union of a strong, correct judgment, with rapidity of thought and sudden impulse. They thought quicker, yet better than other men. The power, too, they possessed was all practical power. There are many men of strong minds, whose forces nevertheless waste in reflections, or in theories for others to act upon. Their thought may work out into language, but not into action. They will plan better than they perform. But these men not only thought better, but they could work better than other men.
The same perfect self-control and perfect subjection of his emotions to the mandates of his will are exhibited in his conduct when smitten to the earth, and blinded by the light and voice from heaven. John, when arrested by the same voice on the Isle of Patmos, fell on his face as a dead man, and dared not to stir or to speak till encouraged by the language, "Fear not." But Paul (or Saul) showed no symptoms of alarm or terror. The voice, the blow, the light, the glory, and the darkness that followed, were sufficient to upset the strongest mind; but he, master of himself and his emotions, instead of giving way to exclamations of fear, simply said, "Lord, what wilt thou have me do?" With his reason and judgment as steady and strong as ever, he knew at once that something was wanted of him, and ever ready to act, he asked what it was.
From this time on, his track can be distinguished by the commotion about it, and the light above it. Straight back to Jerusalem, from which he had so recently come with letters to legalize his persecutions, he went to cast his lot in with those he had followed with violence and slaughter. His strong heart never beat one quicker pulsation through fear, when the lofty turrets of the proud city flashed on his vision. Neither did he steal away to the dark alleys and streets, where the disciples were concealed, and tell them secretly his faith in the Son of God. He strode into the synagogues, and before the astonished priests preached Christ and him crucified. He thundered at the door of the Sanhedrin itself, and shaking Jerusalem like an earthquake, awoke a tempest of rage and fury on himself. With assassins dogging his footsteps, he at length left the city.
But, instead of going to places where he was unknown, and where his feelings would be less tried, he started for his native city, his father's house, the house of his boyhood, for his kindred and friends. To entreaties, tears, scorn and violence, he was alike impervious. To Antioch and Cyprus, along the coast of Syria and Rome, over the known world, he went like a blazing comet, waking up the nations. From the top of Mars' Hill, with the gorgeous city at his feet, and the Acropolis and Parthenon behind him – on the deck of his shattered vessel in the intervals of the crash of billows, in the gloomy walls of a prison, on the borders of the eternal kingdom, he speaks in the same calm and determined tone. Deterred by no danger, awed by no presence, and [R1232 : page 6] shrinking from no responsibility, he moves before us like some grand embodiment of power. The nations heave around him, and kings turn pale at his presence. Bands of conspirators swear to neither eat nor drink till they have slain him; rulers and priests combine against him; and people stone him; yet over the din of conflict and storm of violence his voice of eloquence rises clear and distinct as a trumpet call, as he still preaches Christ and him crucified. The whip is laid on his back till the blood starts with every blow, and then his mangled body is thrown into a dungeon. But at midnight you hear that same calm, strong voice, which has shaken the world, poured forth in a hymn of praise to God, and lo! an earthquake rocks the prison to its foundations; the manacles fall from the hands of captives, the bolts withdraw of themselves, and the massive doors swing back on their hinges.
One cannot point to a single spot in his career where he faltered a moment, or gave way to discouragement or fear. Through all his perilous life, he exhibited the same intrepidity of character and lofty spirit. With his eyes fixed on regions beyond the ken of ordinary mortals, and kindling on glories it was not permitted him to reveal, [R1233 : page 6] he pressed forward to an incorruptible crown, a fadeless kingdom. And then his death, how indescribably sublime. Napoleon, dying in the midst of the midnight storm, with the last words that fell from his lips a battle cry, watching in delirium the torn heads of his mighty columns, as they disappeared in the smoke of the conflict, is a sight that awes and startles us. But behold Paul, also a war-worn veteran, battered with many a scar, though in a spiritual warfare, looking not on the earth but on heaven. Hear his calm, serene voice ringing over the storms and commotions of life: "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness."
"And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season." – Rev. 20:2.
The careful consideration of this scripture gives rise to several important questions, the answers to which can be apparent to those only who have a general knowledge of God's revealed plan. And to such the text gives a clear insight into its deep philosophy. These questions are, first, Why was Satan, the great deceiver and enslaver of mankind, ever permitted to have any power? secondly, Why, when, and how, is he to be bound, cast into the pit, shut up and sealed? and finally, For what conceivable purpose is he to be loosed again prior to his destruction? Or why is he not destroyed at the beginning of the thousand years, instead of being bound and then loosed again for a season?
As the first of these questions has already been considered at length in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., Chapter VII., which the reader will do well to review, we here simply call attention again to the fact, that while Satan, in the exercise of his own free will, has been for the past six thousand years endeavoring to accomplish his own designs as a rival of the Almighty, he has really unwittingly been serving a great purpose in the accomplishment of God's plan. God is able to, and does, make even the wrath of both men and devils to praise him – in the manifestation of his superior power, wisdom and skill in so overruling their evil deeds as to actually accomplish his own purposes, while they suppose they are thwarting God's plans and accomplishing their own. Under the long dominion of Satan's power, the world has been receiving its necessary experience and discipline, and the members of both the earthly and the heavenly phases of God's kingdom have been tried, developed and proved worthy of their future high exaltation. (See MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., Chapter XIV.) During all this time evil has held high carnival, and evil doers – Satan and his followers – have been intoxicated with this seemingly lasting triumph. Nor do they even now, when the hour of their fall is so near, presume that their triumph is so shortly to end in ignominious defeat.
The time for the binding of Satan is fixed at the close of the Gospel age, prior to the thousand years' reign of Christ, and is to be accomplished by the "Messenger of the Covenant whom ye delight in," and who "has the keys of death and hades" – our Lord Jesus, at his second advent: – "And I saw an angel [messenger – "the Messenger of the Covenant," Christ Jesus] come down from heaven [his second advent], having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years." (Rev. 20:1,2; 1:18; Mal. 3:1.) The object of his binding evidently is that the world may be released from his bondage and brought under the favorable conditions of the reign of Christ, with nothing to oppose, hinder or obstruct their progress toward full restitution to the divine favor and blessings.
According to the above scripture (Rev. 20:1,2) the binding of Satan could not begin until the Angel had come down – until 1874, the date of our Lord's second advent, nor indeed until 1878, the date of the assumption of his power as King of kings. (See MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., page 235.) Mark the binding process since that time. The power of Satan is the power of darkness, of ignorance and superstition. (Luke 22:53; Col. 1:13.) As the light of truth advances, the power that can only work in darkness is to that extent curtailed. Hence it is that truth, on every subject, but especially divine truth, has always met with opposition from the deceived and unwitting agents of the great adversary. Truth, therefore, is the great agency which is eventually to accomplish the complete binding of Satan. To some extent truth has for many centuries obstructed the course of error, of Satan's influence in the world – truths both of nature and religion – but they never bound Satan and rendered him powerless. If they obstructed his course in one direction, he either battered them down with persecution of one sort or another, or, failing in this, branched out and flourished in another direction. But the truth which is to accomplish the binding of Satan is described by the Revelator as "a great chain" in the hand of earth's new and rightful King. Not only the truths directly relating to the plan of God constitute this chain, but to these are linked every feature of truth related to human rights and privileges. Soon this mighty chain will so thoroughly compass the devil's dominion and influence, and the Lord's great army will draw it so tightly, that the great enemy will lie prostrate in the dust. And the Lord will cast him and all his wicked deceptions into the pit of oblivion, sealed for a thousand years; – his power to deceive and enslave men being completely stopped by the clear knowledge then prevailing. This will be accomplished both by the lessons men will learn in the terrible trouble incident to the final overthrow of Satan's power, and by the great calm and refreshment of the reign of Christ which will follow. They will be completely disgusted with Satan's ruling and his deceptions, and glad to submit to the reign of Christ. (Isa. 2:3.) This public and world-wide realization of the causes of their degradation, and the great and sudden revolution of public sentiment in favor of the Lord's ways and rulings, will constitute the seal which will hold the great adversary in the pit of oblivion for the thousand years.
But here arises our third question, Why is he not destroyed at this juncture, instead of imprisoned? Surely there can be no hope of his recovery to righteousness and submission to God: he has been a defiant rebel for at least six thousand years, and if not bound would still continue his nefarious schemes, which he will do as soon as he is loosed again; and moreover, his destruction at the end of the thousand years is clearly foretold. (See Heb. 2:14; Rev. 20:9,10,14.) The only conclusion, therefore, which we are left to draw is that God has a still further purpose to be served in his continued existence and in his loosing again at the end of the Millennial age.
What, then, is that purpose? is the important question. Let us reflect upon the principles of God's dealings and the answer will be manifest. We have seen that his plan has always been to respect man's free agency. Man, apart from the defilements of sin, is a noble creature – created in the image of God. Therefore, he is not a mere machine, but is possessed of a free will and intelligence. In dealing with man individually, God therefore respects his endowment and acts accordingly. And he always gives him knowledge before counting him responsible for the use of his will, the degree of responsibility being proportioned to the degree of enlightenment and ability to perform what he wills. Thus it has been in the cases of Adam, of the Lord Jesus as a man, of the patriarchs and prophets, and of the Gospel church – the only ones who have been on trial as individuals. All of these were first enlightened, and then tested to prove the loyalty or disloyalty of their wills toward God.
This established principle of God's dealings we must therefore expect to see carried out in the Millennial age, when the masses of the world will be on trial. And this line of policy we do see, from the descriptions God has given us, will be carried out. If Satan is bound in the beginning of the age so that he cannot deceive and mislead men, and the Kingdom of God is set up in power and great glory, and the knowledge of the Lord is caused to fill the earth as the waters cover the sea, and if "the iron rod" forces all to at least an outward obedience, and justice is laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet, we can readily see that all the circumstances will be most favorable for man's speedy advancement in the paths of righteousness.
When Satan is bound, there will be no more great counterfeit systems of Christianity, no counterfeit of God's Kingdom, no plausible and misleading presentations of error for truth, no rewarding of iniquity and persecution of righteousness, no snares and pitfalls of vice to allure the weak and wayward, no liquor saloons or other evils now licensed by law. The iron rule of justice will not [R1234 : page 6] bend with the slightest degree of favor toward any evil, however loudly the cravings of fallen, weak humanity may clamor for them. The way of righteousness and life will be made plain both to the understanding and to the ability of even the humblest; and all will be helped by wholesome restraints, seasonable encouragements, and the speedy rewards of righteousness at every step of the way, due allowance for their weaknesses being made until, under the wonderful educational influences and assistance of that golden age of blessing and opportunity, they may all reach actual perfection – moral, mental and physical.
When the whole world has been thus enlightened, trained and disciplined for a thousand years, all will have had full opportunity to reach actual perfection, and therefore actual perfection will be required of them. At the end of the thousand years Christ is to deliver up his finished work to the Father. (1 Cor. 15:24,25.) And when his work is finished, it must be complete and perfect, lacking nothing. Otherwise, it would not be acceptable to God.
So, in the end of the thousand years, when Christ has completed his work of reconstruction – restitution – the final test must be applied to prove the worthiness or unworthiness of each individual of the race to continued existence throughout the ages of glory to follow. And for this purpose, the final testing and proving of all, is the loosing of Satan out of his prison for a little season.
How may it be accomplished? We answer, By relaxing the rigor of the hitherto iron rule which made obedience to divine law obligatory by prompt punishment of any deviation from it and prompt rewarding of every obedience to it. Here would be Satan's opportunity to again deceive any who desire to carry out plans in opposition to God's will or the principles of strict justice, into the idea that they could now do so with impunity, and that neither the penalties nor rewards of divine law are certain. Under such a delusion, those who at heart are not loyal to God, and who thus far have been controlled principally by the force and rigor of law, will manifest their real disposition; and likewise, those who have learned to love God's law and who delight in it, and who would not deviate from it to the slightest degree, even if there were no penalties attached to it – these will also be manifested. And these only, be they many or few, are those whom God by his law marks as worthy of continued life. Others, by preferring their own wills, shall thus prove their unworthiness of life, and together with Satan must be cut off – destroyed. – Matt. 25:41-46.
We are not informed as to the number of either class, and it is not our province to speculate, or to be wise above what is written. When some similarly inquired of the Lord, saying, "Lord, are there few that be saved?" he simply answered, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able, when once the Master has risen up and shut to the door." This was equivalent to saying, That is not your business, but God's; see that you make your own calling and election sure (the high calling), before your opportunity is past. We may run faithfully ourselves, and we may generously use all our influence to assist others, but must leave the result with God, who doeth all things well, who will award the favor of life to [R1234 : page 7] every truly loyal and obedient soul, and just as surely the wages of sin, which is death, to every other. We know that Satan will endeavor to deceive all – the number of whom is as the sand of the sea – but he will not succeed in deceiving all, and we hope very few. But if we are loyal to God we will most heartily approve the final destruction of all the disloyal – all rebels against his righteous government, be they many or few, after all the privileges and opportunities afforded them in their thousand years of trial.
This work accomplished, the victory of Christ will be complete: He will see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied when he shall have brought all who desire righteousness and harmony with God to the glory of perfect and established character, in the divine likeness, and when all others, his enemies, are put under his feet – destroyed – ("He must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet") and when a spotless universe of free, intelligent, righteous and loyal subjects of divine law, both human and angelic, will be presented to the Father and receive his reward of lasting life. Then follows the "world without end," with all the blessings and favors that heaven can bestow upon all the loyal sons and heirs of God – as well his sons of the human nature as the angelic sons and the little flock, the body of Christ made sons and heirs of the divine nature.
Observe carefully that the deception or delusion which Satan is permitted to introduce among men who are on their final trial for life will not touch the question of right and wrong; for the knowledge of God – of his righteous law, of the blessings which that law has brought, and the misery which disobedience to it entailed upon the whole race, and the great cost at which they had been redeemed – will then fill the whole earth. The deception, then, must be similar to the deception of Eve in Eden – a deception either as to God's ability or as to his willingness to execute the already declared penalty of sin against divine law under full light and ability to keep it. And although God has clearly declared his intention to destroy such wicked ones (See Psa. 145:20; Heb. 2:14; 11:26-31), yet in their desire to do their own will, regardless of the will of God, some will be deluded into the idea that the penalty will not, or can not, be enforced against them, just as Eve was deluded. She first desired to disobey God, and that desire prepared her to believe the lie of Satan, that even if she did disobey, the declared penalty would not follow. And since she therefore deserved the penalty, because she regarded iniquity in her heart, God permitted her deception, which, so far from interfering with her free will to act out her real choice, really assisted it. She willed sin, and only fear hindered; and the deception permitted merely removed the fear and left the will free to act. But because she was so young in experience, God planned to redeem her life from destruction and to give her an experience of both the rewards and the penalties of his law, and a second trial for life in which that experience would be of lasting benefit.
But in the end of the Millennial age the world will have had all experience, as well as full knowledge of God's law and full ability to obey it. And therefore, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:26), and those who then wilfully sin against full light and opportunity must die the second death, from which there is no recovery. Some, instead of humbly rejoicing in the favor of life and the vigor of health of mind and body then possessed for several centuries, will probably begin to feel independent of God, through whose favor they received it, and to cultivate a spirit of pride, possibly claiming that their grand attainments are the results of their own efforts and of a process of natural evolution with which the redemption through the precious blood of Christ had nothing to do, and that the life now possessed is of necessity eternal: that God himself either could not or would not destroy it. Even as some now do, they may presume upon the love of God or underrate his justice, and acting upon such presumption proceed to carry out their own wills regardless of the counsel of the Lord.
Let the faithful children of God not overlook the fact that Satan has always held out the hope of life to the disobedient. To Eve he said, "Ye shall not surely die;" to those whom he is now leading to the denial of the redemption through the precious blood of Christ, he is diligently preaching universal salvation and spurning the idea of a second death. And the deception in the close of the Millennial age will probably assume the same form. And notice that as in the deception of Eve theirs will not be an interference with their free will, but an aid to the manifestation of their real desires.
"Does not the Bible say that to know God is life eternal? And does it not say also that all shall come to the knowledge of the truth? Well, then, do not these two statements prove the everlasting salvation of all men?"
Let us examine these two texts closely, – let us not hastily draw an immature conclusion from a part of a statement, but let us take into consideration the contexts also. Turn to John 17:3. Read it several times. Read the preceding verse twice. Think a little. Now read the second and third verses together. By this time you will see that the word "know" has the thought of appreciate or understand. You will have noted, also, that the expression, "that they might know thee," refers not to every one, but only to a special class referred to in verse 2. And in verse 2 you will find this special class [R1235 : page 7] mentioned in contrast with "all flesh." Now with these discriminating thoughts assisting us in "rightly dividing the word of truth," let us read these two verses together, and note that they not only do not support the idea suggested above, but directly contradict it.
It is to those whom the Father gives him – to those whom God's truth and providence have the effect of drawing to Christ and to righteousness – to those whom the Father approves, under the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus – to such shall be granted a full appreciation of God's character. Such will be heirs of lasting life under God's arrangement, and their knowledge, their intimate acquaintance with God, will be one of the evidences that they are the friends of God to whom he has promised lasting life, and that they are not his enemies, whom he declares shall be destroyed from among the people, and shall not stand in the congregation of the righteous. – Acts 3:23; Psa. 1:5,6.
While the Apostle does not counsel prayer for the miraculous conversion of the world and its rulers, nor for their lives to be prolonged, nor for their success in war, nor for the increase of their despotic control of the liberties of the people, he does recommend that when occasion offers, supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanks be expressed on behalf of any one, including kings and all in power, as well as on behalf of the Church.
There is a two-fold reason for this: First, that the Church be not misunderstood (through exclusive attention to and prayer for her own people only) to be opposed to, or to be enemies of, those charged with the execution of law, but being rightly understood by those without, she may be permitted quiet and peace in her pursuit of godliness; and secondly, because such an interest in the affairs of our fellow-men is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.
Such good desires for all men, and such an interest in the world and the affairs of the world, are in perfect accord with God's interest and plan for mankind in general. For it is agreeable to God's will that all men (and not merely the Church now being selected) be saved (recovered out of the ignorance, prejudice, superstition and condemnation, which directly and indirectly came upon all men through Adam's fall and sentence, and from which all were redeemed by the one sacrifice of Christ), and that they should all come to a knowledge of the truth. Therefore, in sympathizing with the world and its affairs and in manifesting such a righteous interest and sympathy and in praying on their behalf, subject to the provisions of God's Word, you are in harmony with God's will and plan, though his time for working out all his gracious provisions for the world of mankind has not yet come, and will not come until he has first selected the Church, who are to be his "new creation," partakers of the divine nature and its glorious powers.
Do you ask a proof that such is God's plan – that it embraces all men, that he wills the recovery of all men, and that they all come to a clear comprehension of the truth? It is in the fact that "There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all – TO BE TESTIFIED in due time."
How very evident it is, when all the connections are examined, that God's will, that all should be recovered from their misconceptions and delusions, and that they be brought to a clear knowledge of the truth, is for the very purpose of testing the wills of all by the truth, in order that those who will choose and delight in the law of God – Love – may be clearly manifested and separated from those who choose ungodliness – selfishness, etc.; that the "sheep" may be separated from the "goats." – Matt. 25:33,34,41.
A distinction should be recognized, as above shown, between the bringing to a full knowledge of the truth and a bringing to a full knowledge of God. The full knowledge of the truth must in due time come to all, and signifies a clear appreciation of the facts of the case – of the fact of sin and its condemnation, and of God's love and its provision of redemption for all, and of restitution to as many as heartily accept the conditions of the new covenant.
The full knowledge of God is that deep and full appreciation of God's character and plan in all its minutiae, which comes only as a result of close, intimate acquaintance and communion and is possible only to those who, when brought to a knowledge of the truth, gladly and fully surrender themselves to God – to the consecrated, who as a result of full self-surrender receive the spirit, the disposition of God, which enables them to know him as others cannot know him.
Yes, power over all flesh is given to our Lord Jesus, and when he shall exercise this power, all flesh shall be brought to a full knowledge of the truth; and when so enlightened all flesh shall be judged or tested by that truth; as it is written of that "due time" when all shall be enlightened – "My words shall judge you in that day." And so many as receive the truth and rejoice in it will, by virtue of that hearty obedience, come to a fuller and fuller appreciation of the very spirit of the truth, and thus shall come more and more intimately to know, to appreciate fully God himself. And for these friends of God, friends of God's laws, friends of righteousness, peace and love, and for no others, God has prepared and promised lasting life.
Just as we expected, some were greatly helped by the record of the Harvest Siftings in the May TOWER, and others, who hate the doctrine of the ransom, and who hate us and speak evil against us falsely for its sake – not openly and honorably, however, but with feigned words to hide the poison of insinuation and misrepresentation – were correspondingly aroused. Their acrimonious charge is that the editor of the TOWER is boastful, seeking self-exaltation and praise among men, and to herald his name and make it great and honorable.
I reply that if seeking popularity and praises of men, I never would have championed the growingly unpopular doctrines of the cross. I knew, and long ago pointed out, the truth of Paul's words, that the cross is to the Jew a stumbling block and to the Greeks (worldly-wise) foolishness; and that this would be specially and increasingly so in this harvest time, when this question of the ransom is to be the great test question for all. A reference to your old TOWERS, for the past ten years, will corroborate this statement. Thank God, I was not one of those who deserted the cross for the sake of popularity. To me it is increasingly "the power of God and the wisdom of God." – 1 Cor. 1:23,24.
And so far as the statements of the May TOWER referred to the Editor, such references were made only for the sake of God's cause – in the interest of his truth and of his people, and as an offset to certain false statements and insinuations publicly uttered, which were deceiving some. And of what the writer has been privileged to do in the Master's name and for his cause, only so much was stated as seemed needful for the Lord's glory, and its every sentence was carefully weighed and considered, and is true.
In making the statement we followed the example of the Apostle Paul, who, because of similar misrepresentations and opposition from brethren who had similarly deserted the cross, made a similar statement, and even went beyond and boasted a little. – 2 Cor. 11:1,10,16.
But wait a moment – Upon what evidences are these defamatory charges based? Have we spoken well of Millennial Dawn? We have never said for it what we would have said had the author been some one else. Have we published commendations written by others? We did so for the sake of others, to attract attention to the truth; and even then the most personally complimentary items have been stricken out of many of your letters before publication, as many of the writers could testify.
Again, consider a few facts. The two pamphlets, Food for Thinking Christians and The Tabernacle and Its Teachings, of which hundreds of thousands of copies were published – Did they have the name Russell stamped upon the back in gold letters or printed upon the side and title page in large display capitals? No, they contained no hint as to the author's name. And when certain enemies then criticized, they said they supposed the author was ashamed to be known. Hence, in bringing out Millennial Dawn, in order to give no occasion for the enemy the author's name was given. But where and how? Not where it would strike the eye of all, but where it would escape the notice of one-half who have the book – at the close of the Preface, which only about one person in ten ever reads. If I had sought honor of men would not this book, of which over 150,000 copies are already in the hands of the people, have been my chance to gratify such an ambition? If [R1236 : page 7] the charge were true, would I have let such wonderful opportunities pass unused? Others, in books of small circulation, avail themselves to the utmost of such opportunities and think nothing of it. Even the WATCH TOWER has the editor's name in very small letters, while many other journals make the names of their editors quite prominent.
How about tracts – what are the facts? The fact is that the very persons who malign us have their names in large capital letters upon every little two-page tract they issue, while our tracts, of which about twelve million pages have been issued during the past two years, and which are going all over the civilized and uncivilized world, bear no hint of the writer's name. What a chance this would have been for these false brethren to have blown their trumpets, and with what bad taste comes the charge of self-adulation from such sources. What spirit prompts such mean insinuations in opposition to the facts, all may judge. By their fruits ye shall know them. They have forced this statement of facts, which no doubt they will consider further boasting. The Lord be the judge.
THE BIBLE TRIUMPHANT. – Voltaire's house is now used by the Geneva Bible Society as a repository. The old premises of the British and Foreign Bible Society in Earl street, Blackfriars, stood where, in 1378, the Council forbade Wycliffe circulating portions of the Holy Scriptures, and where he uttered the words, "The truth shall prevail." The Religious Tract Society's premises are where Bibles were publicly burned.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – There are many things about which I should be glad to confer with you face to face, but as that seems impossible, I resort to the pen. I know that the work which our Lord has given to your hands is sufficient to take up all your time, or rather the Lord's time which he has allotted to you, and so I have hesitated to write. But again, I have thought perhaps he has reckoned in the time necessary to devote to the thoughts I wish to suggest; therefore I write.
As you are not yet acquainted with me, I wish to say that I verily believe that I have no opinion of my own that I wish to peddle, but desire that I may know and understand the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. First of all I wish to tell you that the brief history of your doctrinal development, which was published in the last TOWER, was just what I wanted to know; and on account of some resemblances to my own experience, it was a comfort to me, for it seemed as if it brought you closer to me, and I did not feel so lonesome. For lonesomeness has come over me sometimes, most crushingly, until in mercy the Lord lifted me up, and I could say with him: "Yet I am not alone, the Father is with me." Following out what then seemed the line of duty for me, I entered the ministry of the M.E. Church immediately on completing my college course. I wanted to preach the whole gospel, but I was bothered and hampered from the beginning with things I could not understand, the chief of which was, How Christ was God. The brethren told me it was a mystery – that I had better let that question alone, it was "deep water." My father, also an M.E. preacher, had for years been a close Bible student; he conceived a plan of collecting together all that the Scriptures said on the various topics of faith and practice, so that believers might more easily see what they should believe, and what they should do.
He was not able to carry out his plan, but dying, he fully set his thoughts before me and requested that I would work it out and publish a book the title of which should be "God's Guide For Man's Faith and Practice." I promised to do the work as he requested. He then said to me – "James, if you do truly study the Bible according to the plan I have indicated to you, it will take Methodism out of you." I answered – "I don't know about that, Father;" to which he rejoined – "It WILL do it, boy." I replied – "Very well, Father, if studying God's Word, and understanding it, takes Methodism out of me, all the worse for Methodism."
As soon after his decease as possible I began the work. With the Bible and the Concordance I plodded along. I indeed found some, to me, strange things; but nothing very startling occurred until I was studying the person of Christ. I was considering 1 Cor. 15:24-28. I had read that scripture perhaps a hundred times before, but now it seemed to say something never before seen by me. "He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father: when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power,...then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." Could that Scripture be true and the doctrine of the trinity be true? I could not reconcile the two. Which was right? Did the Bible mean what it said? or how was it to be "interpreted"? It was as if a mallet had struck between my eyes. For three days I was in pain – actual distress. Was the Bible right, or was theology right? I prayed without ceasing, that God would not let me break loose from the truth; for I dreaded falling into heresy. I realized that a conviction of the correctness of the Bible statement, as it read, and of the error of the trinity doctrine, was gradually taking possession of me, until at the end of three days, like an ice gorge in the Mississippi river, my theology broke up and went out of my heart and out of my head under the bright shining of the divine Word. Every doctrine of Theology, so-called, became to my mind an object of suspicion, but the Bible, in the same ratio, became unutterably precious. Even the doctrine of the atonement by the blood came to be a matter of doubt, and I resolved that it would have to stand the severest scrutiny, or I would not believe it. For more than two years I floundered in the slough of doubts, and I had to stop preaching, for I doubted every thing excepting God, and that he was the rewarder of them that seek him, and that the Bible was the revelation of his will and purpose. I tried to understand the Bible, but could make little headway. I studied the atonement, and came to the conclusion that the Unitarians were right on that subject – that no atonement was made for our sins, that Christ is merely our Example.
I now realize what I did not then, namely, that my utter dislike or abhorrence of theology prejudiced me against even the truths it contained. I was in this condition when I happened on the little book – "Food for Thinking Christians." Now understand me, that all these weary months of doubt I never ceased to pray, "O! send out thy light and thy truth and let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hill." It seems to me today that it was in answer to that constant petition that "Food" was dropped in my path. I was prepared to receive much of it, but the atonement as there taught I resisted, as also the destruction of the wicked. But I sent to you and obtained "The Tabernacle and Its Teachings." That opened all things clearly. I there saw what the atonement really was, believed it, loved it, and from that day was a free man IN Christ Jesus.
O Brother, how that precious truth rejoices my heart and gives peace to my mind to-day! I have had enough experience in opposition to that doctrine. I want no more. I am glad that you will republish The Tabernacle, etc., this summer. May I make a suggestion to you? On page 9 of the little book you say that you think the wood was used in the construction of the Tabernacle, altar, etc., only to make them as light as possible and portable, and then call attention to the Temple of Solomon, that all its furniture was of solid metal. I suggest that there was doubtless unused strength enough in Israel to carry the whole thing in sections even if solid; but is there not evidence enough that the wood was as necessary as the metals for typical use? You elsewhere very correctly, as I think, claim the wood to represent the justified man – justified and reckoned perfect because of his faith. Now if the Tabernacle and its appurtenances represent, in object lesson, the whole plan of salvation, what is there in it to represent that "this corruptible shall PUT ON incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality," unless it be that corruptible and perishable wood when it is covered – has "put on" the brass (incorruption), or as the little flock in the tabernacle, has "put on" the gold (immortality)? If this suggestion is valid, would it not be well to change the remark referred to?
[The fact that the Incense Altar and Mercy Seat were made of wood overlaid with gold, while they represent that which is perfect and divine, seems to me to prove that the wood was used for lightness. – EDITOR.]
In respect to the temple built by Solomon, I have serious doubts as to its being in any true sense a typical substitute for the tabernacle built by Moses. In other words it seems doubtful that it at all typifies the plan of redemption as it exists in God's mind. I could, at this time, more easily believe that it typifies the confused and self-praising ideas of men concerning that plan.
1st. The conception was of David's own mind. God never told him to do it. On the contrary, he objected, saying – "Spake I a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people, saying, Why have ye not built me a house of cedars?" (1 Chron. 17:6.) It is manifest that the work was permitted, not commanded. True, David claimed (1 Chron. 28:19) that the pattern was given to him of God (if, indeed, that is not an interpolation, like Rev. 20:5); but if that be true, would it not as probably [R1237 : page 8] be a type, as I before suggested?
3d. It was built by the labor of foreigners (the Tyrians) and the enslaved Canaanites. The men of Israel were not engaged in it. (2 Chron. 2:17,18; 8:7,8,9.) The architect, also, who had charge of all the work, was a man of Tyre, though a half-breed Israelite. And THE KING of Tyre helped on the work with all his might. How different were the builders and the building of the Tabernacle. The hands that wrought it were free. It was the glad work of the children themselves. Why did the holy spirit cause the record to be made, as to who were the actual workmen engaged on the Temple? I suggest that the nations immediately connected with Israel were each, in some character, typical; and this is no new idea; if I mistake not, it is your view also. Israel represents the people of God. Egypt represents "the world that now is," which "lieth in darkness." Babylon – human organization – human wisdom trying to make the world better. Tyre represents the kingdom of Satan. See Ezek. 28:1-10 – an exact description of the Pope of Rome, who is Satan's vicegerent on the earth; and verses 11-19 a description of Satan himself. If it be objected that the manifestation of divine glory which filled the temple on the day of its dedication would certainly prove that Jehovah was the author of the building and that it therefore represented the divine will, I should think not. During the 40 years in the desert, the manifestation of the divine glory was evidence that in great MERCY God was with the people; but, I believe, never in evidence that he was well pleased with their works and ways. And there are many instances given in which favor was manifested to the people, while at the same time he was displeased with their works. And in this Gospel age, do we not know that great favor has been shown in years past to the believers composing the sects, while at the same time we know by his Word that sectarian divisions are hateful to him.
I think, also, that David expresses the central thought and motive of his mind when he said – "The house that is to be built must be exceedingly magnificent for fame and glory throughout all countries." (1 Chron. 22:5.) The Tabernacle, like the body of Christ, is contemptible in the eyes of the world. The temple, like all of men's ideas, must be exceedingly magnificent to the world.
Your brother in the faith of the redemption,
[We are glad to see so much evidence of study on the part of Brother G., even though we must dissent from his conclusions. We suggest that while the divine glory upon the Mercy Seat of the Tabernacle and also of the Temple did not prove Israelites to be in favor with God, it did show God's approval of the Tabernacle and of the Temple. Furthermore, let us remember that God permitted David to prepare materials for the Temple, but not to build it because he was a man of blood, a man of war; and because he had specially promised of Solomon: He shall build Me a house. (See 1 Chron. 17:11-15; 22:5-9-19.) The humble Tabernacle, whose glories were all hidden, typified the presence of God with his people in the present time, while the glorious Temple typified the Church in glory during Christ's Millennial reign.
The building of the temple, too – the fact that all the materials were prepared and fitted for their respective places, beforehand, represents how God prepares and fits, beforehand, every member of the Church. And when all are selected, fitted and ready, the glorified Church will be brought together without commotion or friction, even as the parts of the Temple were put together "without the sound of a hammer." (1 Kings 6:7.) On the contrary, the false temple, Babylon, fits and builds and tears down and puts up continually and with great noise – Babylon – confusion.
The workers and materials coming largely from outside of Israel is also true to the facts; for God has selected most of the Church from among those not Israelites according to the flesh, out of every country and nation. These are co-working under him whom the Jewish King, Solomon, typified – our Lord, who sprang from Judah. – EDITOR.] page 8
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I have just finished the TOWER. Oh! how grand. I would that I could, with pen, express my feelings, but my dear Brother, I cannot. Your earnest prayer to the Master made me feel that we all ought to go to him in such true, earnest, and with such faith. Oh, how I long to be closer to him. I wish I could be nearer you so I could attend the meetings and learn more of the Master. I hope the new book (Poems, etc.) will be what is needed, and I think it is just what we all want. Dear Brother, I feel more and more that you are right in regard to the Ransom, and I can see as the time draws nearer that all are being tried and many of the stars (ministers) are falling. May the dear Lord continue to bless you and Sister Russell in the good work, is the prayer of yours in Christian love,
Brother and Sister Adamsom are now with me and we are settled in our little "home." We have a good supply of ammunition and are ready and beginning the battle. The dear Lord is before us with encouragements and hope. We are finding a good many hungry and thirsty souls and are feeding them with the precious things of the Word, so beautifully brought together in MILLENNIAL DAWN.
To-day is holiday here and all the city excepting three are celebrating. We are resting, praising and feasting in heavenly places. The TOWER came this morning and is commanding special attention to-day. We are all much interested in the long article, "Perils Among False Brethren." We see the truth and fact of the wonderful sifting that is now going on, and feel that it must continue until all the sons of Levi are purified and released. So we think it not a strange thing.
With much love from us all here,
I remain as ever, yours in the blessed hope set before us,
P.S. – As soon as the next lot of Vol. II. of Dawn in paper is ready please send me about 300 and 1000 of Vol. I. by freight. Hope they will be ready soon.
DEAR BROTHER: – The "Gathering and Siftings" in May TOWER surely endears you more and more to us all.
He that leadeth you is able abundantly and will keep you precious in his sight, and will not suffer you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear. How can we sufficiently appreciate the love of God in Christ manifested to us in the rich provision for all who "do the will of the Father," in the supply of meat in due season. "Blessed be that servant; he is worthy to have charge of all the goods."
Love to all the household of faith and to yourself and Sister Russell particularly.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Brother Wise and myself are pushing the battle. Many are becoming awakened on these questions which are so dear to us. There is an increasing demand for reading matter, especially Old Theology Tract No. 1.
Last evening we held a street service. People crowded us almost to suffocation for Tracts and Slips, and some wanted DAWN. We expect to open a building for meetings soon. In the midst of reproach and evil speaking we are "looking unto Jesus." Pray for us.