[C227]
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES

THY KINGDOM COME

STUDY VII

THE DELIVERANCE AND EXALTATION
OF THE CHURCH

The Deliverance of the Church Near – It will be the Harbinger of Deliverance to all Mankind – Its Date Approximated – How the Saints will Escape Those Things Coming on the World – How and When God will Help Her – The Manner and Circumstances of Her Final Deliverance – The Deliverance First of Those Who Sleep in Jesus – The Change of the Living Members of the Church – Will They Die? – Blessed are the Dead Who Die in the Lord from Henceforth.

"Look up, and lift up your heads; for your deliverance draweth nigh." Luke 21:28

B
Y THE lamp of prophecy we have traced the wonderful events of the "harvest" down to their culmination in the great time of trouble; and, as we remember that within this eventful period the promised deliverance and exaltation of the Church are due, the central points of interest to the saints now are the time, manner and circumstances of their deliverance.

(1) Having found by the light of prophecy our present location in the "Harvest" of the Gospel Age, what are now the principal points of interest to the saints?

Deliverance and exaltation of the church.

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Our Lord taught us that as soon as we should begin to see the events of the harvest come to pass, then we should expect a speedy realization of our glorious hope. And, therefore, as we now mark the accumulating evidence of these signs, we do lift up our heads and rejoice in hope of the glory to follow; for the morning cometh, although a brief, dark night must intervene. Nor is this rejoicing selfish in its character; for the deliverance and exaltation of the Church of Christ will be the harbinger of a speedy deliverance to the whole race, from the tyranny and oppression of the great enslaver, Sin, from the shadow and pains of sickness, and from the prison-house of death: "For we know that the [C228] whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain,...waiting for the...deliverance of OUR BODY" – the "body of Christ" (Rom. 8:22,23); because, according to Jehovah's arrangement, the new order of things cannot be established until the great ruler, the Christ complete, Head and body, has come fully into power.

(2) At what time did the Lord teach us we should "lift up our heads and rejoice"?

When we see mens hearts failing for fear for looking at the things to come.

Is this rejoicing selfish?

No, it indicates the kingdom blessings are soon coming for all.

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That the deliverance of the saints must take place very soon after 1914 is manifest, since the deliverance of fleshly Israel, as we shall see, is appointed to take place at that time, and the angry nations will then be authoritatively commanded to be still, and will be made to recognize the power of Jehovah's Anointed. Just how long after 1914 the last living members of the body of Christ will be glorified, we are not directly informed; but it certainly will not be until their work in the flesh is done; nor can we reasonably presume that they will long remain after that work is accomplished. With these two thoughts in mind, we can approximate the time of the deliverance.

(3) Why is it manifest that the deliverance of the saints must take place before 1914 A. D.?

It must come not long after 1914 because the deliverance of natural Israel is due to come shortly thereafter. (remember the Times of the Gentiles).

With what two thoughts in mind can we approximate the time of deliverance?

1. 1914 is the end of The Times of the Gentiles. Luke 21:24 clearly shows us this relates to Jerusalem (Israel). Their restoration takes place AFTER these Times of the Gentiles expire.

2. The work of the True Church cannot be stopped, it must run to its completion. The Kingdom cannot come fully into place until the sacrifice of the church (the Lord's goat class, those who form part of 'the testator' of Heb. 9:16-17) is completed. Only then can the antitypical blood of the sin-offering be sprinkled upon the people. Lev. 9:23.

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While there are clear indications that some of the living members of the body will witness the gathering of the storm and share in some of the troubles it will bring, there are also indications that none of these will pass entirely through it, nor even far into it. The Master's words, "Watch, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape those things that shall come to pass" (Luke 21:36), seem to indicate this. And yet we know that we are already passing through the beginning of these troubles (the troubles upon the nominal Church incident to its testing), and that we are escaping, while many on every hand are falling into error and infidelity. We escape, not by being taken from the scene of trouble, but by being supported, strengthened and kept in the very midst of [C229] it all by the Word of the Lord, our shield and buckler. (Psa. 91:4) While admitting that in like manner some members of the body might remain to the very end of the time of trouble, and pass through it all, and yet thus escape all the trouble coming, it is nevertheless clear, we think, that all the members of the body will be fully delivered – exalted to the glorious condition – before the severest features of the trouble come – after the body is complete and the door shut.

(4) What is the significance of our Master's words, "Watch that ye may be accounted worthy to escape those things that shall come to pass"?

Seems to indicate that most of the saints at the end of the Age will escape the great time of trouble (or at least most of it.)

In what sense are the saints now escaping the present trouble upon the churches and the world?

We escape by being protected by a knowledge of the Truth.

Nevertheless, what is our present hope and expectation of escaping the severest features of the great trouble?

It was the Pastor's thought that the last of the saints would be taken home prior to the very last (worst) part of the trouble.

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8/17/2010 - Last week we discussed the Pastor's expectation that the church might be taken home before the worst of the Time of Trouble. We also discussed how the Lord protects us by His Truth (Psa. 91:4) and sometimes carries us through the trouble around us by His Divine Providences.

We have seen the storm gathering for years past: the mighty hosts have been mustering and preparing for the battle, and each successive year witnesses more rapid strides of progress toward the foretold crisis; yet, although we know that unparalleled disaster must soon dash all law and order into the abyss of anarchy and confusion, we do not fear; for "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth [the present organization of society] be removed [unsettled and disorganized], and though the mountains [kingdoms] be carried into the midst of the sea [the lawless and ungovernable people]; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled [with the disputings of contending factions]; though the mountains [kingdoms] shake [tremble for fear and insecurity] with the swelling [the threatening and rising power] thereof." Psa. 46:1-3

In the first sentence above it is stated that "Each successive year witnesses more rapid strides of progress toward the foretold crisis." Is this still true in 2010?

No. The crisis here being discussed, the one for which "the mighty hosts have been mustering and preparing for the battle," was reached in 1914.

"There is a river [God's Word, a fountain of truth and grace], the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God [the Kingdom of God, the Church – even in its present embryo condition, before its exaltation to power and glory], the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High [the sanctuary – the Church wherein the Most High is pleased to dwell]. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her." Psa. 46:4,5

(5) Notwithstanding the present (1890) evidences of the gathering storm what is the Church's position, as forcefully described in Psa. 46:1-5. Explain in detail.

In 1890 when this volume was published the storm clouds were still gathering (see R1619). Ever since 1914 the fury of the storm has been raging (as travail upon a woman - 1 Thess. 5:3), but the saints (as New Creatures) are delivered.

Please see Psa. 46:1-5.

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At the present time [1890] we are realizing this promised help, to the full extent of our present necessities, by being taken [C230] into our heavenly Father's confidence, made acquainted with his plans and assured of his favor and sustaining grace, and even being made co-workers with him. This help we shall realize to the full end of our course; and then we shall be helped still more by being "changed" to the higher sphere to which we are called, and toward which we diligently urge our way.

(6) How are the saints at present realizing God's promised help in this time of need?

By coming to an understanding of Present Truth. This knowledge not only protects us from the cares of this world by making us aware of the wonderful condition of things shortly to follow this current trouble but additionally it permits us to be cooperative agents in telling others about His great plan of salvation.

Especially is held out before us the prospect of being changed into Glory so as to be in a position to help the world of mankind in the next age.

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Though we may be sure that this "change" of the last living members of the body of Christ will not take place until the work committed to them in the flesh is accomplished, we are informed, as shown in the preceding chapter, that ere long our work will be cut short – gradually at first, and then completely and finally, when "the night cometh, when no man can work." (John 9:4) And the gloom of that "night" will be dispelled only by the Millennial sunrise. When our work is done, and that night closes in around us, we may expect not only to see the storm-clouds grow much darker, but also to hear and to feel the rising "winds" which will culminate in a wild hurricane of human passion – a whirlwind of trouble. Then, having finished our appointed work, it will be our part to "stand," patiently, until our "change" comes. Eph. 6:13

(7) Although confident that our "change" will not take place until our work is accomplished, in what manner do the Scriptures indicate that the work will be cut short?

The Pastor's expectation was that it will be cut short by the Dark Night in which no man can work (John 9:4).

When our work is done what will be our further part?

To patiently stand and wait until our change comes.

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How long the Lord may be pleased to let his saints stand in enforced idleness so far as his work is concerned, we do not know, but probably only long enough to let faith and patience have their perfect work. Here these virtues will be most fully developed, tested and manifested. This test of patience will be the final trial of the Church. Then "God will help her, at the dawning of [her] morning" (Psa. 46:5, Leeser's translation) – not the morning which is to dawn on the world at the brightness of her rising with her Lord as the sun of righteousness, but at the dawning of her morning in which she is to be changed to the nature and likeness of her Lord. Her morning is to precede the Millennial morning.

(8) How long may the Church expect to "stand" in enforced idleness?

"Probably only long enough to let faith and patience have their perfect work."

What will be the final trial of the Church?

Patience. This is hinted at in the message to Philadelphia. Rev. 3:10. Apparently the most difficult part of the "hour of temptation" is patience. Indeed, we have seen many who have lost faith in the time of the setting up of the Kingdom and no longer see it as an on-going process but now push it off (in their minds) into the future.

What is the difference between the Church's morning and the Millennial morning?

What the Pastor here seems to be suggesting is that the morning for the church is when she is finally delivered and glorified with her Lord. Then comes the "Millennial morning" for the world of mankind. Here he seems to be indicating what we refer to as "the mediatorial phase of the kingdom." The reality is that the term "millennium" signifies 1,000 years and the thousand year reign of Christ began with His return in 1874. This is when the church's deliverance comes (1878 and onward.)

The deliverance of the world comes after that of the church.

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That this dark night is already [1890] approaching we are made aware, not only from the Scriptures but as well from the ominous signs of the times; and the fate of the Church then, so far as her human career is concerned, seems outlined in the closing pages of the lives of Elijah and John the Baptist, already referred to.* The beheading of the one, and the whirlwind and fiery chariot which bore away the other, probably indicate violence to the last members of the body of Christ. Yet Zion [the Kingdom of God - in its embryo state] need not fear; for God is in the midst of her, and will help her. Her consecration is unto death, and her privilege is to prove her faithfulness: "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord." Matt. 10:24,25

(9) By the final experiences of which two Prophets is the fate of the true Church illustrated, so far as her human career is concerned?

Elijah and John the Baptist.

In the case of John the Baptist, he was slain after the daugther of the woman illegally married to the king danced before the king and the king offered her whatever she asked for. Her mother coached her to ask for the head of John the Baptist.

It is believed by many that this pictures a situation that would see the Protestant church systems (the daugther) pleasing the king (the state), in some as yet unknown manner, resulting in the state persecuting and killing the last members of the church in the flesh (John the Baptist.)

As far as the Elijah picture is concerned, he was taken up by a whirlwind, picturing trouble. This takes place some time after he and Elisha (great company) have crossed the Jordan (1914). Prior to that fourth stop, when they went to a destination, that destination was known. After smiting and crossing Jordan they continued going on but this time there is no destination mentioned.

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It will probably be in an effort at self-preservation on the part of "Great Babylon" – "Christendom" – when she sees her power in politics, priest-craft and superstition waning, that the work of truth-spreading will be stopped as detrimental to her system. And probably at this juncture the Elijah class, persisting in declaring the truth to the last, will suffer violence, pass into glory and escape from the severest features of the great time of trouble coming – just in the crisis of affairs when men begin to feel that desperate measures must be resorted to, to sustain the tottering structure of Christendom.

(10) What argument will probably be used by "Great Babylon" in stopping the spread of Present Truth?

Br. Perry brought up the alien and sedition Act under Woddrow Wilson which declared that those who opposed the government could be sent to internment camps.

That the spread of the Truth is detrimental to the status-quo.

What will, therefore, be the experience of the antitypical Elijah?

Since they will continue to declare the Truth they will suffer at the hands of the civil authorities.

That Babylon fears the spread of Truth as being the cause of their destruction is a correct analysis on their part. - Consider Eze. 9.

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Although the exact time of the deliverance or "change" of the last members of the body of Christ is not stated, the approximate time is nevertheless clearly manifest, as shortly after the "door" is shut (Matt. 25:10); after the truth, which Babylon now begins to regard as her enemy, and as calculated to accomplish her destruction, shall have become more generally known and widely circulated; after "the [C232] hail" has to a considerable extent swept away the refuge of lies; and after the now smoldering and menacing hatred of the truth is thereby roused to an opposition so violent and so general as to effectually stop the further progress of the great work in which the saints are engaged. And God will permit this as soon as all the elect are "sealed." But, whatever of trouble or seeming disaster may await the saints while they remain in the flesh, and put a stop to the work which it is their meat and drink to do, let us take comfort in remembering that nothing can befall us without our Father's notice and permission, and that in every trial of faith and patience his grace shall be sufficient for those who abide in him, and in whom his Word abides. Let us look beyond the veil, and keep the eye of faith fixed upon the prize of our high calling, which God has in reservation for them that love him – for the called and faithful and chosen according to his purpose. Rev. 17:14; Rom. 8:28

(11) What is the approximate time when the last members of the Church shall be "changed"?

Shortly after "the door" is closed and the little flock has been "sealed."

In every trial of faith and patience that awaits us, what thoughts should comfort and uphold us?

"All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."

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While we may thus reasonably and Scripturally approximate the time and circumstances of the full deliverance of the Church, the manner of her glorification becomes all the more a question of deepening interest. And again we come to the divine oracles to make inquiry.

First, Paul declares, "We must all be changed [the living no less than the dead saints]: this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality; for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." And this "change" from mortality to immortality, he assures us, will not be accomplished by gradual development, but it will be instantaneous – "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," under the sounding of the "last trump" – which is already sounding.* 1 Cor. 15:53,50,52


(12) What is St. Paul's statement regarding the manner of the Church's "change"?

The church's change will be instantaneous from earthly to spiritual, from mortality to immortality.

(1 Cor. 15:53, 50, 52) Page 232, par. 1, 2 [C233]

Furthermore, order will be observed: some will be glorified or "changed" first, and others afterward. Precious in the sight of the Lord has been the death of his saints (Psa. 116:15): and though most of them have slept long, none have been forgotten. Their names are written in heaven as acceptable members of the Church of the Firstborn. And the Apostle declares that the living, who are left over to the presence of the Lord, will by no means precede those who fell asleep. (1 Thess. 4:15) Those who sleep in Jesus are not required to wait in sleep for the living members to finish their course, but are resurrected at once, as one of the first acts of the Lord when he takes his great power. And thus those members of the Christ who have slept will take precedence in entering into glory.

(13) What is the order in which the members of the Lord's "Body" will be "changed"?

The "sleeping saints" are raised first (1 Thess. 4:15.) Then, one by one, as each of those saints who remain finish their course in death, they are raised (Psa. 116:15.)

Will the living saints be "changed" before those who have died throughout the Gospel Age? Page 233, par. 1

The exact date of the awakening of the sleeping saints is not directly stated, but may be clearly inferred from our Lord's parable of the young nobleman. After having received the kingdom and returned, the first work of the nobleman (who represented our Lord Jesus) was the reckoning with the servants (his Church) to whom his vineyard had been entrusted during his absence, and the rewarding of the faithful. And since the Apostle tells us that the dead in Christ will be reckoned with first, we may reasonably conclude that the rewarding of these took place as soon as our Lord, after his return, took unto himself his great power.

(14) Is the exact date of the awakening of the sleeping saints directly stated in Scripture?

No.

What does St. Paul say regarding those who will be reckoned with first?

They will be raised first, and some of the saints will be remain (to complete their work and then to be raised.) 1 Thess. 4:15

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To learn the date at which our Lord began the exercise of his power would therefore be to discover the time when his sleeping saints were awakened to life and glory. And to do this we have but to recall the parallelism of the Jewish and Gospel dispensations. Looking back to the type, we see that in the spring of A.D. 33, three and a half years after the beginning of the Jewish harvest (A.D. 29), our Lord typically took unto himself his power and exercised kingly authority. [C234] (See Matt. 21:5-15.) And evidently the only object of that action was to mark a parallel point of time in this harvest, when he would in reality assume the kingly office, power, etc.; viz., in the spring of 1878, three and a half years after his second advent at the beginning of the harvest period, in the fall of 1874. The year 1878 being thus indicated as the date when the Lord began to take unto himself his great power, it is reasonable to conclude that there the setting up of his Kingdom began, the first step of which would be the deliverance of his body, the Church, among whom the sleeping members are to take precedence.

For a quick review of how we establish the date for the beginning of Jesus' ministry see B58:2.

(15) Reasoning from the foregoing, what date must next be established?

The next date would be when the sleeping saints are raised.

What does the parallelism show with respect to the time when our Lord began to exercise His Kingly authority?

The parallels show this would be in 33 A.D. and points to 1878.

Immediately after taking to Himself His great power, what would probably be His first exercise of this power?

The setting up of his Kingdom begins there, the first act of which would be the raising of the sleeping saints.

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And since the resurrection of the Church must occur some time during this "end" or "harvest" period (Rev. 11:18), we hold that it is a most reasonable inference, and one in perfect harmony with all the Lord's plan, that in the spring of 1878 all the holy apostles and other "overcomers" of the Gospel age who slept in Jesus were raised spirit beings, like unto their Lord and Master. And while we, therefore, conclude that their resurrection is now an accomplished fact, and hence that they as well as the Lord are present in the earth, the fact that we do not see them is no obstacle to faith when we remember that, like their Lord, they are now spirit beings, and, like him, invisible to men. The facts that they are invisible, that tombs were not found opened and empty, and that none were seen going from the cemeteries, are not objections to such as have learned what to expect – to such as realize that our risen Lord left no hole in the walls of the room which he entered and left while the doors were shut; who remember that none saw the risen Redeemer except the few, to whom he specially and miraculously showed himself, that they might be witnesses of his resurrection; who remember that he appeared in various forms of flesh to prevent these witnesses supposing that he still was flesh or that any of the forms they saw was his [C235] glorious, spirit body. Such as remember that only Saul of Tarsus saw Christ's spirit body, and that by a miracle, while others around saw it not, and then at the expense of his sight, will readily see that their not having seen the risen saints with their natural eyes is no more of an objection to the fact of their resurrection than that they have not seen the Lord during this harvest, and have never seen angels, who, all through the Gospel age, have been "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation."*

(16) Is this conclusion unreasonable because of the fact that we do not see the risen saints?

They are of a spiritual nature and therefore cannot be seen by flesh and blood.

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Our belief that the Kingdom began to be set up, or brought into power, in April, 1878, be it observed, rests on exactly the same foundation as our belief that the Lord became present in October, 1874, and that the harvest began at that time. There "the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord's house," the Church, began to be "exalted above the mountains [kingdoms] of earth, and there the work of judging "Babylon," Christendom, and all the nations of the whole world, began, preparatory to their final overthrow.

(17) Upon what foundation does our belief that the Kingdom began to be set up in April 1878 A. D. rest?

Upon the same basis as that of our Lord's return, i.e., the parallels.

Note Br. Russell's use of the symbols here. The symbol of mountain is not just any government. No, it is a specific kind of government, i.e., a Kingdom. We mention this because there are some who are still confused on this matter.

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Nor is it out of harmony with this thought, that the majority of the Church are exalted, while a few of the last members of that royal priesthood are yet "alive and remain"; for, as we have seen, the Apostle foretold this very order. To be among those who remain is no dishonor; and to be the very last one of those to be "changed" will be no discredit. Several scriptures show that there is a special work for the last members of the body to do on this side the veil, as important and as essentially a part of Kingdom work as that of the glorified members on the other side the veil. While the glorified Head and those members of the body on the other side the veil have the complete supervision of the great changes now in progress and about to be [C236] inaugurated in the world, the fellow-members who remain in the flesh are the agents of the Kingdom in publishing, by word, by pen, by books and by tracts, the "good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people." They tell [see Isa. 52:7-8] the world the blessed tidings of God's gracious plan of the ages, and that the time is at hand for the glorious consummation of that plan; and they point, not only to the great time of trouble impending, but also to the blessings which will follow it as the results of the setting up of God's Kingdom in the world. A great and important work, then, is given to the remaining members: Kingdom work it is indeed, and accompanied also by Kingdom joys and blessings. Although yet in the flesh and pursuing their appointed work at the expense of self-sacrifice, and in the face of much opposition, these are already entering into the joys of their Lord – the joys of a full appreciation of the divine plan and of the privilege of working out that plan, and, in conjunction with their Lord and Redeemer, of offering everlasting life and blessings to all the families of the earth.

(18) Is it out of harmony with this thought that the majority of the Church are exalted while a few of the last members are yet "alive and remain"?

Not at all.

Why does it appear necessary for some of the last members to remain for a time this side the veil?

These saints have a special work to do this side of the veil. Please see Isa. 35:4.

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These with their message are clearly pointed out by the prophet Isaiah (52:7) as the "feet" or last members of the body of Christ in the flesh, when he says: "How beautiful upon the mountains [kingdoms] are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation [deliverance]; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. [The reign of Christ, which shall bring deliverance, first to Zion, and finally to all the groaning creation, is begun.] Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice: with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see [clearly] eye to eye, when the Lord returneth unto Zion."

(19) How are these "feet" members, with their Message, clearly pointed out by the Prophet Isaiah?

With the proclamation (on the mountains - Kingdoms) "Thy God Reigneth."

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Poor, bruised "feet," now [1890] despised of men, none but yourselves fully appreciate the joy you have in proclaiming present truth, in saying unto Zion that the time is at hand for the setting up of the Kingdom, and in declaring that [C237] Immanuel's reign of righteousness, soon to be inaugurated, is to bless all the families of the earth. But, though despised of men, the "feet" of Christ and their present [1890] mission are highly esteemed on the other side the veil by the glorified fellow-members of the body and by their glorious Head, who is willing to confess such faithful ones before his Father and all his holy messengers.

(20) Although despised of men, how are the poor, bruised "feet" members regarded by the Lord and their glorified fellow-members beyond the veil?

They are doing the Lord's work on this side the veil, therefore they are indeed highly valued by those on the other side. Isa. 52:7-8

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The mission of the feet, which is no insignificant part of the Kingdom work, will be accomplished. Though their message is popularly hated and discredited and they are despised by the world as fools (for Christ's sake) – as all his faithful servants have been throughout the Gospel age – yet, before they all are "changed" and joined to the glorified members beyond the veil, they, as agents of the Kingdom, will have left such records of that Kingdom and its present and future work as will be most valuable information to the world and to the undeveloped and overcharged children of God who, though consecrated to God, will have failed to so run as to obtain the prize of our high calling.

(21) What thoughts should inspire our hearts and quicken our energies in delivering our popularly hated and generally discredited message?

These are leaving a record, a legacy, which will be an encouragement to those in the kingdom. This same legacy may also be helpful to any of the Great Company who remain.

Page 237, par. 1

And let it not be forgotten that all who are of the "feet" will be thus engaged in publishing these good tidings and in saying to Zion, "Thy God reigneth!" – The Kingdom of Christ is begun! And all who are true watchmen can at this time see clearly, as one man, and can together harmoniously sing the new song of Moses and the Lamb – the song of Restitution, so clearly taught, not only in the law of Moses, which was "a shadow of the good things to come," but also in the clearer revelations of the Lamb of God contained in the writings of the New Testament – saying, "Just and true are thy ways." "All nations shall come and worship before thee." Rev. 15:3,4

(22) What is the blessed privilege of all who are truly of the "feet" class, as regards their present work and their mutual joys?

The "feet" class gets to proclaim to Zion (the church - nominal and also those in the narrow way) the wonderful message that Christ now is reigning.

Another question has been raised: "What is Zion?"

Our understanding is that Zion is a term used in scripture to describe God's Kingdom. It may have reference to God's Kingdom in development, i.e., to the true church. It may have reference to those who claimed to be God's Kingdom, i.e., Christendom. It is also used to describe God's Kingdom in its earthly phase - "The time to favor Zion (Natural Israel) is come." It is also used in scripture to refer to God's Kingdom in its typical arrangement, i.e., Israel of old - "You only of all the nations have I known."

Page 237, par. 2

One by one the "feet" class will pass from the present condition, in which, though often weary and wounded, they are always rejoicing, to the other side the veil; [C238] "changed" in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, from mortality to immortality, from weakness to power, from dishonor to glory, from human to heavenly conditions, from animal to spirit bodies. Their work will not cease with this change; for all those who will be counted worthy of that change to glory will be already enlisted in the service of the Kingdom on this side the veil: only the weariness, the labor feature, will cease with the change – "They shall rest from their labor, but their works follow with them." Rev. 14:13

(23) Will the work of the last members cease with their "change"?

No way! The work being done here by the church is just the beginning of her work. Her work continues on the other side. Here the work is laborious, but on the other side there is no labor but the work continues. Rev. 14:13

It is worthy of note, this is the only place in the Bible where death is described as "blessed" and it only applies to this select class at this select time.

(Rev. 14:13) Page 237, par. 3

The "change" to these "feet" members will bring them into the same fellowship and glory and power already entered by the members who slept: they will be "caught away" from earthly conditions to be united "together" "with the Lord in the air" – in the spiritual rulership of the world. As already shown,* the "air" here mentioned symbolizes spiritual rule or power. Satan has long occupied the position of "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2), and has used for his co-workers and joint-rulers in it many of the great ones of Babylon, who, under his blinding errors, verily think they are doing God service. But in due time the present "prince of the air" shall be bound, and shall deceive no more; and the present heavens, the great Antichrist system, will "pass away with a great noise," while the new prince of the air, the true spiritual ruler, Christ Jesus, will take the dominion and establish the "new heavens," uniting with himself in this power or "air" his bride, the "overcomers" of the Gospel age. Thus the "new heavens" will supersede the present "air" powers.

(24) What will it mean to be caught away together "with the Lord in the air"?

We will be with Him in the spiritual world.

Who has been the "Prince of the power of the air"?

The Adversary, the Devil.

What will be his experience,

He (Satan) will be bound, restrained.

and who will take away his dominion?

It is the new "god of this world," Christ Jesus who will bind and restrain Satan and his influence.

Page 238, par. 1

But must all die? all of the "feet" who will be alive and remain until the presence of the Lord? Yes; they all consecrated themselves – "even unto death"; and of these it is [C239] distinctly written that they must all die. No scripture contradicts this thought. God declares by the Prophet – "I have said, Ye are gods [mighty ones]! All of you sons of the Highest [God]! Yet ye shall ALL DIE like men, and fall like one of the princes." Psa. 82:6,7

(25) Must all the "feet" members die?

Yes. All must die.

Quote Scriptural support for the position taken.

Page 238, par. 2

The word here rendered "princes" signifies chiefs or heads. Adam and our Lord Jesus are the two heads or princes referred to. Both died, but for different reasons: Adam for his own sin, Christ as a willing sacrifice for the sins of the world. And all the Church of Christ, justified by faith in his sacrifice, are reckoned freed from the sin of Adam, and also from the death penalty attached to that sin, in order that they may share with Christ as joint-sacrificers. It is as such joint-sacrificers with Christ that the death of the saints is esteemed by God. (Psa. 116:15) The fellow-members of the body of Christ, when they die, are recognized as "dead with Christ," "made conformable unto his death." They fall like one of the princes – not like the first, but like the second Adam, as members of the body of Christ, filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. Col. 1:24

(26) In the text, Psa. 82:6, to whom does the term, "princes," apply?

There were only two perfect men who have lived and therefore only two to whom it could apply.
  1. prince Adam
  2. prince Jesus

Like which of these two "princes" do the members of Christ's Body fall?

This clearly has reference to prince Jesus.

Page 239, par. 1

That the term "gods," mighty ones, in this passage is applied to all the Sons of the Most High God, who will be joint-heirs with Christ Jesus, the heir of all things, is clearly shown by our Lord's reference to it. John 10:34-36

(27) To whom does the expression, "Ye are gods," apply?

It belongs to the church. 1 John 3:1,2.

In the context of John 10:30-39 the words 'god' and 'gods' are the Greek word 'theos', Strong's 2316.

Page 239, par. 2

"Ye shall all die like men"; but, "behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep." To die is one thing, to "sleep" or remain unconscious, dead, is quite another. God's testimony, then, is that all the saints must die, but that they shall not all sleep. Our Lord died, and then slept until the third day, when the Father raised him up. Paul and the other apostles died, and thus "fell asleep," to rest from labor and weariness, to "sleep in Jesus," and to wait for the promised resurrection and a share in the Kingdom at the Lord's [C240] second advent. Accordingly, when the setting up of the Kingdom was due, their awakening from the sleep of death was due. Why should their waiting and sleep continue after the Lord is present and the time for His Kingdom has come? There can be no reason for it; and we believe, therefore, that they "sleep" no longer, but are now risen, and with and like their Lord. And if their continuance in the sleep of death is no longer necessary, neither is it necessary that any of the saints who now die in this time of the presence of the Lord and the setting up of his Kingdom should "sleep" or wait in death for a resurrection at some future time. No, thank God! the Life-giver is present; and, since 1878, when he took his great power and began the exercise of his authority, none of his members need to sleep. Hence, with all of "the feet" who die since that date, the moment of death is the moment of change. They die as men and like men, but in the same instant they are made like their Lord, glorious spirit beings. They are caught away from earthly conditions, to be forever with the Lord – "in the air" – in Kingdom power and glory.

(28) Is there any difference between dying and sleeping?

Absolutely yes!

How long did our Lord Jesus sleep?

Jesus slept for parts of three days - the last part of Friday Nisan 14, all of Saturday Nisan 15 and the first part of Sunday Nisan 16.

How long have the Apostles slept?

The apostles slept for well over 17 centuries.

Is there any good reason for their continuing to sleep after the Lord's second advent has taken place?

No. The only reason they were to sleep after his return was that he did not immediately exercise His kingly authority (following the parallels). But in 1878, the parallel to 33 AD, He cast off the nominal spiritual house and He raised the sleeping saints.

Is there any necessity for the living members, who now die, to wait in death for a resurrection at some future time?

None whatsoever.

Page 239, par. 3

It was after our Lord had accomplished the sacrifice of his human nature and had been raised from death, changed to a spirit being, that he declared, "All power in heaven and on earth is given unto me." (Matt. 28:18) And not until all the members of the Christ have followed the example of the Head, and finished the sacrifice in death, will the Christ be complete and fully empowered for the great subsequent work of restoring all things.

(29) When did our Lord declare that "all power in heaven and in earth" was given unto Him?

After His resurrection.

When will The Christ be fully empowered for the great work of Restitution?

After the resurrection of the last member of the church class.

Page 240, par. 1

In view of these things, how full of meaning is the statement, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors, but their works follow with them." (Rev. 14:13) Nowhere in the Scriptures is death represented as in any sense a blessing, except in this one instance; and here it is particularly [C241] limited and made applicable to a certain specific time* – "from henceforth." And even then, notice, it is blessed only to a special class – "the dead who die." This expression must not be considered a blunder, but as a very pointed and forcible description of the small class to whom death will be a blessing. This class constitutes "the feet of Him." And, as already shown, each member of the body of Christ must finish his sacrifice in actual death.

*When, in a succeeding volume, we examine the wonderful visions of the Revelator, it will be clearly seen that the time here pointed out by the word "henceforth," as marked by events, synchronizes closely with 1878 as indicated by the prophecies herein noted.

(30) What is the only instance in Scriptures where death is represented as a blessing?

Page 240, par. 2

These alone are the dead who die. They are reckoned of God as being already dead, and they are exhorted so also to reckon themselves: "Reckon ye yourselves dead indeed unto sin." No other dead men can be said to die but this class of dead ones, who must finish their course of sacrifice in actual death.

(31) Who only are "the dead who die"?

This only applies to the church in the flesh who finish their earthly course AFTER the spring of 1878, when the sleeping saints were raised.

Page 241, par. 1

Thus will God help Zion in the dawning of her morning – in the morning of the eternal day of Christ's triumph. Thus he is already helping her. One by one, imperceptibly to the world, the saints are now being changed, and are joining the company of the Church triumphant; and those who remain to the last proclaim the everlasting gospel until the door is shut and all opportunity to labor is at an end. Then they will "stand" in faith and patience and await their change accepting deliverance joyfully through whatsoever agency God may be pleased to permit its accomplishment.

Thus they will be saved from that great hurricane of trouble which will follow their departure, as well as preserved in the forepart of the battle in which a thousand will fall into infidelity, and be overcome by the various pestilences of error, to one who will stand. Psa. 91:7

It is interesting that Br. Russell here makes reference to a "great hurricane of trouble." This is the results of the loosing of the four winds in 1914. As in the natural realm, when a hurricane hits it usually spawns smaller more localized and more powerful whirlwinds. These we know as tornadoes. These localized outbursts of anarchy have a devestating effect. This is exactly what we have witnessed since 1914. - Consider the race riots in the United States in the mid and late 1960's, and the bursts of anarchy that followed the fall of communism in Poland and Serajevo Bosnia-Herzegovina.

(32) What are the present experiences of the saints who die and of those who remain, respectively?

Those who die are changed from the fallen earthly nature to the heavenly glory "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." 1 Cor. 15:52

Those who remain continue to proclaim the everlasting gospel. These will stand strong in the faith and thus be preserved during the time of trouble because their faith structure is built upon the rock of Christ. 1 Cor. 3:9-15

Page 241, par. 2, 3 [C242]

As the time of trouble draws on, we must therefore expect the true Church in its present condition, the Elias, the John class, to decrease in influence and numbers, while the Christ in triumph and glory, the same body on the other side of the veil, will increase, as John prophetically indicated. John 3:30

(33) As the time of trouble draws near, should we expect the true Church to decrease or increase in influence and numbers?

We expect a decrease.

Page 242

A Little While

"A little while, our fightings will be over;
A little while, our tears be wiped away;
A little while, the power of Jehovah
Will turn our darkness into heaven's bright day.

"A little while, the fears that oft surround us
Will to the memories of the past belong;
A little while, the love that sought and found us
Will change our weeping into heaven's glad song.

"A little while! 'Tis ever drawing nearer –
The brighter dawning of that glorious day.
Blest Savior, make our spirits' vision clearer,
And guide, Oh! guide us in the shining way.

"A little while, O blessed expectation!
For strength to run with patience, Lord, we cry.
Our hearts up leap in fond anticipation:
Our union with the Bridegroom draweth nigh."