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TABLE OF CONTENTS DETAILS
THE DIVINE PLAN JOURNAL
Volume 22 * January 1997 * Number 1
"PRAISE ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts; praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD."
IT is not our privilege to know in advance the details of current events as they will transpire in the year 1997. However, it is the privilege of the consecrated to be awake, alert, watchful, and prayerful as the prophecies continue to unfold. It is thrilling to note the fulfilment of so many prophecies!
A little more than 122 years have passed since our King returned to set up the long prayed for kingdom. For a moment please recall a few of the many prophecies which have been fulfilled or are in process of fulfillment during the beginning of the thousand year reign of Christ.
Since 1874 the harvest of the Gospel Age has been in progress under the direction of the Chief Reaper and King, Christ Jesus. It is the privilege of the consecrated to be under reapers in this work of proclaiming the harvest message to those who have made a covenant with God by sacrifice.
The signs of the time indicate that the door to the high calling is still open. There are many who are still searching for the truth, and when they find it, much joy is expressed. It is not necessary for us to know just how much time will be needed for the completion of the bride of Christ. Our responsibility is to use our all in the many privileges of the harvest work.
The experiences in Israel are worthy of consideration. The trouble in that tiny nation will continue until it is time for the inauguration of the New Covenant. The final phase of the time of trouble is called "Jacobs trouble". The prophet (Jeremiah 16:14-17) assures us that Israel will be delivered before her enemies can destroy her. May we continue to pray for Israel and the groaning creation to learn the needed lessons and thus be ready for the establishment of the earthly phase of the kingdom.
The increase of knowledge during the past 100 years is astounding. This is another sign that King Jesus has returned to set up the kingdom.
The opening of the New Year is a time when many make resolutions. It is suggested that "My Morning Resolve" and "A Vow Unto The Lord", which are printed below, will be a great help to each of the consecrated during this evil day in which anarchy is prevalent in many parts of the earth.
My Earliest Thought I Desire Shall Be: "What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take the Cup of Salvation and call upon the name of the Lord [for grace to help]. I will pay my Vows unto the Most High."Psa. 116:12-14
Remembering the Divine call, "Gather My saints together unto Me, those who have made a Covenant with Me by sacrifice" (Psa. 50:5), I resolve that by the Lords assisting grace I will today, as a saint of God, fulfil my Vows, continuing the work of sacrificing the flesh and its interests, that I may attain unto the Heavenly inheritance in joint-heirship with my Redeemer.
I will strive to be simple and sincere toward all.
I will seek not to please and honor self, but the Lord.
I will be careful to honor the Lord with my lips, that my words may be unctuous and blessed to all.
I will seek to be faithful to the Lord, the Truth, the brethren and all with whom I have to do, not only in great matters, but also in the little things of life.
Trusting myself to Divine care and the Providential overruling of all my interests for my highest welfare, I will seek not only to be pure in heart, but to repel all anxiety, all discontent, all discouragement. I will neither murmur nor repine at what the Lords providence may permit, because "Faith can firmly trust Him, Come what may."
1. Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. May Thy rule come into my heart more and more, and Thy will be done in my mortal body. Relying on the assistance of Thy promised grace to help in every time of need, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I register this Vow.
2. Daily will I remember at the Throne of Heavenly Grace the general interests of the Harvest work, and particularly the share which I myself am privileged to enjoy in that work, and the dear colaborers everywhere.
3. I Vow to still more carefully, if possible, scrutinize my thoughts and words and doings, to the intent that I may be the better enabled to serve Thee and Thy dear flock.
4. I Vow to Thee that I will be on the alert to resist everything akin to Spiritism and Occultism, and remembering that there are but the two masters, I shall resist these snares in all reasonable ways as being of the Adversary.
5. I further Vow that with the exceptions below, I will at all times, and in all places, conduct myself toward those of the opposite sex in private exactly as I would do with them in publicin the presence of a congregation of the Lords people.
6. And, so far as reasonably possible, I will avoid being in the same room with any of the opposite sex alone, unless the door to the room stand wide open.
7. Exceptions in the case of Brethrenwife, children, mother, and natural sisters. In the case of Sistershusband, children, father, and natural brothers.
1. After the earthly phase of the kingdom is established, the eyes of the ___________shall be opened, and the ears of the ___________shall be unstopped. Scripture_______________
2. The ransomed of the Lord shall obtain joy and ____________after the highway of holiness is opened. Scripture___________
3. We know that the door to the high calling is still open because "blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the ____________be come in." Scripture___________
4. One of the proofs of our Lords second presence to earths atmosphere is the fulfilment of his words spoken by means of a parable: "Behold the ______tree (Israel) and all the _________(192 independent nations and 43 dependent nations). Scripture_________
5. The heavenly Father is willing to give the _______ ________ to the fully consecrated who ask him. Scripture ___________
6. Every one who refuses to obey the better Mediator during the Mediatorial reign of the Christ will be _____________ from among the people. Scripture______________
7. The heaven retained our Lord until 1874 at which time it was due for the times of _________________to begin. Scripture__________
8. The feet members of the body of Christ during the dawning of the Millennial Age have the privilege of bringing good tidings, publishing _____________, and declaring "unto Zion, Thy God ____________." Scripture ______________
9. Since 1878 death is a _____________to the fully consecrated who die in the Lord because the same kingdom work engaged in on this side of the veil with labor continues on the other side of the veil without ________________ efforts. Scripture_____________
10. Eventually the number of the divine family will be ______________ plus Jesus Christ and plus the heavenly Father. Scripture_____________
"O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of His praise to be heard: which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved."Psalm 66:8,9
THANKS be to God that His grace has preserved us, "kept us from falling," through another year:that so many of us are still of one heart and of one mind in respect to His Word and its service! When we remember that the Adversary is to be permitted to bring "strong delusions" upon the Lords people for the very purpose of sifting out all not truly His (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12), it should surely call forth our thanks to God that the opening of another year finds us still standing fast,appreciating the Truth, and in full accord with all the divine appointments by which He has kept us from falling. Z.03-3 R3125:2
"Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Gods."1 Corinthians 6:19,20
AT the opening of the new year, what lesson could be more important to us than this one, that we are not our own, but belong to another; that we are not therefore, to seek to please ourselves, but to please Him; nor to seek to serve self, but to serve Him; nor to seek to obey self-will, but on the contrary His will? This means holiness in the most absolute and comprehensive sense of the word (not only separation from sin to righteousness, but separation from self to the will of God in Christ). Z.97-35 R2099:4
"Pray without ceasing."1 Thessalonians 5:17
WHATEVER might be our natural inclinations with reference to definiteness and persistency in prayer, we must take our instructions from the Scriptures; and overcoming our natural predilections, we must as "little children" and as "dear children" conform our views and conduct to the instruction which is from above. Let us all, therefore, remember the words, "ask (in My name), and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."John 16:24. The Heavenly Father has multiplied mercies, blessings and providences in store for His obedient and faithful children who will ask for them. Z.96-162 R2005:5
"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."Psalm 27:14
TIME is an important element in all Gods plans: we are not, therefore, to be disappointed when the test of endurance is applied while the blessings we crave tarry long. God took time to frame the world and to fit it for human habitation; time to give the world its necessary experience with evil; time to prepare for the advent of Christ as the worlds Redeemer; time for the preparation of the Church to share in His glorious reign; and time must be allowed for the shaping and adjusting of the individual affairs of His people. God has not forgotten when the answers to our prayers seem to tarry long. He who heeds the sparrows fall and numbers the very hairs of our heads is not indifferent to the faintest call or the smallest necessity of His humblest child. Z.95-20 R1760:1
"The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me."Romans 15:3
LET us see to it that we bear the reproaches of Christ as He bore them,with pity and prayer for the erring and depraved, if perchance God may grant them repentance; and with humble fortitude esteeming it a privilege to prove our devotion to the Lord by enduring hardness in His service as good soldiers. He was not surprised by the exhibitions of human depravity: He knew that He was in an unfriendly world bound by sin and largely under the dominion of the prince of darkness, and therefore He expected reproaches, taunts and persecutions, all of which He endured patiently while His great loving heart, almost unmindful of its own sufferings, was full of pity and loving concern for others. Z.96-83 R1964:5
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."Psalm 90:12
THE Christian, in numbering his days, does not do so with a doleful or disconsolate sentiment, although he does so with sobriety. He counts the days as they go as so many blessings, so many privileges, so many opportunities to "show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light," to render assistance to others in the pilgrim journey, and to develop in himself more and more of the character pleasing in the sight of God,to become more and more a copy of Gods dear Son. Z.01-333 R2896:6
"Speak evil of no man."Titus 3:2
IF once the soldiers of the cross would get the proper thought, that slander and evil speaking are assassinations of the character of another, and that defamation is robbery of anothers good name, the sooner they will see this matter in its truly awful light as it must appear in the Lords sight; and once seeing the matter from this true, divine standpoint must awaken the new creature to the greatest activity possible in the overcoming of such works of the flesh and of the devil. Each will seek to purge out the old leaven of malice and envy and strife and crookedness and evil speaking, that he may be pure in heart, a copy of the Lord. Z.03-425 R3275:5
"See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men."1 Thessalonians 5:15
ACCORDING to the Scriptural standard, the elect church of Christ should be the most polished, the most refined, the most polite, the most generous, the most kind of all the people in the world;and should be all these in the most absolute sense; not in the mere sense of an outward form and appearance of kindness, gentleness, etc., so common in the world; but a gentleness, a kindness, proceeding from the heart, proceeding from an appreciation of the Lords spirit and the spirit of the Truth, the spirit of love, and the spirit of justice, also. Z.01-297 R2879:3
"Who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive?"1 Corinthians 4:7
ALL of the Lords consecrated people should realize that they have come into the present grace and truth, not by their own wisdom nor by the wisdom of others, but through the wisdom and grace of the Lord. The same thought should be entertained by all who serve the Church of God as ministers, servants in any department, in any manner responsible to the Lord for their position in the household of faith, and their opportunities to serve as the Lords mouthpieces should be felt and confessed. But failure to confess it implies a failure rightly to appreciate it. Z.03-430 R3278:2
"Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience."James 5:10
THE right path is still the "narrow path" of self-abasement and self-denialthe path of meekness and humility: and it will require as much effort and grace to walk it this year as last, or possibly more; for the more we grow in grace and knowledge, the stronger will be the temptations to be boastful, puffed up, heady, high-minded; and the higher we climb in faith and hope and love and activity in the Lords service, the more the great Adversary will oppose our progress, and the more his emissaries will slander, backbite, and generally seek to injure us. Z.95-3 R1751:3
"His Word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."Jeremiah 20:9
LET us who are privileged to remain to this time of favor, blessing and enlightenment give glory to the Lord, and see to it that the loving disposition of John is manifested in us, and also his energy, his zeal; for while he is called the loving disciple we are to remember also that he was, because of his impetuous zeal, styled, with his brother, Boanergesson of thunder. Let us be full of energy, full of sacrifices which love prompts, that we may glorify the Lord in our bodies and spirits which are His. Z.01-151 R2808:5
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."Galatians 6:1
LET us learn well this lesson of reproving others very gently, very considerately, kindly, by a hint rather than a direct charge and detail of the wrongby an inquiry respecting the present condition of their hearts rather than respecting a former condition, in which we know they have erred. We are to be less careful for the punishments that will follow wrongdoings than for the recovery of the erring one out of the error of his way. We are not to attempt to judge and punish one another for misdeeds, but rather to remember that all this is in the hands of the Lord;we are not in any sense of the word to avenge ourselves or to give chastisement or recompense for evil. Z.01-150 R2807:6
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."1 John 2:1
IF we find that through lack of faith or weakness of the flesh a wrong step has been taken, contrary to the Lords will and our best spiritual interests, no time should be lost in retracing the steps and in calling upon the Lord. We have an altar consecrated with the precious blood of Christ, far superior every way to that which Abraham consecrated with the blood of typical animals, and the apostle exhorts us, "Let us come boldly [courageouslyfull of faith] to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need."Hebrews 4:16 Z.01-233 R2848:3
"I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air."1 Corinthians 9:26
IT will be found a great help to the weaknesses of the fallen nature to have understandingly made a full consecration of the will,a full enlistment of every power and talent of mind and of body. He who takes this proper view of his consecration to the Lord and enlistment in the Lords army, realizes that he has nothing more to give to the Lord, and hence, whatever struggle of the will he may have is all ended when he has finally decided"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." How important it is, therefore, that all the soldiers realize that the term of the enlistment is until death, and that there is no room for even considering any suggestion to withdraw from the battle and cease even for an hour to fight the good fight of faith. Z.03-421 R3273:4
"What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"Micah 6:8
THAT these are very reasonable requirements will be conceded by all. That God could not require less from those whom He is educating for the future judging of the world, is evident: and yet, all three of these qualities specified through the prophet, are comprehended in the one word Love. Love requires that we shall deal justly with our neighbors, with the brethren, with our families, with ourselves; that we shall seek to cultivate our appreciation of the rights of others,their physical rights, their moral and intellectual rights, their liberties; and that, appreciating these, we shall in no sense of the word seek to abridge or deny them. Z.02-172 R3020:6
"Instant in prayer." Romans 12:12
WHAT a blessed privilege, dear fellow-disciples of the Lord, is ours, to be instant in prayer, to pray alwaysto lift up our hearts and minds to God at any time and in any place and to realize thus daily and hourly that the Father and our dear Lord Jesus continually abide with us. And then, when the active duties of the day have been performed under His eye and supervision, or at any time when the soul realizes its necessity, how precious is the privilege of entering into our closets and there, alone with God, unburdening our hearts. Z.95-215 R1866:1
"Keep yourselves in the love of God."Jude 21
WE may daily and hourly keep ourselves in the Lords love by obedience to, and a growing love for, the principles of righteousness. And we are to rejoice in every experience of life,its trials, difficulties, sorrows, disappointments, etc., no less than in its pleasures, if by any or all of these means the Lord shall instruct us and give us clearer insight into our own deficiencies, and a still clearer insight into that perfect law of liberty and love which He has established, and to which He requires our full and loyal heart-submission. Z.02-173 R3021:6
"Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord."Romans 12:11
LET all who would run the race successfully look well to their zeal and activity in the Lords work. If we bury our one or many talents under a weight of worldly cares and encumbrances which might be avoided or set aside; if we bury them under worldly ambitions for either self or familywhether this be by wasting consecrated time upon science, philosophy, music or art, or upon business, politics or pleasures, or in pampering pride and appetitethen as unfaithful servants we will sooner or later go into outer darkness. Z.91-9 R1282:5
"O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day."Psalm 119:97
IT is a great privilege for Christians to study the Lords Word, yet a great deal of study is done to no purpose. Study which is not put into practice is worse than a waste of time. Every reasonable opportunity should be used by the Lords people to obtain a knowledge of the divine planeven to the extent of sacrificing; but the child of the Lord will be particular to see that it is his own conveniences and comforts that he is sacrificing, and not chiefly the conveniences and comforts of others. The Bible study which is done merely at the expense of others is a sign of selfishness rather than a sign of a rich indwelling of the Lords spirit of love. Z.99-156 R2488:3
"If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?"Hebrews 12:7
CHARACTER cannot be developed wholly without trial. It is like a plant: at first it is very tender; it needs an abundance of the sunshine of Gods love; frequent watering with the showers of His grace; much cultivating through the applied knowledge of His character as a good foundation for faith and inspiration to obedience; and then when thus developed under these favorable conditions, it is ready for the pruning hand of discipline, and is also able to endure some hardness. And, little by little, as strength of character is developed, the tests applied to it serve only to develop more strength, beauty and grace, until it is finally fixed, developed, established, perfectedthrough suffering. Z.95-107 R1807:4
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."Matthew 16:24
CROSS-BEARING is closely related to self-denial, and yet a distinction between them may be noted. Self-denial relates more particularly to passive obedience and endurance for the Lords sake; cross-bearing has to do more especially with activities in the Lords service, which we find to be contrary to our natural inclinations. Faithfulness in self-denial means courage and zeal; cross-bearing means victory, overcoming. Our self-denials may be victories in our own hearts, of which others may know nothing, and of which they should know nothing, if we desire to have the fullness of the Lords blessing. Our cross-bearing, however, may be seen to some extent at least, by those who are in close contact with us, and especially by those who are walking in the same "narrow way." Z.00-118 R2616:2
"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord."Psalm 31:24
IT would seem as though the Adversary at times attempted to discourage us by making us think that the trials and difficulties of the "narrow way" of sacrifice will be unavailing anyhow, and that we might as well give up....And what course should we pursue at such a time? We should follow the example of our Lord, and seek the Fathers face, anxious to know whether or not our interests are all right with Him; anxious for some assurances that while the world may hate us, and say all manner of evil against us falsely, we still have His approval; anxious for some fresh assurance that it will be well with us, that the Lord will grant us a part in the better resurrection to life eternal. Z.01-79 R2774:6
"Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God."1 Corinthians 7:24
DUTIES may at times seem to conflict, but they do not really do so. A Christians first duty is his hearty acknowledgment of his Creator and Lord, in all his ways. His second duty, if he be a husband and father, is toward his wife and children; or if she be a wife and mother, it is toward her husband and children.... The marriage contract, by divine arrangement, comes in as a first mortgage upon every husbands time and upon every wifes timethe demands of this mortgage must be reasonably met before anything can be properly done to or for outsiders. Z.99-155 R2488:3
"Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart."Proverbs 3:3
WHILE justice is the first feature of the commandment of love, it is not the end of its requirements: it requires that, going beyond strict justice, our love shall prompt us to the exercise of mercy and forgiveness. And in thus exercising mercy we are again but copying divine love....Hence, in our dealings with others who, like ourselves, are fallen and imperfect, we are to remember this feature and not only be just toward them but, additionally, to be merciful, generous, kind, even to the unthankful,that thus we may be children of our Father in heaven.Z.02-171 R3020:6
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself."Matthew 6:34
OUR Lord assures us that if the main thought of our hearts is His service and the promotion of righteousness and an attainment of the Kingdom which God has promised to them that love Him, then we need carry no anxious cares respecting the future. As His disciples we will have trials and tribulations enough, day by day, and will need daily to lean upon the Bridegrooms arm as we seek to walk the narrow way. Sufficient for each day will be the evil of itself: and thanks be to God also, we have the promise that daily His grace shall be sufficient for us. Z.98-44 R2260:4
"When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance." Matthew 6:16
FASTING is specially commendable to the Lords people at times when they find themselves lacking in spirituality and exposed to severe temptations from the world, the flesh and the devil; for by impoverishing the physical force and vitality, it may assist the full-blooded and impulsive to self-control in every direction. We believe that a majority of Christians would be helped by occasional fastinga very plain diet for a season, if not total abstinence. But fastings, to be seen and known of men or to be conjured up in our own minds as marks of piety on our part, would be injurious indeed, and lead to spiritual pride and hypocrisy, which would far outweigh their advantages to us in the way of self-restraint. Z.98-45 R2260:5
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."Proverbs 4:23
IT is not sufficient that we acknowledge sin in its various forms to be evil, and that we resolve that we will strive against it because it is under the Lords ban. In addition to this we are to root out of our hearts every longing, every desire for everything not thoroughly approved by the Lord. Oh, what a cleansing this would mean in the hearts and lives, and especially in the thoughts, of many who have named the name of Christ! Many who fail to note this point find themselves continually beset by temptations, because, while outwardly avoiding gross immoralities, they secretly harbor sympathies for things condemneddesiring that they might have them, if only they were not forbidden. Z.99-140 R2480:5
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels."Revelation 3:5
THE faithful overcomers watch and keep their garments unspotted from the world...."They have not defiled their garments," they have "kept their garments unspotted from the world." They have not been willing to permit sin to contaminate them and to separate them from the Lord, but have quickly applied for and obtained the precious blood to remove every stain. They are so heartily opposed to sin and so earnest about the keeping of this garment unspotted that the Adversary gets no hold upon them"the wicked one catcheth them not." All this indicates a full submission of their wills to the will of Christthey are "dead with Him," and hence could not willingly practice sin. Z.97-161 R2161:1
"The fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Psalm 111:10
THIS is the only proper attitude of the creature toward the Creator, the Author of our being, and the Creator, Preserver and Lord of the whole universe. When He speaks, therefore, our ears should be reverently attentive to His voice, and every power alert to do His bidding. Our safety, our happiness, and that nobility of character which prompts to love and gratitude, and which promptly and wisely heeds instruction and advances in knowledge and wisdom, all depend primarily upon our supreme reverence for the Lord. And therefore the Lord would foster and cultivate in us that becoming, filial reverence that is due to His name. Z.96-155 R2002:3
"Jesus spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint."Luke 18:1
IN coming to God we need have no fear that He is too busy with other matters of greater importance, or that He is weary of our coming to Him repeatedly with things of small importance. It was to assure us against this very thing that our Lord spoke the parable of the importunate widow, who was heard and answered on account of her importunity. In so doing we evince both the earnestness of our desires and our faith that our prayers will be answered, if we faint not from lack of faith or zeal when the answer is delayed, as often it must necessarily be, since time is an important element in all Gods work. Z.95-214 R1865:4
"The meek will He guide in judgment; and the meek will He teach His way."Psalm 25:9
SUCH a disposition is essential to those who would receive the wisdom which cometh from above. They must have a humble appreciation of their own deficiencies and lack of wisdom, else they cannot receive freely, heartily, the wisdom which God is pleased to grant in the present time only to those who are in the attitude of heart to receive it. And it will be seen also that this humility of mind is essential as a basis for the spirit of a sound mindfor who is in a proper condition to think justly, reasonably, impartially, except first of all he have a humble disposition? Hence we must agree that humility is a primary element in the disposition or mind of Christ. Z.00-68 R2585:5
We suggest to all the Divine Plan Journal readers as a special text for the year the words of the Psalmist, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of the assembly of his people."Psalm 116:12-14.
The Editor for some months has been trying the plan of calling this text before his mind as his waking thought. He has found it very helpful, and now suggests it to all the readers of this Journal.
How appropriate that each day should begin with the inquiry as to what are the possibilities of our service or sacrifices in the Lords cause! What is more appropriate than that we should remember the benefits which we have received, as well as those which we hope yet to receive from our gracious heavenly Father? What could be more appropriate than that we should resolve afresh every morning to take the cup of salvation, remembering that the cup of salvation is the cup of suffering, the cup of trialhis cup the cup of communion, or fellowship, in the sufferings of Christ? As the Master said, so should we each say, daily, "The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?"
What is more appropriate than that we each should take pleasure in following our Master, being made partakers of the sufferings of Christ, that we may also be sharers in his glory? What could be more appropriate than that our waking thoughts should recall the vow which we have made to the Lord, and that those thoughts shall be open to all the congregation of the Lords people? We will not keep secret the matter of our vow, nor the matter of our obedience, but we will stimulate one another in the good way.
Furthermore, we call upon the name of the Lord for help, assistance, that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts and the conduct of our life throughout the day may be pleasing and acceptable in the sight of our Lord. The day thus begun will surely be a happy day to those who have taken the vows of full consecration to the Lord. And what a happifying thought we have in this connection; namely, that so many of the dear brethren and sisters may at the same time be lifting their hearts in thanksgiving and making resolutions afresh. R5155
Genesis 1:26-2:25; Psalm 8
HOW different the statement respecting mans creation from that describing the creation of plants and the lower animals which the seas and the earth brought forth! Mans creation was premeditated. In advance, God designed man to be the king over the Earth, having dominion over fish and fowl and beasts, even as his Creator has the supreme dominion of the Universe. He was to be his Creators image, not in physical form, but in moral and intellectual qualities. He was not to be of the Divine nature, but of human naturea fleshly being resembling his Creator, a Spirit Being. This intention of Deity was fully carried out in mans creation. As we read, "God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him; male and female created he them." Not a word here can be construed as in any sense implying the evolution of man from the lower creatures.
So far from teaching an evolution, the Bible teaches the very reverse, both in the Old and in the New Testament. St. Paul declares, By one mans disobedience sin entered into the world, and death as the result of sin. Thus death passed upon all men, because all are sinners. (Romans 5:12) The Prophet David refers to this fallen condition and queries respecting Gods mercy in providing for man a redemption and restoration to Divine favor, saying, "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?" (Psalm 8:4) He then proceeds briefly to picture mans glorious condition before he fell, saying, "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels. Thou crownest him with glory and honor and didst set him over the works of Thy hands." Later he describes mans dominion as related to beasts of the field, fowl of the air and fish of the sea.
In a word, the Bible represents man as the crowning masterpiece of mundane creation. The seal of Gods Word is set to this in the statement that God pronounced him "very good." This is also implied in the statement that God created him in His image, for the Scriptures declare, "All His work is perfect." Nor could we for a moment esteem it just or right that any but a perfect being should be placed on trial for life or death everlasting.
Higher Critics, anxious to discredit the Bible, claim that the Second Chapter of Genesis is another account of the whole creation written by a different person. They claim that it gives a different order of creation, showing man created first, and then trees, beasts, etc. To us this is all foolishness. Moses, having described creation in its logical order, merely emphasizes and particularizes some of his previous statements.
He declares (Genesis 2:4) that he has already described the generation or developments of things heavenly and earthly from the beginning, before there was any plant life. Incidentally he mentions that at that time there was no rainbefore the flood. He again assures us that man was Gods last creation, to be the king or supervisor of earth. Then, much to our satisfaction, Moses proceeds to give an account of the specialty of mans creation, so different from that of the lower animals and vegetation. He was not evolved, but was Gods handiwork. He was not spirit, but flesh, formed of the dust of the ground. But still he had the spirit of life common to all the lower creatures, of whom he was the head or king. The Hebrew reads, literally, "In his nostrils the breath of lives"the breath or spirit of life common to all breathing creatures.
Then a description of Eden follows how God particularly supervised its preparation as the home of the king of earth, in which God placed him. Nothing in this implies that Eden was made after Adams creation. On the contrary, we have already been informed that Gods creative work ceased with the production of Mother Eve, and that since then He has rested or desisted from further mundane creationleaving to His glorious Son, Messiah, the work of human redemption and restitution.Acts 3:19-21
When we read (V.19) that all animals that God had previously created were named by Adam, it would be foolish for us to suppose that the animals were a subsequent creation. This bringing of all creatures to Adams attention implies his mastery of them all and leads up to the statement that in none of them was he able to find fellowship and companionship. God wished him to realize the need of a companion and wife before providing her.
The details of human creation imply that Adam lived in Eden some time alone and sexless. Some Bible students infer from the chronology that it was about two years from the time of Adams creation until the expulsion from Eden under the death sentence. The cause for the division of Adam into two persons is stated; the earth was to be filled, populated with a race of his species, and amongst all the creatures none was suitable as a companion for him or fit to be his mate, and the mother of an offspring in his likeness.
Thus again is shown that Adam was distinctly different from apes and monkeys, and all the other creatures placed under his control. He was in the likeness of his Creator. Other Scriptures show us that after the earth shall have been filled with a population, it is the Divine purpose that the sex quality in humanity shall be dropped. Jesus words are, "They that shall attain unto that Age (of perfectionfuture) will neither marry nor be given in marriage, but be like the angels of Heaven"sexless. See Luke 20:34-36.
The division of Adam into two parts, male and female, left the headship with the male, but deprived him of some of his sympathetic qualities. His wife, predominating in the sympathetic tendencies, had in her perfection less of the masculine and aggressive traits; but the two were perfectly adapted to each others needs and fulfilled each others ideals. The fall from Gods favor has affected both sexes and has disturbed the original balance and harmony, producing extremes of coarseness and effeminacy, destroying perfection and robbing the marriage relationship of much of its ideal happiness.
The Restitution or resurrection of the willing and obedient, to be brought about by Messiahs Kingdom, will not mean the restoration of sex perfections, but rather the gradual perfecting of each individual in the image and likeness of God in personal completeness, such as Adam possessed before his division.
The sex attractions having passed away, man will not be alone, as Adam was originally; for the earth will be full of human brethren, all in the image of God and in fullest fellowship of spirit, enjoying the world-wide Eden. Such a condition of things can be appreciated only as we take the Divine standpoint and realize the superior perfection of God and the angels in their sexless conditionthough always spoken of as masculine.
Note the consistency of the Bible theory which necessitated the division of one man into male and female. God purposed that the entire race must proceed from the one man. He foresaw sin and how he would permit it to flourish, and how he would provide for mans recovery. If two or more separate individuals had sinned and involved the race, it would have required just as many redeemers, according to the Divine law, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," a mans life for a mans life. (Deut.19:21) Because God from the beginning intended only one Lamb of God, one glorious Redeemer, therefore the entire race sprang from the one man Adam, that "as by a man came death, by a man" should come "the resurrection of the dead."1 Cor. 15:21
We should not forget that Adam and Eve in some respects foreshadowed Christ and the Church. Jesus personally is the great Savior of mankind, whose death constitutes the Ransom-price for the sins of Adam and the entire race. He is to be the Great Life-Giver, or Father of mankind. During His Millennial Reign He will give back earthly life to Adam and as many of his race as will receive itraising them gradually, more and more, out of sin and death conditions, up to perfection during that thousand years,"the times of refreshing that shall come from the presence of the Lord,...the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:19 to 21) This will be the glorious work of regenerating the world,"whosoever will" may then drink the water of life freely.
But before beginning His work of regenerating the world, God has arranged that first from the wound in Christs side, figuratively, an Elect Church shall be formed to be His companion and joint-heir in His Kingdomthe second Eve, on the spirit plane, as He, the Heavenly One, is the Second Adam.
The Church will not be the Life-Giver or Father, but she will be the mother, or care-taker of the regenerated hosts of humanity during the Millennium. Under her care the willing and obedient will retain the image of God in the flesh. R5140
Question: Did the thief who was being crucified go to Paradise the day Jesus died?
Answer: "He [the thief] said to Jesus, Remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom. And he [Jesus] said to him [the penitent thief], Indeed I say to thee this day, thou shalt be with me in Paradise."Luke 23:42,43
Those who consider salvation to be an escape from everlasting torture to a paradise of pleasure, and dependent only on accidental circumstances of favor, think they see exemplified in this narrative the doctrine of electionthat our Lord Jesus, pleased by the consoling words of the one thief, elected him to heaven, and equally elected that the other should suffer to all eternity, unpitied and unrelieved. Truly, if God has made salvation such a lottery, such a chance thing, those who believe it to be such should have little to say against Church lotteries, and less against worldly ones.
But this is not the case. This scripture has been much misunderstood. To get its true import, let us take in the surroundings and connections.
The Lord had just been condemned, and was now being executed on the charge of treason against Caesars government, in saying that he was a king; though he had told them that his Kingdom was "not of this world." There, upon the cross above his head, written in three languages, was the crime charged against him: "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." Those about knew of his claims and derided him, except one of the thieves crucified alongside. Doubtless he had heard of Jesus and his wonderful character and works, and said in his heart: This is truly a strange and wonderful man. Who can know that there is no foundation to his claims? He certainly lives close to God. I will speak to him in sympathy: it can do no harm. Then he rebuked his companion, mentioning the Lords innocence; and then the conversation above noted took place.
We cannot suppose that this thief had correct or definite ideas of Jesusnothing more than a mere feeling that, as he was about to die, any straw of hope was better than nothing. To give him credit for more would be to place him in faith ahead of all the Lords apostles and followers, who at this time had fled dismayed, and who, three days after, said: "We [had] trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel." Luke 24:21
We can have no doubt as to the import of his petition. He meant that whenever Jesus reached his Kingdom power, he desired to be favored, cared for. Now note our Lords answer. He does not say that he has no kingdom; but, on the contrary, he indicates by his response that the thiefs request was a proper one. The word translated "verily" or "indeed" is the Greek word "amen," and signifies "So be it," or "Your request is granted." "I say to thee this day [this dark day, when it seems as though I am an impostor, and I am dying as a felon], thou shalt be with me in Paradise." The substance of this promise is that, when the Lord has established his Kingdom it will be a Paradise, and the thief will be remembered and be in it. Notice that we have changed the comma from before to after the word "today."
This makes our Lords words perfectly clear and reasonable. He might have told the thief more if he had chosen. He might have told him that the reason he would be privileged to be in Paradise was because his ransom was then and there being paid. He might have told him further that he was dying for and ransoming the other thief also, as well as the whole gaping and deriding multitude before him, the millions then entombed, and the millions yet unborn. We know this, because we know that "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "gave himself a ransom for all," that all in due time might have opportunity to return to the Edenic condition, forfeited by the first mans sin, and redeemed for men by Christs righteous sacrifice.Heb. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6; Acts 3:19
As already shown, the garden of Eden was but an illustration of what the earth will be when fully released from the curseperfected and beautified. The word "paradise" is of Arabic origin, and signifies a garden. The Septuagint renders Gen. 2:8 thus: "God planted a paradise in Eden." When Christ shall have established his Kingdom, and bound evil, etc., this earth will gradually become a paradise, and the two thieves and all others that are in their graves shall come into it, and then by becoming obedient to its laws they may live in it and enjoy it forever. We doubt not, however, that the kind words spoken in that dark hour to the suffering Savior will no more lose a special and suitable reward than the gift of a cup of water, or other small kindnesses, done to those whom this King is "not ashamed to call his brethren."Matt. 10:42
THIS JANUARY JOURNAL IS NOT COMPLETE...SOON TO BE UPDATED. THANK YOU.
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