|TABLE OF CONTENTS||
THE DIVINE PLAN JOURNAL
Volume 23 *January 1998 * Number 1"UPON THE EARTH DISTRESS OF NATIONS, WITH PERPLEXITY" "There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; mens hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." Luke 21:25,26
WITH THE beginning of the year 1998, the people upon the earth continue to experience trouble and distress, with perplexity. During the year 1997, anarchy, terrorism, strikes, drug and medication problems, the spread of the AIDS virus, murders, global warming problems, tornadoes, floods, starvation, the financial tidal wave sweeping Asia (as well as other parts of the world), and other ills to caused distress (with perplexity), pain, and death.
In addition to the perplexities just mentioned, approximately 147,272 men, women, and children throughout the earth died each day in 1997. This means that approximately 53,791,219 people died during 1997. This same number of people (perhaps more) will die during 1998.
Peculiar and perplexing evils continue to increase throughout the earth. Following are some news items reported by the News Media toward the close of 1997:
"A woman gave birth in an airplane bathroom during a flight over Brazil, and then killed the baby by stuffing toilet paper in its mouth and flushing it down the toilet."
A man stabbed his mother and shot his father "while wearing a dress and go-go boots".
A man doused his father with "paint thinner and set him ablaze".
"As relatives and police watched in horror", a man abducted his 6 month-old son from the boys mother, "took the infant by the ankles, and slammed his head on the pavement."
A pastors daughter confessed to helping her father "kill her mother and four other relatives in the 1980s."
"In sub-Saharan Africa, 19 million people are infected" with the AIDS virus. "In some southern African cities, more than 40 percent of pregnant women are infected" with the virus. In 1996, "400,000 children younger than 15 became infected with HIV worldwide".
Efforts almost completely fail to reduce "the flow of cocaine, heroine, and methamphetamines" across the Southwest border of the United States. Some pharmacists "worry that the use of anti-psychotic, sedative, and anti-depressant drugs is inappropriate for some patients." "Up to one-fifth of nursing home patients are receiving inappropriate medication, potentially resulting in serious side effects such as falls and delirium."
Tornadoes, floods, and other weather problems took the lives of many people in 1997. "Global warming" continued to be a world problem.
"Israeli troops" searched a village after an explosion killed a teacher. Authorities suspected "Palestinian militants of an ambush shooting...that killed one seminary student and wounded another." "Israeli planes" and troops attacked trails in Lebanon.
"The financial tidal wave sweeping through Asia" caused concern to the other nations of the earth.
The items mentioned above are just a few of the many perplexities and problems throughout the world reported by the press during 1997.
Nearly 2000 years ago, the greatest of all prophets, namely our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, prophesied that the people living during the transition period between the closing of the second dispensation and the opening of the third dispensation, would experience "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time". (Matthew 24:21) Daniel prophesied that at the beginning of our Lords second presence to earth, there would be a "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation". Daniel 12:1
The ruler of the second dispensation (our great adversary, the devil), who usurped authority, is struggling to hold on to his position. This struggle results in trouble, but in due time the adversary will be fully bound. In addition to the adversary causing trouble and distress throughout the earth, while his power and influence over some are gradually being bound, the fallen angels, who are being granted liberty during this transition period for the purpose of their judging (I Corinthians 6:3), are also responsible for much evil and perplexities throughout the earth.
Our dear Redeemer assured his disciples that divine intervention will stop the trouble before all flesh is destroyed. As soon as man has learned the necessary lessons regarding the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and after the final verdict upon the fallen angels has been rendered, divine intervention by the "elect Christ" will stop the trouble in the earth, and righteousness will begin to prevail. (Matthew 24:22; Zechariah 14:3; Zephaniah 3:9) Then wars will forever cease. Psalm 46:9
The earthly phase of the Kingdom will begin its operation in Israel and in the course of time will spread throughout the earth. (Jeremiah 31:31-34) Nothing "shall hurt nor destroy" in that holy kingdom. (Isaiah 65:25) "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2:14) Even the billions who have died will be awakened from the sleep of death, in an orderly manner, and taught the truth. John 5:28,29; I Timothy 2:4-6
As we enter upon the year 1998, may we continue to earnestly and sincerely pray for the incoming Kingdom. With the passing of 1997 we are one year nearer to the fruition of our hope. The perplexing problems in the world will continue to increase during the year before us and until such time as man is ready to accept the arrangements of the kingdom.
Meanwhile the "heel" members of the body of Christ continue to be tested, polished and made ready for their place in the spiritual phase of the kingdom. (Genesis 3:15; Revelaton 14:1) The door to the high calling remains open. (Romans 11:25) It is still possible to enter the "narrow way" (when invited) as one goes out because of unfaithfulness or because another one becomes overcharged with the cares of this life.Hebrews 10:26,27; 6:4-6; Matthew 25:8-12
The "wise" virgins will "consider one another to provoke unto love and good works" and will continue to assemble together with those of like precious faith. (Hebrews 10:24,25) The "wise" in heavenly wisdom mentioned by the prophet Daniel (12:10) will continue to feast upon the "meat in due season" which is being served by our returned Lord through the ministry of "the faithful and wise servant". (Matthew 24:45-47; Revelation 3:20) The fully consecrated will watch the signs in the earth which indicate that our King has returned with the kingdom and will declare to others in "Zion" the reign of Christ begun.Isaiah 52:7
Those living up to their consecration vows will not "sleep" as others do, but on the contrary will watch and be sober. (I Thessalonians 5: 1-8) Those who are awake know that the thousand year day of the Lord has begun.
The fully consecrated realize that the current events, referred to above, are indications that the old order is passing away. During the passing away of the old, which makes room for the kingdom of Christ, the Christian soldier needs the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:11-18) As we see the things of earth being dissolved, may we "be diligent" in order that we "may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless". II Peter 3:8-14
THE dawn of another new year is properly a time for solemn reflections, both retrospective and prospective. In the retrospect how abundant is the cause for thanksgiving! We who have been blessed with the richest favors of divine grace in that knowledge of divine truth which reveals to us the high privilege of becoming sons and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for the called and chosen and faithful according to his purpose, have a never-failing cause for deepest gratitude. Great indeed was the favor which revealed to us the hope of everlasting life as justified, human sons of Godof full restitution to the divine favor and likeness, as was at first possessed by our father Adam. And great was our joy when first, by faith, we appropriated this precious promise and realized that legally, through merit of the precious blood of Christ shed for our redemption, we had passed from death unto life, and that in Gods appointed time the everlasting treasure with all its attendant glory and blessing would be ours. But beyond even this are the exceeding great and precious promises" to those of this justified class who have been called, according to Gods purpose, to become the bride and joint-heir of his dear Son. Then, in addition to all these blessings of hope and promise, was the blessed realization during all the year, and with some of us for many years past, that though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, as the Psalmist aptly represents the present life, our blessed Shepherds rod and staff have been our comfort and our safeguard. How often has the friendly crook of the Shepherds staff stayed us from wandering off into bypaths and kept us in the narrow way; how his chastening rod has from time to time aroused us from dreamy lethargy and urged us on our way. And at such times we have recalled the comforting words: "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons."Heb. 12:5-8
"THOU SPREADEST MY TABLE IN THE MIDST OF ENEMIES."
Spiritually, we have feasted on the bounties of divine favor; while in things temporal, under whatsoever circumstances we have been placed, having the assurance that all things work together for good to them that love God, we have realized that godliness with contentment is great gain, having promise of the life that now is [so long as God wills to have us remain here], and also of that which is to come. Wherefore, we can and do most heartily "offer unto God thanksgiving." And shall we not render unto him, not only the praise of our lips, but also the incense of truly consecrated lives, throughout the year upon which we are just entering? Dearly beloved, consecrate yourselves anew to the Lord today not in the sense of invalidating the consecration made once for all, possibly many years ago, but rather in the sense of re-affirming and emphasizing that covenant. Tell the dear Lord that you consider yourselves entirely his, and that it is still your purpose to keep your all upon the altar of sacrifice during this new year and until it is wholly consumed in his service. Then let us proceed with studious care from day to day to pay these, our vows of full consecration, unto the Most High.
As we look back and with sorrow view the imperfections of even our best efforts, and then forward and see the lion-like difficulties that seem to obstruct our onward course, we will need greatly to reinforce our waning courage with the special promises of divine grace to help in every time of need. We have the blessed assurance that "the Lord will give strength unto his people." "Call upon me in the day of trouble," he says, "and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." As soldiers under our great Captain, we have enlisted in no uncertain struggle, except our own faint-heartedness or unfaithfulness should make it so. We are fully supplied with the whole armor of God, and will be amply protected against all the fiery darts of the adversary if we accept it and carefully buckle it on; we are forewarned of all the snares and dangers that beset our onward way, so that we may avoid and overcome them; we are fully informed as to the policy and course of the Captain under whose banner we have enlisted, and of the part we are to take under his leading. We have his constant presence with us, even to the end of our course. His inspiring voice may always be heard above the clash and din of battleFear not, it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom! Be of good cheer; I have overcome! Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid! Greater is he that is for you than all they that be against you. If we are weak and incline to faint-heartedness we have only to remember the blessed promise, "The Lord will give strength unto his people;" and by our faithfulness in the service we shall glorify God and he will deliver us gloriously from all our foes, both seen and unseen.
HOW SHALL WE PAY OUR VOWS?
This is an important question with all the truly consecrated, and one surely of paramount importance. Let us consider, then, that when we consecrated ourselves fully to the Lord, we thereby signified that we would hold nothing back for self. That consecration included all our possessions, our time, our physical energies and our mental attainments. And it implied the sacrifice of all our former earthly ambitions, hopes and aims, so that we should no longer pursue them to any extent. This, and nothing less, is what our vow of full consecration signifies. But it signifies, further, that these possessions or personal qualifications, which the Lord terms talents, are not only to be released from the service of the worldly ambitions, etc., but that they are to be so released, not for aimless inactivity, but for the purpose of being utilized in an opposite directionin the service of God, of his plan and of his children. In the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30) the Lord illustrated very clearly how we are expected to pay our vows of consecration to the Most High. He says: "It is like a man who, intending to travel, called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his respective capacity; and straightway took his journey."
TO EACH ACCORDING TO ABILITY
This master had important and valuable interests to leave in charge of his servants; and as these servants had all engaged to serve him, he had a right to expect of them a sincere and faithful interest in the work. Yet he did not expect more of them than they were severally able to accomplish. He rightly expected larger returns from the one who had five talents than from those who had one or two talents. And in the reckoning, it will be observed that the servant who had doubled his two talents was just as highly commended as the one who had doubled his five. The reply to each was the same"Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." And had the servant with the one talent been similarly faithful he would have received the very same commendation. Notice also that the parable does not represent the obligations of the world of mankind in the use of their talents, but merely of "his own servants"the consecrated believers only. And notice also that no servant was left without some talent of usefulness and responsibility. Each servant had at least one talent; and for the right use of that one talent he was just as accountable to his master as were those who had more.
But the professed servant with the one talent was unfaithful to his master, and yet he evidently wanted to be considered a servant still, and probably thought he was worthy of commendation and reward for not perverting his Lords money to other uses. He had taken good care of the talent; he had not turned it in opposition to the Lord, but he had simply buried itfailed to use it. At the reckoning time, he who had received the one talent said, "Lord, I knew thee, that thou art an exacting man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not scattered. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth; lo, there thou hast thine own."
"His Lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not scattered; thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers; and then at my coming I should have received mine own with interest." It will be observed that this servant was not what men would generally call wicked. He was simply an idler, willing, if he could, to draw a servants approval and compensation, but lacking any real, active interest in his masters business. He had no ill will toward his master; he was probably very glad that the other servants kept the business from going to wreck and ruin; he did nothing to hinder them from using their talents, but he did not feel the responsibility he had assumed in becoming a "servant," nor take a proper interest in his masters affairs. Yet, as a faithless, slothful servant, he was really a covenant-breaker, and therefore "wicked" and certainly unfit to be trusted with still greater responsibilities on the masters return.
But let us remember that this was not a real case: it was simply a parable used to illustrate real cases. And if the illustration fits your individual case, let it not lose its effect upon you. The very object of the parable is to arouse such to a sense of their short-comings, and to recover them from the lethargy into which they have relaxed, by reminding them of their responsibilities. Activity in the Lords service to the full extent of our ability or talents is what the Lord has a right to expect of all who profess to be his servants; and it is what he does expect. Therefore, if you have but one talent, do not bury it, but cultivate and use it; do what you can, and all you can, in the great work to which we have already consecrated our lives.
MUCH GIVEN, MUCH REQUIRED
And those who have several talents, let them see to it that they too are faithful to the extent of their abilities, not being content to do merely what the one-talented man can do or ought to do. Such a one would not be a good and faithful servant, and could not expect the Masters approving "Well done!" His approval will be given to those only who are faithful to the extent of their opportunity.
Those who find the truth and make the consecration before they are encumbered with the cares of this life, who have no families dependent upon them and who have a reasonable degree of health, have at least two talentstime and healthwhich can and ought to be utilized in the service to the best possible advantage. Then there are those who have a money talent, or a business talent, and such should consider how these are being used. Are they largely swallowed up in luxuries, or a superabundance of the good things of this life, for either self or family? Or are they being laid up as treasures upon earthin banks, store-houses and investment securities, to enrich and to cultivate the spirit of pride in friends or children, and for them to quarrel over after you are dead?
Our talents for use in the Lords service consist of all those things and opportunities which are over and above what we need for the necessary and reasonable maintenance of ourselves or our families, if we have families, and the reasonable provision against distress in case of a sudden calamity or approaching old age, etc. Aside from these, all we have should be in active service, be they many talents or few. If we have five talents and are using only one or two, how can we expect the Masters "Well done, good and faithful servant"? Did we not covenant to give and to use all for him?all our money, all our time, all our influence, all our mental activity, all our physical ability? How faithful have we been during the past year? How do we stand at the bar of our own judgment? And how faithful will we be during the coming year? After providing things decent and honest for ourselves and those dependent upon us, let us judiciously appropriate our talents to what we profess to consider the chief business of life. Here are the testing points of true loyalty and devotion. Let us ponder them well, and not lightly set them aside.
FORMER OPPORTUNITIES LOST
But observe further what the Lord has to say about this "wicked and slothful servant." He says: "Take the talent from him and give it unto him which hath ten talents; for unto every one that hath [made use of his talents] shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not [made use of his talent] shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." The outer darkness here referred to is in contrast with the inner light of the holy place of favor and communion and instruction from God, symbolized in the Tabernacle. The testing comes on the return of the Master. Then the faithful servants shall enter into fuller joys and privileges and blessings, while the unfaithful will go into the outer darkness of error and ignorance concerning Gods plans and ways, which envelops the world in general, and their neglected opportunities for more abundant service will go as a reward to those who are already earnest and active, and whose earnest and faithful labors will in due time be abundantly rewarded.
As we thus view our Lords teaching, we see that our only security as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ is in activity in the service of the truth. Well, says one, I see very few doing that. Very true: only a few will do it. But that precious few are the Lords jewels. Are you one of them? Ah, that is the point to be considered. No matter how few they are, or whether you ever saw or knew of any such, that does not alter the conditions of our calling. "This is the way: walk ye in it." One, at least, has trodden it before. Look for his foot-prints and follow him, and "He will give strength unto his people," even though they walk alone, as he did, without the cheering companionship of fellow-travelers.
"LO, I AM WITH YOU"
But think not that you are traveling alone in this narrow way. The Lord has now a consecrated people, a faithful band of servants who, with every talent consecrated, are steadily pursuing their course in the narrow way. We know some of them by name and by character and by their steady and progressive activity in the blessed work. Not many of them have five talents, but a good many have two or three, and some only one. Quietly and unobtrusively they go about from day to day preaching the wonderful words of life, and God is with them and is leading them on. Their hearts are full of joy and hope and they are kept securely amidst all the perils of this evil day. None are so clear in their apprehension and appreciation of truth as those who are fully enlisted in its service. 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 our 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 appetite then as unfaithful servants we will sooner or later go into outer darkness, by being caught in some of the snares of this "evil day," and will be led farther and farther into error and away from truth.
Mark well that it is not a case of such unfaithful servants being liable to get into outer darkness, into error: it is a case of must. The Masters orders are peremptory and decisive: "Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness." The light now shining is not for the unfaithful, but for the faithful servants; and no matter how clearly the unfaithful may have seen and understood the deep things of God, and no matter how he may have enjoyed them, if he has not loved them so as to serve them and sacrifice his conveniences for them, he is unworthy of them and must go out into the outer darkness of the world in general. With these as with the world the disappointment of theories and plans in the great time of trouble will ere long bring the weeping and gnashing of teeth foretold.
FAITHFULNESS IMPLIES ACTIVITY
It is indeed a notable fact that in no single case have we seen one drift away from the truth into the snares of these perilous times who was very active and fully enlisted in the Lords work, whose one aim and endeavor was to herald the truth and to bless others with it. To such the Lord says, "My grace is sufficient for thee""Ye shall never fall, for so an abundant entrance shall be ministered unto you into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Let us, then, dearly beloved, have for our watchword during the year the word "devotion," and let each of us write upon his heart the gracious promise"The Lord will give strength unto his people." Let us be faithfully "his people," and let us earnestly desire and faithfully use the strength promised. Faithful is he that hath promised, who also will do it. So, then, if you lack the strength to use faithfully your talent, the fault is yours, not Gods. You either have not his service close enough at heart or else do not make use of the strength he provides. "The Lord will give strength unto his people"his trusting, faithful servantsthose who are using to his praise the talents consecrated to their Master, however many or few those talents may be.
Our New Years greeting is, "God bless you." It applies primarily to those nearest and dearest in the bonds of Christian fellowship in Present Truth; secondarily, to all who trust in the precious blood, in the merit of which alone there is forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God and a basis of Christian brotherhood; thirdly, to the world in general, still blind and deaf to Gods great salvation, but heirs of the great oath-bound covenant, "in due time;" fourthly, to those who oppose us and say all manner of evil against us, falsely, for Christs sakebecause we are heralds of his truth and grace.
For all of these our wish is Gods blessing, which, if received, maketh truly rich, and addeth no sorrow. If for our enemies and the world in general we pray opening of the eyes of understanding, surely with the Apostle we may offer the same prayer also for all the "brethren" and for ourselfa wider opening of our eyes of understanding. The Apostles words are, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father...that ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge."Eph. 3:14-19 [R3695]
IS MY HEART "GOOD GROUND"?
"That on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."Luke 8:15
WE RECOGNIZE these words as a portion of our Lords parable of The Sower. A man went out to sow his field. As he scattered his seed, some fell on one kind of soil and some on anothersome on thorny ground, some on stony ground, some on the hard, beaten pathway, and some on good ground. The good ground brought forthsome thirty-fold, some sixty-fold and some one hundred-fold.
According to the Masters interpretation of this parable, the good seed represents the Message of the Kingdom, which as it falls here and there appeals to some hearts differently from what it does to others. That seed falling upon the beaten pathway represented the Message as heard by persons into whose hearts it did not enter at all. They simply heard with the outer ear and forgot. It made no impression. The Lord said that the reason for this was that the Adversary came and caught the seed away. It had not penetrated even the surface of the hard ground. The conditions were not favorable for its entrance into the heart and the hearers soon forgot all that they had heard. The wiles of the Adversary would always, if possible, prevent the seed from entering the heart and taking root.
WHAT CONSTITUTES A SHALLOW HEART
Amongst those who do receive the Truth are the stony-ground class. These are at first very much enthused, but they lack depth of character. They are not the kind the Lord is now seeking. They will not bring forth the fruitage, for they have not sufficient depth for rooting. They are shallow. They desire to trim their sails in harmony with the favorable winds of this life. As soon as they find out that the Truth is not popular, they foresee persecution or social ostracism; then their ardor cools and their interest in the Harvest Message wanes and gradually dies out. Thus they are like wheat planted in shallow soil, which comes up and flourishes a little while; but when the hot sun comes out it withers away, not having much root.
The heart that is like the thorny ground is favorable as to soil. It is good ground, with fine prospects for developing the fruits of the Holy Spirit. But it is infested with thorns, which are not removed, but are permitted to remain and so choke the wheat. These thorns are not the frivolous pleasures of lifetheaters, cards, dancing, etc.; but, as the Lord explains in the parable, they are the cares of life, the ambitions of life, the deceitfulness of richesperhaps the feeling that if they can accumulate wealth they can serve the Lords Cause the better. This tendency to go out after other things allows a condition to obtain that is unfavorable to the wheat class. These may be good business men, fine politicians, or they may be immersed in some kind of study. Others of them may be fine housekeepers and have a pride as to how well things are kept, or they may be leaders in society or in works of reform, etc. All these are the thorns of the parable. A heart of this kind does not bring forth fruit, because the ground, while good, is otherwise occupied, and the Message of the Kingdom and its work are crowded out to a large degree, so that no fruit is brought to perfection.
HONESTY A BASIC QUALITY
Then we come to the "good ground" class of this parable, ground where the soil is not only good, but cleared of all noxious weeds which would prevent the proper growth of the wheat seed. This condition represents entire consecration to God. Everything which would hinder has been cast out. The cares of this life are not permitted to enter this heart and choke the Word. Such a one has made a bona-fide contract with the Lord and knows when he is keeping it; and he will keep it. He has the proper quality or depth of character and more or less of ability. And there is the special trait of thorough honesty, loyalty.
Amongst those of the class who are styled the "good ground," we find different conditions in lifenot many noble, but some noble; not many great, but some great; not many learned, but some learned; not many wise, but some wise. But they must all be good of heart, and they must be honest, else they could not bring forth the necessary fruitagehonesty being the most important feature of all, with a degree of intelligence and appreciation of the Truth. We see, then, how this class might bring forth varying amounts of fruitage, according to circumstances, conditions and ability. But they are in the right heart condition to bring forth their very bestsome thirty-fold, some sixty-fold and some a hundred-fold.
In the picture we see that the Truth is represented by the seed, and we see that the individuals are also represented by the seed. The thought is that a grain of Truth is planted, and that in an honest heart it produces a character which is in harmony with the Truth. That seed of Truth is the Message of the Kingdom, the Word of the Kingdomnot a truth about the philosophies of men or some scientific truth, but a particular truthnot something that ignores Gods Plan and purports to be a better plan than that which God has arranged, but the one particular thingthe Word of the Kingdom.
MILLIONS OF TARES
It seems remarkable that with so many that are called Christian peoplethey know so little about the Kingdom! The vast majority have learned but very little of it, if anything. This is manifest when we look ...and see millions fighting to the death... . This is because they have not become New Creatures. As the natural seed enters the ground, sprouts and brings forth something that is fostered and developed by the soil, so the good seed of the Truth in the proper heart brings forth good fruit. The Message of the Kingdom brings forth results in harmony with its nature. It reaches the proper class and brings them to an attitude where God accepts them as New Creatures. These New Creatures are the children of the Kingdom; and these children of the Kingdom are the wheat that will be garnered. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom."
Our Lord in another parable shows us a different kind of seedtare seed. This tare-seed looks a little like wheat. It is not the true seednot the seed of the Kingdom. It may be a seed, or message, of morality or purity of life or total abstinence from intoxicating liquors, etc. No matter; it will not produce the Kingdom class. The only seed which will produce this class is the good seed, the true Kingdom Message.
As we look about in the world we see that the great Enemy oversowed this wheat-field of the Kingdom with false seed, the darnel, the tare-seed, as represented by these various messages that have gone forth throughout the world. This seed does not necessarily bring forth bad people. They are people who are workers for various things, some of them more or less good, but they are not children of the Kingdom. At the present time these tares are, many of them, influential. And millions of them represent, not the true wheat-field, but merely an imitation, usurping the place really belonging to the true wheat class.
TIME REQUIRED TO DEVELOP FRUIT
In this Harvest time, now about ended, a separation has been taking place between the true wheat and the tares. The true wheat are being gathered into the garner, while the tares are being bound in bundles to be burnednot literally burned, but destroyed as tares, as imitation wheat. They will soon cease to call themselves Christians. They will recognize themselves as what they have always beenparts of the world. Many of these are Church members, but are purely of the world and its spirit. They discount the true wheat, and consider them a little queer, fanatics.
Many of these tares do not know what they are. But those who have received the Message of the Kingdom into good and honest hearts will bring forth fruitage in harmony therewith. It requires time to develop the right fruit. This class grow daily in knowledge, in love, and are building one another up in the most holy faith. They also do good unto all as they have opportunity. This is the whole work which God is expecting of them. These are the ones who will ere long be gathered into the Heavenly Kingdom beyond the veil.
After the fire of this "Day of Wrath" shall have burned up this "present evil world," and burned out all the roots of pride, then will come the great time of blessing for the world of mankind. The great plowshare of trouble will prepare humanity for the great seed-sowing of the near future. ... Those gathered then will not be wheat, but the Restitution class; wheat being used in the parables of our Lord to represent the spiritual class, the saints of the Gospel Age. [R5736]
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud [one] sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle." Revelation 14:13,14
"Beloved, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."Philippians 2:12,13
IN THIS chapter from which our text is taken, the Apostle Paul pays a beautiful tribute to the Church at Philippi. He refers in tender and loving terms to their obedience always to his instruction and counsel, not only when he was present with them, but likewise in his absence. He urges them to continued faithfulness and earnestness in this good way. He desires that they make still further progress in the Masters likeness, working out in themselves through humility and obedience the character-development necessary, with fear and trembling, doing their own part in the attainment of the salvation to which they had been called in Christ.
This exhortation of St. Paul is designed likewise for the sanctified in Christ Jesus of today. He reminds us, as he did the Philippian Church, that we are to work out our salvation. Elsewhere the Scriptures inform us that our salvation is by gracethat "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." (Titus 3:5) These Scriptures are not contradictory. Our salvation is "not of ourselves, lest any man should boast." The Father has appointed the Lord Jesus to be our Savior; and it is through Him that our salvation is to be accomplished.
We cannot work out our own justification; but being justified by the blood of Christ and being called with the Heavenly Calling, we can do our share in this great work of our own preparation for our future station and glory. We do this by giving heed to the instructions of our Lord, by following the example which He has set us. We can never attain perfection in the flesh; but from the beginning our heart, our intention, must be wholly loyal, and day by day this heart intention must become more and more crystallized, fixed, in the way of righteousness. We must continue the work of bringing our body into subjection, and enlisting in the service of the Lord.HOW WE BECOME SONS OF GOD
It is encouraging for us to know that this warfare is not one which we must wage alone. All the powers of Heaven are enlisted on our behalf. Our God has led us thus far in the willing and the doing of His good pleasure, and He will continue thus to lead and help us and work in us by His Word of Truth, if we continue to give heed to His counsel. The Gospel is the "power of God unto salvation unto every one" who accepts it; and no greater stimulus can be found than the exceeding great and precious promises given unto us, that by these we might become "partakers of the Divine nature."
Our salvation is a salvation from death to life, from sin to righteousness. Moreover, it is a transformation from human nature to Divineour "so great salvation!" The initiatory step to our salvation was the work accomplished by our Lord Jesus at Calvary. "He died for our sins." This dying for our sins was first necessary; for there was no one on earth who could pay the penalty of Adams sin. The Law of God required "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a mans life for a mans life." There was no man perfect; hence God arranged that His Only Begotten Son should meet this death penalty upon man. The Father could have arranged it otherwise, but He did not; therefore we know that this was the best way.
The death of Christ, however, was not all that was necessary. "He rose again for our justification." His death was for the cancelation of our sins; but it could not effect our justification while He was still in the bonds of deathnot until He had risenand more, not until He had ascended up on Highand more, not until He had presented His merit on our behalfon behalf of the Church. Still more than this, our justification is not accomplished until, in each individual case, the necessary steps of faith and full consecration have been taken, as a result of which the merit of our Redeemer is imputed.
This merit of Christ has not as yet been presented for the world, because their time has not yet come. Thus far it has been presented only for the Churchthose who are called to be joint-heirs with Christ, and who accept the Call. When Jesus appeared in the presence of God for us, there was an arrangement then effected by which we might become justified. There are certain inflexible conditions upon which God is willing to impute this merit of Christs death. It is those only who wish to turn away from sin, to be justified from sin, and to serve God, to whom this favor is offered. Only these can now become sons of God.
Whether these steps take years or days or a few minutes, all these steps must be taken before we are in the place where we can be accepted of Christ and presented by Him to the Father. When our Redeemer imputes to us His merit, covering our blemishes, this brings us to the place of vital justification. We have done nothing to accomplish this justification. We have merely presented ourselves that we might become servants of righteousness. We have merely placed ourselves in the position of readiness to receive the blessing. When our Saviors merit was thus imputed, all our past was forgiven, our blemishes covered, the Father accepted the offering, and our High Priest sacrificed us as justified human beings. At that moment we were begotten of the Father by His Holy Spirit, "to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for us." (1 Peter 1:4) We became embryo New Creatures, who were then to grow and develop day by day until, in due time, we would be born as spirit beings on the Divine plane, if faithful unto death.THE MARVELOUS GRACE OF GOD!
This is a wonderful work, a marvelous transformation! Selected from a race of bondslaves of sin, beings of a fleshly nature, depraved, death-stricken, sin-cursed, we are lifted out of the miry clay; we are washed, cleansed, from our pollution, our soiled rags of unrighteousness, and a new nature has been begun in us. Then our earthward tendencies are gradually bent Heavenward. We are transformed day by day, rising up, UP, until, our resurrection completed, the work of transformation fully accomplished, we are exalted to heights unimaginablepassing the nature and rank of angels, of cherubim, of seraphim, and every name that is named, and seated upon Messiahs Throne, beside the Infinite Son of God, partakers of His glorious naturethe nature of Jehovah Himselfthe Divine nature!
Can mortal man conceive so marvelous a glory? The very thought of such a Calling should cause us to bow our hearts in the dust before our God, realizing our great unworthiness of such stupendous graceof bliss so transcendent! What can we render unto the Lord that can fittingly demonstrate our gratitude, our thankfulness, for so unspeakable a favor? Surely, the most faithful service we can give is but a very feeble return to Him who has so loved us, so blessed us, so honored us!
We are joint-heirs with the Lord of Glory to this wonderful inheritance, if only we are faithful unto death and keep our garments white. To us "old things have passed away, and all things have become new." As old creatures we had no standing with God; we were feeding on the beggarly elements of the world. We were dead in trespasses and in sins. It is only as New Creatures that we have any standing, that we can please God, that we can work for Him. It is this New Creature that the Apostle is addressing in our text.
OUR GREAT RESPONSIBILITY
As we have made a consecration of ourselves to God, our sins are all under the blood, and the new life has begun in us. We are under a solemn contract to see that the work of transformation steadily progresses. When the Father accepted our offering and our vows to Him, and granted us His Holy Spirit, He did not give us the full consummation of our hopes, but merely an "earnest of our inheritance." Our agreement was to be dead to the world, dead to earthly things, and alive toward God. It is therefore for each of us to demonstrate in our words, in our actions, in our thoughts, that everything in this contract is bona fide on our partthat we meant every word of it. When we become children of God, our one ambition should be to prove our loyalty to God, our loyalty to our Covenant of Sacrifice. Was it not so with our Lord Jesus?
Our Lord came into the world to be our Redeemer. But He was not the Redeemer when He was born, nor when He was thirty years of age, until He made His consecration. He was called the Savior from His birth, only in a prospective sense. He became our Redeemer in the real, the official, sense when He was baptized of John in Jordan, and the Holy Spirit came upon Him in begetting power. Then it remained for Him during the three and a half years of His active service to work out that consecration. Every act of life during that crucial period was the fulfilling of His Covenant of Sacrifice. He had covenanted to sacrifice His human nature with all its conditions and possibilities, in order that He might carry out the Fathers purpose. For this cause He came into the world, and He faithfully fulfilled His Covenant. His glorious reward was the Divine nature and the authority to execute all the Fathers great Program.
OUR COVENANT IDENTICAL WITH CHRISTS
And so it is to be with us, His followers. We come in under the same arrangement, our weaknesses and imperfections being covered by our Redeemers robe of righteousness, which constitutes our "wedding garment." Thus we stand before the Father complete in the Beloved. And His Word to us is, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) All the children of God who are true to their covenant are working out their salvation from day to day. It is a work of sacrifice, a daily work of crucifixion of the flesh. From the beginning of our consecrated life we are reckoned as being fully "crucified with Christ"; but the actual crucifixion is a slow, painful, lingering process, and ends only with the completion of our sacrifice in death.
"Gather my saints together unto Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice," is the command of Jehovah. (Psalm 50:5) To what extent are we performing this work of sacrifice in ourselves? And to what extent are we seeking to assist in the work of gathering the saints of God unto Him? Are we faithful to the extent of our ability and opportunity? Are we sure that we are careful to note the opportunities, great or small, that are within our reach? If we do not see our opportunities, the Lord will use another to do the work that might have been ours; and we shall lose the blessing and the reward of the service that we might have rendered. How careful, then, we should be!
"PAY THAT WHICH THOU HAST VOWED"
But this is not a matter in which we are to judge one another. It is not for me to say to you that you are not sufficiently earnest in your sacrificing. Neither can you properly say to me that I am not faithfully fulfilling my sacrifice. To his own Master each one stands or falls. It is for the Lord and ourselves to settle this important matter in our individual cases. And we may not fully judge even ourselves. We are to strive to do our best, and then leave the results for the Lords determining. The Father will apportion to each faithful member of our Lords Body his own place in the glorious Temple.
The brethren may give a word of suggestion to each other along these lines, but that is all. The Lord alone is to decide whether or not we are each living up to the terms of our covenant. He expects faithfulness in each one who has taken His Covenant upon him. It were far better that we never covenant to sacrifice our earthly life and its interests than that we take this vow upon us and then fail to pay that which we have vowed. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6) This is a most solemn matter, and the Lord will certainly require of us the fulfilment of our vows. If death is not voluntary, He will destroy our flesh. If we resist this, it will mean the hopeless death of our being.
OUR FAITHFUL, UNCHANGEABLE GOD
"It is God who worketh in you," declares the Apostle Paul. We did not begin this work ourselves. It would never have occurred to us, uninvited, to endeavor to obtain a share in the glory, honor and immortality of the Lord Jesus. It would have been the height of presumption for us so to do without an express invitation. It is God who planned the whole matter. He has been working in us by His promises, by His providences in our daily experiences, and by all the instructions, warnings and counsels of His Word, and we rejoice in this. There is no changeableness with God; and when once He made this proposition, He meant it to the full. It would never mean anything else. He never makes an arrangement which He would wish to abrogate or amend.
We are assured by the Apostle Paul that "He who has begun the good work in us will complete it, unto the Day of Jesus Christ." The only condition is our own faithfulness. God will never fail. "We are His workmanship." He is really doing the work. We are submitting ourselves that God may work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. He is the great Master Workman. Thus the work of grace goes on in our hearts and lives, making us ready for the exalted position to which we are called. And it is only if we are negligent of these great privileges granted to us that God will take them from us and give them to others.
Those who are constructing a fine building need special power to accomplish the workto hoist the great steel frames, the blocks of stone, the brick, etc. Now God purposes to furnish the power by which we may accomplish the work on our character-building, this wonderful structure we are setting up. But the Lord will not accomplish this great work in us unless we diligently cooperate with Him. He gave us the calling, the inspiration, and furnishes all the necessary assistance day by day; so we are to persevere in the building of this character which is essential and which He purposes shall be in all those whom He will make joint-heirs with His Son.
"DO ALL THINGS WITHOUT MURMURINGS"
In following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus, we are not to murmur by the way, finding fault with its difficulties and its narrowness; nor are we to dispute how or where we are to be led, nor to seek to have any other way than that which Divine providence marks out for us, realizing and trusting that the Lord knows exactly what experiences are necessary to our development in the character-likeness of Christ. We should realize also that if obedience were possible while our mouths are full of complaints and dissatisfaction with the Lord and with our lot, which He has permitted, it would indicate that we are out of sympathy with the spirit of His arrangement. Such an obedience, if it were possibleand it is notwould not meet the Divine approval nor gain us the prize. Hence, as the Apostle exhorts, we should "do all things without murmurings and disputings, that we may be the sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom we shine as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of Life."
HOW WE ARE TO FEAR AND TREMBLE
In the expression of our text"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"we are not to understand that the Lord wishes His children literally to tremble with fear before Him. We should exercise the same judgment in interpreting the words and expressions of Scripture that we would in reading any other book, or in understanding the words of our friends. One called to a position of great responsibility will sometimes say afterwards, "I accepted that position with fear and trembling." He would not mean that he actually quaked with fear; but this is an expression used to indicate that one feels the need of great carefulnessthat he realizes his great responsibility and his liability to fail to meet all the requirements without the most earnest attention. It means that one realizes that the matter is not one to be taken up lightly, as if it were a mere bagatelle, but that failure in it would bring serious consequences.
Just so when we read this Scripture, we are not to think that we should tremble with fear before our God; but we believe the Apostles thought to be that in this great work that we have undertakenof walking in the footsteps of Jesus that we may attain the prize of our High Callingso much depends upon our faithfulness, our diligence. We have not undertaken a light thing. It is a very heavy responsibility. Our eternal interests are in the balancethe issue of life or death. Those who win the prize will be heirs of God to the highest honors and glories which have ever been offeredto a glory and honor beyond human power to imagine! We believe that no such offer will ever again be made.
The Son of God holds the position next to Jehovah, and can never have but one Bride. Surely, then, there is need that we work out our salvation with fear and tremblingwith great carefulness, with great earnestness, in respect to everything in connection with it! We should be keenly appreciative of the fact that it is the most wonderful thing in all the Universe of God! We believe that if we do not make our calling and election sure and win in this fight within a very brief time now, the opportunity will be gone forever. No amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth will then avail. When the door is shut, it will never open again. Like Esau, those who fail will find "no place for repentance," though they seek it "carefully with tears." The glorious birthright will have slipped from their grasp forever.
But, beloved fellow-laborers, who are earnestly striving day by day to "so run as to obtain," "we are persuaded better things of you, though we thus speak." But it is well that we have our "pure minds stirred up by way of remembrance," that we may keep our eyes upon the Heavenly City and the prize set before us. The wearisome march will, we believe, soon be ended. At most it is only a little while. And so, with steadfast hearts, let us run with patience and perseverance to the end of our course.
"Joyful through hope, thy motto still must beThe Dawn is here! What glories does that Dawn unfold to thee! Be of good cheer! Gird up thy loins; bind sandals on thy feet! The way was dark and long; the end is sweet." [R5954]
See Study III ("The Bible As A Divine Revelation") found in "The Divine Plan Of The Ages".
1. Moses delivered the honor and power of the civil government to the chiefs or ________________.
2. After the death of Moses the hard cases were brought to the Lord through the ____________ __________.
3. Questions were answered by the Urim and ______________.
4. Every 50 years the _____________ occurred.
5. The word "restitution" means _____________.
6. The priests read the laws to the people in Israel at their ______________ festivals.
7. The priests were supported by an annual tenth or ____________________.
8. The heavenly Father is wise, ________ and loving.
9. Instead of teaching Gods commandments, the Pharisees taught the ___________________ of the ancients.
10. Is there a common theme interwoven throughout the Law and the Prophets and the New Testament writings?__________.
INTERESTING QUESTIONS Question: In the Scripture which says that woman is the glory of man, is the intimation conveyed that the Church is the glory of Christ?
Answer: We understand it is. We are not to understand by this, however, that woman is the glory of the man in the sense of being more glorious than the man; nor that the Church is the glory of Christ in the sense of being more glorious than Christ; nor that the Son is the glory of the Father in the sense of being more glorious than the Father; but we do understand that the Father is especially glorified in the Son because of the closeness of the relationship existing between them and because of the honor that the Father has shown the Son. Similarly Christ will be glorified in the Church because the wonderful glory that will be manifested through the Church will be a reflection of the glory of Jesusall as a result of the Fathers grace through him. [R4602]
Question: What is signified by the Priests taking coals from the altar and using the same for the offering of the incense in the Holy?
Answer: We see that the fire used in all three of these different places represented our Lords dying, or death process. The fire outside the Camp represented the destructive influences which came against him and caused his death, as viewed from the worlds standpoint. The fire in the Court represented the same destructive influences that came against him and caused his death, as viewed from the standpoint of believers. To those outside the Camp the burning of the flesh and hide and hoofs and horns had a very evil odor, bad odor. To those that were inside the Court the burning of the fatit was practically all fat in the sin-offering that was offered on the altar at this timerepresented that which is not a bad odor, as the burning of fat does not give off a bad odor when burned under proper conditions and circumstances, as it is almost all pure carbon. As has already been suggested, the fat would represent the love and zeal which would characterize the sacrifice. In a lean animal there is very little fat; in a fat animal there is much fat to be put on the altar and correspondingly would augment the zeal, the flame, with which it would burn. But entirely aside from the burning of the fat and of the animal outside the Camp is the fact that fire was used to start this flame of sacred love and self-sacrifice.
The coals of fire upon the altar, that which caused the burning of the fat, would not seem to represent anything that our Lord had or did, but rather experiences from the ordinary affairs of life. Wood doubtless was used on the altar, as we read in some places, and the glowing embers from this fire upon the altar were taken inside the vail to constitute the basis of the offering on the Golden Altar, the offering of the incense. This shows, therefore, that the fire was of the same kind in all three of these pictures wood-fire that burned the animal outside; wood-fire that burned the fat in the Court; and wood-fire or coals of fire, that burned the incense upon the Golden Altar.
What does fire here represent? We answer that, as usual, fire represents destructive influences. Was there anything peculiar about these destructive influences that would mark them as separate and distinct from many other destructive influences. Our thought is that the fact that they are connected with the altar and were typified by the fire which burned only on the altar, implies that they were destructive influences which were connected with the sacrificing; not the destructive influences which might come against mankind in general, as disease, or war, or famine, or pestilence, or from some other such general source of fire, trouble, destruction, but rather here a sacrificial fire, sacrificial influence, something connected with what was being offered; therefore such adverse influences as would be of the Fathers appointment and for the very purpose of accomplishing this test or sacrifice; as our Lord expressed it, using another figure: "The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?" It was not the Jews that poured that cup for him; it was not the Pharisees that poured that cup; it was not the Romans; it was not the people nor the hypocrites; it was not the scribes that poured that cup; but it was the Father who provided the cup.
We would understand, then, that all these coals of fire represent those classes of circumstances and conditions which the Father provides for the very purpose of proving the character and the loyalty and the genuineness of our devotion. Carrying the coals into the Holy would thus seem to identify those two altars as expressing to us in symbol or type that the spirit of devotion which believers see consuming the sacrifice that is voluntarily offered to the Lord and which, while in line, in harmony with righteousness, is not commanded by the Divine law, is the sacrificing principle which is so acceptable in Gods sight. It was in harmony with this, therefore, that our Lord offered up himself, in the sense of crumbling the incense upon the fiery coals. Thus day by day he laid down his life, allowed himself to come in contact with these experiences, which served to destroy his earthly nature and sent forth a sweet fragrance to God. It was not any and every tribulation, as before intimated, but simply those which the Father had provided and were connected with his sacrificial experience. [R4603]Question: What typical significance is there in the fact that when the waters of Marah were found to be bitter, and the Children of Israel had no water to drink, Moses caused a certain tree to be cut down and thrust into the stream, and thus sweetened the waters?
Answer: As a result of Adams sin there was nothing permanently refreshing for Gods people to partake of. Those who desired to be his people, those who left the world behind them, found a great deal of unsatisfaction, if we may so express it, from the provisions of the law, which brought only condemnation. In due time, however, God caused the death of our Lord Jesus, and through or by means of his deaththrough the message of the ransom sacrificethose who drink of this fact, this water, will not find that brackish taste.
We might say that it would not be unreasonable to consider that there is a correspondency of this at the present time. During the Dark Ages the water of life became very much polluted, and, as a consequence, undesirable. When we came to the waters of the Lords Word and found that they were brackish and impure, nauseating, not wholesome, the Lord in his providence showed us more clearly than we have seen in the past the great doctrine of the Ransom, the reason for the cutting off of our Lord Jesus in death. Here was the manifestation of Divine Love and Mercy. And since we have realized this truth; since the truth has come in contact with and purified the message of the Dark Ages, we can partake of it with refreshment and joy.
We may not know if this was intended to be a correspondency, but we can at least draw some lessons from it, the lessons being true whether the matter was intended to be thus applied or not. [R4603]
"I would like to order the Studies in the Scriptures volume at $11.95. Im really eager to get into it. Id also like to request a sample issue of your publication. I was reading about your two books, The Divine Plan and The Divine Plan Journal at a friends house, and I was very interested in them. I would very much like to receive any catalogs or brochures that you may have. Please add my name to your mailing list. Thanking you in advance. May God bless and keep you in his divine care."
"I enjoy your booklet A Ray of Hope On A Troubled Sea and would like 50 copies to use in the bereavement work and in witnessing to those who really want to know where their loved ones are after death. It is a fine booklet loaded with Biblical information..."
"I watch your show each week and I really like your teaching. I would surely appreciate it if you would send me Spurious Passages and What Say the Scriptures About Hell, Our Lords Return, and Divine Plan."
"I have not received any issues from you since...I really enjoyed the three issues that you sent me. Please do not stop. If there is a fee, please let me know, and I will try to pay. I enjoy your publication so much."[Editors Note: Let us know if you wish to receive the Journal during 1998. Otherwise, we send only a few copies.]
WEEKLY MANNA TEXTS
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
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
"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
"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
"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 "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. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people." Psalm 116:12-14
"I watch your TV lessons on the Divine Plan on Saturday mornings. I thank one and all for teaching us... . I would like to have the booklet A Ray of Hope On A Troubled Sea."I have not received any issues from you since...I really enjoyed the three issues that you sent me. Please do not stop. If there is a fee, please let me know and I will try to pay. I enjoy your publication so much." [EDITORS NOTE: LET US KNOW IF YOU WISH TO RECEIVE THE JOURNAL DURING 1998, OTHERWISE WE SEND ONLY A SAMPLE OR TWO.]
"Please send to me your study guide on the Divine Plan Of The Ages. I watch your show every week and find it informative and enlightening."
"I must say I enjoyed your program. I turned to your program a little late, but I enjoyed what I saw and heard."
"I watched your program this morning on...It was so beautiful. Please send me The Stranger of Galilee.
"I happened to be flipping channels on my TV and came across your program. I listened for a few minutes and found your program very interesting. ...I am a Christian and looking for information about the end times...I would like further communications and contact with your company and persons."
"I enjoyed your show entitled Divine Plan. It really touched my heart."
"I was watching your program and found it to be very knowledgeable.""I recently found this Journal request form and I would dearly appreciate it if you would place me on your mailing list...I am starving for Christian reading material. All I can find here [Department of Corrections] is secular stuff and most of that is trash."
"I am writing you in the earnest hope that I may broaden my knowledge and grow in the spirit of Jesus Christ...I would appreciate your free offer and will share it with other Brothers in Christ and would like to say, God bless you and your ministry."
"I have been looking for the truth for a very long time. I hope this is it. What do you believe the Bible says the soul is? Thank you for the information you give on your programme. May you have God;s blessing."
"I am writing to request the information you offered on your weekly program Spurious Passages found in the scripture. I enjoy your program and would like to have any other literature you can send me."
"Through the internet I have asked you to send The Divine Plan Journal to me. You answered it was possible to do so. As I have promised then I would send you ...to cover all costs. ...Is it possible for you to find out if there are any Bible Students working in Belgium? I sure would like to meet them!"
"I watch your show each week and I really like your teaching. I would surely appreciate it if you would send me Spurious Passages and What Say the Scriptures About Hell, Our Lords Return, and Divine Plan."
"Dear Brother: Is this the last lesson? I really enjoy all 16 lessons. Thank you very much. May God bless and keep you safe and well. Again thank you..."
"The Tabernacle Chart is wonderful!"
"I would like to order the Studies in the Scriptures volume at $11.95. Im really eager to get into it. Id also like to request a sample issue of your publication. I was reading about your two books, The Divine Plan and The Divine Plan Journal at a friends house and I was very interested in them. I would very much like to receive any catalogs or brochures that you may have. Please add my name to your mailing list. Thanking you in advance. May God bless and keep you in his divine care."
"I enjoy your booklet A Ray of Hope On A Troubled Sea and would like 50 copies to use in the bereavement work and in witnessing to those who really want to know where their loved ones are after death. It is a fine booklet loaded with Biblical information..."
"I enjoyed speaking with you and I really enjoy and appreciate these Bible studies. Thank you so much..."
A friend from Virginia called wanting fellowship. He is a former Baptist pastor.
Absolutely wonderful! Great inspiration!
Truly blessed. She had left the TV on and woke up to the program. She jumped up to write down scriptures. Called from work as couldnt get through on home phone.
Very interesting & enlightening program.
Everything I ever thought of, he talked about.
A caller visiting in Miami told about seeing it in the Bahamas. The 800# does not come through from there.
A Canadian has been listening quite a while. Cant get out but enjoys the program
A caller recognized the chart as one in books she has which belonged to her mother,
Really get some insight from program!
A man from Virginia is really enjoying literature.
A Californian said he thoroughly enjoyed the program. It touched him; he was blessed.
"Thank you for such a good message on TV. Really enjoys.
A viewer from Kentucky has been watching about a month and really enjoys the program.
A viewer in Seattle says he is very well blessed.
Announcing Christ's Presence