TABLE OF CONTENTS (details)
TABLE OF CONTENTS details
Volume 22 * March 1997 * Number 3
then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since
the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
NEARLY 2000 years ago the Apostle Paul wrote: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away."II Timothy 3:1-5
These words describe "the last days" of the second dispensation. During this "hour of temptation" severe tests are coming upon the true church as well as upon the nominal church. The whole world is experiencing a "time of trouble" such as never before occurred. (Daniel 12:1) Evil is waxing worse and worse. Mens hearts are failing them for fear!
Current events in the earth confirm the fulfilment of many prophecies during this transition between the second and the third dispensations. (Joel 2:1, 2; 3:9-14; Matthew 24:21) Daily the news reporters describe the trouble being experienced by the groaning creation.
Some are beginning to gradually wake up during the dawning of this Millennial day upon which we have entered, but many are still asleep. The few who are awake, during the beginning of this new day, see many of the hidden things of darkness being brought to light. Only those things in harmony with the kingdom of righteousness will remain. The works of darkness must be removed and destroyed.
This great time of trouble during the opening of the Millennial age is necessary in order to prepare the hearts of mankind for the blessings of the earthly phase of the kingdom. So long as one is proud, he is unwilling to listen to the truth. As we come closer to the full end of the second dispensation, the trouble increases. The final phase of the trouble, total anarchy, will humble mankind.
Before the brief period of total anarchy, the bride of Christ will have been united with the Bridegroom. The full union of the Head with the body members is described as the time of "full sunrise". Shortly after "full sunrise" the trouble in the earth will be stopped and righteousness will begin to prevail. (Matthew 24:21, 22) The Sun of righteousness will begin to dispel the "clouds" of trouble and gradually the glory of the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14) How wonderful it will be when all mankind come to an accurate knowledge of the truth! (I Timothy 2:3-6) It is hoped that many will then be in a teachable state of mind and receive the truth into a good and honest heart. Those who do not respond to the mercy and love of the heavenly Father extended to them through "the Christ", under those favorable conditions of the earthly phase of the kingdom, will be cut off from among the people.Acts 3:23
Realizing that we are now in the "perilous times" predicted by the Apostle Paul, it behooves each one who is a lover of righteousness to seek meekness. The humble minded who are fully consecrated constantly look to the leading and guidance of the Great Shepherd through the Good Shepherd. The love and zeal of the "little flock" of sheep increase as they follow closely in the footsteps of their Leader and Head. So long as one is following the instructions of the dear Redeemer, his love will not grow cold. The warmth of his love brings joy and comfort to others of the household of faith as well as some in the world.
Those walking faithfully in the narrow way are described as a city set upon a hill. The light emanating from these will pierce some of the darkness in this corrupt and dying world. How precious are the light bearers who are not hiding their light under a bushel!Matthew 5:15,16
(Thursday Text from Daily Heavenly Manna)
"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound." Philippians 4:11,12
IF we find our experiences in life very checkered we may conclude that the Lord sees that we need both the heights and depths of prosperity and adversity to properly instruct us and qualify us for the position He designs for us in the future. Let us, then, as the apostle did, learn how to abound, not allowing the abundance of earthly good things to swerve us from our consecration vows; and learn also how to be in want (need) and yet not to want anything beyond what the Lord's wisdom and providence see best to giveto be content. Z.'03-10 R3129:6
"As many, therefore, as are perfect, should be of this mind; and if in any thing you think differently, God will also reveal this to you; but to what we have attained, let us walk by the same line." Philippians 3:15-17
IT is indispensable to those who have reached the mark of perfect love that they shall keep actively engaged in the service of the Lord, laying down their lives for the brethren....Such must stand, not only as representatives of God and of the principles of righteousness, but as representatives of those strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might, and in the faith of His Word,ready and willing and efficient in the encouragement of other runners in the race-course, that they likewise may attain to the "mark". Z.'01-10 R2755:5
"If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free." John 8:31,32
DIVINE truth is never found except in the divinely appointed channels: and those channels are the Lord and the apostles and prophets. To continue in the doctrine set forth in their inspired writings, to study and meditate upon them, to trust implicitly in them, and faithfully to conform our characters to them, is what is implied in continuing in the Word of the Lord. If we thus continue in the Word of the Lord, as earnest and sincere disciples, we shall indeed "know the Truth;" we shall be "firm in the faith," and "able to give a reason for the hope that is in us," to "earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints," to "war a good warfare," to "witness a good confession," and firmly to "endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ," even unto the end of our course. Z.'03-61 R3153:5
"I pray for them...that they all may be one...that they may be made perfect in one...that the world may know that Thou hast...loved them, as Thou hast loved Me." John 17:9,20-23
IN amazement we inquire, How can this be? Our Lord Jesus was always in perfect harmony with the Fathera son who gloriously reflected His likeness; but it has not been so with us; we were sinners and had nothing worthy of love. Yes, but we have been washed and cleansed, and, however imperfect our earthen vessels may still be, our hearts are perfect in His sight who is able to read the heart. And, as He sees us with a perfect hearta perfect purpose and intentionstriving to overcome the weaknesses and disabilities of our imperfect flesh, and with painful, yet determined effort to do His will, and humbly trusting in the provisions which He has made for our redemption from the fall, God recognizes in us that which is worthy of His love. Z.'03-79 R3161:6
The date for the Memorial Supper this year is Sunday, April 20 after 6:00 p.m.
"For as often as ye eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come."1 Corinthians 11:26
THE Passover season, as celebrated by the Jews, is approaching, beginning this year on the 21st of April. But the interest of Christians in this season centers especially in the slaying of the lamb, which preceded the Passover Feast, and which typified the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus. Our celebration of this Passover season, therefore, relates to the great Antitype. At this time we as Christians commemorate the greatest event of all history, the sacrificial death of the Savior of the world. Our celebration this year properly begins on the evening of April 20th, after six oclock, which is the beginning of the 14th of Nisan.
We greatly regret that, while millions of professed Christians and Jews will in some formal ceremonies and in a perfunctory manner celebrate at that season this most important event, but few of either religion discern the real significance of the celebration. Could their minds be thoroughly awakened to its true significance, there would be a religious revival such as the world has never yet known. But, as St. Paul declares, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds" of many; and even some whose eyes of understanding are partially opened, St. Peter describes as being blind and unable to see afar off. They are unable to see the deep things of God in respect to these ceremonies, which have been celebrated for now more than three thousand years, in type and antitype.
The Israelites were commanded to celebrate the Passover as the first feature of the Law and as one of their greatest memorials as a nation. Therefore we find that in some degree the Passover is celebrated by Jews in all parts of the world, even by those who claim to be agnostics. They still have a measure of respect for the Passover as an ancient custom. But is it not strange that with the bright minds which many of our Jewish friends possess, they have never thought it worth while to inquire as to the meaning of this celebration?
Why was the Passover lamb slain and eaten? Why was the blood sprinkled upon the door-posts and lintels? Of course, God so commanded; but what was the reason, the motive, behind the Divine commandwhat lesson, what object? Truly a reasonable God gives reasonable commands; and in due time Jehovah will cause His faithful people to understand the significance of every requirement. If the Jew can realize that his Sabbath day is a type of a coming Epoch of rest and blessing, of release from toil, sorrow and death, why cannot he see that similarly all the features of the Mosaic institution were designed of the Lord to be foreshadowings of various blessings, to be bestowed "in due time"?
Blessed are those whose eyes can see that Jesus was indeed "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world"; that the cancellation of the worlds sin is to be effected by the payment of mans penalty, by the application of Jesus sacrificial merit in due time for the sins of all mankind. Only the Church have as yet received of the merit of Jesus death. Greatly favored are those who can see that as the whole world lost Divine favor and came under Divine sentence of death, with its concomitants of sorrow and pain, so it was necessary that a satisfaction of Justice should be made before this sentence, or curse, could be removed; and that therefore, as the Apostle declares, "Christ died for our sins""the Just for the unjust," that He might bring us back to God. Thus He opened up a new waya way to life everlasting.
The Scriptures call the Church of Christ "the Church of the First-borns," "a kind of First-fruits unto God of His creatures," "the First-fruits unto God and the Lamb." (Hebrews 12:23; James 1:18; Rev. 14:4 ) These expressions imply that ultimately there will be others of Gods family later born; they imply after-fruits. Christian people in general seem to have overlooked these Scriptures, so far as making application of them is concerned, and have generally come to believe that only those are ever to be saved who are designated in the Bible as the First-fruitsthat there will be no after-fruits.
But the Passover type indicates that it was Gods purpose to save all Israelites; and that as a nation they represented all of mankind that will ever come into harmony with God and be granted everlasting life in the Land of Promise. Let us note that there were two Passoversthe one in which only the first-borns were passed over; and another greater one at the Red Sea, when by Divine Power the whole nation of Israel was miraculously delivered and led across the channel of the Sea especially prepared for them by the accentuation of winds and tides. These passed over dry-shod and were saved; while the hosts of Pharaoh, representing all who eventually will go into the Second Death, were overwhelmed in the Sea. The passover at the Red Sea pictures the ultimate deliverance from the power of sin and death of every creature of Adams race who desires to come into accord with the Lord and to render Him worship, all who will ever become a part of Israel; for not one Israelite was left behind in Egyptian bondage.
But this passover is not the one which we are about to celebrate. We are to celebrate the antitype of the passing over of the first-borns of Israel by the angel, in the land of Egypt. Only the first-born ones of Israel were endangered on that night in Egypt, though the deliverance of the entire nation depended upon the salvation, the passing over, of those first-borns. So only the First-borns of the sons of God from the human plane, the Church of Christ, are now being passed over during this night of the Gospel Age; only these are in danger of the destroying angel. These are all under the sprinkled blood.
We see, in harmony with all the Scriptures, that the "Little Flock," "the First-fruits unto God of His creatures," "the Church of the First-borns," alone is being spared, passed over, during the present Age. We see that the remainder of mankind who may desire to follow the great antitypical Moses, when in the Age to follow this He shall lead the people forth from the bondage of Sin and Death, are not now in danger of eternal destructiononly the First-borns.
The Church of the First-borns are those of mankind who, in advance of the remainder of the race, have had the eyes of their understanding opened to a realization of their condition of bondage and their need of deliverance and to Gods willingness to fulfil to them all of His good promises. Furthermore, they are such as have responded to the grace of God, have made a full consecration of themselves to Him and His service, and in return have been begotten of the Holy Spirit. With these it is a matter of life or death whether or not they remain in the Household of Faithbehind the blood of sprinkling.
For this class to go forth from under the blood would imply a disregard of Divine mercy. It would signify that they were doing despite to Divine goodness; and that, having enjoyed their share of the mercy of God as represented in the blood of the Lamb, they were not appreciative of it. For such, the Scriptures declare, "There remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins"; "Christ dieth no more." They are to be esteemed as adversaries of God, whose fate was symbolized in the destruction of the first-borns of Egypt. The Church of the First-borns, through the begetting of the Holy Spirit and the greater knowledge and privileges which they enjoy in every way, have a far greater responsibility than has the world; for they are the only ones yet in danger of the Second Death. This is the lesson of the Passover type, and applies only to true Christians.
By and by the night of sin and death will have passed away, the glorious Morn of deliverance will have come, and The Christ, the antitypical Moses, will lead forth, will deliver, all the people of Godall who, when they shall come to know, will be glad to reverence, honor and obey the will of God. That Day of Deliverance will be the entire Millennial Age, at the close of which all evil and evil-doers, symbolized by the hosts of Egypt, will be utterly cut off in the Second Deathdestruction.
The Apostle Paul clearly and positively identifies the Passover Lamb with our Lord Jesus, saying, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast." He informs us that we all need the blood of sprinkling, not upon our houses, but upon our hearts. We are to partake of the Lamb; we must appropriate to ourselves the merit of Christ, the value of His sacrifice; we must also eat of the unleavened bread of Truth, if we would be strong and prepared for the deliverance in the Morning of the New Dispensation. Thus we put on Christ, not merely by faith; but more and more we put on His character and are transformed into His glorious image in our hearts and lives.
We are to feed on Christ as the Jews fed on the literal lamb. Instead of the bitter herbs, which aided and whetted their appetites, we have bitter experiences and trials which the Lord prepares for us, and which help to wean our affections from earthly things and to give us increased appetite to feed upon the Lamb and the unleavened Bread of Truth. We, too, are to remember that we have here no continuing city; but as pilgrims, strangers, staff in hand, we are to gird ourselves for our journey to the Heavenly Canaan, to all the glorious things which God has in reservation for the Church of the First-borns, in association with our Redeemer, as kings and priests unto God.
Our Lord Jesus also fully identified Himself with the Passover Lamb. On the same night of His betrayal, just preceding His crucifixion, He gathered His Apostles in the upper room, saying, "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." It was necessary that as Jews they should celebrate the Passover Supper on that nightthe night of the anniversary of the slaying of the Passover lamb in Egypt, of the saving of the typical first-borns from the typical "prince of this world"Pharaohthe same date on which the real Passover Lamb was to be slain. But as soon as the requirements of the type had been fulfilled, our Lord Jesus instituted a new Memorial upon the old foundation, saying, "Do this in remembrance of Me."
We recall the circumstances of the first Memorialthe blessing of the Bread and of the Cup, the fruit of the vine; and our Lords declaration that these represented His broken body and shed blood, and that all His followers should participate, not only feeding upon Him, but being broken with Him; not only partaking of the merit of His blood, His sacrifice, but also laying down their lives in His service, in cooperating with Him in every and any manner, that they might later share all His honor and glory in the Kingdom. How precious are these thoughts to those who are rightly in tune with our Lord!
In presenting to the disciples the unleavened bread as a memorial, Jesus said, "Take, eat; this is My body." The evident meaning of His words is, This symbolizes, or represents, My body. The bread was not actually His body; for in no sense had His body yet been broken. In no sense would it then have been possible for them to have partaken of Him actually or antitypically, the sacrifice not being as yet finished. But the picture is complete when we recognize that the unleavened (pure, unfermented) bread represented our Lords sinless fleshleaven being a symbol of sin under the Law, and especially commanded to be put away at the Passover season. On another occasion Jesus gave a lesson which interprets to us this symbol. He said, "The Bread of God is He which cometh down from Heaven, and giveth life unto the world." "I am the Bread of Life." "I am the living Bread which came down from Heaven; if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever; and the Bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."John 6:33,35,51
In order to appreciate how we are to eat, or appropriate, this living Bread, it is necessary for us to understand just what the bread signifies. According to our Lords explanation of the matter, it was His flesh which He sacrificed for us. It was not His prehuman existence as a spirit being that was sacrificed, although that was laid down and its glory laid aside, in order that He might take our human nature. It was the fact that our Lord Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinnerswithout any contamination from Father Adam, and hence free from sinthat enabled Him to become the Redeemer of Adam and his race, that permitted Him to give His life "a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time."1 Timothy 2:3-6
When we see that it was the pure, spotless nature of our Lord Jesus that was laid down on behalf of sinners, we see what it is that we are privileged to appropriate. The very thing that He laid down for us we are to "eat," appropriate to ourselves; that is to say, His perfect human life was given to redeem all the race of man from condemnation to death, to enable them to return to human perfection and everlasting life, if they would; and we are to realize this and accept Him as our Savior from death. The Scriptures show us, however, that if God would consider all past sins canceled, and should recognize us as having a right to human perfection, this still would not make us perfect, nor give us the right to eternal life.
In order that any of the race of Adam might profit by the sacrifice of Jesus, it was necessary that He should rise from the tomb on the Divine plane of life, that He should ascend to the Father and deposit the sacrificial merit of His death in the hands of Justice, and receive from the Father "all power in Heaven and in earth." As relates to the world, it was necessary also that in the Fathers due time He should come again to earth, a glorious Divine Being, then to be to the whole world a Mediator, Prophet, Priest and King, to assist back to perfection and to harmony with God all who will avail themselves of the wonderful privileges then to be offered.
It is this same blessing that the Gospel Church of this Age receive by faith in their Redeemer; namely, justification by faithnot justification to a spirit nature, which we never had and never lost, and which Christ did not redeem; but justification to human nature, which Father Adam possessed and lost, and which Christ redeemed by giving His own sinless flesh, His perfect human life, as our Ransom-sacrifice. The partaking of the unleavened bread at the Memorial season, then, means to us primarily the appropriation to ourselves, by faith, of justification to human life-righta right to human lifewith all its privileges, which our Lord at His own cost procured for us. Likewise the fruit of the vine symbolizes primarily our Saviors life given for us, His human life, His being, His soul, poured out unto death on our behalf; and the appropriation of this by us also signifies, primarily, our acceptance of Restitution rights and privileges secured by our Lords sacrifice of these.
Now let us note that Gods object in justifying the Church by faith during this Gospel Age, in advance of the justification of the world by works of obedience in the Millennial Age, is for the very purpose of permitting this class who now see and hear, who now appreciate the great sacrifice which Love has made on mans behalf, to present their bodies a living sacrifice, and thus to have part with the Lord Jesus in His sacrificeas members of His Body. This deeper meaning of the Memorial He did not refer to directly. It was doubtless one of the things to which He referred when He said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now; howbeit, when it, the Spirit of Truth, shall come, it will guide you into all Truth, and will show you things to come."John 16:12,13
This Spirit of Truth, the power and influence of the Father bestowed through Christ, speaking through the Apostle Paul, clearly explains the very high import of the Memorial; for St. Paul says, writing to the consecrated Church, "The Cup of blessing for which we give thanks, is it not the participation of the blood of Christ? The Loaf which we break, is it not the participation of the Body of Christ?"the sharing with Christ as joint-sacrificers with Him even unto death, that thereby we might be counted in with Him as sharers of the glory which He has received as the reward of His faithfulness?"For we, being many, are one Loaf and one Body."I Corinthians 10:16,17Emphatic Diaglott
Both views of this impressive ordinance are very important. It is essential, first of all, that we should see our justification through our Lords sacrifice. It is proper then that we should realize that the entire Christ, the entire anointed company, is, from the Divine standpoint, a composite Body of many members, of which Jesus is the Head (1 Corinthians 12:12-14), and that this Body, this Church, as a whole must be brokenthat each member of it must become a copy of the Lord Jesus and must walk in the footsteps of His sacrifice. We do this by laying down our lives for the brethren, as Jesus laid down His lifedirectly for His Jewish brethren, but really for the whole world, according to the Fathers purpose.
It is not our spiritual life that we lay down, even as it was not Jesus spiritual life that He laid down. As He sacrificed His actual, perfect being, His humanity, so we are to sacrifice our justified selves, reckoned perfect through Jesus merit, but not actually so. Likewise the Loaf and the Cup represent suffering. The grains of wheat must be crushed and ground before they can become bread for man; they cannot retain their life and individuality as grains. The grapes must submit to the pressure that will extract all their juices, must lose their identity as grapes, if they would become the life-giving elixir for the world. So it is with the Christ company, Head and Body. Thus we see the beauty and force of St. Pauls statement that the Lords children are participants in the one Loaf and the one Cup. But it is His blood, the virtue of His sacrifice, that counts. Our blood has virtue only because of His merit counted to us, only because we are members of His Body.
Our Lord distinctly declares that the Cup, the fruit of the vine, represents blood; that is, lifenot life retained, but life shed, given, yielded upsacrificed life. He tells us that this life poured out was for the remission of sins; and that all who would be His must drink of it, must accept His sacrifice and appropriate it by faith. They must receive life from this source. It will not do for any to claim an immortality outside of Christ. It will not do to declare that life is the result of obedience to the Law. It will not do to claim that faith in some great teacher and obedience to his instructions will amount to the same thing and bring eternal life. There is no way to attain eternal life other than through the blood once shed as the Ransom-price for the whole world. "There is none other name given under Heaven or amongst men whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) Likewise there is no other way by which we can attain to the new nature than by accepting the Lords invitation to drink of His Cup, and to be broken with Him as members of the one Loaf, to be buried with Him in baptism into His death, and thus to be with Him in His resurrection to glory, honor and immortality.Romans 6:3-5; 2:7
On the occasion of the institution of the Memorial Supper, our dear Lord, as usual, had something to say about the Kingdom, the theme of His every discourse. Those to whom He had promised a share in the Kingdom if faithful, He reminded of His declaration that He would go away to receive a Kingdom and to come again and receive them to Himself to share in it. He now adds that this Memorial which He was instituting would find its fulfilment in the Kingdom, that He would no more drink of the fruit of the vine until He should drink it anew with them in the Fathers Kingdom.
Just what our Lord meant by this statement might be difficult to determine positively, but it seems not inconsistent to understand Him to mean that as a result of the trials and sufferings symbolized in His Cup, there will be jubilation in the Kingdom. "He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied." He will look back over the trials and difficulties endured in faithful obedience to the Fathers will, and will rejoice in these as He sees the grand outcomethe blessings which will come to all mankind. This jubilation will be shared by all His disciples who have drunk of this Cup, first in justification, then in consecration and sacrifice with Him. These have His promise that they shall reign with Him; and when the reign shall have begun, when the Kingdom shall have been established, looking back they shall praise the way that God has led them day by day, even unto the end of their earthly course, and even though it has been a "narrow way," a way of self-sacrifice, a way of self-denial.
Our dear Masters faith stood the test of all these trying hours which He knew to be so near the time of His apprehension and death. The fact that He rendered thanks to the Father for the bread and the cup is indicative of a joyful acquiescence in all the sufferings which the breaking of the bread and the crushing of the grapes implied. Already He was satisfied with the Fathers arrangement. In line with this spirit was the singing of a hymn as they parted, a hymn of praise no doubt, thanksgiving to the Father that His course on earth was so nearly finished, and that He had found thus far grace sufficient for His need.
In considering the events of those solemn hours which followed the Memorial Supper, let us follow the Redeemer to Gethsemane, and behold Him "with strong cryings and tears" praying "unto Him who was able to save Him out of death"expressive of our Masters fear of death lest in some particular He might have failed to follow out the Fathers Plan, and therefore be thought unworthy of a resurrection. We note that our Lord was in some way comforted with the assurance that He had faithfully kept His consecration vow, and that He would surely have a resurrection as promised.
We behold how calm He was thereafter, when before the high priest and Pilate, and Herod and Pilate again. "As a lamb before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth" in self-defense. We see Him faithful, courageous to the very last; and we have His assurance that He could have asked of the Father and could have had more than twelve legions of angels for His protection. But instead of petitioning for aid to escape His sacrifice, He petitioned for help to endure it faithfully. What a lesson is here for all His footstep followers!
On the other hand, we recall that even amongst His loyal disciples the most courageous forsook the Master and fled; and that one of them, in his timidity, even denied his Lord! What an occasion is this for examining our own hearts as respects the degree of our own faith, our own courage and our willingness to suffer with Him who redeemed us! What an opportunity is thus afforded for us to buttress the mind with the resolution that we will not deny our Master under any circumstances or conditionsthat we will confess Him not only with our lips, but also by our conduct.
We are shocked with the thought that it was Jehovahs professed people who crucified the Prince of Life! and not only so, but that it was the leaders of their religious thought, their chief priests, Scribes and Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, rather than the common people, who were responsible for this dreadful deed. We remember the Masters words, "Marvel not that the world hate you; for you know that it hated Me before it hated you." We see that He referred to the religious world; and realizing this, we know that it will be the religious world that will hate us, His followers. We are not to be surprised, then, that opposition to the Truth and persecution of the light-bearers should come from the most prominent exponents of so-called Christianity. This fact, however, should not cause us to hate either our own opponents or those who persecuted our Lord to the death. Rather we are to remember the words of the Apostle Peter respecting this matter: "I wot that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers."Acts 3:17
Ah, yes! Ignorance and blindness of heart and mind is at the bottom of all the sufferings of Christboth Head and Body. The Father permits it to be so now, until the members of the Body of Christ shall have filled up that which is behind of the afflictions of their Head. (Colossians 1:24) Soon, as our dear Lord declared, those who now partake of His broken body and are broken with Him in the service of the Truth, those who now participate in His Cup of suffering and self-denial, will drink with Him the new wine of joy in the Kingdom, beyond the veil. With that glorious Morning will begin the great work for the worlds release from the bonds of sin and deaththe great work of uplifting, the "Times of Restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began."Acts 3:21
The thought before the mind of each of those who participate in the Memorial service should be that expressed in the words of St. Paul, "If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him; if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him"; "for our light afflictions, which are but for a moment," "are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." (Rom. 8:18) With these thoughts respecting the passing over of our sins as the First-borns through the merit of the precious blood, and our share with our blessed Lord in all His experience of suffering and of glory, we may indeed keep the Passover feast with joy, notwithstanding the trials and difficulties. So doing, continuing faithful as His followers, very soon we shall have the great privilege of leading forth the Lords hostsall who ultimately shall hear and know and obey the great Kingout of the dominion of sin and death, out of Egypt into Canaan.
According to custom, congregations will this year meet to celebrate the great event which is so full of precious significance to all the saints who have come into an appreciation of Present Truth. We recommend that the dear friends in various parts of the world neglect not this blessed Memorial. We do not advise the leaving of the smaller groups to meet with larger companies, but rather that each little company, or band, meet together as is its usual custom; for this seems to have been the course of the early Church. Let us "keep the Feast," with joy of heart, but with due appreciation of its solemnity, not only as relates to our Lords sacrifice for us, but also as relates to our own covenant to be dead with Him.
We recommend that the leaders of each company make arrangements to obtain unleavened bread, and either unfermented grape juice, or raisin juice, or other fruit of the vine. Our recommendation is against the use of fermented wine, as being a possible temptation to some weak in the flesh, though provision might be made for any, if there be such, who conscientiously believe that fermented wine was meant to be used.
We recommend that these little gatherings be without ostentation. Decently, orderly, quietly, let us come together, full of precious thoughts respecting the great transaction we celebrate. Let us not have our attention too much taken up with forms and ceremonies. Let us in this, as in all things, seek to do that which would be pleasing to our Lord; and then we shall be sure that the service will be profitable to all who participate.
We have heretofore suggested that none are to be forbidden to partake of the emblems who profess faith in the precious blood and full consecration to the Lord. As a rule there will be no danger that any will accept the privilege of this fellowship who are not earnest of heart. Rather, some may need to be encouraged, since wrong views, we believe, are sometimes taken of the Apostles words concerning those who "eat and drink damnation (condemnation) to themselves, not discerning the Lords body."1 Corinthians 11:29 For the sake of these timid ones, who, we trust, will not forego the privilege of commemorating this great transaction, we would explain that to our understanding the class mentioned by the Apostle is composed of those who fail to realize the real import of the sacrifice, and who recognize this service as a mere ceremonial form. The failure to investigate and learn what this signifies, brings condemnation, reproof.
We trust that the occasion will this year be a most precious and profitable one to all the saints. As we are approaching the end of our course, the great importance of our Calling, its responsibilities and privileges, should be impressed more and more upon our hearts and minds. We are living in wonderful times. We know not what a day may bring forth. Then let us walk with great carefulness, with great soberness, yet with joy and rejoicing, knowing that our deliverance draweth nigh; and that, if faithful, soon with our Beloved Bridegroom we shall partake of the wine of joy in His Kingdom and be forever with Him.[R5869]
JUSTIFICATION really means only one thing, viz.: a making right, making just. Justification may be either partial or complete. In Abrahams case it was partial. He was justified to fellowship with God because of his faith and obedience, but was not justified to life, because such a complete justification could not be accomplished, except by the redemptive work of Jesus, which had not been and could not be accomplished in Abrahams day.
The justification of the Gospel Church is an instantaneous work. "It is God that justifieth." But the basis of this justification is the sacrifice accomplished by Jesus, finished at Calvary. Before the Savior will impute to us the merit of His sacrifice, we must know of Him and trust Him and accept His terms of discipleship and consecrate ourselves fully as His disciples, even unto death. The moment He imputes the merit of His sacrifice to us, covering our blemishes, we are acceptable to the Father, received into His family by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, and thus, thereafter, members of the Church of the Firstborns, whose names are written in Heaven.
The worlds justification will not be an instantaneous one, but will progress during the thousand yearsthe Millennium. The world might then be said to be tentatively justified through the Mediator and His Kingdom, but their justification will be accomplished only in their absolute perfection at the close of the Millennium, when they will be presented to the Father and accepted by Him. "It is God that justifieth," and He receives to everlasting life and to His family on any plane of existence only those who are perfect.
A person desiring to turn to God during this Gospel Age finds Him gradually. First, he finds that God has made a provision whereby He can be just and yet be the Justifier of sinners. Next he finds that the death of Jesus is the way which God has provided. Next he finds his own weaknesses and sinsthe defilements, and properly seeks to put these away. He may and should considerably cleanse himself from the filthiness of the flesh, but this does not justify him, does not make him perfect, because by heredity he is a sinner, imperfect, and can be cleansed only by the Divine application of the merit of the Sin Offering. After washing at the Laverputting away the filthiness of the fleshthe believer approaches close up to the door of the Tabernacle and "ties" himself thereobligates himself by consecration vows, devoting himself fully to the Lord and His service, whatever that may be.
All the foregoing steps of the person desiring fellowship with God are proper steps, as outlined in the Word. We describe the person who has taken this course as being tentatively justified; that is to say, he is in the right course, doing what he is able to do to attain justification. While in this course, he would have blessings of mind and heart and the approval of his conscience, and would be favored of the Lord in the sense that Divine providence would open up before him a knowl edge of the proper course to take for his justificationpointing out to him the necessity for the steps enumerated, including the devotion or tying of himself at the door of the Tabernacle. The sinner approaching God can do no more. It is now Gods time to act. Gods mercy toward the sinner is wholly through Jesus, who has been appointed the "great High Priest." It is the part of Jesus to accept the devoted one (the goat) and to sacrifice him. And those whom Jesus, as Gods High Priest, accepts are accepted of the Father, and such are begotten of the Father to the Divine nature, etc. That moment when Jesus, and when Divine Justice, through Jesus, accepts the sinner is the moment of justification.
From the moment the sinner turned his back upon sin and began to seek the Lord and to walk as best he would be able in the ways of righteousnessputting away the filthiness of the fleshfrom that moment this person has a new mind or will, different from the mind or will which he had when he loved and served sin. This new mind is a new mind of the flesh, because he has not yet been begotten of the Holy Spirit. At the moment that the High Priest accepts him, imputes His merit, and the Father begets him of the Holy Spiritat that moment this one with the new mind is justified and begotten of the Spirit; he is then a New Creature. The New Creature is not to be justified, because the New Creature has done no sin and would have no sin to be justified from. It was the new-minded old creature that was justified, and at the moment of justification it dies sacrificially. The New Creature might be spoken of as justified in the same sense that Jesus was spoken of"justified in spirit,...received up into glory." (1 Tim. 3:16) In this use of the word justified, the thought is "proved right""proved perfect"; not made right.
To this class, fully consecrated, justified, accepted of the Father by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, the Apostleswords apply: "Therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1) But this Scripture would not apply to any who have not come to the point of consecration and acceptance and who are merely approaching through the Court. These do, however, have a measure of peace, in proportion as they progress. A certain measure of peace and joy comes from finding that there is a way back to God through the endeavor to put away sin and to draw near to Him; but the peace of the Church, mentioned by the Apostle in this text, can apply only to those who have come into the condition of Sons of God. God is not at peace with any others.
It would not be possible for any one during this Gospel Age to have exactly the same experience given to Abraham, because of the difference of conditions. Abraham fully believed God, and so far as he understood, apparently was fully consecrated to do Gods will, even unto death. In other words, if Abraham had been living during this Gospel Age, he would have been one of the fully consecrated, fully justified, spirit-begotten ones; but living before the Gospel Age, before Christ had died for our sins, his consecration could not bring him into the fulness of justification and its privileges.
Some confuse themselves by thinking of justification as of two partslegal and actual. We know of nothing in the Bible to make any such division of justification. It is legal and it is actual at the same instant. It could not be actual and illegal; it could not be illegal and yet actual.
Our justification, represented by the "Wedding Garment," put on when we are accepted of the Lord, covers not the New Creature, but merely the flesh, which is legally reckoned dead, sacrificially. In other words, justification does not signify a process of being made right, but a right condition already attained. The putting on of the "Wedding Garment," signifies our entrance into the family of God as members of the Church; the putting of it off would mean our rejection of the grace of God, and would imply Second Death.
Justification to the world, as already explained, will be attained differently. It might be said that the worlds justification, under the Great Mediator, will be a gradual onea gradual making right as each individual will come into harmony more and more with the Divine requirements and receive more and more of restitution perfection. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that "It is God that justifies," and that the world will not be in Gods hands until the conclusion of the Millennial Age. Then all approved of the Father and accepted of Him to eternal life will be justified in the full sense. That will be an instantaneous act.[R5959]
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is there will your heart be also."Matthew 6:19-21.
PLEASURE, delight, joy, comfortall these sentiments are suggested to us by the word treasure. Our thoughts, our hopes, our plans, center there. Our treasure is the inspiration of our lives, the incentive to energy, perseverance and endurance, for the hope which it enkindles. Most people have treasures, but they are generally such as yield slight satisfaction, because they are transitory and disappointing. How many have built their hopes upon earthly things only to find them but illusive baubles, mocking delusions, leaving the heart at last broken, crushed and barren! The treasures of wealth, fame, social distinction, of houses and lands, of friends and home and family, of power and influence, are subject to change and decay! And if the heart be centered in them, they are liable in a moment to be swept away, leaving the life desolate and despairing, all the more so because of the high hopes which they had inspired.
The wealth, laboriously gathered and husbanded with great care, may vanish in a night. The fame so dearly won may change to censure and reproach at the caprice of fickle public sentiment. The social prestige which bade you to the uppermost seats may a little later relegate you to the lowest seat, and your name may be cast out as evil and you be ostracized. Houses and lands and carefully hoarded belongings may disappear under the sheriffs hammer. Friends long trusted may suddenly grow cold and turn their backs upon you, and even become your enemies. The home you love must some time break up, the family be scattered or invaded by death. The love that glows upon the home altar may flicker and become dim or extinct. How many have found the high hopes of youth and early life turn to ashes in a few short years or months!
To all of these the Word of the Lord should appear with special force, when calling them to come to Him with their burdens and their broken hearts. "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." (Psalm 34:18) His love and His precious promises come like the sweet balm of Gilead to those who, sad and disappointed in the struggle of life, come to Christ for rest and comfort, for life and healing. Many storm-tossed mariners upon lifes ocean, discouraged and despairing, bereft of all hope, have found that these very experiences were the means of leading them to the Haven of eternal Refuge. There alone true blessing and safety can be found; there alone is the real treasure, far exceeding the choicest treasures of earth.
We think of the experience of a dear brother who recently found the Lord, when his earthly treasures had been swept away from him, all the savings of years, through conditions brought about by war. He had lost all hope and was about to end his life by his own hand, when Present Truth was brought to his attention. He listened, then embraced it with joy, securing the SCRIPTURE STUDIES. Afterward he stated that he now knew why the Lord had permitted him to meet with such reversesit was to lead him to Himself. How this dear one can now rejoice in his sorrowful experiences and realize that he has gained in exchange the "Pearl of great price," beside which all other treasures pale into insignificance!
Truly, in this our day, as never before perhaps, would all who have the spirit of a sound mind to any degree be longing for a treasure which will be secure, a rock upon which they may plant their feet, one which will securely hold in these days of stress and uncertainty, when men feel that everything is slipping from beneath their feet, when nothing earthly is sure, when fear with distress is on every hand. At such a time as this, how blest are we who are safe-sheltered in the cleft of the Rock of Ages, which cannot be shaken by the mightiest earthquake shock! How unspeakably precious is the treasure which we have laid up in Heaven; for we know our treasure is safe, where no storms nor billows can touch it.
The all-important question for those who seek this great treasure then is, How can we lay up treasure in Heaven, and what kind of treasures are those which are to be stored up in the Heavenly depository? We have the assurance of the Divine Word that everything that is pure, holy and good is acceptable there. The very chiefest of all treasures is the personal love and friendship of God and of Christ. Jesus becomes to us "the fairest among ten thousand, the One altogether lovely." He is an unfailing Refuge in every time of need, our daily Joy and Solace and Comfort.
When we have gained this Treasure, we have gained the One that never changes, One whose love never grows cold, One from whom nothing can separate us"neither death," which to His loved ones will now mean our blessed "change"; "nor life," which means further opportunities for suffering with Him that we may also share His glory, and which permits further works of loving service for Him whom we love; "nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers," for these cannot harm us who are sheltered in Christ; "nor things present, nor things to come"; for "all things shall work together for our good," and in every trial He will direct the issue that we may be able to bear it; "nor height" of temporary exaltation; "nor depth" of trouble or sorrow, for our Refuge and Strength is ever near; "nor any other thing" in creation, for He has promised to "keep the feet of His saints," and that nothing shall touch them as New Creatures in Christ, and that His presence shall go with them wherever they may be. Romans 8:35-39; 1 Samuel 2:9; Luke 10:19; Exodus 33:14
Nor will any other creatures either in Heaven or in earth receive such marks of special favor as are and ever will be the portion of the beloved Bride of Christ. Although the whole family in Heaven and in earth will be blessed through Him, His Wife, cooperating with Him in His work, will alone be His companion, His confidante, His treasure. Hear the Lords exhortation to the Bride class: "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear. Forget also thine own people and thy fathers house [the ambitions, hopes and aims of the children of Adam]; so shall the King [Jehovahs Anointed] greatly desire thy beauty [beauty of character, of heart-loyalty]; for He is thy Lord, and worship thou Him." (Psalm 45:10,11; Canticles 4) How unworthy we feel of so great honor and love from our beloved Bridegroom! And no wonder! When we look at all our imperfections, it seems that there is little in us to call forth such love and admiration. To think that the angels with all their purity and faithfulness should have been passed by; and that we poor, blemished mortals, should be chosen instead!
Is there not some mistake? Ah, no! We have the infallible words of inspiration to assure us that it is even so. This Bride of Jehovahs Son is to reign with Him in the future over a fallen race; and who could so well sympathize with them in all their weaknesses and frailties as those who have themselves partaken of the same? And who could bear the infinite heights of glory to which the Lambs Wife will be raised, with such humility as those who realize that it was not through any worthiness of their own that they were chosen to so high an exaltation, but that it was all of Divine grace? Clad in the glorious Robe of our Bridegrooms furnishing, we can stand all complete, even now, in the eyes of Jehovah. And possessing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, the faith that trusts under every condition, the love that delights to do the Fathers will, we are lovely in the eyes of our Beloved, our Bridegroom and our King.
Having this confidence, we can with unspeakable joy and gratitude lay hold of the exceeding great and precious promises which are ours through Christ, and without presumption press along the line toward the prize of our High Calling, humbly trusting that He who has begun the good work in us will complete it unto the day of our glorification with our Bridegroom in the Heavenly Kingdom, when we shall be presented before the Father "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing," gloriously complete and perfect, in the most absolute sense, fitted and prepared for the wonderful work which we shall share with our blessed Lord and King.
Listen to some of the blessed and inspiring promises with which the Father and the Son cheer the Bride: "Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty." Ye "shall be Mine, in that Day when I make up My jewels." "I will give thee to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give thee a white stone [a precious token of love], and in the stone a new name written [the name of our Bridegroom, henceforth to be our name] which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." "Lo, I am with you alway." "And if I go away, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also [and He has come, He is even now present, and will soon receive us unto Himself forevermore]." "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you." "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." "To Him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne."Isaiah 33:17; Malachi 3:17; Revelation 2:17; Matthew 28:20; John 14:3; 15:16; Revelation 2:10; 3:21.
Precious promises are these, wonderful words of life! Let us count them over and over again, that all their sweet significance may sink deep into our hearts and bring forth their blessed fruitage in our lives. May they cheer us in every dark and trying hour and reinforce our waning powers with renewed vigor, courage and zeal, that we may press along the narrow way until indeed our "eyes shall see the King in His beauty." What wondrous treasures do we thus find laid up in Heaven for us, because we have left the world and all its delusive fancies and aspirations and have laid hold upon the things eternal! And while this glorious inheritance is to be the possession of all the faithful, the Apostle intimates clearly that our Heavenly treasure may be augmented by special zeal and faithfulness under the peculiar trials of the present time.
One of the treasures which we may lay up in Heaven will be the marks of just approval and distinction among the good and holy beyond the veil, which patient endurance of affliction, unwavering trust under crucial trials and testings, diligence in the Kings business, will secure to us. Treasures of mind and character, too, we shall find laid up in Heaven; for nothing that is good and true and worthy of preservation shall be lost to those who have committed their investments to the Lord. These are incorruptible treasures, which neither the lapse of time nor the exigencies of circumstances will ever wrest from us.
Other treasures will be all the true and noble friendships which have been founded in truth and righteousness here on earth, whether they be on the spiritual or on the natural plane. For instance, one on the spiritual plane will not be disposed to forget or ignore the loving loyalty of a former friend, who from time to time administered the cup of cold water to the thirsty soul battling with the heat and dust of lifes desert way, and who did this because the one ministered to was a disciple of Christ.
But especially sweet will be the spiritual friendships begun and cherished here, which will bloom and blossom in still greater vigor when transplanted into Heavenly soil and atmosphere. And what a treasure we shall find in the gratitude and love of those to whom we have ministered here in times of special need, and to whom we have carried the Living water and broken the Bread of Life! Who can measure the joy unspeakable that shall be the heritage of the faithful when we shall find all these precious treasures beyond the veil! When we view these treasures with unclouded eyes, and realize that they are ours forever, shall we not feel infinitely repaid for any sufferings and hardships we have borne in our brief earthly pilgrimage?
Then, dear brethren and sisters in Christ, let us keep our eyes steadfastly set upon the Heavenly, eternal things. Let us more and more lay up treasures where "moth and rust cannot corrupt and where thieves cannot break through and steal." (Matthew 6:20) If our hearts are upon the Heavenly treasures, then the disappointments and afflictions of the present life cannot overwhelm us. Whatsoever things are worthy the aspiration of the spiritual sons of God are our real treasures, and they are the only things that are worth while. What care we for the illusive bubbles of this poor life, so soon to burst and disappear? Then, as sings the poet:
"Let us touch lightly the things of this earth,
Esteeming them only of trifling worth,"
not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us, if we faint not by the way, but with our pilgrims staff in hand shall press along the Heavenly road until we reach the goal of our hopes.
As the sun sinks at the close of each day, and the shadows gather around us, how sweet to sing, "Im one day nearer Home!" We have nearly reached the mountain-top, and every day multiplies the evidences that the journey is nearing its end. Just how long it will be we cannot know; probably it is best that we do not know. But we believe that it will not be very long. [R5862]
Question: Is The "Second Death" an enemy of man?
Answer: Only toward the close of that thousand years of the reign of the great Mediator will this work of completely overthrowing death be accomplished. Then all mankind will have been delivered, not only from the tomb, but from every shade and degree of deaththe whole world will be alive in the same sense that Adam was alive before death passed upon him, or he was affected by the sting of sin.
Then the Kingdom will be turned over to the Father. Those who will die during the thousand years, as wilful evil doers, will die the Second Death. It is not an enemy of man; it is the righteous sentence of a righteous God in the interest of His creaturesthose who wilfully prefer sin shall be destroyed from amongst the people, because their influence will be to corrupt the earth. The Second Death, therefore, is not included amongst the enemies, and is not the death that Jesus will destroy.
Neither is Satan one of the enemies whom Jesus will then destroy. He was an enemy before man sinned, and his rebellion was not brought about by man's sin. He was subject to Divine authority before man was created, and will be a subject of Divine authority after man shall have been redeemed and restored. It will not be for the Mediator to deal with him, but for Divine Justice to determine his deserts. Besides, it is said that he will be destroyed in the Second Death, in the death from which there will be no redemption, no resurrection, no recovery. [R4999]
Question: What is the Most Detestable form of pride?
Answer: Evidently the most detestable form of pride is pride in the Churchas though we had made the Plan and could boast in it! We do, indeed, see that anyone making the Plan might justly feel proud of it. But when we remember that none of us made the Plan, but that we are privileged to see it, we should be filled the more with humility, and should try day by day to better glorify His Name for the blessings which He has provided for the whole world.
We cannot suppose that any kind of pride would be more detestable in God's sight than pride of the Truth. If anyone should continue in such a course, manifestly it would lead him out of the light. We see this principle illustrated well in the case of Satan. Noble, grand, he allowed pride to enter his heart and said, "I will ascend above the others; I will have an empire of my own." And this pride made him the opponent of God. (Isa. 14:12-17) He is known in the Scriptures as the Adversary, Satan, the Devil.
All those who have the spirit of pride fail to recognize that "every good and perfect gift cometh down from the Father of Lights." (Jas. 1:17) Every such one, therefore, has the spirit of the Adversary instead of the Spirit of God. If it be allowed to grow and bring forth fruit, it will lead eventually to the Second Death. It is appalling to see the nature of the temptations that come to God's people! But we are not to judge their hearts, to determine whether it is a pride of heart or not; for it may be merely a deception for a time. And even though they may miss the "high calling," they may get a place inthe "great company." And when we see that the conduct is not at all in accord with what we should expect in those blessed with the Truth, it should make us all search our own hearts to see to what extent we have the same traits of pride.
Perhaps this quality of pride is nowhere more manifested than in some of those who have been in the Truth for quite a while. Sometimes it is on the part of the sisters. Sometimes they are very proud of what they know and very domineering in their manner, seeming to think that they know it all. Sometimes it is on the part of the brethren, in whom a spirit of pride appears. They have been placed as Elders. They see that they themselves are right and others are wrong. Sometimes this leads to an attempt to override the liberties of the congregation and to hold power in their own hands. [R5001]
Question: We are told that from him who would borrow of us we should not turn away. (Matt. 5:42) How shall we understand this?
Answer: There is nothing in this Scripture that says that we should lend to everybody who wishes to ask for a loan, either of goods or money; but we should not turn away with a deaf ear from those in need. The Scriptures say, Do good and lend, hoping for no recompense. (Luke 6:35) We should also have that beneficent disposition which desires to do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith. But we should use discretion and wisdom. Often the very best thing to do to a person is to lend him something, even if sure that he would not return it; for thus the way to his coming any more would be barred to some extent at least. [R4971]
Question: Please give the meaning of the text, "Seek and ye shall find."Mark 7:7
Answer: The above text illustrates a principle to which we have frequently called attention. We find what we seek! Those who approach the Bible with earnest desire to find in it God's Message, will be guided of the Lord. As it is written, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness [Truth], for they shall be filled."Matt. 5:6
On the other hand, those who approach the Bible from the standpoint of cavil, unbelief, antagonism, are equally sure to find what they seekflaws, contradictions, etc. Note how Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll illustrated this principle; and compare their experiences and findings with the blessedness of those who feast upon the Bible as the Lord's bountifully spread table of good things"Meat in due season" for "the household of faith."Luke 12:42
The same principle holds true with the SCRIPTURE STUDIES. As those who so desire can pick flaws with the Bible and turn and twist its statements into unreason, so the same class would surely be successful in similarly picking to pieces "The Divine Plan of the Ages."
Question: What is meant by the Scripture which says that if one who has been righteous shall depart from his righteousness, his former righteousness shall not count, but that he shall die for his sin? And also the statement that one who was unrighteous and turned from his unrighteousness shall be saved?Ezek. 33:13-16
Answer: This Scripture emphatically contradicts a doctrine held by some Christian people, "Once in grace, always in grace"; or that one who has been favored of God can never lose His favor. The principle of this Scripture applies, at the present time, to those who pass from death unto life as New Creatures. They are on trial for life or death. Adamic sin no longer counts in their cases. If they remain faithful to the Lord they will get the blessing of eternal life; if unfaithful, they will die. If one should make a covenant with God and then fail to keep that covenant, he would lose his covenant-relationship with God as soon as he abrogated the contract. If we are faithful, He will be faithful in giving us life eternal.
But this Scripture specially applies to the Millennial Age; for at that time all are to be brought to an opportunity for life everlasting. People will then realize that "the wages of sin is death." Then it will no longer be a proverb that the parents have eaten a sour grape and the children's teeth are set on edge, but each "shall die for his own iniquity." (Jer. 31:29; Ezek. 18:2) There will be a test for life or death, just as there is now with the Church. Only those who are faithful in their trial will be granted everlasting life, in either case. All others will be cut off in death.
Question: Suppose one addicted to the use of tobacco and who began to realize its filthiness should resolve to discontinue it and should really desist from using it for a time, but later should resume the occasional use of it, and thus did not conquer in the matter, the spirit being willing, but the flesh being weakwould this cause the loss of the crown and relegate such an one to the "great company"or might it lead to the Second Death?
Answer: The use of tobacco is a very filthy habit; and there are other habits that are esteemed filthy by some people, but not by others. We are not to draw any line which the Bible does not draw. It is not, therefore, for any of God's people to judge another in the meat offered to idols, or in the chewing of tobacco, or in any such matters. We should encourage each other in cleanliness of life. To our understanding, no one would be condemned to death for not controlling the tobacco habit or the coffee habit or the morphine habit. God alone knows how each is struggling; He alone knows those who are fighting courageously day by day to the end. We are not competent to judge. St. Paul says, "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of any man's judgment; yea, I judge not mine own self....He that judgeth me is the Lord." (I Cor. 4:3,4) We may not even too hastily judge ourselves to be worthy of the Second Death. It is to be left to God as to whether we are overcomers or not. With this in view it is our duty to strive earnestly and not to be discouraged ourselves nor to discourage others, but rather to uphold them and help them to greater courage, to greater zeal in the service of our Lord.[R4971]
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1. Why did God command the people of Israel to construct the Tabernacle in the Wilderness of Sin?
2. What are the necessary steps for one to take before receiving a heavenly reward?
3. What is the meaning of repentance; justification; consecration; sanctification?
4. Who has the privilege of filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ?" (Colossians 1:24)
5. Who is pictured by a bullock; the Lords goat; the scapegoat?
6. What is the meaning of Hebrews 9:27? "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
7. Why and when are the benefits of the atonement day sacrifices applied to the world?
8. Why is the least in the kingdom of heaven greater than John the Baptist? (Matthew 11:11)
9. What is the significance of the brazen altar; the laver; the table of shew-bread; the golden candlestick; the incense altar; the ark of the covenant and its contents?
10.What is the object of studying "Tabernacle Shadows?"
answers to these and related questions in
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