TABLE OF CONTENTS (details)
TABLE OF CONTENTS details
THE DIVINE PLAN JOURNAL
Volume 22 * May 1997 * Number 5
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."Daniel 7:13, 14
THE first establishment of the kingdom of God on earth, with Adam as its representative, lasted for only a brief period of time. A portion of the earth known as the garden of Eden was prepared for Adam. The father of the human race was given dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the cattle, and every creeping thing. (Genesis 1:26) A test was placed upon the perfect Adam. He was instructed not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam failed under the test and as a result lost not only his dominion but also his life.Genesis 2:17; 3:22-24
During the Jewish Age, God organized the people of Israel as his kingdom, under Moses and the Judges, but it was typical only. The more despotic rule afterward established, especially under David and Solomon, was in some respects typical of the kingdom promised, when Messiah should reign. Because of the transgression of the people of Israel against the Lord, in the days of Zedekiah the typical kingdom of God was overthrown. In the year 606 B.C. the lease to the Gentiles, a period of 2520 years, began. That lease to the Gentiles expired in the year 1914. It was then that the eviction of the Gentile nations began.Daniel 2:44; Ezekiel 21:25-27
At the first advent, the dear Savior taught his disciples to pray for Gods kingdom to come and for the heavenly Fathers will to be done on earth even as his will is and has always been done in heaven. (Matthew 6:9, 10) By the close of the thousand year reign of Christ, this prayer will have been fully answered. When that time comes, Gods will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Preparations to establish the kingdom of God on earth have been in progress for more than 120 years. May each of us continue to pray for this incoming kingdom.
Forty days after the dear Redeemers resurrection, he ascended to heaven to receive the kingdom. In the parable of the "pounds" Jesus illustrates himself as being a certain nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and then in due time he would return. Since 1874, our King is present with the kingdom. The God of heaven set up the kingdom, that is, placed the kingdom in the hands of Christ at his return. Since 1914, when the lease to the Gentiles expired, the kingdom has begun the work of breaking in pieces and consuming the kingdoms that existed prior to the beginning of World War I. History has recorded that, at some time or other, there were 63 nations that became members of the League of Nations. There were 2 prominent nations that were not members. Since the first World War, the number of nations in the world has greatly increased. In the year 1995 there were 192 independent nations and 43 dependent nations. Where did all these nations come from? The answer is that the colonial empires are being consumed, as predicted by the prophet. (Daniel 2:44) As a result of the colonial empires being broken to pieces, many new nations have come into existence.
Jesus referred to these many nations with the expression, "all the trees". (Luke 21:29) Our Master singled out one of the trees, Israel, and called it "the fig tree". In the year 1948 Israel became a nation among the nations. During the present transition period the nations are being judged. Only those things in harmony with the kingdom of God, in the hands of Christ for the thousand years, will remain. The removal of all things out of harmony with the kingdom causes severe trouble throughout the earth. The worlds greatest time of trouble occurs during the transition period which closes the second dispensation and opens thethird dispensation. (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21) Not only is the removal of those things out of harmony with the righteous kingdom of Christ being accomplished under the supervision of King Jesus, during this transition period, but also the hearts of many are being prepared to accept the kingdom blessings which will be offered to each individual in due time.
In Revelation 11:15 the Bible student is informed that at the beginning of the sounding of the seventh trumpet the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and his anointed. This seventh trumpet, which began to sound in 1874, will continue to sound throughout the Millennial Age. Many have already heard its sound, but before the thousand year kingdom of Christ has accomplished its work, all will have heard. Ever since the seventh trumpet began to sound, men have been demanding their real as well as their fancied rights such as never before. The cry for liberty has been heard around the world and waxes louder and louder as time goes on.
The heavenly Creator permitted evil for 6000 years, within bounds, before sending his dear Son to earth the second time to exercise the "all power" in heaven and earth given unto him at the time of his resurrection from the dead. (Matthew 28:18) The permission of evil was portrayed at the time the rod of Moses, when cast to the ground, became a serpent. When picked up by the tail, the serpent became a rod in the hand of Moses. (Exodus 4:2-4) This portrayed that at the end of the 6000 years of the permission of evil our Lord began to exercise his authority as King. In 1874 our Lord entered the usurped dominion of the "god" of the second dispensation. When he laid hold upon the "old serpent", the adversary began to resist the gradual binding process. The great time of trouble is the result.Revelation 20:1,2
Some of the reasons why the adversary was not fully bound when our Lord laid hold upon him are:
(1) It was the heavenly Fathers plan for the "feet" members of the body of Christ to proclaim the reign of Christ begun. (Isaiah 52:7) It is the Fathers plan for each of the fully consecrated to be tested by the adversary before being entrusted with the divine nature. Furthermore, it was prophesied that the last members of the feet, the heel members, would be bruised by the adversary. (Genesis 3:15)
(2) Some who have accepted the invitation to become the bride of Christ, after becoming careless in their journey toward the heavenly city, are relegated to the great company class. These are turned over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh in order that they might be born of the spirit in due time.
(3) The worlds greatest time of trouble, caused not only by the adversary but also by the fallen angels, who are gradually being granted liberty for their judgment, is necessary to prepare the hearts of mankind to receive the truth in due time.
Three and one-half years after the seventh trumpet began to sound, "the dead in Christ" were resurrected. At that time the kingdom, as represented in our returned Lord and the resurrected saints, was set up. Since we are living in the dawning of the resurrection age, each of the consecrated, upon finishing his walk faithfully in the narrow way, does not have to sleep in death, but is immediately resurrected. This means that now there are no "sleeping" saints. The kingdom work engaged in on this side of the veil, with laborious efforts, continues on the other side without laborious efforts.I Thessalonians 4:16,17; I Corinthians 15:51-53; Revelation 14:13
The gradual establishment of the spiritual phase of the kingdom is portrayed by the "new Jerusalem" coming down from God out of heaven. (Revelation 21:2) Soon the last member will finish his earthly walk, and the spiritual phase of the kingdom, as represented by our Lord and his bride, will be fully set up. Then the promise given by Jesus to the "little flock" will become a reality. "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32) The great company will be invited to the marriage festivities. Both the "little flock" and the great company will constitute the "church of the firstborn". (Hebrews 12:23) When born of the spirit the great company will be perfect spirit beings and will serve before the throne.Matthew 25:1-12; Psalm 45:14, 15; Revelation 7:13-15
Shortly after the marriage festivities, the great time of trouble will be stopped, and righteousness will begin to prevail in the earth. That will be the time when the earthly phase of the kingdom will begin. At the time the trouble is stopped, Satan will be fully restrained and will remain bound until the close of the Millennial Age. The faithful ones from Abel to John the Baptist will be resurrected as perfect human beings and made princes in the earthly phase of the kingdom. After the resurrection of the ancient worthies, the remainder of the resurrection age will be devoted to gradually raising up to life all the willing and obedient of the human family. During that wonderful time, all will come to an accurate knowledge of the truth.I Timothy 2:3-6; Habakkuk 2:14
The Mediatorial phase of the kingdom will start at the time the New Covenant is inaugurated with a representative group in Israel with faith, at the hands of the princes who will be the earthly representatives of the spiritual phase of the kingdom. (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 45:16) Each one who repents, cleans up from sin, accepts Jesus, and obeys the dear Redeemer will receive everlasting life. In the course of time those asleep in death will be awakened by the dear Redeemer and started up the highway of holiness.John 5:28,29; Isaiah 35:8-10
The separation of the sheep from the goats will progress throughout the Mediatorial reign of Christ. Those with a sheep-like character will hear the King say, "Come, ye blessed of the Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:24) Those with a goat-like disposition who refuse to accept and obey the better Mediator (Christ and his body members) will be punished with everlasting death; they will be cut off from among the people.Matthew 25:46; Acts 3:23
By the close of the thousand year reign of Christ, the dispensation of the fullness of times, all intelligent beings, in heaven and on earth, who have become obedient to Christ will be under his headship. (Ephesians 1:10) What a beautiful oneness that will be! Our dear heavenly Father, through or by the Christ, will have wiped away all tears from the eyes of the human family and there will be no more sorrow, pain, crying, and Adamic death. Christ will reign until Adamic death is destroyed. What a precious promise! When this has been accomplished, the kingdom will be turned back to the heavenly Father so that he may be all in all.Revelation 21:4; I Corinthians 15:22-28
By the close of the thousand year kingdom of Christ, the Mediator will have accomplished the great and wonderful work of bringing all the willing and obedient into harmony with the heavenly Creator, the great Judge of the universe. When this work has been accomplished, the Mediator will step aside. At the time the kingdom is turned back to the Father, restored mankind will have a standing with the Almighty God similar to that which Adam enjoyed before he sinned. As it was necessary in Gods plan for Adam to be tested, it will also be necessary for restored mankind to be tested.
With the expiration of the thousand years, Satan will be let loose for a "little season". (Revelation 20:3, 7) During that "little season", our dear Redeemer will be Gods representative. In this position, during that final testing period, our Lord will destroy the adversary and those who follow the devil. Those who die the second death will have no resurrection. Stated in another way, the heavenly Father, by or through his dear Son, will cut the wicked off from life.Revelation 20:9; Hebrews 2:14
In the third world there will be many ages following the Messianic Age (the age of the thousand year kingdom of Christ). Those ages will be ones of happiness, blessedness, perfection. All intelligent beings in heaven and on earth, under the headship of the heavenly Father, will sing praises throughout eternity. What a happy oneness that will be throughout all the ages to come, in the third dispensation which will never end! Psalm 150:6
What wonderful works await those who will be members of the divine family! May all who have made a full consecration to the heavenly Father seek to make their calling and election sure! Those who are faithful will inherit the kingdom. The more than overcomers will be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. These will serve the heavenly Father for all eternity! May we continue to earnestly and sincerely pray for that wonderful time!II Peter 1:4-11; Matthew 6:9,10
"And His [Jehovahs] feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south."Zechariah 14:4
THIS text refers to the closing of the Day of Trouble and the manifestation of Gods Power in connection with that trouble. The literal Mount of Olives may have, and probably will have, somewhat to do with the matter. It is referred to here as experiencing a great earthquake. No doubt the Israelites will be gathered at Jerusalem at this time, and no doubt the Lords favor will be manifested to them there. This will be at the close of "Jacobs trouble," from which the Lord will be present to deliver them. Our thought is that this will be after the Church shall have passed into glory. The execution of what is here described seems to be a part of the work of the glorified Church.
We understand that the Ancient Worthies will then appear, and that Gods favor will have returned to the Jews, and that Israels temporal blessings will there begin. This would imply that the Jews will then be under the New Covenant arrangement, and hence that the Church must have been completed.
Symbolically, a mountain represents a kingdom. The Scriptures elsewhere declare that Jehovah will make the place of His feet glorious. The word olive always associates itself in the minds of the people of the Orient with the thought of light and nourishment. The olive oil they use regularly instead of butter. As the olive furnishes both light and food, the Mount of Olives would represent the Kingdom of God. Olive oil was poured upon the head of the Jewish kings and priests, and symbolized thus the Holy Spirit. Gods Kingdom will be for the blessing of mankind. It will be of two phasesthe Heavenly and the earthlyand all people may eventually come under its blessed condition. [R5437]
See STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. 4, p. 649.
"But who may abide the Day of His Coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiners fire and like fullers soap."Malachi 3:2
THE words of the Prophet given in our text refer to the close of the present Gospel Age. It is the same Day prophesied by the Apostle Paul when he declared, "The fire of that Day shall try every mans work of what sort it is." (1 Corinthians 3:13) It is the Day of which the Apostle Peter wrote so graphically when he said that in that great Day of the Lord the heavens should be on fire and the elements should melt with fervent heat, and that the earth and all the works therein should be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10) It is the Day of which the Prophet Zephaniah spoke when he said that in the great Day of the Lord all the earth should be devoured with the fire of Gods jealousy. (Zephaniah 3:8) Isaiah, Jeremiah, and many of the faithful Prophets of God prophesied of this Day. The Prophet Daniel was instructed by the angel of the Lord that in that Day there should be a "Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation." (Daniel 12:1) Our Lord Jesus Himself verified this prophecy, and added that never afterwards should there be such a time.Matthew 24:21,22.
The Scriptures call this Day "the Day of the Lord," "the Day of Jehovah," "the Day of God," "the Day of Christ," "the Day of Vengeance," "that great and notable Day," etc. It is the Day in which the Old Order is to perish and the glorious New Order is to be ushered in. In foretelling this Day, both the Prophets and the Apostles speak of the class which will stand in this Day when all others shall fall. St. Paul says that everything which can be shaken down will be; and that only the Kingdom which will then be set up, and which cannot be shaken, will remain. (Hebrews 12:25-29) The present order of societythe nominal church systems, financial institutions, political institutionsallwill go down.
During the Gospel Age many who have not been Christians have associated themselves with the Church. The civilized world of today call themselves "Christians," in contradistinction to the nations which they call "heathen," though from the Scriptural standpoint they are all heathen Gentiles. Among all these various nations we find many religions, whose devotees claim that they have consecrated themselves to God. But the touch-stone by which these claims may be tested is the Word of God. See Galatians 1:6-9. To the true Church of Christ alone will God give the Messianic Kingdom. Some who really have Christ and His work of sacrifice as their foundation will be saved, but at the expense of all their works, their character-structure, which the "fire" of this Day will consume. The tare class in the nominal churches will be bundled and "burned," not as individuals, but as professed Christians; that is to say, their professions will be seen to be without foundation. They will come to see how grossly in error they werehow far removed from the Truth.
The ones who are upon the Rock Christ Jesus, the only true Foundation, are those who have accepted Jesus as their Ransom-sacrifice, and have consecrated themselves wholly to God through Him. All these, "have been called in one hope of their calling." (Ephesians 4:4) Many of these will fail to make their calling and election sure and will suffer great loss. They did not build properly upon this Foundation, Christ, a structure of gold, silver and precious stones of Truth and of whole-hearted loyalty to the Lord. They will suffer the loss of the Kingdom, and through much tribulation will take a lower place, before the Thronenot rulers, but honorable servants of the ruling class. All who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit must, as we have shown elsewhere, either be born upon the spirit plane or lose life altogether. Those who prove wholly faithful will be born Divine beings. Those not wholly faithful, and who miss the great "prize," though not denying the Lord that bought them, will be born spirit beings of a lower order.
The tribulations which characterize the end of this Age will thoroughly awaken these careless ones. Certain special tribulations, we understand, have come to those who were of this class all through the Age. But apparently a larger number of these are living now, at the close of the Age; and these must go through "the great tribulation," and must wash their soiled robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9-17) They will have a blessed portion after their purification, but far less glorious than that to which they were called.
The Apostle Paul in his writings lays special emphasis upon the fundamental importance of correct doctrinal teaching. It made no difference whether Paul or Apollos or even an angel from Heaven taught anything, it must be in harmony with the foundation doctrines which had been given them by the Lord. (Galatians 1:6-12) He assured the Church that what he had taught them was from God; and that even if an angel should bring them another Gospel, it would be a proof that such angel had deflected from loyalty to the Lord.
That Jesus Christ died to secure the Redemption-price for Adam and his race is the foundation doctrine of the Church, which was received from Jesus Himself and from His faithful mouthpieces and which was shown in the Divinely given types of the Law. Whoever taught this fundamental truth faithfully was a real help to the people of God. Yet even such a teacher might help them to build, even on this proper foundation, a faith and character structure which would not stand the tests of the great Day of the Lord; for the fire of that Day would surely prove the nature of this structure. Consequently, both teacher and pupil would suffer loss and be saved only "as through fire."
This prophecy of our text is still in process of fulfilment. The "refiners fire" is even now doing its work, and thousands and tens of thousands are falling all about us. The Prophets query is very pertinent at this time. We see that the false teachings which have come down during these many centuries since the Apostles fell asleep have made humanity incapable of reasoning correctly on religious subjects. In the past we have had our own experiences along this line. Whenever anything religious was mentioned we seemed to lose our common sense. Now we have lost our fear of the dread penalty of using our reason. We have come back to the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, and we find them grand and beautiful.
Those who have been teaching errors will soon be ashamed (Isaiah 66:5), while the fire of this Day will only manifest the Truth to all. No power, no tongue, no pen, can successfully contradict the Truth, the great Divine Plan of the Ages. It is strong before its enemies and before all who make assaults upon it, and ere long the folly of its foes shall be made known to the whole world. "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The coming of the King to possess His Kingdom will mean a personal as well as a national and a church examination, judgment and treatment. It will mean, when the Kingdom is fully inaugurated, the suppression of vice in a manner and to a degree never attempted by any earthly reformer. There will be no license to do evil in any form. The only liberty granted will be liberty to do right. It is no wonder that so few experience joy at the proclamation of the return of earths rightful King to reign. To many it will mean the loss of their present advantages over their fellowmen. To many it will mean the prohibition and cutting off of sins now indulged in and enjoyed.
Nevertheless, both the King and the Kingdom are not only coming, but are here; and the present troubles and shakings in church and state, and the general awakening of the people are the results of influences emanating from that King and Kingdom. Though men know it not, it is the smiting of the Kingdom of God that is even now preparing for the wreck of all the kingdoms of the earth, that the way may be opened for the establishment of righteousness in the world, that mens hearts may be humbled and prepared for the righteous Government which is to take control of earth. Worldly men cannot realize this; for this Kingdom cometh not with outward observationwith outward show and display. Therefore they cannot say, "Lo, here," or "Lo, there."
In spite of the awful trouble now raging, growing fiercer and more deadly every day, these continue to hope for peace, trying to convince themselves and others that the trouble must soon be brought to an end, and that matters will then go on as formerly. They blind themselves to the true conditions and refuse to believe that God has determined to permit this trouble to spread and involve the entire world and to bring about the utter overthrow of the Present Order of things. Selfishness, pride and love of money have closed their eyes. We give here an extract from a poem written some years ago by a Christian minister, which forcefully describes present conditions and the judgment of God which is now to be visited upon the world for their lasting good:
"Woe to the Age when gold is god, and law a solemn jest,
That helps the boldly vile to crush the noblest and the best!
When Mammon oer cheap millions flings his gilded harness strong,
And drives them tame beneath his lash down broad highways of wrong;
While Truths shrill clarion down the sky peals faintly oer the rout,
And dust and fumes of earth and sin shut Heavens blest sunlight out!
Then look for lightning!Gods red bolts must cleave the stifling gloom,
In righteous wrath to purge the world in Sodoms fearful doom!"
But we are thankful that while the judgments of a righteous God against sin must come at this time, yet the ultimate results will be glorious, when the world will come forth chastened, subdued, purified by the awful baptism of fire and blood; when they shall come to see that sin, selfishness and corruption have wrought their legitimate outcome. Then mankind will be ready to cry to the Lord and to long for His deliverance, and He will be entreated of them and will lift them up and bless them.
But the coming of the King means much trouble and the general overturning of the kingdoms of this world which, while professing to be kingdoms of God, are really under the control of the "prince of this world," Satan, "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." (John 14:30; 16:11; Ephesians 2:2) It means the shaking of society in a manner and to an extent never before known, and so thoroughly that another shaking will never be necessary. (Hebrews 12:26,27) It means the breaking in pieces of the empires and governments of the world as a potters vessel. It means the passing away of the present ecclesiastical "heavens," and the fall of many of its bright "stars." At present the sunlight of the true Gospel, and the moonlight of the Law with its types and shadows, are obscured by the thick clouds of worldly wisdom. "The sun shall be turned into darkness, the moon into blood."Joel 2:30,31.
While many would rejoice to see society relieved of many of its selfish, life-sapping ulcers, they seem to realize that so just and impartial a Judge as the Lord Himself might cut off certain long-cherished sins to which they desire to cling; they fear to have their personal selfishness touched. And their fears are well-founded. He will bring to light all the hidden things of darkness, and correct and suppress private as well as public sin and selfishness. He will expose depths of corruption never before realized. He will make "Justice the line and righteousness the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place." (R.V) He will "bring down them that dwell on High, the lofty city [Babylon] He layeth low, . . . even to the dust." He will bring down them who have "made lies their refuge."Isaiah 28:15,17,18; 26:5,6
It is written that the Day of the Lord would come as a thief and a snare upon the whole world, and that only Gods fully consecrated Church would be in the light and not be taken unawares. Many of the consecrated have been deceived by looking for the Heavenly King to come again in the flesh. They forgot that the only reason for His coming in the flesh at His First Advent was "for the suffering of death" as mans corresponding-price; and that now He is highly exalted, a glorious spirit Being. "He was put to death in flesh, but made alive in spirit." (1 Peter 3:18) They forgot that the Apostle Paul also said, "Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know we Him [so] no more." (2 Corinthians 5:16) The true children of God are coming more and more to see how the Master comes at His Second Advent, and are not expecting to see Him in the flesh and with their natural eyes.
We who know that the King of Glory and His blessed Kingdom are the only remedy for the wrongs and woes of man should be pointing the groaning creation to this Kingdom, rather than to the poultices of their own contriving which can do no real good. Tell them the meaning of present world-wide conditions, and how, beyond the troubles now overspreading the world, will come the glorious Times of Restitution foretold by all the holy Prophets since the world began. Tell them that the death of Jesus was the Redemption-price for the entire race of Adam, and that His return is for the purpose not only of delivering His Church, but to bind Satan and set free all His captives, including all who are in the graves, giving all who will an opportunity to come into the liberty of sons of God, under the terms of the New Covenant, soon to be established. [R5916]
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness."(Matthew 6:33)
AT THE beginning of our Lords earthly minis-try the Jewish nation were invited to become the Kingdom of God. The offer of Gods chief blessing was "to the Jew first." For many centuries they had been Gods special people. They had been called to be unto God "a kingdom of priests and an holy nation"a peculiar treasure unto God, composed of a priestly class and a chosen, holy people. (Exodus 19:5,6) We do not understand that all Israel from the time of the giving of the Law could have been of the Heavenly Kingdom, however faithful they might have been. None could be of this Kingdom class before Jesus came to earth; for He was the Forerunner of this class. The offer was made to the Jews of His day. But those of the nation who lived previously, and who had been faithful to God, true to their Covenant, shall be greatly blessed of the Lord on the human plane. They shall be used to bless all nations under Spiritual Israelthe Kingdom of God now being set up.
Gods special favor to the people of natural Israel in choosing them above any other nation was especially because they were the seed of His faithful friend, Abraham. God had promised Abraham that because of his faith and obedience his seed should be blessed. It was not because they were of themselves holier or better than other peoples. (See Exodus 32:9-13); (Deuteronomy 9:4-8) But for their fathers sakes God chose them to be His people.
At our Lords First Advent the time had come for the offer of membership in the Kingdom, for the testing of the whole nation of Israel, to prove whether they were ready for this choice blessing. Jesus was the One to offer this Kingdom; for He had consecrated Himself a Sacrifice for sin, which would constitute a basis for the establishment of the Kingdom on earth.
The Sermon on the Mount, from which our text is taken, points out the earnestness and singleness of heart necessary in those who would become members of the Kingdom class. The Master intimates that not all of this favored nation who heard His Message would be ready to accept it. Many were absorbed in the things of this lifein what they would eat, what they would drink, what they would wear. But in order to be ready to receive the proffered blessing, in order to be acceptable to God, they must make the Kingdom their first interest. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness," enjoined the Savior, not the earthly things. If the Kingdom was made first, all their earthly needs would be supplied; "All these things shall be added unto you," was His promise.
Not many of the Jews were ready for so drastic a Teacher. They had their own plansbusiness plans, political plans, social functions. Hence this invitation of Jesus to leave all to obtain a Kingdom of which they knew nothing and which seemed so intangible did not find a very ready response. The twelve Apostles were among the first to accept His offer. At the time of Jesus death, something over five hundred had joined themselves to Him as His disciples. Of these we are told that one hundred and twenty were gathered in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, where they received the begetting of the Holy Spirit. After Pentecost some thousands of Jews came to the point of decision to make the Kingdom of God their first business. These, however, were but a small minority of the nation of Israel.
Throughout this Gospel Age there have been a few who have heard the Call and accepted the conditions, who have determined to make the Kingdom of God the first consideration of their lives. Satan has tried to make many of these think that papacy is that Kingdom, or that Great Britain or Russia or some one of the other kingdoms of earth is that Kingdom. To others he brought a misinterpretation of the words of the Apostle, "The Kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit," and endeavored to make them think that all there was of the Kingdom of God was merely righteousness and holiness of life, living a godly life through the power of the Lords Spirit. How far all this is from the teaching of the Scriptures regarding the Kingdom can be readily seen by a study of the subject of the Kingdom of God as presented by the Holy Prophets, the Apostles and our Lord Jesus Himself. Truly we have a wily Adversary!
By these false ideas the true thought of the Kingdom was obscuredthe thought that God was selecting the members of the Kingdom class, the thought that we not only make a full consecration of our little all to the Lord according to His terms, but that we should continually put this vow of consecration into practice, counting all other things as loss and dross that we might win a membership in this glorious company of which Jesus is the Head. This obscuration of mind still continues with the majority of those who have professed the name of Christ; but the full complement of Body members of Christ is being secured, despite Satans vigorous efforts to prevent it. Now the number is almost full; indeed the few now coming in, we believe, are merely taking the places vacated by some who by unfaithfulness have lost the crown laid up for them; for we understand that the full number had accepted the offer and been begotten of the Spirit when the general Call ceased, in the fall of 1881. See STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Volume III., Chapter 6 "The Work of the Harvest".
In seeking the Kingdom of God we as Gentiles are to realize that the Lord has not changed from His original position held when He made the proposition to Israel that in order to obtain everlasting life they must keep the Law. There is no other way. God will not exalt to Kingdom honors any who are violators of His Law. The question then comes in, How can we keep the Law? If the Jews could not keep it in all those sixteen hundred years, how could we keep it? And does not the Lord say through the Apostle that by the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in His sight? To understand this is to understand some of the deep things of God; namely, that "God is in Christ reconciling the world [those from the world who now accept the Gospel Call] unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them."(2 Corinthians 5:19)
Christ kept the Law and satisfied Divine Justice for all who become His during the Gospel Age; and His merit is imputed to those who keep the Law in their heart and are hindered from keeping it absolutely by the weaknesses of their fallen flesh which they are unable to control. And so St. Paul says that the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. First of all, through the imputation of His merit to their mortal bodies, their flesh, our Redeemer covers their natural imperfections. Second, because that body so devoted, so justified, is sacrificed, He reckons them dead as human beings. They are then begotten to a new, a spirit nature.
Thenceforth their mortal body is counted as the body of the New Creature, no longer as a human body; for this was sacrificed. Actually, however, it is quickened to be the servant of the New Creature. Being still actually human, it must be given a robe of righteousness to wear until the end of the present life. This is furnished by our Savior.
The Apostle Paul, in speaking of our human bodies from the standpoint of our new relationship in Christ Jesus, says, "Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ?" (1 Corinthians 6:15) God no longer counts our fleshly body as the body of a human being. It is a member of Christ, the property of the spiritual New Creature. This New Creature keeps the Law of God. Wherein there is failure, it is not the New Creature that fails, but the imperfect flesh, which is covered by the pure, white robe of Christs righteousness. God looks upon it as the spotless body of this New Creature. Thus we stand perfect before Gods Law; thus the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us who are walking, not according to the flesh, but in the footsteps of Jesus.
Our text enjoins that we seek Gods righteousness. This seems to imply that for those He is now calling God has provided a righteousness. This righteousness is in Christ, and it must be accepted by every one who comes to God; otherwise, not having the righteousness of God and the assistance that goes with it, he will not be able to attain unto the Kingdom.
The New Creature is so in accord with the Lord that he will seek to bring his mortal body fully under the control of the Law of Love. He will seek to be altogether just toward his fellowmen, toward the brethren, and kind and merciful toward all. His entire life will be given up to attaining membership in the Heavenly Kingdom. This will lead him to serve the cause of Gods righteousness. Wherever Gods plans are set aside, he would be called upon to defend them in every reasonable way. He will be on the side of righteousness and truth. All who truly seek the Kingdom have this disposition.
When the Apostle Paul says that the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, we are to understand him to mean, as shown in the context, that the privileges of those who are of this Kingdom class do not consist merely in liberty to eat and drink things forbidden to those under the Law or to those in bondage to heathen superstitions, but our liberty is far superior to this. Those Jews who became followers of Christ were informed that they were now free from the regulations of the Law which restricted their food, etc. As to whether they would now eat pork or something else was thereafter to be regulated by conditions and circumstances. They had liberty in Christ that they had not, as Jews, previously enjoyed.
But St. Paul points out that this is not the chief libertyto be able to eat oysters, pork and other things forbidden by the Law. This permission would not be much of a blessing. The chief element of their freedom in Christ was that true righteousness and holiness which is the blessing and comfort of all those who are the sons of God. Nor was it the Apostles thought that righteousness, peace and joy constitute the Kingdom, but that these are the blessed results of membership in the Kingdom class. They are blessings which are the heritage of those who are heirs of the Kingdom, even while they are still under age, as it were, still being tutored and prepared for Kingdom service beyond the veil. All of the Lords people are now to rejoice in true righteousness, the righteousness of God, and to seek it above all else.[R5917]
LIKE MANY of our Christian friends, for a long time we did not understand how to "rightly divide the Word of Truth." (2 Tim. 2:15) We did not comprehend that Gods Plan provides, first, a heavenly salvation for the Church, and then an earthly salvation for mankind in general. The study of the Bible along Dispensational lines clears away all of our difficulties. It shows us that the promise that the redeemed "shall sit every man under his own vine and fig tree," and "long enjoy the work of his hands" (Mic. 4:4; Isa. 65:22), is Gods provision for Israel restored to Divine favor, and for all the families of the earth, but not for the Church. Of the true Church, the Bride of Christ, it is declared that her members shall, in the resurrection, be like unto the angelsheavenly or spirit beings.
St. Paul distinctly says of these, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." (I Cor. 15:50) Jesus tells these that He has gone to prepare them a place in the Fathers house on high. (John 14:2,3) But the place for man, the earth, already provided from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34), is a very different one from ours, of which we read, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." I Cor. 2:9; Isa. 64:4
Now we understand why it is that from Genesis to Malachi there is not one suggestion of a heavenly or spiritual hope for any natural man. Every promise is earthly. In Abrahams case, for instance, we read, "The Lord said unto Abram, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward, for all this land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee."Gen. 13:14-17
St. Paul refers to this difference between the hopes of the spirit-begotten Church, founded at Pentecost, and those of all others. Pointing to the faithful of the past, he declares that although they had Gods testimony to their faithfulness, nevertheless, they "received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they, without us, should not be made perfect."Heb. 11:38-40
As soon as we get our "better thing," our higher reward of "glory, honor, and immortality," in joint-heirship with our Lord as figuratively His Bridethen the worthy ones of ancient times will get their reward of resurrection to human perfection. Under Messiahs Kingdom, those perfect men will be "princes in all the earth." (Psa. 45:16) Then from the spiritual to the perfected earthly ones the blessings and instruction will descend for the poor, ignorant, selfish and superstitious world to help them, to uplift the obedient to the perfections illustrated in the perfected Worthies.
We have heard of the Sunday School teacher who told her class about heaven, about its pianos, harps, organs, horses and carriages, fruits and flowers, etc. We see that she was merely thinking of the blessings God has provided for the faithful and obedient of the world"in due time." She had no conception of the "heaven of heavens" promised to the faithful followers of Jesus in the "narrow way." The Great Teacher explains that it is impossible to describe heaven with its beauties and charms. He said to Nicodemus, "If I have told you of earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?"John 3:12
In line with this, the Bible makes no attempt to describe heaven itself, nor its inhabitants. We are merely told that "God is a Spirit," "dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see"personally. (John 4:24; I Tim. 6:16) Men must discern God in His worksthe noblest of which is the perfect manmade in His moral likeness, on the earthly plane, "a little lower than the angels" on the spirit plane. The most that His Word declares of our heavenly inheritance is that "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." I Cor. 2:9
But while refusing to inform us of the heavenly condition, God gives us a soul-satisfying portion. Through the Apostle He declares (I John 3:2), "It doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He [the glorified Jesus] shall appear [at His second advent, in power and great glory] we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." Others, not thus changed from human to spirit nature by the First Resurrection power, will not "see Him as He is," but only as He shall be revealed in His providences and judgments, which every eye shall recognize. How satisfactory! Beyond all that we could have asked or thought! "Like Him!"what more could we ask? "Like Him" whom God hath highly exalted "Far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named!" (Eph. 1:21) We stand amazed at such grace! Moreover, we can realize that He who called us to become "partakers of the divine nature" and joint-heirs with the Redeemer in His Mediatorial Kingdom has provided for our every comfort and joy in that heavenly state, the details of which we may not now grasp. Prophetically of these it is written, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake with Thy likeness."Psa. 17:15
It is the hope, the desire, the aim of every one of us to make our calling and election sureto so run that we may obtain that great "prize" of participation in the First Resurrection. Of that resurrection we read, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First [chief] Resurrection; on such the Second Death hath no power, but they shall be Priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." (Rev. 20:6) Let us have this in mind, dear friends, that our participation with our Lord in the glories of the Kingdom is dependent upon our faithfulness here in following Him through evil report and through good report; through honor and through dishonor; in the bearing of the cross along the way of self-denial.
When God would bring typical Israel out of Egypt, the first-borns had a peculiar salvation, or preservation, first. The night before the deliverance all the first-borns were in danger of death, and were saved only when under the blood of the passover lamb. We see the significance of this beautiful type. St. Paul tells us that Christ is our Passover Lamb, slain for us. We each have appropriated His flesh, His human nature, which He sacrificed on our behalf. We recognize His sacrifice, the blood of Atonement. We see that this entire Gospel Age is the antitype of that night. We are hoping to belong to the First-borns (begotten of the Holy Spirit) who, during this night-time of sin and death, will be passed over and, on account of the blood without and the lamb within, be accounted worthy of being passed overaccounted worthy of eternal life on the spirit plane as members of the Church of the First-bornparticipants in the First Resurrection, to glory, honor and immortality, with our Lord and like Him.
All of the first-borns of Israel passed over typified all of the Lords people, in all denominations and outside of all denominations, who are now passing from death unto life. In the type, however, the first-borns of every tribe were exchanged for the one tribe of Levithe priestly tribewhich thereafter typified the Church of the First-borns the "Household of Faith." Further, the Lord divided that tribe into two classes. A little handful were made priests and occupied a special position of favor and relationship and nearness to God. The remainder of that tribe were honored in being used as the assistants or servants of the priests. This is an allegory, or type.
The Church of the First-borns will consist of two classes, a "little flock" of priests, and a "great company" of the "household of faith," antitypical Levites, who will serve. The "little flock" of priests do their sacrificing now and, if faithful, will shortly be made a Royal Priesthood, a reigning Priesthood, joint-heirs with the great King of Glory and High Priest of our professionJesus. The "great company," however, typed in the ordinary Levites, will not be in the Throne, but serve before the Throne. They will not be "living stones" of the Temple, but will serve God in the Temple. They will not wear crowns of glory, though they will be granted palms of victory.
Which place will you or I occupy in the resurrection, in the General Assembly of the Church of the First-borns? Shall we be of the Royal Priesthood, or of the less honorable, but still blessed servants? Shall we be of the Bride class, or of the less honored "virgins, her companions, that follow her"?
It is for us to make our calling and election sure by our zeal, our earnestness, our devotion to the great King and His cause. He has called us to the highest plane of existence. It rests with us, under His wonderful and gracious arrangements, to determine whether we shall be passed over or not passed over; and if passed over, to determine whether we shall accept the place to which we are called, or the inferior place, which will be granted to those who do not keep their garments unspotted from the world and who, therefore, must come through "great tribulation" in order to enter into the Kingdom at all.
We exhort, therefore, that we strive, not only to be present at the Great Convention, the "General Assembly of the Church of the First-borns," but to make our "calling and election sure," that we may be of the Bride class, the Royal Priesthood class, the members of the Body of the Great Prophet, Priest and King of Glory! Let us encourage each other and be encouraged to maintain the good fight of faith, and to gain the victory, so far as our hearts are concerned, over the world, the flesh and the Adversary. Let us be so filled with the spirit of the Truth, the spirit of meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness and love, that we shall be a blessing to those in our homes, that they may take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus and have learned of Him; and that this blessing may thus overflow and abound to many hearts.
One of old was declared to be "a burning and a shining light." There is force in this expression. Some lights are cold, austere, unsympathetic; but the kind approved of the Master was the burning kindwarm, glowing, sympathetic, helpful, intensive! The Master Himself furnishes the best of all illustrations of the principle enunciated. He was the Light which came down from heavenundimmed, resplendent, shining forth to the utmost the light of Divine Truth! Not a cold, forbidding recluse was He, holding Himself aloof from the people with a haughty and disdainful spirit, telling coldly "Wonderful words of life." On the contrary, His entire life was sympathetic, whole-souled. One of the charges brought against Him by the cold Pharisees was, "He receiveth sinners and eateth with them." Even His disciples were shocked that He should converse with a woman of Samaria. But the common people heard Him gladly. While recognizing that He was far above their planewhile beholding in Him the glories of the "Only-begotten of the Father," they nevertheless were drawn to Him because He was the burning as well as the shining light. And they declared, "Never man spake like this man."John 7:46
Bible students are all Christians; though, alas! all "Christians" are not Bible students. True, Gods Book may even be read through by some who are unbelievers; and it may be scanned critically by opponents who seek to find fault with it and to entrap it, as they sought to find fault with the Master. These, however, are not Bible students in the proper sense of the word. Only those who have made a consecration of their lives to the Lord and are anxious to know the Divine will that they may conform their lives to it, and who, to attain this end, have entered the School of Christ to be taught of Himonly these are Bible students from our standpoint, searchers after the secrets of the Lord, because they love Him, and are appreciative of His glorious Plans and desirous of understanding them fully.
Such Bible students should be burning and shining lights in the world and amongst our fellow-Christians of all denominations, many of whom, alas! have much of the spirit of the world and are lacking in the spirit of the Truth itselfbecause they are not sufficiently Bible students.
"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven." We are not enjoined to make a show of carrying our Bibles everywhere in an ostentatious manner. We are exhorted to show forth in our daily lives the lessons we learn from its precious pages. As the Bible is the Lamp provided by the Lord to all those who walk in His footsteps, so each of these in turn is a lamp which should shine forth upon others the light, the knowledge, the Spirit of the Truth, for their satisfaction. In other words, the Holy Spirit is not poured out upon the world of mankind, but merely upon the Lords servants and handmaidens. It is an anointing for these, and upon these, evidencing to them that they have been begotten again, to the new nature, and making of them light-bearers for the benefit of othersburning and shining lights, sympathetic and helpful lights, "that they might show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light."
While keeping the lamp trimmed and burningwhile seeking to glorify God as burning and shining lights in the world, we must not forget that the Bible assures us that we shall be no more successful in converting the world than was our Master. His great light shone in darkness, "and the darkness comprehended it not." And the religionists of His day instigated His crucifixion.
The Masters prophecy concerning His followers will prove true to the end of the Age. The darkness hateth the light. "Marvel not, My brethren, if the world hate you"; "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you." (I John 3:13; John 15:18) It is altogether a mistake, therefore, to suppose that the Lords consecrated people, letting their light shine faithfully before men, could convert the world. Such was not Gods intention. It is the Church, not the world, that is being tested at the present time. The opposition of the world and all the powers of darkness serve to test us as New Creaturesto test our loyalty to God and to His Truth.
Whosoever receives the light of Truth intelligently must rejoice in it; and, rejoicing in it, he must let it shine out upon others, or, by covering his light with a bushel, he will demonstrate his lack of courage, lack of appreciation, lack of earnestnessqualities which the Lord is now specially seeking amongst those whom He has invited to be sharers with Jesus in the glories of the Mediatorial Kingdom about to be established amongst men. It is important, therefore, that we let our light shine before men; that we be willing, nay, glad, if need be, to suffer for our loyalty to the Lord and to His message. And we have His Word for it that whoever is ashamed of Him or of His Word now, of such He will be ashamed by and by. He will not own them as members of His Bride class, will not accept them as assistants with Him in His glorious Throne.
"The Light of the world is Jesus"; "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (John 1:9) Thus far Jesus has not been dealing with the world, but merely with the blessed ones who have the eye of faith and the ear of faith. "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear." (Matt. 13:16) The time for the enlightenment of the world will be after the special call of the elect. Then the Church, as the Bride, will be with the heavenly Bridegroom in His Throne. Then all now found faithful in the matter of letting their light shine will be associated with the great Light, Jesus, as members of His Body. Altogether they will constitute the great Sun of Righteousness, which will then arise with healing in its beams for the blessing of all the families of the earth; "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father; who hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matt. 13:43) He that hath a desire of heart, let him be obedient and thus make his "calling and election sure" to this glorious, chief salvation.[R4966]
1. Was Adam deceived?_____Scripture_________
2.Who will bruise the serpents head?_______ ________ Scripture:______________
3. God promised Abraham that in due time all the ______________of the earth will be blessed. Scripture________
4.Primarily the seed of Abraham is ____________________(the Head). Scripture: ________________
5. The spiritual seed of Abraham will consist of not only the Head but also the ______members of Christ. Scripture:_____________
6. The number of the body of Christ, when completely tested will be ______________. Scripture:
7. The attributes of the heavenly Father are ______, __________, __________ and _________. Scriptures________________ _________________ ____________ ___________
8. The fully consecrated of the Gospel Age have the privilege of filling up that which is behind of the aflictions of ____________________. Scripture:_______________
9. The ______resurrection occurs during the dawning of the Millennial Age. Scriptures:___________ ___________ _____________ ____________
10. The feet members of the body of Christ have the privilege of proclaiming the beginning of the reign of ______________. Scripture: _____________
Answer:Yes; the new mind is the New Creature. The Scriptural thought is that this New Creature is now an embryo. This embryo is to develop more and more, and take on the character-likeness of the Lord Jesus. Then will come the birth of the New Creature. The Lord uses the thought of begetting and birth as a picture. First, there is the begetting, and then the gradual development of the embryo; finally there comes the time for birth. But if anything checks the development of the embryo the birth will never take place; there will be a miscarriage. So the New Creature, begotten of the Holy Spirit, is in an embryotic condition, and must develop, or it will never be ready for the birth. The birth is the resurrection. As the Scriptures say, Jesus was the first-born from the dead and we are His brethren. He is the first-born amongst these many brethren; and we also must be born from the dead to share His glory.[R4961]
Answer:In reading this text and many other Scriptures we need continually to keep in mind the fact that those who are accepted of God as His children, as members of the Body of Christ, begotten of the Holy Spirit, are all classed as New Creatures and not as men. The New Creature, therefore, in this text, would be the ye"that ye sin not," as though the Apostle said, "The object of my writing is that you might realize the responsibility of abstaining from sin and continuing in Gods love." Then he informs us how this is to be accomplished. In this as in other respects he shows that the New Creature is responsible for the body. Anyone who would say that he was perfect and without flaw, would be deceiving himself. Nevertheless, these flaws are not of the New Creature, but chargeable to the flesh. If the New Creature should sin wilfully it would cease to be a New Creature, because the New Creature is begotten of the Spirit, has joined in the warfare against sin, and is facing in the very opposite direction from sin.
But if any man sin, let him not cast away his confidence in God, but let him remember that the Father, foreknowing that the New Creature could not control every thought and word and act of the flesh, has made provision for these, and has provided for us an Advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous. Our Lord has already become our Advocate. He has appeared on our behalfappeared before the Father and made satisfaction for us.Heb. 9:24
Remembering this, if we find that through lack of faith, or weakness of the flesh, a step has been taken which is contrary to the Lords will and our best spiritual interests, no time should be lost in retracing the step and in calling upon the Lord. We have an altar consecrated with the precious blood of Christ, far superior in every way to that altar which Abraham consecrated with the blood of typical animals, and the Apostle exhorts us, "Let us, therefore, come boldly [courageously full of faith] unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need."Heb. 4:16[R5041]
Answer:The Scriptures give us various illustrations of Satan, the "angel of light." He is compared to a serpent, a roaring lion, etc. Of course, he does not fill all of these pictures at one moment, nor does he go about as a roaring lion all the time. It is the custom of the lion to roar when in pursuit of food. The roar of the lion makes his preyincluding human beingssemi-paralyzed. From personal observation, we see that fear is one of the most disastrous things for the Lords people to haveexcept "fear of the Lord," which is proper fear. As God incites by love, so Satan incites through fear, through false doctrines, the root of error, which so terrorizes mankind as to the future. This kind of influence from the Adversary is what is meant by the Apostle. But we are to resist Satan.
Once the Apostles were under threat from the Jewish Sanhedrin; and they prayed, "Now, Lord, behold their threatenings." This statement, however, does not prove that the men of the Sanhedrin were devils, nor that they were viciously inclined of themselves. So today there are some people more or less beclouded by the threatenings of those who are seeking to intimidate the Lords people. We are to be of good courage. When we hear the roaring of the lion we are to remember that the Lord is on our part and that He does not cause us to fear. The thought that Satan opposes us and that we are contending, not merely with the fallen flesh, but also with wicked spirits in high positions of power, would appal us if we did not, by positiveness of decision, acquire great help from other unseen powers. From the instant that we resist temptation and stand up for the Lord and His cause we become strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. "If God be for us, who can be against us?"[R4988]
Answer: There is nothing inconsistent in the Bible presentation of the resurrection. Not from the Bible, but from men, comes the suggestion of the resurrection of the body. The Bible invariably refers to the resurrection of the soul. It is the soul that dies; as we read, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Adam was created a living soul, but his living soul came under the death sentence because he disobeyed God. It was his soul that was redeemed from death, not his body. "I will redeem thy life from destruction."Psalm 103:4
To accomplish this redemption, we read that Christ Jesus "poured out His soul unto death"; "He made His soul an offering for sin." Moreover, we are particularly told that it was the soul of Jesus that was raised from the dead: "Thou wilt not leave My soul in sheol. St. Peter quotes this statement as prophetical of the resurrection of Jesus, that His soul was not left in hades; God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day. With what body do the dead come? is a totally different question. Some dead souls, in the resurrection, will come forth with spirit bodies, and others with human bodies, according to the Bible. But the important part is, that it is the soul, the being, that comes forth, that is resurrectednot the body. If the soul dies, as the Bible declares, then manifestly the soul should be resurrected. [R5017]
Answer: Many have remarked at the peculiarity of St. Pauls statement that he saw the Lord as one prematurely born. But, if at first the statement was dark and puzzling, now it is luminous and enlightening. His thought is this: the time for giving ocular demonstrations of the Lords resurrection had gone by; the next manifestation of Him is to be to His saints, and after that to the world. Thus we read: "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is"made like Him by our resurrection change from the human conditions to the spirit conditions; yea, to the divine plane.
Strictly speaking, then, the experiences of Saul of Tarsus were out of the ordinary. No one else than he alone, not even the saintly, were to see the Lord before their resurrection change, in the end of this Age. When, therefore, he saw Jesus, he saw Him before the timemore than eighteen centuries before the time. Moreover, he saw Him as one born before the timeas one resurrected before the time. We are to have in mind the Scriptural use of this word bornthat the Church must all be begotten of the Holy Spirit in order to experience the resurrection birth.
Thus, concerning our Redeemers resurrection, we read: "He was the First-born from the dead"; and again, "He was the First-born of many brethren." So the hope of all of Gods people is that the begetting of the Holy Spirit in the present time will be followed by the resurrection birth, which St. Paul describes in this same chapter, saying, "It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown an animal body, it is raised a spirit body." I Cor. 15:43
With these things before our mental eye we see the meaning of the Apostle in the words: "He was seen of me, also, as of one born before the time." He was not thus seen by the other Apostles. They saw Him merely as He appearedsometimes in one form of body and with appropriate clothing, at other times in another form, and with diverse clothing. He appeared and disappeared, but they did not see Him, the New Creature; they saw merely the various forms in which He appeared. But St. Paul saw the Lord more nearly as all the saints shall see Him when they shall be born from the dead by the glorious resurrection change.[R5034]
(Thursday Text from Daily Heavenly Manna)
The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. Matthew 20:28
IF the consecration be to the Lord, then every sacrifice of our just rights and interests on behalf of ourselves as New Creatures, on behalf of husband or children, father or mother, neighbors or friends, brethren in Christ, is counted of the Lord as so much done to Him; whereas if the very same services were rendered from any other standpointby any one unjustified, and not consecrated to the Lord, or merely done to the individuals and not as a sacrifice unto the Lordthese things would not count to us as priests, as our sacrifices. Z.03-407 R3266:4
this is the promise that He hath promised
WE all should understand that we have something to do in realizing the gracious promises of God to us. In connection with the affairs of this present life He has promised that our bread and water shall be sure, but this does not imply that we shall neglect reasonable opportunities for securing these. He has promised us also a share in the Kingdom by and by; but it is for us to make our calling and election sure. God is thoroughly capable and thoroughly willing to perform all of His part in connection with every matter, but it is to our advantage that He calls us to show our faith by our worksby our co-operation with Him in all reasonable ways. Z.03-175 R3205:4
the fig tree shall not blossom, neither
WE see that God permits evil in the world that the world may learn certain lessons of bitter experience as to the natural rewards of evil doing, but we see also a ministry of evil in respect to the saintsin their testing and polishing and refining; making them ready, and proving them worthy, as overcomers, to inherit the wonderful things which God has in reservation for the faithful. Z.03-94 R3168:2
hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of
THE spirit of the Lord imparted to His people is not a spirit of fear, but on the contrary a spirit of power, energy, zeal awakened by love;loving devotion to God, and a desire to please and serve Him; loving devotion to the Truth, and a loving devotion to Gods people and a desire to build them up in holy things, and to do good unto all men as we have opportunity,... a spirit of a "sound mind;" a mind that is fortified and strengthened by the Word of the Lord on every subject, and hence, while thoroughly fearless of man, is wise in judging of times, seasons and methods for using the energy of love which burns as a fire within the consecrated heart. Z.97-170 R2166:1
I leave with you, My peace I give unto
THE more we overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, the more we seek to do the will of our Father who is in heaven, the more we seek for the fellowship and communion of our dear Redeemer, the more we seek to do those things which are pleasing in His sight, so much the more will we have of the joy and peace which no man taketh from us, and which trials, difficulties and persecutions can only make the more sweet and precious. Z.97-306 R2232:5
"Ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."John 16:22
He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. Psalm 40:3
THE filling of the Spirit of the Lord leads to songs and rejoicings, not only with the lips but with the heart,refreshing, comforting, and uplifting, not only the singer, but also the hearer. It is this "new song" in the heart that constitutes the Christian a separate and distinct being from all others about him. Because it is in the heart, therefore, it must be in the mouth also, and must influence all the affairs of life; for we cannot but speak the things which have so wonderfully uplifted and refreshed our souls. Z.02-75
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