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VOL. XXVIII AUGUST 1. No. 15
A.D. 1907—A.M. 6035
“Fighting Against God”……………………….227
Hospitality at Conventions……………………228
Berean Bible Study in Tabernacle Shadows……….228
In the Presence of the King (Poem)…………….229
“Better Sacrifices Than These”………………..229
The “Mystery”—the Church…………………230
The Merit was in the Bullock………………231
All the Righteous Blood Required…………..232
Guided in a Long Journey……………………..233
Set Forth for an Example………………….234
“Much Advantage Everyway”…………………234
Spiritual Israel Still More Blessed………..235
The Far-West Convention Tour………………….236
An Interesting Question Answered………………239
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A STRIKE at the bindery which does our work has delayed shipment of MANNA to Great Britain and also the orders of some colporteurs. It is over now, and all orders will soon be filled.
This year’s Volunteer tracts are going out very rapidly. We are doing our best to keep up with the increased demand and rejoice that an increasing number of the Lord’s people are appreciating this privilege and will gain a spiritual blessing therefrom. We request that all who send in orders specify particularly the quantities they can and will use judiciously and promptly. We will be glad to double the shipments.
THE TABERNACLE AND THE PRIESTS
These two beautiful chromos, considerably delayed, are now in good supply and should be in all of our homes—to remind us of their glorious antitypes, of which we have been studying for some time past in our “Berean Lessons.”
By getting them out in large quantities we can supply them at 30c per pair, or 4 pairs for $1.00, post or express prepaid by us. They are very handsome and easily worth several times the price. We merely aim to meet the cost. The foreign shipments will go forward at once. We regret the delay.
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“FIGHTING AGAINST GOD”
GAMALIEL gave evidence of his wisdom in the advice he proffered to his Jewish friends of the Sanhedrin when they were about to deal harshly with the early disciples. His wise words were, “Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. … Refrain from these men, let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men it will come to naught: but if it be of God ye cannot overthrow it; lest ye be found to be fighting against God.” (Acts 5:35-39.) Alas that so many who have named the name of Christ, and to some extent become partakers of the holy Spirit, and to some extent been taught in the school of Christ, and to some extent possess the wisdom that cometh from above—alas that so many of these seem to have less wisdom than is expressed in Gamaliel’s words just quoted.
Some people by nature have so little combativeness that they lack strength of character, are too pliable, “wishy-washy”: they lack the qualities of an overcomer, and need continually to seek grace and help from on high to take a stand for the truth and for righteousness. Otherwise they surely cannot be expected to come off more than conquerors. The Lord is seeking for his little flock those who have character, firmness, strength, as well as gentleness, meekness, patience, love. The happy combination which the Lord seeks is not found anywhere, however. All who come to him need to be refashioned in some respects to make them acceptable. Consequently on the other side of the question we find that some who have strong characters naturally have such strong combativeness that it is continually bringing them into trouble and needs to be curbed, brought under restraint.
It is difficult to say which of the two classes referred to has the advantage over the other. The one class must cultivate what the other class must restrain, and probably, all things considered, their chances are about equal in the matter of winning the race. However, those who have large combativeness, who are aggressive, forceful, usually attract more attention in the Church by reason of these qualities, and usually awaken more opposition even though they do not make enemies amongst those who love one another. The too pliable and docile are apt to think of themselves too favorably, and are very likely to be too favorably thought of by others as respects their qualifications for the Kingdom. Those who are strong and forceful are apt to be too roundly censured by others and to be too blind to the fact themselves. Oh, that we all could have sound minds! but since this is impossible, Oh, that we all could have a large measure of the spirit of a sound mind, and the ability to weigh ourselves according to the divine standard!
These words are specially intended to assist the dear brethren and sisters troubled with too large a degree of combativeness, disposed to be too aggressive. The Lord certainly showed markedly, particularly, his love for the strong characters when from amongst the twelve he selected Peter, James and John, the three most radical and aggressive of the apostles, as in some respects his favorites. So, then, those who have the aggressive quality by nature must not feel that it is a bar to their attainment of the Lord’s “Well done,” but rather that it is a good quality of itself if only it can be restrained and brought within proper bounds. They should see, as Gamaliel did, the danger of using their combativeness and aggressiveness against the Lord, against the Truth, against the brethren.
Our Lord says, “His servants ye are to whom ye render service.” (Rom. 6:16.) The question is not, To whom do we profess to render service? nor, To whom do we think we are rendering service? but, Whose cause do we actually serve? From this standpoint, looking out over Christendom today, we ask ourselves, How many are serving God? and How many imagine they are serving him while they are really serving the Adversary?—really “fighting against God”? Serving Christendom
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we find hundreds of thousands of professed ministers of the Gospel, and millions of professed Christians fighting under various banners, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, etc.,—but whom are they fighting? Satan? Error? Like Saul of Tarsus many of them will shortly have their eyes opened to the fact that, so far from being soldiers of the cross, they are fighting against God, against the real soldiers of the cross, the followers of the Lamb. What a bitter disappointment will be theirs! how we wish that we could awaken them now to an examination of the commands of the great Chief Captain, that they might see that they are working and fighting under orders and directions not from him, but from human leaders and captains, some of these from the “dark ages,” dead and buried.
We are glad to hope that if the Truth could be flashed from heaven many of these strong characters that are now fighting for sectarianism, and some of them for Antichrist, would fall astonished, humiliated, at the Master’s feet, crying, “What wilt thou have me to do?”
Let us remember the Lord’s words through the Apostle: “The Lord resisteth the proud but showeth favor to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” These verses, we believe, are a key to much of the error along the lines we have indicated. A strong character affected by a measure of pride is apt to take a wrong course from which it is almost impossible for him to recede. But if humility be there the strength, the combativeness, will be under proportionate control, and that much easier will it be for the individual to receive the proper instructions from the Lord, and to follow them, and to be fitted, polished and prepared for a place in the Kingdom. This same principle applies amongst those who have already received as a blessing from the Lord the light of Present Truth. We still need the humility that will enable us, if too lacking in character, strength, to acknowledge the same and seek it from the Lord. And we still need the humility which will keep close watch upon every word and act and thought, even with a view to having all in complete subjection to the will of the Lord that we be found not fighting against the Lord or against the Truth or against the brethren. How careful we should be to watch for the leadings of the Lord’s providences, not only in our own experiences, but also in the words and experiences of others, and particularly to measure everything by the divine standards and not by our own opinions and preferences!
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HOSPITALITY AT CONVENTIONS
THE Scriptures everywhere commend hospitality, and the Apostle points us to the fact that Abraham entertained three men who were strangers, and knew not until afterward that they were angels. We are glad to note the growth of a hospitable spirit amongst all the dear friends of the Truth everywhere. We would not say a word in restraint of this, believing that it signifies an enlargement of heart that is pleasing to the Lord and profitable to the individuals themselves. We do wish, however, to suggest that there are times when hospitality in the way of entertaining the friends at our homes might really be injurious to the interests we desire to serve. For instance, at Convention times those who endeavor to be hospitable will usually find their strength so taxed, their time so taken up, that they fail to get the spiritual blessings which they had anticipated. This is not right—not wise. Your first obligation is to yourself and your own family. We urge, therefore, that at Convention times you seek to have everything as simple and plain as possible, that your mind may be given to the spiritual food and to the arrangement of the Bridal dress, remembering that it is written of the Bride class, “The Bride hath made herself ready,” and that this means special care of our wedding-garment.
It would be well for visiting friends to come expecting to take their meals at a restaurant, and if they lodge with others, to do their share or a little more in the way of lightening the home burdens, that all may rejoice together and have a spiritual feast. At an economical restaurant dinners need cost little more than they cost at home, and that little is more than offset by the increased rest and peace which this method affords. “Whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do, let us do all to the glory of God.”—I Corinthians 10:31.
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BEREAN BIBLE STUDY IN TABERNACLE SHADOWS
SACRIFICES SUBSEQUENT TO THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
To what time do the sacrifices of the children of Israel, offered after the Day of Atonement, apply? T.93, par. 1 (first five lines).
Is there any sense in which they apply to any other time? Luke 16:1-8; Matt. 10:42. T.93, par. 1 (commence 5th line).
Why do the Day of Atonement sacrifices precede all others? T.94, par. 1 (down to sixth line).
After the sacrifices of the Gospel Age have brought the world into a justified condition (justified to life-rights) will there still be need for further reconciliation? and why? T.94, par. 1 (6th line down).
Explain the difference between the Atonement Day sacrifices, offered during the Gospel Age, and the “trespass-offerings,” or “sin-offerings,” of the world during the Millennial Age. T.94, par. 2.
Will “consecration” be in order during the next age? and if so how will it differ from consecration now? T.94, par. 3.
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How will the fact be shown in the next age that the people recognize the sacrifices of this age as the basis for the forgiveness of their sins? and how was this indicated in the type? Lev. 17:1-9; see also Lev. 1-5. T.94, par. 4.
Will all the blinding influences of the present be done away with during the next age? I Tim. 2:4; Isa. 29:18; 25:6-8; 11:9; 42:6,7,16; T.95, par. 1 (1st three lines).
What is included in the term “Adamic death”? T.95, par. 1 (4th line to 9th).
Will each one of the world be required to cooperate in his own salvation? T.95, par. 1 (9th line on).
When will the people be able to offer “bullocks” to the Lord? Psa. 51:19; Lev. 1:3; T.96, par. 1.
THE PEOPLE’S BURNT-OFFERINGS
Were the “burnt-offerings” of the people, in the type, offered only occasionally? Lev. 6:9,12,13. T.97, par. 1.
What did this represent to the mind of each offerer? Lev. 1; T.97, par. 2.
THE PEOPLE’S PEACE-OFFERINGS
What was the “peace-offering”? and what did it typify? Lev. 3; 7:11-18,30-34; 7:19-21; Rev. 20:9,13-15; T.98, par. 1 and 2.
What other offering accompanied the “peace-offering”? and what did this signify in the antitype? Lev. 7:11-13; T.98, par. 3.
THE PEOPLE’S MEAT-OFFERINGS
What were the “meat-offerings” of the people? and what did they represent? Lev. 2:1-11; 7:9,10; Eph. 3:21; T.98, par. 4.
THE PEOPLE’S TRESPASS OR SIN-OFFERINGS
What were the “sin-offerings” or “trespass-offerings” of the people? and what did these typify? Lev. 5:15-19; 6:1-7; T.99, par. 1 and 2.
Show the difference in the treatment of these “sin-offerings” and the “sin-offerings” of the Day of Atonement, and apply it to the antitype. T.99, par. 3, and 100, par. 1.
State in what manner this “ministry of reconciliation” can be applied during the present age. T.100, par. 2.
In what further particular did the treatment of the Atonement Day sacrifices differ from that of the people’s “sin-offerings”? Lev. 6:24-26,29,30; Heb. 13:11; T.100, par. 3.
MALE AND FEMALE DISTINCTIONS TO CEASE
Are the distinctions of “male” and “female” always to exist? T.100, par. 4.
If not, why and when will such distinctions cease? T.101, par. 1.
Is the Church the Bride of the man Christ Jesus? Rom. 7:4; T.102, par. 1.
Will these distinctions of sex cease both with the human race and with the glorified Church? Jer. 33:16; 23:6; Isa. 9:6; E.44, 45; T.102, par. 2.
How is this thought shown in the type: that when the Church is glorified all sex distinctions will cease? T.102, par. 3 (1st four lines).
Do the teachings and example of Christ and the Apostle show that woman in the Church in the flesh is not to be a public teacher or leader? Eph. 4:11,12, Diag.; I Tim. 2:11-13; I Cor. 14:34,35; T.102, par. 3 (from fourth line down).
Are the sisters, equally with the brethren, prospective members of the Body of Christ? 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:28,29. See F.491, 492. T.103, par. 1.
How has the Adversary entrapped and deceived the world along this line? T.103, par. 2.
Has this unscriptural course been a real advantage to women? T.103, par. 3.
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IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING
If we could always feel each little thing
We do, each hour we spend
Within the presence of the King,
What dignity ‘twould lend!
If we could realize our every thought
Is known to him, our King,
With how great carefulness would it be fraught,
And what a blessing bring!
If, when some sharp word leaves a cruel sting
Our faith could know and feel
‘Twas heard within the presence of the King,
How soon the wound would heal!
Oh, when the song of life seems hard to sing,
And darker grows the way,
Draw nearer to the presence of the King,
And night shall turn to day! —G. W. S.
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“BETTER SACRIFICES THAN THESE”
—LEVITICUS 16:5-22—AUGUST 18—
Golden Text:—”Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.”—Heb. 7:25
ONLY those who through the teachings of the New Testament discern that the divine arrangements for fleshly Israel were typical of higher things pertaining to Spiritual Israel—only these are prepared to get proper lessons from the Old Testament Scriptures, and particularly from the institution established by the Lord with Israel through Moses, the mediator of their Law Covenant. The Apostle refers to this on various occasions, assuring us that Israel’s arrangements were shadows of better things to follow, and that the substance belongs to Christ, Head and Body, the Church. As those to whom the substance belongs, it is proper that we should understand the types that we may better appreciate the substance, the reality.
To fleshly Israel God appointed five great festivals, all
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typical. (1) The Feast of Trumpets—welcoming the new civil year on the first of Tizri (September, October), one day only. The feast was of special significance every fiftieth year, when the blowing of the silver trumpets announced the jubilee—typical of the “times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began.”—Acts 3:21.
(2) The Passover on the 15th of Nisan or Abib (April)—the first month of the sacred year. It lasted seven days.
(3) The Feast of Pentecost (in Sivan, end of May)—the first-fruits of the harvest.
(4) The Feast of Tabernacles, in Tizri (beginning the 15th),—the Feast of In-gathering or thanksgiving.
(5) The great Day of Atonement (the 10th of Tizri) lasted one day only. While it is named as one of the enjoined festivals it was not a joyous one, but was observed with fasting, mourning (for sin) and prayer, and was esteemed a time for reformation and good resolutions, and a desire for divine favor for the year in advance. It is the work of this day which constitutes our present lesson. Its sacrifices and offerings were not in respect to the sins of the preceding year, as some have suggested. Each Atonement Day made reconciliation for the sins of the people for the ensuing year, and under its arrangement they were God’s people and treated as though they were free from original sin, the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement being reckoned as covering the Adamic condemnation. At the close of each year, therefore, the people were reckonedly back again under Adamic condemnation, and fresh offerings, sacrifices, were made to bring them again into God’s favor for another year. The Apostle points out that these remembrances of sin every year—”year by year continually”—(Heb. 10:1), evidenced the fact that the Adamic guilt was not actually cancelled, but merely temporarily covered. But he also points out that the better sacrifices, the real sin-offering which God has ordained and which will be effected through the Christ, will need no repetition, because its cancellation of sins will be forever,—”For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified”—set apart as members of his Body.—Heb. 10:14.
The sin-offerings of this Day of Atonement were two—a bullock and a goat—the “Lord’s goat” as in contrast with the “scape-goat.” Our lesson should properly have begun with the opening of the chapter, had those who arranged it studied the “key of knowledge” respecting the anti-typical meaning; for the bullock of the sin-offering was by far the more important of the two. Not only did it take precedence, but it was a larger and better sacrifice. The bullock, as we have shown,* typified our Lord Jesus in his person, the great sacrifice for sins. The application of the atonement made by the sacrifice of the bullock—the sprinkling of its blood upon the Mercy Seat—was specially stated to be for the Priest and his house.
*See “Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices,” 10c per copy; also Tabernacle and Priests, illustrations, with metal mountings, 30c for both, 4 sets $1.
THE “MYSTERY”—THE CHURCH
The Apostle frequently refers to the “mystery” hidden from past ages and dispensations, but now made known unto the saints, namely, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27.) Only those who discern this “hidden mystery” (see “The Divine Plan of the Ages,” Chap. V.) can appreciate the meaning of the statement that the atonement made by the blood of the bullock was for the Priest and his house. The majority of readers would get the thought that it was made for the High Priest’s own sinfulness, and constituted his cleansing and the Lord’s blessing upon his home. But those who understand the “hidden mystery” perceive that the High Priest himself represented Jesus, the Head, and the Church, his Body—in another figure Jesus the High Priest and the Church the under-priesthood—the “little flock.” And these understand that his “house” refers not to his abode, but to his family or household, which in Aaron’s case was the tribe of Levi, and antitypically represents the household of faith, related to Christ, the Head of the Church, his Body. From this standpoint of appreciation of the “hidden mystery” we perceive that the killing of the bullock represented the sacrifice of our Lord as the man Christ Jesus, and that the benefit, the result of that sacrifice, applied to the entire household of faith, especially the Church, which is the Body of Christ—the Head not needing the atonement, as indicated by the fact that the head of the High Priest was uncovered.
Had God so pleased he might have had only the one sacrifice on the Day of Atonement—the sacrifice of the bullock,
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representing the death of our Lord Jesus. But it pleased God to arrange otherwise in the ceremonies of this Atonement Day. God purposed, as the Apostle declares, not only to accept the consecrated believers as members of the Body of Christ, but to give them a share with the Lord in his suffering as his members, and ultimately to give them also a share as his members in the glory that should follow—the glory, honor and immortality of the Kingdom. The New Testament abounds with exhortations to the Lord’s disciples to make a full consecration of themselves, even unto death, to be baptized with Christ’s baptism unto death, to suffer with him that they might also reign with him, to be dead with him that they might also live with him. The Apostle also declares that we fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ—suffering for the sake of being members of his Body, the Church.
It should not surprise us to find that this sacrificing on the part of the Body of Christ, which has been in progress for more than eighteen centuries, and which is so prominently marked throughout all the exhortations of the New Testament, is also marked with prominence in the type. Many have treated lightly and as hypocritical language the words of the Apostle, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies living sacrifices unto God, holy, acceptable, your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1.) But as we look into the typical picture of this Gospel Age—the Day of Atonement—we find the sufferings of the Body of Christ clearly set forth, represented in the sacrifice of the Lord’s goat. The leanness of the goat as compared with the young bullock fitly represents the inferiority of the Church and anything she has to offer unto the Lord in sacrifice, as compared with the riches of grace which reside in her Lord, who gave the important sacrifice, the basis of our offerings,
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without which nothing that we could offer would have any value or be at all acceptable before the Father. The fat of the sacrifices was offered to the Lord upon the altar, and represented the love and zeal of the sacrificer. In the case of the bullock there was much fat, in the case of the goat little, representing that the followers of Jesus have by nature comparatively little that they can offer to the Lord at all.
THE MERIT WAS IN THE BULLOCK
The type also shows that until the bullock was offered the goat’s sacrifice would count as nothing, because it is distinctly stated that everything was to be done to the goat that had previously been done to the bullock, just as we are told by the Lord that we must walk in his steps, must suffer with him, must take up our cross and follow him, must go to him without the camp bearing his reproach, so the hoofs, hides, etc., of the goat were burned without the camp, in the place and after the manner that the hoofs, hide, etc., of the bullock had previously been burned. (See “Tabernacle Shadows.”)
Both sacrifices—that of the bullock and that of the Lord’s goat—were requisite to complete the atonement for the sins of the people. The Body of Christ and the household of faith have imputed to them the merit of Jesus’ sacrifice for sins, and they are thus counted as justified freely from all things through faith in his blood. And before our sacrifices could have any value in God’s sight it was necessary that first we should be adopted or accepted as figurative members of the High Priest. Thus the Apostle declares, “Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price,” and recognizing this we have given over our wills, ourselves to the Lord, agreeing to be dead to self and alive only as his members, and as his members we suffer under his direction as our Head. From this standpoint the sufferings of the members of the Body of Christ are the Lord’s own sufferings. From this standpoint the prophets speak of the sufferings of Christ—Jesus, the Head, and the Church, his members—and the glory that should follow. The revelation of divine glory and the blessing of the world do not follow the sufferings of Jesus alone, but will follow the completion of the sufferings of Christ when all of his members shall have been offered—presented as living sacrifices.
Looking at the type we see the clear distinction between the result of the sprinkling of the blood of the bullock on the Mercy Seat and the result of the sprinkling of the blood of the Lord’s goat upon the Mercy Seat. When the former was accomplished it meant the forgiveness and reconciliation of the members of the Priest’s body and all of his household, the household of faith. When the latter was accomplished it meant the forgiveness of the sins of all the people—the taking away of the sin of the world. It was the Lamb of God which was to take away the sin of the world, and our Lord Jesus was that Lamb of God; and it is through his merit that Adam’s sin, the sin of the world, shall be forgiven, blotted out, set aside. He was in a particular sense the Passover Lamb, not one bone of which should be broken; but the little flock, his members, are in a larger sense his flesh and his bones, and are never to be separated from him, but to be forever with the Lord in heavenly Kingdom and glory. From this standpoint it will be seen that the antitype of the Day of Atonement is the entire Gospel Age—in which from first to last Jesus and all the members of his consecrated “little flock” will suffer, and by the end of which all sin atonement will be completed and the blessing of the divine forgiveness be extended to all the families of the earth, in harmony with the Abrahamic Covenant—”In thy Seed (the Christ, Head and Body) all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
CASTING LOTS ON THE TWO GOATS
The two goats standing at the door of the Tabernacle represent all of the Lord’s consecrated Church at this present time, but show us that it consists of two classes. Both classes were consecrated alike, but both do not go through the same experiences. The one class follows precisely the experiences of the Lord, as the goat’s experiences corresponded to those of the bullock; but the other class, typified by the scape-goat, is the Great Company, who, while making a full consecration of self-sacrifice in the same manner as do the little flock, hold back, neglect to lay down their lives sacrificially and experience therefor the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor. 5:5.) These two classes, we remember, are distinctly shown in Revelation 7. The little flock—144,000, the Spiritual Israelites—represent the faithful members of the Body of Christ glorified; the other, a great multitude whose number was not fixed or predestinated by the Lord, which will come through tribulation and receive palm-branches as servants before the throne, rather than crowns as overcomers in the throne.
The casting of lots as between the two goats seems to have been intended to signify that the Lord does not arbitrarily determine which of the consecrated shall go into either of these classes, but rather that he leaves the matter to us, accepting whomsoever manifests the proper zeal in sacrifice and thus attests his loyalty, showing that he is a copy of God’s dear Son. This shows that it is not sufficient to make consecration to the Lord, but that we must proceed to fulfil the terms of our covenant if we would belong to the Lord’s goat class—we must suffer, we must sacrifice, and thus make our calling and election sure as members of the Body of the Priest.
“FOR JEHOVAH” OR “FOR AZAZEL”
We shall not go into all the details of this Day of Atonement, surmising that all of our readers possess the little pamphlet, “Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices,” in which the matter is treated in considerable detail. In harmony with the arrangement of the lesson we are giving special prominence to the two goats.
In the Hebrew, when the lot had been cast upon the goats, one was declared to be for Jehovah and the other for Azazel. The significance of the word Azazel is not very clear, but according to the majority of modern scholars it stood for the prince of darkness; and in Milton’s “Paradise Lost” Azazel is represented as the standard-bearer of the infernal hosts—the prince of devils. We agree with this interpretation because it corresponds well with the expression of the Apostle, who—when referring to one class of the consecrated members of the Body of Christ who had not been living up to their privileges—declares, “Absent in body but present with you in mind, I have delivered over such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Cor. 5:3-5.)
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Similarly we understand that the Great Company, those who have consecrated but failed to sacrifice voluntarily, will be delivered over to Satan for his buffetings, and pass through a great tribulation, with a view to effecting in them by this means a proper penitence for sin and a proper appreciation of the divine standard of truth and righteousness. The majority of this neglected class the Scriptures seem to intimate will be found in the end of this age—though doubtless there have been some of the same class throughout the age.
The scape-goat does not represent a sin-loving class nor a class which has denied the Lord, but a class of consecrated believers overcharged with the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches, and not sufficiently loyal to the Lord and their covenant to forsake all and walk in the footsteps
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of the Master in self-sacrifice. This class, particularly large in the present day, will be delivered over to the Adversary—to suffer in a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation—the great time of trouble with which this age will end. Such of them as fail to respond to those tribulations and to seek the Lord will die the Second Death, but such as respond faithfully and loyally will be counted as overcomers, and be granted the palms of victory shown in Revelation 7, and be privileged to a share at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the glories and honors of that occasion. It is only their failure to appreciate their present privileges in voluntary sacrificing that will deter them from gaining membership in the Bride class, and their highest position of honor will be as the “virgins, her companions, who follow her [the Bride.]”—Psalm 45:14.
TWO CLASSES OF SINS
This scape-goat is not sacrificed, does not come upon the Lord’s altar, but is sent away into the wilderness for the “destruction of the flesh.” The wide difference between sacrifice and destruction must be observed and appreciated. The Apostle reminds us that the bodies of those beasts (whose blood was brought within the vail to make atonement on the Mercy Seat) were burned outside the camp, and then he urges the faithful, “Let us go to him without the camp, bearing the reproach with him.” (Heb. 13:13.) Thus the Apostle shows that our Lord Jesus was represented in one of those animals and that we were represented in the other—if we are willing to go with him outside the camp into disrepute, bearing his reproaches and sharing them as members of his Body.
Let us notice the two classes of sins referred to in our lesson, the one propitiated by the blood of the bullock and the goat in the Most Holy, and the other confessed upon the head of the scape-goat, which bore them away. The propitiated sin is the Adamic sin, on account of which the sentence of death passed upon all and weaknesses and imperfections have thus come upon all. This is what is termed original sin, whose curse or blight rests upon the race as a whole. But there are other sins than the original one and its weaknesses and imperfections which we inherit, and which the Lord has cancelled so far as the household of faith is concerned, and which he has arranged to cancel so far as the world is concerned. The other sins are stipulated as iniquities, transgressions—in fact, embrace all sins not included in those atoned for by the blood of the bullock and of the goat.
We have not far to look if we would see these iniquities or inequities of the world, especially of “Christendom.” There is today considerable light shining upon the whole world, especially on the civilized portion. The principles of righteousness set forth in the Jewish Law and subsequently amplified by the Lord and the apostles, have enlightened the minds of the public in general in respect to justice and injustice, right and wrong, good and evil, so that there never was so responsible a generation as the one now living. Notwithstanding this increase of knowledge, and notwithstanding that there are gross iniquities prevailing throughout the world, we find comparatively few willing to do anything toward a readjustment and equalization of the world’s affairs, financial, social and religious. Rather it seems that the majority of those possessing advantages are quite willing to hold to them even though recognizing that they are inequitable, iniquitous.
Meantime, the light of the morning is also awakening the masses, who are more and more crying out for their rights and against the inequities. The Lord is not only permitting this condition of things but is favoring it and helping it along, and informs us that the result will be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation. He tells us that in that great final struggle the kings of the world—financial, social, religious and political—will with practical unanimity be found on one side of the question, and that on the other side will be the Lord’s “great army,” the people for whose equities and for whose rights he will plead, will contend. True, the common people will not realize that the Lord is on their side, and many of them will even ignore him and trust simply to their own contrivances and devices, socialistic and otherwise. Similarly those who are on the side of the kings and princes of earth and their armies will not recognize the kind of battle they are engaged in, that it is one in which the Lord is taking a hand, with the view to the overthrow of present institutions and the preparation of the earth for the rule of righteousness—the Kingdom of God’s dear Son—the Millennial Kingdom.
Look now at the scape-goat class: Not faithful to their covenant of sacrifice they are not counted worthy to escape those things coming on the world, and hence will have their portion with the hypocrites and with the world in that trouble, notwithstanding the fact that they are God’s sincere children, but overcharged with the cares of this life and not properly zealous for the fulfilment of their covenant and a share in the Kingdom. It is in mercy for this class that the Lord consigns them to that trouble, that in its bitter experiences they may learn the necessary lessons and attest finally, under stress, their loyalty to him and to righteousness. They are represented as having confessed upon them the iniquities of the people—this is from the standpoint of divine justice. Their own sins were forgiven through Christ, as they were reckoned in as members of the household of faith. Hence their sufferings must be for the sins of others; and as they did not suffer as willing sacrificers they are then made to suffer unto death—that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
ALL THE RIGHTEOUS BLOOD REQUIRED
Let us not forget our Lord’s words respecting a somewhat similar class which suffered in the time of trouble at
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the end of the Jewish Age. He said that all the righteous blood shed from Abel’s time down to the death of Zacharias should be required at the hand of that generation. In one sense of the word this has the appearance of injustice. We are inclined to ask—Why should that generation be penalized for the transgressions committed centuries before their day? The Lord does not particularize—does not explain the operation of divine justice in the matter, but we may reasonably infer that the answer to the query lies in the fact that the generation of our Lord’s day had so many more advantages than all the generations preceding that it deserved severer penalties. As our Lord points out, they had the experiences of the past and disapproved the doings of their fathers who slew the prophets; nevertheless with greater light they did worse, they slew the Son of God and persecuted the members of his Body—his Church.
Similarly the Scriptures indicate that in the end of this age the Lord will require of the living generation a penalty for much of the unrighteousness of the past—and especially for the blood of all the saints shed throughout this Gospel Age in civilized lands. We perceive that much of the evil done against the Lord’s holy ones of the past has thus far failed of punishment. Great systems which, in the name of the Lord and in the name of religion, persecuted the true Church have practised and prospered and not yet received their just recompense of reward. Some of these martyrs of the past are pictured to us under the fifth seal as inquiring, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth.” This is a symbolical picture of justice long deferred crying for vengeance, representing those who are actually dead and know not anything, and cannot know anything until the resurrection. The answer to this query before the seat of Justice is given. We are told that it would be but a little while until others are similarly maltreated, and the intimation is given that then the judgment will come which will compensate for the whole. This is the awful trouble of the near future, when great Babylon will go down as a great millstone into the sea, when every man’s hand will be against his neighbor’s in anarchy, when there will be no peace to him that goeth out or to him that cometh in—a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation nor ever shall be afterward.
It is that trouble which the little flock, the Lord’s goat class of faithful sacrificers, will escape directly or indirectly, and that the Great Company class will not escape—but on the contrary share. They will come up out of this great tribulation with washed robes, made white in the blood of the Lamb. Not that their sufferings will wash their robes, but that in their sufferings they will learn to appreciate as never before their relationship to the Lamb of God and to his atoning merit, and by faith will be permitted to apply the same to their own cleansing.
ONCE IN GRACE ALWAYS IN GRACE
These words represent the Calvinistic sentiment that whoever the Lord accepts into his family and begets of the holy Spirit will somehow or other, sometime, in some way, gain the heavenly estate. There is more of truth in this sentiment than some of the opposers of Calvinism realize. It is true that whoever draws back from the Lord, either in repudiation of the atonement sacrifice of our Lord Jesus or by a repudiation of the narrow way and a turning like the sow to wallowing in the mire, goes into the Second Death, “the blackness of darkness”—utter extinction; yet these, we
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have every reason to hope, will be few in comparison to the whole number begotten of the holy Spirit during this Gospel Age.
Of the whole number of Spirit-begotten ones only a “little flock” gain the prize, and the others, failing of compliance with the terms of their covenant, might be utterly repudiated of the Lord, but he will not do this so long as they do not entirely repudiate him. Their failure to sacrifice willingly will not debar them from his care so long as they are at heart loyal to him. Since the seat in the throne provided for the “little flock” of sacrificers (represented by the Lord’s goat) cannot be theirs, it is in mercy that the Lord permits them to become the scape-goat class, and to be driven into the wilderness and severely tried in the great time of trouble—that all faithful at heart may be delivered from the bondage of fear and share a heavenly estate on a lower plane than the Bride. Let us, nevertheless, so far from taking advantage of the Lord’s grace and goodness in this manner, feel all the more love for him, so that we will the more valiantly and the more faithfully seek to lay down our lives in divine service and in behalf of the household of faith.
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GUIDED IN A LONG JOURNEY
—NUMBERS 10:11-13,29-36—AUGUST 25—
Golden Text:—”And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light.”—Exodus 13:21
THE Israelites spent nearly a year at Mount Sinai before they were ready to begin the march for the land of promise. During that period quite a constructive work was accomplished amongst them, which transformed them from a horde of comparatively unorganized emigrants into a powerful nation, with covenant relationship to God. At Mount Sinai the Law Covenant was instituted, by which the nation was accepted of the Lord as his special people, distinguished from the other nations of the earth, they pledging themselves to full loyalty to the Lord and all the principles of his righteousness, and he pledging himself to them as their God, their guide, their protector. All of this arrangement, however, was centered in Moses, the mediator of that Law Covenant; he was the people’s representative before the Lord and the Lord’s representative before the people.
Their organization now was a combination of political and military arrangement under judges and officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. (Ex. 18:25; Deut. 1:15.) Besides this they had a general council of seventy—supposedly the original Sanhedrin.—Exodus 24:1; Num. 11:16.
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During this stay at Sinai the priesthood was organized, also the Tabernacle constructed and its religious services instituted, with the outlines of the feasts and fasts appointed of the Lord for perpetual observance throughout their generations. That certainly was a year of great advancement with them as a people—a year of great accomplishments in making them ready for the land.
The wilderness of Sinai possessed rich though small valleys, and while there the people and their flocks and herds evidently prospered. The census according to Numbers 1:2 showed their enumeration to be 603,550 men of twenty years old and upward, besides 22,273 Levites. This would imply a total number of about 2,000,000.
When the time came to journey the Lord intimated it by causing the cloud to rise from the Tabernacle. It preceded the people, indicating the way in which they should go and guiding them into the desert of Paran, referred to in Deut. 1:19 as “a great and terrible wilderness.” It must have seemed great to the people after traversing it hither and thither in the wanderings of their forty years. Amongst its terrors were the fiery serpents and the insufficient supply of water for so great a host. Remembering that the Israelites were only natural men, we cannot wonder at their murmurings against Moses and thus against the Lord in respect to many of their experiences. From our knowledge of humanity today we would be inclined to say that the murmuring disposition must be much greater now than it was then, for it is our opinion that no such host could be led for such a time under such conditions without the interposition of divine power. To have avoided murmuring and to have taken patiently all the wilderness difficulties would imply on the part of that people a faith greater than the natural man manifests anywhere today.
The fact that they were led by the Lord Jehovah—that the pillar of glory guided their journeyings by day and the pillar of fire marked and enlightened their camp by night—would indeed be a continual reminder to them of the Lord their God, of his covenant with them and of their covenant with him. The daily portions of manna would remind them also of his watchful care of their interests. The smitten rock and the waters therefrom, refreshing them in the journey, would indeed speak of the power of God enlisted on their behalf, and afresh mark Moses as the divine representative and appointed leader in the right way. All this, however, would hardly account to them for the fact that the route chosen was far from the most direct one, and that the judgments visited upon them for their murmurings, etc., were severer by far than were those experienced by other nations round about them who worshiped idols and practised all manner of sin and contumacy.
“SET FORTH FOR AN EXAMPLE”
The only explanation of the whole matter and one which the Israelites could not themselves understand, because the time for its manifestation had not yet come, is the one given in the New Testament;—that the Israelites were used of the Lord as a typical people, whose testings for good and for evil were made to picture forth in advance the corresponding experiences of Spiritual Israel. As the Apostle points out, their rock and its water typified Christ and the water of life flowing from him. Their manna, our Lord indicated, typified the Bread which came down from heaven, of which if a man eat he shall live forever. The fiery serpents which harassed them and guided the eyes of the suffering to the brazen serpent raised upon a pole, symbolized sin and its injurious effects, which cause the sin-bitten to look unto him who was made a curse for us in that he hanged upon a tree. The murmuring of Aaron and Miriam against Moses was made the occasion of divine displeasure, typifying God’s indignation against those who fail to recognize him as the leader of Spiritual Israel, and who fail to honor those whom he uses as his mouthpieces and servants.
“The gainsaying of Korah” and his associates, claiming that they were just as well qualified as were Moses and Aaron to represent the Lord and his people in all religious functions, was punished severely, because of representing in the antitype those who would fail to recognize divine institutions in Spiritual Israel. The perishing of some for despising Moses’ Law was intended to be a type or picture of the everlasting destruction of those who would despise the antitypical Moses and the redemptive work accomplished through him, and who consequently shall be destroyed in the Second Death. Their Mount Sinai represented as a type the Kingdom of God. The giving of the Law therefrom represented the promulgation of the divine Law at the institution of the New Covenant at the hands of the antitypical Mediator, the Christ of glory, in the end of this age. The quaking earth and lightning flash and trumpet voice connected with that inauguration of the Law Covenant typified, says the Apostle, the great time of trouble and complete shaking of everything with which the new dispensation, the Millennium, will be ushered in shortly.
“MUCH ADVANTAGE EVERYWAY”
The Apostle, after pointing out that the Law Covenant to Israel made nothing perfect for them, brought in no glorious kingdom and rewarded with no eternal life, but rather condemned them all, shut them up to the hope that should afterward come to them through the Gospel, tells us nevertheless that the Jews had “much advantage everyway—chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.” (Rom. 3:2.) What does he mean? What advantage did they have? We reply that all of their difficulties in the wilderness and subsequently were profitable to them as a nation, and individually profitable also to those who were rightly exercised by the tests and thereby drawn near the Lord.
Those experiences brought Israel at the time of our Lord’s first advent into the first rank amongst the nations as respects holiness, godliness, righteousness; and Jews scattered all over the world at that time had a large influence in shaping whatever was good and noble amongst the most civilized, preparing the world in general for the Gospel message in its due season. We have the evidence of this in the fact that the earlier converts to Christianity were nearly all from the Jews and from those Gentiles who had previously had contact with the Jewish religion and more or less faith in the true God. Not only so, but the trying experiences to which those people were subjected developed in some of them grand qualities of heart and of mind, as is witnessed in King David and all the prophets, as well as in many of the less notable ones, the faith of some of whom is attested by the Apostle.—Hebrews 11.
Some may be inclined to say, How could those blessings,
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coming to a few of the Israelites and to some of these centuries after, compensate them for their experiences, as, for instance, those who perished by the bite of the fiery serpents, and Korah and his band, whom the earth swallowed up, and others who died summarily for their violation of Moses’ Law? Were not these irretrievable injuries, whatever the blessings of their trials to others of their people at the time, or to us the antitypical Israelites now? We answer, No! they were not irretrievable injuries. Like all the remainder of Adam’s race they were under sentence of death because of original sin, and it mattered little whether they died in war or from pestilence or from serpent bites or by the earth opening beneath them, swallowing them up. They still have a share in the great blessing which God has provided through Jesus and through Spiritual Israel, whose difficulties and trials and testings they were illustrating as types. “Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man,” and this redemption included those we have enumerated. The time is coming when all the families of the earth shall be blessed through the Redeemer, and this will include those whose cases we are considering. The Master declares that the hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and come forth, either with the Ancient Worthies of the Jewish epoch or with the overcomers of this Gospel Age to the resurrection of the blessed and holy, or otherwise to the general resurrection of all those who have thus far failed to please God and to be accounted worthy of eternal life.
The latter class will include the great majority of humanity, and their awakening will be with a view to giving them a most favorable opportunity to learn of God’s grace in Christ, to accept of the same, and to gain eternal life in the Paradise of God. We see then that no injustice was done to the Jews, though the Lord treated them in some respects more severely than the heathen nations. Though they suffered under divine judgments, no loss or injury was done to any of them, as all will yet have a full opportunity of coming to a knowledge of the truth and to eternal life through the Redeemer and his Spiritual Israel. We see also that in an educational way the experiences given to that people lifted them out of the degradation in which they had been almost slaves to a foremost rank in the world. We can agree with the Apostle that Israel had much advantage every way, being accepted of the Lord and used of him as types and shadows in connection with the preparation for his Spiritual Israel, the true Seed of Abraham, through which all the families of the earth are to be blessed.
SPIRITUAL ISRAEL STILL MORE BLESSED
If it was blessed to be associated with the Lord as members of the house of servants under Moses, how much more blessed is it to be now associated with the Lord as members of the still higher house of sons under Christ! If the performance of the types and shadows was honorable and brought blessings, how much greater must be the favors and blessings and honors attaching to those who serve the antitypical altar, the antitypical temple, as members of the Royal Priesthood, the Body of Christ! It is when we begin to see something of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine plan, and the glory that will surely attach to the ministers of divine grace when the reign of sin and death shall be ended, when the time of sacrificing shall be over and when the time of glory and blessing shall be ushered in—that we appreciate the situation, and be, Oh, so thankful, for the privileges we have as Spiritual Israelites, as members of the Royal Priesthood, in attesting our loyalty to the Lord and his Word and his people, that we might be accounted worthy of a share with him and with our Redeemer in the glory, honor and immortality of the Kingdom.
HOBAB, THE SON OF RAGUEL
We have previously seen that Moses spent forty years near the Sinai wilderness in the family of his father-in-law, Jethro Raguel (Jethro is supposed to have been the title and Raguel the proper name). This lesson introduces Hobab, supposedly Moses’ brother-in-law, who belonged to what is known as the Kenites, an Arab tribe of Midian, east of Sinai. Hobab had been with the people of Israel, but now upon their start on the journey for Canaan he contemplated returning to his own people, and our lesson sets forth two arguments on the part of Moses to influence him to remain. He said:—
(1) “We are journeying into the place of which the Lord said, I will give it you. Come thou with us, and we will do thee good, for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel.”
What words of faith, and how humble a statement from the leader of 2,000,000 of people. We note the utter absence of reference to himself and what he would do, or of his authority and power. Only the Lord’s power and the Lord’s blessing were either invoked or mentioned. Very properly we may regard this as a suggestion for ourselves in connection with our journeying toward the heavenly Canaan. Those who are with us, friends or neighbors or kindred, should be invited along these lines—lines of faith: “Come thou with us and we will do thee good, for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel.” Whoever comes with us receives a blessing, and in urging any to come with us we receive a blessing because our own faith is encouraged, stimulated, and our own obedience also to the Lord; for shall we say to others, The Lord will do thee good, and not experience good ourselves and not realize the blessings we are receiving day by day from the Lord’s hand? And if they do come with us how the fact that we have suggested the matter and promised them a blessing would help to keep us from murmuring and complaining, and from manifesting anything else than the good we are continually receiving from the Lord. We do well, then, as Spiritual Israelites, to follow Moses’ example in our appeals to those who are under our influence—we do well to quote to them the promises of the Lord, and to show our faith in the same.
But these arguments failed to influence Hobab, just as similar arguments on our part have failed to influence our friends. But, like Moses, we should not be ready to give up our endeavors to do good to others. We should bring forth other arguments, as he did. He urged Hobab further:—
(2) “Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes. And it shall be if thou goest with us, yea, it shall be that what good soever the Lord shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.”
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Applying this argument to our friends it would seem to imply that we should help to make a place for them in connection with the Lord’s service, again assuring them of a share in the reward. This argument did appeal to Hobab, and he went with the Israelites, and we have records of the Kenites amongst the Israelites for centuries, down to the time of Saul. (Judges 1:16; 4:11; 1 Sam. 15:6.) The intimation that he could be of service to the Israelites attracted him from his own country and people. Similarly some may be attracted to the Lord’s people by opportunity for rendering service. It should be remembered, however, that there are varieties of service, and that the Kenites were never invited to minister as priests at the altar. And so the Lord’s people should not feel it to be appropriate that they should elect to places of prominence in the Church those who have not fully and completely made a consecration to the Lord; neither should they repel them, but rather be willing to use each and all to the extent of their willingness to serve and cooperate in the Lord’s work.
Hobab, more familiar with this trackless wilderness than Moses and the Israelites, could give them many suggestions that would be helpful respecting water courses, pasturage, wells, etc. And here we see the appropriateness of all the Lord’s people following a similar course to that of Moses. Notwithstanding his appreciation of the Lord as a leader of the hosts of Israel and the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day, notwithstanding that he gave all honor for blessings past and those expected in the future to the Giver of every good, nevertheless he was ready to make use of every human instrumentality that would aid in the carrying out of the divine program. He did not expect of the Lord miracles in respect to matters that would properly come under human judgment and foresight. And so it is with us in all of the affairs of our earthly and spiritual interests: in all our ways we should acknowledge the Lord as the author and finisher of our course; but we should also, while seeking the wisdom from above for ourselves and for the work, do everything within our power, use every human agency and means in cooperation with the Lord and his mighty power. His proposition is that we may do all things through his strength—that he
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will use and bless our humble efforts for the carrying out of his great purposes. Some of the Lord’s people seem to lack a proper judgment along these lines—some of them are even disposed to criticise as lacking in faith those who, like Moses, seek to use human instrumentalities in cooperation with the divine service and guidance.
Our lesson informs us that every morning in their services, when in obedience to the movement of the cloud they started forward in their journey, there was a simple religious service, Moses proclaiming in the ears of the leaders and through them in the ears of the people,—
“Rise up, O Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered,
And let them that hate thee flee before thee.”
In the evening, when the camp settled from the journey of the day, again Moses’ voice rang out in the words,—
“Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel.”—
“Abide with us.”
What was thus done every day by the Lord’s direction in Natural Israel surely takes place with equal regularity in Spiritual Israel. All who will be found faithful, all Israelites indeed, as they go forth every morning to the journey of life, to the battle of life, to the trials and testings by the way, must surely learn to look unto the Lord as the Captain of their salvation, as the one through whom alone Satan and his hosts can be defeated, through whom alone we can have the victory. “Rise up, O Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; let them that hate thee flee before thee,” and let us who love thee and abide in thy love and under thy protecting care, be safe-guarded from every experience that would do us real harm, and be “kept by the power of God through faith.”
Which Spiritual Israelite can afford to retire at the close of the day without retrospectively calling to mind the goodness of the Lord and desiring his continued favor and protection in the shades of night? Which true Israelite will long be an Israelite indeed if he fail to acknowledge the Lord in all his ways, in his downlyings and his uprisings? As the Apostle says, whether we eat or whether we drink or whatsoever we do all should be done to his glory, and if in all our ways we will acknowledge him let us at the close of each day employ language somewhat similar to that of Moses and say to the Lord, Abide, O Lord, with all the thousands of thy true Israel everywhere. Keep us, guard us, according to thy wisdom and thy love in Christ Jesus!
The spirit of faith and reverence which runs all through the divine Word attests most grandly to the characters of those whom the Lord has used prominently in his service in the past, and gives even to the babes in Christ a confidence and assurance lacking in words from other sources not inspired nor infused by the Spirit of the Lord. As a grand example of these Biblical benedictions note that of the high priest, wherewith he was accustomed to bless the people, saying,—
“The Lord bless thee and keep thee,
The Lord make his face to shine upon thee,
And be gracious unto thee!
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee
And give thee peace.”
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THE FAR-WEST CONVENTION TOUR
THE Editor left Allegheny on June 29th, the friends of the neighborhood singing, as the train pulled out, “God be with you till we meet again.” Our last mutual salute was with handkerchiefs, as we stood on the rear platform of the train. Truly no other tie so binds our hearts in Christian love as does the spirit of the Truth.
Sunday, June 30th: Dear friends awaited our arrival at the Chicago depot, and we were soon at Handel Hall. A praise and testimony meeting came first. It was truly a season of refreshing. At its close the Editor gave a brief address.
None of the sessions was for the public, nor advertised, except in the WATCH TOWER. There was a fine attendance nevertheless, not only of Chicago friends but from nearby places as well. The attendance at the
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afternoon session was the largest—about 550. Closest attention was given to a discourse on “Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psa. 50:5.) This discourse has already been reported in the Dispatch and News.
The evening meeting was not quite so well attended, because some had home duties and our stay for a late train was not anticipated. About 300 stayed during a hot evening for a Question Meeting, which lasted two and a half hours. Then, accompanied by some of the dear brethren to the depot, we started for Denver, weary from the work but full of joy in our privileges of serving so grand a cause.
Denver, July 1st: Friends from Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Colorado, to the number of about 200, had been in session two days before our arrival and seemingly had enjoyed themselves greatly.
As our stay was limited to the one day, a Question Meeting was considered one of the most desirable; and the questions themselves showed that the dear friends had been thinking quite a good deal along very important features of the divine plan. We have concluded to reproduce many of them for the general interest of all in the WATCH TOWER columns. Here also we spoke on the text, “Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
Again we were obliged to say, Good-bye! with the thought that we should never all meet again this side the vail, but hoping to meet many of the dear ones in the Kingdom, for the attainment of which hope we urged faithfulness even unto death.
At Ogden, Utah, some of the dear friends, having learned of our time of arrival, met us at the station. We had a pleasant interchange of greetings and good wishes and promises of prayers for one another, and soon were again speeding on our way to Los Angeles, via Salt Lake City. A wait of two hours at the latter place gave us a chance to see this thriving city, whose population now is about one-half Mormon.
Our train reached Los Angeles too late for the evening meeting of July 4th, but we had a most enjoyable season of refreshing on the 5th. We greeted the dear brethren from various cities and villages for miles about. These personal greetings seem to us and to many to be one of the chief blessings of these Conventions. In speaking we can add but little to what we have already published in the DAWNS and TOWERS and printed discourses, but as iron sharpeneth iron so doth the countenance and word of Christian fellowship and the hand-grasp cheer each other on the narrow way toward the heavenly Canaan.
The morning service for two hours was devoted to the answering of questions—this being esteemed the best way to serve the largest number, considering the brevity of our stay. In the afternoon for an hour and a half we discoursed to the dear friends along the lines of our mutual hopes and prospects and the imminence of the gathering of the last members to the Lord—beyond the vail. Incidentally we showed that our gathering must not be to human sects and parties, nor to human leaders, great or small—but to Christ, our Lord and Head; that the “harvest” work is his; that he is doing the gathering into his “garner,” and that human helpers at very most are to be esteemed as his servants and channels and not otherwise heeded or honored. We left the dear friends still in session and took the 5.30 train for Oakland, Cal., where we arrived safely and on time the next morning.
Oakland, Cal., July 6: We were warmly received by Bros. W. and E. Bundy, Sexton and Andrews, and after cleaning up went to the Hamilton Auditorium, where services were already in progress—Bro. E. Bundy having just delivered an address as per the program. Bro. Russell spoke to the Colporteurs and Volunteers, setting forth how the Lord seems to be specially using these two branches of the service in the present “harvest” time for gathering his saints. He announced that Vol. I of DAWN-STUDIES had already reached the 2,000,000 mark and was advancing despite the efforts of preachers and others to misrepresent its teachings and hinder its circulation. Although they have influence to hinder its sale in book-stores and to hinder its advertisement in religious journals this opposition is evidently overruled by the Lord for the good of his people, for it opens the way to colporteurs, who are themselves being blessed both by the service and the consecration it inculcates, regardless of the number who are thus led to accept the Truth. The great blessing afforded by the Volunteers’ distribution of the tracts was also pointed out.
The fact that these volunteer tract distributors include people of refinement and education and business standing gives weight to this literature which is going out this year more freely than ever. The subject matter this year is considered excellent, and more of the friends of the Truth are realizing that they consecrated to service and until death, and that the time is short in
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which they may labor in the vineyard. The fact that these tracts are supplied free and freight paid was also noted, and how this leaves no excuse for idleness on the part of those who are stewards of time and opportunity. To this service of the Lord and the Truth and the “Brethren” still in Babylon the speaker attributed much of the growth in grace and knowledge so noticeable in the gatherings of the past few years.
Brother Russell spoke again in the afternoon from 3 to 4.30 on, “Gather my saints together unto me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” And in the evening he conducted for two hours a Question Meeting.
The Sunday morning session opened with a praise and testimony service, following which Bro. R. preached from the text, “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” This discourse many of you have already seen in the Dispatch and News.
The service for the public was held in the First M.E. Church—the topic being, “The Overthrow of Satan’s
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Empire.” An audience estimated at 1100 gave profound attention, and our hope is that some were blessed. Accompanied to the depot by a committee of the Church and with happy recollections and prayers we started northward for Portland. Delayed, we were two days and two nights in reaching Portland; but in the Lord’s providence and by the forethought of the brethren in providing a cab we reached the First Christian Church edifice just in time for the appointed services, which had been widely advertised. The Church was crowded with intelligent hearers (about 600—probably one-third of whom were interested friends from the city, and some came 400 miles). The service lasted two hours, and following it we had an hour of very enjoyable greeting and fellowship with the friends.
At 11.45 p.m. we started for Seattle, Wash., where we arrived safely Wednesday morning, July 10—two of the dear friends of the Portland Church accompanying us. The fact that the Christian Endeavor Society opened its session the same day in the same city did not hinder “the brethren” from having a blessed season of refreshing. First, last and all the time we exchanged greetings, and wished each other divine guidance to the end of the journey and our hoped-for reunion in “the General Assembly of the Church of the First-Born, whose names are written in heaven.”
Our opening service was a praise and testimony meeting led by Brother Acheson. It was good to be there. The testimonies as usual were from hearts full of praise to God for deliverance from darkness into his marvelous light. All of our hearts were surely encouraged. Those in attendance were chiefly from the surrounding country within a radius of 400 miles, also from points in British Columbia, and even Alaska had a representative.
The Seattle Church had provided a splendid dinner for the entire company—about 175. We feared at first that this meant that some of the dear sisters were deprived of the privileges of the meetings and fellowship; but were assured that the advice given in the TOWER that the spiritual privileges be considered paramount had been concurred in, and that six helpers not interested in the Truth had been secured for the day. An equally substantial supper was provided, and was enjoyed by all the dear friends, who thanked the Lord, the Giver of all good, and rejoiced in the fellowship of kindred minds, so like to that above.
At the afternoon session there was a discourse for the interested, and it was listened to by about 200, and following it for an hour we answered a number of interesting questions propounded by the audience. After the splendid supper already mentioned came the discourse to the public on “The Overthrow of Satan’s Empire.” Brother C. A. Wise, our companion in travel, opened the meeting and introduced Brother Russell, the speaker. This discourse had been well advertised and the attendance was estimated at more than nine hundred. Close attention was given to the end, a little after 9, when an automobile took us quickly to the 9.30 train of the N.P.R.R. En route ten dear friends met us at the Spokane depot and told us of others of their number who were not present owing to some misunderstanding respecting our train time. The loving greetings refreshed us, and we trust that the Spokane friends were also refreshed. We did not fail to send greetings to the disappointed ones.
A journey of three days and nights under divine Providence brought us safely to St. Paul on Saturday at 2.30 p.m. There Brother John Hoskins and others awaited our arrival and took us at once to the 3 p.m. meeting, for which the friends had already gathered. Our discourse was to the interested and dealt with our privileges and responsibilities as the Lord’s stewards. We answered a number of very intelligent questions with profit, we trust, to some. After this service we had a delightful season of fellowship with the dear friends of St. Paul and Minneapolis as well as with about 60 from more or less distant points. We had supper with a party of forty as the guests of Brother J. Hoskins.
The evening session was for the public—and notwithstanding it was the busiest night of the week (Saturday) we had a fine audience numbering between 700 and 800 very intelligent people, who heard with closest attention what we had to tell regarding “The Overthrow of Satan’s Empire.”
We left St. Paul about 11 p.m. for our next appointment, and notwithstanding the rain a dozen or more of the friends sang us adieu in the words of the sweet hymn,
“Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.”
The night was stormy and our train lost time until we missed connections, obliging us to change our route and causing us to miss our appointment for a Sunday morning service in the First M.E. Church of Appleton. However, under divine providence we finally reached the Chatauqua grounds just fifteen minutes before the time appointed for our discourse on “To Hell and Back.” A grand audience awaited us, large in numbers and very intelligent, estimated at between 2000 and 3000. For two hours we had profound attention, and hope that some blind eyes were anointed with the eyesalve of divine Truth, so that henceforth they will see more distinctly the Justice and the Love of our God, as revealed in his Word—rightly understood.
After the discourse we were cordially greeted by quite a large number, many of them TOWER readers from various adjacent localities. In the evening we had a most enjoyable season, and addressed the friends on “The True Vine and the False Vine.” The next morning (Monday) about sixteen of the friends gathered at the depot and bade us goodbye; and then when we went aboard the train they sang, “God be with you till we meet again.”
On arrival at Chicago Brother Jones, M.D., met us at the depot to urge that between trains we visit two dear brethren at the Home for Incurables. We did so and were well repaid for our trouble. The dear brethren,
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unable to walk, had shining faces and told of their joy in the Lord and in his glorious Truth. They even declared that notwithstanding pains which they endeavored to forget in their joy in the Lord, they esteemed that their afflictions were blessings in disguise, because they thereby got time for study and prayer which they never had before. Our visit ended with a prayer and we returned to the depot, where others joined our company for goodby greetings—there were seven in all. Here we parted also with dear Brother Wise, whose company for the two weeks had been so helpful. We parted with mutual expressions of love and prayers and hopes for meeting at the Niagara Convention—and above all at “The General Assembly of the Church of the First-Borns.”
Without further incidents of note we arrived safely at Allegheny on July 16 and had a joyous meeting once more with the Bible House family.
Looking back over our hasty journey of approximately 7,500 miles, and remembering the hundreds of dear friends greeted—many of them for the first time—we render fresh thanks to God for the wonderful possibilities of our day. How evidently the wider “harvesting” of this Gospel Age has made necessary the peculiar preparations of this time as compared with the “harvesting” of the Jewish Age—seeing that the same length of time is allotted to each.
The lasting impression of this trip as a whole, you may be glad to know, is this: that love amongst the brethren is broadening and deepening. Contrasting recent experiences with those of years ago, we note less of a spirit of boastfulness and belligerency as respects a knowledge of the Truth, and a greater humility and spirit of thankfulness to God for deliverance “out of darkness into His marvelous light,” and a greater desire to render the service of love. Thus the various degrees of love are more clearly manifested and we trust will continue so to be until the end of the pilgrim journey to the heavenly city—meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness, Love. As these graces more and more abound and display themselves, they give evidence that larger and yet larger numbers are being polished and “made meet for the inheritance of the saints”; for an abundant entrance shall be ministered unto such into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior.
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AN INTERESTING QUESTION ANSWERED
Question.—Please explain Romans 6:7: “For he that is dead is freed from sin.”
Answer.—The Apostle is not here speaking of original sin—the transgression which brought the death penalty upon the race: he is addressing those who had passed from death unto life through Christ, and who now, at the time of his writing, were New Creatures in Christ Jesus. He is representing sin as the great taskmaster which previously held them in slavery to wickedness, and he exhorts them now to consider themselves as though they had gotten free from that slavery to the taskmaster in as full and complete a sense as a slave would be free from his master if he died. You will notice this thought running through the discourse of this chapter, as for instance in verses 12,14,16,17,18, and this is explained to be figurative language in verse 19.
It will be noticed that this is not a question of sin having dominion over the New Creature, but a question of sin still having dominion over the flesh, the earthen vessel. Carrying on the same argument, the Apostle says (8:10), “If Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” Then he exhorts that it be not satisfactory to us merely to count our bodies dead to sin, so that we will not permit them to serve sin, but that the new mind in us shall take control and actuate these mortal bodies, and make of them servants of the new mind, servants of righteousness, servants of Christ. He assures us that the Spirit of God which was powerful enough to raise our Lord Jesus actually from the dead is powerful enough, if we lay hold of it properly, to permit such a quickening of our mortal bodies to newness of life.
Man can pay his penalty in death; but when the penalty has been inflicted to the full there is nothing of man left: hence it means his utter and everlasting destruction. To suppose anything left after the penalty had been inflicted, would be to suppose some part of him that had not been condemned; but we know that the language of Genesis is, “Thou shalt surely die,” and that the law was stated to be, “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” We see, then, that nothing of the man, nothing of the being, is exempted from the penalty, and so long as the man lay under the penalty he could have no right to life to all eternity.
There is no provision for a second life except through a redemption accomplished by our Lord Jesus—the work being finished at Calvary, and subsequently accepted of the Father, and his acceptance manifested by the outpouring of the holy Spirit at Pentecost. But God did not deal with the man to acquit him. God merely passes the man as a purchased possession over to the care of his Redeemer, Jesus,—Justice giving to Jesus a full title to the man, and all the rights, etc., which he ever enjoyed.
You will perceive that this gives the man no rights of his own, but commits all things to the Son. We must therefore inquire of the Son how he proposes to deal with the purchased possession. Briefly we understand the testimony of the Word to be that the Son, during the Millennial Age, will judge the world by, through and in conjunction with his elect Church, and that all shall have the opportunity of coming up to human perfection under the chastisements and disciplines of the Millennial Age, and that failing to improve these blessed opportunities they will be cut off in the Second Death. Some of the Scriptures bearing upon the subject would seem to imply punishment for misdeeds of the present life—but we believe only for such misdeeds as were committed against some degree of light, or against some of the children of light. Those who had no knowledge whatever of the divine arrangement in Christ could have no responsibility in the sense of meriting special punishment, because they were under the original condemnation, and their personal responsibility under the New Covenant could only begin when they came to some degree of knowledge respecting it. However, we can readily see that to whatever extent any violate the laws of nature, they degrade themselves; and that every step downward in the present life, will require effort to retrace it during the Millennial Age.