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VOL. XXVIII SEPTEMBER 15. No. 18
A.D. 1907—A.M. 6035
Views from the Watch Tower……………………275
Zionists at the Hague…………………….275
Back to Palestine………………………..275
The Niagara Falls Convention………………276
The Voices of the Three Signs…………………276
What Shall We Say to These Things?…………280
Not Now, My Child (Poem)……………………..281
“Be Strong and of Good Courage”……………….281
“I Will Be With Thee”…………………….282
Very Courageous to Observe the Law…………284
Entering the Land of Promise………………….285
The Lord Went Before Them…………………286
“Led Forth by the Right Way”………………287
An Interesting Question Answered………………287
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TRUTH LITERATURE—VARIOUS LANGUAGES
DAWN, VOLS. I. and II., IN GREEK; also “Parousia” booklet, 5c; and free tracts Nos. 38, 40, 53, 59, 66.
DAWN, VOL. VI., IN GERMAN in TOWER form is ready: cloth bound, postpaid, $1.50. We have plenty of German tracts and TOWERS for free distribution—the former need to be separated.
ITALIAN, FRENCH, HOLLANDISH, NORWEGIAN and POLISH tracts for free circulation amongst your friends, we can now supply.
TABERNACLE SHADOWS IN ENGLISH, GERMAN and SWEDISH we now have in good supply. 10c each; $1.00 per doz.
SPIRITISM-DEMONISM IN ENGLISH, NORWEGIAN, AND FRENCH are now in stock, 10c each; $1.00 per dozen.
VOLUNTEERING METHODS, ETC.
An experienced Volunteer writes, suggesting that, instead of trying to slide the tracts under the doors, he puts them between the door-knob and the door-jamb so that they form a spring like the letter U. Then they will flutter to the floor just in front of whoever opens the door. He does not ring the bell, for this would be an annoyance and only prejudice the recipient against the tracts.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
ZIONISTS AT THE HAGUE
THE hundreds of delegates who are attending the Zionist Congress now in session at The Hague have come from every country in the civilized world and from some lands which are still far from the van of human progress. The potential strength of will and of spirit represented by such a gathering makes a strong appeal to the judgment as well as to the imagination. These delegates and the people they represent have long since passed the argumentative stage in dealing with the movement in which they are proud to be enlisted. It is “a condition and not a theory” that confronts them. To many, indeed to the great majority of them, Zionism is a part of their innermost selves. They imbibed its influence from the moment when they were able to comprehend the prayers which they reverently repeat. Their ancestors for eighteen centuries have prayed for the restoration of the glorious state, and the hope has become imperishable in the hearts of an imperishable people. To others the propaganda is only in a minor degree representative of this sentiment. It is rather their response to the ostracism, the bigotry and the proscription, which are not confined to the benighted lands of the East, but have given the lie to the professions of our civilization in nearly every other part of the earth. It is a reassertion, in men whose religious principles are often lax, of the unconquerable spirit that has refused to bow before the might of a host of bigots, of despots and of inquisitors.
The large section led by Ussischkin, one of the leaders of the Russian delegation, is determined to ask the delegates to declare in favor of immediate practical work in Palestine. Nordau and his followers are equally determined to adhere to the original plan of concentrating all efforts towards securing the Palestinian charter so as to secure a legally assured home in that country for the Jews before undertaking extensive operations there. The impatience of the Russian contingent is easily understood when the terrible pressure at home is considered. The danger of embarking on extensive plans without a proper guarantee from the Sultan and his government is so great, however, that impetuosity without foresight is not to be encouraged. Those who are already in Palestine might be aided without danger by the institution of legitimate enterprises. The evils of the Halukah might be done away with, and the entry of the shiftless and the poverty-stricken discouraged. Further than this, practical work is not safe at the present time. Whether the organization can continue its numerical strength in the absence of definite and striking results is a question that has given ardent Zionists much concern. At the present writing there is no reason to anticipate a cessation of interest in the cause.—Jewish Exponent.
BACK TO PALESTINE
“A very large gathering of Hebrew citizens assembled in the St. Urbain St. Synagogue, Montreal, on Sunday to hear the official report of the International Zionist Conference recently held in Cologne, and of the program adopted by that conference for immediately proceeding with the work of re-settling the Jewish people in Palestine, in consequence of the Holy Land now being opened by the Sultan to Jewish settlement.
“Mr. Clarence I. de Sola, in his capacity as a member of the Actions Committee, or Chief Executive Council of the Zionist movement, submitted the program of the work in Palestine that had been decided upon at the Cologne conference. He stated that the news that the Turkish government was no longer enforcing those laws which had hitherto militated against Jews settling in Palestine, was the most momentous news which had greeted Jewish ears in a century. In consequence of the lowering of the barriers, a stream of Jewish immigrants from Russia into the Holy Land had now set in, which was assuming large proportions.
“At the very moment when persecution in Russia was driving hundreds of thousands of Jews from the
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dominions of the Czar, Mr. de Sola remarked, the gates of Palestine were being opened to them. They could see the hand of divine providence in all this, and it was the paramount duty of every Jew to seize the opportunity which now presented itself of settling, not only tens of thousands, nor hundreds of thousands, but millions of Hebrew colonists in the Holy Land, with the result that they would soon again be in possession of the land that had been promised to their forefathers. It was in order to give practical shape to this idea that the Zionist leaders of the Cologne conference had decided on the program of work in Palestine.
He said that the program arranged was one which must produce such a revolution of conditions in Palestine as to make it rival any country in the West in enterprise and in prosperity. This is what the Zionists are now undertaking, but to carry out the program the Jews of the world must contribute liberally to the funds of the movement. He therefore strongly appealed to them to subscribe to the funds of the Jewish Colonial Trust and the Zionist National Fund, and also to the fund of the Palestine Commission, the committee specially charged with the work, and to the Bezalel Technical Institute of Jerusalem, which was training the new generation in Palestine in arts and handicrafts. These were the financial instruments of the movement, and it was only by supporting them that they could accomplish their work.
“Rabbi Herman Abramowitz was the next speaker. He pictured in glowing periods the happy conditions to which the Jews would be restored if they but took advantage of the opportunities now presented to them for re-settling their people in Palestine.
“Rabbi Meldola de Sola then addressed the audience, and made a most powerful appeal to them to assist in the work now being undertaken in Palestine. He said that the first words that the Prophet Jeremiah uttered in mourning their captivity were words of grief for the destruction of Zion, and that for two thousand years they had never ceased to cherish love for Zion, and to pray for a restoration thereto. The opening up of Palestine by the Turkish Government to the Jews was an event of such tremendous significance that it should be ranked in importance with the edict of Cyrus, King of Persia, when he allowed the Jews to return to the Holy Land after the Babylonian captivity, and with all their hearts should they thank God for having preserved them alive and sustained them to enjoy this season. By many Biblical quotations he showed that it was their duty to assist this work of restoration.”—Montreal Journal.
NIAGARA FALLS CONVENTION
We could not make arrangements for rooms, etc., at Niagara until near Convention time—lest details should miscarry. Besides, many did not advise us early of their intention to go.
We have engaged apartments for all who have notified us, and will have a Bureau of Information at the New York Central R.R. depot, where each can obtain the address of the quarters secured, as per instructions sent us. This will be open the evening of Aug. 29th and all day of the 30th. When closed a similar office will be established at the “Auditorium” of the Natural Food Co., Buffalo Ave., where all the Convention sessions will be held.
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THE VOICES OF THE THREE SIGNS
WHEN preparing the Sunday School lessons relating to Moses and his two presentations of himself to the Israelites, as their deliverer from Egyptian bondage, we noted the fact that “these things were written aforetime for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come.” (I Cor. 10:11.) And, considering the matter from this standpoint, we perceived, as we had never done before, that the three signs by which the Israelites were convinced that God’s deliverance of them was at hand, at Moses’ second presentation, must have been intended to typify some corresponding three signs or testimonies at the second advent of Christ; testimonies which will be convincing to the true Spiritual Israelites. In the type these three signs or testimonies preceded the plagues upon the Egyptians; and this in the antitype must mean that the three signs or testimonies to Spiritual Israel respecting the second advent of our Lord and respecting the great deliverance which he is to accomplish, must precede the plagues, the great time of trouble, coming upon the world in general shortly.
At first we were perplexed, and said to ourself: “The Scriptures clearly show us that we are now ‘in the days of the Son of Man;’ our journal has borne as its sub-title, HERALD OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE, since its institution, 1879; yet where are these three signs? Already thirty-four years of the forty-year harvest are in the past, and but seven remain, in the last of which we confidently expect the plagues upon the world—antitypical Egypt. Where are these signs or testimonies, which the type teaches us we should expect at this time, to convince all the true Israelites?”
For a time we were inclined to look for miraculous tokens, but subsequently realized that this would be out of the Lord’s order, as the antitype is always on a higher and grander scale than the type: as for instance the typical Passover lamb but feebly foreshadowed the Lamb of God, and the great things accomplished through his sacrifice. Feeling confident of the times in which we are living, “in the parousia of the Son of Man,” we concluded that in all probability these signs had already been given, or were in process of giving at the present time. Still we could not recognize them, and, feeling that the matter must now be to the Lord’s household “meat in due season,” we besought the Lord earnestly and repeatedly for light upon the subject,
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while continuing our studies. No light coming, we mentioned the matter to the Bible House family at the dinner table, requesting the prayers of all upon the subject, and that if any had suggestions to offer they should feel free to present them. Seemingly it was in line with the divine purpose that we should thus come to the point of making confession of inability to solve the riddle, and that our reliance for wisdom was wholly upon the Lord: for within two hours after this acknowledgment the entire matter became clear and lucid to our mind, as we shall endeavor now to lay it before you all.
(1) Our Lord declares Moses to have been, in some particulars, in some of his transactions, a type of himself, saying, “Moses wrote of me.” Moses himself declared, “A prophet [teacher] shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me.” Peter quotes this last expression in his sermon, and emphasizes it. (John 5:46; Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:22.) Moses did not typify Christ in all of his doings, however, nor was his life as a whole a type of the life of Christ. For instance, in his smiting of the rock, contrary to the divine command, he became a type of those of Christ’s followers who put him to an open shame, and who, in consequence, will die the Second Death; and as a type of these Moses was not permitted to enter into the land of promise. (Num. 20:11; Deut. 32:51,52; Heb. 10:29.) He typified Jehovah at times also; but in the present instance we are specially interested in considering his conduct with the Israelites in connection with their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt. In this type we see him distinctly as a representative of Christ Jesus. Moses was rich, a prince in high honor, learned in all the learning of his times, but for Israel’s sake he renounced these, left them all, and they being bondmen, he took his place amongst them, to be their leader and deliverer. How like this is to the description given us in the Scriptures of our Lord’s course! He left the glory of the heavenly condition and spiritual plane of being; he took a bondman’s form and was found in fashion as a man. He came to deliver his brethren from bondage.—Phil. 2:6-8, Diaglott.
When Moses came to his own people they rejected him, and he fled for his life to the land of Midian, from whence he came to them a second time. So Christ came to his own, and his own received him not (John 1:12); and he went into a far country, even heaven itself, from whence he has now, a second time, come, and will deliver all who are true Israelites indeed from the bondage of sin and death. Moses was forty years in coming to the point where he offered himself to Israel the first time; then he was absent from them an equal period of time, forty years, and came again and delivered them. There is a type or parallel in this time feature also; it illustrates the length of the Jewish and the Gospel ages, as being equal. From the time of the beginning of typical Israel as a nation, waiting for the coming of Messiah, down to the time when Jesus actually presented himself, was a period of 1845 years, and from that time, when he died and left them, until the period which the Scriptures show us marked his second coming (October, 1874) was a like period of 1845 years,—corresponding exactly to the two periods at which Moses offered himself in the type.*
*MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., Chap. VII.
THE VOICE OF THE FIRST SIGN
(2) At Moses’ second presentation to Israel he did not address them personally and directly, as at the first, God having said to him, “Aaron shall be thy prophet or mouthpiece, and thou shalt be a god unto Aaron.” This item of the type would seem to imply just what we see to be the fact of the case now, viz., that the Lord Jesus does not address himself to the true Israelites in person now, as at the first advent, but through his agent, through a mouth-piece. Aaron, the mouth-piece or agent of the Lord, we would understand to represent the Royal Priesthood—those of the Lord’s consecrated people still in the flesh, still sacrificing,—who have not yet passed beyond the vail into glory. The type, then, seems to say that the signs or testimonies which will convince all true Israelites now living respecting the presence of the Lord and his mighty power to deliver, his ultimate victory over Satan, sin and death will be of or from our present Lord, but by or through the living members of his Body, his brethren, represented in Aaron.
(3) The first sign or testimony to Israel was the casting of the rod upon the ground, and its becoming a serpent, and the taking of the serpent by the tail, and its becoming a rod again in the hands of Aaron. It was Moses’ rod, and Aaron was merely his representative in every act. The Natural Israelite merely saw this as a miracle, and discerned in it no teaching; but the Spiritual Israelite is not to expect a larger rod and a larger serpent as the antitype, but should expect to comprehend the meaning of the rod and of the serpent as an antitypical instruction or testimony today.
A rod symbolizes authority. Moses’ rod was frequently used in connection with the plagues, as well as in connection with the signs, as signifying divine authority. A serpent is a symbol of evil—of sin and all its consequences, evil in general. The lesson for the Spiritual Israelite today is that he is now to understand that all the evil there is in the world is the result, directly or indirectly, of God’s having let go of his rod or authority; and they are to understand further that it is God’s intention or purpose, as it is also his promise, to take hold upon the present evil conditions, which have lasted now more than six thousand years, and to bring order out of confusion—to re-establish his authority in his own hand.
These acts or signs are said to have “voices” or to be testimonies. (Exod. 4:8,9.) Hence our query must be, Is this sign or testimony now being given to God’s people throughout the world? We answer, Yes. Has it been always recognized and presented thus? We answer, No. Was it ever thus presented before this harvest
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time? We answer, No. Heretofore it has been a matter of speculation amongst peoples and theologians of all classes and shades of Christian belief, but a question without an answer—Why did God permit evil in the world? Some have blasphemously held that God has caused the evil, that good might follow; but this God himself most emphatically denies, and everything pertaining to his character refutes it. He declares that every good and every perfect gift is of him, with whom is no changeableness or variableness. “His work is perfect.” Others have claimed that a conflict is in operation between God and Satan, between good and evil, and that each side is doing its utmost to conquer the other—with evil and Satan predominant in the world, on account of which it is spoken of as “the present evil world,” in which there is “none righteous, no, not one.” But whatever the standpoint of view, it has been confusion only until the harvest-time, when the true light upon the subject began to shine forth, showing that when sin entered the world God gave mankind over, let them take their course, let the rod of divine authority drop, “rested from his own work,” permitting sin and evil to flourish—not, however, intending that it should flourish forever as a serpent, but fully intending, predestinating, and even foretelling, that in due time he would set up his Kingdom in the person of the Messiah, who should lay hold upon that old serpent, the devil and Satan, and restrain his power. Showing, too, that he will ultimately bring all evil conditions back to subjection and harmony with the divine authority and law—destroying the evil connected therewith. This teaching, then, is the sign whose “voice” or testimony was typified by Aaron casting the rod upon the ground, its becoming a serpent, and his taking it back into his hand again. How much grander the antitypical teaching than the typical sign! How much more forceful! Who of the true Israelites who has heard this testimony is any longer in doubt respecting the speedy deliverance of all of God’s people from the power of Satan, sin and death?
We would avoid personality as far as possible, but believe it to be in the interest of the Truth and of the true Israelites that we point out that this sign has already been given. ZION’S WATCH TOWER AND HERALD OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE was founded in 1879, and the “voice” therefrom, to the true Israel of God, announced that the second advent of our Lord, as the deliverer of the world, had already taken place—that he was present but invisible, a spirit being not possible to be seen by any, even his Church, until they should be “changed” and made like him in the First Resurrection. The message further declared that he was present for the purpose of establishing his Kingdom and delivering his saints and the whole groaning creation from the bondage of corruption—as many as will obey him. And it is very remarkable that very shortly a special number of this journal was issued, bearing the significant title, “Food for Thinking Christians—Why Evil Was Permitted.”* This voice or testimony was spread abroad amongst the Spiritual Israelites in an extraordinary manner—over a million and a half copies being
*Since this publication two other tracts have been issued, bearing portions of the same title: No. 62, “The Divine Plan of the Ages: Why Evil was Permitted”; No. 52, “Food for Thinking Christians: Our Lord’s Return,” etc.
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circulated through the mails and at Church doors in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. And the voice or testimony of this first sign, token, teaching, is still being repeated from one to another of the Lord’s people throughout the world, and now in various languages. In that pamphlet for the first time, so far as we know, was shown that the evil in the world, the bondage to sin and death and the reign of iniquity and the various oppressions to which the whole groaning creation is subject, are the results of God’s having let go his authority (rod), and not the result of his inability to hold the authority, nor in any sense the outworking of the authority in his hand. It showed also how complete will be the restraint of evil and its complete annihilation when again the Lord shall take unto himself his great power and reign. Could there possibly be a greater or a grander antitype for the sign which Moses and Aaron presented to Israel through the rod and the serpent? Is not the truth on this subject much more convincing to the Spiritual Israelite today than any natural signs or wonders or miracles could possibly be? Does not the knowledge now granted the Lord’s people respecting the divine plan of the ages, and its purpose, and the result, satisfy our longings as nothing else could do, and assure our hearts that deliverance is nigh?
THE VOICE OF THE SECOND SIGN
(4) The second sign to be given to the Israelites was that of the leprous hand. Hidden in the bosom, when revealed it was leprous; but when hidden again, and revealed a second time, it was whole. Again, we say that the Natural Israelite discerned nothing but the natural sign, but it was intended of God that the Spiritual Israelite should discern a much grander lesson, and that a testimony through this grander lesson would be still more convincing to him than was the typical sign to the typical Israelite. A hand is a symbol of power. In this case the hand represented divine power. Leprosy is a symbol of sin. The teaching, therefore, would seem to be that divine power was first manifested without sin or imperfection or blemish; secondly, that the same divine power, hidden for a time, was afterward manifest in sin and imperfection; and thirdly, that the same divine power, hidden again for a time, will subsequently be manifest without sin.
What teaching or testimony is this? We answer that it is in harmony with the previous teaching respecting the permission of evil, but does not apply to evil in general, but rather to sin in particular; does not apply to the world in general, but specially applies to the people of God—to those whom God uses as his agents or representatives, his hand, his power in the
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world. God’s power originally was manifested unblemished. But during this Gospel Age he has been represented by his consecrated people, the members of the Body of Christ, who are his ambassadors and representatives; but they are leprous, actually imperfect, though reckonedly perfect in Christ. As the world sees them they are blemished, but from the divine standpoint their blemishes are all hidden, covered with the merit of Christ’s righteousness. Nevertheless, these have been the hand or power of God in the world for more than eighteen centuries; but by and by they are to be received into his bosom, and “changed” in the First Resurrection, so that when manifest again in the future they will be without sin, “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,” and will again be used of the Lord as his agent in stretching forth his rod and bringing the plagues upon Egypt, and delivering the residue of God’s people from the bondage of sin and death.
And is this also a sign or a testimony peculiar to this time in which we live, and was this subject never clearly seen before? We answer, it is peculiar to our day, and was never clearly seen before. In the past many have seen something of justification, something of sanctification, something of a coming deliverer; but never before have these subjects been seen in the clear light in which they are now seen as related to each other. Never before was the relationship distinctly seen between justification and sanctification and deliverance; that justification is of divine grace, accepted through faith; that sanctification implies works and sacrifice, based upon justification; and that to these justified and consecrated ones who faithfully overcome, by the grace of God in Christ, shall be granted a share in the “glory, honor and immortality” of the divine nature in the First Resurrection.
But has the voice or sign of this testimony gone forth in any particular channel, as did the preceding voice or testimony? We answer, Yes: in the MILLENNIAL DAWN series of volumes, the first of which was published in 1886. The united testimony of these relates to the Church, showing original sin, the first step out of it into justification through faith in Christ, the second step of sanctification and sacrifice, and the ultimate change in the First Resurrection to the divine nature and glory and joint-heirship. These volumes deal specially with this subject from its various standpoints, the ransom-sacrifice of our Lord, on account of which the cleansing will come to us in due time, being everywhere prominently set forth; and also the fact that no absolute purity is to be expected until the Lord shall take us to himself in our “change.”
Supplemental to the teaching of the DAWNS on this subject, and to assist in emphasizing their “voice” and making clear their testimony, the Pilgrim service has been instituted under which various brethren travel from place to place explaining and demonstrating the lesson taught by the leprous hand and its healing, and all of our readers, having heard the testimony, are daily giving it forth to others.
THE VOICE OF THE THIRD SIGN
(5) Another sign was to be given, the Lord clearly intimating that it would be necessary, and that all of his true people would not hear or heed the “voice” of the first two testimonies. To Natural Israel the third sign was the taking of the water from the river and pouring it upon the earth, where it became blood. They saw merely the sign, the miracle; they read not its meaning, as the Spiritual Israelite must seek to do. In explanation of the symbolical teaching of this type we suggest that water is here, as elsewhere, a symbol of the Truth; and that the earth is here, as elsewhere, a symbol of society.* The pouring of the water upon the earth would ordinarily mean the refreshment of the earth, a blessing; and the pouring of the Truth upon society would ordinarily be expected to mean a blessing to society; but in the symbol the water turned to blood, repulsive, abhorrent, symbolizing death; and this, in the antitype, would signify that in the present time the pouring out of the Truth upon society will produce an effect contrary to what might ordinarily have been expected. Society, civilization, has been claiming, especially within the past century, to be searching high and low for the Truth. But this type says that the time has come when these professed truth-seekers (the word science signifies truth) will reject the truth, disdain it, and to them it will seem obnoxious, loathsome, intolerable. Our readers will here possibly call to mind our Lord’s words respecting this present time, “The sun shall be darkened and the moon shall be turned into blood.” We have elsewhere shown the significance of this:+ that the moon is the symbol of the Jewish Law, as the sun is the symbol of the Gospel message; and that the Gospel message will become darkness to the eyes of society in general through the sophistries of Higher Criticism, Evolution theories, etc., of this boastful day; while the Law, represented by the moon, will be viewed as bloody—that its sacrifices will not be esteemed as types nor appreciated as such, but be regarded as the work of misguided Jews, who slaughtered their animals by the thousands because of their ignorance and superstition, and that the commands which they obeyed were not of God, but of their own conjecture and of priestly connivance. The same thought attaches to this sign or testimony of the water of Truth being poured upon the social earth. It will be resented as bloody instead of being absorbed as Truth.
*MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., pp. 66-71.
+MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. IV., pp. 590-594.
Is there anything corresponding to this sign now in progress in the world that could be esteemed a sign or testimony to the True Israelites, such as never was before given? We answer, Yes, there is. A very remarkable movement has been in progress amongst us during the past sixteen years, during which the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has supplied tracts free in any quantity to those who would promise to use them judiciously. You have the annual reports showing the millions of pages which have thus been circulated
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—the Truth being thus poured upon the symbolical earth, society, liberally in many lands and in many languages. But especially has this pouring out of the water, Truth, progressed wonderfully during the past nine years under what we have designated the “Volunteer” work, in which hundreds of the Lord’s consecrated people have systematically, season after season, distributed to Christian people tracts and booklets which our Society has supplied freely—the donations covering the expense coming in without urging or even request.
But what is the effect of this pouring out of the water upon the most enlightened peoples of the world, professed truth-seekers? Is it gladly received, joyfully absorbed? Only by the few—the vast majority seem to be angered, as the Scribes and Pharisees and doctors of divinity at the first advent were angered when they perceived that the Lord and the apostles were teaching the people, and that without money and without price. (Acts 4:2.) Nothing can be more evident than that the professed teachers of Christendom do not want to be taught themselves and do not want their people to be taught the Truth. They bitterly oppose it and persecute and speak evil of those who in this way are seeking to do good. More and more they are getting so changed from the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ to the theory of Evolution and Higher Criticism and sectarian pride and worldliness that the Truth seems repulsive to them, undesirable, bloody. They not only view the typical sacrifices as bloody, but they resent the thought that the antitypical sacrifice for sins was the death of Christ—they resent the thought that divine justice required this sacrifice, and that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins,” as the Apostle declared. (Heb. 9:22.) It does not fit with their theories. According to their theories man was created next to the monkey, and has been evolving as a race grandly up to the present time, and will continue to evolve and develop until he becomes a god, and hence needs only to be let alone, needs no Savior, no deliverer from the present condition of things, which is not seen to be evil. They put evil for good and good for evil, darkness for light and light for darkness. To these the truth of God’s Word respecting the fall, respecting the ransom, respecting the coming deliverance and restitution blessings which God has provided in Christ, through the Millennial Kingdom, for all the families of the earth—these are all objectionable, contradictory to their theories, hateful, bloody.
As the “voice” of the third sign or testimony was to bring conviction to all of the true typical Israelites, so in the antitype this last testimony or evidence will ultimately bring conviction to all of the Lord’s true people today in the world. They will discern that the systems and theologians in whom they have trusted are going further and further, day by day, away from the appreciation of the true Gospel—the truth as it is in Christ Jesus—into the outer darkness of the world. All who are loyal to the Lord, as they perceive this condition of things, as they recognize the cleavage between belief and unbelief from the Scriptural standpoint will thus be helped, convinced, and enabled to take their stand for the Truth accordingly.
It will be remembered that when Moses and Aaron presented themselves before Pharaoh they performed the first of these signs in his presence—the rod turned into a serpent and being reclaimed was a rod. Pharaoh called for his magicians (types of theologians of today, whose minds, not morals, have become corrupted, and who are reprobates, not morally, but as respects the faith—2 Tim. 3:8), and explained to them that Moses and Aaron claimed that this sign was an evidence of divine power and favor, and asked them if they could not show the same evidences. They replied, Yes, and cast their rods upon the ground and their rods also became serpents; but Aaron’s rod-serpent swallowed up all of these. What would this signify? It might mean that so far as the world is concerned the first sign or testimony which convinced the Hebrews will be claimed to be nothing new; it will be claimed that theologians all along have declared and thought that God blesses evil things so that they result in good. But we answer that the view of this subject which God has now displayed to his people is so much more complete that it quite swallows up all these suggestions and theories of the past. What the Lord is now showing proves to his people conclusively not only that some accidents are overruled of the Lord for good, but that all evil of every kind is the result of absence of the divine control, and that when the Lord shortly shall put forth his hand and again take control of earth’s affairs, its evil conditions will give place to conditions in accord with the divine character and authority.
It will be remembered also that the first plague which came upon the Egyptians was the turning of all the water of Egypt into blood—the river, ponds, etc.—so that the Egyptians could not drink of the water, but digged for themselves wells near the river. As the water represents truth, the thought here conveyed would be that from the worldly standpoint very soon all truth will become repulsive—every feature of truth connected with the divine plan as represented in the Word of God will become abhorrent; and the digging of wells would seem to imply that, rejecting the Word of God, the world (Christendom—Churchianity) will seek for truth in various ways of their own.
WHAT SHALL WE SAY TO THESE THINGS?
It should be a great encouragement to us all to find so clearly expressed in the type what we had vaguely and indistinctly hoped for, viz., that the Lord’s people of the Royal Priesthood on this side the vail are being used of him in various ways in the accomplishment of his purpose of separating the people of God from others—the wheat from the tares. It is remarkable in this connection that none but the consecrated have ever been successful in connection with the circulation of any of these testimonies. Of the more than two millions
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of copies of MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I, now in circulation, remarkably few have been circulated by any but those who are believers in their testimony and who have circulated them through a desire to be instruments and mouthpieces of the Lord in giving forth his Word—even as was Aaron to Moses.
Let us, then, dear brothers and sisters, feel encouraged as, looking into the type, we see so clear a fulfilment in our day of the things written aforetime for our admonition. Let us with fresh courage show forth to all those whom we have any reason to believe are Israelites indeed the secret of the divine plan—Why Evil Was Permitted. Let us prosecute also the work of showing them respecting the hand, the instrumentalities which God has used during this Gospel Age in this service; respecting the justification which covers, in God’s sight, though it does not transform us in the sight of men, pointing out also the final victory of the consecrated. Let us persuade the first-born of Israel to faithfulness until our “change” comes, when we shall be made like the Lord and fit to be his servants and representatives. Let us continue also to pour out the water of Truth; whether others hear or whether they forbear. The Lord’s assurance is that this sign, this testimony and its contrary results ultimately shall influence all Israelites indeed. Let us remember that the opposition of the worldly even will prove to be cooperative influence in deciding the Israelites indeed that the deliverer and the deliverance are at hand. And finally let us apply to ourselves the Lord’s assurance to Moses respecting himself and Aaron, “Certainly I will be with thee.”
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NOT NOW, MY CHILD
“Father, I long to spread thy Truth o’er land and sea!”
I listen, and there comes to me
His answer, tender, loving, mild,
“Not now, my child.”
“Father, my heart is sad; I fain would leave this wilderness,
Go forth earth’s groaning ones to bless!”
I hear again his answer mild,
“Not now, my child.”
“Father, I yearn to break these fleshly fetters and be free,—
As pants the hart, I pant for thee.”
His voice, how sweet, how tender, mild,
“Not now, my child.”
“Father, thy will be done; I humbly leave it all with thee,
Thou knowest what is best for me!”
I hear his voice, so low, so mild,
“Come now, my child.”
—G. W. Seibert.
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“BE STRONG AND OF GOOD COURAGE”
—JOSHUA 1:1-11—OCTOBER 6—
Golden Text:—”I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”—Joshua 1:5
JOSHUA, the divinely appointed leader after Moses’ death, is calculated to have been eighty-three years old at the time. His name originally was Hoshea, the same as that of the prophet. The name signifies “Salvation” or “Help.” Subsequently this was changed to Jehoshea (Numbers 13:16) which signifies “Jehovah is salvation.” This was afterwards shortened to Joshua and later modified to Jeshua. (Neh. 8:17.) The latter name in its Greek form in the Septuagint is Jesous, Jesus, the significant name given to our Lord at his birth. It is reasonable to infer that in some respects Joshua typified him.
Joshua was evidently a great man, although that greatness does not so much appear until after the death of Moses and his appointment as his successor. Previously, in harmony with the divine will and arrangement, his greatness was overshadowed by that of Moses, whom he served as general assistant, private secretary, etc. This training was evidently most valuable to him as a preparation for his future work. It made him familiar with the divine plans and methods as understood and practised by Moses, whose confidence he seems to have had in a remarkable degree. It will be remembered that to him was entrusted the command of the people in their first battle, in which they, unused to war, worsted the Amalekites by the Lord’s providential assistance. It was Joshua who went with Moses into Mount Sinai, it was he who led one of the companies of spies through the land of promise and who brought back a good report, and who courageously stood with Moses in advising that the people have faith in God and proceed to conquer and
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possess the promised land. He must have been either the oldest man in all the nation or next to the oldest, for only himself and Caleb of all the nation that were above twenty years of age at the exodus remained alive. In every way, therefore, Joshua was peculiarly fitted to be the Lord’s servant in leading the Israelites into Canaan, and in every way he must have had the confidence of the people for such a position and service more than any other man in the world.
JOSHUA DIVINELY COMMISSIONED
It was not sufficient that Moses had given Joshua a course of training preparing him for this service. It was necessary that the Lord, who proclaimed himself the real leader of Israel, should specially authorize Joshua to take command and to lead the people into Canaan. The intimation is that Joshua, like Moses, was a meek man, humble minded, and that instead of attempting to grasp authority he needed rather that the Lord should encourage him to undertake the responsibility of the position of leader. Happy would it be for all of the Lord’s people if they were similarly meek and backward. All should criticise their own hearts and motives along these lines, and such as find in themselves an ambitious spirit should remember its
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dangers to themselves and to the Lord’s people with whom they have to do, because the Lord resists the proud, the self-conscious, the boastful and ambitious, and shows his favor to the humble. The self-conscious need to be restrained, and cannot be permitted of the Lord to come so close to him nor to enter so fully into the secrets of the Lord as can those of more humble mind, who indeed need his encouraging words and gracious promises of assistance ere they could have strength and courage to proceed with his work. Realizing their own littleness and insufficiency and the greatness of the Lord and the importance of his work, these
“fear to touch Things that involve so much.”
The nation of Israel needed to be encouraged, because, although they had been forty years in preparation for this very event, still they realized that great difficulties stood before them. The river Jordan was to be crossed, and at this particular time it was swollen and large; the enemy, ready to repulse their advances, was keen and on the alert and better used to warfare than they. If they should succeed in crossing the river in the face of their enemies it would appear to mean a great expenditure of energy and a great loss of life. They had no bridges nor pontoons from which to construct temporary bridges; and on the other side, if they ever reached it, they knew that the cities were strong walled, with a view to withstanding attacks and sieges, and they were comparatively unprepared as respects military equipment, battering rams, etc. What wonder if the people of Israel needed encouragement to undertake such a conflict—to take possession of the land which God had given them. The Lord began this work of encouragement by strengthening the heart of Joshua as the leader, by reminding him that he had promised the land, and assuring him that “every place that the sole of your foot shall tread, to you have I given it, as I spake unto Moses.” Nevertheless this promise implied that nothing was theirs except as the soles of their feet claimed possession. It was theirs by faith in that promise—a faith that would lead to works. And is not this a general illustration of all of God’s dealings with us of Spiritual Israel? He gives to us better promises, exceeding great and precious promises, but they are ours only in proportion as we take them and appropriate them and act upon them, and through such exercise of faith and obedience gain the desired strength and blessing.
Next the Lord outlined the promised land (v. 4), and practically gave the very boundaries which subsequently marked the possessions of Israel at the close of David’s reign and throughout that of Solomon—from the Arabian wilderness on the south and Mount Lebanon to the river Euphrates on the north and the Mediterranean Sea on the west. This definiteness in statement of the boundaries would prove strengthening to faith, and would indicate to them clearly when they had attained possession of all that the Lord had given them. We may reasonably suppose that had their faith and courage been equal to the task they would have been capable of taking possession of that land promptly, but as it was they took possession of only a portion, and Amalekites and Canaanites still dwelt with them in the land and subsequently gave them trouble.
Some have used this as an illustration of how the Christian’s full consecration means the surrender of everything to the Lord, that his Spirit and his will may have full control in our bodies and spirits, which are his. In proportion as we have faith and avail ourselves of the Lord’s assistance we may equally take possession of our mortal bodies, and transfer our talents to the service of the Lord and his cause; but if through fear or sympathy with sin we permit the will of the flesh to dominate us here and there in this, that or the other affair of life, we will always have trouble in proportion. The sins and weaknesses which we fail to fight against will be sure eventually to fight against us and to injure us as New Creatures. Hence our consecration and our faith should be so full and so strong that we would fight a good fight against sin and meanness in every avenue of our natures and in our sentiments, at last bringing every power of our natures into captivity to God. In proportion as this new mind fails to take possession of the mortal body and to rule it, in that proportion will we be weak when we should be strong, troubled when we should have peace, overcharged and ensnared when we should have the full smile of God’s favor. Not that we are advocating the thought of it being possible to reach actual perfection in the flesh, but that we do advocate as Scriptural the thought that we should have perfection of heart, of will, of intention, and that quite early in our Christian experience, and that only such as attain this are overcomers and may expect joint-heirship with the Lord in the coming Kingdom.
“I WILL BE WITH THEE”
God’s encouragement of Joshua was not along the lines common amongst men. He did not say to him, “Remember your age and long experience and previous successes as a general,” etc., but he did give to him the better counsel, the assurance that as he had stood by Moses as his servant so he would be with him and would not forsake him and would not fail him in any hour of test and trouble. As a consequence of the Lord’s assistance he was assured that no one would be able to withstand him all the days of his life, nor would any Israelite be permitted to occupy his place as the captain of the hosts during his lifetime.
Was it not thus with our Lord Jesus, too? And is not the Lord’s message a similar one to all the members of the Body of Christ—”I will be with thee. I will not fail thee nor forsake thee”? In this let us rejoice while realizing that of ourselves we can do nothing. Remember the Master’s words to the disciples returning joyful when they had been used in his service. When they recounted how in his name they had been able to heal the sick and even cast out devils the Lord
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said to them, Let not your rejoicing be on this account, but rather that your names are written in heaven—rejoice rather that your Father himself loveth you, that you have been accepted of him, and that he is on your part as you are enlisted in his service.
“BE STRONG AND OF GOOD COURAGE”
Attention has been called to the fact that the Hebrew word here rendered strong is one which rather implies strength of the arms and of the shoulders, and thus gives the thought of aggressive warfare, while the word rendered courage has an association with the lower limbs and thus implies defensive or resistive power, steadfastness. So then the Lord exhorted Joshua to be strong, to have confidence, to lay hold upon the blessings he and the Israelites were commissioned to take and to possess; and he urged him to be of good courage, to be firm in the resistance of opposition and very steadfast in the face of difficulties. And how much all the people of God today need to apply to themselves this same encouragement and to remember that Joshua and the Israelites and the promised land were merely foreshadowings of the greater and more wonderful antitypes. To us the Lord has given still greater blessings and promises. If the typical Joshua needed to be strong and firm, bold and courageous, what shall we say of the Spiritual Israelites, who must not only wrestle against the world and the flesh, but also, as the Apostle says, must contend with wicked spirits in influential positions?
How much strength and courage we must have if we would come off more than conquerors through him who loved us and bought us! And here is the point necessary to be remembered, viz., that this is not our battle but the Lord’s, that we are not fighting at our own charges but with his commission and with his promised assistance and support. “I will be with thee, I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.” No wonder that the Apostle, gaining a clear view of this situation, exclaimed, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13.) And so it is with all the true followers of the Lord: we do not know how much we can accomplish, we do not know if there would be any limitations to our powers within the limits of the Lord’s commands and while upheld by his promise. We must remember, however, the limitations, “Without me ye can do nothing,” and again, that what we are to do is clearly indicated in the divine Word, and that we are not to look for nor expect divine aid beyond those limitations: just as in the case of
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Joshua and Natural Israel. Had they gone outside the boundaries of Canaan specified in the Lord’s Word they could not have expected the divine assistance. Here again we remember the Master’s words, “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you”—under these limitations we can do and be and pray anything and everything, but outside these limitations we must expect nothing.
Courage is always admirable, but there is a moral courage which should rank higher far than physical. This moral courage is greatly needed amongst the Lord’s people; without it they can do nothing, and many of their difficulties in the Christian way are because they fail to appreciate this matter and fail to develop this courage. It requires real courage of the highest order to stand for the Lord’s Truth and his people when these are misunderstood, misrepresented, antagonized. It takes real courage to stand for the light when the great Adversary with a world-wide influence brands it as darkness and leads an assault against it. It requires real courage to denounce the darkness, meekly, persistently, when it has on its side wealth, culture, influence and Churchianity.
The story was recently told of a general in the United States army, returned from the Philippine war, who received the Truth into a good and honest heart. Anxious to serve the good tidings to others, anxious to honor the great Captain of our salvation, the general inquired respecting opportunities for serving the Truth and was promptly informed respecting the various methods by which its propaganda is going forth in this harvest time. He was not so situated that he could take hold of the Colporteur work, and hence he concluded that he must be a sharpshooter and a volunteer tract distributor under the banner of his King. The Bible class of which he is a member elected him the captain of the Volunteer work for this year, and thus the duty of districting the city and assigning the various quarters for tract distribution fell into his hands. What portion did he assign to himself, a brigadier-general in the army, and widely known throughout the city? Instead of choosing some out-of-the-way place, where few would recognize him, he assigned as his district the very one in which he lived and in which he would be most widely known and recognized, his argument being, “I am not ashamed of the Lord, and if I have any influence amongst my fellow men, I want that influence to tell for the Lord and for his Truth.” Surely this dear brother was strong and of good courage, and just as surely his faithfulness to the Lord and to the Truth must have brought him rich spiritual blessing and help to crystallize his character as a New Creature in Christ. Doubtless it requires courage in the field of battle, facing enemies and dangers of every kind; but surely it requires still greater, still more honorable courage to thus take one’s stand for the Lord and for an unpopular Truth and to be seen and known as a tract distributor of the same.
Other cases somewhat similar might be mentioned, illustrating the same principle. We believe that the Lord has so ordered his work that it will always cost something to be soldiers of the cross and always serve to test the loyalty, the strength, the moral courage, of every member of the Body of Christ. This Volunteer tract distribution is certainly serving a valuable purpose in connection with the Lord’s people, however much or little it may be accomplishing for those who receive the tracts.
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VERY COURAGEOUS TO OBSERVE THE LAW
There is a peculiar force in the language of the seventh verse of our lesson—”Only be strong and very courageous to observe and to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded thee.” Whatever of strength and courage may be implied in the sixth verse as necessary to the conquering of the land of promise, this seventh verse evidently refers to moral courage—strong and very courageous in obedience to the divine commands. The injunction implied that Joshua would find obstacles and difficulties before him, and discouragements in respect to the observance of holy things. It is so with the Spiritual Israelites, the Body of Christ today: while some are lacking in courage as respects the outward things, a still larger number lack these qualities in their own hearts, in their own lives. They see and to some extent appreciate the divine will as being righteous altogether, but the self-denial necessary to a full obedience they are not willing to render. Perhaps the greatest battles any of us have to fight are those of which none may know except ourselves—our mental battles. As a Methodist brother once put the matter, “My greatest battle is to gain the consent of my own will.” However, no Christian should be in this attitude. This should be our first battle—to gain the consent and full cooperation of our wills with the divine Word. Then let us go on to victory after victory, battling against the world, the flesh and the Adversary. Once our hearts are fully surrendered to his law it should never again be necessary to have a battle there; the victory should be so thorough, so complete, so far-reaching.
MEDITATING DAY AND NIGHT ON GOD’S LAW
The Lord explained to Joshua what would lie at the foundation of his success, and that neglect would mean his failure—”This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and thou shalt make good success”—v. 8.
No clearer expression of the divine will could be made to the antitypical Joshua and the members of his Body than is given in this Scripture. Its teaching is that there is no safety, no real success for those addressed, except in obedience to the divine will, as recorded in the divine Word. Thus also the Lord Jesus is represented as saying, “I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is written in my heart”; and again prophetically—”O, how I love thy Law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psa. 40:8; 119:97.) Meditation on the divine law day and night is not, of course, to be understood literally—that we should do nothing else day or night than think upon the Scriptures. We are to understand the Lord to mean that we should ever have in mind, in connection with all of our life’s affairs, the thought that we are his, and that he is our guide and director in all things, and that the slightest matter that would pertain to our lives and our interests, day or night, should be undertaken with due consideration of the Lord’s will respecting the same.
In other words, as elsewhere expressed, whether we eat or drink or whatsoever we do, we should do all to the Lord’s glory; and this implies not merely a haphazard wish to do the Lord’s will, but a studying of the divine Word that we may know what that will is—not merely a studying of the creeds and traditions of the past, however we may honor those who made them and believe in their sincerity. It is for us rather to prove all things that we accept, and then to hold fast that which we have proven to be the good, the acceptable, the perfect will of God. As Joshua was told that his good success would be in proportion to his attention to the divine Law, so Spiritual Israelites similarly are informed that their success in making their calling and election sure will be proportionate to their loving, zealous obedience to the divine message. Meditating on the Lord’s Law day and night implies a study of the Scriptures, a course which some of us at present are endeavoring to follow, using such helps as the Lord’s providence has supplied to us—not relying upon any helps to the abandonment of the Word, but rather using these helps and proving everything received by the divine standard.
“HAVE I NOT COMMANDED THEE?”
This question is asked by way of stimulating Joshua’s thought—that he might realize that he had not commissioned himself nor been commissioned of man to undertake this great work. Similarly the Apostle points out that our Lord Jesus took not the honor upon himself to be the High Priest of our profession, but that he was called of God to this position. Similarly, also, we who are seeking to walk in the footsteps of Jesus are to consider that we have not chosen him but he has chosen us, commissioned us and authorized us, so that we can go forth in his name as ambassadors for him and the Kingdom which he represents. What strength and courage this gives to the true soldiers of the cross—to realize that his labor is not in vain in the Lord. How it nerves him to be and to do in harmony with the Word and Spirit of his Master.
No wonder that these are in the Scriptures termed “more than conquerors.” And no wonder, either, that the Lord has made the conditions of their present experiences such as to necessitate a good fight and a victory. He seeketh such, strong, courageous—not in themselves, but in the power of his might and through faith. As soon as Joshua got this message from the Lord he proceeded to put the people in order for an aggressive campaign, and instructed the proper officers to prepare the people and to prepare victuals and to be ready within three days to obey the divine command to enter in and possess the land which the Lord had given them. The promptness and zeal here displayed are worthy of emulation. We may be sure that, as we read, “The Lord loveth a cheerful giver,” so he loveth those who are prompt and energetic in everything they undertake to be and to do for him and his cause. Let us who are members of the greater Joshua, the antitype, be very courageous also, very prompt, very zealous, that we may be used and useful more and more in the Master’s service.
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ENTERING THE LAND OF PROMISE
—JOSHUA 3:5-17—OCTOBER 13—
Golden Text:—”He led them out by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.”—Psa. 107:7
FINALLY, after appointed officers had directed in the matter of the packing of goods and preparation of victuals for the change of camp, the people of Israel were all ready to enter the land of promise in hope of which they had left Egypt forty years before. The time selected for the entrance was the tenth day of the first month, Nisan (April), originally Abib. It was on this date the Israelites under Moses set out from Egypt for Palestine forty years before.
Viewed from the human standpoint it was a most unfavorable time of the year, because, although it was the harvest time and favorable as respected the crop of the land into which they were entering, nevertheless it was flood time in the Jordan, when the melting of the snows in the Lebanon mountains caused the river Jordan, ordinarily about one hundred feet wide at this place, to overflow its banks for sometimes several hundred feet. And of course its current was swift and dangerous. However, the Israelites had evidently learned something in the forty years of God’s dealings with them, and they were therefore prepared for Joshua’s announcement that a great miracle was to be wrought, which would demonstrate to them that God was for them and would drive away all fear from their hearts and impress the fear of them upon their enemies.
JOSHUA SAID, SANCTIFY YOURSELVES
We are reminded of a similar instruction given to the Israelites when they approached Mount Sinai at the time of the giving of the Law Covenant. The word “sanctify” is well known to mean “set apart,” and the specific directions given at Mount Sinai show that this meant that they should purify themselves from sin, and in general from all earthly things, and abstain from all except necessary food, with a view to being in the heart condition which would enable them to best appreciate their dealings with the Lord and his personal interest in them. Thus they were prepared to realize that the mercies and favors coming to them were not of accident but of divine providence, and to be strengthened in heart and in faith accordingly.
Profitable lessons may be drawn by Spiritual Israelites from this narrative. For instance, we might think of the entrance into Canaan under the leadership of Joshua as corresponding to the entrance of all who love the Lord into the blessings and privileges of the Millennial Age. In this illustration we might think of Joshua as representing the Lord, and the priests bearing the Ark as representing the little flock, and the passing over of the Israelites as representing the passing of mankind into the new dispensation, where indeed there will be enemies still to be conquered, weaknesses of the flesh still to be overcome, and full possession is to be granted only at the close of the Millennial Kingdom. In this view the Jordan might represent Adamic death, and its being dried up picture the cessation of Adamic death to all those desiring to be the Lord’s people and to enter into his favor, while the return of the waters of the Jordan behind the Israelites, shutting them within the land of promise, might represent the Second Death, which would be the portion of any who would renounce the goodly heritage which the Lord has provided for the redeemed world.
But there is another application we may make, also Scriptural, which will be still more forceful in some respects to ourselves of this Gospel Age. We may suppose the people of Israel who accepted Joshua to represent justified believers in Jesus, who have accepted him as their Pattern and Leader, and who propose to follow where he leads, obeying his commands. We may consider the swollen river Jordan as representing consecration unto death, which is required of those who will become New Creatures in Christ Jesus and heirs of the exceeding great and precious promises. To us consecration means so much and seems so formidable, but under the Lord’s guidance and leading all the faithful may quickly cross over and begin by faith a new experience as New Creatures in Christ. From one point of view the consecrated, the sanctified, after having passed from death unto life, from earthly ambitions and joys to heavenly ambitions and pleasures, still find enemies that must be conquered—indeed that their fightings have just begun. Now it is that they must war a good warfare to exterminate the enemies of the New Creation—the weaknesses, the imperfections, the evil attitudes and desires of the old nature, which are yet in conflict with the divine will and law, and which, as the Apostle declares, war against the soul, against the New Creature. Whichever view we take we are to remember that the first command for preparation is, “Sanctify yourselves,” and note the fact that God is with you and for you and ready to aid you. But the sanctifying or setting apart to the Lord and his service is not only a condition to the call of the present time, but it will also be a condition necessary to the blessings of the Millennial Age by those then favored of the Lord, for whoever will not separate himself to be the Lord’s can have no part nor lot in any of the blessings which God has provided for them that love him.
“PASS OVER BEFORE THE PEOPLE”
We should have in mind that the Israelites were encamped along the eastern side of the river Jordan for several miles, a mighty host. Joshua’s directions were that the people should look out for the Ark of the Lord, that it—representing the Lord—would precede them. According to these directions about three-quarters of a mile intervened between the Ark and the people, it going to the north of them and they following it within that distance. At the proper place it stood, and its bearers, the priests, walked down to the river until their feet touched the water. The Israelites were intently watching what would be the program, and to the
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astonishment of all, when the priests’ feet touched the water the river began to shrink. Step by step they went onward into the channel, while the river grew smaller and smaller, until it was entirely dried up, and then the Ark rested in the middle of the river-bed, while—according to the directions of Joshua—the people on the bank crossed over quickly into the land of promise. Thus so large a body of people crossed the river quickly, to the surprise and terror of their enemies, who supposed themselves surely safe from an attack behind such a barrier as the swollen Jordan.
But, Do you believe it? some one asks. We could readily see that if the waters above could be made to stand up in a heap a very swift river like the Jordan would speedily empty itself and leave a very dry channel; but what kind of a miracle would this be that would cause the waters of a whole river to stand up in a heap? Many will read the account with unbelief.
Let us who have gotten so many precious things from the Bible learn to not discard any of its presentations lightly, but rather to anticipate that they must be true and seek a reasonable explanation of them. In this case we have not very far to seek, for the account says (v. 16) that the waters which came down from above stood and rose up in this heap, a great way off at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. Thus we see that the waters did not pile up within a few feet or a few inches of the priests and the Ark, but that they piled up a great way off. Following this cue, Professor Wright examined the bed of the Jordan some miles above the place of this miracle, and found that near the town of Adam the river passes through a deep gorge, and that a land slide at this point had probably stopped the river and caused it to form into a lake or a great heap of waters north of the obstruction. Such a cutting off of the waters from above speedily drained the river bed, and the filling of the lake to the level of the obstruction or the giving way of the latter allowed the river to rise again after the Israelites had passed. But some one may say, You are doing away with the miracle altogether. We answer, No! God’s miracles are merely the operations of his power in material ways not understood at the time. The matter is none the less to be understood as a miracle, because what overruling power caused the landslide to take place at the particular time when it would begin to affect the current of the river at the moment that the feet of the priests touched the water? The lesson to us is that our God is equal to any emergency, and can use any and all of the forces of nature for the accomplishment of his will. Similarly the fact that we can now account for the flood in Noah’s time, as shown in “Scripture Studies,” Vol. VI.—that it was the breaking of the last of a series of earth’s rings similar to those of Saturn—does not invalidate the thought that the flood was a miracle directed in harmony with the affairs of the world and the divine plan to the very moment. So far from weakening our faith, such interpretations of the miracles of the Bible refresh and strengthen us, and teach us to look for the fulfilment of the promises which relate to the future in marvellous ways known to our God and fully under his power and control. In Encyclopaedia Biblica, under the caption of “Jericho,” we find an account of a similar damming up of the Jordan in A.D. 1266:—
“A lofty mound which overlooked the river on the west fell into it and dammed it up at a time when the Jordan was in full flood as in Joshua’s day. The waters
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above spread out into a great lake while the river below ran dry. The dam below held from midnight until the fourth hour of the day.”
THE LORD WENT BEFORE THEM
A general lesson is taught by the fact that the Ark preceded and remained in the river-bed until all of the people had passed over. This to them was the Lord’s guarantee of the safety of their passage, and the evidence that their privilege and opportunity of thus quickly entering into possession was of the Lord.
A lesson to all Spiritual Israelites should be, “In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:6); and again, “Without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5); and again, “My help cometh from the Lord” (Psa. 121:2); and again, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13); and again, “All things are yours, for ye are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” (I Cor. 3:22,23.) Let us in the strength of these divine promises enter into the blessings of the Lord more and more day by day, and allow his leadings past and present to give us courage and fortitude for the future.
“Who led us last will lead us still,
Be calm and sink into his will.”
There was a limited time in which those who had faith and a desire to cross over could do so, after which the passage would be impossible. So with us there is an acceptable time, a day of favor, in which, if we will, we may present our bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, our reasonable service. We know not how long the Lord will allow this favorable opportunity in any measure to stand open—we know not how soon the number of Elect will be complete. But as many as are of courageous heart should proceed at once to a full consecration and to an entrance by faith upon the new life—as New Creatures. Let us not be deterred by fear of the giants with whom we will be obliged to contend, in fighting against the weaknesses and sin-habits of the old nature. Let us not be discouraged with the thought of the high walls and fortifications of entrenched sin. Let us remember that if God be for us he is greater than all that could be against us. As the Lord promised the Israelites that he would be with them to drive out before them the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Gergashites, the Amorites and the Jebusites, the proper course for the Israelites would have been to have waged at once a warfare of extermination against these peoples of the land, for this was the divine command. Those people typified the sins with which we must contend earnestly and over which we must have a victory of extermination. For various reasons the Israelites compromised with
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their enemies and as a result suffered from them in future years, sometimes being dominated by them.
Similarly Spiritual Israelites who compromise with sins in their own flesh are sure to have difficulty therefrom and to find the battle between the flesh and the spirit sometimes won by the flesh. We are to remember in this connection that the destruction of Israel’s enemies did not signify the sending of them to eternal torment. The Lord thus allowed them to be consigned to the prison-house of death to await the Millennial morning and an awakening by the Redeemer from the sleep of death under much more favorable conditions than they had ever previously enjoyed. Their death would mean no disadvantage to them—indeed in some respects it would be much more merciful than a death by wasting disease. We are to remember that these people, like the remainder of the race, were all under death sentence anyway, and that our Lord’s declaration is that their wickedness had come to a full, and that he chose not to allow them to live longer, but to take from them the land and to give it to Israel, his typical people.
“LED FORTH BY THE RIGHT WAY”
In applying these matters to ourselves, let us have in our minds the precious words of our Golden Text, “And he led them forth by the right way.” With Spiritual Israel it is particularly true that the Lord leads in the right way, in the best way; and that therefore all truly his people should be careful to note his leadings and quick in following them. In the end we will surely see that he has led us in the right way, however different that way may be from the one we would have chosen for ourselves. The difficulty with many is that the way that they take is not the one which the Lord led and hence not the best way, even though the Lord may overrule their waywardness so that it shall not work to them a great injury which otherwise might have been theirs. The more of the true knowledge of the Lord we possess—the more of the knowledge which perfects our love for the Lord—the greater will be our faith, the more precious will be the results in this present life as well as in the life to come, in which—as star differeth from star in glory—the more faithful of the Lord’s people, and more zealous and more Christlike will have the more shining, the more blessed part and experience. Let us then, with full faith in him who has led us hitherto, go forth through the coming days conquering and to conquer, fighting against the world, the flesh and the Adversary, strong not in ourselves but in him who has called us and led us hitherto.
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AN INTERESTING QUESTION ANSWERED
QUESTION.—I have recently sustained a severe bereavement in the death of a loved one, and am much exercised regarding the future,—where our loved ones will be and whether we may hope to know them beyond the grave. In this connection please consider John 14:1-3.
ANSWER.—The Scriptural citation referred to reads: “In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself.” All creation is the heavenly Father’s house, and upon different planes of being he has in it creatures made in his own likeness, called sons; and for each of these a provision has been made suited to their conditions, nature, etc. (1) The angelic sons of God have heavenly conditions provided for them. (2) When Adam was created an earthly son of God provision was made for him and his family of human sons. The fact that these human sons of God fell into sin and under sentence of death will not hinder the ultimate outworking of the divine plan, to have a household of human sons, for God has provided a ransom for all, and ultimately will grant eternal life to “all those who obey him,” when “they hear his voice.” The provision for these is the human nature in an earthly paradise.
Our Lord was not speaking to nor of the natural man when he used the words of this text; he was speaking to the New Creatures, begotten through the Word of Truth to heavenly promises. Thus far no provision existed for a family of sons on the divine plane; our Lord Jesus was the first born to this condition, and it is only through his merit and by his assisting grace that his Church can become meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. Our Lord’s departure was to this end—that he might not only present the ransom sacrifice on our behalf, but also that he might, as our Head, succor and help us to the eternal city, and might correct and discipline us, and thus prepare us for the new conditions, as well as by his sacrifice make possible our attainment to those new conditions.
QUESTION.—Shall we know each other there?
ANSWER.—Yes; the restored world will know each other, for the blessing is to come to them through restitution, and each will begin his new life on practically the same plane of thought, experience, etc., that he quitted at death. As for the elect Church, the Apostle informs us that “It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him.” To be like him will mean to be partakers of his spirit-nature, as described by the Apostle in 1 Cor. 15:43,44, in glory, in power, a spiritual body. Earthly beings will not see these spiritual beings with their natural eyes, for the same reason that we cannot see angels now. They will know of them, however, in the same way that we know of our Lord and of the heavenly Father, and this knowledge will be as satisfactory to them as our knowledge of the Lord now is satisfactory to us. “We see Jesus” and are “looking unto Jesus,” etc., the eyes of our understanding being opened. But these glorious spirit beings will see and recognize each other, as it is written, “We shall know even as we are known,” and they will be able to see their earthly friends, though we do not see them. The glorified class will be able to care for and bless their earthly friends more particularly than they could do if they were with them in the flesh. The Scriptures exhort us to lay aside every weight and to run with patience to obtain this great spiritual blessing, and while we see many of its advantages we may rest assured of others which we cannot now so fully realize, because “Now we know in part” and “see through a glass obscurely.”