VOL. II. January 1, 1919 No. 1
VOL. II. January 15, 1919 No. 2
VOL. II. January 1, 1919 No. 1
THIS JOURNAL is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the PASTORAL BIBLE INSTITUTE, chartered A.D. 1918, for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Institutes Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives, and refreshed with reports of its Conventions. Our treatment of the International Sunday School Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.
This Journal stands firmly for the defense of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of his Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessing shall come "to all people," and they find access to him.-- 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing of consecrated believers in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 2 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be kings and priests in the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity to be brought to all by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church--when all the willfully wicked will be destroyed.--Acts 3:19-23; Isa. 35.
We affirm the pre-existence of Jesus as the mighty Word(Logos-spokesman), the beginning of the creation of God, the first born of every creature, the active agent of the Heavenly Father, Jehovah, in all the work of creation. Without Him was not anything made that was made. Rev. 3:14, Col. 1:15; John 1:3.
We affirm that the Word (Logos) was made flesh--became the Babe of Bethlehem--thus becoming the Man Jesus, holy harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. As we affirm the humanity of Jesus, we equally affirm the Divinity of Christ--God also hath highly exalted him, and given Him a name which is above every name. -- Heb. 7:26; Phil. 2:9.
We acknowledge that the personality of the Holy Spirit is the Father and the Son; that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both, and is manifested in all who receive the begetting of the Holy Spirit and thereby become sons of God.--John 1:13; 1 Pet. 1:3.
We affirm the resurrection of Christ--that He was put to death in flesh, but quickened in Spirit. We deny that He was raised in the flesh, and challenge any statement to that effect as being unscriptural.--1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 3:17; 1 Cor. 15:8; Acts 26:13-15.
This journal is published under the supervision of an Editorial Committee, at least three of whom have read and approved as truth each and every article appearing in these columns. The names of the Editorial Committee now serving are: R.E. Streeter, H. C. Rockwell, I. F. Hoskins, I. I. Margeson, S. N. Wiley, M. D.
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SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED, FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lords Poor as Follows:-All bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal card stating their case and requesting it. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the Truth.
MOTTO CALENDARS 1919
We now have a supply of these attractive calendars bearing the motto text for the year--Watch you! Stand firm in the faith! Be manly! Be strong! Let all your deeds be done in love. 1 Cor. 16:13, 14. Orders will be filled without delay. Price is 25 cents each; $1.20 for six; $2.00 per dozen.
A CONVENTION AT BUFFALO, N. Y.
A General Convention of Associated Bible Students will be held in Buffalo, N. Y., February 21-23, 1919. This is a splendid location, and we trust that a good number of the friends will find it convenient to attend. Further particulars will be given in a later issue of this journal.
OLD WATCH TOWERS DESIRED
We have a number of inquiries for old issues of the Watch Tower, backward from 1916. Any who have these to dispose of are requested to communicate with us, giving information as to what years they have; how many of each year, the price, etc.
THE ANGELOPHONE WAY
One of the last arrangements made by our Pastor for effectively presenting the Truth and making known something of the Divine purposes of the Lord in relation to the blessing and uplifting of the world of mankind, was in the development of the phonographic method of proclaiming the Glad Tidings. We therefore have pleasure in publishing the following letter:
Brooklyn, Dec. 27, 1918
As we have received many letters from the friends in all parts of the United States and Canada, and even from England, inquiring if the Angelophone Old Fireside Hymn Records are still on the market, we believe the following items regarding the Angelico will be much appreciated by the friends:
A choice selection of fifty hymns was made from the Hymns of Dawn, perhaps the most valuable collection of hymns in the world for the Lords consecrated people. Then fifty short addresses or sermonettes appropriate to the title and theme of each hymn were dictated and recorded in the voice of the worlds greatest preacher.
This excellent and attractive way of witnessing to the Truth and of constantly reminding ourselves and others of some of the exceeding great and precious promises of the Lord, was esteemed very highly by our Pastor, and in his last letter of instruction to the Brother whom he placed in charge of this feature of the work, and who still has full control of it, he wrote:
I trust you will put all of your energy into this, for I believe that it is one of the best means yet found for scattering the knowledge of the Truth. May the Lord give you great blessing, dear brother, in this work, and may you be found faithful and, under His blessing, successful.
Your brother and servant in the Lord. C. T. Russell.
These splendid records, with the comforting and enlightening messages, in the voice so well known to thousands throughout the land, on the other, are now supplied at very low prices and in fine condition, having been much improved, partly by re-recording.
The records were made for a special phonograph, the Angelophone which is manufactured and sold at an extremely low price. Doubtless they are the best machines made at the prices for the five different styles in which they are sold.
With much love,
Your brethren and fellow-servants in the Lord, ANGELICO.
As the Angelico branch of the service of the Truth is kept separate from the general work, we kindly request those desiring particulars relating to the styles and prices of the Angelophone, the records and list of these, that they communicate directly with the office where this part of the work is conducted. Address as follows: Angelico, 184 Fulton St., Brooklyn, N. Y.
AS THE LORD'S PEOPLE, daily and weekly and yearly, turn over new leaves of experience, and repeatedly start afresh in their endeavors to copy the great character-pattern set before us by our Heavenly Father in Jesus, so, too, we may now specially profit by the thought that a new year has dawned, to encourage ourselves in fresh resolves to be and to do more than ever as would be pleasing and acceptable in the sight of our Lord. What more appropriate sentiments could we have than these! How could we hope better to please Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light; He who has lifted our feet out of the horrible pit and the miry clay, and set them upon the rock Christ Jesus, and established our goings, and shown unto us the path of life, and made us full of joy with the light of His countenance! The Lord's own expression on the subject is, "If ye love me keep my commandments;" and the Apostle, in the same strain, assures us that we are acceptable children of God if we do those things which please Him, and do not find them grievous-if we do them gladly and of a willing heart-rejoicing both to know and to do the good pleasure of our God.
We greet with Christian love and recognition all who trust in the precious blood of Jesus, justified by faith in His blood, and reckoned as members of the household of faith the world over-known to us and unknown to us. And even beyond these, we salute with loving sympathy those who yet in darkness are feeling after God, if haply they might find Him (Acts 17:27)-who are seeking peace and righteousness, the ways of the Lord. Our best wish for these is that they may find the Lord, and obtain through His grace, the peace of God which passeth all understanding, to rule in their hearts and to shed abroad in them the light of the knowledge of His goodness as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord-1 Cor. 4:4.
But specially we salute and greet the brethren in Christ, members of the Royal Priesthood, heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord prospectively; all those who, having believed in the Redeemer to the remission of their sins and their justification before God, have taken the next step of presenting their bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, and their reasonable service. We know and are in communication with a goodly number of these dear "brethren" (Heb. 2:11) ; yet we doubt not there are many others to whom we are as yet strangers; whom not having known we nevertheless love, knowing well that all who have this spirit of the Head of the Church must be indeed members of His body, and therefore fellow-members with ourselves. We wish all such great blessing during the year beginning, as we are evidently still in the time in Which the great Chief Reaper is gathering together into one barn of safety all the true wheat-as it is now the time when the messengers are gathering together the elect from the four quarters of the heavens (various Ecclesiastical systems) it is our hope that some of these dear brethren may be gathered during this year. - Matt. 24:31; Matt. 13:30.
As our dear Pastor has so frequently explained to us, this gathering is not into another denomination, with merely a change of name or change of creed or change of form of worship, but gathered to Christ, into oneness with Him, in fellowship of spirit through the knowledge of His Word.
As to the outlook as we enter upon the threshold - of a new year, we believe that all will agree that there seem to be before us, precious opportunities of service, of bearing the Lord's Message of comfort to the truth hungry. All the conditions about us go to prove, that however near the "dark night" may be, it is not yet here, and all the faithful will do well to heed the advice of our Master, "Work while it is called day, for the night cometh wherein no man can work." As stated in the preceding issue of this journal, we are arranging to have a supply of free literature for distribution in the near future. Other methods and branches of the ministry will be developed as the means may be provided and as the Lord may thus open the way. Our efforts, dear brethren, may seem futile so far as helping humanity in general is concerned, but we are to bear in mind that the mission of the Church remains unchanged; that she is to continue to the very end of her pilgrimage to bear testimony to the Truth, and to witness to the world, while she is making herself ready.
But let us be sure that the message we bear is truly the Lord's and such as He has authorized us to preach, and not something that is based upon our own imagination or presumption. Let us remember that we have not been commissioned-to reprove the kings of the earth nor to interfere with the present governments in any way; nor is it for us to speak evil of other Churches or other bodies of Christian people who do not agree with us. On this point we quote the timely advice of our Pastor:
"We are not commissioned to tirade against these Churches. The command, 'Speak evil, of no man,' may properly be applied also to religious systems, particularly those that recognize the redeeming merit of Christ's death as the foundation of Christianity and that teach morality.
Undoubtedly the Lord has permitted sectarianism for some wise purpose, even as He has permitted the Gentile governments to hold sway until the end of 'the Times of the Gentiles.' Let us not interfere with the fulfilment of the Divine purposes. Let us be content to fulfil our mission of assisting the brethren by building them up in the most ,holy faith and telling the Good Tidings to whoever may have an ear to hear."-Z. '16-234.
Again he gives us splendid advice:
"Avoid as much as possible all unkind references to Christian ministers or others who differ from us in Bible interpretation. Preach the Gospel Let its mighty power do the work. In referring to others, speak as sympathetically as possible, endeavoring to make apologies and allowances rather than to condemn, which is not our province." -Z. '12-183.
The kernel of this message which the saints are to bear, is contained in the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1: "To bind up the broken-hearted, to comfort all that mourn."
All who catch the inspiration of this Heavenly Message, recognize it to be their duty as well as their pleasure to spread the "Good Tidings" abroad, to hand to famishing brethren the meat in due season, which has so strengthened our own hearts. And this seems to be more and more the spirit of the Lord's brethren, as they receive of the Lord's grace and truth and become more and more copies of God's dear Son, and have more and more of His spirit of willingness to serve the brethren, and, as the Apostle suggests, are willing to lay down their lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16)-not literally, but day by day and opportunity by opportunity--willing to sacrifice the comforts and advantages which, to the natural man, go to make up the sum of earthly life and happiness. They take pleasure in renouncing earthly privileges and luxuries, and even some of life's comforts, that they may spend the more of their substance and be the more spent themselves in doing good unto all men, especially to the household of faith, and especially in the higher spiritual good things which they have the inestimable privilege of dispensing as servants of our present Lord.-Matt. 24:45.
As we consider it not to be the Lord's will that we should beg for money, but merely that we should use as wisely as possible whatever He shall supply, so we feel that it would not be the Lord's will that we should press or urge upon any the matter of service to His cause, We merely call attention to the opportunities for service ,and the privileges connected with these, and to the advantages and blessings which accrue to those who embrace them. We can, however, speak confidently of a fact that experience has demonstrated, and to which many of our readers could testify; viz., that the Lord specially blesses those who, having received the light of truth, do not put it under a bushel but let it shine, fearlessly and wisely, to all the household of faith.
We are sure that all the friends-will rejoice to learn that we have received hundreds of letters and cards from all parts of the United States since the first issue of the HERALD, and with few exceptions they are of a most favorable and encouraging character, and contain marked evidences of the Lord's overruling providence and protection in these days. Many of these letters are indeed touching, and speak of great trust and faith as midst many reverses, discouragements and fiery trials, these faithful souls have been wending their way through the valley of shadows, toward their Heavenly Home. These also, tell of their great rejoicing and encouragement now that there is some means of communication established through the reorganizing of the work and in the messages of the HERALD. It is our purpose to publish some of these letters from time to time, as space affords.
On the last page of this issue we are pleased to give to our readers messages from Australia and India. Many will remember that Brother R. E. B. Nicholson was sent by Brother Russell from America in 1908 to have charge of the Australian branch. He co-operated faithfully and acceptably with Brother Russell till the latter's departure, and was continued on in this position until a few months ago, since which time he has been appointed by the friends in Australia to re-organize the work there, and in this undertaking he has been greatly blessed of the Lord.
Likewise, Brother S. P. Davey was the representative sent by Brother Russell from Brooklyn to India in 1909, to have charge of that branch, in which position he, too, has been laboring faithfully ever since.
These messages clearly show how the one spirit of the Lord is leading His faithful people the world over to look in the same direction, and to be of one mind in the Lord.
We know not what is before us in the year, dear brethren, nor do we need to know. If we have committed our all, for time and eternity, to the Lord's care, let us assure our hearts, afresh, of Divine wisdom and power as well as love. Resting confidently in the everlasting arms, we may take whatever His providence may permit; not only willingly, but joyfully. If the year shall bring us blessings, prosperity and encouragement in spiritual matters, we can while rejoicing lay by a store of grace; for stormy times of trial later on. If the year brings us sorrows, physical or mental anguish, let us receive them with resignation, saying, with the Master, "The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?"
If, dear brethren, life's experiences are accepted with faith, in the manner indicated, we may rest assured that this, will be not only a happy but a blessed year for us. It is with each to determine this for himself under the Lord's grace.
It is our desire, and we believe yours also, to still progress in this "Narrow Way" of self-sacrifice; to still recognize the Lord's hand in all of life's affairs toward "the called ones according to His purpose;" and the advantage of every trial and discipline rightly received; and to still be helpful to all who are in the way, assisting them to put on the armor of God-to be clothed with all the graces of the spirit, and to be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, that they may tread faithfully this royal way opened up by our Redeemer, walking in His footsteps, until the heavenly Kingdom has been attained. Faithful is He who hath called us. Let us be faithful,
nerve thy spirit to the proof,
"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written therein:
for the time is at hand."-Revelation 1:3.
IN VIEW of the many inquiries in these days, as to just what were the interpretations of our Pastor, of the book of Revelation, it has been decided to publish in the columns of this journal a series of articles on the Revelation. The chief purpose in these articles will be to call attention to those expositions, of the visions of this wonderful book contained in the writings of Pastor Russell.
It is the settled conviction of many of the Lord's consecrated, in these days, that this devoted man of God, was a specially chosen servant to unfold the Scriptures concerning the Divine Plan for the salvation of the human family. This Plan was evidently understood in the, days of the Apostles. However, because of the "falling away" from the true faith after the Apostles fell asleep, it was to a large extent, lost sight of for many centuries. That there was to be such a departure from the true faith, lapsing into a world-wide false profession, was foretold by Christ in several of His parables. (Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43.) The Apostles, also, in their epistles give great emphasis to this fact.
The careful student tracing the symbols of St. John's vision, cannot avoid the conclusion that the Revelation or Jesus Christ was especially designed to portray in symbols the history of this falling away, and its culmination in a great counterfeit Christian system, which would blind and deceive all mankind, except those whose names were written in the "Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 13:8.) It is discovered also that the Revelation describes in various symbolisms the history of the few, comparatively, faithful consecrated ones, as they came in contact with, and endeavored to hold forth the light of truth, in the midst of the surrounding darkness. History clearly shows that there have been several epochs in the Gospel Age, in which the testimony of the Lord's consecrated has exerted such a powerful influence, as to turn the whole current of human affairs into new channels. The Revelation contains many visions describing in symbol
these matters. It is evident, too, that several of its visions describe a successful movement in, the closing days of the Age to give again the true Gospel to the world. (Revelation 10:11.) These visions are symbolic, and occupy a large proportion of the book.
One special feature of our Pastor's work was to unfold these particular visions. Indeed, it is seen that the elucidation of these visions is closely associated with the unfolding of God's great Plan of the Ages. These explanations are scattered here and there through all of his writings. Few of the Lord's people have realized how large a portion of his works was made up of these expositions. In the "Biblical Comments" compiled from his writings, we find twenty-eight pages devoted to Revelation alone, a very much larger proportion than that given to any other one of the apostolic epistles. It should be remembered that these "comments'! are merely brief selections in many instances from elaborate unfoldings.
TWO PRINCIPAL SCHOOLS OF INTERPRETATION
There have been, and are, two principal schools of interpretation of the Revelation, which widely differ in their application:
First, the Futurist, which claims that the whole book from the fourth chapter on to the close, refers to events yet future. This view originated among Papal teachers (Ribera, a Jesuit priest being its author) during the sixteenth century, and was designed to relieve the Romish Church and the Papacy of the terrible stigma cast upon them by the interpretation of John Huss, Wickliffe, Luther and other of the Reformers, that the Papacy and the Roman Catholic system were described in the symbols of Revelation 13 and 17. We may be very sure that the Lord who promised to guide His Church into all truth, through the Spirit, would reveal that truth to His faithful people, who so much needed it and not to His enemies.
Second, the Historical School, which teaches that the visions of St. John are portrayals in symbol of the Church's relation to the world powers, during the whole Gospel Age up to the time of the Second Advent, and her exaltation with Christ on through the Millennium.
THE HISTORICAL, THE OLDEST SCHOOL
Pastor Russell adopted no new school of interpretation of the Revelation. Indeed, as his writings clearly show, he was a disciple in that school last named above, the Historical, which in its primary sense, started in the days of the Apostle John. The foundation of this school of interpretation rests upon certain Divine interpretations or explanations (see Rev. 17:9-18. Dan. 7:16-27), of two of its most important visions, viz., those relating to the ten-horned, seven-headed, scarlet beast and the harlot woman seated upon it, of Revelation 17. The Divine explanation identifies these with the Roman Empire under its Papal head. Pastor Russell unfolded the larger part of these visions and was only waiting for certain complete fulfillments to finish these expositions. He passed beyond the veil before these events took place.
History records the fact that the Historical school, in, its initial stage, had for some of its first pupils, some of those who received their first instructions from Polycarp, a disciple of the! Apostle John. These believed that the great enemy of the Church, whom they called Anti-Christ, was; to come when the emperors ceased to rule in the city of Rome, and would occupy their place of authority and influence. In later centuries it had enrolled as members, such devoted consecrated followers of Christ as Peter Waldo, John Wickliffe, John Huss, Martin Luther, and many other unquestionably consecrated men of God. This school contained the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Lollards, the followers of John Wickliffe and a host of others, many of whom laid down their lives in martyrdom, for the testimony which they held.
A MORE MODERN SCHOOL
There is still another school of interpreting the Revelation that has a more modern origin and is being revived with certain modifications, by some, since our Pastor's death. This view is that of a double fulfillment; i. e. that the visions have had a typical (one writer strangely calls it a counterfeit) fulfillment in past history, and is to have its real fulfillment in the future. This interpretation looks for a personal Anti-Christ to come in the future and to reign three and one-half years. To accept such an interpretation would necessitate believing that the -"parousia" - or Presence of our Lord has not yet taken place. The Scriptures, however, teach that the Anti-Christian system must come and reign for a symbolical period of a "time, times and a half,"--twelve hundred and sixty years finally Christ would come and destroy it. We quote from our Pastor on this point:
"For the Day of the Lord's Presence cannot come until the falling away (the apostasy) has taken place, and until the Man of Sin has been developed, and revealed out of the apostasy . . . The various titles applied to this system are evidently symbolic. ..They do not refer as names to a single individual, but as character delineations to a corrupt religious 'and civil combination, developed within the nominal Christian Church, which by its subtle opposition to Christ, the Head and His true Church, His body, well earns the name Anti-Christ . . . The system which fully answers to this description, given by inspiration, must be professedly Christian, and must contain a large majority of those who claim to be Christians. . . . Its stealthy beginning was in the days of the Apostles-in the desire of some teachers to be greatest We need not look long to find a character fitting all the requirements perfectly; one whose record, written by secular historians, as well as by its own deluded servants, we shall see agrees exactly with the prophetic delineations of Anti-Christ. But when we state that the one and only system whose history fits these prophecies, is Papacy, let no one misunderstand us to mean that every Roman Catholic is a man of sin; nor that the priests, nor even the popes of the Church of Rome are, or have been, the AntiChrist. No man is the Anti-Christ, the Man of Sin described in prophecy. Popes, bishops and others are at most only parts or members of the Anti-Christian system, even as all of the Royal Priests are only members of the true Christ." Vol. II, p. 276, 277.
We quote again:
"But some sincere Christians, not awake to the decline of Protestantism do not realize the relationship of the various sects to Papacy. . . . The various Protestant sects (and we say it with all due reverence to a comparatively few devout souls within them whom the Lord designates as 'wheat,' in contradistinction to the overwhelming numbers of 'tares'), are the true daughters of that degenerate system of nominal Christianity, the Papacy, to which the Revelator makes reference in applying to her name "Mother of harlots" (Revelation 17:5). . . . Since Papacy, the mother is not a single individual, but a great religious system, in keeping with the symbol we should expect to see other religious systems, answering to the description of daughters of similar character -'not of course so old, nor necessarily so depraved, as Papacy-but, nevertheless, .'harlots' in the same sense; i. e., religious systems claiming to be the, espoused virgin or bride of Christ, and yet courting the favor and receiving the support of the world, at the price of disloyalty to Christ." Vol. IV., p. 28, 29.
It will thus be seen that our Pastor followed closely the Historical interpretation of the Revelation, that the Roman Catholic Hierarchy and the Church system associated with it, together with the various reform Churches merging into sects, that have sprung from the Romish system, are described in Revelation by those several symbolic visions designated beast, image, false prophet, generally understood by the Lord's consecrated as referring to the different phases of the Anti-Christian apostasy.
HISTORY UNFOLDS THE APOCALYPSE
That our Pastor followed closely the Historical interpretation is seen also in that he taught that the six trumpets of Revelation, 8th and 9th chapters, had their fulfillment before the year 1874, and that the seventh trumpet has been sounding for the past forty years or more; and his expositions of the various symbols connected with this seventh trumpet would fill a fair-sized volume. We quote from his writings:
"The 'Seventh Trumpet,' the 'last trump' the Revelator designates as the last in a series of symbolic trumpets.
The propriety of calling the seventh or last trump the trump of God, is evident, too, when we remember that the events mentioned under the preceding six trumpets of Revelation refer to humanity's doings, while the seventh refers specially to the Lord's work, and covers the 'Day of the Lord.' Since the six preceding trumpets were symbols-and this is generally admitted by commentators and students who make any claim as expositors of Revelation -it would be a violation of reason and common sense to expect the seventh, the last of the series to be a literal audible sound on the air. . . . The seven trumpets of Revelation are all symbolic and represent seven great periods of time and their events. . . . Suffice it here to say that we find ourselves today in the midst of the very events which mark the sounding of the seventh trumpet. The great voices, the increase of knowledge, the angry nations, etc., taken in connection with the time prophecies, establish this fact." Vol. II, p. 148
In our Pastor's writings (Z. '01-187,488, 189, also '05167-170), we have an exposition of the vision of Christ's appearing to St. John, described in Revelation, chapter one.
In regard to the seven Churches of Revelation 2 and 3, we quote from Pastor Russell's expositions:
"There are many reasons for concluding that while the messages were given to the seven Churches specified, and were applicable to them, nevertheless these messages should properly have a still wider application to the whole Church of Christ, the number, seven, representing completeness, and the order, representing different epochs in the history of the Church. Thus the Church at Ephesus would represent the condition of the Church at the time of the writing of the message; while the Laodicean Church would represent the Church of our day,--in the end of the Gospel Age. The other Churches would correspondingly represent different epochs intermediate, between then and now. To think otherwise would be to attach too much importance to these seven comparatively small Churches of Asia Minor, and would have implied an ignoring of other Churches, more influential than they; for instance, the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth, etc. Furthermore, the details of the messages given these Churches fit historically the one Church of the Living God, over every member of which our Lord has a care." (Z. '16-343.)
If one is desirous of knowing the intermediate epochs represented by the other five Churches, the "Biblical Comments" will inform such. There we learn that Smyrna represents the period covered by the Pagan Roman persecutions, ending with the reign of Constantine; that Pergamos represents the worldly age of Constantine, in which the Papal system had its rise; that Thyatira describes the period in which the true Church was enduring hardships in the "wilderness" (Revelation 12:6, 14), while the Roman Catholic Church was reveling with her royal paramours; that Sardis referred to the darkest period of the "dark ages," a brief period just before the Reformation; and that Philadelphia referred to the period since the Reformation until recent times.
It is also true that the decline and fall of the Church into Romanism, culminating in the year 539 A.D., embodied those evils, warned against by Christ in these messages, symbolized by "Nicolaitanism," "Balaamism" and "Jezebelism," which evils have been repeated again and again in a local sense in the Church's history, and even in our day. Let him that readeth understand!
Again our Pastor taught in Vol., 3, page 89, that, "The message concerning Michael's Kingdom, gradually opening from 1829. onward, is symbolically represented in the book of Revelation (chapter 10:2, 8-10) as a 'little book'. which the 'wise' of the 'holy people,' represented by St. John, are instructed to eat. And St. John's experience, as expressed in verse 10, is the experience of all who receive these truths. They bring wondrous sweetness: 'Oh, the blessedness!' But the after effects are always more or less a blending of the bitterness of persecution with the sweetness."
He further enlarges on this matter --
"Oh the blessedness of this favored time! Oh, the harmony, the beauty, the grandeur of the Divine Plan as it began to unfold when the 1335 days were 'touched.' It is to express, so far as lies in our power, this 'blessedness' and fuller unfolding of the Divine Plan, now due to be understood by all the 'holy people' now living that the Millennial Dawn series is being published. None but the 'holy people' will understand it. It is granted as a favor. 'None of the wicked shall understand'; and those of the 'holy people' who have fellowship with the worldly . . . shall not be able to experience this blessedness now due." Vol. III, p. 88, 89.
The symbolic vision of the "Victors" of the Glassy Sea, of chapter 15, their deliverance from the "beast," his "image," etc., are explained by him to represent the living saints of the past forty years, becoming free from the errors of the various religious sects.. He taught that the song sung by these "victors" represented the wonderful Plan of God that has been, made known to, and proclaimed by the Lora's followers for the past forty years. -Revelation 15:2-4.
DANGERS OF THE FUTURIST INTERPRETATION
If we were to accept the Futurist interpretation of Revelation we would be compelled to believe that the breaking of the seals (chapter six), the holding and loosing of the four winds, the sealing of the one hundred and forty-four thousand of chapter seven; the sounding of the trumpets, the eating of the little book, the prophesying before many peoples, nations and kings, the measuring of God's temple, the prophesying of the witnesses, the war against them, their death, their lying in the streets of the great city, their resurrection, their ascension to heaven, the great rejoicing over their death, the great earthquake following, and all of chapters ten and eleven-are all unfulfilled. Our Pastor explained all of these as symbolical descriptions of past and present events.
According to this Futurist method of interpretation, the vision of the sun-clad woman and the dragon, the flight of the woman into the wilderness, her nourishment, her Divine protection there, from the seductions of the "serpent,'? are still in the future.
Following this Futurist school of interpretation we would be compelled to believe that the "beast" that comes up out of the sea, that blasphemes God's tabernacle and those who dwell in heaven; that makes war with the saints and overcomes them, and had power given to him for a period of forty-two symbolical months; the forming of an image or likeness to this beast, of chapter thirteen, are all future.
According to this Futurist interpretation, the message of, the symbolical angel that is seen having the everlasting Gospel to preach, etc., the testimony concerning the fall of Babylon, and the call out of her, etc., of chapter 14, are events yet to be fulfilled.
Our Pastor taught, as we shall endeavor to show in this series Of articles on Revelation, that many of these visions have been in process of fulfillment for the past forty years, in connection with the world-wide proclamation of the true Gospel.
IMPORTANT FEATURES ALL SHOULD NOTE
Let us briefly call attention to some very interesting and important things about the Revelation, which is the privilege of even the "babes" in Christ to know-things that are stated in the book itself.
First: It is a Divine prophecy-"The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass." --Revelation 1:1.
Second: It is given in symbols--"And He sent and signified it (revealed by signs or symbols) by His angel unto His servant John."-Revelation 1:1.
Third: It is not for the world, nor even nominal Church members-"The Lord God of the holy prophets hath sent His angel to show unto His servants things which must shortly be done." "I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the Churches." "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches."--Revelation 22:16; 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22.
Fourth: A special blessing is pronounced upon those who read and hear it read. "Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the -words of the prophesy of this book for the time is at hand. "-Revelation 1:3.
Fifth: Lest we should be deterred from its reading and study, because of the seeming difficulties of its understanding, and the various Satanic attempts to destroy its practical benefits to the Lord's people, we hear the revealing angel saying: "Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand."-Revelation 22:10.
We may be very sure that the book of Revelation which completes the Divine canon of inspiration, requiring as it did, a special supernatural method in giving it to the Church, has been and is of special importance to her service and ministry, and also to her growth and development. It was given doubtless to supply a special need, for the Church always has needed the help and blessing that always accompanies a knowledge of the "sure word of prophecy," a light in a dark place." There is no book in the whole Bible, that to so great an extent as the Revelation, reveals the Divine overruling of the events of history, both good and evil, for the Church's growth and development in grace and knowledge. While there has been a gradual, progressive understanding of its visions, as history has unfolded them, it was. not until these closing years, that a clear understanding of its general scope, could be given. The words of Christ, "And now I tell you before it come, that when it is come ye may believe," are very significant in this connection.
It must be kept in mind in studying the book of Revelation, that it was not designed to foretell especially the history of the world powers. As one has said, "The Church exists in the world, and its outward history is to a very large extent affected by it; and just as it would be impossible to write the story of one's life without taking into consideration his environment, so it would be impossible to write the history of the Church without giving some of the history of the world in which the Church is giving its witness and testimony. Wars, revolutions, etc., have to a remarkable degree affected or been affected by the Church's testimony, and for this cause we have those occurrences in the past, depicted under various strange and startling symbols.
On the other hand, the Church's onward or spiritual history is affected by unseen agencies both heavenly and Satanic; and so, as in some of the visions, we behold her sustained, cheered, revived, and her influence enlarged; we know Christ her great Head is acting in her behalf, as portrayed in the symbolic vision of His "walking in the midst of the candlesticks."
The symbols employed are drawn from nearly every phase of life. We have the sun, moon and stars in- the celestial world, and the earth, sea, rivers and their sources, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and fearful electrical storms, in the terrestrial; strange and unnatural beasts Are among the most prominent symbols. We have the true Church represented by a chaste, pure woman, and an impure harlot woman and her daughters to represent the nominal, false Church. We have victorious Roman warriors, rebel conspirators, and unjust, oppressive civil rulers also used as symbols.
Certain Divine laws must govern in the correct interpretation of symbols: First, we must study the symbols themselves. When the sun is employed as a symbol, we need to study the relation the sun sustains to the material universe and man. If an earthquake, we need to become familiar with its effects upon the earth and its inhabitants. Second, we will need to remember that the fulfillment of the symbols must be looked for in another phase of life from that which the symbol is drawn.
The first essential, however, to understand Revelation, is to read and get familiar with the visions and their orderly arrangement. All the visions of this most holy and sanctifying book may well be likened to the enacting of a great drama.. This great drama in pantomime is nothing less than a forecasting of the outward and inward 'history of the true and the nominal Church, throughout their long eventful career to the Second Advent, and the exaltation to glory of the true Church, and the destruction of the nominal, in connection with that momentous event. Symbolic agencies, both animate and inanimate, are the performers. The Divine drama of symbols is most systematically arranged in three acts-seals, trumpets and vials. Each act contains seven scenes. The first six seals brings the Church's history down to our times. The occurrences under the seventh seal are doubtless retrospective, and cover much the same period as the first six. The trumpets and vials, together with certain parenthetical visions, are included in the breaking or loosing of the seventh seal. This arrangement of the visions was doubtless the one understood by our Pastor, as will be seen by his expositions, hereinafter set forth, in this series.
It is very evident that these marvelous prophecies were given for the guidance, assistance and protection of the whole Church through the long, dark centuries of her witnessing to the Gospel. As we read the writings of God's consecrated ones of the past, we learn that they have proved to be a mighty power in their history, and that they have served to preserve the faith of the Church in times of peril and general apostasy. We have found that the knowledge of some of them and the testimony thereto, have given birth to great reformation movements; that they have inspired confessors, and supported martyrs to the cause of Christ, some of whom sealed their faithfulness at the stake, while others suffered terrible deaths in other ways. A knowledge of some of these marvelous prophetic photographs, has been largely instrumental in breaking the chains of priestcraft, superstition and tyranny and has brought multitudes out of the bondage of the same. And it is very important to keep in mind that the book of Revelation is Christ's last message to the Church. "I, Jesus, have sent mine angel' (messenger) to testify these things in the Churches."-Revelation 22:16.
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made I us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."-Galatians 5:1.
HERE have been times in the history of the Church of Christ, when because of certain departures from primitive simplicity of doctrine and life, it has become necessary for the Lord's people to retrace their steps and go back to the very foundations themselves. The great Reformation in the sixteenth century marked one of these periods. The doctrine of justification by faith in the sacrifice of Christ, which is the foundation of all true Christian life and experience, had been lost sight of except by a few; and the testimony of these few had been almost silenced. When God desires to restore His truth to His people, He usually first causes it to be discovered and worked out in the experience of one or more individuals and then uses such person or persons to communicate it to others. The individuals used in the days of the Reformation were doubtless such as Luther, Zwingli, Knox, Calvin, Wesley and others.
The great Protestant movement which began so well and was carried forward with such sweeping success gradually merged into sectarianism, and instead of advancing in its work-of restoring additional truths to the Church, it culminated in another apostasy. It was. the Divine intention however that in these latter days, all the "holy vessels" (precious truths), must be restored to their place in the "temple"; and to this end God caused another "earthen vessel". to pass through experiences in a search for truth, that qualified him to be the instrument for this great work-the Harvest work. The movement, under his wise supervision, prospered -as had other reform movements, to considerable proportions, and gathered around it many who were greatly blessed as they learned of God's great love for His creatures.
However there was not the faintest intention in the mind of this servant of God that another sectarian organization should grow out of his life work; for the purpose and spirit of all his messages clearly show that he was emphatically opposed to sectarianism. He taught that the only ties that should bind God's faithful people together were the simple bonds of love and common interest in the cause of the Redeemer, based upon the two fundamental propositions of faith in Christ's redeeming sacrifice and full consecration to do the will of God. The only object of the organization (a purely business one) which had been formed by God's servant, when there were but few associated with him, was that of uniting the efforts and powers of all to bring the precious truths to the Lord's consecrated and declare the "Good Tidings" of the coming Kingdom. In fact the "machinery" worked so smoothly, that few realized what it was, that was keeping it in motion. No thought of its being a religious sect, ever entered the minds of any in those earlier days. The blessed truths had come through God's servant who made no claim to be anything more than one of Christ's footstep followers whose privilege it was to be an index-finger pointing the people of God back to "the old paths."
Living as we are in the closing days of the Church's history, of which time our Master said, God would gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity, we can be assured that He would not long tolerate a wrong or sectarian spirit to exist among His faithful people. And therefore, should such condition exist it would be proper to expect some providential intervention, in connection with the interests of His people, to uncover and expose to view that which would not have His approval, and make clearly manifest to the faithful, to how great an extent the evil had taken root.
WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES
Changes, events and circumstances in these days have caused many of God's faithful people to re-examine and search the Scriptures more diligently than ever, if possible, to discover what are the foundation principles of Christian liberty, fellowship and unity. Let us, beloved, ever come to the Scriptures, and from them learn the truth about this as well as every important matter of faith and practice. The final test of the Christian is that of love, and the spirit of sectarianism cannot be retained, if the Divine approval is to be secured.
Christian liberty is the first great blessing entered upon when becoming a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the fetters of bondage are broken, and true liberty is begun-liberty from -the bondage of the guilt and power of sin (Romans 4:23; 5:1; 6:12-14) liberty of conscience which requires freedom to examine both sides of a matter pertaining to our Christian life and service. Indeed, it 'is a Christian duty to do this so far as circumstances and ability permit. "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame to him." (Proverbs 18:13.) And finally, Christian liberty signifies freedom from sectarianism. The word sect means, a division, a part cut off or a cutting off from. However, it is not sectarianism to be separated from a sect, for such separation is necessary. Sectarianism is that spirit and disposition to divide and separate God's people by setting up creed fences; or by fixing certain bounds and limits and by the application of tests of fellowship and Church membership such as have no authorization in the Divine Word. Time after time God's faithful people, who are always lovers of liberty, have been forced apart by certain cliques or sects, which ingeniously apply tests, the effect of which is to rob the Lord's people of their liberty in Christ. Thus sectarianism is a separation from the true Church, where alone there is true Christian liberty. In our Pastor's messages we read:
"The first danger against which St. Paul warned the Church was sectarianism; and he was evidently heeded at the time at least, for no great sects of Paulites or Apollosites developed. But as usual the great enemy thwarted in one direction, moved to the opposite extreme and attempted to insist upon a oneness very different from what our Lord or the Apostles taught. This attempt was to have every recognized member of the Church think exactly alike on every minutia of Christian doctrine. This attempt finally developed into Papacy where every matter of doctrine was decided by the popes and councils; and every man who desired to be considered a Church member was obliged to accept such decisions fully, and to profess that such decisions were his belief, his faith; whereas they were not his in any sense, but that of adoption. - They were generally either blindly received or hypocritically professed with mental reservations. This was not at all the oneness urged by St. Paul. He urged a oneness of heart and mind and not a thoughtless, heartless, hypocritical profession. He urged a oneness such as naturally results from the proper exercise, of the liberty which we have in Christ-to search and believe the Scriptures and to grow in grace and in knowledge, every man being thus fully persuaded in his own mind and firmly rooted and grounded in the one faith as set forth in the Scriptures."--Z.'08-116.
There are seven things associated with the attainment and enjoyment of Christian liberty, unity and fellowship. Any additions to or subtractions from these will, proportionately, mar or destroy these priceless gifts.
We will mention, first, because it embodies all the others, that of believing-in Christ and continuing in His Word. "Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on Him, if ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."-John 8:31, 32.
The second is that of receiving the Spirit. The Galatian Christians were in- danger of getting back into bondage, through certain teachers who had come among them and who were teaching them that some additional qualifications were necessary in order to the enjoyment of the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free. To warn them against this false teaching and to recover them from this error, the Apostle wrote: "0 foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among, you? This only would I know of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?" - Galatians 3:1, 2.
The third important thing is that of receiving evidence of Divine Fatherhood. We quote:- "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption (sonship) whereby we cry Abba, Father."-Romans 8:15.
The fourth is that of experiencing the "one baptism." "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?"-Romans 6:3.
The fifth is that of becoming members of the one body -the Church. "For as-the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many, are one body, so also is the Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." -1 Corinthians 12:12, 13.
The sixth is that of being begotten unto one hope. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away reserved in heaven for you."- l Peter,1:3, 4.
The seventh is that of entering into the enjoyment of a like precious faith. "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them who have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ." - 2 Peter 1:1.
Christian liberty can only be maintained by holding fast to these seven vital matters, as we read: "As ye have, therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him; rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith as ye have been taught abounding therein with thanksgiving." "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the World and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Deity bodily." (Colossians 2:6-10.) And again: "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels (human messengers) . . . and not holding the head."--Colossians 2:18, 19.
Those who have experienced the blessings associated with these seven lines of thought are bound together by the bonds of fellowship and unity. This blessed liberty, fellowship and unity can only be maintained by earnest endeavor. "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3.) It will require earnest endeavor because Satan has his counterfeit of these and is ever seeking to lead away from the true, to the false. This blessed unity, fellowship and liberty will require the making use of all the gifts of the spirit possible. "Wherefore He saith when He ascended on high He led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men. . . . He gave some Apostles and some prophets and some evangelists and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge -of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."-Ephesians 4:8-13.
These seven foundation truths are all that are necessary to enjoy this blessed fellowship, unity and liberty. The Apostle mentions them altogether. "One body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in you all." -Ephesians 4:2-6.
We might say we have here mentioned:
(1) The Author of unity-"One God and Father'
(2) The Center of unity~"There is one Lord."
(3) The Door of unity~"There is one baptism."
(4) The kinship of unity~"There is one body."
(5) The nature of unity~"There is one spirit."
(6) The goal of unity--~"There is one hope of your calling."
(7) The creed of unity-"There is one faith,."
FAITHFUL ADVICE FROM OUR PASTOR
It is very often along the line of the last item above, that Satan seeks to destroy these precious heritages of the Christian. How important then, that we should know what is the faith here referred to.
"The one faith that all should hold was a very simple one; one so simple that all the learned and unlearned alike could grasp it and comprehend it and be fully persuaded in their own minds concerning it. It was not a dose of incongruous mysteries, inconsistent with themselves and inharmonious with reason as well as with the Bible, to be swallowed by the ignorant with credulity, and by the learned with hypocritical mental reservations: But it was so simple and clear, and reasonable that any and every honest follower of Christ could be fully persuaded in his own mind concerning it. What was this ONE faith? The basis of it is stated by the Apostle Paul, thus: I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received [first of all as a foundation truth or doctrine, upon and in harmony with which all other doctrines must be built], how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried; and that He rose again according to the Scriptures: (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.) 'There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.' (1 Timothy 2:5, 6.) This in a word confesses sin and utter helplessness; it acknowledges God's loving plan for our redemption; it owns that our Lord's death was our ransom price, and that forgiveness (justification) and reconciliation to God, and the restitution of believers, come as a result of faith in this Redeemer, when in a due time it is. made known to each and all.
"These brief statements contain the whole Gospel, in the sense that an acorn contains an oak tree. Without this Gospel kernel, the true Gospel can never be possessed; hence this must be insisted on as a test of Christian fellowship. This must be received else the Gospel is not received, when it is received the Gospel is received. . . . This true Gospel, this simple faith, easily understood and confessed by the weakest babe in Christ, must also be, and ALWAYS, and EQUALLY the faith of the most developed sons of God. THIS one faith (and not the endless ramifications and details of faith which lea& out from it) St. Paul placed as a standard or test of all claiming the name Christian. All the consecrated who agreed on this one standard, or foundation truth, St. Paul counted as -in and of the one Church. While each member was to grow in grace, knowledge and love, there would always be harmony and oneness in the faith and fellowship of the Church, if all growth were kept in line and harmony with this foundation truth.
"Here was a perfect basis of union, which allowed for the various stages of individual DEVELOPMENT IN THE TRUTH, and which most effectually guarded against errors. For if this simple creed was today made the standard by which all doctrines should be tested, it would speedily lead to the discarding of every error and to the true union of the Church in the 'one Lord, one faith and one baptism.'
"The endeavor to compel all men to think alike on all subjects, culminated in the great apostasy and the development of the great Papal system; and thereby the 'gospel,' the 'one faith,' which St. Paul and the other Apostles set forth, was lost-buried under the mass of uninspired decrees of popes and councils. The UNION of the early Church, based upon the simple Gospel and BOUND ONLY BY LOVE, gave place to the bondage of the Church of Rome-a slavery of God's children, from the degradation of which multitudes are still weak and suffering.
"The Reformation movement of the sixteenth century came as an effort to regain liberty of conscience; but, deluded by the idea of an elaborate creed, insisted upon for so many centuries, the reformers and their followers formed other systems of bondage very similar to that of Papacy, though slight modifications gave liberty to fuller ideas on some subjects. And so it has been ever since; each new reform movement has made the failure of attempting to make a creed just large enough for its prime movers." Z. '08-117, 118.
"The true teacher's place, and the true Bible student's place, is outside of all human bondage, free to examine and feed upon all portions of the good Word of God, and untrammeled to follow the Lamb whithersoever He leads." Vol. III, p. 145.
"Everyone who comes to realize the liberty of the sons of God, and full freedom from Babylon's bondage, should expect to meet other attempts of the great Adversary to bring him into other bondages or to stumble him. The Lord permits these severe testings that the class now sought may be manifested and prepared." Vol. III, p. 188.
"The value of true liberty amongst the Lord's people cannot be overestimated. It becomes a part of their real life. It was because, under a wrong conception of union this spirit of true liberty was crushed out of the Church ,shortly after the Apostles fell asleep in death, that the dark ages resulted, with all their ignorance, superstition, blindness, persecution, etc. The Reformation of the sixteenth century was but a re-awakening of the spirit of liberty; . . . liberty to think inside the foundation lines of the doctrines of Christ; liberty to believe as much or as little more, in harmony with this, as the mental conditions and circumstances will permit, without being branded as a heretic, or persecuted by brethren either in word or deed. . . . Let all who are the Lord's people, who have tasted of this liberty, stand fast in that liberty wherewith Christ makes free, and as soon as an attempt is made, to restrain it, if not sooner, let them get out completely from all the bondages of human systems, that they may stand firmly and loyally with the Lord, our Redeemer, our Instructor, our King." Z. '02-170.
"We should remember our Lord's teaching, that those who are not against us are on our part, and that we should neither reprove as wolves nor disown as brethren, those whose hearts, whose characters, give evidence that they belong to the Lord, even though they follow, not with us in respect to His service, the promulgation of His message, etc. In other words we are to love all and wish God-speed to all loving the Lord and manifesting His Spirit, whether they 'associate with us or not: In a word, the Divine rule is very broad and very narrow at the same time. It is narrow in respect to discipleship and character; faith in the redeeming blood, consecration to the Master, and a manifestation of His Spirit, are the lines of discipleship-broad within themselves, but narrow as compared to the lines of the world." Z. '06-93.
BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS"
The unity that should exist in the body of Christ is especially designated by the Apostle as a unity of the spirit: "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in
the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:3.) This spirit is seen in its perfection as we note the mind or disposition of Christ as He manifested it to the Father, to His disciples and to the world. In this respect we note that it was a dependent, submissive, prayerful and loyal spirit in its relation to His Father, and a gentle, self-sacrificing and cross bearing spirit in its relation to men.
Some characteristics of this unity are: Recognizing but one Head, Christ; making everything of the Scriptures, putting them in the first place, as the final settlement of all matters of interest to the Church; putting the very best of helps in a secondary place; making the seven basic truths mentioned in Ephesians 4:4-6, the only essentials of Christian fellowship; giving every one full liberty to study and increase in Scriptural knowledge, and according to everyone the privilege of expressing in a reasonable manner his belief.
The testing of Christian unity and fellowship will be along the lines of love-love for the brethren. Christian unity is not simply to hold together in loving union those of one persuasion, one belief in one place; not simply to hold together those who see eye to eye in all the minutia of doctrine and of particular kinds and methods of service; not to hold together simply those who are cooperating with one human and necessarily imperfect channel for service; and not necessarily to make use of those gifts (teachers) who hold to one particular human channel. This fellowship can never be withdrawn from any of those who recognize and experience the blessings associated with the seven basic principles laid down by St. Paul. Those who are in fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ, are our brethren, ours to love; ours to serve and ours to lay down our lives for. The fear of what man may do, or what of misunderstanding and ostracism may come because of obeying this law of love, this new commandment, will not deter the faithful from serving or laying down their lives for the brethren.
"Let all things be done decently and in order."-1 Cor. 14:40.
In accordance with the expressed wishes of the Lord's people, both by many letters and representatively at the Providence Convention, the organization of the Pastoral Bible Institute, a business membership corporation, not for profit, has been completed. As already explained, this is not an attempt to create a Church organization or another sect in any sense; and all should note that membership, or failure to be a member, has no effect upon the standing as a Christian of any brother or sister. While the members are Christian brethren, it is in no sense a test of fellowship to be either a member of the Institute or a subscriber to the HERALD. The Pastoral Bible Institute is a body corporate and enables its members, as indicated in the first article of the Charter, to serve such brethren or Churches as may desire to use them irrespective of the particular congregation with which any such may be affiliated.
As the location of our headquarters is in New York State. the Charter has been written in conformity with and base on the statute of this State and would of necessity differ from the Charter written by Bro. Russell, based upon the statute of the State of Pennsylvania. Following the instructions of the friends of the Truth, who authorized the formation of the Pastoral Bible Institute, the very simplest form of membership company is arranged for, and merely such as is necessary for the transaction of business incidental to the various branches of the ministry which are contemplated.
The Charter provides that a donation of five dollars paid in at any one time, when accepted for that purpose, shall entitle the donor to membership in the Institute. This membership entitles one to one vote only. No one will be entitled at any time to more than one vote.
As was explained and fully understood at the Providence Convention, which authorized the Committee to incorporate in the State of New York, it was found, upon. the advice of the United States Corporation Agency, which conducted for us the necessary steps to obtain our Charter, that membership in the Institute based upon a subscription to the HERALD was not wise nor practical; because, if for any reason the paper was not published there would be no members; or certainly there might be difficulty about such an arrangement. It was therefore- decided as authorized, to fix the membership fee at five Dollars, Just half the sum necessary in the old Society, and is effective from the date of the certification of the papers of incorporation, November 23, 1918.
The following is a copy of the Charter of this Institute:
"We the undersigned of full age, being desirous of associating ourselves together for the purpose hereinafter mentioned, pursuant to and In conformity with Article III of the Membership Corporation Law, do hereby certify and declare that we are all of full age, two-thirds of us are citizens of the United States, and three of us residents of the State of New York. We do further certify and declare as follows:
"FIRST: The purpose for which the corporation Is formed Is the dissemination of Bible truths in various languages by means of the publication of tracts, pamphlets, papers and other religious documents, and by the use of all other lawful means which Its Board of Directors, duly constituted, *hall deem expedient for the furtherance of the purposes stated.
"SECOND: That the name or said corporation shall be PASTORAL B1BLE INST1TUTE, INC.
THIRD: That the territory in which the operations said corporations are to be principally conducted Is New York City; but it may conduct Its operations elsewhere In the United States and the various countries of the world.
FOURTH: That the principal office of said corporation will be located in the Borough of Brooklyn, County of Kings.
"FIFTH: That the corporation has no capital stock. Each contributor to the funds of the corporation to the extent of FIVE DOLLARS ($5.00) or more when such contribution shall have been accepted by the Board of Directors for the purpose of admission to membership an provided In the by-laws, shall entitle the said contributor to PAZ non-assessable and non-dividend bearing certificate of- membership, and to one vote. Certificates of membership, so acquired, will issued by the Secretary to the persons entitled thereto.
SIXTH: That the number or Directors of said corporation shall be seven (7).
"SEVENTH: That the names and places of residence of the persons to be the Directors of said corporation until its first annual meeting are.
J. D. Wright, 972 Broadway, Bayonne, N. J.
Ingram I. Margeson, Westwood, Mass.
P.L. Greiner, 874 Sedgewick Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y.
H. Clay Rockwell, 13 Middagh St., Brooklyn, N. Y.
I.I. F. Hoskins, 119 Schermerhorn St.. Brooklyn, N. Y.
P. H. McGee, 107 Broad St., Freehold, N. J.
E. J. Pritchard, 29 Morton St., Andover, Mass.
EIGHTH: The said corporation# by its Board of Directors, a majority of whom shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, shall have full power and authority to make and enact by-laws, rules and ordinances, which shall be deemed and taken to be the law of said corporation, and do any -and everything useful for the good government and support of the affairs of said corporation; provided, that the said bylaws rules and ordinances or any of them may be amended or repealed by a majority vote of the members of the corporation.
NINTH: That annually on the first Saturday of the month of June, provid4M that should such first Saturday be a legal holiday, then on the next succeeding business day, the meeting for the purpose of the election of directors shall be held at the principal office of the Institute In the City of Brooklyn N. Y., or at other suitable nearby building, an Provided In the by-laws., Special meetings of the members or of the directors for the purpose of transacting any necessary business may be called and held no shall be provided In the by-laws.
The said corporation shall have an officers and agents, of the Board of Directors, a Chairman who shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors, a Vice-Chairman who, shall preside in the absence of the Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and these officers shall be chosen from the members of the Board of Directors, by them, annually at a directors meeting to be called and held immediately after the annual election of directors as may be provided in the by-laws. The members of the Board of Directors shall hold their respective offices for one year, and vacancies in the Board occasioned by death, resignation or removal, shall be filled by vote of a majority of the remaining directors.
The persons entitle to vote at annual elections of the corporation shall be those who hold certificates of membership acquired in the manner aforesaid.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, we have made and signed this Certificate in duplicate this 20th day of November, one thousand nine hundred and eighteen.
(Same names as given above signed here; thence certification and legal enactments follow.)
-JANUARY 19 - EXODUS 11:1-12:36
Golden Text.--"Our Passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ."--1 Corinthians 5:7.
INE great plagues falling upon Pharaoh and Egypt had failed to make him willing to let the children of Israel go free. He hardened his heart against giving permission; for to lose so many thousands of slaves from Egypt might have been disastrous. He therefore said to Moses, "Get thee from me . . . for in the day that thou seest my face thou shalt die." And Moses said, "Thou hast spoken well; I will see thy face again no more."
God, however, informed Moses that the tenth and final plague would be sufficient to break down the opposition of this hard man, and compel his acquiescence in the requirement that Israel should go free. Before the infliction of this plague Moses inquired whether or not Pharaoh was willing to let Israel go, and upon receiving the negative response he warned Pharaoh that in consequence a dire calamity would befall the Egyptians. Apparently he immediately departed for the land of Goshen, there to put the people in readiness for the exodus. In the prospect of their departure, they were bidden to ask (not to "borrow") jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, not as a loan, but for permanent possession. Objection -iias been found by some to the statement that the Lord, through Moses, instructed the Israelites to "borrow" of their Egyptian neighbors jewels of silver and gold,- etc., -and that they did so, and thus "spoiled the Egyptians" took away a great spoil or trophy of valuables, when they went. Two answers may be made to this objection. The first is that our Common Version translation is very in" accurate, and thus gives ground for the thought of a deception; the word in the original signifies asked, requested,, or begged for, and should not be rendered "borrowed." The Revised Version renders this properly, ,,asked for." The other answer to the argument is that in all justice the Egyptians owed the Hebrews the value of these jewels, and more too, for the onerous' services they bad compelled them to render; and hence the Israelites were not asking an alms for which they had given no equivalent, but were really asking for their back pay.
How much time they may have consumed in preparation for the journey We know not, but we may well suppose that this was a time of suspense upon Pharaoh and all who knew of the last threat presented to him by Moses -and Aaron. We are certain that the preparations required several days, if not weeks, because amongst other instructions each family was to select for itself a representative male lamb of the first year, unblemished, as the foundation for the religious ceremony, known as the Passover, ever since observed by that nation. The lamb was to be selected, accepted, separated from others, and cared for specially from the tenth day of that month, Abib (later known as Nisan), and on the fourteenth day of the month it was to be killed between evenings (between six o'clock the one evening and six o'clock the next evening-the usual Jewish day). Its flesh was to be roasted for eating the following evening, and its blood was to be preserved for sprinkling upon the lintels and door-posts--the door frame, above and at either side. It was in the night following the fourteenth day that Abe roast lamb was to be eaten, with bitter herbs, the eaters being gathered in family groups, and all in expectation for the journey, sandals on their feet, and staff in hand, etc., ready to depart out of Egypt early in the morning of the fifteenth.
CHRIST OUR PASSOVER
The story, as recorded in Exodus, is an interesting one, and has ever been one precious to the Hebrews, the law concerning it serving as one of the most prominent landmarks in the history of that nation. But to the Christian, the meaning of this incident is of still greater importance. Great as was the era of the Exodus to the Jews, and the Memorial Passover, the greatest era in the history of the world was the coming of Jesus the Son of God. The night before He was crucified, at a meeting of His disciples in an upper room in Jerusalem, they united in celebrating the Passover which we 'have just been describing. Toward the close of the meal Jesus ordained for His disciples the Lord's Supper as a perpetual memorial of His life and death, "Do this in remembrance of me. For as often as ye cat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till He come."--1 Corinthians 11:2.3-27. (R.V.)
It will help to a wider vision if we connect the Lord's Supper with the Passover. Let us go backward, and look at some of the minutia, and the meaning of these to us, the spiritual anti-typical Israelites. The taking up of the lamb on the tenth day of the month found its correspondency at the first advent of our Lord Jesus, when He presented Himself to Israel at the close of His ministry, as their King, riding upon the ass, exactly on the 10th of Nisan. It was then that that nation should have accepted Him, should have received Him; but instead "they hid, as it were, their faces from Him," and saw not in Him the beauty for which they were seeking, as a nation. It was .on the fourteenth day of Nisan that our Lord partook of the Passover with His disciples, early in the evening. Later on in the same night He was betrayed. The next morning of the same day He was condemned and crucified. Later in the same day He was buried. All this was on the fourteenth day between evenings, between six p.m. where the day began, and the next six p.m., where it ended, and it was-on the next day, the 15th, in the evening, that the Passover feast of the Jews was celebrated. We celebrate that feast anti-typically, continuously feasting and 'rejoicing in the grace of God toward us. But the Lord's Supper belongs to the 14th of Nisan and commemorates the killing of the Lamb of God. That night in which the Passover feast was eaten represents this Gospel Age-a dark time, in which sin and evil still triumph, and darkness is abroad, and in which the Lord's people feed upon the merit of Christ, our Passover Lamb, slain for us, and realize that His "flesh is meat indeed."
Along with the Lamb the Jew partook of unleavened bread, pure, unadulterated, figuratively separate from sin; it symbolized the precious promises which come to us from the Heavenly Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. "This is the bread that came down from heaven, whereof if a man eat he shall never die." (John 6:50.) And, as the Hebrews ate their bread and lamb, so the anti-typical spiritual Israelite partakes of Christ's merits and graces freely, but with them receives also the bitterness of persecution, trials, difficulties, misrepresentation and suffering symbolized by the "bitter herbs." As the Hebrews ate, shod and ready for their journey in the morning, so the true Israelites of this Gospel Age partake of these spiritual favors, feeling the while that we are still in Egypt, and longing for the promised land; and they indicate by the conduct of life that they are pilgrims and strangers in this country, the world, and that they are seeking the heavenly country. But the deliverance did not come in the night in which the Passover was eaten, but in the morning which followed it. And so the deliverance of the spiritual Israelite does not come during the night of sin and trouble in which the god of this world reigns. It comes in the Millennial morning, for which we wait and hope and pray, "Thy Kingdom come." "God shall help her, early in the morning."- Psalm 46:5.
What does the Passover signify now, to the spiritual Israelites? We answer that the sprinkling of the blood symbolizes. an acknowledgment of faith in the redemptive merit of our Lord Jesus' sacrifice, as our Passover Lamb. Whoever recognizes the Lord's word in respect to this matter realizes that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins, and he who thus realizes the importance of the death of our Savior is expected to confess it, as symbolized by the sprinkling of the blood upon the outside of the dwelling. And its being upon the door signifies that all who were within that door were trusting in the blood, were under its efficacious merit. It is remarkable that while this doctrine of the redemption through the blood of Christ has been held with more or less clearness for centuries, it is now, in the close of this age, being called in question by some who are still naming the name of Christ, and by some who profess to be advanced teachers, and higher critics. All such are, from the Lord's standpoint, Egyptians, not Israelites. All whom He will recognize as His people, Israelites indeed, will be such as will recognize Him, His word, and the work He has accomplished for them through the shedding of the precious blood of our Passover Lamb, Christ Jesus. -
The doctrine of substitution is made most emphatic in this type. As the blood represents life while in the veins, so it represents death when shed; and so, as the sentence of death was against our race, it was needful that Christ should die for our sins. Hence also the Lord has made it incumbent throughout this age that each one whom He would recognize must be one who would trust in and confess the atonement, the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
PASSING OVER THE FIRST-BORN
Let it not be overlooked that not all of the Israelites were in danger of death, but only the first-born, for this is a striking and prominent feature of the type. It teaches that while the deliverance that is to be accomplished in the morning will be deliverance for all who love the Lord and love righteousness, the first-born as well as all the rest, yet a special trial or testing comes during the night before the Millennial morning-and this special testing or trial will affect only the first-born ones. Who are these first-born ones? We answer, they typified "the Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven," the "little flock," begotten to a newness of nature, and to joint-heirship with our Lord Jesus in the coming Kingdom. Others will be delivered from the power of Satan and the oppression of sin, as represented in the deliverance of all Israel from Pharaoh and his power and bondage; but the only ones who will be in danger during this night, the only ones who will be passed over or spared, during this Gospel Age, will be the little flock, the Church of the First-born. This is distinctly the language of the type, nor can it be otherwise accounted for. It will be remembered that after the Passover, in the new order of things, the first-born ones spared in this Passover became representatively the Levites, amongst whom, in turn, were the priests, a little flock; and even so the Apostle declares of the Church of the First-born, "Ye are a Royal Priesthood;"--1 Peter 2:5, 9.
As already remarked, this Passover lamb found its anti-type in Christ, our Passover Lamb, who was slain for us, and of whom we partake. Our Lord instituted for us, the spiritual Israel, a commemorative service to take the place of the type observed by fleshly Israel. It was instituted on the same night in which He was betrayed, the same night in which He ate the Passover supper, as a Jew, and after the eating of the Passover supper. He took bread and wine to represent Himself, as the true, anti-typical Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world, and he enjoined upon all who were truly His followers that they henceforth, instead of any longer, as the Jews, celebrating the typical Passover, should henceforth celebrate the anti-typical Passover. "As often as ye do this [celebrate the Passover] do it in remembrance of me [and not any longer in remembrance of the typical deliverance]." And from year to year this celebration has been handed down to the present time, and is still commemorated.
Some of God's people, however, having become confused upon the subject, and having lost sight of the fact that it is a commemoration of the anti-type of the Jewish Passover, feel quite at liberty to set for its observance times and seasons of their own, without any authority from the Lord. They are excusable to a considerable extent, because, during the eighteen centuries since the institution of the ordinance the great Adversary introduced many doctrines and false practices amongst the followers of Jesus-amongst others, the doctrine of the Mass, which purports to be a repetition of Christ's sacrifice, performed by the priests, recreating Christ in the flesh, they claim, and sacrificing Him afresh in the Mass, for the sins of those for whom it is performed. Protestants, coming out from Papacy, have rejected the doctrine of the Mass, but because the Mass had come to be frequently performed they imagined that the Lord's Supper, as they celebrate it, is also without any limitation as to, time and season. Moreover, even those old Churches which still observe the Passover date for the Lord's Supper have adopted a new method of reckoning it, contrary to the method in use by the Jews-one in which the memorial day always falls upon the Friday which is nearest to the true date, so that the Sunday following, Easter, will symbolize our Lord's resurrection on the first day of the week.
The next proper anniversary of the celebration of the Passover, according to the Jewish reckoning of time, as used by our Lord and the Apostles, and by some of the Lord's people since and today, will be after sundown, April 14, 1919.
-JANUARY 26-EXODUS 14:1-15:21-
Golden Text--"Jehovah saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians."--Exodus 14:30.
THE first journey of the Israelites was "from Rameses to Succoth." These were not towns but districts. Rameses was "the land of Rameses," which is spoken of as identical with Goshen, or at least with the western portion of it. From all portions of this land the people assembled at Succoth, as their place of rendezvous. This region was doubtless a usual camping-ground for caravans going east.
Following this mobilization, the hosts of the Israelites moved away from Succoth till they came to Etham (Numbers 33:6) --- "fortification,"--not the name of a particular place, but of the wall, otherwise called SHUR, somewhat similar to the great wall of China. They probably took the most direct route to the wall. The people doubtless expected now to turn northward and take the
short, well-traveled, well-watered Philistia road. But it would not have been wise. They were not able to fight their way against the Philistine warriors. Even if they could have done this, they were totally unprepared to settle down in a new country, and make good use of it, besides God had some special experiences in store for them in connection with the wilderness journey. So God
said, No, "lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt." Therefore unexpectedly they were commanded to turn to the south to take the way of the Red Sea. 'It was a strange and be wildering order. Well-nigh the entire eastern border of Lower Egypt must be traversed by that restless, undisciplined multitude. They were still in Egypt, with the mighty Barrier shutting them in.
THROUGH SUNSHINE AND SHADOW
While following the narrative of Israel's deliverance and Divine guidance spiritual Israel must not overlook the fact that their deliverance from the world, symbolized by Egypt, is a still more wonderful one. As we under the Lord's providence began our escape from the power of the world, the flesh and the Adversary, there were different Ways of escape possible, some more and some less favorable. Left to ourselves we might choose the wrong way of the Philistines, where the battles would be too hard for us, or the way of the desert' where we would be discouraged and famished. It is for us to look for the Lord's providences in our affairs at this time, and to find them guiding us, sheltering us from the heat of persecution and tribulation and trial, and again at other times enlightening us, refreshing us in the dark seasons. And this leading of Divine providence is intended to be ours so long as we are of the true Israel of God, until we pass over Jordan into the Heavenly Canaan and need such special providences no further. Blessed are those -whose 'faith is awake and on the alert, and who discern the Lord's favors which the. world will not discern, and which only those in the right attitude of mind can appreciate. 0, Lord, help us more and more to appreciate thy leadings, thy providences, and to trust to thy. wisdom in all of life's affairs, until thereby we shall be guided by thy Word and thy grace to the Heavenly Canaan and its rest!
It was during the retreat from the "way of the Philistines" in the north, that at some point the guiding pillar of cloud and fire first appeared to the Israelites. It was probably soon after their starting on their journey of some eighty miles to the Red Sea. It was the presence of Jehovah, manifested in a supernatural fire, which gave off a lofty column of smoke, visible afar over the host by day, while at night the flames Were reflected brightly upon the smoke, like the inner fires of Vesuvius that illuminate the cloud cap of the volcano. It was present with the people through all their wanderings in the, wilderness for forty years, and. was an evidence of the Lord's special care over them, and should have been a great aid to their faith.
While Pharaoh, under the sting of the last plague, was anxious for the departure of the Hebrews, nevertheless, as his grief assuaged and he considered the loss his empire was sustaining in the departure of over a million subjects, intelligent and ingenious and docile, and when he considered further that they were an unarmed host, and impeded in traveling by their- flocks and herds, he evidently felt that he had been too generous in -permitting them to go, and concluded that in the few days' march they had already experienced something of the difficulties and trials of the journey, and that by this time they were not only discouraged, but hemmed in by the northern tongue of the Red Sea, and the Egyptian wall, while on either side were mountains.
The hosts of the Israelites had by this time gotten well to the westward of the Bitter Lakes, which lengthen out the northernmost tongue of the Red Sea, when the word reached them that Pharaoh's six hundred chariots were coming. Terror spread throughout the mixed multitude: children cried, mothers wrung their hands and wept, and the strongest hearts of the Israelites were sore perplexed. As children to a father they came to Moses, saying, Is it because there was no grave-room in Egypt that you brought us away to die in the wilderness? Why did you thus-to bring us out of Egypt? Why did you not hearken to us when in Egypt we said, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? Would it not have been better for us to serve them than that we should die in the wilderness?
SPIRITUAL ISRAELITES ENTANGLED TOO
It is the same with many spiritual Israelites: having started to leave the world they are of insufficient faith, and when beset by temptations and difficulties they are inclined to wish they had never started in the better way and toward the freedom wherewith Christ makes free, and toward the Canaan rest and blessing which He has promised, but which to them seems so far off-so utterly impossible to be reached. But Moses was of better faith. and courage, as, well he might be, because of his superior advantages every way. He represented our Leader, under whose direction and encouragement, we have left the world behind. And so our Leader says to us, as Moses said to them, ."Fear ye not! stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you this day. And as for your enemies the Egyptians, whom ye fear, ye shall see them no more again forever." Evidently Moses was in very 'close touch with Jehovah when he could prophesy such an outcome in the face of such disastrous appearances. Similarly we may have confidence in our Lord Jesus when He assures us that the power of the Adversary is limited, that it shall not go beyond the limitations of this present evil world; that tomorrow, ill the Millennial Age, we shall witness the overthrow of all the powers of evil. Moses added, "The Lord shall fight for you and ye shall hold your peace." This is the promise to the spiritual Israelite-" Greater is He that is on our part than all they that be with them," however mighty they may appear: "If God be for-us who can be against us?"--to ultimate success; therefore "I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
The Lord's response to Moses' prayer is a striking one, from which spiritual Israelites may. also take a lesson. It was, "Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward." (Exodus 14:15.) There is a time to pray and also a time to act and thus to co-operate with God who is answering our prayers. When the Lord's time for answering our prayers has come and we know it, it is for us to manifest our faith in Him by going forward. Too many spiritual Israelites, after hearing the Lord's message, instead of going forward in obedience are disposed to tarry and pray to the Lord that He give them some special message not common to others. Such through weakness of faith are in danger of losing their standing. "Without faith it is impossible to please God;" and obedience is merely' a demonstration of faith.
THE WAY OF THE SEA
Various comparatively shallow places in the Red Sea, near its head, are suggested as possible ones by which the crossing may have been effected, and the description given would indicate that the passage was made on such a sandbar, which perhaps ordinarily would have from five to twelve feet of Water upon it, according to the condition of the tides. The record does positively state that during -the night the windstorm blew across that upper neck of the Rod Sea in such a manner as to leave the sandbar bare for a considerable breadth, so as to permit the rapid passage of so large, a body of people. The Israelites knew through Moses and their elders, what miracle had been performed, and hastened to escape from their pursuers. The latter probably were totally unaware of the miracle, and perhaps unaware that they were crossing the ordinary bed of the sea, and therefore, without trepidation, hastened onward in pursuit, impeded, however, by various accidents to their chariots, which sank into the comparatively soft sand of the sea bottom. They, no doubt, concluded that where the Israelites had gone they could go. Nevertheless, ere they had crossed they became so discouraged with the opposition, of what they probably at first considered accidents, but afterward recognized as Divine providences on Israel's behalf, that they resolved on a return-to give up the pursuit, saying that the God of the Hebrews fought for them. By this time it was nearly daybreak, and Israel having crossed over, Moses stretched, forth his rod over the sea, and winds and tide, etc., being favorable, the waters came again upon the Egyptians, that they were drowned. It is said that wonderful storms, somewhat analogous to this one, frequently occur in this vicinity, and that Napoleon and a troop of soldiers were very nearly. overtaken at about the same place that Pharaoh's chariots were lost, by a sudden cessation of storm and rising of the tides.
A critical writer suggests that Pharaoh's charioteers were probably intent upon heading off the Israelites, and thus turning them backward, and that the sea waters Were a wall on either hand, in the sense of being a flank protection, hindering the troops from getting ahead of the Israelites, turning their flank. He says, "The wall would not, by any Oriental, be supposed to be, an actual wall rising up beside them, any more than 'the wooden walls of Great Britain' are board fences about the island; or 'the hedge about the law,' which the rabbis built by their precepts, was a growth of vegetation."
It is repeatedly said in these chapters of Exodus that Pharaoh hardened his heart; but it should be noticed that neither here nor elsewhere does God interfere with the freedom of the will of any individual, whether amongst those who profess obedience to him, or others., As respects the hardening of Pharaoh's heart: as we look carefully into the narrative we find that it was accomplished 'through God's mercy only, and hence that no charge could be laid against Divine justice on this account. It was because of Pharaoh's repenting that the Lord stayed one and another of the plagues brought upon him, and the nation which he represented. But this goodness and mercy of God, which should have led him to repentance, led him in an opposite direction, to greater hardness of heart. And so it is with the world in general today: when the judgments of the Lord fall severely upon the world there is a tendency to contrition, humility and repentance; but when the Lord's blessings abound, there is the greater likelihood amongst those who are rebellious of heart to become hardened and unappreciative. So it was with Pharaoh, and so it will be with "the powers that be" in the end of the age; but so it must not be with those who are truly the children of God. To all these God's mercies and blessings, favor upon favor, should and do lead to greater appreciation, thankfulness and loving obedience, because they are His.
THE SONG OF MOSES AND THE LAMB
Overflowing with religious sentiment, the Israelites gave thanks unto the Lord God, recognizing Him as their Deliverer. Moses composed a hymn of praise in which the people joined, while Moses' sister, Miriam and the Singing women prepared a response to the various parts .of the hymn of praise. Hebrew scholars have remarked on the evidence of the antiquity of the song of Moses, recorded in Exodus 15:1-20, some even noting the fact that a few of the words show an intermingling of the Egyptian language. It is further authenticated by the reference made to it in the book of Psalms, where, the entire matter of the deliverance of the people and the overthrow of their enemies in the sea is graphically described by the sweet singer of Israel. (Psalm 106:7-12.) The incident and the Song of Moses are further corroborated by our Lord in His last message to the Church in which He represents in symbol a certain class of His followers experiencing a great deliverance in, the end of this -age and singing, "The song of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb."--Revelation 15:2, 3.
Surely, when the new dispensation has been opened up, and the silver trumpets of the jubilee shall sound release and restitution throughout all the world, there will be great rejoicing amongst all who love righteousness, and, in the language of the Psalmist, they may say, "I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously.',' And already the spiritual Israelite can by faith thus rejoice and realize his release from sin and death, and rejoice too in the fact that nothing is too wonderful for our God to accomplish, and in proportion as faith increases our joys will increase, and we will have the full assurance of faith, the full assurance of victory, for "this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE
DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST:
Yours of the 22nd of August arrived here while I was away on a trip to W. Australia and S. Australia. It was a pleasure to have it on my return, also the letter which you enclosed which gave us more information.
I have had a very encouraging trip and found more standing firm for Brother Russell's six volumes and his methods than I had anticipated. I would like to give you all details, but it would take up too much time, but the Lord's guiding hand was evidenced on the journey, and the friends were encouraged as well as myself; and besides meeting my traveling expenses, there was also more than that amount over to go to the Tract Fund. The Lord's dear sheep in some parts seemed distressed and perplexed, and it was good to see them regain their peace of mind in confidence that what the Lord permitted was sure to be all right. When we see how many have fallen,! we can see just why the Lord has permitted the test. * * * When Brother Russell was here we would not think, nor did he require it, of accepting because he said it. Our dear old Brother was too humble and generous in thought to suggest such a thing. Our trust is in the Lord and not in any human instrumentality.
We are hoping soon to have some copies of the papers which you are to issue. The friends here have been urging that I undertake -to publish a magazine more like the former Watch Tower, but we have been waiting to see what you did, and I would prefer to use what you may print than to undertake so much myself, if that will meet the friends' desires, which I hope it may.
We shall have a Convention here during Christmas week, and hope that we may have your prayers, as we cannot have your bodily presence, and we would assure you of our deep sympathy in the trying conditions through which you have passed, and our hope that the Lord may still have some work for you to do in helping all "hold fast that which thou hast." * * *
Surely the Lord's bounty is sufficient, and if we have properly assimilated the six volumes we shall not be deceived into accepting anything of an unchristian spirit.
With Christian love to yourselves and all of like precious faith.
Yours in the service of Christ, R. E. B. NICHOLSON.
TOILING ON BY FAITH
S. Travancore, India
My BELOVED BRETHREN:
Loving greetings in the name of the Lord, our King! Indeed, unforeseen changes have taken place since we met at Brooklyn some nine years ago. The printed letter that has been sent by you reached me lately, and has been waiting my arrival from my wanderings. I do not know the exact situation you are all in just now, after the "stormy" weather that has visited you there; and the effect of it has been felt here also.
Because of the war, conditions here are very critical now. Famine is spreading rapidly, and the reports of plundering, looting, etc., are coming out every day from all over the country. I shall be very pleased to know how things are over there in America. I hardly get any information from anybody at the office of the old institution, for obvious reasons.
From the printed letter you have sent me I have some idea of the nature of the work you are conducting, and as I have already intimated, I shall be very pleased to hear from you frequently. I can assure you, by the grace of God, I am with you in all these matters, as I know the majority of you personally, and I have great confidence in you.
I shall be very glad to have all the publications you are sending cut. You may also communicate to the other brethren of my intention to represent you in this part of the world for the glory of the Lord. I desire to answer the questions you have sent me affirmatively-in favor of the work.
It seems to me that as the time is very short and the opportunity for service may be closed at any time, it is our duty to extend our work, as far as possible, in all the foreign lands, through vernacular publications of timely articles under your supervision. I
Because of the uncertainty of the mail service just now, I do not know whether this will reach you, so I intend to send letters now and then until I hear from you.
At present for the last twenty months or so, I am carrying on the Lord's Harvest work in a quiet way, having no connection with the Society at Brooklyn.
You are always remembered at the Throne of Heavenly Grace, and I am quite sure the Lord is using you brethren to carry on the Lord's work where Brother Russell left it, while there is yet a little season. May the Captain of our faith bestow His choicest blessings upon you all. With love and prayers.
Yours in the Lord's service,
S. P. DAVEY.
OUR DEAR BRETHREN IN THE LORD:
We received "The Herald of Christ's Kingdom," and our hearts are made to burn within us as we recognize therein the voice of the Good Shepherd, and none other. Our hearts, uplift in thankfulness at this evidence of the Lord's favor toward His little ones. We have long anticipated that the Lord would gather His scattered sheep through the medium of a periodical, and we sought to learn patient waiting upon the Lord as the time was delayed while our need seemed so great.
The name chosen appeals to us as most desirable and significant at this momentous and particular time and the symbolic message of peace and joyful tidings which adorns the cover together with the Scripture texts which accompany, seems to us a perfect choice. Also, we can think of no other name so apt and good as the one chosen to be used for the work and ministry-"Pastoral Bible Institute."
Dear Brethren, our heads and hearts endorse every word of the article, "Inquire for the Old Paths." We are made very glad that the attitude of the paper's columns toward all that purports to be "new light" is that it shall be "subjected to closest and most searching tests (if Scripture, and never received until fully convinced that it squares perfectly with the unfailing and infallible Word of God." This reminds us of the words of our dear Pastor, "All that will not bear the closest investigation in the light of this day of Christ, should be promptly renounced by all who hope as God's children for His favor." And again, "We could guess about some things, but we do not allow ourselves to guess, 'If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God."'
Dear Brethren, your loving desire to be used "in the feeding of Thy sheep" must be commendable to the Great Shepherd, and may you be kept humble enough and faithful enough for that most desirable service. May the purpose of your mission to preach the Word and that for the purpose of provoking unto love and good works, remain pure. May it continue the mission of the journal's pages to clearly set before the Lord's people the principles of truth and righteousness, that they may more and more clearly recognize the grandeur and nobility of the Divine standards. May there indeed "be preserved in these pages the spirit and influence of the Great King Himself." Our hearts abound as we contemplate the nature of the message of the Feet of Him as outlined in Isaiah 52:7.
We desire with you to "rally around the Lord's standard of truth and righteousness and ever seek to maintain the purity, the simplicity, the liberty of the Gospel of Christ. "
We commend you for your faithful adherence to the conditions which our wise and faithful Pastor set forth in his will and testament to the end that the purity of the Truth might be safeguarded. Brethren, it is our sacred privilege to pray for you.
Your Brother and Sister in the Lord and in patient waiting for the Kingdom,
BROTHER AND SISTER ALBERT Kipp, Mich.
VOL. II. January 15, 1919 No. 2
We regret to announce that the motto card containing the 1919 text has fallen far short of our expectation, as well as of the description we gave in the December 15th issue of The Herald. Owing to a misunderstanding the motto does not possess the style and quality that we had hoped; accordingly we have arranged that the friends may have these without cost. Some have already ordered, remitting according to the price originally announced. Amounts thus remitted will be held subject to your order.
We are pleased to advise that preparations are under way for a General Convention to be held in Buffalo, N. Y., February 21-23, 1919. The location being central for both the friends in Canada, as well as in the States, we trust that a good number will be permitted to attend.
Those desiring that accommodations be engaged will communicate with Mrs. J. E. Rood, 372 McKinley Parkway, buffalo, N. Y. All services will be held in the Statler Hotel, which we are advised is quite central and is within walking distance of all stations.
GET READY PROPERLY
Prepare your heart for a blessing. Come to the Convention in the proper spirit--as a disciple, a learner. Come intent also on doing good, of consoling and encouraging others, as well as to be yourself comforted. Above all, come realizing that the lord Himself is the fountain of blessings, and remembering His Word--not by might, nor by power, but by the Lords Spirit are we to expect the blessing we hope for. In making ready and en route do not forget this important item, for on it your share in the Conventions blessing greatly depends.
The Boston friends have extended an invitation to our Institute to hold a Convention in that city, March 28-30. The invitation is accepted. We believe a good number of friends in the New England States will specially rejoice in the privilege of assembling in this general way, to stir up one anothers pure mind by way of remembrance and to build each other up in the most holy faith. Further details will be given in a later issue of the Journal.
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors."-- Matthew 24:32, 33.
It is conceded by Bible Students in general that the many lines of prophecy converging and focusing down on this end of the age, were designed of the Lord, to be of encouragement to the faithful watchers as they would "see these things come to pass." How strengthening it is to the faith, to observe the very conditions existing and developing in exact conformity with the statements made by the inspired writers of old! With what joy do we note the signs of the times presaging the removal of the things associated with the darkness of this present evil world, to prepare the way for the introduction of the things which make for righteousness and peace! Truly the Lord's devoted people may well look up and lift up their heads and rejoice, knowing that their deliverance draweth nigh.--Luke 21:28-31.
Students of the Divine Word have for many years past been looking in the direction of what is known as Zionism, believing that they see in this movement the beginning of the fulfillment of God's promise to bring about a restoration of the Jewish people to their own land and fulfill in them His purposes concerning the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.
This, one of the most remarkable movements of modern times, is exciting universal comment among well-informed people everywhere, by the rapidity with which it is spreading over the earth wherever the Jewish people are found. The object and purpose of Zionism has crystallized into one definite aim, and that is to have a nation and government of the Jewish race in the Holy Land--the land of their
fathers--Palestine. There is every evidence that this object will be attained in the near future, as the government of the United States, together with the Allied Powers of Europe, are favorably disposed toward the project, and have virtually promised that the land shall be restored to them.
It is realized more than ever by prominent Jews--bankers, financers, merchants and statesmen--that Israel should have a "land of refuge" where the members of that thriving people may dwell in peace and safety when persecutions and wars break out elsewhere. To this end, therefore, the cause of Zionism is being financed liberally and great public meetings of the Jews are being held in many of the leading cities of the world.
To Bible Students, acquainted with the Divine arrangements relative to the experiences of the Jewish people, these developments are in exact accord with what they have been expecting and pointing out from the Scriptures for some years. The "seven times" of punishment (a "time" signifying a period of 360 days, or in the prophetic sense, 360 years, mentioned four times in Leviticus, 26th chapter) beginning with the overturning of the kingdom, 606 B.C., when Zedekiah, their last king, was dethroned by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, would have their ending about October, 1914, A.D. During all of these 2, 520 years the Jewish race, with their country and capital city, Jerusalem, have been under Gentile dominion, trodden down and oppressed. The Lord Jesus referred to this when He said, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."--Luke 21:24.
The appointed season of her warfare is accomplished, therefore let the people of Israel go up and take possession of the land. Let them be of good courage, for the Lord God will be with them. (Isaiah 40:1, 2.) Soon the Messenger of the (New) Covenant, the great Messiah, will come and restore them to Divine favor and fulfill all of the gracious promises made to their fathers by the mouth of all the holy prophets.--Mal. 3:1; Jer. 31:31-35.)
JERUSALEM, THE CAPITAL CITY OF THE WORLD
The regathering of the Jews to Palestine and their permanent establishment there as a nation, as foretold by the Lord through the prophet (Jer. 32:37-42.) will be the development of the nucleus or center around which the great universal empire of earth will be formed, of which the capital city will be Jerusalem, which signifies, "City of Peace." Of this world-government of peace, it is declared that it shall be established with judgment and justice from thenceforth even forever.-- Isa. 9:7.
In this age of enlightenment, when the nations and governments are coming to recognize more clearly that the interests of humanity are one, and when, therefore, international alliances are being formed with a "League of Nations" being advocated by leading statement of the world, and that this is considered the only solution of the problem for the avoidance of all future wars between nations; how remarkable to find this very line of thought advanced in the writings of the inspired prophets who lived and died more than two thousand years ago! Hearken to the words of the Prophet Isaiah, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains [kingdoms], and shall be exalted above the hills [the lesser states]; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; for out of Zion shall go forth
the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the Capital City]. And He shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people [the nations of the earth for their wrong doings committed in wars and strife, destroying life and property], and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."--Isa. 2:2-4.
What mankind have been unable to accomplish through their own efforts, the Lord, by His Divine wisdom, power and foreknowledge has arranged for them and will surely bring it to pass. The thousands of years of experience have thoroughly demonstrated the inability of the race to govern itself properly. Every system of government devised thus far has failed to establish the ideal conditions. After six thousand years of human effort we find that the words of our Lord are forcefully descriptive of the present situation: "Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves [great movements rolling up in the turbulent sea of humanity] roaring [wild and enraged protests against present wrongs] : Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things coming upon the earth [society]."--Luke 21:25, 26.
The only hope, therefore, for the ultimate deliverance of the world from its present unhappy state is in the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom or government on earth. Thank God! this, the "desire of all nations," is at the door. Soon all will begin to realize that a new governing power is in control, and that the old Satanic order is passing away.
In harmony with much of the foregoing, we quote the following article from one of the great dailies of New York:
JERUSALEM THE SOLUTION
"Versailles, according to a Paris dispatch, is being considered by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies as a proper capital of the proposed Society of Nations, the bill being backed by the Deputies from Versailles and the Department of Seine-et-Oise. 'It proposes to make Versailles the permanent center of the Society of -Nations.'
"Why not Jerusalem?
"At the great meeting of Protestants, Catholics, Greek Church and Jews last Thursday night, at the Metropolitan Opera House, to celebrate 'Jerusalem Redeemed' from the Turkish Power, it was suggested that Jerusalem be made the capital of the League of Nations.
"The associations. of Jerusalem, or Zion, do, indeed, give it a prestige in the eyes of all Catholics, Protestants, Greek-Church, Jews and Mohammedans. And it would be in harmony with that movement now attracting attention, but so little understood by Jew and Gentile, called Zionism, a movement meant to mean the common weal of all peoples and the peace of the world.
"Zionism, according to the Basle program of the founders of the present movement which goes by that name, aims only at the establishment of a legal home for Jews in Palestine. But Zionism as proclaimed by the prophets of the Bible means Palestine, a homeland for the Jews, not at all only for their materialities, but also as a means to promote the glory of God and the uplift of man--or, to quote the Bible words, 'In order that through thee [Israel] shall all nations be blessed.'
"The establishment of a neutral zone, such as Palestine would be, around Jerusalem or Zion, as capital of the World's League of Nations would thus help to solve the rising question, 'Who shall have Palestine?'
"The importance of having a city of holy associations as the capital of the League of Nations is evidenced by the fact that there can be no lasting League of, Nations unless those nations are in League with God, i.e., Righteousness and justice."--New York American, December 27, 1918.
In view of all the signs that so clearly presage the coming in of the new dispensation, while noting the present distress, while facing the coming climax of sin, and selfishness, shall not we who have the knowledge of the Divine purposes of God, and see in the foretold events the approach of the Kingdom of the Lord, that it is, indeed, at hand, shall we not avail ourselves of the honor and the privilege of heralding forth the good news, "blowing the trumpet in Zion," being fully equipped with the whole armor that we may be able to stand in the evil day? "What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness," because we, "according to His promise look for a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. "--2 Peter 3:11-13.
"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter."-Revelation 1:19.
HE visions of Revelation were introduced by' a symbolical manifestation of Christ (the Anointed One), to St. John while an exile, on the little rocky Island of Patmos, in the Aegean Sea. This manifestation occurred on the "Lord's day." (Revelation 1:10.) Concerning this expression, "Lord's day," we have the following explanation, which seems indeed reasonable:
"Although the words 'on the Lord's day' might not unreasonably be understood to signify that St. John in vision was carried down the stream of time to the great Millennial Day of Christ, the Lord's Day, nevertheless, we think it reasonable to understand him to mean also that he saw this vision on the FIRST DAY of the week. And how appropriate it was that our Lord, who arose on the first day of the week , and who most frequently manifested His resurrection powers on that day, should on the same day reveal Himself and certain great instructions to the Church, through St. John honoring the same day of the week. It is no wonder, therefore, that Christian people from the very earliest times, have held the first day of the week in special reverence, as the symbol of the fulfillment of all our hopes, whereof God gave us assurance in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus on this day. Besides to confine the meaning of the expression to the Millennial Day, exclusively, would be to ignore the fact that THE LARGER PROPORTION OF ST. JOHN'S VISION, RELATED NOT TO THE MILLENNIAL DAY, but to the intervening time."--Z.'01-187.
The statement that the Apostle John was "in the spirit," would teach that the things he saw in the visions were not realities, but symbolical representations of great facts and realities. The fact that his attention was first called to this vision by hearing a voice behind him would suggest, "that the beginning of the message was not in St. John's day, nor from some future time, but that the things to be revealed had already commenced and were already to some extent in the past." (Z.'01-188.) As an evidence that this is the correct thought, the careful reader is asked to consider Revelation 5, where Christ is shown to be receiving the sealed scroll from the Heavenly Father--symbolical of His Divine commission to carry out and execute the eternal purpose of God.
THE VISION OF CHRIST
The various symbolisms surrounding this vision of Christ have been explained in detail by our Pastor. (Z.'01-187-189.) However, the principal and most important ones are interpreted by the "voice" that St. John heard, i.e., those of the "seven golden candlesticks'' (lamp stands) in the midst of which, the One like unto the Son of Man walked, and the "seven stars" which were held in His right hand. The Revelator explains:
"The seven stars are the angels of the seven Churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven Churches." (Revelation 1:20.)
As to the significance of these, we have the following elucidation:
"The feet, described as like unto furnace refined copper would represent those members of the body of Christ who serve, in the sense of carrying forward financially and otherwise the Lord's work. . . . The feet would thus represent the living members of the body, all down through this age; and the refining process to each and all will be fiery trials. . . . To so recognize that the Lord's people in every part of the age have been feet members of the body, carrying forward His work, is not to contradict our previous application of Isaiah 52:7. which merely represents the 'feet' members of the present time, and identifies them as the ones who declare unto Zion, 'Thy God REIGNETH.' IN THIS MANNER DISTINGUISHING THESE FROM THEIR PREDECESSORS IN THE PILGRIM WAY."-Z.'01-188-189.
"St. John was instructed to write, to make clear, to make plain to us and to all of God's people, the things already brought to his attention, and other things subsequently to be brought to his attention [from chapter 4 and on]. And here let us note the force of St. John's expression (vs. 3) to the effect that "there is a blessing UPON THOSE WHO READ THIS REVELATION, even though they do not understand; and a SPECIAL blessing upon those who bear and understand the words of this prophecy, and keep, or conform their lives to the things written therein."--Z.'01-189.
"St. John, the beloved disciple, IN SOME MEASURE OR DEGREE, represented the last living members of the body of Christ. Doubtless, this was the meaning of our Lord's statement, 'If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee.' (John 21:20-23.) St. John did not tarry; but a class whom in some respects he illustrated, are represented as tarrying--A CLASS THAT SEE WITH THE EYES OF THEIR UNDERSTANDING the visions and revelations which the beloved disciple saw in symbols--in a trance."--Z.'16-343.
The evidence seems most convincing that our beloved Brother, who has passed beyond, had a much clearer conception of the visions of this wonderful message of Christ, than any other person since the days of the Apostles. He was one of the "feet" members of the Body. Will we not therefore be acting wisely, beloved, to search his writings, and learn from them as far as possible his latest conclusions concerning these sanctifying visions? In our search let us also keep in mind that certain visions that relate to the closing scenes of the Church's pilgrimage -visions that had only partially been fulfilled at the time of his death-will be more clearly seen by the faithful watchers as the events of rapidly fulfilling prophecy unveil them.
CHRIST'S MESSAGE'S TO THE CHURCHES
In our dear Brother's latest writings (Z.'16-p.346) we have his last thoughts on the historical fulfillment of these messages of Christ to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. In the measure that we are familiar with the history of the seven epochs to which these messages apply, will we be able to fill in the details of these unfoldings. These, his late expositions, we believe, are available to all the Lord's consecrated. We therefore simply refer the reader to them.
We are not, however, to receive the impression that this historical fulfillment is the only way that these messages were intended by the Savior to be applied. To think this way would be to deprive the Church of the benefit of the most edifying exhortations and warnings to be found in all the volume of Divine inspiration. That there is contained in each and all of these messages very important matters that were intended by Christ to apply to all of the Lord's consecrated ones throughout the Age, is plainly stated in the words of the Savior addressed to each Church: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." The vital importance of this exhortation is emphasized by the fact that these words are repeated seven times; and in each instance reference is made to the exhortations addressed to all the Churches.-Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22.
The facts of history have proven beyond any reasonable doubt, that the peculiar characteristics described of each of these Churches fits exactly seven distinct, successive epochs in the order mentioned, and this establishes and fulfils the prophetic character of these messages. Therefore, the special words of comfort and promise; the reproofs, the rebukes, the warnings, the dangers and evils pointed out, were intended to apply to all the Lord's people, down to the very end, and with added force and meaning in these closing days.
Three special evils are noted, in a symbolical manner, by Christ, and against these He gives solemn warning to all who have, the hearing ear. The first of these is "Nicolaitanism." This-evil is referred to twice; addressing the Messenger to Ephesus, Christ said, "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans which I also hate." (Revelation 2:6.) Again, addressing Pergamos through its Messenger, he said, "So hast thou also them who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. "-Revelation 2:15.
The second of these evils is "Balaamism." It is referred to in the message to Pergamos. "I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam , who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."
The third of these evils is "Jezebelism." It is referred to in the message to Thyatira. "But I have this against thee, because thou lettest alone the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she seduces my people to fornicate and to eat idol sacrifices."--Revelation 2:20. (Diaglott.)
We will endeavor, first, to discover what these evils were; and second, show that their introduction into the Church in a mystical sense, and their development, finally culminated in the apostasy, the Anti-Christ, about the year 539 A.D. There is a general agreement among expositors as to what "Nicolaitanism" is. In our Pastor's writings we have a brief but clear definition of this evil. We quote:
"THE DEEDS OF THE NICOLAITANS"
"The 'doctrine of the Nicolaitans' seems to be the theory of lordship or headship in the Church. The strife as to who should be the greatest existed amongst many of the patriarchs-fathers of the prominent Churches. At their councils there was a bitter fight for supremacy. The tendency was towards an earthly head, and of course many coveted the honor. The patriarchs of Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople and Rome were the most prominent. The first two dropped out of the conflict, but the strife continued for several hundred years between Constantinople and Rome. It was settled only by a division of the Church: the Eastern or Greek Church, accepting the Patriarch of Constantinople for its head; and the Western or Papal Church, acknowledging the Bishop, Pope or Father of Rome.
"Many of the true followers of the Master in the Churches denounced this attempt to disobey the direct command of Jesus, 'Call no man father.' (Matthew 23:9.) Of course they received the promised persecution. (2 Timothy 1:12.) This class in Pergamos is commended by our Lord under the symbol of 'Anti-pas my faithful martyr.' In the Greek, ANTI means against, and PAPAS signifies father. In this stage of the development of the Church those who sought to be popular received the emoluments of the Church; but the promise to the overcomers is that of pleasure and honor that shall be eternal." -Z.'16-346.
The evil of "Nicolaitanism" has always existed in the Church since shortly after its establishment. Every reform movement in the Church since the Apostles' day every effort to get back to primitive simplicity of doctrine, of Church order, and of methods of service, have, in the course of time, resulted again in sectarianism, and have left the faithful few (Protestants) in the "wilderness." Lording it over God's heritage, idolizing messengers, and human organizations, symbolized by "Nicolaitanism," is responsible for these sad results. This evil has been repeated again and again in the Church's history. Alas, in the very closing hours of the Church's pilgrimage, we are witnessing again its repetition among those who have been engaged in carrying forward the greatest religious reform movement in the history of the Church. Let him that readeth understand! How necessary, how significant, how timely the Savior's warning: "Take heed, let no man deceive you." The worshipping of fallible men, of imperfect human systems-making idols of them, allowing them to occupy the place that Christ and Christ alone should have, has ever been Satan's method to take away the liberty that is in Christ Jesus, and thus mar the fellowship and destroy the unity of "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
As a faithful shepherd, when his sheep become frightened by strange voices in their midst, or bewildered and exhausted by the storm, utters his well-known welcome call, and thus gathers his sheep, so Christ the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep, speaks, and His sheep hear His voice and gather around Him and are led into the shelter of the true fold; their fears are allayed, and once again they go in and out and find the green pasture and are led beside the still waters.
Are not the words of our Pastor fraught with timely' significance to us now!
"Dearly beloved, one and only one deserved all the honor of the Church both now and forever, and that one .is our Lord and Master. He leads, He teaches, He feeds, and the various human agencies used by Him. . . . should neither take His place, nor share His honor before the world."--Z.'08, 116.
The Good Shepherd, through His messages, reminds the sheep that they were called by Him out of bondage into liberty. (John 8:31.) His word reminds them that the enjoyment of Christian fellowship and unity is based upon their relationship to Him as members of His Body; for all such are to be partakers of the one spirit; called in one hope of their calling; to recognize but the one Lord; to be of the one "like precious, faith"; experience the one baptism, and trust in the one God and Father of all Ephesians 4:4-6.
But are we not to appreciate and hold in proper honor those older ones, who in humility and faithfulness minister to our spiritual needs; who, in a certain sense, are under shepherds, and who watch for our souls? We answer, Yes, but. how shall we honor them? Let us note the Apostle's words, "Remember them which have the rule over you (margin, are your guides), who have spoken to you the word of the Lord, considering the end (object) of their conversation (conduct). Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrew's 13:7, 8.) Ah! yes, these are the ones that we are to honor, to appreciate--those who, have as the only object of their entire service for the saints, to please Jesus Christ. Does not the Apostle Paul say, "Follow me?" Yes, but bear him further, "Even as I follow Christ." Who among men does the Apostle tell us to follow? Note his advice, "Those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."--Hebrews 6:12.
There is indeed a marked difference between giving worship and homage to servants, and loving and appreciating and esteeming them very highly for their works' sake; a severe test is often required to make manifest the difference. The one who gives undue honor to a servant of the Lord, possesses, though perhaps unconsciously, a man-worshipping spirit; and when one object of worship is taken out of the way, naturally such a person desires another, and will soon find another, and transfer his allegiance to the same. On the other hand, the one manifesting the true spirit of appreciation for service rendered, does so because he sees in the servant the humble, submissive, unselfish, self -sacrificing spirit of the Master,, Himself, and thus is caused to long for and strive for that same spirit. Many saw these characteristics of the Master's spirit in the faithful messenger of the past forty years and have not ceased to appreciate that spirit, as they continue to derive encouragement and assistance from his messages left behind, when he passed beyond.
"THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM"
The next evil that was rebuked by the One walking amongst the candlesticks, was that of "Balaamism." This evil called the "doctrine of Balaam" was another factor that Satan used in order to get himself firmly seated in the Church, and thus prepare the way for Anti-Christ, through whom he could control in his councils, and endeavor to overwhelm the comparatively small number of the faithful who continued to hold fast to the Savior's name and to confess His faith.
The ancient Balaam was a prophet of God His unfaithfulness was specially made manifest when he willingly compromised by uniting himself in association with Balak, king of Moab, which thing God had forbidden, hoping .that, by not venturing very far from the right course, to gain regard. While he did not do the thing that Balak desired of him--"curse Israel"--it evidently was no credit to him that he did not do so, being prevented by God. His sin, in this particular, was that he simply "loved the wages of unrighteousness. "--2 Pet. 2:15.
The sin that seems to be more especially referred to by Christ in this message to Pergamos, was, that it was through Balaam's counsel that the children of Israel mingled with the daughters of Moab, which God had strictly charged them not to do. (Num. 31:16.) The sin of "Balaam," called by Christ the "doctrine of Balaam," is referred to symbolically in this message, and has its historical application to the worldly age of Constantine and the professed Christian emperors, who succeeded him as rulers in the Roman empire. The period began about 325 A.D. and ended about 539 A.D., when Rome came under the power and control of a professedly Christian Bishop.
This "doctrine of Balaam" has its two features:
First, Compromising with the world and its spirit for earthly gain, on the part of God's professed prophets teachers, leaders of the Lord's people, manifesting itself in affiliation, and association with the rulers of this world
Second, Counseling God's people (by influence and example) to do the same.
It was another step in the Church's decline. The "Nicolaitan" leaders now began to court the favor of the world, supposing that this worldly gain (prestige and influence) was godliness. Thus Satan made further progress in securing a seat in the Church, and gradually did the "dragon," Pagan Rome (Satan's former seat), ,give his power and strength unto the "beast," Papal Rome. (Rev. 13:2.) This "doctrine of 13alaam," like that of the "doctrine of the Nicolaitans," has been repeated time after time in Church history. It was this that impeded the progress of the great Reformation movement in the sixteenth century. It always begins in the individual, and gradually spreads itself into the assemblies of the Lord's professed people, until all is leavened. Alas! Since our Pastor's death this evil has again developed to great proportions in the very midst of the people who have professedly stood for truth and holiness. Who could have thought that such a thing would occur amongst a people so blessed with wonderful light and privileges? Balaam was severely rebuked for his sin; and can we believe that in these days of uncovering, of exposing, of revealing every secret thing, when judgment has in a special sense begun at the house of God, that He would fail to sternly rebuke those who are responsible for the promulgation of this "doctrine of Balaam"?
THE WOMAN JEZEBEL
The next evil pointed out by the One walking in the midst of the candlesticks is that of Jezebelism "But I have this against thee, because thou lettest alone that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she seduces my people to fornicate and to eat idol sacrifices." (Rev. 2:20.) The ancient Jezebel was a daughter of a heathen king, who had married Ahab, king of Israel. She, it was who as a priestess or teacher of "Baal," introduced the idolatrous worship of Baal in the land of Israel, and thus brought the ten tribes into disfavor with Jehovah. The history of this terrible apostasy and of the prophet Elijah's testimony against Ahab and Jezebel, are recorded in several chapters in 1 Kings.
Who can doubt that these things are symbolical? It was in the Church of Thyatira that these evils were seen to prevail. In the historical fulfillment Thyatira represents that period in Church history, in which the Church of Rome controlled mankind in matters of religious faith and practice. This period began when the Roman Bishop, was by a decree of Justinian, recognized as the head of all the Churches in (so-called) Christendom, 539 A.D. It seemed to reach its close about two centuries before the Reformation period. The idolatrous Church of Rome is well represented by the woman Jezebel, the Church that has claimed to be God's mouthpiece, and the channel of His truth and grace. The head of the Church system has claimed the sole authority to appoint teachers and to interpret the Holy Scriptures-the very representative of Christ on earth. It has established a counterfeit idolatrous system of worship. Those who have declared allegiance to it, are thus symbolically "eating of things sacrificed unto idols."
The particular sin pointed out by Christ is., that the Lord's followers in this period lacked courage, were disposed to hold back and failed to testify against these evils. "Thou lettest alone that woman Jezebel." The class represented under another symbol as Anti-pas, who lived in the Pergamos (the previous) period, had ceased to bear witness against these evils. The dark ages of apostasy had fully set in. The voices of the few faithful ones, who had previously protested against the surrounding evils, were almost overwhelmed and put to silence. AntiChrist had come. He was now firmly seated in the throne of the Caesars.
The spirit of Jezebelism (Romanism), the claim to be the only "channel" through which truth must flow, has always existed since that time; not only in Rome, but in other Church systems as well. Its incipiency and development have been noted again and again in Church history. And now, once more is history, repeating itself-once more do we behold similar conditions developed in our day; once more do we see some of God's children blinded, and unable to discern this spirit of Jezebelism--indeed, to detect this modern "Jezebel." And shall not the voice of the faithful "Anti-Pas" be raised? This seems to be referred to in the words of the One whose eyes are like a flame of fire and whose feet are like fine brass: "But I say to you and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan . . . I will put upon you none other burden; but that which ye have already. Hold fast till I come." -Rev. 2:24, 25.
But how did these great evils first get a foothold in the Church? How is it that there has been a repetition of them over and over again in the Church of Christ? We answer, the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, points out the first great cause. It began in Ephesus. Let us hear these solemn words: "Nevertheless I have this against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." (Rev. 2:4.) Ephesus was the first Church and therefore possessed advantages that were indeed desirable; Ephesus, it was, that labored and was patient, and could not bear them that were evil; Ephesus that had tried them that claimed to be Apostles; Ephesus that had borne and had patience, had labored and had not fainted, to whom the Savior expressed disappointment: "Thou hast left thy first love." And what was this "first love?" Was it love for the truth alone? Was it love for the work or service of proclaiming--of giving out the truth? Ali, no! Ephesus did not fail here. Wherein, then, was their failure? What was their "first love"? Was it not, that, for which the truth was made known to them? Was not the truth given to them for the purpose of begetting in them a true, deep love for the Lord and to enable them to become acquainted with Christ Himself, and thus to know the Father? Was it not because they had taken their eyes off the Savior, and placed them upon other objects, that they merited this rebuke? This must have been the reason.
The final test of "first love" is something beyond the love of the Truth and the desire to serve it. The love of the Lord Himself, His own glorious personality reflecting the Divine attributes, is the supreme and highest form of love, and finds in Him, therefore, its full and complete satisfaction. All other forms and degrees of love are incidental to this, our "first love," which finds expression in our desires and aims to please Him-He who first loved us and "whom having not seen we love."
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.-Philippians 4:8.
MANKIND in general does too little thinking, and what it does do is more or less along improper lines, and built upon false basis or premises. Nevertheless, all will agree as respects human welfare, there is a power in thought second to no other power in the universe. Few, perhaps, realize to what extent this is true-to what extent their own happiness and well-being is dependent upon right thinking-to what extent whole communities and nations owe their happiness or misery to their right or wrong thinking upon the important problems of life. Words are a power in the world, but only in proportion as they awaken thoughts and lead to actions; words,
thoughts, deeds, is the order. Truly did the wise man say, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." (Prov. 23:7.) If he thinks justly, he will speak and act justly; if his thoughts are selfish and ignoble, his words will be deceitful and his conduct dishonest.
It is because the power of thought is to a considerable extent recognized that it is appealed to on every hand. The teacher appeals to it; the preacher appeals to it; the politician appeals to it; the financier appeals to it; the sociologist appeals to it; the thousands of pamphlets, books, newspapers and magazines published in every land and in every tongue are all appealing. to thought. Thought, indeed, may be said to be the great engine which is moving the whole world in its every department. The difficulty is that few are of logical and discerning mind, the fall having affected every member of the human family, has disordered our reasoning faculties; and charlatans and demagogues and self-seekers very frequently take advantage of the weak mental state of humanity to delude with sophistry, and thus, to hinder and obscure correct thinking and reasoning. Against the great force and weight of selfishness in its every member does humanity thus labor, as well as against the wiles of Satan; and it is not surprising that generally it is misled and deceived, because added to its incubus of false premises it must struggle also against its own inertia, sluggishness and inaptitude.
The Lord also appeals to the power of the mind through His Word, and urges upon His people that they be "transformed by the renewing of their minds." (Rom. 12:2.) Indeed, it may be said that the cultivation of the power of thought began with God's people, and that so far as religious matters are concerned it has in no particular degree gone from them. While heathen religions seek to restrain the intellect and appeal chiefly to the passions, prejudices and fears, the Lord, to the contrary, calls to His people, saying, "Come, let us reason together." (Isa. 1:18.) We are willing to admit that nominal Christendom has not heeded the Lord's invitation to any great extent that very largely nominal Christians avoid thought on religious subjects, and especially avoid reasoning; but we hold that to the extent they thus violate the Divine arrangement they have not their "senses exercised by reason of use," and are to be esteemed, at very best, only babes in Christ.--Heb. 5:13, 14.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER THINKING
We are willing to agree also that thinking may be a very dangerous matter in the absence of absolute knowledge upon which to base and exercise our reasoning faculties; but the Lord has protected His faithful along this line by providing us in His Word, with the proper basis for reasoning on all subjects involving our duty to our Creator and to our fellow-creatures. The Scriptures lay down certain broad lines, and invite God's people to reason within these lines of revelation, and by reasoning thus to taste and see that the Lord is gracious; and come to a clearer knowledge of Him, a better understanding of His character and plan. Many who are awakened to independent thinking are careless of the limitations of the Divine revelation, and consequently the influence of the Divine Word upon them is a mental liberty and enlightenment which, lacking the Divine control , is very apt to go to the extreme of license, selfishness, self-conceit and infidelity. Wherever the Bible has gone it has been the torch which has led civilization; millions have profited by its enlightening influence, though only comparatively few walk close to its light and within its prescribed limitations of reason and conduct; and these few are the true Christians--the "wheat" of this re, "the first fruits unto God of His creatures," which is now harvesting.--Jas. 1:18.
Some are inclined to believe that since man's brain differs from each other man's brain to some extent, therefore his-thinking must necessarily be different; in a word, that a man can only think in harmony with his brain construction. But we reply, Not so; each may learn to weigh and balance his own thoughts, to curb some and to encourage others; but to do this each must have before him an ideal of character, to be copied. Thoughts can be controlled just as words and actions can be controlled: the will is at the helm, and must decide which thoughts and sentiments it will entertain and encourage, and which it will repel. It is necessary, therefore, first of all, for the will to be rightly directed, and secondly, to be strong, and to use its power in the control of thought;--in curbing those thoughts which it recognizes as evil, and in stimulating those which it recognizes as good, helpful, beneficial. The will, in Scripture called the "heart," is therefore continually appealed to by the Lord, as He now seeks amongst men for His "peculiar people." The message is, "My son, give me thine heart"--thy will. This request is not addressed to willful sinners, for they are not recognized or addressed as sons of God, but as children of the Evil One. Those whom God recognizes as His sons are such as have been brought into harmony with Him through forgiveness of sins, by repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, the Redeemer. It is to such that the Lord makes known that if they would "go on to perfection" to the full attainment of his gracious purposes respecting them, the only proper course would be to give their hearts, their wills, to Him in consecration.
The heart, the will, thus given to God, seeks to know the Divine will, to catch the Divine thought and to obey it in word and in act; and in proportion as this condition of the new mind is attained, in that same proportion will there begin to be a newness of life in every respect; in ambitions, hopes, sentiments, and efforts. It is for this reason that the revelation of the Divine will and Plan is furnished to believers-that by growing in the knowledge of it, by thinking on these things, by filling the mind with the Divine Plan and will, the transforming influence may extend into every avenue of life.
A common mistake amongst people would be to address the words of our text on the subject of right thinking to sinners, to evil-doers and evil thinkers; but this is a mistake. The entire Epistle to the Philippians is addressed to "All the saints in Christ Jesus which are a Philippi" (1:1) ; and the exhortation is applicable to all the saints everywhere, but not to others than saints not to the worldly, not even to the household of faith until they have made a full consecration of themselves to the Lord. It would be useless to address others along this line; the exhortation would be of no effect. Hence, the exhortation of this lesson is not specially applicable to any but the most advanced Christians-not ever to the "babes in Christ," but only to those who are somewhat matured in the new life. As for the babes who are not developed new creatures, they will have their attention very thoroughly occupied with the cruder elementary lessons, respecting the coarser sins which the new creature must abhor and battle against. This text addresses those who have made considerable progress along these lines of putting away "the filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit" those who are seeking to perfect holiness in their hearts, and so far as possible also in their earthly bodies.2 Cor. 7:1.
The context proves our assertion, for after speaking of prayer and thanksgiving to God and the peace of God which passeth all understanding, keeping their hearts and minds, the Apostle sums up this advanced position of grace with the words of our text as the finality or finish of the argument, and of the process of character development: "Finally, brethren."
"WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE TRUE"
This is the first question to be asked respecting any matter: Is it true or is it false? If it is false, the Lord's people are to have nothing whatever to do with it, no matter how beautiful. Love for the truth lies at the very foundation of saintship, and we remember that the Lord ,declares through the Apostle that those who will be rejected and stumbled in this harvest time are such as "receive not the truth in the love of it" (2 Thes. 2:10)--such as have pleasure in unrighteousness (untruth). With our poor and at very best imperfect brains there is great danger of our being misled, and hence the Word of the Lord appeals to us with force that we should not even touch that which we realize is untrue. This does not mean that we may not weigh and balance evidences to discern the truth from the untruth; but it does mean that as soon as the truth is discovered it will be embraced and acknowledged, and the untruth as vigorously disavowed and completely withdrawn from. To tamper with error after we see it to be error, to "see how it would reason out, anyway," when we know the matter is on a wrong basis, is to lay a trap for our spiritual feet, one which frequently stumbles travelers on the way to Zion.
If we are following God's admonition through the Apostle, in this text, it will mean an avoidance of fiction, of novels, of unrealities. This, on the other hand, will mean an increased reverence for whatsoever things are true, an increased devotion to them, an increase of time for their study, and an increase of the spirit of truth in our hearts as a result. I
The truth of the thing is only one of the tests to which it Must be put. We may find a matter to be true and yet not find it to be worthy of our thought, dishonorable. Who does not know that there are dishonorable and dishonoring thoughts, the pondering of which not only wastes valuable time, but instead of bringing a reward, a blessing for the time spent upon them, entails a loss, a disadvantage, in that it leaves a dishonorable stain in our minds, unworthy of us as new creatures in Christ Jesus?
The true but dishonorable or unworthy things presenting themselves for our consideration at the bar of our minds are perhaps oftenest in connection with others the weaknesses, the errors, the follies, or what not of our neighbors, of our friends. The entertaining of these thoughts, the pondering of them, will be unfavorable to us, and the sooner we discern the matter and dismiss them the better, the happier, the more noble will be our own hearts. The dismission of these unworthy thoughts will leave us the opportunity and the energy, if we will, to expend that much more time upon whatsoever things are not only true but also honorable, worthy of our attention as new creatures in Christ Jesus.
"Whatsoever things are just"--here we have another limitation. Our minds are to be occupied in thinking about righteousness or just things, principles, etc.; we are not to be continually -meditating upon grievances and injustices, either real or imagined. We are to remember, on the contrary, that we are living in the period which the Scriptures denominate "the present evil world," and that it could not be this if justice prevailed generally. We are to remember that hereunto we were called-even to endure injustice, for righteousness' sake-to do good, to lay down our lives in the service of the Lord and His Word, and yet to be evil-spoken of and to be misunderstood and to have all manner of evil said against us falsely for Christ's sake. We are, therefore, not to think strange of the fiery trials that shall surely come upon all who are of the Royal Priesthood; but rather, having settled this matter in advance, when we made out consecration, we are to take it as it comes, as a matter of course, not grieving over nor specially thinking about the trials, the injustices, etc. And thus doing we will have the more time to give to thinking of the more helpful, the more .strengthening, the more elevating things--the things that are just, the things that are in harmony with righteousness, respecting the past, the present and the future, as promised in the Lord's Word.
BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART
There is a vast amount of impurity everywhere throughout the world. It, therefore, behooves the Lord's consecrated people to follow the Apostle's injunction, and to carefully strain out the impurities, and see that they do not enter into our hearts, our thoughts, realizing that with them in the result will be to work our defilement, to a greater or less degree. Whoever maintains purity of thought will have comparatively little effort in maintaining purity of word and of action. Whether the impurity come from one direction or another--from the world or the flesh or the devil-its attack must first of all be upon the mind; and if repelled there the victory is won: if not repelled we cannot know what the consequences would be, as the Apostle James declares: "Lust [selfish desire of any kind], when it has conceived [in the mind] bringeth forth sin [develops sinful words or deeds], and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death."--Jas. 1:15.
No wonder, then, that the Apostle mentions the necessity for our thoughts being guarded along the line of purity, and that if a matter were ever so well established as a truth, and if it involved no injustice, and even were not dishonorable, yet were impure, this would be quite sufficient to condemn it as unworthy of the mind of the Lord's consecrated people. Nor is it to be overlooked that any smut or impurity entering into the mind may cause such a defilement as will give trouble in its complete eradication, not only at the time, but for years afterward.
The saints are exhorted to be meek and peacemakers, but in order to be thus they must have amiable thoughts, lovely and lovable thoughts, kind thoughts, gentle thoughts. These in turn will gradually develop into graces of character. We are not to think upon, subjects gendering anger, hatred, strife-vexatious thoughts, quarrelsome thoughts,. vindictive and contentious thoughts. These all are to be shunned as enemies to the new creature, and instead, we are to think of the beautiful things, the amiable things, we may know respecting our neighbors, our friends; even though. we be not able to fully close our eyes against their injustices or evil deeds, we may at least refuse to waste valuable time in thinking about their weaknesses and thus cultivating unamiable, quarrelsome dispositions in ourselves.
It may be argued by some that since the world hateth the light and the children of the light, and rejoiceth in iniquity and in getting the advantage over others, therefore those things which would be reputable with it would not be the holy things suitable to the thoughts of God's people. But not so, we answer; the world does recognize to a considerable extent a right standard, even though it does not follow that standard, nor even pretend to do so even though it hates those who it sees are endeavoring to walk up to that standard; even though it calls the children of light hypocrites, and crucifies them, as in the case of our Lord. It is policy and false religion that generally excite religious persecution. Nevertheless, if anyone will follow the standard that is reputable, and think upon those things, he will find therein a blessing.
THINK ON THE DIVINE CHARACTER AND PLAN
Some may feel that if they thus sifted and tested and rejected all the untrue, the unworthy, the unjust, the impure and the unamiable thoughts presenting themselves, that they would have no topic left whereon to engage their, minds, and this we believe would be true with a great many-their minds for a time would be quite vacant of thoughts, if all the evil and improper ones were rejected, banished; but by the time they would be in this attitude they would have such a "hunger and thirst after righteousness," truth, things lovely, things pure, things noble, that they would be in the right condition to receive the very spiritual food which the Lord has provided for them. There is one thing, and one thing only, which fully combines all of the above propositions, and demonstrates itself
to be the one thing true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and that is, the Divine character and Plan.' Let us think upon the various features of God's purpose. Let us study the Divine Word and behold through it, as a telescope, the beauty of the Divine character, the splendor of the Divine Plan, as revealed in God's Word and Plan, whose length and breadth and height and depth no man can measure, .and only the saints can comprehend by the holy spirit, and that in proportion as they received of the holy spirit, the holy mind, the holy thoughts, replacing and displacing the unholy thoughts and sentiments of the natural man. (Eph. 3:18.) What a splendid premium the Lord thus places upon the study of His Word in the esteem of all who are of the class addressed by the, Apostle in our text 1
Such a ruling of the mind is a conquest; such a self mastery is a victory; the greatest victory that can be gained. As the Scriptures declare, "He that ruleth his spirit [mind] is better than he that taketh a city." (Prov. 16:32.) And the prescription given by the Apostle in our text, for the mental health of the saints, is the very soul discipline necessary to our development in character, to the degree pleasing to God and acceptable, through Christ Jesus our Lord. These are the victors to whom will be granted a share in the Kingdom. Ah, then, as the Apostle exhorts, "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author of out faith" until He shall have become the finisher of it (Heb. 12:1, 2) ; remembering that He who is on our part, and who has engaged to help us and to carry us through every difficulty, and to fully instruct us if we submit ourselves to Him, and thus to "make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light," is Jesus-who loved us and bought us with His own precious blood.
Well do the Scriptures generally enforce the importance of guarding the mind, the will, the heart, saying, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." Keeping it, to the saints now called and in the race , means life more abundant, with glory, honor and immortality. Neglecting it, refusing to exercise self-control, means the permission of selfish desires to be conceived in our brains, and to lead away from the Lord and His "Narrow Way" on toward sin, on toward the wages of sin--death--Second Death.
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord."--2 Cor. 3:18.
FULL TRANSFORMATION into a likeness of character to our Heavenly Father should be the constant effort of every true child of God. It is not enough that we gain a knowledge of His Plan and a pleasurable realization of His mercy and grace toward our unworthy race, and that, we joyfully tell the good news to others; and it is not enough that we exert ourselves with uncommon zeal to bless others with those good tidings of great joy for all people; for we may do all of these things and more, and yet, if we do not let bur Heavenly Father's goodness and grace have its due effect upon our own hearts, our knowledge, and even our good works, will profit us but little.
Our main object, therefore, in studying God's Word and His character as therein revealed, should always
be to bring our own hearts and minds into closer sympathy and likeness and co-operation with Him. As the Apostle says (1 Thes. 4:3), "This is the will of God, even your sanctification"--our full setting apart, or consecration of mind and heart entirely to the Lord, that He may complete the good work of transforming us into His own likeness by the operations of His Spirit through His Word, and thus fit-us for the enjoyment of His abounding grace in the ages to come.
In the above words of the Apostle we notice particularly that the statement is made of all the Church-we all are being changed from glory to glory. And the inference is consequently a strong one, that those who are not being so changed are not of the class addressed. This is a solemn thought and one that claims the most careful consideration of all the consecrated. The question with us is not, Have we made a full consecration of ourselves to the Lord? but, having made such consecration, are we, in accordance with that consecration, fully submitting ourselves to the transforming influences of the Spirit of God, to be changed daily more and more fully to the glorious likeness of our God?
Like the Apostle, then, addressing all the consecrated and faithful, we also of to-day may say, We all are being changed from glory to glory under the molding, fashioning influence of the Spirit of God. We can see it in each other, thank God! and we glory in it. Yesterday the mallet of Divine providence struck a blow upon that member of the body of Christ, and an unsightly excrescence of pride fell off, and he looks so much more beautiful to-day, because he did not resist the blow, but gracefully submitted to it. The day before, we saw another under the wearing, painful, polishing process, to which he patiently submitted, and oh, how he shines to-day! And from day to day we see each other studiously contemplating the Divine pattern and striving to copy it; and how we can note the softening, refining and beautifying effect upon all such! So the spirit of God is at work upon all who fully submit themselves to His will.
LOOKING AT GOD'S IMAGE
But while the mallet and chisel and the polishing sand of Divine providence do a very necessary part of the transforming work, by way of relieving us of many of the old and stubborn infirmities of the flesh, which cannot be so promptly and so fully eradicated by the gentler influence of the. Spirit, the Apostle points us to the specially appointed means for our transformation in the careful and constant contemplation of the glory of God as revealed in His Word, and also in His blessed Ambassador, Jesus Christ, saying, "We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory."
"With open face" would signify without any intervening vail of prejudice or fear or superstition, but with simplicity of heart and mind. So we behold the glory (the glorious character) of the Lord-not with actual vision, but as in a glass, as reflected in the mirror of His Word and as exemplified also in His living Word, Jesus Christ. And to aid us in this study we are promised the blessed influences of the Spirit of the Lord, who will guide us into all truth and show us things to come.
As we look into the mirror, what a glorious vision we have of the Divine justice, which we promptly recognize as the very foundation of God's throne (Psa. 97:2), as well as the foundation of all our present and future security. If we could not recognize the justice of God we could have no assurance that His gracious promises would ever be fulfilled; for we would say, Perhaps He will change His mind. But, on the contrary, we can say, He changeth not, and whatsoever He saith shall surely come to pass. See with what inflexible justice the sentence upon our sinful race has been executed! Generation after generation, for over sixty centuries, have witnessed it; and no power in Heaven or earth could revoke that sentence until the claims of justice had been fully met by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. justice, says the Word of God, must be maintained inviolate at any cost. And herein we read not only our rightful condemnation as a race of sinners, but also our final, complete and glorious deliverance, because "God is just to forgive us our sins" (1 John 1:9), since the precious blood of Christ redeemed us from the curse of death.
And while we thus read justice in the character of God, and mark with what scrupulous care He regards and respects this principle in all His dealings with His creatures, we see how He would have us respect the same principle in all our dealings. Thus we are led to consider what is the exact line of justice in this and that and the other transaction; and to remember also that this must be the underlying principle in all our conduct; or, in other words, that we must be just before we can be generous. This principle should, therefore, be very marked in the character of every Christian.
Next we mark the love and mercy of God. The death sentence upon our fallen race was a most merciful sentence. It was equivalent to saying: See, I have of my own free favor granted you life and all its blessings to be enjoyed forever on condition of its proper use; but now, since you have abused my favor, I take it away, and you shall return to the dust from whence you came. True, in the process of dying and of bringing forth a dying race to share the penalty, the mercy of God is not so manifest to the unthinking; but those who see the Plan of God, discover in all this, not the decree of a merciless tyrant, but a merciful wisdom but faintly disclosed in the promise that the seed of the woman shall- in due time crush evil effectually-bruise the serpent's head-and deliver the entire race, once generated in sin, by afterward regenerating all who will to life and all its blessed privileges. And in this mercy, in all its multiplied forms, we see the verification of the statement that "God is love." Thus we learn to be loving and merciful and kind both to the thankful and also to the unthankful.
We mark also our Heavenly Father's bountiful providence and His tender care for all His creatures; for even the sparrows are clothed and fed, and the unconscious lilies are arrayed in glory. Here we learn precious lessons of Divine benevolence and grace. And thus, through all the catalogue of the moral and intellectual graces which go to make up a glorious character, we see in the mirror of the Divine Word the model for our imitation; and in contemplation of all that is lovely, as embodied in Him, and of all that is pure and holy and beautiful, we are' changed little by little in the course of years to the same blessed likeness-from glory to glory. So be it: let the good work go on until every grace adorns the spotless robe of our imputed righteousness, received by faith in the blessed Son of God, whose earthly life was a perfect illustration of the Father's character, so that He could say, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." Let us, therefore, mark well the love of Christ, the gentleness, the patience, the faithfulness, the zeal, the personal integrity and the self -sacrificing spirit. Mark well, then imitate His example, and shine in His likeness.
T14 Apostle adds (2 Cor. 4:7) that the fact that we thus hold this treasure of a transformed mind in these defective earthen vessels proves the excellency of the power of God, and not of us. And so, by constant yielding to the influences of the Spirit of God, we may show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Pet. 2:9.) Oh, let our efforts and prayers continually be that these poor earthen vessels. may more and more show forth the praises of our God I Let them be clean in body and mind; let no evil communications proceed out of the mouth; and let no actions unworthy of the sons of God dishonor these living temples of the Holy Spirit. True, on account of our deformities we may very imperfectly perform good works; but, by the grace of God, let us at least refrain from known evil.
-FEBRUARY 2--EXODUS 16:1-36--
Golden Text.--"Give its this day our daily bread."--Matthew 6:11.
THE first of the series of lessons to be given to the Israelites as they passed into the wilderness may be designated a lesson of trust; and as we note Israel's experiences and the Lord's guidance of their affairs, doubtless we will all find lessons that will be helpful to us who, as spiritual Israelites, are being led by the antitypical Moses out of Egypt, the world, through a wilderness of instruction and trial and testing, toward the heavenly Canaan.
Three routes led from Egypt toward Canaan, and the Lord chose for His people the most roundabout way of the three: He had in view from the first, their need of training. Their long bondage had made them servile and weak, lacking in. self -reliance in the new way and fearful that their leader, in whom they trusted remarkably, might yet prove incompetent for their deliverance. What a resemblance to all this we find in the spiritual Israelites! when first leaving the world and its rudiments-although trusting in Christ, our fully accepted Leader, how apt we are to feel fearful of our ability, even under His guidance, to gain the promised glorious deliverance from sin and its slavery!
Three days' journey (estimated at about forty-seven miles) brought the Israelites from the Red Sea to the place called Marah, their next resting place. Here they met their first disappointment in the journey when the supply of water which they were carrying became exhausted and they had reached the waters of Marah (bitter) and found them brackish and unfit to drink; their disappointment was intense, and the people expressed the same in no uncertain terms. They murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? Moses appealed to Jehovah, who "shewed him a tree, which when he had ,cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet." This was the first lesson of trust, and the Lord impressed it upon them as -such. (Ex. 15:25.) One able writer has well said:
"The Bitter Waters that come into every life are sent for our discipline and training for a higher life; and to turn our hearts to our Heavenly Father, our only source ,of help; and thus to bring us into communion with Him. And He sweetens the waters when we have learned that lesson, in- order to impress on our hearts the loving kindness of our God, and draw us toward Him in faith and love."
The experience at Marah was followed by a joyful one when their journey brought them to Elim, to its many water-springs and its palm groves, where they rested. Similarly the spiritual Israelite is not long out of Egypt before he is permitted to have trying experiences; and seeking refreshment he perhaps finds bitter disappointments, corresponding to the waters of Marah. The first impulse of the beginner in this way will probably be in the nature of murmuring which, whether so intended or not, is a reflection upon the wisdom and guidance of our Leader. The lesson to be learned is perfect trust: to look to the Lord to turn our bitter disappointments into profitable lessons. As Moses purified the waters of Marah, so our still mightier Leader can make our bitter experiences sweet if we will but trust Him. Then to us also comes a season of rest and refreshment, an Elim condition. The Lord does not permit us to have bitterness and trials continually, lest we should become thoroughly discouraged. He leads us sometimes by still waters, restoring our soul, refreshing and resting us in His grace, and these experiences rightly received and producing in us thankfulness and. appreciation, tend to make us stronger for the further journey and lessons in the wilderness school of the present life.
But evidently the lessons at Marah and Elim were not sufficient for Israel; they had not yet learned to trust the Lord, nor, that murmuring was an improper course; and so we find them murmuring again that Moses had led them out into the wilderness, away from the flesh-pots and leeks and onions of Egypt, to perish of hunger in the wilderness. How much more appropriate it would have been had they said to themselves, The Lord through Moses is our Leader, and we will trust in Him. Let us pray unto the Lord our God that He will supply all our needs according to the abundance of His wisdom and grace and power. However, they were not sufficiently advanced to take such a reasonable position, and were, therefore, infantile of disposition, so merely gave a wail of despair and disappointment. But the Lord was gracious and patient, and although He upbraided and instructed them respecting improprieties of their course, He, nevertheless, answered their wail as He would have answered their more appropriate petition for "things needful."
QUAILS AND MANNA
It was necessary that the Israelites should learn the lesson of their complete dependence upon the Lord-the lesson of trust--hence the Lord did not prepare for them the bounties of manna and quails until they felt their need. Had these been given without their need being first felt, no doubt the Lord's bounty would have been considered as merely a part of His responsible duty; whereas, having learned of their need, they were the better prepared to appreciate the provision, and also to realize its miraculous source. So it is with the spiritual Israelites in respect to spiritual necessities, encouragements, food, sustenance: they are permitted to feel their needs, and to ask that they may receive spiritual nutriment freely.
That the lesson might be the more impressed, the Lord first explained to Moses what He was about to do, and that there was a lesson to the people in connection with it; subsequently Moses and Aaron laid the promise before the people-that the Lord would give them flesh to eat that very evening; and that beginning with the next morning God would provide them with bread from heaven. They properly took no credit for this to themselves, but, on the contrary, appealed to the people that they did wrong in murmuring against them as their leaders, and assuring them that they were really murmuring against the Lord their real Leader. Had Moses and his assistant, Aaron, and not the Lord, been their leaders, they would have taken great risks indeed in coming out, even from bondage, into the wilderness; because however well-intentioned Moses might have been, he was incompetent to supply the necessities for so vast a multitude. Evidently the people believed when they left Egypt that the Lord was leading and that Moses was merely His representative, and the fact that they now murmured against Moses and not against the Lord, implied a lack of faith and a lack of trust, a disposition to fear that Moses was leading them on his own responsibility. Moses, on the other hand, meekly ignores his own relationship to the work, and loyally points them to the Lord as being the One who had led them thus far, and who was thoroughly competent to supply all their needs and to perform toward them all of His good promises. Spiritual Israelites are similarly to keep in mind the fact that they are not following human leaders; that the real Director of the-course of spiritual Israel, the, real Leader, is the Lord; and that men, at the very most, are His honored representatives. In cases of disappointment of expectations we are to remember that God was and is our real Leader, and are not to doubt, not to murmur, but to learn the lesson of trust, of confidence, and to cry unto the Lord for further deliverance.
Human nature is vividly illustrated in the cry of the Israelites against Moses; their plaint was, "Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, when we did eat -bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." They forgot all about the bitter bondage of Egypt; the making of bricks without straw; the task masters; and how they had cried out to the Lord for deliverance; they remembered only some of the pleasant things-and we are not to expect, under all the circumstances narrated, that they had any superabundance in the matter of food. So now the discontented mind fails to see the leadings of God's providences-leaves Him out of its calculations-forgets the exceeding great and precious promises set before us in the Scriptures, for the time, thinks only of the things given up. How apt are all to remember the pleasures and gratifications of the sinful condition, and to forget its burdens and heartaches and disappointments!
All Israel, probably, was assembled, in its representatives, the chief men of all the tribes, and these matters were explained, and the lesson still further impressed, by the manifestation to them of the brightness of the Lord's glory in a cloud. The lesson of trust was being impressed; they were to know the Lord as their Leader and that all the provisions for their necessities were from Him, although they were announced to them by the Lord's servants. This lesson, too, is for us.
After these instructions had prepared them, the quails came and the manna. A strong wind from the sea brought quail in immense numbers, which, wearied with the journey, were unable to fly high and thus came within the reach of the Israelites, many of them falling from sheer exhaustion. This was no less a miracle than if natural means had not been used in connection with it; the lesson of trust which it taught was that God is abundantly able to control the natural means in fulfillment of his promises. Travelers in that region tell us that such occurrences are not uncommon; one of these says, "I have myself found the ground in Algeria, in the month of April, covered with quail for an extent of many acres, at daybreak, where the previous evening there had not been one."
The provision of the manna was a miracle of another kind: wholly aside from the natural order of things, so far as we may be able to discern. The manna fell early in the morning and could be gathered after the dew had disappeared; it was evidently deposited in or from the dew by some power of God working probably in harmony with the natural laws of chemistry, not yet thoroughly understood. The grains were small and white and required painstaking labor to gather; nor was it then' ready for use, but required to be either boiled or baked to prepare it as food. (Vs. 3.) Everything connected with the manna indicates not only that it was a most stupendous miracle, but a continuous one-lasting from this time for forty years; until Israel had entered the land of Canaan and ate of the old corn of the land. Again, it was miraculous that a double portion fell on the sixth day of the week and none on the seventh; and that it would spoil it kept over any night except the one following the sixth day.
By these two miracles Israel was taught the great lesson of confidence in God-that to Him and Him alone they were to look as their Leader. And so to spiritual Israel the Lord gives providential leadings, teaching them the same lesson of trust in Himself. Jo us this applies not only in respect to earthly food, in supply of our physical necessities, but also to the heavenly food and the supply of all our spiritual necessities. It teaches the same lesson that is expressed in our Lord's prayer, our Golden Text-, namely, "Give us this day our daily bread."
This kind of miracle, we believe, our Father is constantly working for His children. God has not made nature like a vast machine, and gone away and left it. He lives in all His works--the sun, rain, wind, the very birds of the air, and continually uses nature to bless those who honor Him.
"A strange pale gold, adorning
Many a tufted mountain side
Yearly feed us,
Year by year our murmurings chide."
The Lord's people are to recognize God's providences daily; to walk by faith, not by sight. We see but the one step before us, and that sometimes indistinctly in the light of the lamp of the Divine Word; its more distinct utterances are in respect to the ultimate end of the Lord's leadings; that He has accepted us as His people to be members of the Great Mediator in the inauguration of the New Covenant; that He is leading us through present experiences, trials and testings, in order that we may be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light; that He will continue to lead us if we will continue to follow, and will ultimately bring all of His faithful into the promised land, the Heavenly Canaan.
The Lord's supply of our earthly needs is perhaps best represented by the provision of the quails. He overrules natural affairs to provide us the things needful, sometimes more and sometimes less abundantly. And as the Israelites doubtless ate of the quails not only at the time of their gathering, but preserved some of them for future use, so we in respect to earthly things are to use the things of this world as not abusing them. We are to use them wisely, remembering that while they come to us in the ordinary course of life, they are, nevertheless, God's provision and to be used with frugality and judgment, to His praise. If the supply is abundant, we are to be thankful, and if it is deficient we are to trust. We are to learn the lesson of trust; and that after having done what we are able to do in the way of providing for our necessities, we can safely leave all else to Him with whom we have to do-our Father in Heaven.
The lesson from the manna seems more particularly to illustrate our spiritual supplies, which come wholly from above. The manna is called in the Scriptures "The corn of heaven," "the bread of the mighty"--"angels' food. (Psa. 78 78:24, 25 Cor. 10:3.) Our Lord interprets the manna as a symbol of Himself-the Truth--of which a man may eat and never die. Nevertheless, this bread, although given freely, demands labor on the part of those who would appropriate it and obtain from it spiritual sustenance; it must be gathered, and it must be prepared as food. We cannot expect to come to Christ and to receive in an instant and without effort on our own part all the gracious mercy, blessing and truth that is in Him, The Truth is God's gift, to be sure; but it is so given as to require the putting forth of energy on our part, which will demonstrate our need, our hunger, our appreciation of this "bread of life." Neither can we receive enough in one day or one month or one year to sustain us perpetually; we need to come to the Lord daily, and to receive from Him through His Word and spirit the life-giving forces by which we may be sustained day by day in the trials of life, and by which we may grow strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Lord, evermore give us this bread,. day by day, until, entering into the anti-typical Canaan, the heavenly Kingdom, we shall have no further need of this daily supply, but be changed, perfected. as new creatures in Christ Jesus in the First Resurrection!
-FEBRUARY 9--EXODUS 18: 1-27--
Golden Text.--"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."--Gal. 6:12.
HE LAST LESSON left the Israelites in the Wilderness of Sin, one month after they had left Egypt. (Ex. 16.) Here they had received the bread from heaven,"--the manna and the quails. They next proceeded toward Mt. Sinai. We enter, in this lesson, upon the preparation of the people to become a nation. In Egypt there must have been some kind of civil organization, but the Israelites were chiefly under Egyptian law and rule. Such social organization as they had possessed had served mainly to keep the divisions of families and tribes, with such rights as naturally descended upon them from the patriarchal age; and to some extent, the worship of the true God. Now they must become an organized nation, with civil laws, and moral principles; with a government and rulers.
The due time was now nearly at hand for Jehovah to institute in the Jewish nation a Theocracy--a government that recognizes the immediate Sovereignty of God. This government was to include a system of proceedings, laws and regulations by which this nation would receive valuable discipline and education, the benefits and blessings of which would ultimately be realized by all mankind. Additionally, as expressed in the New Testament (Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:14-17), through God's dealings with Israel, including their system of sacrifice and offerings, the Gospel Church was to be furnished certain valuable information relating to the Plan of Salvation in which both the Church and the world of mankind were concerned.
The Israelites continued their journey toward Sinai and encamped at Rephidim in the vicinity of the Sinai group of mountains. Here was no water. Moses at God's command smote a rock there, and an abundance of water flowed from it. Following this, the faith of the Israelites was again to be severely tested, by a conflict with the Amalekites, who were at that time the most powerful race in the Peninsula, which from the earliest ages was peopled by fierce and warlike tribes with whom the Pharaohs were engaged in constant struggles. The approach of the Israelites would attract their notice. Several things would lead the Amalekites to attack the Israelites.
(1) They would be attracted by the booty, and the defenseless condition of Israel with their flocks and herds, and women and children, defended by untrained men, while Amalek could muster a concentrated band of armed and trained men.
(2) There was no more common cause of warfare than a dispute for the right of pasturage, and the Israelites were encamped on one of their natural feeding grounds.
(3) It may be conjectured that reports of the marvelous supply of water may have reached the natives and accelerated their movements.
The story of this battle and the Israelites' defense, is especially interesting and instructive. Moses appointed Joshua the son of Nun, one of the younger leaders, as General of Israel's forces. One -commentator says that Moses was too old and feeble to lead the army in person. But that does not describe his condition. He led the Israelites through the wilderness for forty years after this, and when he died "his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." (Deut. 34:7.) Moses had something more important to do at this time. Moses with Aaron and Hur went up to the top of a nearby hill, where he could watch the battle below and all its movements; and there he stood holding up before the warriors the wonder-working rod with which he had, defeated the Pharaoh of Egypt., and led Israel across the Red Sea. This act was a prayer to God, and an appeal that He should add another deliverance to those of the past.
The sight of Moses and that wonder-working rod called to the mind of the warriors all that God through Moses had done for them, and breathed new courage and hope into their souls. Hence when Moses held up his hand the battle favored Israel, and when he let it down to rest Amalek prevailed, showing that the rod was the sign of Jehovah's presence and power.
Thus Israel vanquished the foe, and thus it was demonstrated that it was the Lord who fought with Israel and conquered their enemies. No doubt Israel learned a lesson of faith in the Lord, and through Moses' example learned to trust, not in Moses, but in the Lord as their Leader. And the humble conduct of Aaron and Hur in this incident became the groundwork of a great lesson of helpfulness in the Lord's service-showing how assistance in the service is recognized of the Lord and such cooperation acceptable. So with spiritual Israelites. They should endeavor to note the leadings of Divine providence over His people and ever stand ready and willing to render needed assistance and encouragement to those whom the Lord seems to have placed in positions of responsibility, and thus seek to uphold the efforts-to hold up the hands of such in the midst of life's conflicts. In all the trials and conflicts with our Adversary and his deluded followers, we are to learn distinctly the lesson that all our trust is to be in the Lord, our Leader, the antitype of Moses, Captain of our Salvation; who does not, in any earthly sense, actually lead us in the conflict, but is in the Mountain, in the Kingdom: His merit prevails for our blessing and succor, and all of His faithful servants in turn recognize themselves as merely co-operating with him.
As bearing upon this incident of the triumph of Israel over the Amalekites we quote the suggestions offered in Vol. VI, p. 174, which seems most reasonable:
"As a race we were all convicted of sin and all sentenced to death (Rom. 5:12) ; and the Lord has been pleased to show forth His power and wisdom in connection with some of these convicts in one manner, and in others in another manner, as He elected. We have noted this already in connection with the Amalekites and Hittites and Canaanites, whom Israel was commanded to destroy Israel typifying the Lord's faithful of the future, and their enemies typifying the willful sinners and enemies of righteousness of the future age. We have noticed the same principle illustrated in the destruction of Sodom and of Jericho, and in the sweeping off by pestilences thousands of Israelites, and in the smiting down of Uzzah, who merely stretched forth his hand to steady the ark, in violation of its sanctity and of the Lord's command."
Another incident worthy of notice occurred about this time: Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came to meet him here, bringing Moses' family. (Ex. 18.) At some time during Moses' contest with Pharaoh, when he compelled that monarch to let the Israelites go, it had been necessary to send his wife and her two boys into the region of the Midianites to her father Jethro for safe keeping. In all the stirring scenes and dangers he was sure that: his family was well cared for. Now that Moses and all Israel had reached the new encampment. he was glad to have his family once more with him, and they were glad to be once more united.
Jethro manifested great interest in this vast body of people as they journeyed toward Canaan, and the account of God's dealings with the Israelites thus far in delivering them from the hand of Pharaoh and bringing them to this point safely on their journey, made a deep impression upon his mind; so much so that he was constrained to unite with Moses in worship of the true God. Moreover, the Lord used this man for giving Moses some valuable suggestions respecting the government of the Israelites; and Moses was humble enough to receive such instruction as of the Lord, notwithstanding the fact that it came from an Ethiopian, one who was not of the seed of Abraham, and who did not join himself to them.
Herein again Moses showed his true greatness, that he was possessed of that humility and meekness that was willing to listen to the voice of wisdom no matter from what source it came or how humble the instrument. Thus God sometimes even now uses outsiders to give suggestions and lessons 'to His covenant people; and wise is the man or woman humble enough to receive instruction from any quarter-when found to be in harmony with the Divine will. Such, like Moses, will be manifesting their true nobility and greatness.
The advice given to Moses, that he should no longer attempt to be the law-giver for the people in all the minutiae of their affairs, but a sort of supreme judge, and Mediator between God and the people, was a wise suggestion, evidently from the Lord, by whomsoever given. So also was the next suggestion, that the people be organized according to their tribes and families, and that each tribe should thus have, in itself, its own proper servants and officers and judges for minor details. Of this arrangement some one has said, "This [arrangement] became the basis (Kalisch) of Alfred the Great's Saxon constitution, and thus the basis of the constitution of modern England and America"--a government of the people, by the people, through their own representatives.
This arrangement and organization of Israel under God's providence reminds us indeed of the axiom, "Order is heaven's first law." This order and system we see manifest throughout the entire Plan of the Ages. It is of special importance to the Lord's people in this age that they recognize the Divine order and organization of the Church, in advance of its perfection in glory. This arrangement and organization was effected by our Lord and the Apostles in the beginning of the age. "Now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him." (1 Cor. 12:18.) "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying. of the body of Christ." (Eph. 4:11, 12.) Inasmuch as the Church is now on trial for future life and glory and, inasmuch as some who are members of the Church here do not make their calling and election sure, the present organization is but temporary. By and by in the Kingdom--in the near future we trust-there will be a reorganization of the Church which will be permanent, because all the faithful will there enter into the "Tabernacle not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
The Golden Text of our lesson seems indeed appropriate in connection with this arrangement suggested by Jethro whereby Moses was to be relieved of many burdens incident to the government and judging of the affairs of Israel. As explained by the great Teacher, the essence of the Divine law is love toward God and man. To the new creature, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the admonition to "bear one another's burdens" comes home with added significance, for all Such realize that the very meaning of their profession as servants of God, as Under Priests of the Royal Priesthood, is to sacrifice, to bear, to serve, doing good to all men as we have opportunity, "especially unto them who are of the household of faith." -Gal. 6:10.
KEEP YOURSELVES FROM IDOLS
Enclosed please find postal money order for $2.00, amount of subscription for one year each for the above noted persons. Kindly start the subscriptions with the first issue if possible.
I wish to say I believe you are on the right track, following in the footsteps of the Lord and not of some one else, and that you will be blessed in your efforts just so long and to the extent that the HERALD is used for the Truth only. Spiritual Israel is just as prone to fall into idolatry as Israel after the flesh was, and like Israel after the flesh, when they do fall for idols they are punished by the Lord God, who is a jealous God and will have no idols before (preferred to) Him. I am glad to assist in your work and will, just as long as I can do it with a clear conscience.
Your brother in Him,
FRANK H. DRISCOLL, Calif.
DESIRES OUR PASTOR'S MESSAGE
My December 1st HERALD arrived just as I was leaving home to attend the meeting of Brother Streeter, so although I have not as yet read it through, I had the great pleasure of meeting Brothers Streeter and Margeson on the car, and from the dear ones learned more about the work. So find enclosed my subscription for one year, and may the Lord's blessing be with you.
Surely the dear Father sent Brother Streeter to us as our prayers have been to this end, and our little meeting in Kansas City was a great blessing to each one.
We hope, through the pages of the HERALD, to have access to some of the older articles, as many of us are quite new in the Truth, and our Towers are few in number. May the Lord's blessing be with you in this 'grand work.
MABEL ABBOTT, Mo.
DESIRES HIGH STANDARD MAINTAINED
Please find enclosed $1.00 and send me the HERALD. Am much pleased to note the brethren have been enabled, evidently by much sacrifice, to publish a journal devoted to Truth, and for the upbuilding of the Lord's people in the Truth and. in its spirit.
I am deeply impressed by a careful reading of the HERALD, especially of the first article, that your Editorial Committee will be very careful of what appears in its columns; and that all articles published will ring true to the spirit of the Truth, and be worthy of all acceptation; because I know that we will be very much more careful of the thing for which we have labored and sacrificed to create than of the things created by others, and prepared for us without effort on our part.
I hope that the publication of the HERALD may continue, and that the high standard referred to in article one, first issue, may be fully realized and maintained.
Your brother in the One Hope,
CLARENCE FOSTER, Ohio.
LOVE AND DEVOTION TO OUR GLAD MESSAGE
I am in receipt of copies of your new journal, THE HERALD OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM, and take pleasure in sending my subscription to begin with the December 1st issue. I will look forward to receiving the January 1st number, as. you& work seems to have back of it that same love and devotion to our Glad Message that characterized our Pastor. Kindly send 'an extra copy of the December 1st and 15th numbers.
By carrying forward the same work according to the wise methods of our Pastor, you will render the Church a grand service at this time. Your work will, if carried forward according to your plan as stated in the first article of the December 1st issue, not cause division, but rather getting all back to the same place and to the same work that was being done when Pastor Russell went Home. I do not believe you will indulge in personalities of an unkind nature or publish speculative teachings and ideas.
Yours in the Master's service,
H. E. HYRE, Wis.
DISCERNING THE HOLY SPIRIT
Greetings in our Savior's name!
I received the HERALD, and I surely did enjoy it; it was so full of the Holy Spirit. We realize the time is short, and need all the help we can get, and it will accomplish its work. I was glad, when I read on page 5 these words: "The pages of this journal shall not be used to engage in any controversy with. those who may oppose us,"- etc. Oh, how my heart did rejoice! Our beloved Pastor Russell was very careful on that very point that the Watch Tower was never used as a material sword (for private use).
May God's blessing pour out upon the people through the HERALD OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM. My love and prayers are with you brethren.
Your sister in His service,
MRS. I. W. DAVIS, WYO.
PUT AWAY MALICE, ENVY AND JEALOUSY
Enclosed please find One Dollar for one year's subscription for the HERALD. The sample copy seemed to me to have more of the spirit of the old Towers, while our dear Pastor was with us this side of the veil. I do hope and pray that the Christ-like spirit may continue to prevail within the Editorial Committee, and through them in the HERALD--viz., no malice, envy or jealousy toward any, but love toward all, so that we may be more like our Master, and so more pleasing to our Heavenly Father, who through our Lord has promised to be with us always, even unto the end of the age; that He would show us the Truth and the Truth would make us free.
May our Heavenly Father bless your efforts in feeding His sheep with the Truth, enlightening all darkness through his Word, for His Word is Truth. With Christian love to all who name and claim the Name of Christ, I am,
Your sister in the One Hope,
MRS. EMMA T. CYPHER, Utah.
SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE
Received your semi-monthly publication, THE HERALD OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM, which you so kindly sent me, and I must say I have enjoyed the reading of it and the old-time truths. 'we all so dearly love.
I rejoice to note that the HERALD has gone on record that it will not be used for the purpose of indulging in controversies or partisanism, but will be used for the purpose of proclaiming the Truth in Love and the building up of the saints in the most holy faith and in love, that which I am sure the past two years' experience has shown that some of us are sorely in need of.
Believing that the HERALD will help me for one in the attainment of the character likeness of Christ, I am enclosing Post Office Order to cover one year's subscription. I would appreciate very much, dear brethren, if you see that my subscription would start with the December 15th issue, so that I may have them all.
Wishing the Lord's blessing upon you all and upon your efforts to help the Lord's people, with much love.
Your brother in Him,
CHAS. R. LINFOOT, Mich.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF KINDRED MINDS
Greetings! I am back home again; but the sweetness of the fellowship found at the St. Louis Convention will ever remain imperishable in our memory, I hope.
The St. Louis Convention was from the day I arranged my affairs to attend, looked upon by me as somewhat different from other Conventions. I was anticipating a like blessing of rich spiritual food and spiritual fellowship as has been found at past Conventions, but the question was in my mind: Could we in various parts of this broad land be following the Master's counsels so closely that without any general communication by printed page or traveling Pilgrim to keep us in touch with each other, still arrive at general conclusions? The St. Louis Convention assembly, I am sure, would everyone answer in the affirmative. I know my own heart leaped with joy when I found the Lord's sweet spirit so fully in evidence there.
I went there prepared to make certain allowances for any who had undergone real severe persecutions, and I was joyfully surprised to learn that they who have suffered the most are the sweeter in spirit and seem to need less allowance than we who have suffered but little. I praise our God for this, because it proves to me that when we are really burdened beyond our own strength we may walk even more perfectly in the strength of the Lord.
I trust that the Lord's children everywhere will quickly write to co-operate with the Lord in whatever service we may yet find in our hands to do. I am sure that we shall have the Lord's favor and be acceptable in His service if we but humble ourselves under His hand and follow His good counsel, having no will of our own in any matter. Shall we not make this the burden of our special prayer for each other? I shall; and I ask an interest in your prayers to the same end. With much ,love and sending Christian greetings to all, I am,
Your brother in Christ,
Roy G. CASE, Colo.
THE MEDIUM OF BLESSINGS
Greetings in the name of our dear Redeemer!
I received the copy of the HERALD YOU sent me, and thank you heartily. In looking through its pages I see clearly the spirit of the Lord manifested, and note that you say that it is "set for the defense of the Truth." I pray the dear Father that He may continue to guide you into all truth and that the HERALD may be the medium of blessings to many of God's children.
Enclosed you will find One Dollar for one year's subscription to the HERALD.
Your sister by His Grace,
MRS. M. D. GODWIN, Texas.