VOL. III. August 1, 1920 No. 15
VOL. III. August 15, 1920 No. 16
VOL. III. August 1, 1920 No. 15
THE attention of the public is being drawn more and more to the unhappy results that have followed the World War. Men of experience, mature judgment and keen perception are noting and remarking on the demoralizing effects that are seen in the wake of the great world conflict.
Sharp indeed is the disappointment that many are feeling because the beautiful pictures that were drawn some time ago, of peace, prosperity and general uplift to follow the war, are very far from being realized by the people.
In THE LITERARY DIGEST Of July 10th there is published a very interesting, and we believe conservative, review of the present situation as seen by 'President HIBBEN, Of Princeton, and others of note under the caption:
"JEREMIADS FROM THE COLLEGES
"The moral let-down following a war supposedly fought to lift the world to higher levels engages the concern not only of preachers and poets, but now of college presidents giving parting counsel to their graduates going out into life. In the unfulfilled dream which the war-years have bequeathed us Dr.. Hibben, of Princeton, points to a 'decadence far-reaching and disastrous'; and we are 'weakly allowing ourselves to be ruled by the Goddess of Folly, slaves in her domain to the fashion of the hour.' Reference is here made to such unacademic matters as 'the modern dress, the modern dance, the modern music, and modern manners.' Young womanhood also shares in this catalog of snares, for about her is 'no longer the aura of mystery . . . at once her defense and her glory.' The address as reported at considerable length in the daily press contained such words as these:
"'To-day I have. particularly in mind the danger of a loss to you of something of incalculable value. It is not the danger of missing something which you have never experienced, but of losing that which you have already possesed. That possession you shared in common with us all during the, years of 1917 and 1918. There came to you then a peculiar elevation of spirit, when the world suddenly awakened to a realization that there was a cause to defend challenging one's loyalty and commanding one's devotion, and that there was something to believe in, something to fight for, and something even to die for. There was no one of us who failed to experience this moral and spiritual exhilaration. In those days we lived on the high places of the earth, and saw the vision and dreamed the dream of a new order of things in the world. The words "Duty,.Sacrifice, Service," were often on our lips and constantly in, our thoughts. More than that, they were actually illustrated in the lives of most of the men now before me. The cause itself has been vindicated by arms, but its ideals hive not been realize as yet in the days of peace. Too soon we are tempted to forget past allegiance and loyalty.
"'We had hoped that the results of the war would be wholly beneficent, and that in the new world, so dearly bought, it would be easier for one to do that which was right, and that every circumstance and condition of life would be conducive to a nobler mode of living, to a glorified view of duty and of opportunity, and to a wider scope for a manifestation of that which is highest in man.
Instead of the fulfillment of this dream, we have come to feel the deadening effect of a violent reaction. We have allowed ourselves to sink to lower levels of aspiration and endeavor. About us is a world of confusion and turmoil, and under the spell of a general moral laxity we are groping in the dark for the ray of light which we have not yet discovered. In the industrial world there are underproduction, restless discontent, and unscrupulous profiteering. The high cost of living is not, combated by thrift, but rather by reckless extravagance..
"'Self-interest and, self-indulgence have suddenly asserted themselves. The very world itself -has grown smaller in our minds since the fall of. 1918; We have become cowardly in the face of evident responsibility, and there are many who are quite ready to limit our national obligations to the shores of the Atlantic and the Pacific and selfishly to say to all the peoples of the world, "Henceforth, we are determined to live unto ourselves."
" 'There is the danger of a lessening if not a loss of the old-time reverence for womanhood. There is no longer An aura of mystery about the young woman to-day, a mystery at once her defense and her glory, and whenever in the history of the race this divine prerogative of womanhood is lightly regarded or recklessly scorned, it has always proved a symptom of -decadence far-reaching and disastrous. Every age of moral and spiritual progress in the history of any people has always been an age of chivalry, in which womanhood has not only been respected., but revered.'
"President Richmond, of Union College, and Chancellor Day, of Syracuse, struck much the same notes in their annual addresses. Says the former:
"'There is evidence enough to. show that for the moment; at least, we have reacted to a lower level. The magnificent spirit called out by the demands for sacrifice and heroism has flattened out into a passion for self-indulgence and a mean competition of greed. It is a passing phase. We have too much faith in human nature to believe that we shall not recover. But we must not blind ourselves to the fact that the world over the mass of men and women-are in the mood to barter their spiritual inheritance for a mess of pottage.
" 'If we think for a moment, that the confusion into which this world has been thrown is to be straightened out by the devices of economists or by the manipulation of political experts, we are making a hideous mistake., It will be done, if it is done at all, as it was done. in the beginning when. the Spirit. of God brooded over the face I of the, deep and brought an ordered world out of chaos.',"
STRAIGHT PATHS FOR YOUR FEET
"'Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.'" -- Hebrews 12:13.
"Oh, for a trumpet voice with which to call upon the Lord's people everywhere to be on the alert to resist our great foe-Satan! And in the word 'Satan,' we include all the arts of our great Adversary, whereby he lies in, wait to deceive and to entrap the Soldiers of the Cross. He is indeed the Adversary of the whole world, in that he is the Adversary of God and of all the wise and gracious provisions and laws which God has made for human protection against the, downward and destructive tendencies of sin.
"From information reaching us in various ways, we incline to the belief that a great wave of immorality and sensuality is passing over the civilized world. No doubt the war and the various new conditions which it has opened up have much to do with this evil condition. It could hardly be otherwise. But additionally, it would appear that our great Adversary has for thousands of years found sensuality, immorality, to be one of his best avenues through which to attack mankind, and especially those of humanity who have acknowledged the Lord and the righteous regulations which He establishes for all those who will be His people.
"Bible students familiar with the history of typical Israel will recall that it is along this line that Balaam and Balak plotted against Israel with so great success, bringing upon the Israelites Divine judgments. St. Paul tells us that it was in this manner that our race, originally created in the image of God, fell so far into degradation. 'Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their. foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. . . . God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their bodies between themselves. . . . As they did not like, to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which were not proper; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful; proud, boasters, inventors of evil things,' etc.-Romans 1:21-32.
"If any one wonders how our race came into its present depraved condition, he has in the above words of the Apostle a full explanation. And now, after the propagation of the Gospel for more than eighteen centuriesafter the Bible, has been printed in every language, and when education is so general that practically everybody can read the Bible, and when knowledge on every subject is so greatly increased, is it not astounding to see that our Adversary's early tactics are again prevailing? Again the learned are professing to be wise, and are foolishly rejecting the wisdom from above;. and again immorality is rampant: anger, malice, hatred, strife, backbiting, whispering, wars, and murders are prevailing. The Lord seems to be letting mankind learn the lesson that CIVILIZATION does not spell SALVATION, as some had expected.
"The Bible represents mankind as birds, and the great Adversary as the hunter seeking to entrap and to kill them; but the saints are pictured as speckled birds, especially attractive to the hunter. Against these he uses his arts and snares with keen interest in their downfall."
Additionally PASTOR RUSSELL and other students pointed out from the more sure word of prophecy that the World War was merely one phase or step in the providence of God in the working out of His Plan toward the dissolution of the present order of things preparatory to the coming of His Kingdom. Therefore, although moral depression, confusion and unrest have followed the war, they are but the natural consequences already contemplated in the Divine Purpose -- consequences leading on to greater trouble and more severe chastisement of mankind before they will be ready for the new Age of peace, blessing and uplift, of which the world's poets have dreamt and sung from time. immemorial.
Only those who have earnestly and humbly sought instruction from, Divine revelation may see clearly the stately steppings of our God through the Ages and may now read in the events among man to-day, signs of the presence of earth's new King--therefore the decay of the old order to be followed by the rise of the new in the hands of the great Messiah, as sayeth the Prophet. (Zeph. 3:8, 9.) Indeed the poet has likewise summed up the present outlook:
see His coming judgments, as they circle all the earth,
JEWS PLAN MILITIA IN PALESTINE
The NEW YORK HERALD of July 4, 1920, published an interesting item relating to the progress of Zionism and developments in Palestine, which in turn has a bearing upon the fulfillment of the prophetic word ,regarding the restoration of Israel. The item reads:
"ZIONIST LEADER URGES
PROJECT TO ORGANIZE FORMER
"Establishment of a Jewish militia in Palestine, a movement sponsored by many former members of the Jewish Legion which fought in the historic Allenby campaign in the Holy Land, is one of the many proposals brought forward for the development of the Jewish national homeland since the peace conference authorized its establishment under Great Britain's mandate.
"Dr. Chaim Weizmann, head of the Zionist Commission and one of the world Zionist leaders, declared in a recent statement on what must be done by the Jews in Palestine, now that the allied Powers have given them the right to develop it, that a Jewish Legion is vital to the upbuilding of the land.
"The Jewish Legion, composed of American, English, eastern European and Palestine Jewish youths, was one of the most romantic military organizations of the war. It made a brilliant record both in the Allenby campaign and at Gallipoli. The Jewish militia, 'proposed for the policing of Palestine while it is going through its process of reclamation, would be an outgrowth of the Jewish Legion of the war, many of whose veterans have already volun teered to re-enlist if the legion is reorganized.
"Vladimir Jabotinsky, organizer of the Jewish Legion and one of the most brilliant and ardent of the young Jews now in Palestine, is also back of the movement and stated that he does not see how Palestine could be rebuilt without the aid of the Jewish Legion.
"The 'Watchman of the New Zion,' or Ha-Shomerim, as they are known in Palestine, young. Palestinian Jews who formed a voluntary organization to guard the Jewish colonies several years ago against marauding Bedouin.
bands, are anxious to enroll in the peace time legion, reports from Palestine state. These mounted guards -- similar to the Canadian mounted scouts-by their daring feats of bravery in protecting Jewish settlements against attacks by robber Bedouins, have become one of the romantic traditions of the Holy Land, both among the Arabs and. the Jews,
"The peace time Jewish Legion would be used to protect the many activities to be taken up in the rebuilding of Palestine by the Zionists from the Bedouins.
"Two thousand young Jewish mountaineers from the Caucasus, where the Zionist movement got a late but rapid start, have volunteered to go to Palestine at once in order to enlist in the Jewish Legion, while a report from Vienna states that 2,000 former Austrian Jewish officers have also offered to settle in Palestine to aid in any defence organization the administration may establish.
"All but 500 soldiers of the Jewish Legion have been demobilized. These 500 men, practically all native Palestinians, compose what is left of the legion. Although the administration of the country after Turkey signs the peace treaty will be entirely under control of Great Britain as the mandatory power, proposals of the Zionist leaders will have great weight with the English Government, and if they approve plans for the organization of the legion, as is expected, immediate steps will be taken to recruit the new legion from volunteers among Jewish youths all over the world, using as a nucleus the, balance of the old legion remaining in Palestine."
[Reprint from our Pastor, Sept. 15, 1916. The words in brackets are ours.-ED. COM.]
JUSTIFICATION really means only one thing, viz.: a making right, making just. justification may be either partial or complete. In Abraham's case. it was partial. He was justified to fellowship with God because of his faith and obedience, but was not justified to life, because such a complete justification could not be accomplished, except by the redemptive work of Jesus, which had not been and could not be accomplished in Abraham's day.
The [vitalized] justification of the Gospel Church is an instantaneous work. "It is God that justifieth." But the basis of this justification is the sacrifice accomplished by Jesus, finished at Calvary. Before the Savior will impute to us the merit of -His sacrifice, we must know of Him and trust Him and accept His terms of discipleship and consecrate ourselves fully as His disciples, even unto death. The moment He imputes the merit of His sacrifice to us, covering our blemishes, we are acceptable to the Father, received into His family by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, and thus, thereafter, members of the Church. of the Firstborns, whose names are written in Heaven.
The world's justification will not be an instantaneous one, but will progress during the thousand years-the Millennium. The 'World might then be said to be tentatively justified through the Mediator and His Kingdom, but their justification 'will be accomplished only in their absolute perfection at the close of the Millennium, when they will be presented to the Father and accepted by Him. "It is God that justifieth," and He receives to everlasting life and to His family on any plane of existence only those who are perfect.
CLEANSING OF FLESH NOT [VITALIZED] JUSTIFICATION
A person desiring to turn to God during -this Gospel Age finds Him gradually. First, he finds that God has made a provision whereby He can be just and yet be the Justifier of sinners. Next he finds that the death of Jesus is the way which God has provided. Next he finds his own weaknesses and sins -- the defilements, and properly seeks to put these away. He may and should considerably ,cleanse himself from the filthiness of the flesh, but this does not justify him, does not make him perfect, because by heredity he is a sinner, imperfect, and can be cleansed -only by the Divine application of the merit of the Sin Offering. After washing at the Laver -- putting away the filthiness of the flesh-the believer approaches close up to the door of the Tabernacle and "ties" himself there obligates himself by consecration vows, devoting himself fully to the Lord and His service, whatever that may be.
All the foregoing steps of the person desiring fellowship with God are proper steps, as outlined in the Word. We describe the person who has taken this course as being TENTATIVELY justified; that is to say, he is in the right course, doing what he is able to do to attain [vital or legal] justification. While in this course, he would have blessings of mind and heart and the approval of his conscience, and would be favored of the Lord in the sense that Divine providence would open up before. him a knowledge -of the proper course to take for his justification -- pointing out to him the necessity for the steps enumerated, including the devotion or tying of him-self at the door of the Tabernacle. The sinner approaching God can do no more. It is -now God's time to act. God's mercy toward the sinner is wholly through Jesus, who has been appointed the "great High Priest." It is the part of Jesus to accept the devoted one (the goat) and to sacrifice him. And those whom Jesus, as God's High Priest, accepts are accepted of the Father, and such are begotten of the Father to the Divine nature, etc. That moment when Jesus, and when Divine justice, through Jesus, accepts the sinner is the moment of [vital or legal] justification.
From the moment the sinner turned his back upon sin and began to seek the Lord and to walk as best he would be able in, the ways of righteousness-putting away the filthiness of the flesh-from that moment this person has a new mind or will, different from the mind or will which he had when he loved and served sin. This new mind is a new mind -of the flesh, because he has as not yet been be gotten of the Holy Spirit. At the moment that the High Priest accepts him, imputes His merit, and the Father begets him of the Holy Spirit-at that moment this one with the new mind is justified and begotten of the Spirit: he is then a New Creature. The New Creature is not to be justified, because the New Creature has done no sin and would have no sin to, be justified from. It was the new minded old creature that was justified, and at the moment of justification it dies sacrificially. The New Creature might be spoken of as justified in the same sense that Jesus was spoken of--"justified in spirit. . . . received up into glory." (1 Tim. 3:16.) In this use of the word justified, the thought is "proved right"--"proved perfect"; not made right.'
PEACE PROPORTIONATE TO PROGRESS
To this class, fully consecrated, justified, accepted of the Father by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle's words apply: "Therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1.) But this Scripture. would not apply to any who have not come, to the point of consecration and acceptance and who are merely approaching through the Court. These do, however, have a measure of peace, in proportion as they progress. A certain measure of peace and joy comes from finding that there is a way back to God through the endeavor to put away sin and to, draw near to Him; but the peace of the Church, mentioned by the Apostle in this text, can apply only to those who have come into the condition of Sons of God. God is not at peace with any others.
It would not be possible for any one during this Gospel Age to have exactly the same experience given to Abraham, because of the difference of conditions. Abraham fully believed God, and so far as he understood, apparently was fully consecrated to do God's will, even unto death. In other words, if Abraham had been living during this Gospel Age, he would have been one of the fully consecrated, fully justified, spirit-begotten ones; but living before the Gospel 'Age, before Christ had died for our sins, his consecration could not bring him into the fulness of justification and its privileges.
Some confuse themselves by thinking of justification as of two parts-legal and actual. We know of nothing in the Bible to make any such division of justification. It is legal and it is actual at the same instant. It could not be actual and illegal; it could not be illegal and yet actual.
Our justification, represented by the "Wedding Garment," put on when we are accepted of the Lord, covers not the New Creature, but merely the flesh, which is legally reckoned dead, sacrificially. In other words, [vital or legal] justification does not signify a process of being made right, but a right condition already attained. The putting on of the "Wedding Garment," signifies our entrance into the family of God as-members of the Church; the putting of it off would mean our rejection of the grace of God, and would imply Second Death.
Justification to the world, as already explained, will be attained differently. It might be said that the world's justification, under the Great Mediator, will be a gradual one--a gradual making right as each individual will come into harmony more and more with the Divine requirements and receive more and more of restitution perfection. Nevertheless, it- must be remembered that "It is God that justifies," and that the world will not be in God's hands until the conclusion of the Millennial Age. Then all approved of the Father and accepted of Him to eternal life will be justified in the full 'sense. That will be an instantaneous act.
The gathering of the brethren of like precious faith at Detroit, Mich., July 3-5, was one that was enjoyed by all present and one that seemed to have the rich benediction of the Lord. It was very manifest that the purpose animating the' brethren in coming together was to seek spiritual blessing, the presence of the Lord and the communion of saints, and to stir up one another's pure mind byway of remembrance. We feel sure that none were disappointed in this regard. Probably not more than 125 to 150 were present at any one meeting. However, the gathering Was quite a representative one, several of the Middle, Eastern and Western States were represented, some coming from as far as 800 or 1000 miles.
Once more we were impressed with the similarity of the experiences of the Lord's people, as the sentiment was expressed, and as the friends told in their testimonies of how the Lord was dealing with them and of how they were enabled by faith and by exercising the spirit of discernment to recognize the Hand of Providence in their affairs, and to appreciate more and more how the daily trials, reverses, disappointments and perplexities were impressing their lessons of character building-faith, patience, humility and love.
It was also heart cheering to note on the part of the speakers, as well as those who heard, the general spirit of loyalty to the Truth, to the Word of God, and the earnest desire to hold fast to the Truth without wavering, knowing that He is faithful that promised.
At one special conference at which the friends exchanged thought regarding profitable methods of helping one another in Bible study, to our gratification the general opinion was expressed that the life-work of our Pastor= the Six Volumes Of SCRIPTURE STUDIES, together with his luminous expositions published in - his semi-monthly journal up to the time of his death-constitute a most satisfactory ground-work and basis from which. to gain assistance in the study of the Divine Word, both individually and collectively as Classes. Thus the frequent reference to the Lord's message of Truth as taught by our beloved Pastor gave assurance that there axe still those who know and hear the Voice of the, Good Shepherd and know from whence. He is calling and are not carried away by any of the vagaries, illusions or foolish speculations that are so rampant in these latter times.
The great desire that all seemed to have was that they might ultimately attain the heavenly inheritance--joint-heirship with Christ in His Kingdom-recognizing this is the happy goal to which by God's grace we have been invited; and all seemed to, realize the solemnity of the present hour of trial and difficulty as representing the closing hours of the Age wherein there is still opportunity to bring forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit and develop the Christ-like character and that holiness of life without which no man shall see the Lord..
We believe the friends realized new vigor and determination to go on in the Narrow Way as a result of the fellowship at Detroit.
my rest shall be,
Savior and my Lord,
THE VISION OF THE SEVENTH PLAGUE
"And the Seventh poured out his Bowl 'on the Air; and there came forth a loud Voice from the Temple of God [Sinaitic 'MS.] saying, 'It is done.'"--Rev. 16:17.
THE seventh Plague is to affect the "Air," which is of course employed as a symbol. DAVID N. LORD has said in regard to this:
"'The other vials were poured on different parts of the symbolic world-the land, the sea, the rivers, the sun, the throne of the wild beast, the Euphrates, and the effect of each limited to its peculiar scene. That this is poured into the air which envelops the globe indicates that the great changes which follow it are . . . . to extend to all the kingdoms of the earth."
MR. ELLIOTT regards the symbol as applying to some extraordinary convulsion darkening the political atmosphere. BARNES thus comments on the symbol:
"Why the vial was poured into the air is not stated. The most probable supposition as to the idea intended to be represented is, that as storms and tempests seem to be engendered in the air, so this destruction would come from some supernatural cause, as if the whole atmosphere should be filled with wind and storm, and a furious and desolating whirlwind should be aroused by some invisible power."
POURED UPON THE AIR
Careful attention to the fact as seen in the other Plagues -that the Land, the Sea, the Fountains and Rivers, etc., each refers to a different phase of humanity or human affairs, will enable us to see the significance of this symbol of the Air. As we examine the Scriptures we find that the Air as a symbol is associated with Satan's control in. the affairs of the world. He is called the "god of this world," "the prince of this world ... .. the prince of the power of the. air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." (2 Cor. 4:4; John 14:30; Eph. 2:2.) PASTOR RUSSELL'S explanation of this symbol is in perfect harmony with its use in these Scriptures particularly the last, as we read:
"As already shown, the 'air' here mentioned [1 Thes. 4:17] symbolizes spiritual rule or power. Satan has long occupied the position of 'prince of the power of the air' (Eph. 2:2), and has used for his co-workers and jointrulers in it many of the great ones of Babylon, who, under his blinding errors, verily think they are doing God service. But in due time the present 'prince of the air' shall be bound, and shall deceive no more; and the present heavens, the great anti-Christ system, will 'pass away with a great noise,' while the new Prince of the air, the true spiritual ruler, Christ Jesus, will take the dominion and establish the 'new heavens,' uniting with Himself in this power or 'air,' His Bride, the 'overcomers' of the Gospel Age."-- Studies Vol. 111-238.
Another reference to this symbol is as follows:
"The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night [unobservedly], in the which the heavens [present powers of the air, of which Satan is the chief or prince] shall pass away with a great [hissing] noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth [social organization] also, and the works that are therein [pride, rank, aristocracy, royalty], shall be burned up."--Studies Vol. 1-318.
These Scriptures explained by PASTOR RUSSELL doubtless describe in a general way what is represented in the symbols of the seventh Plague. The symbols seem to denote and point to a great climax in which all the preceding plagues represented in the various features of the six are in full operation together in connection with which the present order will pass away. This seems to have been the thought of PASTOR RUSSELL which already in a previous exposition has been referred to by us and which will be helpful to quote again:
"It is well also to remember that one Plague or evil goes on increasingly, after a second and third, etc., are added, until in the end the entire seven forms of evil will be operating simultaneously."--Z June '83-8.
Referring to this particular (seventh) Plague we have these words by PASTOR RUSSELL:
"Seven is often used as the symbol of completeness; so this seventh Plague completes, the trouble coming, and will result in the complete unveiling of Satan's deceptions, and the binding or destruction of his power and influence." -Z July '83-7.
LOUD VOICE FROM THE TEMPLE
The first thing recorded in connection with the pouring out of this Plague is that of a "loud voice," heard by St. John as proceeding from "the Temple of God, saying, 'it is done,"' or as some render it, "It has been done.''
A recent exposition explains this loud voice from the Temple of God as referring to the issuing of a commentary on the book of Revelation, and on the prophecy of Ezekiel. This exposition is represented to be the posthumous work Of PASTOR RUSSELL and claims to be his seventh volume. This work is also explained to be represented by this seventh Bowl or Plague. However, it is very apparent to many students of the Bible who are well acquainted with all that PASTOR RUSSELL has written that his work was all comprehended in six volumes Of SCRIPTURE STUDIES, together with articles written by him and published in his journal, or in tract form. All of this matter was published before his death in 1916. Furthermore, as bearing on the interpretation of this seventh Plague, it is apparent that the publication above referred to explains this loud voice, etc., as proceeding from an entirely different source from that given by - PASTOR RUSSELL in his exposition of this vision. PASTOR RUSSELL explains that this loud voice proceeds from the nominal Temple, while the exposition referred to above makes it to proceed from the true Temple. PASTOR RUSSELL's exposition of this vision, making this to be the meaning of the Temple, is of course in perfect harmony with his other expositions of the same, references to which are found in several places in chapters 15 and 16, already considered by us. His explanation of this feature of the seventh vial is as follows, which, let the reader note carefully:
"The result of this trouble [Plague] brings conviction to some. This is shown by the great voice from the Temple, saying, 'It has been done!' (Literal translation.) When last we saw the Temple, or the nominal Church, it was filling with smoke and casting out the faithful messengers of Truth, saying, 'Go your ways; pour out the Plagues; do all you can' (Rev. 15:8; 16:1), boastfully relying on internal strength. But now, when the seventh has been poured out, we hear this nominal Temple saying, 'It has been done;' we are now convinced of the truths uttered by the faithful messengers whom, in our ignorance and pride, we cast out from us; who told us that we were in darkness and great distress Was coming upon us, and that our systems, which we so fondly cherished, were to crumble into dust. It has been done even as they declared; Babylon is utterly destroyed; as a great millstone cast into the sea, she shall rise no more.
"This Temple class, which finally recognizes God's dealings when these systems are entirely destroyed, is the same which we have found elsewhere mentioned in Scripture, and which we have designated the second company, who, though losing the prize promised to overcomers of ,the Beast, etc. (Rev. 20:4), are 'saved so as by fire [these severe judgments] in the day of the Lord Jesus.' This blessed result upon this second company gives us an intense interest in and longing for the destruction of the enslaving systems mentioned in succeeding verses as the result of this seventh trouble."--Z July '83-7.
This seventh Plague, considered as distinct and separate from the six preceding, is all in the future, the near future we believe. It is quite essential to keep in mind that the Bowls and their contents do not represent truth, but rather, as explained in our last, calamities, troubles coming upon the various phases of the systems, etc., of Christendom. It is the truth, however,--truth along various lines that will eventually bring these calamities-the great final troubles which will cause the overthrow of the present order and remove every evil and wrong from the earth. The interpretation by PASTOR RUSSELL, like all of his forecasts of the future, is most reasonable, because it is in perfect harmony with all the prophecies that portray the downfall of all the systems, governments, etc., that have been under the control of the "god of this world." From what we have seen of the fulfillment of his forecasts of the preceding six Plagues, we are caused to wait with confidence, the startling occurrences already threatening that will mark the completion of these judgments upon Christendom.
LIGHTNINGS AND VOICES AND THUNDERS
The symbols mentioned next in 'connection with this seventh Plague, are familiar ones and such as we have frequently met with in other visions. St. John informs us that in connection with his hearing the loud voice, etc., which is explained by PASTOR RUSSELL to be an acknowledgment on the part of the nominal Temple class of the fulfillment of the predictions made by the messengers of Truth, the true Temple Class, "there were Lightnings, and Voices, and Thunders." PASTOR RUSSELL'S understanding of these symbols is explained in his exposition of this vision made in 1983 as representing the general effect on all mankind, when this vision meets its fulfillment in the near future. "Lightnings signify diffusion of knowledge. . . . (Psa. 97:4.) Voices signify proclamations and general discussion of subjects by those being enlightened. Thunderings signify tumults accom-panying the increased enlightenment." Z July '83-7.
The symbol is a very significant one, and implies, when considered with the other symbols, that the diffusion of knowledge and the discussions and controversies of this judgment Plague, will bring to mankind as a whole the realization that the old institutions, civil and religious -- the present order of things is ending,
The next symbol, that of an earthquake, is likewise a familiar one and is found frequently in the Scriptures. All commentators are quite generally agreed that an earthquake symbolizes a revolution. This symbol we have quite fully explained in a comment of Rev. 6:12 where it is used. (H. '19-74.) There, however, we understand the French Revolution to be referred to. Here, it is represented as "a great Earthquake, such as was not since a Man was on the Earth, such an Earthquake, so great," and there can be no question concerning what revolution is referred to in this symbolic vision. In regard to this great symbolical Earthquake we have the following most remarkable exposition:
"An earthquake would symbolize a revolution, and here. brings to our attention the greatest revolution which ever has or ever will take place on earth. This is the great revolution mentioned by the Prophet, in which every mountain and hill (the high ones) should be brought low, and the valleys (humble ones) be exalted, bringing all humanity to a common level as a preparation for the righteous reign of the Lord's Anointed. Each of the previous Plagues has tended toward this end, and this last results in the utter overthrow of the triple alliance or association between the Beast (Papacy) the False Prophet (other religious systems teaching error), and the Dragon (civil power), shown under the sixth Plague." Z July '83-8.
THE GREAT CITY 13ECAME THREE PARTS
This breaking up of the "triple alliance" is described in the language; "And the Great City became Three parts, and the City [Sinaitic reading] of the nations fell."--V. 19.
The earlier commentators, as we would suppose, failed to get a clear apprehension of this vision, applying as they do, these vial judgments as affecting Papal Rome only. MR. BARNES' remarks -concerning this division of the Great City, however, is very interesting and is as follows:
"All that it seems to me can be said now [at the time he wrote, 1850] on the point is, (a) that it refers to Papal Rome, or the Papal power; (b) that it relates to something yet future, and that it may not be possible to determine with precise accuracy what will occur; (c) that it probably means that, in the time of the final ruin of that power, there will be a threefold judgment; either a different judgment in regard to some threefold manifestation of that power, or a succession of judgments as if one part were smitten at a time. The certain and entire ruin of the power is predicted by this, but still it is not improbable that it will be by such divisions, or such successions of judgments, that it is proper to represent the city as divided into three portions."
It will be seen by the careful student of the Bible, who has come to recognize clearly God's wonderful Plan, and particularly the fall from favor and rejection of the Protestant systems, that it was hardly possible for this, and also other noted writers of those times, to get a clear knowledge of this symbol, of the "Great City" being "divided into three parts." All commentators living and writing before 1878, fail to grasp the significance of this symbol. PASTOR RUSSELL'S interpretation of this, based upon his knowledge of the significance of the symbols, Beast, False Prophet and Dragon, etc., is both reasonable and harmonious. This comment is found in. the exposition we have been quoting, and is as follows:
"The Great City here evidently represents these united three elements which attempted in union to rule over or control the world. (See sixth Plague exposition, H '20-213.] This union and power will continue for a while, but, as here shown, they will again separate--be divided into three parts. Seeing that their alliance and mutual support has failed to control and keep subject the restless and turbulent masses, each will attempt to adopt an individual policy in their effort to adjust and settle society; but their efforts will be fruitless, and will only hasten the crisis of the hour; as a consequence, we read, 'The City of the Nations fell down.'"-Z July '83-8.
THE CITY OF THE NATIONS FELL DOWN
Accepting the Sinaitic reading in this last statement, that it is the "City," rather than the "Cities" that fell, we will understand that it is the same Great City, Christendom, that is referred to. PASTOR RUSSELL'S interpretation is based upon the Sinaitic reading and is in perfect harmony with the thought that the triple alliance represents the three parts of Christendom, and in the separation I they still continue properly to be called Christendom. We give his interpretation of verse 19, in which he emphasizes the fact that the severity of the judgments is felt more by the religious elements than the civil:
"But, though the kingdoms shall fall, the religious element of the union shall not escape. Under the name Babylon they all seem to be included (as elsewhere). saying, 'Babylon the great was remembered before God, to have given her the cup of the wine of the indignation of the wrath' (verse 19). This signifies that the fiercest of the trouble-the wine or extract of the wrath--will be upon the Babylon systems more than upon the political division."--Z July '83-8.
The next symbol is designed to picture the terrible, disastrous effects (so far as the present order of things is concerned), of these seven last Plagues, all the various features of the whole seven being concentrated in this seventh and final one. The symbols employed,--that of mountains and islands disappearing, particularly, the first, are of frequent occurrence in Scripture. Mountains when used as symbols, usually represent kingdoms. God's kingdom which is to succeed the present order of things is symbolized by a mountain. (Dan. 2:44.) In this vision all the kingdoms of the world are portrayed as mountains. The particular use of them in this vision is that they pass away, cease to be portrayed, in the ex pression "and no Mountains were found." (v. 20.) In other Scriptures, particularly in the prophetic Psalms, this destruction or passing away of the kingdoms is represented symbolically as their being swallowed up by the sea; the sea representing the turbulent masses of humanity in the throes of revolt against governments. St. John noted also that, "Every Island fled." Islands, as symbols, when employed in connection with mountains, describe repub lics; they being supposedly governments of the people, are nearer the symbolic "sea" level. The symbols of Islands fleeing away, and no Mountains being found, would rep resent the complete overthrow of all human governments of every kind. PASTOR RUSSELL'S comment on this verse -"And Every Island fled and no Mountains were found," is, as follows:
"(Islands seem to symbolize Republican governments -- organizations of people slightly above the 'sea' level.) This would be the natural result of the overthrow of monarchies or kingdoms. symbolically called mountains, as indicated in Psa. 97:5. 'The hills [literal, mountains] melted and flowed down like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.' This is a grandly expressive illustration of the passing away of earth's dominion. In this day of the Lord-the day of His presence, the day of the establishment of His kingdom in the earth-some of the mountains [kingdoms] will melt, or gradually come down to the level of the people, by the fire and great heat, caused by increase of truth and knowledge, while others remaining firm will be overwhelmed-by the 'sea' -- in revolutions. This last form is described in Psalm 46. which seems to give a complete picture of this seventh Plague. It reads thus: 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble; therefore will we not fear though the earth [society] be removed, and though the mountains [kingdoms] be carried into the midst of the sea [overthrown by the ungovernable masses]: Though the. waters thereof roar and be troubled [in great commotion], though the mountains shake with the swellings thereof.' While kingdoms (mountains) shall give place to republics (islands), so the islands in due time shall also flee away, as we find it here recorded. (Rev. 16:20.) That is, the spirit of liberty will overleap all bounds and order, and end in anarchy. But notice that when the republics are swept away, it will be after kingdoms have all been overturned, as indicated by the expression--'No mountains were found.' It is in a similar manner that the Master speaks of the 'sea and waves roaring' as the beginning of trouble and. cause of fear. And Peter refers to this time of trouble, which shall burn as an oven, as the time when the earth and all earthly elements shall be consumed and give place to a new earth (society) and a new heavens (government), then there shall' be no more sea (people not religiously restrained)." Z July '83-8.
THE GREAT HAIL
We now come to consider the symbols that describe the great catastrophe that marks the downfall of Christendom portrayed in these visions of the seven last Plagues This description is found in verse 21 and reads: "And a great Hail, as if weighing a talent, comes down from Heaven on Men; and Men blasphemed God on account of the Plague of the Hail, Because the Plague of it is exceedingly great." Second Advent expositors as a rule interpret nearly all of these Plague symbols as being literal transactions. The cause of this is that they believe these Plagues describe the complete destruction of all the human family, except saved ones. Those expositors who have a measure of knowledge 'concerning another Age to follow this one-an Age of probation, have clearer light on these visions, and generally interpret them as symbols. It is, we believe, helpful to an appreciation of PASTOR RUSSELL'S expositions, to note occasionally, as we have done in previous articles, the interpretation of some of these symbols by these last mentioned writers. We will find that as a rule, they are in a considerable measure correct, when expounding the visions that, in their day, had become matters of history. We give DAVID N. LORD'S interpretation of the symbolic hail storm of this last plague:
"A hail storm is a symbol of sudden, and resistless ,strokes, by which in a violent political revolution, men are smitten down from dignity, independence, and happiness, to helplessness, vassalage and ruin; as such a storm strips the leaves and fruits from the trees, and dashes down the crops of grass and grain. Such a devastating tempest is to beat down the men who belong to the train of antiChrist, and they are to blaspheme God because of their calamities. The revolutions and contests, indicated by these symbols, are doubtless to follow the advent of the Son of God to raise the saints from death. . . . and to occupy a considerable period."
MR. BARNES' comment is also interesting when placed in contrast with that of PASTOR RUSSELL, Who lived and wrote in a time when the light concerning the extent and outcome of these Plagues became clearer in the light of the Divine Plan, as given to, and set forth by him. MR. BARNES, as will be seen, does not attempt to explain the symbolic Hail although recognizing that the language is symbolical. His words are, in connection with a summary of all the Plagues, and read as follows:
"This finishes the summary statement of the final destruction of this formidable anti-Christian power. The details and the consequences of that overthrow are more fully stated in the subsequent chapters [17, 18 and 191. The fulfillment of what is here stated will be found, according to the method of interpretation proposed, in the ultimate overthrow of the Papacy. The process described in this chapter is that of successive calamities that would weaken it, and prepare it for its fall; then a rallying of its dying strength; and then some tremendous judgment that is compared with a storm of. hail, accompanied with lightning and thunder, and an earthquake, that would completely overthrow -- all that was connected with it, and that sustained it. We are not indeed to suppose that this will literally occur; but the fair interpretation of prophecy leads us to suppose that that formidable power will, at no very distant period, be overthrown in a manner that would be well represented by such a fearful storm."
It will be noted that MR. BARNES makes the Plagues to come upon Papacy alone. D. N. LORD, makes their application more general, and world-wide. MR. BARNES, as we would suppose, fails to see the fall of Protestantism, and the judgments that are to fall upon that system,. as well as the so-called Christian nations in general.
THE HAIL SHALL SWEEP AWAY REFUGE OF LIES
We now quote from PASTOR RUSSELL'S most reasonable interpretation of this great symbolical Hail storm of this seventh Plague:
"Hail is solidified water. If water or rain, causing fruitfulness and refreshing to earth, be a symbol of truth, refreshing and causing gracious fruits in humanity, then 'hail must signify truth delivered in such a way as to be dangerously destructive to things with which it comes in conflict. These will be heavy--a talent each-about the weight of a man--sufficient to break down everything before it. This recalls the symbolic use of this same word by Isaiah, 'And the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies and the waters [truth] shall overthrow the hiding place.' (Isa. 28:17). Untruth--error--falsity, is the bane of the world, and the time of trouble would be incomplete, and the world still unprepared for the reign of righteousness, were it not for this 'hail.' Recalling a similar Plague which came literally upon Egypt, we find that it injured only those Egyptians who had not respect to the words of Jehovah (See Ex. 9:19-21); and we may safely reckon the same of this symbolic hail; it will smite down and subdue only those who are in opposition to it, and that for their good." Z July '83-8.
It will be remembered that we found this symbol employed in connection with the first Trumpet, which we interpreted to refer to the effects of truth upon the Pagan civilization causing its overthrow, in the second and third centuries.-See H '19-137, 138.
Concerning this last great outpouring 'of judgment truth, causing these plagues, calamities-God's wrath on Christendom, we have these further words Of PASTOR RUSSELL:
"We need not suppose, th at this Hail comes last, for in giving an account, something must be mentioned last if all occurred simultaneously. These various things described will occur, or be in process at once -- Voices, Thunderings, Hail and Lightning among the people, causing the Earthquake, fail of Babylon, and Mountains, etc. This is more than hinted at, in the fact that these same events, mentioned under the seventh Seal* and seventh Trumpet, are mentioned indiscriminately as one event." Z July '83-8.
*All the events of the whole seven Trumpets are portrayed under the seventh Seal; the last judgment scenes, the seven plagues, tinder the seventh Trumpet.
In closing this exposition of the seventh Plague, which doubtless describes the last judgment on Christendom, we have brought out in PASTOR RUSSELL'S interpretation, what his thought was concerning from whence this symbolic Hail comes. The symbol states that it "comes down from Heaven." We quote his words in this connection:
"The Hail, be it remembered, 'comes down from heaven': Heaven, as already defined, symbolizes spiritual powers. but not any longer corrupt and vitiated spiritual powers, for these have passed away. Babylon has been cast as a millstone into the 'sea' to rise no more. This is the new 'heavens' which shall gradually take the place of the old, which is to 'pass away with a great noise' or tumultVoices, Thunderings, etc. Yes, thank God, He that in verse 15 announces His presence as a thief will have not only broken down the kingdoms of the present, but will also have set up that Kingdom for which our Lord taught us to pray: Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as in heaven. 'Sing unto the Lord, 0 ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness; for His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning! (Psa. 30:4,5). 'Blessed be His glorious name forever; and let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.'"--[Psa. 72:19.) Z July '83-8.
MEN BLASPHEME GOD ON ACCOUNT OF HAIL
There remains only one more matter to explain in connection with this last great Plague. It is stated that "Men blasphemed God on account of the Plague of the Hail, Because the Plague of it is exceedingly great." (v. 21.) In explaining this, it will be well to keep in mind that there are different classes of individuals in the world when these troublous scenes transpire that will feel this Plague. This statement would seem to refer to that element, found in nearly all denominations, made up largely of the chief rulers and spiritual guides who have a zeal but not according to knowledge, and who, on finding that the judgment "Hail"--Truth of these last times is uncovering and exposing the blasphemous and God- dishonoring creeds of the past, are aroused to bitter antagonism against the Truth, and being blind and ignorant concerning what is taking place, they enter all the more zealously upon a campaign to defend and propagate these false doctrines that blaspheme and misrepresent the Divine character. The ultimate result however of this downpour of this symbolical Hail will be the clearing away of all error, superstition and ignorance (Isa. 28:17), and thus prepare the way for the shining forth of the Sun of Righteousness for the blessing and uplift of all the willing and obedient. This was PASTOR RUSSELL'S thought as expressed at various times.
It will be necessary to keep before our minds when we come to consider the succeeding chapter (17) that while St. John had heard in the visions the name "Babylon" mentioned several times by the revealing angels, he had not had given to him, up to the time of seeing this vision, an explanation of what Babylon itself represented. In the vision which follows these seven last Plagues, which is recorded in chapter 17, he had given to him an explanation of the various features connected with the time of the rise of Babylon in history, its evil influence over the nations, etc., and in chapters 18 and 19, a fuller description than those given in the Plagues of the judgments that cause its destruction. We will, therefore, see that chapter 17 is retrospective in some of its features, gradually bringing the history down to our day.,
readest thou touching this hour?
Is it the sign
of the presence again
Jesus is come!
0 let it be known,
Jesus is come!
let all the world hear;
--AUGUST 22--PSA. 51:1-17--
Golden Text.--"Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me front my sin."-- Psalm 51:2.
IT is with a good degree of satisfaction that we present in this lesson the story of David's confession and forgiveness, when we consider that, had not the good that was in the man reasserted itself, we might have had to read the story of "David's unrepented fall and its fearful recompense." As noted in the previous lesson, it is hard to account for the fall of such a good man and of a character so strong in many respects as that of David; but one writer, we think, reasons on it very correctly, saying,--"in some natures, especially strong natures, both the old man and the new possess unusual vehemence; the rebellious energizings of the old are held in check by the still more resolute vigor of the new; but if it so happen that the opposition of the new man to the old is relaxed or abated, then the outbreak of corruption will be on a fearful scale."
But as previously seen, this fall of David into gross sin was evidently not altogether sudden. There had been missteps leading up to it; and the process being gradual and each wrong thing searing the conscience more and more, the climax was reached almost imperceptibly, so that two, even of the basest crimes, were at length committed; and the sin was concealed unrepented of, although it was yielding its bitter fruit of restless remorse (Psa. 32:3, 4), until Nathan the Prophet was sent to awaken and arouse the man to a deep sense of his guilt and of the necessity of immediate repentance, confession and reformation. David had become so intoxicated with the spirit which generally attends power, popularity and great success that -he evidently did not recognize his gradual moral decline. As a king his word was supreme among the people; all Israel waited to do his bidding; the greatest men in the nation were at his service; success had everywhere attended his energies on the field of battle; his kingdom was extended and very prosperous; but in the midst of all this success and exaltation lurked temptations subtle and dangerous which should have been guarded against with scrupulous care, and perseveringly resisted
O MAY NO EARTH-BORN CLOUD ARISE
For about two years after David's crimes were committed the king sought to stifle his conscience, and to consider that he was only using kingly liberties in what he had done. Nevertheless his conscience smote him, and he felt an alienation from God and a condemnation under his law such as he would not have felt had he been of a different stamp of character. God was not hasty in reproving him, either. He allowed him to have a full taste of heart bitterness-allowed him to feel the darkness of soul, absence of joy, resulting from the cloud which had come between him and the Lord. It was at the appropriate time, after David had passed through secret mournings and travailings of the soul, that the Lord sent him a reproof through Nathan the Prophet to bring the whole matter clearly before his mind.
King David, we are to remember, did not belong to the spiritual house of sons, and hence had a far less clear view of such - matters than that which would properly belong to every member of the house of sons, begotten of the spirit and "taught of God." We are not, therefore, to expect to draw a lesson to ourselves along similar lines. Rather we of the spiritual house, tinder the clearer conceptions of the Divine will, are to remember the higher interpretation of adultery and murder set forth in the New Testament; that whoever desires adultery, and is merely restrained from it by outward circumstances or fears, is really an adulterer in his heart (Matt. 5:29) ; that he who is angry with his brother, he who hates his brother, is a murderer--because the spirit of anger is that which, unrestrained, would lead to murder (Matt. 5:22) ; and that the person who covets the things of another and is merely restrained from taking them for lack of opportunity or fear of consequence, is at heart a thief. If these principles be applied by the New Creation in the examination of their hearts, it is entirely probable that some of the '!house of sons" today may find themselves very near. the plane of King David as respects sin, and so viewing matters they will exercise. proportionately greater compassion in their judgment of the royal transgressor. Such, too, will find great consolation- in the Lord's compassion, provided they are exercised in respect to their offences as David was concerning his. "There is compassion with thee that thou mightest be feared," is the Prophet's expression. If God were wanting in compassion, as are many of our fellow-creatures, there would be nothing to hope for under such circumstances. It is when we realize that there is forgiveness with the Lord for all who are penitent at heart, and who, therefore, give evidence that their sins are not willful, but rather of the weakness of heredity and under the pressure of blinding temptations, that we are moved to repentance by a hope for better things.
The 51st Psalm is generally recognized as being the one in which the Psalmist expresses to God his contrition for his sins, and the fact that it is dedicated to the Chief Musician implies that it was the king's intention that it, in common with other of the Psalms, should be chanted in the Tabernacle services, for which he had set apart a large number of singers. We thus perceive that if the sin was flagrant and gross, the atonement which the king endeavored to make was a most public one. Probably many of the nation had felt more or less of the king's condemnation, and its influence must have been very injurious; and now in his public view of it as sin, and his prayer for Divine forgiveness, the king would undo so far as. possible not only the injury which he had inflicted upon his own conscience, and which as a cloud hung between the Lord and him, but he would undo also the evil influences as respects the conscience of the nation--on the subjects of adultery and murder.
STEPPING STONES OR STUMBLING STONES
Here again we see why David was described as a man after' God's own heart. His sins were not pleasing to God-quite the reverse; but the after appreciation of the enormity of the sins and the hearty repentance therefor to the Lord, and the desire to be cleansed from every evil way, were pleasing to the Lord. Here we have an il lustration of how all things may work together for good to those who love God. By reason of his heart-loyalty to the Lord and the principles of righteousness, even these terrible sins resulted in bringing a great blessing to David's own heart-humbling him-giving him an ap preciation of his weakness and littleness, and of his need to abide close to the Lord, if he would have the Lord's fellowship and compassion and be safe from the tempta tions of his own fallen flesh. So, too, with the New Creation. How many of them have realized profitable lessons and blessings out of some of their stumblings--not that the stumblings were good nor of the Lord, but that the Lord was able to overrule such circumstances for good to those who are of. the proper mind--rightly exercised by them to repentance and reformation.
The first three verses of the Psalm express David's, appreciation of his sin and his trust in the Lord, without any attempt to apologize for his shortcomings. He trusted to the Lord to make whatever allowances could be made and merely appealed to his great "loving-kind ness." In calling to mind the multitude of God's tender mercies in the past,. he expressed faith and trust that in some way the Lord could blot out these grievous transgressions and forgive them. The Lord had not yet clearly defined the way in which he could be just and yet be the justifier of sinners, Only vaguely through the shadows of the Day of Atonement sacrifices had He intimated that He had some way of His own by which in due time the guilty but repentant ones might be cleansed. David grasped the thought of mercy as understood in the types and shadows of the Law, and much more may we of the house of sons grasp the thought of our Father's forgiveness when we see -that it is exercised towards us by the Lord Jesus Christ, who already has given Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, and whose sacrifice has been accepted of the Father, as manifested by out Lord's resurrection from the dead, and by the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. If, therefore, David could trust the Lord for loving-kindness and tender mercies and forgiveness of sins, the members of the house of sons should be able to exercise full faith in the Divine character and Plan of salvation from sin.
The fourth verse would seem to ignore the fact that wrong-doing had been done to fellow-creatures, but we may preferably understand it to mean that while this wrong to fellow-creatures was recognized by the king, he recognized a still higher responsibility to God, whose laws he had broken and whose kingly office, typifying that of the Christ, he had dishonored. Hence in contrast between what man might think of his crime as against man and his own still higher consciousness of his sin as against the Lord, the latter seemed so much greater as to practically obscure the former. The greater sin as against the Almighty quite overshadows the wrongs to humanity. David declares his recognition of the fact that God is the great judge, and that whatever His judgment would be he knew in advance that it would be right.
In the fifth verse he introduces an extenuating thought, as though reminding the Lord that he was born. in sin and therefore that perfection was not possible for him. But he does not use this fact as a screen behind which to hide his own responsibilities. Free to will, though a sinner by nature, he was necessarily responsible for yielding as he did to temptation, but he was confident that the Lord would give him the benefit of every mitigating circumstance.
EARTH HATH NO SORROW THAT HEAVEN CANNOT HEAL
It will be noted that David expected punishment from the Lord for his sins, and was here expressing his confidence that the Lord would send no punishment which would not be reasonable and within the limits of justice. What he was praying for in this Psalm was not a remission of proper punishment, but rather for the cleansing of his heart in the sight of the Lord and for his restoration to the Divine favor. As a matter of fact we find that the Lord did send a severe punishment upon the king, and that He restored the sinner to his favor, granting him to experience again the joys of His salvation. According to the sentiments of other kings of his time, evidently acquiesced in by the people of Israel, the king had taken an, extremely moderate course in sin, in that he had not directly taken the life of Uriah but merely connived at his death in battle; but the king appreciated the fact that God was looking deeper than this and desired truth-righteousness in the inward parts-in the heart. Outward crime and a crime allowed in the mind are alike heinous in God's sight; his experience had taught the king wisdom. Now he wished to be thoroughly cleansed, and poetically says, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." Hyssop was used in the sprinkling of the unclean under the Law. David, grasping to some extent the Significance of the symbol, desired, the antitypical cleansing of his heart. His appreciation of the Lord's thoroughness in dealing with sin and of His compassion in forgiveness are good lessons for some of the still more favored members of the "house of sons." Many of the latter, although having seen with "the eye of faith" the great Atonement for sins made by our Lord Jesus, are still unable to appreciate the fact that the application of the merit of His sacrifice is quite sufficient to cleanse us from all sin and perfect us; that we may be recognized as absolutely pure in the Father's sight and dealt with accordingly-not as sinners, but as sons.
From the statement of verse 8 we may reasonably infer that during the year that preceded this repentance King David was in so miserable a state of mind that even the music of the singers and of those who played skilfully upon the harp and all the joyous songs of Nature were sore to his heart-had no gladness in them to comfort his heart when it was barred from the Lord's presence and fellowship. This is the thought of our hymn, which says of the soul which enjoys the light of the Lord's favor:
King David was longing for the joy and gladness which he had experienced in times past, and figuratively he likens himself to one whose bones had been broken, He knew that his joy and comfort would return if he could but have back again the Lord's favor. He knew, too, that the Lord could not look upon sin with any allowance, hence his prayer: "Hide thy face from my sins and blot out. mine, iniquities [unrighteousness]. Create in me a clean heart , 0 God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free spirit."
COME TO THE MERCY SEAT
No true Christian can read these words without feeling a deep sympathy with the different expressions; and even though as New Creatures in Christ Jesus we have had no experience with such terrible sins as those which weighed upon the heart of David, nevertheless our higher responsibilities and higher conceptions of sin under the "new commandment" and under the instructions of the Holy Spirit, as sons of God, cause us to feel with proportionate weight, transgressions which in the sight of the world would appear nothing--such, for instance, as we have just mentioned: covetousness, hatred, slander, which are thefts and murders from the higher standpoint of the Divine view appropriate to the New Creation.
In verse 13 the Prophet proposes to the Lord that his discomfiture in Divine disfavor was used for the instruction of others-to show transgressors the Lord's ways and to turn sinners from the evil of their course. How appropriate this thought to us! Not until we know experimentally through faith in the blood of Christ that' our sins have been put out of the Father's sight, not until we have experienced the joys of His salvation and forgiveness, are we in any condition to be servants to the Truth or illustrations to others. Hence we see that it is only those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit who are anointed to preach the Gospel. To others the Lord says: "What hast thou to do to take my word into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction and castest my words behind thee?" -- refusing to submit to the Divine requirements.
The 14th verse repeats the same thought in a different form. If the Lord will deliver him from his guilt in connection with his sin, his tongue shall thereafter sing loudly the Lord's righteousness-not David's righteousness. This is the song that all the blood-washed may sing, "True and righteous are all thy ways, Lord God Almighty. Thou hast redeemed us from amongst men." None of us have any right to sing our own righteousness, for as the Apostle declares, "There is none righteous, no, not one." The mission of the cleansed ones is to accept and use the Lord's mercy towards them, to extol His righteousness, to acknowledge their unworthiness and to call upon others to recognize this fountain of righteousness and forgiveness.
"0 Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise." This expression implies that none need expect to have a proper opening of their mouths to show forth the Lord's praises, and give the call from darkness into His marvelous light, unless the Lord shall first have opened their lips with His mercy and truth; for otherwise .how could any expect to tell the Glad Tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people? This equally implies that all who have had forgiveness of sins should be in a condition of spirit to make a full consecration of their all to the Lord, and then all such should expect an unsealing of their lips, that the message of God's truth and grace may flow out from them for the instruction and blessing of others-as it is written, "Grace is poured into thy lips." "Thou hast put a new song in my, mouth, even the loving-kindness of our God." While these are appropriate specially to our dear Redeemer, they are appropriate also to every member of the "Church which is His Body,'' and all claiming to be "the body," who have never had their lips unsealed to confess the Lord to the extent of their opportunity, have reason to question everything pertaining to their relationship to the Lord.
In verses 16 and 17 the King shows that he had acquired a deep insight into the meaning of some of the typical sacrifices; though probably, by inspiration,, he wrote more wisely than he understood. A's we have seen in our study of Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices, only the Day of Atonement sacrifices were sin offerings; the burnt offerings and peace offerings of the remainder of the year representing the consecration to the Lord and His service. Grasping this thought prophetically, to whatever extent he also grasped it intellectually, King David expressed his realization that the Lord is pleased rather with a broken and a contrite condition of heart than with burnt offerings, which were but types. So, too, we learn that nothing that we can give the Lord, even after our acceptance in Christ, has any value in His sight until first of all we have given Him ourselves-our hearts, our wills.
HE WILL NOT SPURN BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART
Let us ever keep in memory that a broken and contrite heart the Lord never despises, will never spurn. Therefore into whatever difficulty any of the Lord's people of the New Creation may stumble, if they find themselves hungering- for the Lord's fellowship and forgiveness, if they find their hearts contrite and broken, let them not despair, but remember that God has made a provision through the merit of Christ which enables Him to accept and justify freely from all sin all that come unto Him through Jesus-through faith in His blood. There is a sin unto death--a sin unto the Second Death-from which there will be no recovery, no resurrection; but those who have broken and contrite hearts on account of their sins may know that they have not committed "the sin unto, death," for their condition of heart proves this, as the Apostle declares: "It is impossible to renew again unto repentance" any who have committed the sin unto death -- willful sinners against full light and knowledge. Let all, therefore, rejoice in the grace of our God, who is able through Christ, His accepted way, to save unto the uttermost all who come to Him, laying aside sin and its desires.
Now, if any man [of the Church stumble into] sin (through weakness and temptation-not intentionally] we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1.) Such, therefore, may come with faith to the Throne of the Heavenly Grace that they may obtain mercy and find grace to help in every [future] time of need. (Heb. 4:16.) But, like David, their prayers and hopes should be for a restoration' of Divine favor and not for escape from chastisements needful to their correction. God forgave David, but also chastened him 2 Sam. 12:11-14.
Surely King David must have learned a great lesson in mercy from this sad experience. How many times must he have called to mind his response to Nathan's parable. "The man that hath done this thing is worthy of death, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and because he had no pity!" Alas, poor David! these words showed that he had a mind, a heart, that was no stranger to justice and pity in other men's affairs, and hence that he was the more guilty in his much more serious violations of justice and compassion. "Blessed is he that is not condemned in that which he alloweth"--who is not condemned by his own declarations in respect to the affairs of others. Oh, how merciful to the failings of others it should make us when 'we remember our dear Redeemer's words, "If ye, forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive your trespasses"; and when again we remember that we may not even pray for forgiveness of our sins unless we from the heart forgive those who have injured us and again, desire our fellowship.
--AUGUST 29-1 KINGS--1:1-3:15--
Golden Text.--"The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."--Job 28:28.
IN KING DAVID'S seventieth year, when it was evident that he was nearing the close of life, one of his elder sons, Adonijah, following the example of Absalom, attempted to seize the kingdom, evidently surmising or perhaps knowing that his father had already determined that Solomon, his younger brother, should be the successor to the throne. Under the Lord's guidance, Adonijah's plans were frustrated and Solomon was duly anointed and proclaimed King of all Israel before the conspiracy had hatched. Solomon at this time was about twenty years old, a very young man to succeed to the throne, but evidently the best qualified of all. Of his elder brothers, Farrar says "They were men of fierce passions and haughty temperament, and would be singularly unfitted to carry out the peaceful and religious designs which David wished to bequeath to his successor. King David had evidently been an over-indulgent parent, and, occupied with the larger affairs of the kingdom, he probably had neglected the training of his children in the ways of the Lord. Solomon, born after his legal marriage to Bathsheba, and at a time when the King's misguided course had brought him to a very humble position before God and man, and educated at a time When Absalom's rebellion had perhaps taught the King a great lesson, we may reasonably suppose that the education of Solomon and his younger brothers was along different lines from those previously pursued with their elder brethren. In line with this thought we find that Solomon's education was under the care of the Prophet Nathan and in every way characteristic of him.
Not content with his own appreciation of Solomon as the most suitable heir to the throne and the one approved by the Lord, the king gathered a great assembly of the chief men of the nation to, so to speak, ratify Solomon's appointment. and anointing. These princes represented (1) the heads of the families, in the twelve tribes; (2) the captains of industry and their subordinate officers; (3) in a word he gathered all the influential representatives of the nation, civil, military and commercial. This was evidently a wise course, and points a lesson to the Lord's people of the Church of this Gospel Age. It is not sufficient that those who serve the Lord's flock shall ,be sure-that they understand the Divine will in respect to the general interests of His work; it, is expedient that they seek the co-operation of the entire congregation either directly or through their chosen representatives. David's assurance that God had chosen Solomon was a guarantee to him that the Lord would so overrule and influence the nation that they would gladly accept the Divine choice. At the same time, the course would have been the wisest one in any event, because it is an element of human nature to prefer to. be considered rather than to be ignored.
DAVID'S SUCCESSOR CHOSEN
David had no doubt whatever respecting the Lord's choice for his successor. I-low he knew the mind of the Lord on the subject we are not informed, but evidently he had assured Bathsheba years before that her son Solomon should fill the throne, and now he probably announced the matter, declaring that God had given him assurance that Solomon should build the great temple which King David had not been permitted to build, but for which he had accumulated great stores of gold, silver, iron, marble, precious wood, etc. The word of the Lord, "I have chosen him to be my son and will be his Father," we are not to understand as meaning that Solomon was lifted up from the house of servants, of which Moses was the head, and made a member of the house of sons, of which Christ is the Head--"Whose house are we if we hold fast the confidence of our rejoicing firm unto the end." According to the Scriptural record, the first opportunity for any members of the house of servants to become sons of God was granted at the time of our Lord's First Advent, and in view of the fact that He had already made consecration of His life as man's redemption price. (John 1:12, 13.) Solomon was God's son in a typical sense-he typified God's great Son, the Christ.
That Solomon was a model young man at the time of his induction into the kingdom, is evidenced from the statement of verse 7: "If he be constant to do my commands and my judgments as at this day, I will establish his kingdom forever." Here again, however, we see how the Lord, while making certain definite promises sure to be fulfilled, attaches them to certain individuals, only upon conditions of their loyalty to Him. As a matter of fact we know that Solomon did not continue in Divine favor, but was led astray by the dangers of his lofty position and forfeited for his posterity their share in the Levitic promise. Hence it is that our Lord is not of Solomon's line, but a descendant of another son of David, Nathan.
Solomon began his reign when he was twenty years of age, and under unfavorable conditions in several respects. His elder brothers were ambitious for the throne, and the chief general of King David's army, Joab, had been deflected from the course of fidelity to the King. So had Abiathar, one of the chief priests, so that the young King had not a path of roses before him. The loyalty of his heart to the Lord and to the duties imposed upon him by his Divine appointment to the kingship are remarkable for one so young. They clearly indicate the good training he enjoyed, and. his father's wisdom in putting him under the tuition of the Prophet Nathan. Amongst the earliest acts of Solomon's reign was the calling of a religious convention, to which was assembled the chief men of the nation at Gideon. Solomon realized the importance of religion to himself and to the people-that God must be first; and this assemblage was doubtless intended to stir up the religious enthusiasm. of the nation, as well as to convince all that Solomon acknowledged the Lord, and that the course of the new kingdom would be after the same pattern as that of his father-loyalty to the Lord as the great King, and recognition of himself as merely His servant and representative.
It is generally, understood that the thousand burnt offerings sacrificed on this occasion were burnt offerings only in the sense that they were offered in connection with a religious ceremony in acknowledgment of God, that. certain of the inward parts were burned upon the altar, and that the shoulder of each was devoted to the priesthood. It is generally understood that the multitudes feasted upon the remainder of the flesh of these sacrificed animals., This custom was not only recognized in Israel but in various heathen nations, each acknowledging its own gods. Thus Croesus, King of Lydia, "offered up three thousand of every kind of sacrificial beasts," to the god of the Delphian oracle, as Herodotus relates. Xerxes, according to the same authority, "made an offering of a thousand oxen to the Trojan Minerva." Whether the heathen nations copied these sacrifices from the Jews or not cannot be positively stated, but the earliest and most authentic histories seem to so indicate.
SOLOMON'S DREAM, ITS MEANING
It was while Solomon's mind was active in religious matters at Gideon that the Lord appeared to him in a dream and asked him to choose what he would of any gift. We are not from this to infer that all dreams are of the Lord, but simply to understand that God is able to use dreams when He so chooses to convey lessons and instructions to His people. Many illustrations of this might be cited, for instance, Joseph's dream, Nebuchadnezzer's, Daniel's, St. Paul's, St. Peter's. We have the best of inspired assurance that these were really messages from the Lord, and hence are justified in attaching importance to them, believing in their fulfillment, etc. It- is well to remember, however, that many dreams are simply operations of nature; that by reason of indigestion, or some other abnormal condition, one department of the brain seems to be awake while other departments are benumbed with sleep. Such dreams are apt to be inconsistent and unreasonable, because the judgment and counterpoise of reason from various standpoints and various sides are lacking. Such dreams are inconsistent and meaningless. Another kind of dream or vision should. be mentioned, namely, those which are quite evidently inspired by evil spirits and which not infrequently represents the Lord as speaking to the individual, directing, commanding, etc.; these are in line with trance-medium development of spiritualism. The authorship of dreams being so much in doubt, as well as the fact that with the death of the Apostles plenary inspiration ceased and the inspired class canonized, should make us very dubious, very skeptical, in respect to dreams that might come to any of us. Hence every dream and the lesson which it would seem to inculcate should be considered quite subordinate to the written Word of God. If they speak not in harmony with this Word, it is because there is no light in them. Those who are misled by dreams ascribe to them authority of a special revelation, and in so doing are not wise, but are greatly in danger of being side-tracked by our wily Adversary.
Solomon was living in a time before the Scriptures were completed, at a time when it could not be said that the Scriptures are able to make wise, sufficient that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished. (2 Tim. 3:17.) Besides, the declaration is that his dream or vision was from the Lord. Even then we see that the Lord was not operating contrary to the freedom of Solomon's will, because had the young King's mind been full of ambition for power, for victories over his enemies or for great riches, undoubtedly in the dream he would have responded by asking the things uppermost in his heart. His reply shows us that he was full of appreciation of the great work which God had committed to his care, that he recognized that his father's success had been of the Lord and not of his own power, and that whatever others thought of his father's real sentiments, Solomon recognized his loyalty to God, to truth, to righteousness, to uprightness of heart;, In acknowledging the Lord's kindness in raising him to the throne he was acknowledging that God was the real King, that he merely sat upon "the throne of the kingdom of the Lord." i,'-This is further evidenced by the words, "God thou hast made thy servant king instead of David, my father." What a strength it gave this young man to realize that he was in God's hands; that it was not merely to his father's. foresight and wisdom that he came to the throne, nor by the superior prestige of his father's influence over the army and the majority of the people, but of the Lord's providences.
Similarly, this should give strength to all of the Lord's consecrated people who realize that they have come into the present grace and Truth not by their own wisdom nor by the wisdom of others, but through the wisdom and grace of the Lord. The same thought should be entertained by all who serve the Church of God as ministers, servants in any department, in any manner responsible to the Lord for their position in the household of faith; and their opportunities to serve as the Lord's mouthpieces should be felt and confessed. But failure to confess it even, implies a failure rightly to appreciate it.
UNLESS YE ]BECOME AS A LITTLE CHILD
The humility of the King is beautifully indicated by his declaration, "I am but a little child and know not How to order my course in life, my outgoings and incomings," and yet he was in the midst of the Lord's people, the center or head of the nation --- through he felt himself in capable of the proper management of these high and responsible duties. He did not say "my people," but "thy people which thou hast chosen." We feet like suggesting a lesson here to some of the elders of the Lord's flock, who, after the manner of the Babylonians, are inclined to speak of the congregations to whom they minister, as 'my people,". "my flock," "my church." They probably do not realize how inappropriate are such expressions; that if natural Israel was the Lord's people, whom He had chosen, how much more the antitypical Israel should be thought of and spoken of 'as the Lord's people, the Lord's flock. The very fact that anyone would speak of the 'congregation of the Lord's people as his own indicates a dangerous condition of mind and a tendency to be heady, high-minded, injurious, detrimental to the interests of spiritual Zion. Those who have had such a tendency of mind should correct themselves with fasting and, prayer, peradventure their wrongdoing may be forgiven of the Lord and they may be kept from stumbling into further self-assurance. And the Lord's flock everywhere should be quick to resent any such human ownership or control. A failure to quickly discern and properly resent such self-assurance on the part of leaders is an indication that the flocks to whom they minister are not fully appreciating and enjoying the liberty with which Christ is pleased to make free all who are truly His sheep and who acknowledge Him as their chief Shepherd.
In speaking of the numbers of Israel, Solomon used a form of expression common in his day for a large multitude--namely, a great people that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. It is estimated that the numbers at this time were about 6,000,000, and probably without the conveniences at hand for taking an enumeration it was actually impossible to determine the number of people-the facilities for keeping track of births and deaths being much less convenient and much less accurate than at the present time.
THE KING'S WISE CHOICE
With this preamble as showing his estimate of his own incapacity and of the greatness of the work, and that the people were the Lord's people, and that he himself was the Lord's appointment to be the king, Solomon now comes to the expression of his choice, namely, "an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and evil;. for who is able to judge this thy great people?" Solomon recognized that the most necessary. thing for the welfare of the nation was righteous judgment of the various questions pertaining to the nation's welfare as well as those affecting individual matters. Doubtless he had come to realize, as his subsequent written proverbs clearly indicate, that selfishness is a foe to justice, and that the very wisest and best of governments need to be carefully guarded lest the selfish interests of some should work injury to others-to many. The whole world realizes this today, and if we would ask civilized humanity in general what is the one great need of the world, the answer unquestionably would be, We need to have righteousness established between nations, between individuals, and we need wisdom to discern the right from the wrong, the false from the true, the pure from the evil. Many of the wisest people of the world, although realizing' the needs of the present time, have reached the conclusion that it is useless to attempt to secure even-handed justice 'in all particulars, amongst all classes; and those who are best informed respecting the teachings of the Divine Word have been led to pray with greater earnestness than ever before, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." They 'realize that earthly beings are all more or less fallen, more or less selfish, and that a crying need of the world today is for a perfect government, backed up by full power to enact, and to execute.as well, laws of righteousness which shall control the whole world, subduing evil, exalting good. The antitype of Solomon, the Prince of Peace, Messiah, is to accomplish this in the world in the Father's good time, in the Millennial Age.
The Lord was pleased with Solomon's choice; he could ,not have chosen better, Some have suggested that he might have chosen spiritual things, and thus have made a still wiser, better choice; but such forget that the spiritual things were not open to be understood or to be chosen or to' be -acquired in Solomon's day, nor until the great Atonement for sin had been made-until the call went forth inviting believers who had fled from sin and who had laid hold on the hopes set before them in Christ to become self-sacrificers with Him, joint-participators with Him in the Holy Spirit of adoption and ultimately to be joint-heirs with Him in the kingdom. Solomon, therefore, chose as wisely as was possible for him to choose of the things that were known to him and attainable in his day.
RICHES AND HONOR IN HANDS OF WISDOM
It was just like our Heavenly Father to give Solomon the riches and honors which he had not asked as a reward of his appreciation of wisdom. Indeed it is Solomon himself who expresses the thought that riches and honors are in the right hand of wisdom as her reward. It is thus implied that the Lord in giving to anyone wisdom, grants Also the rewards which wisdom brings, namely, riches and honor. Some one then may inquire, How comes it that those who now seek the wisdom from above, the highest of all wisdom, first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated and, full of mercy and good fruits-how is it that such very rarely get earthly riches and honors? We reply, that in Solomon's time the Lord was dealing with natural fleshly Israel, and His promises were Along natural fleshly lines, but that during this Gospel dispensation he is dealing with spiritual Israel and His promises and blessings are along spiritual lines. The wisdom that His people are to seek and to enjoy, the wisdom that cometh from above, is not the wisdom. of this world, as the Apostle clearly points out that the riches. And honors which are in the hands of this heavenly wisdom, which come to the Lords consecrated Church, are spiritual riches and spiritual honors which the world .sees not and appreciates not in this present time, which, like the wisdom itself, can be appreciated only by those whose eyes of understanding have been opened and who can and do thus discern the riches of God's grace toward His elect Church, which "eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of [the] natural man, but which God hath revealed unto us by His spirit." -1 Cor. 2:9, 10.
The riches and honors which came to Solomon incidentally with his wisdom are world-renowned, and the blessing of long, life which was made- conditional was partly fulfilled. Solomon lived to be sixty, whereas, we believe, under this promise he. would have lived until eighty had he been more obedient to the Divine will, but with him as with many others, prosperity was much more difficult to stand than adversity.
When Solomon Awoke and realized that these things had been a dream, a visitation of the Lord, he returned to Jerusalem, the Capital City where the ark was located, and presented himself as a sacrificer, offering burnt offerings and peace offerings and making a feast for his servants, and realizing that 'the Lord was prospering him in the matter to which He had called him, he evidently was full of joy and satisfaction and peace. So it should be with all the Lord's people who have, been called to be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ -their Lord, for "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who- are kept through faith and by the power of God unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." They, too, should realize that the proper way to show their appreciation of the Lord's promised ,blessings is by a manifestation of faith in Him, confidently trusting and rejoicing in these. Wherever we find fear, trepidation, unrest, we may know that these are symptoms of some spiritual malady; because what ever may be the outward disturbances, troubles, vexations, it is the privilege of those who are the Lord's. to have the peace of God which passeth all understanding continually ruling in their hearts. It is their privilege. to realize fully, thoroughly, that all things are working together for good to them because they love the Lord., and with this thought of their call to the Kingdom and of the Lord's willingness that they should serve therein, and with the assurance that He will give grace and glory and no good thing withhold from those who walk upriglitly, we certainly have reason for thankfulness and heart-rejoicing before Him.
THE VISION OF THE GREAT WIND AND THE DIVINE SEALING
(116) What is the-location of the scene of the vision recorded in Rev. 7; what general picture is here presented to our attention, and are we to understand this vision as coming tinder the opening of the sixth Seal? H '19-87.
(117) What are the four winds that are held back and. prevented for a time from blowing upon the Earth? H '19-87.
(118) What is the import of verse 3, "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees"? H '19-88.
(119) Who ire the four angels standing on the four corners of the earth? and why were they instructed to. hold back the four winds? About what. time are we. to look for the fulfillment 'of this Vision? H '19-88.
(120) Who is symbolized by the Angel ascending from the Sun-rising? H '19-88.
THE SEALING OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD
(121) What were the full results that St. John heard proclaimed as to the, efforts and ministries of the Gospel from Pentecost till the end of the Gospel Age; and what two classes of saved ones are clearly described? Rev. 7:4, 9-17; H'19-87.
(122) Who are the servants of God referred to, and what does their sealing signify? Rev. 7:3, 4; H '19-88.
(123) How long has the sealing of these servants been -going on; when will this. work be completed, and what will follow the sealing of the saints? C 165; H'19-88.
(124) Front what classes of humanity have the 144,000 sealed ones been chosen? Gal. 3:28; 6-15; Rom. 11:12-31; H'19-89, 90.
(125) What tests come to the Lord's people in connection with the sealing process? H'19-89.
VOL. III. August 15, 1920 No. 16
[Reprint from our Pastor] "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, through the knowledge of God. and of Jesus Christ our Lord, according as His Divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto God and life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us by His own glory and virtue."--2 Pelt. 1:2, 3--Reading of Sinaitic manuscript.
THE first question coming to us in connection with these words of exhortation is, To whom were they addressed? Are these the instructions given to sinners ? Is this the way by which sinners are to approach to God? No. These instructions are addressed to those who are already justified through faith in the precious blood of Christ, as indicated in the preceding verse. They are addressed--"To them who have obtained like precious faith with us [the Apostles] through the righteousness of our Lord and Savior,* Jesus Christ."
*Reading of Sinaitic MS.
The suggestion clearly is that to become believers in Christ Jesus-even justified and fully consecrated believers--is not sufficient; there is to be a progress in the life just begun which will continue as long as we are "in this tabernacle," and, if faithful, be completed in "the First Resurrection." The thought of the Apostle is not year by year revivals with year by year backslidings, but rather a continued progression in the new life. This thought is quite in contradiction of the experiences of very many who assume the name of Christ, which, alas! are too often expressed in the lines of the hymn:
"Where is the blessedness I
knew, when first I found the Lord?
The prevalent idea amongst this class of Christians might be termed alternate subtractions and additions of grace and peace. They first get a blessing, then lose it, then find it again to lose it again, and thus continue. There is a logical reason why this course is so, prevalent, and why so few know anything. about the multiplication which the Apostle here mentions--"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you." The reason is that the majority of Christians lack a knowledge of those things which. are necessary to preserve to them the grace and peace found through their primary faith in the Lord as their Redeemer; and much more do they lack a sufficiency of knowledge to multiply their grace and peace. The vast majority occupy the position mentioned by the Apostle Paul (I Cor. 3:1), "1, Brethren, could not write unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal-even as unto babes in Christ"; "when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God."--Heb. 5:12-14.
An error on one subject often leads to many errors on many subjects; and so it is in this case: the doctrine of eternal torment as the penalty for the fall, from which only believers will escape, has distorted the judgment and misdirected the efforts of many of the Lord's people. With some of the most earnest the first thought is personal escape from eternal torment, and naturally the second thought is to help as many others as possible to escape such an awful eternity. With this thought as the mainspring of conduct, we cannot wonder that by such, chief attention is Paid to. "saving sinners" and bringing them into the condition of "babes in. Christ." But after they become babes comparatively little is done to develop them in the knowledge of God, that they may grow up into the full stature of manhood in Christ.' As babes they are continually fed upon the milk, and hence are unused to the strong meat, so that when they do attempt its use, they are more likely to be choked by it than to be strengthened.
IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING UPON PROPER FOUNDATION
The Apostle points out the proper course by which the believer, having made a proper start, shall continue onward and upward in his Christian development -- multiplying his grace and his peace. It is all-important, however, that he begin right, that he be truly begotten "by the Word of Truth," "the faith once delivered unto the saints"--which the Apostle here terms "precious faith." This is not the faith promulgated by the higher critics. Their faith is far from precious. Their faith denies the fall, denies the ransom and all necessity for it, and consequently denies the resurrection based upon that ransom. Their faith consists in believing in their own judgments as the criterions of what is truth and what is error, and in doubting the testimony of Moses and the Prophets, of the Lord and the Apostles. Such a faith is not the "precious faith," is not "the faith once delivered unto the saints." And those who are building upon such -a faith are not of those here addressed by the Apostle, and we need not expect that either their grace or their peace will be multiplied. We trust, however, that the majority of our readers are of those who can sing with the spirit and the understanding also,
"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and
The true foundation, upon which we should build, is faith in the righteousness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,--faith that His sacrifice for sin was once for all a full and complete ransom-price for Adam -and all his posterity, so that all of these, as in due time they shall be brought to a knowledge of Christ, may, if they will, obtain cleansing and eternal life under the gracious terms of the New Covenant. It is those who build upon this foundation that may hope to multiply their grace and peace. How?"
The Apostle answers--"Through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." At -first it may occur, to some, that this has but a slight meaning, and that it simply signifies that we come to know that there is a God, and that there is a Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But the knowledge of God means far more than this to the advancing and developing Christian: to him it means an intimate acquaintance with the Father and with the Son, a knowledge of the "mind of Christ," which is a full and clear representation to us of the mind of the Father. We are to grow in this knowledge by studying the Word of God, by discerning through that Word the principles which govern the Divine conduct, as to how Divine justice, wisdom, love and power operate. These are progressive studies. Something may be learned the first day of our Christian experience, but the end of the first year should show considerable progress in the knowledge of the Divine mind; the second year should show us a still further increase, and so on.
As our intimate knowledge of the Divine plan and character increases, so must also our grace increase; for those who do not attempt to come into harmony, step by step, with that which they see of the Divine character will soon lose interest in such knowledge, while those who have the interest which leads to further and further study must of necessity be growing in grace continually. And as they grow in grace, so also will they grow in peace; for peace also is a progressive thing. We had peace when first we found the Lord and realized the forgiveness of our sins; but those who have made progress in the knowledge of the Divine plan and character have found their peace to be an ever increasing one; and those who have advanced some distance in the good way can speak of it in the language of the Apostles' and realize it in their hearts as being "the peace of God which passeth all understanding."
INTIMATE ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD
The Apostle, continuing, assures us that through this knowledge of God is imparted to us as by Divine power "all things that pertain unto life and godliness." What an assurance! This statement of the importance of knowledge for our Christian development in every direction reminds us of the words of our Lord, "This is life eternal; that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." (John 17:3.) To know God, as the Apostle here explains, signifies an intimate acquaintance with "Him that hath called its by His own glory and virtue." It is only as we realize something of the greatness and perfection of the Divine character that we are properly able to estimate our own littleness and imperfection; only as we see the beauties of His gracious character can we become intimately acquainted with God, familiar with His graces and virtues. The influence of this knowledge and fellowship with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, reacts upon our own hearts, and has a cleansing and sanctifying effect. Thus the Apostle prays for some that they might grow in the knowledge of God so as to be able to "comprehend with all saints what is the length and the breadth, the depth and the height of the love of Christ which passeth [human] understanding." (Eph. 3:14-19.) Those beholding the Divine character, even though but dimly, as through a glass, are thereby changed from glory to glory as by the spirit of the Lord.--2 Cor. 3:18.
The thought here brought to our attention is well illustrated in the modern art of photography. In photography there is necessary first of all a sensitized plate upon which the picture is to be reflected. Not any or every. plate will. serve such a purpose, but only one which has been specially prepared. This corresponds to the preparation of our hearts through, repentance and justifying faith toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ. This first step is necessary before we can receive upon our hearts the impress of the Divine character, its glory and virtue or strength. The second step is to bring the sensitized plate into good range with the features which are to be impictured upon it. This represents the proper attitude of heart; viz., full consecration to the Lord, and a desire to have His will to be our will and to have- His character represented in our lives. The third step is the removal of all obscurity, all darkness, allowing the light to shine fully in upon the features to be copied. This finds its counterpart in the knowledge of God, which, as the light of truth scatters the darkness of error and sin and gives us clearer views of the Divine character, and thus permits it to impress our prepared hearts and to stamp thereon His glorious character-likeness. Fourth, the sensitized plate must then be subjected to acids in order to the clearer development of the likeness. This also finds its correspondence; for our hearts, after we have gotten a clear view of the Lord, and been freely impressed with the glories of His character, require nevertheless the "fiery trials" of life, which, like the acid, only tend to develop the likeness the more perfectly. Fifth (for the correspondence continues), it is a well known fact that although photographs may be taken without the use of the precious metals, gold and silver, yet only when these are used will the photograph retain its color without fading. As heretofore seen, gold represents the Divine nature, and silver represents the truth; and only in pro portion as the likeness of our Lord is fixed in our hearts upon the basis of the truth and the Divine nature can a lasting likeness be hoped for.-Rom. 8:29.
THE DARKNESS HATETH THE LIGHT
The world in general, of course, "knows not God," and very evidently the great mass of professing believers know very little about Him. The Apostle Paul explains, that Satan, "the god of this world," is particularly interested in hindering any from obtaining the light upon the Lord's character and plan necessary to impicture it upon their hearts. He declares, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the glorious light of the Gospel of Christ (who is the image of God) should shine unto them." (2 Cor. 4:4.) Here we see the constant, and irrepressible conflict-the battle of darkness against the light, as our Lord explained it in His day, saying, "The darkness hateth the light, neither cometh to the light." But all who receive and rejoice in and obey the light are the "children of the light"; and after the image of the Lord has been impressed upon their hearts, such become light-bearers to others and so shine forth upon all with whom they come in contact, reflecting the light which is shining upon them from the Divine source unseen and unappreciated by the world.
At present the influence of these lights is but small in comparison with what it will be hereafter. Now, the Lord's people are like lights set upon a hill which cannot be hid, and yet their influence upon the world is comparatively small. It is still true of the Body of. Christ as it was true of the Head, "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not." But of the by and by it is written, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father;" "The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His beams." This will be the great Millennial Day; and as a result of the shining forth of the elect Church, we are assured that all darkness will disappear and the light of "the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth."
Proceeding, the Apostle assures us that, in order to the, attainment of this intimate knowledge of God which multiplies our grace and peace and gives us all things that pertain to life and godliness, God has "given unto us exceeding great and precious promises." Looking about us, we find that the majority of our fellow-Christians in the world, even of those who have the "precious faith" and trust in the "precious blood," must be "babes" in even elementary knowledge; for evidently they do not know much concerning these exceeding great and precious promises. If we would inquire of them with reference to these promises, the vast majority would answer,--Our hope is that by the grace of God, if faithful, we shall escape eternal torment and get to heaven. And many would add, If I can get just inside the door of heaven, A will be all I could ask or hope for.
What? Do they know nothing of the "exceeding great and precious promises" mentioned by the Apostle? Alas! apparently very little. But what are these promises, and who have knowledge of them?
HAVING THESE PROMISES DEARLY BELOVED
Only those who are following in the pathway which the Apostle here marks out; who multiply their grace and peace, through an ever-increasing, intimate knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,--those who are seeing more and more clearly the Divine character and plan, and whose hearts are in a susceptible and impressionable attitude, and upon which is being fixed more and more distinctly the image of God's dear Son, who is the express image of the Father. (Rom. 8:29.) Before these, shining out as helps by the way, in letters of light, are the' "exceeding great and precious promises" of God's Word, which to other hearts are unilluminated, dark and almost meaningless.
Which and what are these promises?
Oh, they are so many and so precious that it is difficult to know which would rank first. Perhaps first of all is the precious promise, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." Another is, "If I go away, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself"; in harmony with which is the prayer, "Father, I will that these may be with Me, where I am, that they may behold My glory." Another is, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne." Another is, "They shall be Mine . . . in that day when I make up My jewels." Another is, "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Another is, that we are "Heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, our Lord, if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." Another is, that we are "Begotten again to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." Another is, "To him that overcometh I will give power over the nations"--authority, dominion as "kings and priests unto God" to "reign on the earth." Another is that these kings and priests will reign to bless, as it is written, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Another promise is that Israel according to the flesh shall yet obtain mercy and blessing through the mercy of these kings and priests of the Gospel Age.-Rom. 11:32.
LOVE OF GOD SURPASSES HUMAN KNOWLEDGE
Finally, all of these exceeding great and precious promises are summed up by the Apostle in his declaration that, through this knowledge of God and through the influence of these precious promises, it is God's will that we who by nature were children of wrath even as others "might become partakers of the Divine nature." Oh, what a rich promise is here! How exceedingly great and precious! Who could have thought such a thing? Our highest thought might possibly have been perfection of the human nature, the earthly image of God, or perhaps,, as some have sung, we might want to be angels and with the angels stand. But although angelic nature is higher than human nature, our God has not been content with offering to the "elect" Church angelic nature, but in the riches of His grace and wonderful provision He has far outdone the highest flight of human fancy and has promised that the overcoming Church, the "Little Flock" to whom it is His good pleasure to give the Kingdom, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, shall be exalted to share the Divine glory and Divine nature of her Lord, as well as to share His Heavenly Kingdom.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for us: we cannot comprehend why our great Creator should exalt to His own nature such poor, helpless creatures of the dust as we by nature are. But this and all the other gracious promises exhibit to us more and more the heights and depths, the lengths and breadths, of the love of our God, which surpasses human knowledge.
In view of what we already know of our Creator; especially as revealed to us in and through our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus, shall we not, as those who have come to see something of His glorious I character, "press toward the mark" (Phil. 3:14) for the attainment of all that He may be pleased to reveal to us concerning Himself, that thus we may be more and more partakers of His spirit, more and more conformed to His likeness, more and more acceptable, and by and by be actually and everlastingly accepted in the Beloved, to the full realization of all those blessings which God has in reservation for them who love Him, and of which now we have the exceeding great and precious promises ?
Such promises and such knowledge properly inspire our hearts to love, obedience and self-sacrifice, that we may please Him who has called us to His own- nature and fellowship; and, as the Apostle says, "He who hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He [the Lord] is pure."
it was to this intimate knowledge of or acquaintance with the Lord and its reward that the Apostle Paul referred, saying--"That I might know Him and [experience] the power of His resurrection [the First or Chief Resurrection, by] being made [fully] conformable unto His death [-which full surrender is possible to those only who know Him well and have drunk in His spirit]." -Phil. 3:10.
THE VISION OF THE FALLEN CHURCH
"And one of Those Seven Angels hazing the Seven Bowls came and spoke with me, saying, 'Come, I will show thee the Judg ment of That Great Harlot, who sits on Many Waters; with whom the Kings of the Earth committed fornication, and the In habitants of the Earth were made drunk with the Wine of her Fornication.'"--Rev. 17:1, 2.
IT would appear from these words of the revealing angel to St. John, "I will show thee the judgment of that great Harlot, etc.," that this Woman, designated the great Harlot, had been seen in visions before by St. John. The fact that the name Babylon had been seen and mentioned in connection with preceding visions (Rev. 14:8; 16:19), and that this name was emblazoned on the forehead of the great "Mother of Harlots" (Rev. 17:5), together with the fact that the actions or deeds of the Harlot are mentioned in the past tense, would seem to establish the conclusion that in some way the Revelator's attention had already been drawn to this symbolic Woman. This fact has been noted by commentators. Concerning it, one of these has said "It is apparent from the representation, that the Woman had already been beheld by the Apostle sitting where there were seven mountains and many waters; that she was exhibited in that scene in a vision which is not recorded, and for the reason doubtless that her agency with the kings, who were exhibited in connection. with her, was unsuitable for description. The scene was the site of Rome. The seven heights were the seven hills of that city."--D. N. LORD.
As we have noted in previous expositions, there had already been briefly portrayed to St. John in symbols the judgment to fall upon the great religious systems mentioned in this vision of the Harlot Mother and her daughters. This judgment was mentioned briefly in Rev. 14:19 under the symbol of the casting of the Vine of the Earth into the great Winepress of the wrath of God. It was also referred to in the visions of the fifth, sixth and seventh Plagues. (Rev. 16:10-21.) In the seventh it is described in the words: "And the Great City became Three Parts. . . . . and Babylon the Great was remembered before God, to have given her the Cup of the Wine of the Indignation of His wrath." (Rev. 16:19.) St. John was now to have given to him a description of the origin and development of these same great religious systems under the symbol of a Mother and daughters; and also a more complete description of the judgment that would finally destroy them altogether. Furthermore, in connection with all this, he was to be given an explanation of the mystery of the "Beast" upon which the Harlot Woman was seated, and the final judgment on the nations represented in the horns of the Beast, these being to a greater or less extent associated with the "Woman" in spiritual harlotry during nearly her whole career, 1260 years, but who, at the end of that period, turn against her. And finally he was to have explained to him the symbolical significance of the Beast's seven Heads, etc.
We digress here to note that there seems to be an event described in connection with the seventh Plague which, when it meets its fulfillment, will be an evidence to the Lord's saints that the final doom of the Papal aspect of the anti-Christ will immediately be seen. Concerning this MR. ELLIOTT has made note, as follows:
"'And great Babylon was remembered before God to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath so that whensoever, after fearful wars and convulsions, a tripartition. [breaking up of triple alliance] like this shall take place. . . . it must be regarded as the proximate sign and very alarm bell to Chris-tendom of the judgment [to our understanding the final one], being then at length close at hand; of which the description is given in the two, or rather the three next chapters (17, 18 and 19)."
The reader will call to mind that the formation of this triple alliance-the Beast, False Prophet and the Dragon, referred to under the sixth Plague-is, as we understand, yet unfulfilled, which of course will have to meet its fulfillment, or what is represented by MR. ELLIOTT as the tripartition, before its division occurs. This we will recall was PASTOR RUSSELL'S thought.--H '20-213-216.
THE TRUE CHURCH BEHOLDS FULFILLMENT
We next note the symbolic significance of St. John's beholding the vision of the Harlot Woman seated upon the Beast, etc. This would seem to represent the Lord's consecrated, those especially in the time of the Harvest, having given to them an understanding, of that to which the vision refers; and as the seven Angels with the Plagues, we believe, represent the living saints of the Harvest period, then the angel that showed St. John the vision would represent those among the Lord's saints who, having an understanding of the vision, unfold the same, point out the system or systems referred to by it, and explain the various symbols associated therewith. We quote an eminent expositor's thought on the matter of St. John himself occupying a symbolical position, which will be found to be in perfect harmony with PASTOR RUSSELL'S view as far as he expressed himself in writing:
"The vision of the first of these three chapters (chapt. 17) is one introductory to the judgment on Babylon, and explanatory to St. John (to the symbolic man, St. John) of its causes and reasonableness. Such is God's usual method, when about to execute any very notable act of vengeance. He shows His Church its justice beforehand; thereby at once vindicating His own honor, and giving warning to such of His people as may thus far have been deceived by the offending party, to separate from it and so escape its doom." -ELLIOTT.
This. shows that MR. ELLIOTT believed in this instance at. least that St. John represented the Church at the period of the vision's fulfillment. The complete vision that the -revealing angel showed to St. John at this time is recorded in chapters 17, 18 and 19, and is naturally divided into three principal parts:
(1) The explanation of what is represented by the "Mother of Harlots," and the "Beast" over which (through its head, the Popes), she ruled in religious matters, that is, over the ten kingdoms, and is supported by the same. This explanation is contained in chapter 17.
(2) The account of the execution of the judgment upon this great Harlot system, which judgment is described before that of the Beast. This account is contained in both chapters 17 and 18.
(3) The account of the execution of the judgment upon the body of the Beast, its last (eighth) form, and the "False Prophet." These matters are related in chapter- 19:20. (Compare with Dan. 7:11, where it is stated that the body of the Beast, its anarchistic state, was 41 given to the burning flame.") Closely associated with the vision, we have also a picture of the Marriage of the Lamb and the great rejoicing in the symbolical heavens over the Harlot's destruction, and over the Marriage of the Lamb.-Rev. 19:1-7.
CARRIED DOWN STREAM OF TIME
We shall confine ourselves chiefly in this article to a consideration of the Harlot Woman. Let us note first the significance of the words of verse 3: "And he [the angel] conducted me, in Spirit, into a Desert." The spirit that St. John is represented to be in, and the desert or wilderness into which he was conducted, is doubtless symbolical and has a special reference to the state And viewpoint necessary for one to be in, and at, in order to understand the significance of the vision. PASTOR RUSSELL has thus noted the significance of this expression:
"And this fact is recognized by the Revelator, who shows that all who would get a true view of Babylon must, in spirit, take their position with the true people of God 'in the wilderness'-in the condition of separation from the world and worldly ideas and mere forms of godliness, and in the condition of entire consecration and faithfulness to and dependence upon God alone. 'So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman,' . . . Babylon. -- Rev. 17:1-5." -- Studies Vol. IV-27.
We may learn in a general way what the Harlot Woman represents by contrasting her with another symbolic woman St. John saw. (Rev. 12:1.) A woman is a common symbol employed in the New Testament Scriptures to represent the Church of Christ. Especially is this true in the Revelation. The pure Church is represented by a pure and chaste woman, indeed, a virgin; the false Church by an impure, fallen woman.
We have first the true Church described as a Woman clothed in a robe of sunlight, crowned with twelve Stars, occupying a station above the Moon; and in another place as clothed in fine linen, clean and white, which signifies that the pure Church is robed in the righteousness of her Lord, and is resplendent with heavenly Truth, having twelve special light bearers (stars), the twelve Apostles. (Rev. 12:1; 19:8.) This picture, while from God's standpoint and from the standpoint of a truly enlightened Christian describes the true Church throughout her long career, yet she has never been seen by the world or anyone as being united in one congregation or in any one system since shortly after Pentecost*, the tares beginning to be seen amongst the wheat at that time. The "Mystery of Iniquity," the apostate Church, was in evidence even in St. Paul's day, and finally resulted in a union with human government, she becoming "pregnant"--an evidence of her fall-and giving birth to a man child, Papacy. -H '19-335.
*The work of the Harvest period is that of separating unto the Lord and not into another sect or organization.
In contrast with the true Church, we also have in the vision under consideration, the Harlot Woman, robed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold, jewels, and precious stones, which in general is a symbol of the glittering splendor of earth, of worldly grandeur, thus in another way picturing her apostasy.-Rev. 17:4.
Again we have the pure Church described as a chaste and pure virgin espoused to Christ. (Rev. 14:4; 2 Cor. 11:2) ; and on the other hand, the fallen Church as a "Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth." (Rev. 17:5.) In another vision we have the pure Church represented as being persecuted and pursued by the Dragon into the symbolic wilderness, and almost overwhelmed. (Rev. 12:6, 13-17) ; on the other hand, the "Harlot" is represented as drunken with the blood of the saints, and seated upon a Beast that received its power. from the same Dragon.-Rev. 17:3 , 6; 13:2.
The true and virtuous woman dwells alone in the symbolic wilderness, not in favor with the kings (Rev. 12:6) : the harlot exercises a subtle authority over the kings and is in illicit union with them. (Rev. 17:2, 18.) The pure woman is finally seen as the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, and is hailed as such by a great multitude (Rev. 19:6, 7); on the other hand the Harlot is seen stripped of her robe of worldly splendor and hated and insulted and torn by the very kings who once upheld her.-Rev. 17:16. The Bride is last seen in the enjoyment of heavenly glory. (Rev. 21:10-27.) The Harlot, we lose sight of as like a great millstone cast into the sea and sinks out of sight, and is found no more forever.--Rev. 18:21.
PROPHETIC PHOTOGRAPHS OF ROMANISM
PASTOR RUSSELL published- in April, 1883, a remarkable exposition of this Harlot Woman by H. G. GUINNESS. Supplementing this writer's interpretation with a comment on the significance of the name Babylon being written on, her forehead:
"Names were formerly given as expressions of character or work; as for instance, Mary was commanded to call her child's name Jesus, which means Deliverer or Savior, because He should save His people from their sins. The name Babylon, applied by the spirit to the Church of Rome, expresses her character, for Babylon means mixture, confusion (see Lev. 18:23). This union of the Woman (Church) with the Beast (empire) constitutes the spiritual harlotry of which she is guilty.
"But the same word (Babylon) applies to her entire family; her daughters inherit both her nature and name, for she is a Mother of Harlots, and her works they do. Some of her daughters have followed very closely in her footsteps, in mixing Church and State. Such are 'The Church of England' and other State Churches. And such would other daughters be, also, if they could find empires willing to support them.
"The same spirit of confusion-the Church walking in unlawful union with the world-is seen on every hand. The Church (nominal) and the world walk hand in hand, unite their interests, and make merry together. It is the worldly element and its wealth that is sought by every sect to support and sustain the Church in the degree of luxury she wishes to enjoy. Alas, the, name Babylon is emblazoned on the brow of every sectarian system the world over! (Let every true saint consider these words.)" -Z April, '83-7.
Another very instructive and forceful description of this Babylon, "Mother of Harlots" symbol is found -in PASTOR RUSSELL'S journal, copied from a publication called the FREE METHODIST, a portion being the utterance of D. W. McLAUGHLIN:
"'The Babylonish Church has the outward body, or form of religion, but not the inward spirit of vital piety; consequently the Babylonish Church is spiritually dead.'
"All fallen sects, from which the inward spirit of vital religion has departed (or is departing), bear upon their foreheads the likeness or semblance of the 'Mother of, Harlots,' and of all abominations. It is admitted that the Papal Church is the first in the transgression, consequently the designation, 'Mother of Harlots,' applies only to her. Hence, the symbolic description of the great Harlot will apply to every apostate sect that bears her likeness or semblance. Let us note carefully the marks of apostasy in the Babylonish [Mother] Church. She is proud, haughty, high-minded, seeks worldly power and greatness; says in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. [Rev. 18:7.] She is artificially and gaudily attired, arrayed in gold and pearls. [Rev. 18:16.] She is rich, lives deliciously, and makes rich the merchants because of her costliness. [Rev. 18:15.] She despises and persecutes the true saints of God. [Rev. 17:6.] She seeks the friendship of the world, and is guilty of spiritual fornication. She fellowships the world, provides carnal entertainments for them, invites them to God's holy Temple to engage in festivals, lotteries, fairs and carnal devices, thus making of God's House a den of thieves. These are the marks of apostasy, and wherever they bear sway and predominate, be it in 'Beast,' [or image or wherever found], and the spirit of mystic Babylon; and the command of God is, 'Come out of her, my people,' etc.-Rev. 18:4." -Z Dec., '80-8.
MR. ELLIOTT'S exposition of this symbol of the Harlot Woman, written about 1850, confines it to the Roman Catholic system; which of course as describing the Mother system so far as it goes, is a correct application of the symbol. it is a very instructive comment, in that it defines what is the distinguishing difference between the "Beast" symbol, as applied to anti-Christ and the Harlot Woman seated thereon. Much of the exposition associated with the comment we cannot, because of later historical developments, agree with. We quote simply that part that bears on the matter just stated:
"As to the substance of the vision, which represented pictorially before him [St. John] a gaudily dressed drunken Harlot seated on a Beast of monstrous form with seven heads: . . . It is to be understood, that as the Beast in respect of its body, depicted the Papal Empire of the ten Western European kingdoms, and, in respect of its seventh or rather eighth head--[we would say with PASTOR RUSSELL, in respect to its fifth]--the succession of Roman Popes, constituting from after the sixth century that Empires spiritual rulers, so the Woman represented Rome in its character of the Papal See, and Mother Church of the apostate Churches of Western Christendom; including doubtless as part and parcel of 'herself the ecclesiastical state, or Peter's Patrimony in Italy, and the vast domains, convents, churches, and other property appertaining to the Papal Church elsewhere, both in. Europe and over the world."
We have frequently in these expositions called attention to the fact that these early commentators (who wrote before 1850) with one or two notable exceptions, did not see, what is so apparent today, namely, the fall of Protestantism; and therefore would naturally apply these various symbols of anti-Christian apostasy to the various aspects of the Romish Church system, only. The Romish apostasy was from its beginning seen by a few of the Lord's saints, and in the Reformation of the sixteenth century the fact of its apostasy became to a very large extent known throughout Europe. There, at that time, doubtless, the first call out of Babylon was heard by God's saints; now, since 1878 also, comes the final call out of both the daughter systems, the Image of the Beast, and the-great Babylonian Mother system as well.
THE SCARLET BEAST FULL OF BLASPHEMOUS NAMES
"And he conducted me, in Spirit, into a Desert; and I saw a Woman sitting on a Scarlet Beast, full of Blasphemous Names, having seven Heads and ten Horns." -Rev. 17:3.
In regard to the Beast upon which the great Harlot is in symbol represented as being seated, we will at this stage of our exposition give only a general explanation, reserving the details till later when we come to consider the explanation of the revealing angel bearing upon the same. We will merely say here, that different phases or aspects of this ten-horned, seven-headed Beast, have been mentioned several times before in the visions which St. John saw. It was also seen in vision by the Prophet Daniel in the sixth century B. C., as a one-headed, ten-horned Beast, and was explained there by the revealing angel to be the fourth and last great empire that should bear rule over the earth. Consequently the Roman Empire with its sub-divisions of the past and present, is that which is represented. That it was seen by St. John in this vision with all its heads and horns, denotes that it was at or after the time when the empire was divided (476 A.D.) that the events of this vision began to have their fulfillment. This would be some time after the close of the fourth or fifth centuries. As one has wisely observed on this point:
"The Harlot city, Babylon, rules and rides upon the Roman Beast in its ten-horned state. Now the ten-crowned horns, or ten kingdoms of the Roman Empire, did not make their appearance until after the barbarian eruptions, and the sack of Rome by Alaric; Rome Papal, on the other hand, rose into power simultaneously with these ten kingdoms, who 'gave their power and strength' to her. Rome Papal ruled rulers, who voluntarily submitted to her authority, as is here predicted. (Rev. 17:13.) When did ten kingdoms agree to give their power to Imperial Rome? Never! To Papal .Rome? Through the Dark Ages! By her alluring devices she obtained their willing submission, and she still claims it as her due. To every Pontiff who assumes the tiara she says, 'know thyself to be the father of kings and princes, the ruler of the world.' " (See H '20-24, 25 for a fuller description.)--H. G. GUINNESS.
The Harlot Woman is represented also as being seated on many waters. (Rev. 17:1.) This symbol is explained to St. John by the revealing angel in the words: "And he says to me, The Waters which thou sawest, where the Harlot sits, are Peoples, and Crowds, and Nations, and Languages." (Rev. 17:15.) As one from whom Pastor Russell frequently quoted on these matters said in explanation of this symbol:
"The Babylonian Harlot is represented as enthroned upon many waters, which are nations and peoples. She is not only a Church, but a Church ruling nations; that is, she claims a temporal as well as a spiritual sway. She governs the Beast and his ten horns; and so unites a civil and a religious supremacy. Now this is one of the most striking characteristics of the Church of Rome, and of that Church only. Other Churches may be so united to the State, that the State assumes the unlawful right to govern them; but no other Church assumes the right to govern the State, yea, and all States, and to make all men her subjects. Rome did this, and does so still, even in her decrepitude and decay. She claims two swords, she holds two keys, she crowns her Pontiff with two crowns, the one a miter of universal bishopric; the other a tiara of universal dominion. 'There is indeed a mystery on the forehead of the Church of Rome, in the union of these two supremacies; and it has often proved a mystery of iniquity. It has made the holiest mysteries subservient to the worst passions; it has. excited rebellion on the plea of religion; it has interdicted the last spiritual consolations to the dying and Christian interment to the dead, for the sake of revenge, or from the lust of power. It has forbidden to marry, and yet has licensed the unholiest marriages. It has professed friendship to kings, and has invoked blessings on regicides and usurpers. . . . Pius IX, in the year 1848, addressed the people of Rome thus, "It is one of the many blessings which God has lavished on Italy, that our three millions of Subjects should have two hundred millions of brother subjects of every language and nation." So that to the present day Rome by her extravagant and guilty claims does all in her power to identify herself with the Harlot of the Apocalypse,. who sits upon many waters, which are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.'*"--H. G. GUINNESS.
*See Hyslop's "Two Babylons."
WHO SITS UPON MANY WATERS
Another writer, commenting on this very significant symbol has said:
"The hills [where the Harlot is seated] were surrounded by many waters, which are symbols of peoples, multitudes, and nations, and tongues; of the Roman Empire, after the emergency of the ten kingdoms as is shown by their contemporaneousness with the Woman during the agency ascribed to her which she exerted subsequently to the establishment of those kingdoms. The Woman seated where the hills were and the waters, symbolizes the great Babylon, the nationalized hierarchies of the apostate Church; and actions are ascribed to her, which render it apparent that the kings of the earth were also exhibited as uniting with her in her idolatry. The spectacle, therefore, like the wild Beast on which she is now exhibited, represents the ancient rulers of the empire, as well as its kings in its last form; and in addition, by the waters, symbolizes their subjects in their relation to the Harlot; and its object was to represent her in her union with the kings in promoting idolatry, and her agency in seducing the people to join in their worship."--D. N. LORD.
"And the Woman was clothed in Purple and Scarlet, and adorned with Gold and precious Stone and Pearls." -Rev. 17:4.
We have already shown what in a general way the clothing and ornamentation of this Harlot Woman were designed to represent. This description of her attire is in perfect keeping with - that of a literal Harlot. We believe that this representation is designed to teach how the Mother system uses all the seductive arts and worldly attractions that wealth can purchase to allure and blind all but true worshipers to bow down at her altars. The daughter systems have followed the example of the Mother. This particular feature of the symbol as applied to the Mother system and some of her daughters also has had both a literal and symbolical fulfillment. Concerning the literal which may be applied to both Mother and daughters, none need to be in doubt as to the truthfulness of the application. As one has said:
"In regard to the portraiture of the Woman, 'robed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls,' it is, as applied to the Romish Church, a picture characteristic and from life; the dress- specified being distinctly that of the Romish ecclesiastical dignitaries and the ornaments those with which it has been bedecked beyond ,any Church called Christian; nay, beyond any religious body and religion probably that has ever existed in the world."--ELLIOTT.
Still another has said:
"Who does not know that scarlet and purple are as truly the colors of the Papacy as the red, white and blue are of the United States? In the Ceremoniale Romanum--an ancient book of directions, the dress and ornaments with which the Pope must be clad on assuming office are minutely described. Of the different articles of attire specified, five are scarlet. A vest covered with pearls, and a miter adorned with gold and precious stones, are also named in the prescribed apparel. . . . And how striking it is to note that true instinct which leads the Ritualists (some daughter systems) of our time to copy the dress marks of Rome, just as they are reviving her pagan ceremonial and doctrine-so strongly is the prophetic negative bound to reproduce itself in every photograph of history. How the Anglican Church is 'resuming the decorations of the Harlot' appears from the following: In the services connected with the recent consecration of the Cathedral of Truro, the red vestments which were abolished in the reign of Elizabeth, were again so conspicuous that 'Punch' photographed the scene under the heading of 'Outbreak of Scarlatina at Truro.'
"When the first American Cardinal was created, the infection of 'cardinal red' seized on fashionable circles throughout the land, far and wide. . . . If any say that it is only a narrow and fanciful sectarianism that can detect such minute identity between the prophetic picture and the papal reality, they have but to be reminded that so honored a Catholic saint as Bonaventura of the thirteenth century condensed this whole apocalyptic prediction into a single pungent sentence, and applied it to the Papacy of his day, when he designated her as 'a wanton clad in scarlet.'"--A. J. GORDAN.
THE GOLDEN CUP FULL OF ABOMINATIONS
The next descriptive symbol seen by St. John was a golden Cup in the Harlot's hand, full of abominations and impurities of her fornication. (v. 4.) A Cup, when employed as a symbol in the Scriptures is used in various senses. In this Scripture it would seem to represent the boastful claim of the Roman Catholic Church system to be the only repository and dispenser of Divine Truth.* However, in her case the contents of the Cup alone proves the falsity of the claim. It seems also to denote the enticing means and spacious pretenses by which this system allures people to idolatry. It is used in this sense by the Apostle Paul when contrasting idolatry and its rites with the memorial Cup of our Lord: "Ye cannot drink of the Cup of the Lord and the Cup of demons." (1 Cor. 10:11.) One has said that the Harlot's name and Cup represents her idolatry and artful agency in seducing the nations to apostasy. MR. ELLIOTT sees the "Woman" here depicted before St. John "as a double character, viz: a Harlot to the ten kings, and a vintner or tavern-hostess vending wines to the common people, according to the custom of earlier times in which the Harlot and hostess of a tavern were characters frequently united, so the Church of Rome answered to the symbol in either point of view; inter changing mutual favors, such as might suit their respective characters, with the kings of anti-Christendom; and to the common people dealing out for sale, the wine of the poison of her fornication, her indulgences, relics, transubstantiation- Cup, as if these were the Cup of salvation, therein drugging them and making them (figuratively) bespotted and drunken."
*The Scriptures never recognize but one, that mentioned in Eph. 1:22, 23.
Another expositor who died about 1896 has said: "What is that chalice [Cup] which the Woman lifts aloft? 'Having a I golden Cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.' Idolatry and spiritual apostasy are clearly symbolized here."
Comparing Jer. 51:7, where this same symbol is employed, with this Revelation symbol, this writer proceeds:
"Euphratean Babylon was the prolific Mother of idolatry, that idolatry which Scripture clearly shows to be the liturgy of demons-and with this she seduced God's ancient people into spiritual fornication. And now the Church, having become paganized by absorbing into herself the literal elements of this ancient heathenism, is photographed as mystical Babylon, in her turn enticing to idolatry and spiritual unchastity."
This writer further enlarges upon this subject and goes on to say:
"It is no exaggeration to say that the Eucharistic Cup which Rome now puts to the lips of her communicants [priests] with its mixture of miracle and magic, resembles more nearly the chalice of the ancient -Chaldean 'Mysteries,' than it does the chaste and Simple memorial Cup which Christ left in the hands of His [prospective] Bride, the Church; and in view of the transformation which has taken place, what startling significance is there for Romanizers, in the Apostle's saying: 'Ye cannot drink the Cup of the Lord and the Cup of demons; Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and the table of demons' (1 Cor. 10:21 )-startling, if it indeed be true, that the Bride of Christ, who in the beginning is described as having turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and wait for His Son from heaven, is become such that she is now turning men from God to serve idols, seducing them to make an image of the sacrament, before which they fall down in worship.**"--A. J. GORDAN.
**If any shall say that this holy sacrament should not be adored, nor carried about in processions, nor held up publicly to the people to adore it or that its worshipers are idolatrous, let him be accursed. "-Council of Trent.
AND ON HER FOREHEAD A NAME WRITTEN
"And on her Forehead a Name written, 'Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of the Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.'"--Rev. 17:5.
It is evidently this vision of Rev. 17 that PASTOR RUSSELL has reference to when he says:
"In symbolic prophecy, the term Babylon is applied at times only to the Church of Rome, called 'Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots.' The name could apply only to her for centuries, so long as she was the only mixed system and would tolerate no others; but other ecclesiastical systems, not so great as the 'Mother,' nor yet so wicked, nor so radically wrong, sprang up out of her, through various attempted though imperfect reforms. Errors, tares and worldliness in these also largely predominating, the name Babylon is used as a general or family name for all the nominal Christian systems, and now includes not only the Church of Rome, but all Protestant sects as well; for, since Papacy is designated the Mother system, we must regard the various Protestant systems which descended from her as the daughters -a fact very generally admitted by Protestants [so-called] , and sometimes with pride."--Studies Vol. 111-154.
It will thus be seen that while the "Mother" system, because of her greatness, unity and idolatrous rites and ceremonies, is very clearly distinguished. from all others, it is not so easy a matter to see all of those who make up the daughters. These can only be discovered by their spirit -- in some respects like the "Mother's" -- manifested sometimes in claims to be "the channel," God's chosen "arrangement." There are other ways of distinguishing the daughters; however, it would seem that this is a most prominent one.
"The Revelator intimated that it would not be difficult to discover this great mystical City [the Mother system. See Rev. 17:18], because her name. is in her forehead; that is, she is prominently marked, so that we cannot fail to see her unless we shut our eyes and refuse to look."Studies, Vol. IV-23.
For further references to PASTOR RUSSELL'S writings on the significance of this Babylon symbol see Scripture Studies Vol. IV-24, 25, 26; also other comments.--H '20-89, 90.
The chapter we are considering contains other important descriptions of this Harlot Woman which refer to matters of the past as well as the near future developments, As these are in the vision associated with the "scarlet colored beast," upon which the Harlot is seated, we leave their consideration to another article, which will have for its chief purpose a consideration of this symbolic Beast.
In conclusion, we quote from an address delivered at a Prophetic Conference in the City of Chicago in 1886. The speaker was addressing an audience made up largely of adherents of the Futurist school of prophetic interpretation, who believe that the anti-Christ, the "Man of Sin," foretold by Daniel, the Apostle Paul and St. John, is yet future, yet to be revealed in a single person. Defending the Protestant historical interpretation which applies it to this system, the speaker said in part;
"Men and brethren: We are here for a candid and courteous discussion of certain great prophetic questions. Among these none is more important as affecting our present testimony than the one which I have just now touched.
"I need not remind you that one of the first tasks which the ritualistic leaders fifty years ago felt called upon to undertake was that of getting rid of the Protestant interpretation of anti-Christ as the Pope of Rome. How desperately they wrought at this task will be apparent to those who read [Cardinal] Newman's* essay on the 'Man of Sin,' and observe especially his earnest wrestling with the ominous saying of Gregory the Great, that 'Whosoever adopts or desires the title of universal bishop, is the forerunner of anti-Christ.
*A Roman Catholic Commentator.
"If I must take sides between parties on this question, my sympathies will be with Latimer and Cramner and Bradford, whose vision was clarified by the fires of martyrdom, to recognize their persecutor and call him by name, rather than with (Cardinals) Manning and Newman, whose eyes are holden by the charm of mediaevilism.
"But our appeal is not to man, but to the sure word of prophecy. The profoundest discussion of this question which has appeared in fifty years in my opinion is contained in two volumes by MR. GRATTAN GUINNESS. There, history is shown to answer to prophecy, like deep calling unto deep; there, the mysterious chronology written ages ago by God is verified point by point by the terminal periods which are running out under our own eyes. Such correspondence cannot be accidental; such clear pointings to the Man of Sin as a story of his predicted age as 1260 years gives, cannot be fortuitous. One of the ablest prophetic scholars of the Futurist school in this country declares that he knows not how the conclusions of these volumes can be gainsaid.
"I humbly concur in that opinion, Nay, I speak rather of The Book than of any human books, and avow my conviction that the Papal 'Man -of Sin' was accurately photographed on the camera of prophecy thousands of years ago, that no detective searching for him today would need any other description of him than that which is found in the pages of the Bible. Taking these photographs of Daniel and John and Paul, and searching the world upside down for their originals, I am confident that this same detective would stop at the Vatican and after gazing for a few moments at the Pontiff, who sits there gnawing the, bone of infallibility, which he acquired in 1870, and clutching for that other bone of temporal sovereignty which he lost the very same year, he would lay his hand on him and say: You are wanted in the court of the Most High to answer to the indictment of certain souls under the altar, 'who were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they bore,' and who are saying, 'How long, 0 Lord, holy and true dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell upon the earth!
"My brethren, let us search the Scriptures anew, and let us be sure that they do not require it of us, before we silence our testimony against the Man of Sin [the Papal hierarchy], as anti- Christ."--A. J. GORDAN.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of -my life; of whom shall I be afraid? . . . One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple."--Psa. 27:1, 4.
THE inspired Psalmist in loftiest strains of devotion and fervor puts into the hearts and minds of God's consecrated people sentiments of faith and trust and love and adoration to God, who is worthy of all praise. While many of these sentiments were based upon his own checkered experience, they were uttered under Divine inspiration for the instruction and edification specially of the true spiritual Israel of God.
Thus the Lord Himself would indicate to us the sentiments of fervent devotion to Him that should fill our hearts; and in this view of the matter we see how closely He would draw us to Himself in love and faith and childlike confidence. While reason and common sense have their rightful place and are indispensable to a religious life, the soul that never mounts upon the wings of holy and fervent emotion, that is never stirred to its depths by a sense of the Divine goodness and beneficence, has never yet experienced the blessedness of the relation of sonship. A true son of a beloved and approving father naturally experiences the fervor of tender emotion. Especially is this so of a true son of God who recognizes in his Heavenly Father the perfection of every grace, the crowning glory of all excellence, and who lives in close communion and fellowship with Him and has the constant witness in himself of His love and approval.
Ah, those were no empty words of our blessed Lord Jesus when He said,--"The Father Himself loveth you." "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (Jno. 16:27; 14:23.). It is under such conditions that all those holy emotions of love, tenderness, faith, gratitude and praise fill to the brim our cup of joy; and with holy ecstasy we sing, "My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
COME BEFORE HIS PRESENCE WITH THANKSGIVING
How full of the melody of fervent emotion, of grateful praise, and of loving confidence are the inspired psalms! They bid our hearts rejoice and our tongues be glad, and they show us how, by meditating, on His word and obeying His precepts, to "Rejoice in the Lord always, and in everything give thanks."
It was in view of the Lord's providences and of His many deliverances from the power of his enemies, and of the uniform kindness and mercy of God as he meditated upon them, that David exclaimed, "The - Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?" This consolation, variously expressed through out the Scriptures, comes with all its blessed potency in our times of greatest need: the more desperate and determined the foes we encounter and the more fierce the conflict with the powers of darkness, the more glorious is the deliverance and the clearer are the manifestations of Divine grace. And, as a consequence, faith takes deeper root, and, with renewed confidence and assurance, lays hold upon all the precious promises of God; and love and gratitude well up from hearts refreshed with an increased sense of the Divine favor and blessing.
So it was with David; and so it is with God's faithful people who lead a life of prayer and faith and close fellowship with God. Such fellowship with God in adversity and in prosperity naturally tends more and more to center the heart's affections and desires in God, until the one thing supremely desired and sought after is that expressed by the Psalmist-to continually dwell in the house of the Lord, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.
WHO SHALL ABIDE IN THY TABERNACLE?
To dwell continually in the house of the Lord signifies to be continually counted worthy and to be recognized of God as a member of His Church, "whose house are we if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Heb. 3:6.) These, who hold fast their faith, and by faith overcome the allurements and temptations of the world, dying daily unto its spirit, hopes and ambitions, and living more and more unto God -these shall indeed dwell in the house of the Lord, in His holy, spiritual temple, His Church, forever. Now they dwell in the holy place of consecration and adoption; and the Lord says, "I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels;" and by and by He will present them to Himself "a glorious Church," without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, and worthy, as kings and priests unto God, to pass beyond the vail into the Most Holy--into the glorious spiritual condition and into the immediate presence of God.
"To behold the beauty of the Lord" is to behold the beauty of holiness, to have this image of His glory ever before the mind's eye as our inspiration, our light, our guide, our pattern and our chief joy. Here indeed is the Christian's secret of a happy life-happy in the midst of whatever may come to him of affliction or pain or loss or perplexity or whatever experiences come through the checkered scenes of this present life. To behold the beauty of the Lord really is only possible to those who dwell in His house; for only to such does He reveal Himself "the fairest among ten thousand and the one altogether lovely." Such only know how to appreciate the beauty of His holiness; such only can delight themselves in the Lord and in the continual meditation of His law, and in conforming their lives to it.
"To inquire in His temple" signifies that those who are truly of the Lord's house are inquirers, students of His holy law and testimony, and that their delight is in so doing. The language of their hearts is, "Oh how love I thy law; it is my meditation all the day." "I have meat to eat that ye [who are of the world] know not of;" for "It is my delight to do thy will, 0 God."
This one desire is the sum and substance of the Christian's ambition as more and more he becomes dead to the world and alive toward God. Let us more and more seek after it and conform to it; for in so doing Christian courage, boldness, fortitude and zeal will be greatly multiplied. These all are not only born of faith, but they increase and grow strong by a living faith developed and strengthened by the lessons of experience.
Courage, born of faith and strengthened by endurance, cries with humble boldness in the midst of the deepest darkness of the most perplexing difficulties, and in the midst of the Wildest storms and most threatening dangers, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
The Apostle Paul surely caught this blessed inspiration when he said, "Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say rejoice. . . . Be careful for nothing; but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." Mark how all through the Word of God we are taught, not only to be sober, vigilant, diligent, thoughtful, prayerful, and always abounding in the work of the Lord through whatsoever it may bring of toil or care or reproach or persecution, but in the midst of any or all of these experiences we are taught to be happy and to be filled with the inspiration of a holy joy. And not only are we counselled to be joyous, but the manner of life which naturally produces this joy is pointed out to us. When we come into the Lord's 'family we enter a new and holy atmosphere which those only can realize and appreciate who have the one desire above referred to paramount to every other, viz.,--to be counted worthy to abide continually in the house of the Lord.
Lord! ye heavens, adore Him;
Praise the God
of our salvation;
--SEPT. 5-1 KINGS 5:1-8:66-
-Golden Text.--"My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples."-- Isa. 56:7.
VERY interesting is the story of the great Temple of God purposed and largely prepared for by King David and built by King Solomon the wise. It was commenced in the fifth year of Solomon's reign and finished in the twelfth. The story of its cost seems fabulous, the gold and silver employed in its construction being estimated at from $1,000,000,000 to $2,500,000,000. We are inclined to think the smaller estimate nearer to the truth, or that the ancient standard of values, a talent, possibly experienced a change of values, as, for instance, was the case in the English pound sterling, which originally meant a pound of silver in value, but subsequently a quarter of a pound of silver, and today, by reason of the change of standard from silver to gold, it has a still different meaning not at all connected with silver. Similarly the Jewish talent may have experienced changes of value in the long centuries of its use. How ever, regardless of the aggregated value of the gold, silver, brass, precious stones, constituting the Temple, we have every reason to conclude that it was a wonderful structure for its day-one of which King Solomon in all his glory and wisdom , and the people of Israel with him, had good reason to rejoice and not feel ashamed.
The context shows that King Hiram of Phoenicia not only contributed largely to the Temple as a friendly gift, but also supplied skilled workmen under Solomon's pay, who in various ways assisted in the preparation of the brazen columns for the porch, utensils for the court, etc., etc. Thirty thousand, Israelites were drafted to serve in the Temple construction one month out of each quarter. Besides these there would appear to have been 150,000 laborers, apparently foreigners, hired from out side (1 Kings 5:13-16; 9:21, 22), or they may have been aliens residing in the land of Palestine-Canaanites. The overseers would appear to have been 550 chiefs and 3,300 subordinates, of whom 250 were Israelites, and 3,600 Canaanites. (2 Chron. 2:17; 8:10.) This preponderance of the Canaanites amongst the overseers seems to imply that the laborers were Canaanites, and also reminds us that "the Canaanite was still in the land." The fact that the Canaanites, strangers from the Commonwealth of Israel, were the chief laborers in the construction of the great Temple, seems to have been typical of the fact that aliens, strangers, foreigners and enemies of the Truth have the larger share in the work of preparing the antitypical Temple. Their hammering, their chiseling, their melting and casting, under Divine providence, serve to make ready the living stones and the glorious pillars for the spiritual house. Verily they know not what they do. Their work is greater, better, than they comprehend, as the glories of eternity will demonstrate.
The lesson opens with the Temple's construction finished, and the chiefs of Israel gathered with King Solomon at Jerusalem for its dedication, at the time we call October, corresponding to the Jewish New Yearfeast held in connection with the great Day of Atonement. The Atonement Day was probably past, the sacrifices of atonement having been made in the Tabernacle and the blessing of the Lord, as usual, dispensed upon the people for the new year. While they were thus legally cleansed, reconciled to God typically, was the most appropriate time for the dedication of the Temple, which represented the spiritual hopes and aims of the nation.
YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD
The Ark, representing typically the Divine Covenant with Abraham, the fulfillment of which centered in the Christ, must be transferred from the Tabernacle to the Temple, that thus the latter might supersede the former as the meeting place between God and His covenant people. The thousands of sacrifices offered during the procession of the King and priests and the celebrities of the nation, besides evidencing their devotion to God and their willingness to sacrifice, had a typical significance as representing the consecration even unto death of the whole company thus engaged in transferring the emblem of their faith and hope. In some respects, therefore, the King and the chiefs of the nation represented typically our Lord Jesus and the overcomers, and the chief priests and under priests represented the same from another standpoint. The procession was the meeting place between the sacrificing emblems of the present Age and the typical representation of the Kingdom glories and honors of the next Age. The Lord's people today seem to be following this type. The Great King, antitypical of Solomon, has about finished the Temple construction and has sent forth the invitation of the heads, the chiefs of spiritual Israel, to attend and share in the great dedication. These chiefs are not the great of this world, but the Lord's very Elect. From the four quarters of the spiritual heavens they are gathering, the procession has already commenced, but as the Temple was not complete until the Ark, its most important part, was placed in position, so the glorious Temple will not really be finished until every member of the Body of Christ has been changed from the Tabernacle condition to the Temple or permanent condition in the First Resurrection.
The declaration that there was nothing in the Ark save the tables of stone on which was inscribed the Law, seems at first to be in conflict with the Apostle's statement in Heb. 9:4, where he mentions also the golden pot of manna and Aaron's rod that budded. We are to remember, however, that this description related to the Tabernacle and not to the Temple. The golden bowl of manna which did not corrupt was a type or illustration of the immortality or incorruptibility which the Lord has provided for the Royal Priesthood, and the budded rod was a reminder that the blessing and fruitfulness and privilege of service belong to the antitypical Levite, but as types both of these will end in the present dispensation. They met with the Tabernacle conditions; they will not be needed in the future conditions of glory, honor and immortality represented by the Temple, because there the glorious things typified by these will have been fully entered into by the overcomers of the Church. But the Law will still be an integral part of the Divine covenant. As the Apostle explains the fulfilling of the Law is love, and love never faileth. It will always be the Divine requirement and essential to participation in any of the blessings connected with the Divine favor represented in the Ark of the covenant.
THE TEMPLE SHALL BE FILLED WITH HIS GLORY
While the priests proceeded with their work of placing the Ark., the Levites, "arrayed in white linen, having psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the [brazen] altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets. It came to pass that the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voices with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, 'For He is good for His mercy endureth forever,' that then the house [Temple] was filled with the cloud"--the peculiar pillar of cloud which symbolized the Lord's presence through the wilderness journey, and subsequently in connection with the Tabernacle, and now in the Temple, for the first time rested upon it. This, which outwardly had the appearance of a cloud in the sanctuary on the Mercy Seat, represented an extreme brightness-so great that the priests could no longer remain in the Holy.
But meantime the King explained to the people the significance of the Temple, that it was the house of God and built under Divine direction, given to himself and to his father David. Then standing near the Altar of the Court, spreading forth his hands toward heaven, he prayed a most beautiful prayer, and one which we recognize as prophetically directed, and as teaching us the purpose and object of the great antitypical Temple constructed by the antitypical Solomon. The -literal Temple was to be the place toward which all the Israelites should look as God's dwelling place, the center of His power, authority, forgiveness and blessing and help in every time of need. So in due time, when the spiritual Temple shall have been constructed and dedicated and filled with Divine power, it will be the center toward which all who would approach God shall look for help and assistance and blessing and forgiveness, toward which they shall make their prayers, and in which they shall realize the manifestation of Divine power and blessing on their behalf.
After Solomon's dedicatory prayer was finished, the Lord openly manifested His favor toward the King and all the people by accepting their sacrifices with fire from heaven, as we read: "When Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of Jehovah filled the house [the Temple] . . . And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down and the glory of the Lord was upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying, 'for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever' "-probably joining with the Levites in singing Psalm 136.
THE SONG OF MOSES AND THE LAMB
It is noteworthy that the Levite's and the people did not sing of Divine wrath never ending, but of Divine mercy forever. This, however, according to the strict significance of the Hebrew word, does not mean "without an end," but "to an end"--that is to say, that Divine mercy shall be exercised to its completeness, to its fulfillment, until every creature shall have been brought to a knowledge of the Lord and His goodness and to an opportunity of knowing Him and of benefiting by the great promise made to Abraham and symbolized in the Ark of the covenant, through which all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Similarly in the last book of the Bible we read of the song of Moses and the Lamb, sung by the antitypical Priests, saying, "Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not reverence Thee, 0 Lord, and glorify Thy name.? For Thou only art holy: for all peoples shall come and worship before Thee, because Thy judgments [righteous dealings] are made manifest." (Rev. 15:3, 4.) This is the song which none but the over-, comers can truly appreciate and sing at the present time, but by and by-when the glory of the Lord shall have filled the Temple -- the peoples, the multitudes, shall learn that song, shall learn of the Divine mercy, and as a prophecy it shall be fulfilled, and all peoples shall bow to the Lord to confess His goodness and His love and to enjoy at the hands of the antitypical Solomon (the Christ), as Prophet, Priest and King of the new dispensation, the opportunity of full reconciliation to God and full return to the perfect conditions of mind and of body, and to life everlasting, lost by Adam's disobedience, and brought back by the great Redeemer for as many as will receive it upon God's terms.
Naturally and properly our chief interest centers in the antitypical Temple, the antitypical Solomon, the antitypical Priests and antitypical people. There is a sense in which every member of the New Creation may be said to be individually a temple of the Holy Spirit now, a sense in which every individual should build up his own faith and character from the Divine promises and by compliance with the Divine requirements, but this is not the larger antitypical view of the Temple. In its antitypical sense Solomon's Temple certainly represented the glorified Christ, Head and Body, built up of living stones, as the Apostle Peter explains. Under the supervision of the Anointed, the work of gathering the various stones for the Temple has been in progress throughout the Gospel Age. As not any and every stone was taken for Solomon's Temple, but only those of specific dimensions and peculiar pattern, in accordance with the plan, so it is with the antitypical, the living, stones. Only a certain class are approached at all, and only those which being cut out are first roughly quarried out and found suitable in character and dimensions are tooled at all, and only those which under the tool yield proper results and become conformed to the intended pattern will ultimately find their place in the glorious Temple which our Lord as the great Master-Builder is constructing. As before intimated, this accounts for the fact that various agents, even Satan himself, may be used of the Lord as servants for the chiseling and polishing and fitting and preparing of these living stones for their future glorious position. Viewed in this light, what a satisfaction may come from the trials and difficulties which all the Lord's people are sure to experience, and without some of which they would be justified in fearing that they are not sons, but bastards. (Heb. 12:8.) Only those who have some such insight into the Divine program can ever reach that position to which the Apostle Paul attained, who claimed that he could also rejoice in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, which will not be put to shame, but which will be rewarded eventually in the glorious joint-heirship in the Kingdom promised by our Lord to His faithful.
THE LIVING STONES IN PREPARATION
To our understanding of the teaching of Scripture, the fact that the materials for Solomon's Temple were prepared before its construction began, and were so perfectly fitted that no iron tool needed to be used in the construction, indicates that the antitype, this Gospel Age, has seen the preparation of the various living stones, which when. ready were marked of the Lord to their positions in the Temple, and fell asleep in Jesus until the time for the First Resurrection, the time for the construction of the Temple. To our understanding we are now living in that time and have been in it since 1878. The living stones of the past have been brought together, and the Temple is merely waiting for the few living stones which are still under process of trial and disciplining, chiseling and polishing. The resurrection "change" coming to each of these in turn places him with the fellow-members of the grand Temple of the Lord. The picture of the bringing of the Ark would seem to be another illustration of the same lesson-the bringing of the members of the Body of Christ from the Tabernacle or earthly condition to the heavenly or Temple condition. Soon the Ark will be in place, and Priests and Levites and people are generally learning to sing of the Lord's mighty love and that His mercy endureth to completeness-to the full limit to which mercy could be of service, benefit or advantage, to the completion, when every ear shall have heard, every eye shall have seen, and every heart shall have shown appreciation, shall have come to a knowledge of the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us, as day after day rolls by, remember, our threefold relationship then to this Temple: (1) We are still in process of preparation as living stones. (2) As members of the Royal Priesthood carrying the Ark we are marching from the Tabernacle into the Temple condition; some of our number have already entered in and some are still on the way. (3) As the Lord's people the time has come for us to know, to sing with the spirit and understanding, the new song of Divine mercy, justice, love and truth. Let us be faithful in each of these ,respects, fulfilling our parts, and ere long our course will be ended and the glory of the Lord will fill the Temple. It will be after this that the people will take up the refrain-for his mercy endureth forever -- to completeness.
DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD FOREVER
The Psalmist declared, "I was glad when they said unto. me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." Those who hear the invitation to be come members of the house of God, the house of sons, the antitypical Temple, and who receive the invitation into good and honest hearts, are indeed made glad, "Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound." We couple with this a similar expression by the same poet Prophet, who declares, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Not in earthly houses, not in earthly temples, do we hope to dwell forever; but those who become members, living stones in the spiritual house, the heavenly Temple now under construction, will indeed dwell in the house of the Lord forever. For them to go out would mean the destruction of the house, for of it they will be members in particular; as the Lord declares they will be pillars in the house of the Lord, and the ministers of His grace and truth to all the people. This text will be true also of the world during the Millennial Age. All mankind will then be invited to approach the Lord in worship, to approach the spiritual temple, the Christ, and through the Christ to approach the Father; and all who shall hear that message and who shall obey it will be glad indeed, even as the message brought by the angels at the birth of Jesus intimated that eventually the Tidings of Great joy shall be unto all people.
--SEPT. 12-1 KINGS 10:1-13, 23-25--
Golden Text.--"Blessed is everyone that feareth Jehovah, that walketh in His ways."--Psa. 128:1.
BY the time Solomon had reached his fortieth year, under the blessing of wisdom which he craved of the Lord, he had made the kingdom of Israel famous throughout the then civilized world. His kingdom connected with Egypt on the south, with the desert on the east and the Mediterranean Sea on the north and west, except that small portion known as Phoenicia, whose king, Hiram, had made a league with Solomon and assisted him greatly in the materials and workmen for the Temple. Solomon's ships and those of Hiram were known to all the nations of that time as far east as Judea and as far northwest as Britain. The account of the wealth which flowed to him is astounding. His table dishes were made of gold, a thousand shields for his mighty men were of gold, and other things in proportion were magnificent in the largest degree. The brilliancy of his mind found expression not only in financial channels, but his army was equipped on a scale of equal magnificence. Fourteen hundred chariots were imported, and thousands of horses for these and for a cavalry detachment for his army, Literary matters were not neglected; he wrote many sonnets and spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his fame in respect to these matters had extended to all parts of the world.
THE HALF WAS NEVER TOLD
Our lesson deals specially with the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon's court. She herself declares that she had heard of his fame and had come to see him with her own eyes, -and that notwithstanding her great expectations she found that not one-half of his greatness had been told her. The distance she came is estimated at 1,500 miles, and as the means for traveling was by camels, and their average speed twenty miles per day, it is estimated that the journey to Jerusalem and back to her home consumed five months; besides whatever time she spent at Solomon's court. Unquestionably it would be much less inconvenient today to journey around the earth than it was for the Queen of Sheba to visit Solomon.
Tradition tells us that the Queen sent her ambassadors with a letter to King Solomon before she went herself. With them she sent - 500 youths dressed as maidens, with instructions that they were to behave accordingly in the presence of Solomon. She sent also a thousand costly rugs inwrought with gold and silver, and a crown composed of finest pearls and gold hya cinths; also camel-loads of musk, amber, aloes and other precious products of South Arabia. She added a closed casket containing an unperforated pearl, a diamond intricately pierced and a crystal goblet. A letter accompanied these gifts as follows: "As a true prophet thou wilt no doubt be able to distinguish the youths from the maidens and divine the contents of the enclosed casket, to pierce the pearl and thread the diamond and to fill the goblet with water that has not dropped from the clouds nor gushed forth from the earth."
The legend declares that when this embassage reached Jerusalem King Solomon told the bearers the contents of the letter before they presented it, and made light of their mighty problems. He caused the thousand slaves to wash their hands and faces, and from the manner in which they applied the water detected their sex. He directed a fiery young horse to be ridden through the camp at the top of speed, and on- its return caused its copious perspiration to be collected in a goblet. The pearl he pierced by some process known to him. The threading of the diamond with its crooked perforation puzzled him for a moment, but at length he inserted a small worm, which wound its way through, leaving a silken thread behind it. He dismissed the ambassadors without receiving their presents. When the emissaries reached the Queen of Sheba, their reports of these matters determined her to visit King Solomon in person. The account of her visit and her astonishment are recorded in this lesson.
We are not informed as to the character of her questions, many of which quite probably were in the nature of conundrums, after the custom of that time. Everything connected with this story, however, assures us that Solomon was truly a wonderful man, that his mental powers were great and active. Nothing illustrates this better than the useful and expensive water works and arrangements which he provided for the capital city. So far as is known these were the first of the kind in the world and very much resembled the superior arrangements of our day. The fact that, although constructed 2,500 years ago, they have recently been partially put into operation again, indicates clearly the solidity of their construction. Truly we see that the Lord's promise to the King was abundantly fulfilled, that he was wiser and richer than all others of his day, and subsequently. The Queen was attracted specially by the sumptuous and methodical arrangements of the King's palace, his provision for the ministers of the realm, their uniform, etc., and the grand stairway which led up to the Temple. The expression "There was no more spirit in her" corresponds very closely to an expression of our day-it took her breath away.
TIRE GREATER THAN SOLOMON
Our Lord indicated what otherwise would not have been quite apparent-namely, that Solomon's wisdom and glory, prosperity and peace were typical; that the antitype of Solomon is the Christ. Our Lord spoke as never man spoke, the people marveled at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth, and His fame during the three and one-half years of his ministry spread abroad;--yet so far from being recognized. by His own people He was crucified as an enemy of their nation and an enemy of God. Referring to the matter He says, "The Queen of Sheba shall rise up in judgment with this generation and shall-condemn it-, for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon is here."--Matt. 12:42.
By these words the Lord indicated His approval of the desire for wisdom evinced by the Queen. Indeed this is the spirit of the Scriptures-growth in knowledge, grace and love, knowledge being essential to the development of character. Here we have set before us a lesson which our Lord taught in the words, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled"--blessed are they who hunger and thirst for wisdom, for knowledge, for understanding of the good and true, knowing that they shall be blessed of the Lord and shall find that which they seek. The Lord's words were a reproof for His own nation, and indicated that they were careless, indifferent, respecting the Truth. It is still more important for us of today to notice that the same spirit of indifference prevails in nominal spiritual Israel. As the slightest suggestion of the heavenly wisdom manifested in our Lord's words and deeds should have kindled enthusiasm and zeal in nominal Israel, which would have hungered and thirsted for the Truth and by seeking would have found the Truth, so likewise today what confidence we have respecting the Lord and His character and plan should awaken every spiritual Israelite and lead him to seek the great fountain of wisdom.
And as at the First Advent the "Israelites indeed" were attracted to the Lord and learned of Him, so in spiritual Israel those who are Israelites indeed are attracted to the Lord and are taught of Him today; but as the Israelites at the Lord's First Advent were few in number as compared with the professing nation, so the spiritual Israelites of today are few in number compared to the millions of nominal Christendom. But as it was not until after Solomon had built the great Temple of God at Jerusalem that his fame was spread abroad and his greatness manifested, so with the antitype, Christ; not until He, the antitypical Solomon, has erected the great Temple of God, which is the Church-not until it shall have been filled with the Divine glory as the New Creation--not until the New Jerusalem shall shine resplendently with the riches of Divine grace and the brilliancy of the Lord's polished jewels, will the fame of Emmanuel reach to the uttermost parts of the earth. Then, as the Scriptures. declare, "Many peoples shall go and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Israel;- He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for the law shall go forth out of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."--Isa. 2:2, 3.
THE WISDOM OF THE GREAT KING
All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. The whole world shall have its eyes opened to behold the riches of Divine grace and wisdom embodied in Christ, Head and Body, reigning in the New Jeru salem for the blessing and uplifting of the entire race of Adam-whosoever wills. The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the face of the great deep, and there shall be no need to say every man to his neighbor and every man to his brother, Know thou the Lord, because all shall know Him from the least even unto the greatest. (Isa. 11 :9; Jer. 31 :34.) The wisdom of the great King, the antitype of Solomon, will be exercised on behalf of not merely the one nation of Israel, but on behalf of all those who shall come into covenant relationship with the Heavenly Father, typified by this people which entered into a covenant with the Lord, and which because of that covenant was the ob ject of His mercy and care. In Revelation a little glimpse of the New Jerusalem is given and of the greater than Solomon who will be the light of it, and we are told that the nations shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it.-Rev. 21:22, 24.
The Queen's astonishment at what she found, and her declaration that the half had not been told her, reminds us of the Scriptural declaration respecting the greater than Solomon and the wonderful Kingdom glories in reservation for His faithful. We read: "Eye hath not seen nor car heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath in reservation for them that love Him." Now we know in part and see as through an obscure glass, but then we shall see as we are seen and know as we are known , and be like our Lord and share His glories.--1 Cor. 2:9; 13:12.
The Queen's exulting remarks at the conclusion of her visit were, "Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee and hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the Lord thy God which' delighteth in thee to set thee on the throne of Israel; because the Lord loved Israel forever, therefore made He thee King to do judgment and justice."
The greater than Solomon, in harmony with the Divine arrangement, has prepared to have His faithful servants of the present time with Him to share His glory and His Kingdom, and the blessings of that time will be specially theirs. Happy those men who will be in His presence, who will see Him as He is and be like Him, and be the recipients of His favors. 0 blessed thought! 0 words with heavenly wisdom fraught!'
RICHES OF THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM
And although the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom will come first and chiefly to the Church of this Gospel Age, which will be associated with the Lord in the Kingdom glory and sit at meat with Him and participate in His honors and be blessed by His presence and wisdom, yet indeed a great blessing will remain for the world. As the Queen expressed it of the typical King, that God's blessing upon Israel was manifested in choosing him for King, so God's blessing to the world of mankind will be manifested in the establishment Of Messiah's Kingdom, which is to bless all the families of the earth and to grant them an opportunity of coming back to covenant relationship with God, and thus eventually, if they will be obedient to His judgments and justice, back to all that was lost in Adam, with super-added favors and mercies.
By faith some of us have heard of the Lord's fame in advance of the establishment of His Kingdom; by faith some of us have come from afar and offered Him our treasures, laying our all at His feet; by faith these have been accepted of Him, and instead He has given us exceeding great and precious promises and hopes far outweighing and outvaluing the little all that we gave to Him.
Although Solomon's wisdom and greatness and riches and honor as the king typified the greatness of the Christ in the Millennial Kingdom, his subsequent
manifestation of weakness, causing the decay of his greatness, is not to be esteemed as typical, for of the antitype it is declared that of the greatness of His Kingdom there shall be no end. Nor is this type alone in this particular. Similarly David was a type in some particulars; so was Moses a type in some particulars and not in others; so was Adam a figure of Him who was to come, yet not a figure in his transgression and condemnation.
One of the wise sayings of Solomon was: "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice," and yet this can only have a partial application to any kingdom of man during "this present evil world," of which Satan has attempted control as the prince thereof. Owing to the inherent weakness of our race even its best specimens are far from absolute righteousness, and consequently no government of the present time, no government under imperfect men, can fulfill the predictions of these words. This is implied throughout the entire Scripture, in which the Lord promises that He will establish His Kingdom amongst men, and that under Emmanuel's government all the families of the. earth shall be blessed. It is for this reason that the Lord's people still pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven;" it is for this reason that the Apostle declares that the "whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now -- "waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.
The sons of God, the Little Flock with their Head, the Lord Jesus, will by and by constitute the righteous who will be in authority, in 'power, in governmental control of the world by Divine arrangement, based upon the great Atonement Sacrifice. Of that time and of that great Ruler, Head and Body, it is written, "In His day shall the righteous, flourish." In His day Satan shall be bound a thousand years to deceive people no more, and all the influences of righteousness and truth shall be let loose, that the world may be flooded with the light and knowledge of the glory of God. Under those blessed conditions whosoever will may take of the water of life freely and live forever.
SAINTS WHO COME UP OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION
(126) What class of saintly ones is referred to in chapter 7:9-17, and why are they distinguished and separate from the 144,000 sealed ones? H '19-105.
(127) Was St. John's vision of the Great Company of tribulation saints as they exist in this life during their trial state, or does this vision apply to the future state? H '19-103, 104.
(128) What is the import of the statement that they pass through great tribulation and wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb? H '19-104.
(129) Cite other Scripture texts bearing upon this class of tribulation saints, and explain how Psa. 45:9-14 applies to both the Little Flock of sealed ones and the Great Company of tribulation saints. H '19-105.
(130). What reward do the Scriptures indicate will be given to the tribulation saints? and cite such Scripture texts as seem to show conclusively that the reward of this class will not be earthly. H '19-104.
THE OPENING OF THE SEVENTH SEAL
(131) To what point in human history and in the development of the Divine Plan do we reach in our study of the events of the sixth Seal ? H '19-118.
(132) What time and events are covered under the opening of the seventh Seal? And are we to understand that the events of the seventh Seal follow those of the preceding six? H '19-119.
(133) If the same period of time is referred to under the opening of the seventh Seal as that of the preceding-, six, what is the difference between the occurrences and events of the first six Seals and those of the Seventh? H '19-119.
(134) What marked change of the scenes and circumstances is presented to our attention immediately at the opening of the seventh Seal? Rev. 8:1; H '19-119.
(135) Where should we logically look for the period of the half hour's silence, and what is the reasonable deduction as to its probable length? H '19-119, 120.