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THE HERALD

of Christ's Kingdom


VOL. XXXV March 1952 No. 3
Table of Contents

"Till He Come"

"'Tis Midnight"

Communion

The Letters of Jesus

Buried with Him in Baptism

The Everlasting People

Recently Deceased

The Jew


"Till He Come"

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"
 - 1 Cor. 10:16.

ONCE again the Passover season, as com­memorated by the Jews, is approaching, beginning this year on the 9th of April.* This festival, which lasts for seven days, celebrates the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egyp­tian bondage; it recalls the thraldom of that nation to Pharaoh, and its redemption therefrom under the mighty hand of God. Furthermore it reminds them of the series of plagues which God sent to incline the heart of Pharaoh to do His will, to end their bondage, to "let My people go." It reminds them especially of the tenth and last of these plagues, in which the destroying angel smote the firstborns throughout the land, but "passed over" the firstborns of the children of Israel because of the blood of the lamb which, in obedience to the divine command, had been sprinkled on the lintels and door-posts of their houses.----------------------------
*As noted on page 2 of this journal, we will commemorate the death of the antitypical Lamb after six p. m., April 8
.

Two Passovers in Type and Antitype

These two passovers, the one of the firstborns by the destroying angel, and the other of the en­tire nation at the Red Sea, were instances of the miraculous power of God operating in behalf of His people, and they might well be had in ever­lasting remembrance by Israel. Christians, how­ever, heeding the instructions of their New Testa­ment guides, realize that the chief intention of these passovers was to serve as pictures or types of God's greater purposes. In the light of the "spirit dispensation," the "passing over" of the firstborns of Israel in the last night of their long bondage in Egypt is seen to point to the passing over of the Church of the Firstborns during the long night time of this Gospel Age now drawing to a close. The passing over of the nation at the Red Sea shortly thereafter, well illustrates the ultimate deliverance from the bondage of sin and death of every member of Adam's race, who, be­fore the close of the Millennial Age, shall have demonstrated his desire and purpose to live in ac­cord with the laws of truth and righteousness­ to worship God in the beauty of holiness. Praise God for His purposes, now seen to be ripening fast!

In the typical arrangements the lamb held the place of chief importance, and was the subject of very special and particular instructions. In the first place it was to be one without blemish, reminding us of "Christ our Passover [Lamb]" as the Apostle Paul suggests. (1 Cor. 5:7, 8.) He had no blemish of sin in Himself, nor did He contract any stain or spot of sin by His contacts with the world. As the Apostle Peter says: "We were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." - 1 Pet. 1:18, 19.

The blood of the typical lamb was sprinkled on the door-posts and lintels of the Israelite's house, but the blood of Jesus, the unforfeited life which was made available to us by the shedding of His blood, has been graciously applied to our hearts, removing from us the burden of unforgiven sin, setting us free from all consciousness of evil.

In instituting the typical passover, we read (Exod. 12): "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you." How truly this feature is fulfilled in the experience of a consecrated believer of this Gospel Age! Everything in his life dates from the time when he came "under the blood." Before that all is darkness; before that all is death. He does not care to even think of the darkness of his unconverted days, and when he does occasion­ally mention them, it is only that his Savior may be the more magnified, in the minds and hearts of those to whom he speaks; and that the contrast of that past with his present happy state may awaken in hint a still greater realization of his cause for gratitude and devotion.

As this year we once again take "the loaf" and "the cup" we can think of no better preparation of heart than to meditate on the events connected with our Lord's celebration of the Last Passover and of His institution of the Supper in its stead. We might begin at Bethany, where the last journey that Jesus made from His Galilean home ended. It was here, three months previously, that He had raised Lazarus from the dead-an act which had decided the Sanhedrim to put Him to death. It was here, on the 9th day of the month of Nisan, just six days before the Passover, that the feast was given +in His honor, at which Mary's beauti­ful deed was done, when she took her box of spikenard perfume-very costly and precious-rep­resenting perhaps a man's wages for a whole year, and broke it over the head and feet of our Lord, and wiped His feet with the hair of her head, and the house was filled with the odor of the perfume. All! the perfume of that beautiful deed will cling to the garments of the Church as long as time shall last. "Wherever this Gospel shall be preached," said our Lord, "this also, that she hath done, shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." Praise God that once at least in His life on earth our Lord received the love, and gratitude, and de­votion, that His heart craved, and that were His due. For her deep insight, her understanding heart, her act of loving, generous, unhesitating de­votion, Mary has placed us today-has placed the whole Church of Christ, for all time-under an end­less, unpayable, debt. Praise God for Mary, then; praise God for the men and women since who have shared her large, generous, devoted spirit and disposition. And may a rich odor of the selfsame perfume of love ascend from our hearts to our Lord as at the "Table" we hold sweet communion with Him and with each other.

On the day after Mary's deed of love, our Lord started on His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The following day He cleansed the temple for the second time; and for the remainder of that day, and all of the next, He was occupied in teach­ing the people who hung upon His lips, and in frustrating and confounding those who sought to entangle Him by captious questions. At the close of the day He poured out His infinitely pathetic appeal: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" As they left the temple He foretold its overthrow: "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down,"

Panorama of Future Unrolled

Later, in the cool of the evening, He sat down on the brow of Mount Olivet, and in answer to the questioning of His four close disciples, Peter, James, John and Andrew, He unrolled the pano­rama of the future to them-the whole course of events from and including the destruction of the temple and the city down to and including His own return, when He would come in power and glory. These ever-living, ever-weighty words, closed the greatest day of His teaching ministra­tions on earth. He ended them with a gracious prophecy of Israel's ultimate reception of Himself "Ye shall not see Me henceforth till ye shall say: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." Late in the evening of this same day He announced the coming Passover in connection with which He instituted the Supper which for His followers was to take its place thereafter. "Now it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings, He said unto His disciples, Ye know that after two days cometh the passover, and the Son of Man is 'betrayed to be crucified."-Matt. 26:1, 2.

The disciples knew, of course, that the passover festival was due in two days, but that their Master was to .be betrayed and crucified then must have affected them with great concern, stupification, and dread. His words must have come to them as a stunning blow. Only afterwards, when they would collect their thoughts, and calmly weigh the past, would they be able to realize their full significance.

The next day our Lord apparently spent alone, on Mount Olivet. There, where He had so often done before, He quietly poured out His heart in prayer, and engaged in sweet fellowship and com­munion with His Father. There He was refreshed and strengthened for the coming sorrow, suffering, humiliation, and death.

The following day the disciples came to Him at Bethany. They knew that preparations had to be made for the passover that evening. They knew that two day-, before He had declared that this Passover was connected with His being de­livered up to be crucified. And therefore it must have been with peculiarly mixed feelings of awe, anxiety, and sense of duty, that they said unto Him: "Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?"

"With Desire Have I Desired"

We are familiar with His reply: how He sent Peter and John ahead to make ready; how they were to go to a certain man's house; how they would be led to the right place by following a water-carrier servant who would meet them as they entered the city; and how, on telling the good­man of the house: "The Master saith: Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with My disciples?" he would show. them a large upper room furnished and prepared. And we re­member how they went, and found as He said, and made ready the Passover. Into that upper room, where the Passover had 'been made ready, came Jesus in the evening, when the hour for the cele­bration, sunset, had come, and sat down, or re­clined, at the table, and the twelve Apostles with Him. Into that same upper room let us enter now, in spirit, with unshod feet, with hushed breath, with holy reverence, with hearts attentive and subdued. For it is in that room that our Lord's wondrous character shines forth in clear­est brilliancy. In full view before Him-only a few hours away-were Gethsemane and Calvary. But these are not permitted to disturb His seren­ity, as in that room He breaks for His loved ones a box of ointment infinitely more precious than the one of Mary, and filled the room with a heaven­ly fragrance.

The words of mingled sadness and joy with which He introduced the Passover services were themselves a most affecting revelation of His heart: "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." How strange it seems to us, now, as we look back on that scene, with our hearts melting at the memory of His love, that one of the Twelve could have been un­moved thereby, but persisted in following, to its bitter end, his previously determined course of treachery. How strange it seems to us, now, that another of the Twelve, bold and impulsively cour­ageous as a rule, would prove, under test, to be so weak as to deny his Lord. How impossible it seems to us, now, as under the guidance and in the power of the Holy Spirit we yield our hearts to Him afresh, in a glad renewal of our consecration vows-how strange it seems, that apparently all of them should have given way to a spirit of strife and contention, as to which of them should be counted the greatest. Yet these are the recorded facts, and they may well occasion in us each a most solemn and earnest heart-searching, that their lessons may not be lost on us.

But sad and unseemly though their selfish strife had been, Jesus knew that at heart the Eleven were loyal to Him. And He knew that because this was so they would ultimately triumph through the power of the Holy Spirit, over all the forces of sin and selfishness which would oppose them. But this was not true of Judas. His heart was disloyal, and it would be morally impossible for Jesus to proceed with the institution of the Supper so long as Judas remained. Our Lord's next step, therefore, is to dismiss Judas from the Apostolic circle, that only loyal hearts might remain. Yet even this He did in so gentle a manner that only Judas himself, and John, knew that the Master was aware of his treachery. The rest thought that our Lord merely instructed Judas to buy some things they might need for the coming feast of unleavened bread, or perhaps that He had told him to give something to the poor.

We do not care to dwell long on the treachery of Judas; it will be sufficient if we remember that his fall came about through the exercise of a spirit the exact opposite to that displayed by Mary-a spirit of selfishness, avarice, love of money, love of position, wrong ambition. If in our hearts we should ever find any trace of this spirit, let us be prompt to seek the Lord's grace to overcome it; to dispel it, to thoroughly root it out. And as we may be able to recognize in our hearts the spirit of Mary, that spirit of unselfish sacrifice, which our Master Himself possessed in such superlative degree, let us not quench it, but rather let us al­low it to have sway there, and to permit its freest exercise in deeds of love which He can and will approve.

After Judas had left their company, Jesus seemed to breathe more freely. He seemed no longer greatly troubled in spirit, notwithstanding the dark exper­iences that lay ahead. Only a few hours remain in which to say all He wishes to say to His dis­ciples, and He proceeds at once to comfort their hearts as He poured forth upon them in all the fulness and freedom of His love those great thoughts and exalted feelings and emotions, which St. John, through the Holy Spirit, has preserved for us in the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th chapters of his Gospel.

A New Commandment

His first word is an expression of triumph: "Now is the Son of Man glorified." Following this out­burst of triumph is a word of tenderness addressed to His own. He gives them the endearing name "Little children." He tells them that but a little while would He yet be with them. And so deeply would His absence be felt by all who had once enjoyed companionship with Him that they would have the loneliness of orphans. Nor could they now go through the loneliness, suffering, and death through which alone His future glorification could be reached. And until the reunion, which could not be until after these events, He gave them that wonderful, new commandment, to love one another. This commandment was not new in the sense that it had never been given before. The commandment, or law, of love, was written deep in the constitution of the first man. Love to one's neighbor is enjoined in the Old Testament. (Lev. 19:18.) But it was new in that it was to commence from a new center, even Jesus Himself; and it would be suited to new circumstances.

The Church, which was His Body, was about to be founded, and love was to be the mighty in­fluence animating its members, the powerful bond uniting the members of that Body to each other and to Him their Head. His Body members, united to each other in love, were to be His love-bearers to the world. To the world, the constant love which would be seen in the relationship of the members of the Church to each other would be taken as proof of their discipleship. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." This love would be to the world a pledge of the purifying, en­nobling, humanizing, influences of the salvation of the Lord, and an evidence, both unfailing and in­contestable, of that salvation's heavenly origin. This "new commandment" was most loyally obeyed. And the flame of this entirely new affec­tion on earth, streaming forth from the holy fires burning in the early churches, proved a mighty influence in the spread of the Gospel. And we, too, are determined, are we not, that our fellow­ship shall be similarly attested; that men shall be constrained to say of us, as of them, "See how these Christians love one another."

Yet one more word came from the Master's lips before He instituted the Memorial Supper we celebrate -- a word of too important a significance for us not to mention it here. It was a warning of the coming sifting which Jesus foresaw would come upon the Eleven, and though it was ad­dressed to Peter, indeed, it was applicable to them all.

In this whole scene our Lord stands before us in the noblest light. In it His wisdom, love, faithfulness, and tenderness shine forth conspicuously; His foreknowledge of the future and of what goes on in the world unseen; His word of warning His sympathy with, His powerful intercession on the behalf of, His tempted, struggling, disciples; the strong foundation which he lays for them when they do stumble and fall, namely: "I have prayed for thee"; His genuine joy in their restoration, and His "When thou art converted strengthen thy brethren"; -- all these unite in forming, or strength­ening, in our minds, the conviction that Jesus was indeed, what He claimed to be, the very Son of God, sent forth by the Father, to redeem mankind.

"This Do in Remembrance of Me"

The time had now come for the institution of the Memorial Supper. After Jesus had washed the disciples' feet, and while He was explaining to them its import, and holding conversation with Peter, the Passover meal was progressing. It had now come to an end. The eating of the lamb, and of the unleavened bread, reminding them of the sal­vation of their nation from Egypt, had taken place. The Psalms associated with the Passover services had been sung; the several cups of wine had been passed in their order. And now Jesus proceeds to institute a new thing. Taking some of the bread and fruit of the vine He consecrated them to high­er and holier uses. Henceforth they are to be me­morials of deliverance from a bondage more dread­ful than that of Egypt; by a Savior infinitely holier than Moses. He Himself had come and was about to lay down His life as the antitypical Lamb of God. As the Apostle declares: "Christ [Jesus] our Passover' [Lamb] is sacrificed." Henceforth, for those who realize this, and who trust in Him, old things would pass away. Even the old Pass­over would no longer be appropriate for them as, by reason of its fulfillment, this type would now become obsolete. But in its place, they, His fol­lowers, should have another feast. As we read (Luke 22:19, 20), "And He took bread [or, as the Revised Version translates, "a loaf"], and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is My body, which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the New Testament in My blood, which is shed for you."

The evident meaning of our Lord's words is "This loaf and this cup symbolize or represent My body and blood." The loaf was not actually His body, for that He still possessed, and in no sense had it yet been broken. So also the contents of the cup was not His blood, which was still in His veins. But the picture is complete when we recog­nize that the unleavened (pure, unfermented) loaf represented our Lord's sinless flesh; and the fruit of the vine represented His blood -- the life poured out in sacrifice.

The Apostle Paul throws an additional light on the meaning of these symbols; when he inquires:

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread [or loaf] and one body; for we are all par­takers of that one loaf." - 1 Cor. 10:16, 17.

Fellowship with Christ

What then, is this feast? It is a communion; communion with Christ, and communion with each other. But what is meant by communion? The word breaks up easily into "union" and its prefix "com," which means "with"; so that the whole word means "union with." Union, then, lies at the basis of communion. We must be one with Christ in heart; baptized into His death; quickened by His spirit; joined, here and now, to His resur­rection life. Thus are we brought to 'be members of His Body, one with the whole Church, of which He is the Head. We cannot have communion with Christ until we are in union with Him; and we can­not have communion with the Church, which is His Body, until we are in vital union with it.

How may we have communion with Christ? In many ways. First of all, by personal fellowship with Him. We speak with Him in prayer; He speaks to us through His Word. We have com­munion with Christ in His thoughts, views, and purposes; for His thoughts are ours according to our capacity and the degree of our sanctification. Those things which please Him, please us; those which grieve Him, grieve us, if we have "the mind of Christ."

We may also have communion with Christ in our actions. Have we ever tried to pass on the Gospel to those who know it not? This Jesus did. Have we found it difficult? So Jesus found it. Have we ever striven, with tears, to reclaim a backslider? Then we were in communion with the Good Shepherd who, hastening into the wilder­ness to find one lost sheep, finds it, lays it on His shoulder, and brings it home rejoicing. Yes, in acts of self-denial, liberality, benevolence, piety, we enter into communion with Him who went about doing good.

So it is with our sorrows. Certain of us have had large fellowship with Jesus in affliction. Jesus wept. He lost a friend, and so have we. Jesus grieved over the hardness of men's hearts; we know that grief. Jesus was exceedingly sorry that the hopeful young man turned away, and went back to the world; we know that sorrow. Those who have sympathetic hearts, with love for others, readily enter into the experience of the Man of Sorrows.

Nor this alone; we have been with our Divine Master in His joys, especially in that joy which was set before Him of bringing salvation to the dying race. For that joy He endured the cross. And though the fruition of His sacrifice is not yet matured, yet even now He must be joyful at the prospect of seeing the travail of His soul. And in the spirit of our minds we rejoice with Him, and covet a share in the fellowship of His suffer­ings, a privilege offered only to His "brethren."

Fellowship with the Brethren

So also with the communion to be had with the fellow-members of the Body of Christ. This is richly enjoyed with all who possess His Spirit. Much of it is experienced in our conversation, and in our correspondence, although of course it is not limited to these. We who reverence the Lord speak often one to another in regard to mutual hopes and aspirations. Others may from time to time speak against each other, but Christians worthy of the name do not do so. Nod their communion is well expressed in that dear hymn we love to sing: "Blest be the tie that binds"

"We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear."

Who May Participate?

Just one word more in closing. Who may par­ticipate in the Lord's Supper? To this question we would reply: No one should join in this celebration who does not trust in Christ as his or her personal Savior from sin and death; and who does not pur­pose to walk worthy of the Name of Jesus, in His footsteps wherever they may lead, to the best of his or her ability. No one should come to the Lord's table lightly, carelessly, but, as the Apostle exhorts: "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup." But on the other hand none should absent himself or refrain from communion from a sense of un­worthiness. Thank God for a sense of sin, for a keen conscience about it; but let not that keep any away. "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous," and "If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to for­give us our sins, and to cleanse us from all un­righteousness " Thus cleansed, let us draw near, gladly confessing our love for our Lord, rejoic­ing in the pleasure and privilege of remembering Him, in this, the way appointed, "For, as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come."

- P. L. Read


"'Tis Midnight"

"'Tis midnight and on Olive's' brow
The star is dimmed that lately shone:
'Tis midnight; in the Garden now,
The suff'ring Savior prays alone.

 

"'Tis
midnight, and from all removed
The Savior wrestles lone with fears;
E'en the disciple whom He loved
Heeds not his Master's grief and tears.

 
"'Tis midnight; and for others' guilt
The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood;
Yet He who hath in anguish knelt
Is not forsaken by His
God.
 

''Tis midnight, and from heav'nly plains
Is borne the song that angels know;
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior's woe."


Communion

What is communion? Communion is simply sharing; to have communion, therefore,: we must have something to share; and to have communion with a holy God, we must have something which we can share with him. We cannot share nothing, and He will not share with us in the unclean. Our attainments, therefore, cannot yield communion, nor our works, for the best have sin in them. But, thank God, there is a perfect offering, the offering of our blessed Lord; and if we would have communion with God, the only way is to share that offering.

And this at once gives us the key to the cause of our general and acknowledged lack of communion. Of inter­course we have enough, perhaps too much. Of communion, how very little! The reason is, so little of Christ's Offering is apprehended, that when believers meet they have scarce anything of him to, share. And the same is true of our ap­proaches to God, for there may be intercourse with God without communion. How often when we approach God do we speak to him only about our feelings, our experiences, our sins, our trials. All this is right; we cannot be without these, and we are right to tell them to our Father. But after all, this of itself is not communion, nor will speaking of these things ever yield it to us. Let us come before God to be filled with Christ, to be taken up with him, his life, his ways, his sweetness; let the confession of our failures and nothing­ness in ourselves be made the plea that we may be filled with him; and our intercourse will be soon changed to com­munion, 'for in him we ''shall have something to share. May the Lord Jesus lead use more into his presence, there to be taught what we possess in Jesus; and then, when we meet our brethren or our Father, we shall feast together on what there is, in Him "the chiefest among ten thousand," the One "Altogether Lovely."

The Great Sacrifice

We thank Thee for the blood,
The blood
of Christ, Thy Son,
The blood by which our peace is made
Our victory is won.

 
We thank Thee for the grace
Descending from above,
That overflows our widest guilt
The eternal Father's love.
 
We thank Thee for the hope
So glad, and sure, and clear;
It holds the drooping spirit up
Till the long dawn appear.

- A. Jukes.


The Letters of Jesus

"He that hash an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches."
- Rev. 2:7

(Continued from last issue)

THE INTENSITY and the directness to every one, of this exhortation bespeak the presence of truths of great importance. It has been rightly said that "this form always is used of radical and generative truths, great principles, most precious promises, being as it were eyes of truth, seeds and kernels of knowledge" -- things in which mankind have the profoundest interest, and without the learn­ing of which we are at great disadvantage. By these words, then, appended as they are to each of these seven Letters, we are here instructed by the Savior himself that they are of very momentous import and relate to things of the deepest consequence to our welfare.

But the same words also propound a matter of urgent duty which we are not at liberty to omit or disregard. The Scriptures everywhere make much of hearing-the giving of attention to what God has been pleased to record and make known to us in his Word. When Jehovah speaks, it is for those to whom he speaks to give ear and to observe what he says. When he calls to us and makes communica­tions, it is for us to regard and consider what he speaks. He who walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks does not dictate Letters to his Churches and send them to us from heaven, and yet leave it to our whims or option to give attention to them or not. Giving us these utterances of his mind and judgment, he gives with them his solemn command and requirement: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches."

INWARD HEARING AND HEART-HEEDING

And when we come to a close comparison of the divine precepts with the ways in which many treat God's holy Word, we cannot but wonder at his for­bearance toward the great mass of those who make up our modern Christendom. With all the activities and zeal of these people of Ephesus, the Savior still found occasion to fault them with having left their first love; but when we look at most of the church ­people of our day, even in regard to this one item of "hearing what the Spirit saith," it would seem very doubtful if they ever had any real love at all. It becomes every one of us, therefore, to search and try ourselves well as to our treatment and hearing of what God has given for our learning, that through patience and comfort of the Scriptures we may have hope. . . .

But this exhortation has also a deeper meaning. Every one has capacity to give attention, and so it is laid upon every one to employ that capacity. But not every one who hears with the outward ear does thereby really hear in the full sense of the Savior's meaning. There is an inward hearing-a hearing in which the things spoken take hold on the soul and in­form and move it -- a hearing which answers to what is heard. There must be spiritual discernment, a taking in of the truth, and a heart-heeding of it, so as to be guided, influenced, and controlled by it in our thinking and doing . . . .

Notice, then, the character and attitude of those who become true hearers of the divine word. "To him that overcometh will I give 'to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."­ - Rev. 2:7.

THE LIVING CHRISTIAN A TRUE SOLDIER

A great promise is here given. The word is that "to hint that overcometh" great rewards are in reserve. To overcome implies conflict. It bespeaks enemies, antagonisms, and opposing hindrances. We cannot speak of victory where there has been no con­test, no enemies to conquer, no difficulties to surmount. And as the promise is "to him that overcometh," the idea is that every right hearer of the Word is a com­batant -- one who has to contend with enemies and opposition -- one who has the character and attitude of a fighter -- one who has to make his way by conflict.

It is a marked truth that as people become living Christians they become soldiers. This lies in the very nature of things, and cannot be otherwise, whether we like it or not. No one can reach heaven without fighting his way through an enemy's country. This world lieth in the wicked one. Satan is its prince and master. His dominion is indeed a usurpation which must eventually be destroyed, but for the pres­ent it holds. The great mass of this world's popula­tion is under Satan's sway. He rules in the children of disobedience. And under his kingdom we all are born, having the taint of his depravity upon us from our very coming into the world. In becoming Chris­tians we take another Lord, come under a new rule, enlist under another standard, and set up rebellion against the dominion of the Evil One; and so we are at once thrown into conflict with Satan's empire, and must contend and fight to maintain ourselves and come off victorious . . . .

Another thing to be fought is our carnal nature, with its many lusts warring against the soul. We are ever prone to be influenced most by what meets and gratifies the earthly senses and. pleases our sensuous imagination. Many live only for the body and what pertains to the ease and glory of the earthly man. "The lusts of the flesh, and lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life" have wonderful power in all of us to control, enlist, and absorb our affections and activi­ties, to the exclusion of spiritual and eternal things, which lie beyond the reach of our earthly senses. They are very potent to crowd God out of our thoughts. He who would be a right man has thus continually to fight against this tendency. . . It takes effort, watching, and ever renewed endeavor to keep alive to an unseen world, to endure as seeing him who is invisible, and to be duly anxious about spiritual bread and good-fortune. Beset as we are in this world with the pressing claims and flattering promises of worldly good and pleasure, it requires a strong and perpetual fight to be successful in keep­ing ourselves in the love and service of God. When it comes to a question between a fortune and a dis­honesty -- between a fleshly delight and a religious duty -- between honorable standing in the eyes of men and strict obedience to the clear commands of God --between our ease, likes, or fancies, and Gospel re­quirements -- between plenty, happiness, and comfort in this world and self-denial and suffering for the re­wards of eternity -- between an inviting lie and a hu­miliating truth -- between money hoarded for the love of it and money, to be parted with to answer God's calls -- between promotion on earth and humble fidel­ity to the Lord Jesus -- the decision is not so easy, and multitudes take the wrong side and are led captive by the Devil's power. Duty and selfishness, faith and unbelief, the new man and the old, are ever wrestling and contending with each other in every one honest­ly desiring to maintain a Christian life. Paul felt this struggle, and tells us of a law in his members warring against the law of his mind, and exclaims over the wretchedness often induced by the fact that when he would do good, evil was present with him.

SELF-DECEPTION -- "IN NEED OF NOTHING"

In counseling the Church at Laodicea, the Savior said: "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see." - Rev. 3:17, 18.

Man is very liable to be deceived, and as liable to deceive himself as he is to be deceived by others. People deceive themselves as to their personal at­tractions, their mental powers, and the credit to which they think themselves entitled; and they can just as readily deceive and impose upon themselves with regard to their spiritual estate and moral quali­ties. A very marked instance of this presented itself in the case of the Church at Laodicea.

It is hard to conceive how these people could be so confident in their good thinking of themselves when the facts were just the contrary of what they supposed. We would think that persons so lukewarm and worldly as they would show some degree of re­serve and diffidence in supposing themselves full up to every requirement and in need of nothing. But in proportion to their lukewarmness was their self-­satisfaction and their confidence that they were quite rich in every needful good. "Having reached a suffi­ciency for all that they were inclined to, they per­suaded themselves that they had all that they were bound to," and so considered that they were amply enriched beyond all further danger or want . . . .

There is particular emphasis laid on the words "of Me." These Laodiceans were very ardent and active in trying to enrich themselves by buy­ing of other people, but they were not so much concerned to enrich themselves with the pure and immortal riches to be had only of Him. The counsel, therefore, was for them to transfer to him the activity and earnestness of dealing which char­acterized their transactions with other comers. No one can ever get and enjoy the true riches if he is not willing to deal With Christ. He is the possessor and administrator of all saving grace. No one can have salvation and leave him cut. Every one must go to him, buy of him, and have constantly to do with him, or all hopes must fail. Declining to deal with Christ or to come to terms with him, we decline heaven, and must remain poor, naked, and wretched for ever; for no one has the riches and goods and medicines we need but himself. There is 'none other name given under heaven among men whereby we can be saved. In him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In him are the only life and light of the children of men. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth upon him. Whether for the cold or' for the lukewarm there is no other way out of our poverty and wretchedness but to come to Christ and buy of him. Our salvation is in his merchandise.

And a blessed thing it is that he comes to us with his precious treasures and proposes to make them ours. We have not to go far to find him. He comes to us. A great way has he traveled to reach us, and at great cost has he procured for us the pure gold, the raiment of justifying righteousness, and the unc­tion of permanent healing for all defects. He also invites us to come and buy, ready to pass all into our possession on the spot if we desire them. And his terms are very easy. We have only to cease resting on our own sufficiency, turn from all other hope, and take the treasures which he offers. We can have them for the taking.

LET US TAKE HEED

Dear friends, a great and costly opportunity is ours. Let us not think that', we have no occasion to embrace it. Let us not think'' that we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. Let us not suppose because we have taken upon us the Christian profession, and have been much favored with the sunshine of prosperity, that we are anything but poor, needy sinners. We only deceive ourselves if we do. Every day, every hour, we need the Savior's atoning blood and gracious forgiveness. We stand continually in shameful nakedness till clothed with his righteousness. We are all the time full of blind­ness, ailment, and folly, which his grace alone can heal. We are as much in want today as ever we have been in our lives. Our. Savior knows this, and what a wretched self-deception it is for us to think otherwise! Accordingly, he comes to us laden with his precious goods, that we may buy of him, and never think ourselves rich and happy except as we again and again renew and keep up our commerce with him. And herein the text he stands before each one of us today, telling us of our poverty and wretched­ness, and counseling us to buy of him gold tried in the fire that we may be rich, and white raiment that we may be clothed, and the healing salves of heavenly unction that we may be cured of our great infirmi­ties. Let us, then, be thankful for our chance, and earnestly embrace it while we may . . . .

"As many as I Love, I rebuke and chasten: be zeal­ous therefore, and repent." - Rev. 3:19.

To rebuke is to reprove, to convict, to shame, to show one his errors. To chasten is to teach and edu­cate by means of the rod, to correct with severity, to punish for the cure of wrong, to set right by scourg­ing, as in the case of a father dealing with a child. The two are run, together and describe severe disci­plinary treatment, meant to suppress and remove faults and imperfections and to bring about a bet­tered condition. The words designate a painful and humiliating treatment, not to destroy, but to educate, correct, develop, improve, and fashion to propriety, honor, and goodness. And so the Savior says he deals with all whom he loves....

What, then, was it that the Savior wished to bring about in these people? There is never any activity of God in word or providence but it is meant to com­pass moral and practical results. In this case it was the rod of the Word heavily applied, that the sub­jects of the affliction might be moved and incited to "be zealous, and repent."

Zeal means fire, warmth, boiling fervency-an earnest vehemence of all the affections in relation to God and his service. It is like wings to a bird, like wheels to a chariot, like sails to a ship, like the fire ion which the engine depends for its steam and power; for it is the warmth and energy of soul by which a man throws himself into what he under­takes. Under the Law no sacrifice could be offered without fire; and no more can any service be rightly performed under the Gospel without zeal. There must be fervency and warmth, or all our devotions fail in power to rise acceptably to Heaven . . . . There can be no genuine service of God without zeal. The ground-rule of the whole law of God and of all the precepts and requirements of his Word is that if we are to serve God at all it must be with all the heart, with all the soul, with all the mind, and with all the strength. He is the Supreme, and if he is not the supreme in all our affections and activities, we stand exposed to that consuming jealousy which will not allow of our having any other God besides him.

Religious zeal is not excitement, rant, and fury. It is not fanaticism, bigotry, and intolerance, It is not a proud conceit of superiority which thanks God that it is not as other men, and draws its cloak of sanctity about it lest it should take on contamination by coming too near to them. It is not the heat of blustering passion, which must have the conflagration in which to live, and leaves only a burnt district when it retires. But it is the giving of the whole heart to Jesus and his service, so as not to draw back for any lure of this world or to stop at any sacrifice the Lord may require of us.

And just here was the particular deficiency of these Laodiceans. No charge of heresy in doctrine is made against them. No disorder in their services is alleged. Outwardly they were a prosperous and respectable community of Christians. But they were neither cold nor hot. They were lukewarm. They had no zeal, no fervency, no ardent warmth, no whole-souled earnestness in their Christianity. They were in an insipid and nauseating condition, which they needed to get out of, or nothing was to be hoped but, to be spued out of the Savior's mouth.

REPENTANCE AND EARNEST DEVOTION NECESSARY

To get them, out of this miserable lukewarmness it was now laid upon them to repent. Their mind had to be changed. Their whole estimate of things had to be revolutionized. Their good opinion of themselves had to be dropped. They were to go at the whole matter afresh, turn a new leaf, and begin again as poor sinners, destitute, blind, naked, and in peril of losing their salvation altogether. There was hope if they would now set out in good earnest, seek to be filled with the Spirit, and become alive and zealous in their profession and duties as Christians. But this was now an absolute requirement. If their wealth could not be consecrated to better uses than to in­flate their self-consequence and self-complacency, it would prove their, worst curse and be a chain about their necks to sink them to the deeper perdition. It they did not give themselves to more earnestness and heart-fidelity in their religion, their boasted out­ward prosperity would be to them their everlasting ruin. And nothing but a new start in a warm, de­voted, and zealous spirituality, and a deepening of their piety in all, directions, would now save them from an utter rejection by their Lord and judge . . . .

Everything else is in earnest. The world is in earnest. Christ is in earnest. The Devil is in earnest, and all the Devil's children are in earnest in one way or another! And for a professed Christian to hope to secure an eternal heaven without earnest and uncompromising endeavor to fill out the demands of his high calling, is an anomaly in the universe, and a thing which the heavenly Judge can by no means tolerate. Hence his message to the Laodiceans, and to all in like condition: "Be zealous, therefore, and repent."

Dear friends, left us not deceive ourselves. If it is worth our while to be Christians at all, it is worth all the zeal, interest, and devotion we can give to it. If we have been lukewarm and indifferent, dividing our hearts between God and the things of the world, trying to keep up, a name for discipleship while our feelings are left to run after the pleasures, gains, and honors of this life, the time has come for us to make a more serious matter of our religion.... And un­less we repent out of our lukewarmness, and make' a more earnest showing that we really wish to have place among the Lord's redeemed, we may as well be assured, first as last, that we shall never get it; for only

Shame and sorrow wait
On feeble feet, faint heart, and wavering eyes.

When the Lord lifts his finger and says, "Behold!" we may be sure of something marked and marvelous to be considered. And so it His in this instance. God help us, therefore, to give heed!

Many have taken the text as the tenderest exhibit of the Savior's condescending love contained in the Scriptures, but all the depths and implications of the passage are mostly unperceived. The picture is indeed very affecting and tender, but it does not refer so much to the Savior's present attitude toward the unconverted as to his attitude toward the Church itself in the period of his Second Coming. Its par­ticular reference is to that solemn time and that sad condition of things to Which the Savior alluded when he spoke the parable of the Unjust judge and said, "Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8.) It con­templates him as now in some sense absent, but as then arrived and in large measure barred out of his own Church . . . .

The true application of the passage connects di­rectly with a like presentation made in the Song of Solomon (Song of Solomon 5), some of the very language of Which it repeats, and with the substance of which it coincides. In that marvelous Song the bride is al­ways the Church and the Bridegroom the Lord Jesus. In that chapter the Bride is represented in a sleepy and dreamy state in the midst of the night, neither dead asleep like the rest of the world, nor yet entirely awake, but in a state between the two, answering to the neither-hot-nor-cold condition of the Laodicean Church. In this condition her Lord comes for her, and finds himself locked out. He stands by the door and knocks and calls for admission, just as in the text. But so languid and slow is she to open to her Lord, and pleads so many dilatory excuses, that by the time she gets full awake, and would gladly re­ceive him, she finds to her sorrow that he has gone. Thus she is left to seek him amid distresses, suffer­ings, and losses, just as the unready multitude will be "left" when the Lord cometh to take his watching and waiting people -- "left to experience the great tribulation . . . .

IMPORTANCE OF CHRIST'S MESSAGES TO THE CHURCHES

These Letters of Jesus are thus divinely put forward for our instruction and profit equally with any who lived before our time. Each of these several Churches was of course expected to give special heed to what was specially addressed to it; and so also each Letter had its special application, prophetic and oth­erwise, to its particular period in the successive ages of the Church's earthly career; but all was for all in every age, and for us now as well as for any other ­people.

I cannot therefore but think that the Church in­ these later times has done injustice to herself and behaved unseemly toward her Lord in not assign­ing these Letters of Jesus a higher and more distin­guished place in the Lessons set, to be read in her worshiping assemblies. There is no richer portion of Scripture; there is no portion made up more ex­clusively of the words of Christ; nor is there another portion so solemnly, so urgently, or with such special sanctions pressed upon the attention of all who would be Christians. And yet in proportion to the impera­tiveness of the Savior's call to hear what he has thus given has been the dereliction of the Church of the last thousand years to neglect it. This should not so be. And as men would honor Jesus, and be true to his word as our Lord and Judge, I call upon them to repent and reform from this ill way of dealing with these momentous messages from his throne. They are his messages to his professing Church of all time. And I cannot see how people are to fulfill their duty as Christ's disciples, and yet ignore and neglect these his last and most special communications as if they were of no particular interest to us. Dear friends, let us not share in that neglect.

We are here assured that the contents of these Let­ters are of transcendent import. Our Savior repeat­edly used exactly similar expressions When he was on earth, and always in connection with things of vital character. It was a vital thing for the Jews to un­derstand the character, mission, and testimony of John the Baptist. It is a thing of vital moment to understand the operations of grace and our duty with regard to the same. Momentous are the facts touching the nature and condition of the Kingdom of heaven in this world, the ending up of things at the termination of the present dispensation, and the ultimate fate of the tares and the wheat. It is of very great account for us to know what is spiritual defilement and spiritual purity, and what is true and consistent righteousness before God. And for the people who live in the last perilous days of the great Antichrist nothing is more important than to be able to identify the Beast and to know the speedy and inevitable perdition of all who worship him and receive upon them his mark. But it is with reference to these very things, and these only, that these par­ticular words are used. In each of those instances they are given but once, while here they are uttered seven times, and each time including the whole body of these Letters. Unquestionably, then, in the mind and estimate of the Lord we have here what is of superlative doctrinal and practical importance. If the same truths may be fragmentarily gathered from other parts of Holy Scripture, we have them here in concrete and formal summation and practical appli­cation, such as we find not elsewhere . . . .

It we would know exactly what Jesus thinks of the many grave matters which have developed among Christian professors in the several ages of the Church, and which still agitate, divide, and distract it, we here have his mind upon them direct from his throne. Every honest and faithful student can here see how he puts his finger upon each particular, and speaks his words of praise or of condemnation. We may find elsewhere what, if rightly applied, would conduct us to the same conclusions; but we have here not only principles whose applications we must infer and reason out in our weak and uncertain way, but the facts and conditions themselves are brought under the all ­penetrating eye of the Savior and authoritatively pronounced upon by him. Indeed, we here have the mind of Christ with reference to all important de­velopments, tendencies, systems, and conditions in the Church from the beginning till now, in a form much less, mistakable and more direct than anywhere else.

And if we would know what is to be the future of the saints after this present order of things comes to an end, and get a deep insight into the life and hon­ors which the second coming of Christ is to bring to his Redeemed ones, the several promises in these Let­ters present a body of particulars in this regard un­excelled by any other part of Scripture. A completer description of those good things which Jesus has in reserve for his true and faithful people is not found in all in God's Word. All commonplace ideas of heaven are here put to utter shame as not reaching so much as the first syllables of the sublime charter of the rights and honors forepledged to us by our Lord . . . .

Hearing is a personal thing. It cannot exist apart from the individual who hears. Others cannot. hear for us if we do not hear for ourselves. The Church, the community, the society cannot hear for us if there is no hearing on the part of the individuals who compose them. One man cannot believe for an­other man, any more than we can eat or sleep for one another. Each; must do his own repenting, be­lieving, and serving of God, just as he must die for himself and stand in the judgment for himself. Hence the hearing of which the text speaks is devolved up­on each individual soul the same as if no others ex­isted. Let us appreciate and improve our privi­leges. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches."

- Joseph A. Seiss.


Buried with Him in Baptism

One of the deepest of Bible truths

The choice of fitting words by the Apostle, under the Holy Spirit's guidance, to describe the experiences involved in the Christian life is very precise and accurate. It is just wonder­ful to us to find how much of vital truth, and of religious ex­perience can be compressed into a single word.

In this respect let us take note of the first word quoted at the head of our little study: "Buried." Who among us has not witnessed the little cortege slowly wending its way to some 'selected spot, at which the earth has been opened in readiness to lay away the lifeless remains of some beloved one whose torch of life has been extinguished. The Angel of Death has swept by, and one who had been full of activity and vitality has fallen a victim to the sweep of his ruthless scythe, and now lies inert and motionless. And while we have watched, the little farewell ceremony has progressed, and the officiating minister and the bereaved mourners have laid "earth to earth --ashes to ashes -- dust to dust," and there they have left the precious burden, as with weeping eyes and sorrowing hearts they turned away from the place of re­pose and returned to the habitation which will know the loved one no more, till the voice of the Son of God calls all the waiting dead from their long silent sleep. And then, after the mourners have moved away, other hands have returned the earth to the cavity, and have hidden from sight all that was left of the dear-departed, and the earth has then received to her bosom that which she had hitherto given, for dust we are, and unto dust shall we return.

Burial! entombment! internment! sepulcher! the close of a career; the end of an existence! a sleep and a forgetting. This whole range of thought is taken by the Spirit of God to describe that act of full surrender of all that one is, of all that one has, and of all that one hopes for, 'to the claims of the sovereign Will of God. No matter how strong and di­rective the will of the deceased had been, it directs no longer now. Nor does it matter how brilliant the mind and intellect had been, its glory is now departed. Nor yet does it matter how strong the affections and love had been, they will not move the lifeless form again. They are as lights that have become extinguished, and have left no trace behind.

There is no memory, no knowledge, no understanding in the brain that once pulsated with life.

How impressive and full of meaning also is the symbolic ceremony whereby the surrender of the Christian's life is pictured forth. Of all the four main elements of nature­ earth, air, fire, and water -- how appropriate is the submer­gence in water, to depict the complete and entire burial into the Will of God. All the days of our life we are immersed in air -- the atmosphere surrounds and envelops us always, everywhere -- and we could not live were it otherwise. What­ever other lessons it may teach us, our immersion in air does not depict for us a willing, voluntary immersion, and for that reason comes, short of what is required to teach consecration. Submergence into a flame of fire could overwhelm and en­velop us fully, but it would go too far in that it would leave nothing to represent the entrance of the new creature into newness of life. Some have come forth after an entombment in the earth, but there Would be much danger and in-commo­dation about such a practice, if used as a symbol of baptism. All things considered, the descent and plunge into the watery sepulcher, with waters above, around, and beneath, seems to be the' most fitting symbol to represent complete submergence into the will of God.

And suitable and fitting as is the symbol, it is not one whit more emphatic and definite than the great reality which it depicts. For it means by process of agreement and cove­nant, all that is seen every day of our life when some member of our earthly kith and kin comes to the gates of the dark valley. In the divine purposes, it means the termination of a life -- not merely of a mode of life or a way of living; some­thing very much more than that. Consecration does not mere­ly mean the turning over of a "new leaf," and the beginning of a different clean page. If that were all, the same old book is still retained and though the page is new, the book is still the same -- the "identity!' is still the same. "Burial" with Him means the cessation of the identity; the dissolution of the per­sonality which hitherto had lived and functioned; and in God's sight the dissolution of the identity is just as complete when made by covenant, as when made by death, for when we go down into the waters of baptism, it is to depict that "we" -- our "self" -- have gone down into the divine sepulcher for ever. We are swallowed up into his will and his pur­pose, and there is nothing left for any other purpose. By the terms of the covenant the old will and mind and affections are dead; and if God should call upon us at any moment to consummate our existence in his service, we have no cause of complaint open to us.

But this burial is a prelude to a new life -- a new, creature life -- a resurrection life -- a life of great possibilities, a life in association with Jesus, in heavenly exultation, and glory.

From out of this covenanted tomb the flowers of immortality will spring, if so be that the will of God is not thwarted and hindered by the perversity of the members of the human body, which has to serve the new creature till a better one is found for it.

Thus in going down into the symbolic waters of baptism (down into the waters of God's will) we go down into death and dissolution as men, but when we come up therefrom, we arise as a new creation, a new being, with hopes thenceforth of a spiritual existence, blossoming forth into immortality.

What a wonderful height and depth, length and breadth of divine truth and Christian experience, therefore, is crys­tallized' and condensed into this graphic word "Buried."

May we see to it with all our hearts, that we do appre­ciate the privilege of being "Buried with Him in baptism."

- Bible Study Monthly, Eng.


The Everlasting People

PART III

"The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance." - Romans 11:29, R. V.

  CONTINUING our subject of God's dealings with his chosen people, Israel, we come now to the more recent history of that people and their land. It is important to remember that "the land and the people" have always been linked close­ly together. In spite of the fact that nearly 2,000 years have elapsed since he became an exile from -the land of Palestine, the Jew has never forgotten the ties which bind him to that "Holy Land." In his dark­est hours he has thought of his "homeland"; every Passover season he has uttered the words, "Next year in Jerusalem." His sentiments have been expressed in the words of the Babylonian captives: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cling to the roof of my -mouth; if I prefer not Jerusa­lem above my chief joy." (Psa. 137:5, 6.) Of course it is readily acknowledged that there are many who like those of the Babylonian captivity have content­edly settled down in the land of 'their dispersion, but these represent a minority of the Jewish people throughout the world.

"THE GIFTS AND CALLING OF GOD ARE WITHOUT REPENTANCE"

In the 11th chapter of Paul's letter 'to the Romans the Apostle endeavors to make it clear that although for a time Israel has been cast off from the favor of God and severed from the privileges of the Abrahamic Covenant, yet the time would come when "the fulness of the Gentiles" would come in, and the great De­liverer would appear and "all Israel shall be saved." (Rom. 11:25-27.) "They are beloved for the fathers' sakes," and the promises of a covenant keeping God must be fulfilled.

One of the most prominent features in connection with Israel's restoration to the favor of God is the inspired record of their re-gathering again to the land from which they were dispersed-the land prom­ised by God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Isaiah 11:11, 12, 16 the Prophet says: "And it shall cone to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather' together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. . . . And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt." Again in Isaiah 27:13 we read: "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in 'the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem." Also Isaiah 43:5, 6: "Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west I will say to the north, Give up; and to the South, Keep not back; bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth." Thus we could con­tinue through Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, and nearly all the other Prophets who spoke as the mouthpieces of God to declare his determination to once again regather the people of Israel to their own land.

Eighteen long centuries passed away after the year 70 A.D., during which Eretz Israel -- "the land of Israel" -- remained barren, unfruitful, and a wilder­ness; only a few poverty-stricken Jews somehow ex­isted in the land which once flowed with "milk and honey." They were confined to the ancient towns of Jerusalem, Tiberias, Jaffa, and Safed, and had no rights. They were not permitted to buy or own land there. But in the year 1876 A.D. the "fig tree" be­gan to show signs of life; it was very slight, almost unnoticeable, but Jews throughout the world had begun to voice their pent-up feelings and desires in what later became known as the Zionist movement. In that year a small community of Jews founded an agricultural school in Palestine, naming it "Mikweh Israel," which means, "The gathering of Israel." In 1878 a few pioneer Jews from Russia founded a small colony -ten miles north of Jaffa and named it "Petach Tikweh," meaning "The Gate of Hope." During the next few years other small communal settlements were established round about Jaffa and on the Plain of Sharon, and in the valleys and highlands of Galilee. One of these, established in 1890, was named "Rehoboth," meaning "The Lord hath made room for us."

THE FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY

It was a hard and bitter struggle against poverty and disease; the land did not "yield her increase" without much toil and sweat of brow, but there they were, a small but visible token of the final fulfillment of God's promises to Israel. However, those Jews still were not permitted to buy or own the land until the year 1901, when still another prophecy began to receive its fulfillment. In that year permission was granted by the Turkish rulers for Jews to purchase land in Palestine. Here are the words of the Prophet Jeremiah in Jer. 32:42-44: "Thus saith the Lord: Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people; so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hands of the Chaldeans. Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evi­dences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, for I will cause their cap­tivity to return, saith the Lord." In later years an organization known as "The Jewish Agency" was formed with the chief object of purchasing land and settling Jews in Palestine. It was from this "Agen­cy" that the nucleus of the Israeli Government was formed some years later.

Slowly, but steadily, more and more Jews found their way to the land of their fathers until at the time of the first World War the Jewish population of Palestine was 56,000. For many years, the land had been ruled by the tyrannical Turk, during which obstacles and hindrances had been placed in the way to make things difficult for those Jewish settlers. But in the year 1917, during the Great War, a histor­ical document was issued by the British Government of that day. It concerned the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine. A part of that Declaration, now known through all the world as "The Balfour Declaration," reads as follows: "H. M. Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object." Not long after this, in its conflict with Turkey, the British armies invaded Palestine, and its, complete conquest was assured when General Allenby marched at the head of his army, into Jerusalem without the firing of a shot.

In 1920 the League of Nations placed Palestine under a British Mandate pledged to facilitate the establishment of a national home for the Jews. How true lit is that God causeth the wrath of men to praise him! Everything as then done to encourage Jews to settle in the land. Agricultural land was offered them and grants were made to enable them to culti­vate the soil. As a result of this, thousands of Jews made their way to Palestine, until in 1931 there had been an increase of more than 210 per cent in the few years since 1917 -- 174,000 Jews had made their home in Palestine.

Just here it is appropriate to note the prophecy of Jeremiah in Jer. 16:14-16: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth hat brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and T will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the "Lord, and they shall fish them." Here Jehovah declares that he would send fishers to draw his people back to the land of Israel, and this surely was fulfilled during the years between 1920 and, 1931! The League of Nations were the "fishers" who provided the bait of lands and grants to attract the Jews in, their thousands to Palestine.

"I WILL SEND FOR MANY HUNTERS"

Jehovah, through the Prophet, then continues: "And after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." How literally has this "word of the Lord" been fulfilled! In 1931 the Nazi regime under Adolph Hitler began in Germany, and I from that time onward life was not worth living for any Jew who came within its power. They were bitterly persecuted; deprived of the ordinary rights of citizenship; boycotted in every possible way and made to wear distinctive badges to mark them out among their fellow-men. Germany was no longer a home to the Jews who had settled there, neither was any other country which came under the influence of Germany. Hatred and perse­cution of the Jews became more pronounced in Silesia, Romania, Austria, Poland, Italy, and many other countries.

As a result of this bitter persecution, thousands of Jews turned their gaze to Palestine, and those who could, made their way to this land of refuge. So effective was this "hunting" that in little more than three years from December, 1931, the number of Jews who had returned increased from 174,000, to 325,000. "I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them." This was not the end, however; "Man proposes, but God disposes. As a result of this great infiltration into Palestine, the Arab world was roused into opposition, and life even in Palestine became unsafe for the Jew. After a detailed exam­ination of the whole problem, a Commission (the Peel Commission) appointed by the British Govern­ment reported in 1937 that the only solution of the problem was the partition of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish State. Furthermore, in 1939 the Cham­berlain Government issued a White Paper stating that Jewish immigration into Palestine must not ex­ceed 75,000 up to March, 1944, and then was to cease entirely unless the Arabs agreed to a continu­ance.

IGNORING "TITLE DEEDS" ESTABLISHED BY JEHOVAH

Then came the Second World War! How terrible now became the lot of those Jews who remained on the Continent of Europe! A deliberate policy of extermination had been embarked upon by the Nazis of Germany, and there was no pretense of humanity as the mass slaughter and starvation of the Jews in­creased. So awful had been the torture and suffer­ing of the Jews that at the end of the war, during which 6,000,000 had been destroyed, the vast major­ity of those who were left alive, turned with longing eyes to Israel, the land of their fathers. Thousands upon thousands of them were "displaced persons" without homes or means of support, living in "camps" or hovels under conditions of utter degradation and squalor. But the problem of Palestine was still worrying the nations of the earth; for them it was and still is "a burdensome stone." In an endeavor to please all parties they have pleased none and have divided .the land between Jews and Arabs, leaving an independent Zone under the control of the United Nations. By doing this, the nations have displeased Jehovah and have ignored the "title-deeds" of that land which were established nearly 4,000 years ago.

A brief examination of those "title-deeds" will be helpful to every Bible student. The first is to be found in the words of Jehovah to Abraham, Genesis 15:18: "The Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." In those words are defined the western­ most limit of the land which God promised to Abra­ham and his seed, somewhere around the Nile delta in Egypt. From there to the nearest point of the River Euphrates just by the ancient city of Babylon is about 650 miles; it stretched across the Syrian desert.

The next "title-deed" is recorded in Exodus 23:30, 31 -- the words of God at Sinai: "By little and little I will drive them out [i.e., the Canaanites and Hittites] from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. And, I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river." In these words are defined the western and southern boundaries of "the land of promise." The Sea of the Philistines was the Med­iterranean or Great Sea, and the Red Sea they had just crossed. This was a distance of roughly 200 miles, the western land boundary. The southern boundary was to extend from, "the desert" -- the wil­derness of Sinai, where Israel were gathered -- to "the river" (Euphrates), the nearest point of which was its entrance to the Persian Gulf, a distance of over 800 miles. The northern boundary was to be about 300 Miles, as recorded in Deuteronomy 1:7 -- from "the seaside [Mediterranean], to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates."

This vast area, bounded by the Mediterranean on the west and the River Euphrates on the east, com­prises a territory of 237,000 square miles, twenty-eight times the area of Palestine, embracing those coun­tries how known as the Sinai Peninsula, Palestine, Syria, Transjordan, part of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Imagine an area four times the size of Great Britain -- ­that is the extent of the land God has promised to Israel! That is the answer to those who affirm that there is insufficient room for all the Israelites who have ever lived! Although much of the land is barren wilder­ness and desert, yet when irrigated and cultivated, it might; well become a "Garden of Eden" capable of supporting many, many millions of Jews.

GOD'S JUDGMENT RESTING UPON THE NATIONS

Nevertheless, in spite of all this, the little land of Palestine has been "carved up" by the nations and but a small portion allotted to the Jews. The na­tions of earth have, ignored the "title-deeds," even as they have ignored God himself, and so the judg­ment of God rests upon them: "For behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat [meaning "the Lord hash judged"], and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land." - Joel 3:1, 2.

Nothing, however; has been able to stop the trek of Israel to the "homeland"; it goes on at an increasing pace in spite of all the obstacles and difficulties they have had to face. The nations of earth dared to term it "illegal immigration" and did all they could to arrest it, yet still they came from the four quarters of the earth. In May, 1948 the number of Jews in Palestine had reached between six and seven hundred thousand. It is not surprising that a leading Arab is recently reported as saying, "Israel is traveling at the rate of an express train, while we Arabs are plodding along at the speed of a camel." That state­ment, is true of Israel in more ways than one!

It was on May 14th, 1948 that a Sovereign Jewish State was setup, not with the approval of the nations, but in spite of much opposition and many difficulties. The independent and sovereign State of Israel is once again in existence after a period of nearly 3,000 years. Who can doubt that a "miracle" was per­formed to make such an event possible at the present time? During the first week of December, 1950 more than 500,000 new Jewish immigrants had arrived in the State of Israel since its establishment, just over two and a half years previously, and still they arrive at a rate of 500 every day. They have gone from Central and Western Europe, from Eastern Europe, from Anglo-Saxon countries, from Oriental countries including China, from North African countries, in­deed from all parts of the world-Jews from at least sixty-one countries of earth have made their home in Palestine.

LATER DEVELOPMENTS

This article was written and submitted for publi­cation early in 1951, and it is worthy of note that since that time the large scale immigration to Israel has continued to swell her population. During the year 1951 a total of 174,000 Jewish immigrants entered the land of Israel. Almost the entire Jewish community of Iraq has now been transferred from that country, 90,000 entering the Holy Land during the year 1951. Also completed has been the, mass immigration from many countries of Europe, namely Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Yugoslavia.

From Libya also Jewish immigration has been com­pleted. The tot-1 number of Jews who have returned to the land of their "fathers" since the new State was established in 1948 is now 684,000, and has more than do bled its population which at the close of 1951 was 334,000.

Thus are these and many other prophecies con­cerning Israel being fulfilled today. What are the lessons for us? Surely one is that "God is faithful" and his word will riot return to him void. The next, to which we must also give heed, is -- the time is short! "When ye see these things begin to come to pass, then lift up your heals, for your deliverance draweth nigh." "What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness."

- Edwin Allbon. Eng.


Recently Deceased

Brother Walter H. Bundy. Kissimmee, Fla. - (January).
Sister Rosina Germane, Portland, Maine - (January).
Sister Grace Stoertz, Rochester, N. Y. - (February).


The Jew

"Scattered by God's avenging hand,
Afflicted and forlorn,
Sad wanderers from their pleasant land,
Do Judah's children mourn;
And den in Christian countries, few
Breathe thoughts of pity for the Jew.

 
"Yet listen, Gentile, do you love
The Bible's precious page?
Then let your hearts with kindness move
To Israel's heritage;
Who traced those lines of love for you?­
Each sacred writer was a few.
 
"Anphe'n as years and ages passed,
And nations rose and fell,
Though clouds and darkness oft were cast
O'er captive Israel,
The oracles of God for you
Were kept in safety by the Jew.
 
"And when the great Redeemer came
For guilty man to bleed,
He did not take an angel's name
No -- born of Abraham's seed
Jesus, who gave His life for you,
The gentle Savior was a Jew.
 
"And though His own received Him not,
And turned in pride away,
Whence is the Gentile's happier lot?
Are you more just than they?
No; God in pity turned to you­.
Have you no pity for the Jew?
 
"Go, then, and bend your knee to pray
For Israel's I ancient race;
Ask the dear Savior every day
To call them by His grace;
Go for a debt of love is due
From Christian Gentiles to the Jew.  

- Author Unknown


1952 Index