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THE HERALD

of Christ's Kingdom


VOL. XXXV April 1952 No. 4
Table of Contents

RESURRECTION

"THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED."

Signs of the Times

Comfort Ye My People

Strong Delusion

Annual Meeting of the Institute

Recently Deceased  


RESURRECTION

"There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." 
- Acts
24:15.
 

RESURRECTION! What a word! What a power of sug­gestion it contains! It has the aroma of spring. It tells us that the winter is gone; the cold snows have melted away, the time for the singing of birds has come, and the flowers ap­pear in the land. Resurrection! The trees seem to whisper it, the streams to be purring it, the sun to be smil­ing it, and the world to be welcom­ing it. Everything appears to be re­joicing in the power of returning life.

God need not have made the spring-time, but in his loving kind­ness he has given it once a year. We know it is coming. How eagerly we look for the first robin. Ah, there he is, just as joy-giving as ever. He is reconnoitering -- just taking a look over the land. Ile will be settling down to the business of houseJ.keep­ing ere long. And there is the pur­ple violet nodding its head. Every­where nature is waking up from its long sleep. The world is enjoying its awakening to life. And it is all due to the fact that the sun is higher in the sky. Its rays are coming more directly, less obliquely, and they gain power as it mounts still higher. Trees, grass, flowers, and the brown earth itself, are all bathed in the ardent, bountiful, life-giving solar light and warmth. Germination is going on. There is a mighty process of transformation taking place on every hand. This all preaches the yearly sermon of the world's great need, for above all else men need the great Sun of Righteousness to arise with healing in his beams. Nor shall they seek him in vain, for in due time he will disperse the long night of sin, sorrow, and death, and death shall be no more.

THE EVER-REPEATED QUESTION

"If a man die, shall he live again?" is a question asked by Job a long time ago, and has been asked many times since. Science has no an­swer for this question. The Platonic philosophy claims that man does not actually die, but is immortal, and that death is but a semblance of dis­solution, or a something that affects merely the body, while an ethereal part called the spirit lives on. In the words of the poet it says, "There is no death; what seems so is transi­tion. This life of mortal breath is but a portal of the life Elysian, whose portal we call death." Much of the world's theology runs in this same channel. But God's Word states: "They are all of the dust. and all return to dust again." It is very important to see death to be what it is, and then we are prepared to consider the great change that is to come to a dying world.

When Jesus was on earth, Israel­ites of Pharisaic persuasion believed in a resurrection. Referring to her brother Lazarus, Martha said, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said unto her, "I am the resurrec­tion and the life [it is through me that the resurrection will come]. He that believeth in me, though he were dead [in the past] yet shall he live [in the future], and whosoever liv­eth [at that time] and believeth in me shall never die." Thus the Mas­ter directed attention to the one means of gaining life.

In order to secure for the world a resurrection, Jesus had to die and rise again. His own resurrection was the first great requirement. While his death seemed to be the greatest possible overthrow of a cause, his resurrection revealed the greatest triumph. He had promised to rise again, but in the main this had gone over the heads of the disciples. So he convinced them by appearing to them. It was an amazing revelation. He was alive. Death had no more dominion over him, and now he pos­sessed the power to open the tomb and to release from death; he had the keys. So the Apostle wrote "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resur­rection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order; Christ the firstfruits afterward they that are Christ's at his coming [presence]. Then com­eth the end, . . . when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power; for he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be de­stroyed is death." (1 Cor. 15:20­-26.) In the glorious hope of a resur­rection, millions have lived and died.

"Why seek ye the living among the dead?" said the angel at the tomb. Why, indeed? And as the Master of life is not numbered among the dead, neither is the doc­trine of the resurrection, in its full scope and power, to be found in the tomb of musty and stale theological treatises, or in creed graves. Yet it lives in all its strength and beauty in the Word of God. But the smoke of false creeds has obscured it from the eyes of the great majority, for they have failed to see that the mighty promises of Holy Writ ap­ply to all mankind. "I will ran,om them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction." - Hosea 13:14.

"And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they [the heavens] shall hear [have communi­cation with] the earth [the earth­ly representatives of the heavenly Kingdom]; and the earth shall bear the corn, and the wine, and the oil [the people symbolized by corn, wine and oil]; and they shall bear Jezreel [the lowest part of the world's inhabitants, who so greatly need the uplifting influences of the Kingdom]." - Hosea 2:21, 22.

IF YE THEN BE RISEN WITH CHRIST

During the present Age some have been regarded as already risen with the Master. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." (Col. 3:1.) To be risen with Christ means to have an entirely new viewpoint of life and its affairs. The great struggle for existence on earth encourages the growth of human ambition. It is a saying that "there is always room at the top." Young people are en­couraged to acquire knowledge that they may thus rise to the summit; of human achievement, and perchance have their names on the world's roll of fame. But Christ calls to some­thing very different, something higher. It is to have our names written in the Lamb's Book of Life. And so we are to seek the things above. Then on the other side of the veil we shall have fellowship with God's people throughout eternity. All the things for which our hearts yearn are stored up for us in that celes­tial realm, and some day we stall, if faithful, share in the first resur­rection. - See Phil. 3:10, 11.

ALL IN THEIR GRAVES SHALL ARISE

When all in their graves shall arise, then comes the process of the general resurrection for the mam­bers of the human race; and what this will mean for the hundreds of millions who have died, no words can express. It will be the regaining of life under entirely new condi­tions. We recall a great writer's de­scription of the death of a young girl, little Nell, who was taken from her friends and borne to the cold tomb. Now, because of the redemption in Christ, we can visualize little Nell alive once more. It is the great morning of the resurrection. The world's long night is gone. The efful­gent Sun of Peace is risen and his glory is diffused upon human hearts and minds.

And where are those who former­ly traveled over life's wintry way? And where is Nell? She is alive. No mere semblance of life is that, but life itself. It shows in her sprightly step and in her sparkling eye. The rose has come back to her cheeks and buoyancy to her form. The grave which held her for a season, has no more claim upon her. She carries not the slightest suggestion of death's power. She is the same sweet Nell as of old, but with added grace and freshness due to recently imparted vigor of life and joy. Her former companions are there too, and she finds her friends of former days. Trees, flowers, and grass clothe the earth that was parched, and the warbling birds sang never so blithly as now.

The great congested cities are gone. The hovels of poverty are no more. People have congenial em­ployment. No one is in want. The earth is bringing forth its increase, and injurious insects and weeds have been destroyed. Forces of na­ture no longer run riot, and the air is balmy and invigorating. Men and women -- thousands of them -- have already come back from the tomb and millions more will return in due time as the redeemed earth is made ready to receive them. Social in­equalities have melted away, for the only aristocracy is that of character. There are no extremes of riches and poverty; money is a thing of the past. There is no racial friction or strife, no war in all the world. The people are characterized by a won­derful simplicity of manner and of dress; their faces bear the stamp of honesty of purpose. Everything speaks of life and testifies to the operation of a power hitherto un­known.

It is the evening hour. The de­clining sun tints the cloud-flecked sky with a glory past description, and a few birds are giving out their farewell notes to the departing day. Here we sit in a kind of natural am­phitheatre, formed by gigantic trees. It is a goodly place, affording a grand, panoramic view of earth and sky. All is quiet, and the gentle murmuring of some meandering stream is a delight to the ear. It is a ,spot that invites us to tarry, while the magic of approaching darkness weaves deeper shadows under the umbrageous branches of the mon­archs of the wood. And while the silken fingers of the softly vagrant breeze fondles our cheek, we listen to the "stilly sounds that come with eve" that whisper of a world at peace.

"Groves were God's first tem­ples," and men and women are com­ing to join in the evening hour of worship. Joy is on every counte­nance. And over there where a stra­ta of protruding rock forms a nat­ural rostrum, one of venerable as­pect speaks to the assembled partici­pants. He discourses on the good­ness of God, and tells us that he lived on earth a long time ago, and we learn that his name is Daniel, the beloved Prophet to whom the promise was made that in the end of the days, he would come forth to stand among his people; and we re­member him as one who was faithful to the Lord in a wicked and idola­trous world.

We listen as Daniel reminds his hearers that their presence there ev­idences the fact that the promises of God are sure. It has all come to pass because God so loved the world that he sent his Son from heavenly glory to a sin-cursed earth to die on man's behalf. By the resurrection of Jesus he gave assurance that some day the power of death would be broken, and now that glorious time has come at last. He further reminds them that their present blessings are but a foretaste of the blessings held out in the prospect of everlasting life, promised to those who learn to know their God. And having con­cluded his discourse, he mingles with the throng.

While the shades of night gather round, and the great stars come out one by one in the firmament above, let us also listen to our old friend, little Nell, as she sings:

"There is gladness in earth's morning,
For the weary night is over;
Joy and gladness in the morning,
With earth now decked in Eden's prime.
All the birds at last are singing,
And love's music grandly ringing,
Oh the glory of the morning time.

 
"A great highway now is here,
For the power of death is broken,
A way for men to walk in freely,
Bright with fragrant blossoms gay.
All the rhapsodies of glory
Now attend salvation's story,
Oh the blessings of this happy day.
 
"Hearts and minds unite in kindness,
And there are no mists of blindness,
And there flows truth's mighty river
From God's throne all white and pure;
And the happiness forth winging
Its glad way around with singing,
Earth shall smile and evermore endure."  

A closing hymn is announced, and the mighty throng sing as one per­son a great "Jubilate Deo," to the Everlasting Father in Heaven, from whom all blessings flow.

The wonderful resurrection work goes on. The Son of love gives the fulness of his splendor to mankind. And the divine music of peace, joy, kindness and good-will, coming down to earth from above, will flow on and on in a mighty tide of benedic­tion to the hearts and minds of un­counted millions of the human race. So let it be, O, Lord: Thy Kingdom come, and thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.

- Walter Sargeant.


"THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED."

Luke 24:34-53

ALTHOUGH the disciples had been informed concerning our Lord’s resurrection, they seem to have but imperfectly comprehended his words. At all events, they evidently were not expecting him to rise from the dead, and hence, when he appeared in their midst, they were greatly affrighted and troubled. Our Lord foreknew how they would regard the matter and had chosen the most favorable manner for manifesting himself, and communicating to them the wonderful fact of his resurrection. He could have appeared to them as the angel appeared to Moses in the burning bush. They would then have seen a flame, as Moses did, and could have heard his voice, and could have been impressed with the dignity of his presence by being commanded, as Moses was commanded, to take off their shoes because the ground was holy. This would have made a deep impression upon their minds, but it would not have made the kind of impression the Lord desired to make. It would not have convinced them that their Master, whom they had seen crucified and buried three days before, was no longer dead, but risen and alive.

Our Lord could have chosen another method. He could have appeared as a glorious angel and have manifested something of his spiritual glory, as he did later to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos (Rev. 1:13-18) and as he did to Saul of Tarsus on the way to Damascus. He was just as truly a glorious spirit being at this time as he was afterward, and as he will be to all eternity. He had been put to death in the flesh but, as the Apostle assures us, he had also been quickened (made alive) in spirit. (1 Pet. 3:18.) This change had come to him in his resurrection, just as it is promised that a similar change will come to his faithful Church, -- "sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body." (1 Cor. 15:43,44.) But had he appeared to the disciples a glorious, shining being, as he appeared to Saul, the effect upon them no doubt would have been similar to the effect upon Saul. They would have fallen before him, and perhaps also have lost their sight as Saul lost his. This might have impressed them powerfully, but it would not have led their inexperienced judgments to accurately connect this glorious being with the man Christ Jesus whom they had followed for three years.

The manner chosen by our Lord for revealing himself was much more favorable for the disciples. He wished to gain their attention, and to avoid anything that would unnecessarily excite them, and hinder them from learning the lessons which he wished to impart. Hence he appeared as a man on several occasions, -- once as a gardener to Mary, again as a stranger to the two who went to Emmaus, and on another occasion and in each case, he revealed his identity by his conversation or by his manner so that they recognized him as their crucified Master, -- Jesus. But on the occasion mentioned in this lesson he appeared in a body of flesh and bones, similar to that which had been crucified. The body which they saw was not he for he had been "changed" in his resurrection and was now a spirit being with a glorious body such as John and Saul saw. But he appeared to them in a body of flesh and in ordinary garments specially prepared for the occasion just as angels (using the same power) had appeared as men previously. Just as our Lord (centuries before he became a man) appeared as a man to Abraham, and ate and talked with him, so now, after he had ceased to be a man, and had been changed and was a spirit being highly exalted, far above angels, he again appeared as a man because this was the best means of communicating to the disciples the grand truths which he wished to communicate. Hence also he assured them to allay their fears, that what they saw was not a spirit. He at that time was a spirit (1 Cor. 15:45; 1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 3:17) , but they did not see him but merely the body of flesh which veiled yet represented him; and which, as he intended, helped their imperfect faith and knowledge to grasp the important lesson that he was no longer dead but alive for evermore.

Then he reminded them of his own previous utterances on the subject of his resurrection; he quoted to them and expounded the prophecies which bore the same testimony, and showed them the necessity for the great transaction which he had accomplished, saying "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day." All of this discourse probably is not given, but we may presume, reasonably, that he explained to them particularly the necessity for the ransom-sacrifice, and something concerning the wonderful results which must yet flow therefrom to all the families of the earth.

He was present with them for forty days before his ascension, yet was invisible to the "brethren," except during the few times of his manifestation; and these manifestations were but brief; during all this period of forty days none except the "brethren" saw him; and, as we have seen, they saw him only by reason of the miracle which he performed, appearing in their sight as a man; because human beings cannot see spirit beings. In this our Lord fulfilled his statement made before his death -- "Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more." --  John 14:19.

Those who hold the view that the flesh of our dear Redeemer given for us (John 6:51) was resumed by him, and constitutes his resurrection body, miss the real lesson taught the disciples during those forty days preceding his ascension. The lesson of the occasional appearances, and then in different forms or bodily appearances and of his vanishing after each manifestation was (1) that he was no longer dead but risen (2) that his resurrection conditions were totally different from those of the man Christ Jesus.

To imagine the care-worn, thorn-marked features and the wounded hands and feet, of "flesh and bone," to be Christ’s resurrection body would be thoroughly inconsistent every way. If his marred, fleshly body is his resurrection body, why did the Apostle so carefully explain that "there is an animal body and there is a spiritual body"? (1 Cor. 15:44) And why tell the saints that "it doth not yet appear what we shall be" in the resurrection? (1 John 3:2.) If we shall be like as we are now, with all of our present blemishes and scars then it doth appear and surely would be very disappointing to those who have believed the Lord’s word that flesh and blood (human nature) cannot inherit or enter the Kingdom of God, and that therefore we, who are alive and remain unto the second coming of our Lord must be "changed" -- that we may "be like him and see him as he is." Originally a spirit being, our Lord humbled himself and was changed to our nature and was "made flesh" "for the suffering of death" as our ransom price. He then was "made like unto his brethren:" but now, having redeemed us, he has been glorified with the glory which he had with the Father before the world was created, and now his promise is that the "brethren" shall be "changed" and made like unto him and share his glory. -- 1 John 3:2 1 Cor. 15:41-46,51-53.

- R1995-1996.


Signs of the Times

WE ARE living in momentous days-days to which the words of the poet most fittingly apply: "Change and decay in all around I see." Many are those, descrying the breakdown of present civilization and warning of impending disaster. Seeing these days from afar, Isaiah wrote: "The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunk­ard, . . . and the transgression thereof' shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again." - Isa. 24:20.

The watchword "get back to normalcy' is' a thing of the past. The old order is at best but a hollow shell; and those trying to uphold it are forced to retreat before the onrushing change. So true is this that a compromise which seemingly offers a temporary reprieve is heralded as a stride toward stability.

The once mighty and flourishing British Empire is ex­periencing this dissolution. The glory that was hers has greatly departed; her powerful influence is rapidly waning; and many are the sorrows that afflict her-Britain, for years the bulwark of western civilization!

As a significant testimony to the truth of God's Word, and a revelation as to how sick the present order really is, we present the following by Stewart Alsop, writing from Bagdad, as reported in the December 8, 1951 issue of the Dayton, Ohio Journal Herald:

"MATTERS OF FACT"

"IN IRAN, BIRTHPLACE OF CIVILIZATION;
EASY TO SEE
HOW IT COULD DIE"

"Here, where civilization was born, it is quite easy to see how civilization may die. For here it is possible to watch painlessly, as through dark glasses, all the forces at work which are causing the Middle East to go the way of China.

"First, of course, there is the progressive decay of the Brit­ish technique of exercising power. In essence, this technique has been to create a small ruling class of rich, venal or am­bitious men, dependent on British support, and then to exer­cise power through these men. But no one really believes this system, which has collapsed already in Iran and Egypt, will work very much longer.

"In this atmosphere of unreason, Iraq, like Iran, is quite likely to cut off its own nose-its oil revenues-to spite the British face. The same men who somewhat unbrilliantly managed the fortunes of Iran's Anglo-Iranian Oil Company have been managing the almost equally vital Iraq Petroleum company.

"EGYPT COUNTERPART"

"Having learned a belated lesson in Iran, the British oil managers now have offered a reasonably generous contract to Iraq. Iraq Premier Nuri Said, an aging monument to the British technique of power, has accepted the new agreement. It is expected to pass through parliament, to the accompani­ment of Communist-organized street riots. But sooner or later, in the universal opinion here, some ambitious politician will seize the torch from Mossadegh's trembling hands and the days of the Iraq Petroleum company will be numbered.

"As the Iranian oil crisis has its pale counterpart here, so does the Egyptian crisis. The British have, by treaty, the right to station certain troops in Iraq. Actually, they have only a corporal's guard, mostly Royal Air Force men. Al­though less vital than the Suez base, the British installations in Iraq would be an important forward defense and staging area in case of war.

"Here, as everywhere in the Middle East, there is mass misery. And here there Is also the fear and hatred of Israel found in every Arab state. Partly because the United States is credited with responsibility for creating Israel, partly be­cause to' seem to challenge our British ally would be disastrous, and partly through sheer inertia, American policy in Iraq, as elsewhere in the Middle East, is paralyzed. Even the, ablest Americans in this area tend to become resigned to, dis­aster. They ask, reasonably enough, 'But what can you do?' Only the engineers, pouring over their maps, their eyes gleam­ing as they point to their natural water basins and watersheds which surround this parched land, retain something of their native optimism. And this is the last twist of the knife. For so much could be done so easily and even so cheaply.

"NO EASY ANSWER"

"Here, at least, the desert could indeed be made to bloom like the rose. Here all the Arab refugees from Palestine could be absorbed. Here the standard of living could be made to rise miraculously. With expert help, this could almost all be done with the $150,000,000 which will soon be Iraq's annual share of its oil revenue.

"And yet, with a corrupt and irresponsible ruling class, the established power system in decay, a violent xenophobia [hatred of foreigners], an obsession about Israel and the odd sort of death which seems to' exist everywhere in the Arab states, 'What can you do.'

"The question is not easily answerable. As a practical mat­ter, it seems a reasonable guess that Iran will go first, then the rest of the Middle East, and then the rest of us, includ­ing the unfortunate Russians. But at least it is past time for the British and American to consider a really serious attempt to avert this fatal succession of events. For if the Middle, East goes the way of China, this will surely mean a third world war, which will destroy civilization as we have known it.

The following, written in 1916, is even more true today of the world and its condition:

"All of the nations realize that they are impoverishing-them­selves of their best blood and virility and of their wealth­ placing the grievous burden of debt upon generations yet un­born -- unless their debts should be repudiated, which would mean revolution and anarchy, such as the Bible seems to fore­tell. No Wonder there is a movement for peace in all these countries. It is a sad spectacle. How strange it must appear to them as well as to ourselves! The greatest nations are bleeding to death, severely wounded . . . .

"Surely the Lord is preparing the world to acclaim Messiah's Kingdom 'the desire of all nations'! -Haggai 2:7."

- F. A. Essler.


Comfort Ye My People

(The extemporaneous remarks of Brother W. J. Siekman as the final discourse of the Second Unity Convention, Lakeside, Ohio, August 1951. Published by request of many who heard the discourse.)

WE ARE selecting for consideration some thoughts from the 40th chapter of Isaiah: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever. Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before 'him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."

We recognize here much that has reference to the natural seed of Abraham, Israel after the flesh. But you and I who trust to be part of the spiritual seed can also find comfort in these beautiful words. Do we need comfort? I think we do.

Why did you come to this convention? Why did I? I know I did not come to persuade others to see everything my way, because I do not understand everything correctly. Neither did I come in antici­pation of hearing marvelous new things from God's Word; nor to make disciples unto myself; nor from ­idle curiosity. But there was one thing that I hoped to find here (and thank God I did find it, just as I did at the First Unity Convention last year) and that is fellowship with those of kindred spirit, albeit of diverse mind.

I was not disturbed because a few of my brethren expressed views from this platform different from my own. 'They have the right to their beliefs. What I cannot accept I disregard, though asking the Lord to bless the brother and myself (whichever one is wrong) with a clearer understanding of his Word. I regret that some subjects were chosen which could have been something else in view of our "mixed" congregation. I would have preferred -- of course that's just one man's preference -- that such subjects had been reserved for the separate discussion meetings provided. Where we have, as some one has called it, a "captive audience," I believe (and I say this not by way of criticism, but as a suggestion for next year) that each speaker be considerate of his audience and not take advantage of their presence. No matter how earnest and sincere we be (and I be­lieve all our speakers were earnest and sincere), we should not force our views, our "strong meat" upon any one. We must not -- expressing it crudely -- give pork chops to a little child.

The lambs that our Lord is pictured as carrying in his bosom may represent those who are newly come into the Truth, but perhaps also some who have now grown gray headed in this "Way." Not al­ways does age (whether it be our natural years or those in which we count the Lord's favor) serve as a criterion of our ability to understand the "deep things of God." There are "lambs" who are 60, 70, 80 and more years of age. We have one back in our home town who numbers 92. I would dearly love to talk with her of many things in God's Word, but we must still, when together, feed on the "milk of the word" -- but milk is good. You have seen the large advertisements, "Strong Men Drink Milk." I like milk in its place. Let us all be very solicitous for the Master's lambs and "consider one another to provoke unto love," not strife.

So I came here to see if we who love God, who love his Son, who have believed in the precious "blood" and in gratitude' have consecrated our lives to our heavenly Father, could leave behind the things upon which we differ, and, concentrating upon the "things that are more excellent," find sweet fellowship to­gether for one week -- just one week out of 52. Despite its imperfections and there have been a few -- I feel that this Convention has received God's blessing.

I wish to again quote, as I did at the conclusion of last year's Convention, words which are so familiar to many of us that we can almost quote them from memory. Need I mention the name of the man who wrote them some 45 years ago -- one whom I respect very much, yes, respect for whom increases with the passing of time? Through his writings the Lord gra­ciously opened my eyes to the wonders of 'his Truth, and I sincerely believe that this great man was God's servant. Of course I shall not insist that you call him "that servant;" but I hope you do consider him "God's servant." 'You also are God's servants. The recorded facts prove he was God's servant, but never in the sense that his utterances were infallible. I be­lieve he would have appreciated this convention and would have found here more of the true spirit of Christian unity than (perhaps I had better not say it, but I was going to say) than any place else. And this is not meant to reflect on the various gatherings, God bless them, that are trying so hard to have this same spirit manifest in their midst. I believe this servant would have strongly approved the driving motive­ -- Unity of the spirit -- behind this convention, and the words I now quote justify me in my belief:

"The Scriptural idea of unity is upon the founda­tion principles of the Gospel.

"First, our redemption through the precious blood, and our justification by demonstrated faith therein.

"Second, our sanctification, setting apart to the Lord, the Truth, and their service-including 'the ser­vice of the brethren."

We assembled here for a week upon these two es­sentials. Every one present, including the speakers, was united upon them. True, I heard some exposi­tions with which I disagree, but the one who expressed them was none the less my brother. Continuing the quotation:

"Aside from these two essentials upon which unity must be demanded, there can be no Scriptural fellow­ship."

Surely the implication of these words is that if we be united on the two essentials, we can have fellow­ship. There are thousands of people who know their Bibles well who tell us the opposite, that we are wrong, that this is not sufficient. This great man be­lieved otherwise and we will not permit human sophistry to wrest the meaning of his words. But let us quote further:

"Upon every other point fullest liberty is to be accorded, with, however, a desire to see, and to help others to see, the divine plan in its every feature and detail."

Think of that! Liberty under the control of Love! We haven't yet attained to such liberty even at this convention. That is why we have suggested that those privileged to speak, endeavor with all their might and main, with earnest entreaty to our Father, that the utterances of their lips be edifying to every one present. I feel so strongly on this point that if no other solution be found, I urge our brethren of Cicero (to whom you have so kindly entrusted, the arrangements for next year's convention) to con­strain each speaker to limit himself to one subject only the Lord Jesus Christ. But I don't believe such coercion will be necessary, though the all-sufficiency of such a "subject" would indeed fill our cup with blessing.

In addition to the regular program, provision can be made for the free mingling of brethren to discuss controversial subjects. These gatherings will be attended by those interested. Others will not be forced to partake. Perhaps some day, by God's grace, each speaker will be able to freely express himself and no one will be distressed. Instead, each hearer, having calmly considered the words and accepted or rejected as his own understanding dictates, will spend the intermissions in edifying conversation with his brethren and not troubling one another about- the "dreadful" things the speaker has just uttered. That was his opinion, he honestly believes it, and God will straighten him out in due time if his heart is right.

We might be likened to a dozen neighbors who can­not get along together. A new neighbor moves in, realizes the situation, and coming to each individual invites him, saying: "Friend, come meet in my home. Bring something for a joint meal and we will see what happens." And so we dozen neighbors gather, each with his contribution for the table, and we sit down to eat of all before us. Now I may not like the dill pickles some one brought, nor he my salad. As guests in our new neighbor's 'home, we may not force our food upon others, nor they on us. Rather it is for us to partake of what we wish, with gratitude that we are together again through the kindness of our mutual friend. That is the lesson for us to learn in these Unity Conventions; the lesson of how to get along together. God has not given us this conven­tion week for the purpose of bringing our interpreta­tions and the idea tat we must make others see as we do. We have 51 other weeks in the year for that. This one week is to be devoted to concentrating on the many things (and there are many) we have in common, and so shall we enjoy true Christian fel­lowship together.

How often have I heard quoted (as if to excuse our attitude toward a brother who "disturbs" us) this Scripture: "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" The obvious answer is, No. But our mistake is that we leave assumed the authority for determining the points of agreement and (how hu­man is this failing!) gone far beyond the two essen­tials so well expressed by "God's servant." He was indeed, a profound Bible student, and with all respect for your ability, every one of us in comparison to him is just an amateur theologian. He is still far in advance of us. I am not asking you to read his writ­ings or to "worship"; him, but I do earnestly exhort you to carefully consider his quoted words. What you and I are hungering for is Christian fellowship. For 35 years we have tried other ways to attain this Unity. We have, setup exclusive organizations. We have drawn up our own reasoned out lists of essen­tials. We have gotten nowhere. Our brethren are still everywhere scattered: It is time we agreed on the two and only two essentials. That is all that is neces­sary. That was not only just this man's opinion, who was but flesh, finished his work, and passed on to his reward. A far higher Authority, in fewer and more expressive words has forever laid down the basis for our fellowship:

"One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren."

What terrible things have resulted from over zealous human additions to these words!

There is a great religious organization which 'num­bers 250 million adherents. It claims to be the Mother Church. As a babe I was baptized in that church. I was safe and my salvation was sure. But at the age of 16 when God opened my eyes to the wonders of his Plan, I completely and finally sepa­rated from it. Do you know what the penalty shall be for my "heresy"? I am doomed to eternal suffer­ing. Think of it! When this short life of mine ends, for millions, billions, trillions, quadrillions of years I shall undergo sufferings I cannot possibly imagine! How horrible is this extreme of human nonsense. You and I put away such teachings long ago, but hundreds of millions using this same Bible still believe them. Are we sure we are' right when so many say we are wrong?

Later I became Associated with another organiza­tion, much smaller but still quite large. Our conven­tions number a pitiful few hundreds-theirs, tens of thousands. Twenty-seven years ago, once again I turned "heretic" and left "God's Organization." I went "into outer darkness," and the penalty that now awaits me is "second death," eternal destruction. Not for me will be the privilege of seeing humanity re­stored upon this earth; not for me will be the privi­lege of seeing God wipe away all tears from their eyes! I shall never see my loved ones again! I am lost for­ever! And so are you, for you have taken the same course. However, you do not appear concerned any more than. I do, for we recognize such teachings as more human nonsense. But are we sure we are right when so many tens of thousands of diligent students of the Bible say we are wrong?

My circle of fellowship has indeed narrowed, but the end is not yet. First I left God's Church," and then "God's Organization," and now I find that I am spoken of as one who has left the faith, "our most holy faith" -- I have left "God's Truth"! Yes, there are many brethren whom I love, with whom I am in doctrinal agreement, who will not fellow­ship further with me. Why? Simply because I welcome into my circle of fellowship those who differ with them and with me. Brethren! If I recognize in an individual my Father's child, until God says he is not his child, until then he is my brother. The same precious blood of Christ flows, as it were, through our veins --and we are brethren! For this third "heresy" I know not the penalty, but again I am not disturbed, though 'hundreds of my beloved brethren say I am wrong. For all of them I have the strong assurance that they will yet attain to "higher ground." It is my sincere prayer that God will cause the motivating spirit of this Unity Conven­tion to reach far and wide among our brethren. And let us comfort God's people by courageous and active co-operation in the first positive movement of this late day, for yearly convention fellowship on the sole basis of our relationship to our mutual Master. And though we have been stumbling around, feeling our way, making mistakes and hurting one another, for which God forgive us all, I am certain we are under­taking the most important work, the work upon which he smiles in approval, the work of gathering the sheep which have been scattered. I am very happy that once again you voted for another Unity gathering. Let's get together next year if we have to walk there. Let's forget how much it is going to cost. We wish we had millions of dollars and could provide free transportation for all, and a free place to stay, and the best food in the world. This we are unable to do for one another. But we can all pray our Father, that he will permit us to meet again; this time for sweeter fellowship, perhaps the sweetest fellowship we have ever known. We who hope to spend eternity together can surely meet in the bonds of Christ for one week now.

At the book table I purchased a. new translation, Phillips' "Letters to Young Churches" and would like to read to you from Ephesians 4, beginning with the verse which is really the theme text of this Conven­tion:

"Make it your aim to be at one in the spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another. You, all belong to one Body, of which there is one spirit, just .as you experienced one calling to one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father of us all, who is the One over all, the One working through all and the One living in all."

(We might almost think St. Paul was writing es­pecially to us here at Lakeside. What wonderful words! No more looking about to see what "label" the other brother wears, what ecclesia he attends, or what magazine he reads. Instead, recognizing in one another the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ and of mutual love for him, our Head.)

"Naturally there are different gifts and functions; individually grace is given to us in different ways out of the rich diversity of Christ's giving. . . . His gifts unto men were varied. Some she made special mes­sengers, some prophets, some preachers of the Gospel; to some he gave power to guide and teach his people. His gifts were made, that Christians might be properly equipped for their service, that the whole Body might be built up until the time comes when, in the unity of common faith -- and common knowledge of the Son of God, we arrive at real maturity -- that measure of development which is meant by 'the fulness of Christ.'"

(Dear brethren, let us note especially in these words the Apostle's emphasis upon unity of the spirit as an absolute present requirement, while presenting unity of the faith as a future attainment.)

"We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the crafty pre­sentation of lies. But we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ, the Head. For it is from the Head that the whole Body, as a harmonious structure knit together by the joints with which it is provided, grows by the proper functioning; of individual parts to its full ma­turity in love."

Full maturity in love! What a wonderful goal! And just who are we human beings who dare believe di­vine power is being especially exercised in us to so mighty an objective. Has not the Prophet said, all flesh is grass! Perhaps it will do us good to ponder again first things and get our feet well on solid ground. Consider with me Verses 25 and 26 in this same 40th chapter of Isaiah (Isa. 40:25-26):

"To whom then; will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by thee greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth."

It seems inevitable when I speak, that sooner or later I must touch upon one of the most wonderful things that these eyes of mine have seen and this mind of mine has contemplated, and that is the glorious spectacle of the heavens at night. We all know some­thing of the significance of these twinkling lights. Each like our sun is a massive star in the great "Milky Way," which we see as a thin wisp of cloud number­ing at least 20 billion stars. So vast is this system that our sun with its attendant planets has traveled within it 400 millions of miles a year for two billion years without encountering a fellow star. Such is the emptiness of space within the immensity of our Ga­lactic System! And yet if we could travel outside its boundary until it resolved into a pinpoint of light and through immense voids of space approached another distant point of light, we would find that also resolve into a galaxy with its thousands of mil­lions of stars, perhaps each with a system of planets. And there are countless millions of such galaxies. Today, with the large 200-inch telescope at Palomar Mountain, man's vision has been extended to 20 thousand million light years. Such figures lose their meaning. Light traveling at a rate of 186,000 miles per second can circle this earth seven times in one second. What an incomprehensible distance is meas­ured by one light year, not to mention 20 thousand million! And what do astronomers see at this greatest distance? The same almost monotonous spectacle of spiral nebulae -- "island universes" -- each a galaxy like our own Milky Way, each numbering countless mil­lions of stars. The mind is numbed at the appalling awesomeness of the visible world! And this is not the greater invisible world of which natural man knows nothing, but only the visible world, the world of three dimensions, created for material beings such as man. There are non-material beings, such as angels, and we know above them is a divine nature. The greatness of the God of the Universe is only dimly perceivable by our finite minds!

In this wonderful chapter of Isaiah, in the 15th verse, the Lord tells us some things to give us a proper perspective of ourselves-just what you and I are as human beings in the scale of the universe. It is a humbling picture-a tremendously humbling picture, with its never-to-be forgotten lesson of our non-im­portance and insufficiency. Let the Lord speak:

"Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket." No one troubles to empty a bucket of its last drop of water of which the oceans are full. Yet here the Lord likens all the nations of the earth to this inconsequen­tialness! But the comparison is yet too great. The nations:

"Are counted as the small dust of the balance.''

Do we think any one measuring with the old bal­ance scales would trouble to remove a few specks of dust lest there be an error in weight? And how much smaller is a speck of dust than a drop of water! How small are the nations in God's sight, and you and I are but individuals in this aggregate! But lest some one consider a speck of dust as an entity, of some value, the Lord continues:

 

"All nations before him are as nothing."

You will agree that is quite small -- "nothing." Yet, amazingly, as if determined to impress to the nth degree the lesson, God continues to "shrink the nations' in this final word:

"They are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity."

If then all nations !are thus likened to nonentity, what of us who are, but insignificant individuals among them! Perhaps our opinions, our interpreta­tions, our ideas are not so important after all. Per­haps the Lord is quite able to defend his Truth against error without any assistance on our part. Perhaps we can safely entrust to him the work of these latter days and leave to him only, the judgment of ourselves and our brethren. Have we really learned this lesson? I think some of us have, praise God!

Turning from this Old Testament Scripture which humbles and "puts us' in our place," we read in the New of a Love which reached out from the greater invisible world, far beyond the limits of Man's Uni­verse, and was manifested in the Coming of One "out of the Ivory Palaces into a world of woe." For "God so loved" this "less than nothing" "that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." What a wondrous story -- the story of redeeming love! It shall always be told. It is my belief that upon this planet have been created the first material be­ings, and that in the permission of evil and the eventual glorious outcome, there is a first manifesta­tion of the Divine Character in all its fulness -- Jus­tice, Wisdom, Power, and Love. We count ourselves among the few who are beginning to understand the Plan of the Ages -- the sweetest story ever told. All the nations shall heir and rejoice in the coming Restitution Age when all shall have their tears wiped away, and shall enter into eternal life upon God's footstool then made glorious.

But this is only tote beginning of God's work. When the ministers of that Millennial Day,. the Lord Jesus Christ and his Joint-heirs, the Seed of Abraham, have blessed all the families of earth, will their work be finished? Are they to be confined to activity on this sphere, a dozen oil which if thrown into one sun­spot would disappear yin an instant? Oh, no, no!

In Ephesians 2 we read: "You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."

Note this, dear brethren. We were not only "less than nothing" but also "dead." But the measure­less love of God readied out and did something for us. He justified us, he raised us from our "dead" condition, he honored us (who, in St. Paul's words, were the "foolish and weak and base and non-ex­istent things of this world") with a high calling to his own glory. And ' for what purpose? Ephesians 2:7 answers:

"That in the ages! [note the plural] to come he might show the exceeding riches of his ' grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

The Creation of the Church, the "raising of beg­gars from the dunghill to be set with princes," the perfecting of jewels for a royal diadem for the dis­play of his own perfection of attributes, is destined of the Creator as the; means of manifesting himself to all mankind in the coming Age and throughout all eternity to beings yet to be created. The theme is vast and our imagination staggers! To think that you and I have such an amazing hope (a monstrous egotism the world would say) and that we believe divine power is transforming our minds into the mindedness of the Lord to the end we may be pre­sented "faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy"! You and I really believe this? Why, this pent-up hope should make us feel ready to burst! How little do we appreciate what the Lord is doing in us. We should tremble to think that we have such a hope, for if it were not divinely inspired, we would be emulating Lucifer of old. But we do have this hope-God has begotten us to it and we are now "God's husbandry and God's building." The gratitude of our hearts for his kindness to us who were "dead" and "less than nothing" has welled up in a devotion to his will and an eternal desire to glorify his name. What work can we do for him to manifest this gratitude more tangibly?

Suppose in some marvelous way, I was able to at­tain fluency in all the thousand dialects of men, yes and in the tongues of angels. Just think how the world would listen to my voice. But suppose I was able also to understand all mysteries and all knowl­edge. Any possible question on any subject I could answer perfectly. Wouldn't I be a wonderful per­son in the world's sight?

If now I turned to the Lord and said: "Once I was 'nothing' but now I have attained to perfect speech and perfect wisdom which I desire to use to glorify thee. Am I not now 'something'?"

What answer do you think I would receive?
"Hast thou love?"
"What is love, Father?"
"Thou art nothing."

Suppose I then attained to a faith that could move mountains. Suppose I could just make this glass of water on the speaker's stand move through the air at my word. Some of you, would probably faint. What power! How soon before the newspapers would be full of it, and how soon before people would be trooping to my door!

"Lord, I was 'nothing,' but now I possess all power, which I will use for Thee. Am I not 'something'?"
"Hast thou love?"
"What is love?"
"Thou art nothing."
"Lord, I will give all my goods to feed the poor. Am I not now 'something'?"
"Hast thou love?"
"What is love?"
"Thou art nothing."
"But I'll give my body to be burned to show my gratitude!"
"Hast thou love?"
"What is love?"
"Thou art yet nothing."

Such an individual with such attainments would be king over all the earth,. acclaimed by all people, but in God's sight he woud be nothing. So teaches St. Paul, by inspiration, in 1 Corinthians 13.

Brethren, let's shut first things first. We need more of this "love," no' matter how we define it. (Strange how a child understands what grown-ups have so much difficulty with.) And we are mutually depend­ent on One who, alone can transform us from our fallen condition into his own glorious likeness "ac­cording to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself." Remember that beauti­ful poem:

"The Touch of the Master's Hand"

"'Twas battered, scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while --
To waste his time on the old violin
But held it up with a smile.
'What am 'I bidden, good people,' he cried,
'Who'll start the bidding for me?
A dollar, as dollar! now two, only two;
Two dollars, and Who'll make it three?
Three dollars once, three dollars twice;
Going for three?' But no!
From the room! far back a gray-haired man
Game forward-'and- picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening, up the strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As sweet as an angel sings.

 
"The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low
Said, 'What am I bid for the old violin?'
And he held iti up with the bow.
'A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two,
Two thousand, and who'll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice;
And going and gone,' said he.

"The people cheered, but some of them cried,
'We don't quite understand
What changed its worth?' Swift came the reply,
'The touch of a master's hand.'

"And many a man with life out of tune
And battered and torn with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game, and he travels on.
He is going once, and going twice;
He's going and almost gone.
But the Master' comes and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul, and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand."

Such is our beloved Master, and thus is he work­ing in each of us. Not one speaker, including myself, chose the Master as his subject. I almost felt as if he had stood there at the side, watching and listening as each' addressed you. We were so busy with our own ideas, weren't we. But he has been present with us, and noting the hunger of our hearts. Without him our labors are in vain, but with him nothing will stop the spreading of the spirit of this convention. Just a few hundred of us gathered here, but its influence, its lessons, its spirit may reach thousands. May the Lord move us mightily to help our brethren everywhere to grow in appreciation and love for each other. The world is against us; the devil is against us; our bodies are against us; let us help one another. Let's throw away those hammers and get a horn. Let each remain persuaded in his own mind but let brotherly love prevail. In the words of the old hymn:  

"You go to your church and I'll go to mine,
But let's walk along together."

- Amen.


Strong Delusion

"Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might he saved . . . God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned." - 2 Thess. 2:10-12.  

IT is a startling thought that God would delude or deceive anyone. He is "the God of Truth," He "cannot lie." What, then, does the Apostle mean by this statement?

When puzzled by a seemingly inconsistent state­ment of Scripture as rendered in the version author­ized by the royal James, we learn to seek its mean­ing in the original text by making use of the various critical translations available, and the Hebrew and Greek lexicons of Young and Strong.

So examining this text we find that its first asser­tion "God shall send" is correctly translated, and in­dicates a deliberate and unequivocal purpose. We pause to ask, How does God "send" his message to, men? and reply, Through his Word, sole "channel" of his revelation to mankind.

Are we then to conclude that there is "strong de­lusion" in the Word of God? By no means! The critical translations give us the solution of the mys­tery. The original Greek words do not mean "strong delusion."

Rotherham translates these words "an inward work­ing of error." The Emphatic Diaglott word-for-word reads, "strong working of deceit"; in the arranged translation, "an energy of delusion." A free render­ing of this passage in harmony with the Greek orig­inal and the general teachings of the Scriptures might be as follows: "They shall receive a mistaken zeal, based on their own understanding of the Word of God."

The Scriptures themselves offer numerous examples of people so deceived.

(1) Fleshly Israel was deceived: "I bear them wit­ness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge." - Romans 9:30-10:3.

(2) Paul was deceived: "As touching zeal, perse­cuting the Church." (Phil. 3:6.) "1 ... am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God." - 1 Cor. 15:9.

(3) Persecutors of Christians deceived: "The hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you shall think that he offereth service unto God." - John 16:2.

(4) Honestly deceived: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways o f death." - Prov. 16:125.

(5) Judas deceived: The betrayal of -our Lord by Judas Iscariot is one of the simplest and clearest illus­trations of our text. "Then entered Satan into him [Judas]',. Jesus therefore saith unto him, What thou doest, do quickly." - John 13:21-30.

Judas had sold out to the High Priests. He had agreed to betray his Master. Satan "entered into his heart." But still he hesitated to commit the overt act of treason. Jesus, the living Word of God, spoke: "What thou doest, do quickly." It was the "zeal of error" Judas needed: to spur him on. Without re­lieving him of responsibility, Jesus gave him the "mistaken zeal" to accomplish his nefarious purpose -because his heart -was not right-he had not "re­ceived the truth in the love of it."

Thus every one who concerns himself with holy things-the Scriptures, the Church, the ministry, with­out a dominant, a governing love of the truth, will inevitably draw mistaken zeal from the Scriptures, "that they may be judged" or distinguished. By the suggestion from Jesus, Judas was prompted to act; by the activating energizing power of God's Word, we are urged to do what we most desire to do quickly, that our true heart condition may be manifested and the decision in our case be made, and be approved by all the righteous in heaven and earth.

Since we may be perfectly sincere, and sure we are acting on the Word of God, and yet be wrong and by our actions be justifying our condemnation, it be­hooves us every one to obey the Apostle's injunction to "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." (2 Cor. 13:5.) Dare any of us say we are certain we are right -- in no danger of judgment -- we have no need of caution or self-exam­ination; and that all who disagree with us either in doctrine or practice are wrong? "Let him that think­eth he standeth, take heed lest he fall."

It is often extremely difficult to dis­criminate between good and evil, or to decide whether a course of conduct opened before us would be pleasing to the Lord or not.

Some may be inclined to question this statement; but the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews declares it to be true. He says (Heb. 5:7-14), "When by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and ... have need of milk ["for babes"] and not of solid food . . . [which is] for full grown men ... who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil."

Paul emphasizes his point here by a play on words -- paronoma­sia, which is the use of two words of similar sound in juxtaposition, com­monly for emphasizing antithesis, or contrary meaning. Out of more than a dozen Greek words meaning "good," and eight meaning "evil," the writer selects two which look and sound almost exactly alike -- "Kalos" and "Kakos." It requires good eye­sight to: "discern" between Kalos and Kakos, and equally good and experi­enced spiritual eyesight always to dis­cern between good and evil, in our conclusions drawn from the Word of God. A neat turn of language to impress a great truth!

Discernment -- discrimination -- is a rare and advanced fruit of true Wis­dom.

Kalos or Kakos! Good or evil! The fundamental error is in expect­ing that the Church will reign in the flesh, and that its ministers have earth­ly authority. The Scriptures are so written that the erroneous conclusion may be drawn by those who do not love the truth concerning the Church in the flesh -- that her course is to be one of humility, poverty, self­ sacrifice, suffering; her exaltation to be consequent upon her death in follow­ing her Lord. This is distasteful to those who love power, place, pride, authority. God sends a "zeal of error" to such -- that their hearts may be manifested, their condemnation justi­fied.

Strange it is that Bible students can see clearly how wrong was the course of some who made these great and swelling claims in past centuries, yet fail to recognize the same claims of over-lordship and authority when ad­vanced by others today. Plausible arguments based upon texts and in­terpretations of God's Word are pre­sented in support of these claims; but the Apostle's solemn and portentous words apply today as ever: "God shall send them a zeal of error-because they loved not the truth -- that they may be judged."

This particular self-deception is the most serious and dangerous of any into which we may fall. It is de­nounced by the risen Christ in his Revelation (Rev. 2:6, 15) as "the doctrine and works of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate." Nicolaus means "he who overcomes the people"; it is a cryptic reference to those who seek to become "lords over God's heritage" -who are "not holding the Head." "The vice­gerent of Christ on earth"; "the Chan­nel of the Truth"; these and similar claims are all direct offenses against him who has been appointed by God the Father to be "head over all things unto his body, which is the Church" (Eph. 1:22), and inevitably will bring on the condemnation forewarned, if persisted in.

Next in heinousness to the offense against the Head is the offense against his Body, the Church, in fomenting divisions among her members. The Apostle writes, "There must be schisms among you that they that are approved may be made manifest among you" (1 Cor. 11:19). "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; . . . enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties . . . which I forewarn you, even as I did in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21). The divisions must come, in order that those who love and practice divisions may be manifested and condemned.

On the contrary, the same Apostle as clearly declares that those who practice unity shall inherit the King­dom. He gives us a basis for the unity of the Church so clear, simple, and yet comprehensive as to leave no room for question, no danger of be­ing either too exclusive or too inclu­sive if we adhere to it. It is indeed an authoritative "Apostles' Creed" for the Church. It is found in Ephe­sians 4:1-16, which may be para­phrased with some freedom as fol­lows (note the play on the word "one"):

"I urge you to live worthy of the Call that you have received; always humble and gentle, patient, loving one another, and striving to maintain in the bond of peace the one-ness given by the Spirit [for there are seven "one" things upon which this "oneness" is built]

One Body,
One Spirit,
One Hope of our Calling,
One Lord,
One Faith, One Baptism,
One God and Father over all."

"To this unified Body God has given gifts -- Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, to fit his people for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the Body of Christ. And [provided unity is maintained] this shall continue un­til we all attain unto --

(1) The one-ness of the faith;
(2) The full knowledge of the Son of God;
(3) Full-grown manhood -the full standard of the perfection of Christ;
(4) Complete union with him who is our Head-Christ himself.
But only if we are closely joined and knit together and so are being built up in a spirit of love."

The Apostle's extreme care in choosing words exactly to express his meaning is notable in the fact that in referring to five of the seven essen­tial things he uses the cardinal "one"; in the cases of the other two, he uses the ordinal "first." The five cardinal "ones" are given to us-complete, perfect, the plan and workmanship of the Father and the Son, in which our part is only to receive, to occupy, to share, or to recognize and obey. These are: One Body, One Spirit, One Lord, One Baptism, One God and Father." The other two are: "First Hope of Our Calling, First Faith." These are our contributions to the fellowship of the Body; while both are gifts from God in a sense, because the things which call them forth or incite them are from him, yet in another sense they originate and grow in our minds in response to God's invitation and gracious promises.

Yet in stating these two require­ments for membership in the Body he implies that we are not to expect or demand a fully developed hope or faith in those seeking our fellowship. This he puts in so many words in Romans 14:1: "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubt­ful disputations." Presently, as a result of the unity and fellowship of the Body, his faith will grow, "until we all attain unto the unity [perfection] of the faith."

How beautifully this platform covers every point-justification, con­secration, sanctification, holy living, a sacrificial death! Anyone who pro­fesses these Seven Things, and gives no contrary evidence (such as living in open sin -- 1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Thess. 3:6) is accepted and fellowshipped as a brother in Christ.

But, says one, any sectarian would accept this platform -provided he is allowed to define the "One Faith"! To this we reply, the Apostle does not leave this requirement to our in­dividual opinions and preferences, but himself defines in unmistakable sim­plicity and completeness, the "Faith once delivered unto the saints": "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen." "The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach: be­cause if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 10:8, 9). Is that all? Yes, according to Paul; but mistakenly zealous sectarians from the earliest age of the Church have been expand­ing and dilating and doctoring and patching their conceptions of "The Faith," to include this, that, and the other doctrinal requirements, true or false; and they are still busy at it!

In fact, it has become so much a matter of course to confuse "faith" with doctrine or belief, that when the facts come to our attention we are astonished, and sometimes find it difficult to adjust our minds to their implications.

The Greek word "pistis," the word usually translated "faith," carries no implication of a creed or system of belief. Strong's Greek Dictionary in his Concordance, after defining this word, adds: "By extension, the sys­tem of religious [Gospel] truth itself."

It is truly by an "extension" not authorized by the inspired writers nor justified by the meaning or usage of the Greek word, that it so extended. And this "extension" has undoubtedly been the cause of more fanaticism, persecution, hatred, warfare, and bloodshed, in the name of Christ, than all other fundamental errors combined.

As compared to the seven funda­mental things stated by the Apostle as essential to membership in the Church, and the plain statements of Scripture directly concerning these seven, all other doctrinal statements of Scripture are of secondary im­portance. And yet, the things that Christians dispute -- yea, quarrel, and divide about, are almost invariably the doctrinal questions of secondary importance.

Kalos or Kakos -- good or evil­ -- discern, O Israel! The great things should unite us all. Shall we permit the lesser things to continue to sepa­rate us?

Paul places life and death before us -- a theorem in spiritual propor­tion

Unity : Life :: Divisions : Death.

Unity is to Life as Divisions are to Death.

Unity -- and a "completing of our course with joy"; an "ascertaining what is the good and acceptable and complete will of God concerning us"; an "abundant entrance ministered un­to us into his Everlasting Kingdom."

Divisions -- and loss; lost time, lost efficiency, lost opportunities, a lost crown and Kingdom.

Why is this subject of the Unity of the Body of such supreme impor­tance?

(1) Because Jesus came into the world to establish unity (John 11:52).

(2) He commanded and prayed that his followers should be one (united) (John 15:12, 17; 17:11, 21­23).

(3) We lose our liberty in Christ if we practice divisions.

"What," says one, "I thought we gained liberty by standing apart?"

The most important feature of our liberty in Christ is that spoken of in John 1:12: "As many as received him, to them gave he power [margin, the right or privilege - i.e., liberty] to become the sons of God." "He that saith he abideth in him ought him­self also so to walk, even as he walked. Hereby perceive we love, be­cause he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren ... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to, love one another" (1 John 2:6; 3:16; 4:11).

How can we love and lay down our lives for the brethren if we are divided-if we do not fellowship with them-assemble ourselves to­gether with them? Only "with all saints" can we come to know "what is the breadth and length and height and depth . . . of the love of Christ, which passeth [individual or human] knowledge" (Eph. 3:14-19). We can attain the perfection of this knowledge only when we are finally united with our Head and the members of his Body beyond the Veil; but our fitness for that ultimate and perfect unity will certainly be measured and judged by the earnestness, sincerity, and self-sacrifice we display in seeking the fullest possible measure of it during this, our trial time.

We have considered the great Apostle's solemn admonitions and warnings; it remains for us only to examine their applicability to our­selves; to determine our own position and trend in the light of their sig­nificance; for "if we judge ourselves we shall not be judged."

Kalos or Kakos -- good or evil -- ­life or death!

The Laodicean Church has a high and holy mission. In most particulars it is identical with, in some it differs somewhat from, the mission of previ­ous stages of the Church. It may be stated thus

(1) To "give diligence to make our own calling and election sure" (2 Pet. 1:3-11).

(2) To "lay down our lives for the brethren" in assisting them to do likewise (1 John 3:16).

(3) To discharge our ambassador­ship to mankind: "As though God did beseech by us: we pray in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20).

(4) To witness to the world of the end of the Age, and the nearness of the Kingdom (Matt. 24:14).

This Mission can be accomplished only by Unity-or rather, those who practice unity will achieve personal success in this enterprise.

It requires both Faith and Works -- but not specialists in Faith and specialists in Works, acting separately. We must get together, because our Head commands it, and because we need each other.

Kalos or Kakos -- good or evil -- discern, O Israel!

Shall we say unity is impossible? Then we do not love sufficiently, for "Love hopeth ALL things"!

Unity impossible? Then we con­tradict the Prophet, who declares (Isa. 52:8) "Thy watchmen . . . to­gether shall sing: for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion." Does this mean that if we are of the true watchmen we will agree on everything? Or, in other words, do we think that those who do not agree with us are not watch­men?

Ah, no, brethren -- let us not be so narrow or so foolish!

If we see eye to eye that opinions do not matter-that unity on the basis of the Apostle's seven great es­sentials (upon which we all agree) is the all-important thing-then the prophecy is fulfilled-we can all get together, forget differences, practice unity, reap its blessed fruits "unto life eternal," and be ready to face our Lord and Head without the shame, confusion, and regret we shall surely experience when we see him if we have "practiced divisions."

Kalos or Kakos -- good or evil -- ­discern, O Israel!

Surely the movement to "gather into unity the children of God who are scattered abroad," inaugurated by our Lord nineteen hundred years ago, is one worthy of our most earnest efforts as his followers. Surely it de­serves our careful thought and plan­ning, our time, our talents, the sacri­fice of our human life itself! Surely it is a Holy Crusade to which we will do well to devote ourselves! Surely such a life and death would be well­pleasing to the Father and to our Head!

"We are a spectacle to angels and men." Are we giving a good wit­ness, dear brethren-of Christian love, of unity, of zeal and devotion, of holy living?

Kalos or Kakos -- good or evil. Discern, O Israel!

- H. E. Hollister


Annual Meeting of the Institute

Members of the Pastoral Bible Institute are hereby remind­ed of the privilege which is theirs of nominating in the pages of this journal the brethren they wish to elect as directors for the fiscal year 1952-53. While the attention of new members is especially drawn to this matter, we desire to emphasize in the minds of old members also, not only the privilege, but also the responsibility which continued association with this ministry brings.

All should be aware of the fact that the affairs of this In­stitute are in the hands of seven brethren who are elected from the Institute's membership to serve for a period of one year or until their successors are elected. The next annual meeting will be held Saturday, June 7, 1952, at 2 p.m., in the parlors of the Institute, 177 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, New York.

The brethren whose term of service will expire are:

F. A. ESSLER.
H. E.
HOLLISTER
J. C. JORDAN

J.
T. READ
W.
J. SIEKMAN
T. G. SMITH

P. E.
THOMSON

The brethren named above are pleased to report that a spirit of Christian love and harmony exists in their midst; and they have every reason to believe that the Lord has seen fit to bless their association in this ministry. They realize, how­ever, that those carrying on any work often fail to see oppor­tunities for improvement and expansion apparent to others not charged with such responsibility. For this reason changes in office not infrequently have beneficial effects. They desire above all things that the work of the Lord (for the furtherance of which this Institute was formed) be prosecuted with the greatest possible efficiency, and to this end are ready cheerfully to step aside for others whom the membership believe to be fitted for the work. They therefore urge upon all the members of: our Institute that they make this a spe­cial occasion of prayer, and they also earnestly pray that our Father's will may be expressed in the vote of the members. If after prayerful meditation any are led of the Lord to nominate brethren, and will forward the names and addresses. of such brethren so as to reach this office on or before April 6, 1952, such names will be published in the May issue of the "Herald," that all members may have an opportunity of vot­ing for them.


Recently Deceased

Bro. Robert H. Bricker, Pittsburgh, Pa. - (February)
Bro. Edward F. Crist, Altadena, Cal. - (January)
Sister Victoria Dziedzic, Milwaukee, Wis. - (February)
Sister Addie I. Hawkins, Sumner, Wash. - (January)
Bro. Wm. Hofer, Hutchinson, Kans. - (January)
Sister Minnie A. Jeffs, St. Louis, Mo. - (March)
Sister Naomi Leet, Saugus, Cal. - (January)

Bro. Clayton Woodworth, Brooklyn, N. Y. - (January)


1952 Index