of Christ's Kingdom
XXXVI April 1953
Table of Contents
What Say the Scriptures?
Annual Meeting of the Institute
The Question Box
The Church of Today
Basic Bible Studies No. 2 -- The Bible a Divine Revelation
"Borne by holy spirit, men spoke from God." - 2 Peter 1:21,
OUR previous study we noted that scientific Rationalism has made wondrous
progress in triumphing over time and space, microbes and atoms. But this
pathway, with its absolute and almost naive faith in cerebral processes,
has also led to a mechanistic concept of the origin and destiny of Man, a
"gospel" of hopelessness. Furthermore, the resulting great
technical advances have, in our day, brought pressing problems to the
social world. There is mounting and alarming evidence that mankind is
entering an era of Scientific Barbarism. It has become obvious that man's
mentality has not kept pace with his techniques. The barbarians are making
more progress in the application of science than Science is making in the
control of barbarism. Two tragic conflicts of unprecedented violence have
penetrated into the remotest corners of the world to shake modern
civilization's illusions of solidity and permanence. In a world faced with
disaster, apprehensive hearts, weary of destructive materialism and
paralyzing skepticism, long for a resurgence of spiritual values. But
from whence shall they come?
search the world for truth. We cull
The good, the pure, the beautiful,
The graven stone and written scroll
And all old flower-fields of the soul;
And, weary seekers of the best,
We come back laden from our quest,
To find that all the sages said
Is in the Book our mothers read."
persuaded that this wonderful book, the Bible, is the only fount of truth
which can satisfy hearts and minds, our succeeding studies will examine
its teachings in detail, in the firm assurance we shall find them the
answer to all the questions of men. But first, for confirmation of its
claim to divine origin, we consider briefly the testimony thereto of men,
of reason, and of our hearts.
THE TESTIMONY OF MEN
the many testimonials of scholars, statesmen, scientists, philosophers,
and others concerning the Bible, we submit the following:
Bunsen, German scholar: "The Holy Scriptures are intelligible to the
humblest, commanding the reverence of the wisest; the only story of the
origin of our race which we can harmonize with our natural conception of
God, or with science."
Bacon, English philosopher: "There never was found in any age of the
world either religion or law that did so highly exalt the public good as
the Bible. . . . I believe the Bible is the Word of God whereby his will
Faraday, English physicist: "As tears come from the heart and appeal
to the heart, so the Bible comes from God, and he that is from God listens
to her voice."
William Jones, British jurist and Orientalist: "The Bible is the
light of my understanding, the joy of my heart, the fulness of my hope,
the clarifier of my affections, the mirror of my thoughts, the consoler
of my sorrows, the guide of my soul through this gloomy labyrinth of time,
the telescope sent from heaven to reveal to the eye of man the amazing
glories of the far distant world. The Bible contains more true sublimity,
more exquisite beauty, more pure morality, more important history, and
finer strains of poetry and eloquence than can be collected from all
other books in whatever age or language they may have been
John Frederick Herschel, English astronomer: "All human discoveries
seem to be made only for the purpose of confirming more and more
strongly the truths that come from on high and are contained in the Sacred
Kant, German philosopher: "The Bible is an inexhaustible fountain
of all truths. The existence of the Bible is the greatest blessing which
humanity ever experienced."
Galilei, Italian physicist and astronomer: "The Holy Scriptures can
in no wise say a lie or have a mistake; its pronouncements are absolutely
and inviolably true."
Dwight Dana, American geologist, in speaking to a graduating class in
Yale University said: "Young men! As you go out into the world to
face scientific problems, remember that I, as an old man who has known
only science all my life long, say to you, that there is nothing truer in
all the Universe than the scientific statements contained in the Word of
Greenleaf, American lawyer:
genuineness and authenticity of the Scriptures are established. The
Scriptures are the voice of God."
Locke, English philosopher: "The Bible is one of the greatest blessings
bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its author, salvation
for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure,
all sincere; nothing too much, nothing wanting."
Isaac Newton, English philosopher: "We account the Scriptures of
God to be the most sublime philosophy. . . . I find more sure marks of
authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever."
William Ramsay, Scotch chemist: "The longer I study the New Testament,
the more convinced I become of its absolute trustworthiness. . . .
Christianity is the religion of truth; it is founded on truth, absolute
and perfect truth."
Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet and philosopher: "It is a belief
in the Bible, the fruit of deep meditation, which has served me as the
guide of my moral and literary life."
Virchow, German scientist: "The Bible is God's Word.... Evolution
is all nonsense."
Jaques Rousseau, French philosopher: "Peruse the works of our
philosophers; with all their pomp of diction, how mean, how contemptible
are they, compared with the Scriptures! Is it possible that a book at
once so simple and sublime should be merely the work of man? The Jewish
authors were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality
contained in the Gospel, the marks of whose truths are so striking and
inimitable that the inventor would be a more astonishing character than
Arnold, English poet and essayist: "To the Bible men will return,
because they cannot do without it; the true God is and must be preeminently
the God of the Bible, the Eternal, who makes for righteousness, from whom
Jesus Christ came forth, and whose spirit governs the course of
Ruskin, English writer: "Everything that I have written, every
greatness that has been in any thought of mine, whatever I have done in my
life has been simply due to the fact that when I was a child my mother
daily read with me a part of the Bible and daily made me learn a part of
it by heart."
Wanamaker, American merchant: "I cannot too greatly emphasize the
importance and value of Bible study -- more important than ever before
in these days of uncertainties, when men and women are apt to decide
questions from the standpoint of expediency rather than on the eternal
principles laid down by God himself."
William Farrar, English clergyman and author: "Nor has the widest
learning and acutest ingenuity of skepticism ever pointed to one complete
and demonstrable error of fact or doctrine in the Old or New Testament."
Walter Scott, British novelist and poet -- it is related that about a week
before his death he said to his son-in-law, Lockhart: "Read to me
from the Book!" and when Lockhart asked him from what book, he said,
"Need you ask? There is but one."
Webster, American statesman: "I have read the Bible through many
times, and now make it a
to read it through once every year. ... A great jurist must go to school
to the Book; lying back of Blackstone and the Habeas Corpus Act and the
Roman Institutes are the statutes of the Mosaic Code."
Garibaldi, Italian patriot: "The best of allies you can procure for
us is the Bible, which will bring us the reality of Freedom. This is the
cannon that will make Italy free."
Wilson, twenty-eighth president: "When you have read the Bible, you
will know it is the Word of God, because you will have found it the key to
your own heart, your own happiness, and your own duty."
G. Kyle, clergyman and Egyptologist: "There has never been found
anything that discredits statements of facts in the Bible."
Ewart Gladstone, English Prime-minister: "I have spent seventy years
of my life studying the Book to satisfy my heart; it is the Word of God. I
bank my life on the statement that I believe this Book to be the solid
rock of Holy Scripture. All the wonders of Greek civilization were not as
wonderful as the single book of Psalms."
THE TESTIMONY OF REASON
commendatory verdict of notable men is most assuring. But if the Bible
be the Word of God it is its own best witness. Let us examine it therefore
with our own intellect. We are not here concerned with the minutiae of
historical and archaeological details so wonderfully corroborative of the
Scripture records and which are accessible to all in libraries. We shall
restrict ourselves to a consideration of four major facts revealed in the
volume itself, to account for which, we believe, requires the admission
of super-human activity.
Opening the Bible's pages we find it to be not one but sixty-six separate
books, one of which consists itself of one hundred and fifty separate
compositions. These treatises come from the hands of at least thirty
distinct writers of every sort of temperament, of every degree of
endowment, of every time of life, of every grade of attainment, of every
condition in the social scale, from shepherd to king. The time of their
labors stretches over a period of some fifteen hundred years, from Egypt's
hoary past to Rome's splendor under Augustus, and embraces specimens of
nearly every kind of writing known among men: histories, codes of law,
ethical maxims, philosophical treatises, discourses, dramas, songs, hymns,
epics, biographies, letters both official and personal, prophecies-all
gathered here in one volume. Confined for ages to a rough, isolated corner
of the globe, in the keeping of a peculiar tribe of men, it suddenly
bursts all boundaries and deluges the world. In the face of stinging contempt
and blood-thirsty cruelty, opposing ancient prejudices, habits, customs,
and religions, it sweeps them away like so many straws. Human society in
every stage of development, under every form of administration, and
composed of every race of men, yields itself to it. It is difficult to
conceive the immense revolution in the lives of men which it wrought. And
still does the Bible stand in all the world exercising its immense power
in the restraining of evil passions, and in the advancement of all that is
good and true and elevating. Where does this Book get its influence? Does
not this remarkable formulation of diverse writings over such a span of
time, from so many unrelated sources, and with such influence, indicate
the supernatural? ,
As we observe the internal character of the volume, a most striking unity
is found to pervade the whole despite its diverse parts. They are so
linked together that the absence of any one book would introduce confusion
and disorder. The same doctrine running like a golden thread from
beginning to end, strings book after book upon itself like so many pearls.
Each book adds something to what the others proclaim, but the development
is orderly and progressive. An unbroken historical continuity pervades
the whole. The Old Testament ends with Malachi pointing through the silent
ages to a path seen in the Gospels. The New Testament fits on to the Old
so exactly that it is difficult to doubt they were consciously planned
each for its place. The gradual framing of the Bible in all the
marvelous harmony of its inner relations, indicates design kept
constantly before an Intelligent Mind for fifteen hundred years, and so
excludes human supervision.
Another outstanding fact is the Bible's numerous prophetical statements.
Prophecy is a continual miracle set in the midst of the Bible as sure
proof to all ages that it comes from God. Space would fail for an enumeration
of the multitude of minute details of predictions which have already
been fulfilled, and which announced the fall of flourishing cities, the
ruin of mighty empires, the coming of the Messiah and the subsequent fate
of the Jewish race -- the latter an everliving witness to the truth of
the predicted judgments of long ago. The remarkable events of our own
day -- the worldwide distress of nations, the amazing increase in
knowledge, the phenomenal means of transportation, the extreme emphasis on
the material rather than the spiritual in daily life, the lack of vitality
in the religious professions of the vast majority and their instructors,
and the restoration of the Jews to their homeland -- all fulfillments of
prophecies recorded thousands of years ago -- are perfect demonstrations
that the Book which contains such predictive information is indeed divine.
So admirably has this sort of evidence been contrived by the wisdom of
God, that in proportion as the lapse of ages seems in men's minds to
weaken the argument derived from the miracles recorded in the
Scriptures, the unfolding of fulfilled prophecy, by that very lapse,
serves only to strengthen the argument for the supernatural origin of the
The fourth fact bearing on the inspiration of the Bible and one of
greatest weight is, that amid all the diversity of its subject matter, the
whole Book is taken up in the portrayal
of one person. On its first page he comes for a moment before our astonished eyes; on
the last he lingers still before our adoring gaze. From that word in
Genesis which describes him as the "Seed of the woman" and at
the same time her Deliverer -- through book after book, in Levitical
sacrifices, in the lives and experiences of men of faith, in the intensely
emotional Psalms, in the eloquence of Prophets, in the records of his
disciples -- to the end, where he is discovered on the throne and
judging all nations, the one consistent but gradually developed
portraiture grows before our eyes. Are we to believe that the astoundingly
successful creation and dramatization of such a character through the ages
is but a human fiction? This would demand for its author something
more than has yet been seen in man. Rather are we drawn irresistibly to
the conviction that such a portraiture revealed from Genesis to Revelation
is undeniable evidence that the Bible owes its origin to a Mind able to
superintend its composition for fifteen hundred years with a genius
unexampled among men.
THE TESTIMONY OF OUR HEARTS
we consider the Bible in its appeal to our hearts. Do we find in it the
truths which answer our questions, which satisfy the hunger of our
spirits? We open its pages, and confusion becomes order and darkness
light. It takes us straight into God's very presence, and gives its
message there by an authority which is his and his alone. It satisfies
every longing of our natures, it irradiates with clear and certain light
the whole duration of our existence, both the present life and the future
beyond it. It tells us all we need to know and in it we find peace and
rest. It supplies our practical wants, alleviates our sorrows, remedies
our ruin, and throws light upon our darkness. It is a book that is adapted
to all the different divisions into which society is divided by rank, and
birth, and wealth, and fashion. It fills the heart with happiness amid the
sanctities of our Christian homes, and comforts the wanderer in a strange
land. It ennobles life and tranquillizes death, and gives to man the
hope of glory and eternal life. Within its compass is milk for babes and
strong meat for men -- plain truths, simple enough for the loving comprehension
of a beginner in faith, and mysteries high and deep enough to overtask the
powers of an archangel. Its great truths are universal truths; truths
capable of reaching and making entrance into and taking a strong hold upon
the heart of man as man, and of all men equally, independent of their
race, affinities, or intellectual advancement. It is a book which knows
us, puts our thoughts into words, fills up our need, and teaches us the
prayers which God can answer. It dries our tears, rejoices our hearts, and
sets our feet upon the pathway that leads to God. It is in its sanctifying
thought, its agreement with the character of God, and its living energy
and ability to deal with all our needs and hopes that we recognize its
authority to speak as the Revelation from God. All the evidence, both of
contents and results, binds us to stand upon the "impregnable
rock" of Holy Scripture. And sealing its testimony are the words of
Him who is Himself the Truth
shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of
the mouth of God."
- W. J.
subject of the third article in this series will be: "The First Man,
Is it Always Followed by Begettal ?
-- Can any
one be consecrated and not begotten of the Holy Spirit?
believe that there is still room. That is to say that the full number of
the elect has not yet been found, and tested, etc., and therefore our
expectation would be that any one making a full, thorough consecration of
himself to the Lord would still be, begotten of the Holy Spirit. But if
the question be in the form in which it is here stated, "Could one be
consecrated and not be begotten of the Holy Spirit?" we would say,
"Yes, he could be consecrated so far as his part is concerned."
Your consecration and my consecration, our part, is merely to present
ourselves to God. It is for God then to say whether he accepts that
consecration. During this time, this Gospel Age, the Scriptures speak of
this as the acceptable day, the acceptable year, the acceptable time of
the Lord, and we believe that he is ready and willing to accept all of
those who come unto the Father through Christ, and that all such are
accepted, and if they are accepted as members of the Body of Christ they
will be begotten of the Holy Spirit. But as we have said before, so we say
again, we believe that in the not distant future there will be people who
will make a consecration, who will make a presentation of themselves to
God, and for whom there will be no place left, because, as the parable
shows, the wise virgin class will all have entered into the marriage and
the door will be shut, and then there will be no one else enter in,
because that class, when completed, will have no additions. Those who
would then present themselves would not be begotten of the Holy Spirit.
But this would not mean that God would be displeased with the offer of
themselves; rather God would be very pleased to have them offer themselves
-- just as God was, undoubtedly pleased with Abraham, with Isaac, with
Jacob, and all the Prophets who offered themselves freely to know and to
do the divine will to the extent God was willing to receive them. They got
a great blessing. So we should advocate, with every person with whom we
have an influence, that the proper course, the proper duty for every human
being, the reasonable service would be to present his body a living
sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. He will not spurn the sacrifice, but
whether he will beget you by the Holy Spirit depends on whether your
sacrifice is offered in time, before the door is shut, before the last
member of the elect has been gathered in.
What Pastor Russell Said, page 151.
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 1953-54. 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.
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 hold Saturday, June 6, 1953, at 2 p.m. in the
parlors of the Institute, 177 Prospect Place, Brooklyn New York.
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
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
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
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.
led of the-
Lord to nominate brethren, and will
names and addresses of such brethren so as to reach this office on or before
April 10, 1953, such names will be published in the .May issue of the
"Herald," that all members may have an opportunity of voting for
"Our God is a
God of salvation; and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death." -
Psa. 68:20, R.S.V.
OTHER event in all the annals of creation or history can equal in
importance and significance the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This
is true not only as respects man, but as respects the heavenly host, our
Lord himself, and even the Father. Would that we were able to convey in
words just a little of what this really did mean.
be that God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his
great mercy, hath begotten us again unto a living hope, through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." - 1 Pet. 1:3.
resurrection of Jesus must have brought great joy to all the heavenly host.
It is recorded that "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons
of God shouted for joy" when the foundations of the earth were laid;
and when Jesus was born, again it is recorded that the heavenly host gave
praise and glory to God. It is even said that "there is joy in heaven
over one sinner that repents." (Job 38:7; Luke 2:13, 14; 15:7, 10.)
Then what must have been the exultation of the heavenly host who, for
thirty-three years, had been witnessing the great drama of the Son of God in
his work of redemption! His struggle against Satan and the forces of evil
must needs be carried through without the least deviation from the course of
righteousness; whereas, the opponent, Satan, resorted to every subterfuge
and device of which he was capable.
what intentness of interest, and perhaps trepidation, they must have watched
as they saw him betrayed, ill-treated, falsely accused, scourged,
condemned, crucified, forsaken and entombed. It appeared that Satan and
the forces of evil had triumphed-that the cause of righteousness and the
hope of mankind was lost. It may be that God alone knew what was to occur.
Whether this be true or not, those hours of waiting until the dawn of that
first day of the week, must have gripped them in a tenseness of emotion that
only hallelujahs of praise and thanksgiving could relieve when they
witnessed the resurrection of the Son of God.
what did resurrection mean to our Lord? As we can scarcely appreciate the
joy that will come to those who are restored to perfection of human life,
how can we possibly conceive of the joy which our Lord realized in his
resurrection and exaltation to the nature of the Father himself? What must
have been the sentiments of his heart when, in the moment of resurrection,
he realized that all that for which he had longed and struggled was now an
assured fact; that never again would his intimate relationship and
association with the Father be interrupted; that he had fully justified his
Father's confidence in him; and that now he would be able to carry out his
Father's will in every particular? Excepting the Father, as we must in
every comparison, only Jesus could know the extent of that joy, for, as yet,
there were none to share his glory.
then, to climax it all, what must the Father himself have felt when, through
resurrection power, he received unto his own bosom his only begotten Son,
the dearest treasure of his heart? Has God placed any possibilities of
depth of feeling in any of his creatures which he himself does not possess?
Could any father or mother possibly know a joy at birth of an offspring that
would compare with that which the Father must have felt when his only
begotten Son was born to his own nature and station? We, of course, cannot
presume to say, but we doubt if any but the Father himself will ever know
the depth of that joy.
do well to recall all the precious promises contained in the Word
regarding our resurrection hope and that of mankind, based on the
resurrection of Jesus, in order that the impressions made upon our minds and
hearts may be deepened, and become unalterably fixed there. Life beyond the
grave is possible only through a resurrection of the dead. This is the only
prospect set before us in the Scriptures whereby we may be restored to life.
The Old Testament writers reveal the resurrection hope in many of their
prophecies, though ofttimes, it is true, by statements so obscure, that
until something is said or done to reveal their meaning, we would scarcely
recognize them as having any reference to a resurrection.
instance of this kind is brought to our attention by Jesus when controverting
the argument of the Sadducees -- that sect in Israel which did not believe in a resurrection. The Sadducees considered
the five books of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and
Deuteronomy, to be the only authoritative teachings, given by God, by
which their lives were to be ruled and guided. Therefore quotations from the
Prophets or the Psalms, had little or no convincing weight with them. Jesus
evidently considered this fact, when, in attempting to prove to them the
error of their belief, he quoted from the writings of Moses.
twenty-two of Matthew's Gospel records how the various sectarian groups in
Israel tried to refute the teachings of Jesus. Taking advantage of the
presence of the Herodians, a sect that sought to curry favor with Rome by
conforming their religious views to Rome's wishes, the Pharisees asked Jesus
a question calculated to discredit him with the authorities: "Is it
lawful to give tribute to Caesar?" But perceiving their wicked
intent, Jesus said, "Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?" Then
employing a method that has been a criterion in the exercise of wisdom
even unto this day, he asked them to show him the tribute money, and they
brought him a penny. "And he said to them, whose is this image and
superscription? and they say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them,
Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and unto God the
things that are God's. And they marveled and left him and went their
to be warned by this experience of their rival sect, the Sadducees had a
question to ask, which, in their opinion, would make belief in a
resurrection ridiculous. And so addressing Jesus, they said:
Moses said, if a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his
wife, and raise up seed unto, his brother. Now there were with us seven
brethren and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no
issue, left his wife unto his brother: likewise the second also, and the
third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in
the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven?"
does not require any great imagination to visualize the smug look on their
faces as they awaited his answer to their question. We would probably have
advanced reasons why she should belong to the first or the last husband, and
would have had considerable difficulty in meeting the objection, they could
have raised. But Jesus, possessing an insight and a wisdom that dwarfed mere
human reasoning, answered: "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor
the power of God. For in the resurrection, they neither marry, nor are
given in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven."
Jesus asked them a question, concerning which he cited the Word of God
as touching the resurrection of the dead have ye not read that which was
spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of
Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not a God of the dead, but of the
living. And when then multitude heard this, they were astonished at his
Moses said nothing about a resurrection, yet his words definitely and
positively affirm the necessity for a resurrection from the dead.
what did Jesus mean by this statement? Was he intimating that Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob had not died? Or that they were already risen? Modern
theologians, in contrast with the Sadducees, go to the opposite extreme in
their beliefs, for most of them look upon man as being a combination
creature, possessing a spiritual soul in a human body. They affirm that
there is no death, but that the soul, immortal, indestructible, merely
changes its place of abode from the human body to some form of dwelling in
the spiritual realm. With the poet, Longfellow, they say:
is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest
Was not spoken of the soul."
we see how prone man is to erect a superstructure of belief around a theory
of his own, or that of someone else, it should cause us to re-examine our
own faith superstructure. Are we relying solely upon an understanding of
the Word of God, which has been arrived at through an unbiased and honest
comparison of Scripture with Scripture? or are we building on human
theories? A true love of truth will cause us to test every belief by the
Word of God, and only faith thus tested will enable us to stand in this evil
day, and avoid being snared by human theories.
is really surprising how many Scriptures one can misconstrue in supporting a
theory he has adopted as his own. Take this theory of an immortal or
indestructible soul for example: to those who accept it, the quotation Jesus
cites from the writing of Moses, interpreted in the light of their theory,
becomes a, strong pillar in the superstructure of their belief that the dead
are not dead. Their preconceived idea blinds them to the real significance
of Jesus' argument in his discussion with the Sadducees. Failing to make a
proper comparison of Scripture with Scripture, this statement of Moses very
easily becomes added proof to them that the dead are in a conscious state of
take the statement of Jesus to Martha, recorded in John's Gospel, chapter
eleven, verse twenty-six "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall
never die." This, we will agree, is a plain statement of fact. But in
ignoring its context in the preceding verses, their understanding is in
error. Jesus said to Martha:
brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise
again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus saith unto her, I am the
resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead,
yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never
Jesus is not telling Martha that there is no death, or no resurrection from
the dead; but that as the Savior of the world, he has the power to resurrect
and to give life. And when he calls the dead forth from the grave, as he
definitely promises shall be done (John 5:28, 29), then those who believe
in him shall never die.
statement relied upon to support the no death theory, is that of the wise
man in Ecclesiastes, chapter twelve, verse seven. At the concelusion of
his poetic description of the coming of old age, and the gradual decay of
the physical body, he says: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as
it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Often is
this verse quoted at funerals as proof that only the body dies that the
soul has gone to be with God. But here again, the words of Scripture are
misconstrued, in order to support a preconceived theory. The spirit that is
said to return to God, is the same spirit or power of life that originally
came from God when he imparted the breath of life to Adam. The same breath
or spirit of life is common to all breathing creatures (Eccl. 3:19, 20,
A.R.V.), and when imparted to Adam, it caused him to become a living soul,
a sentient being. And when the body returns to the elements from which it
was created, and the spirit or breath of life returns to God, then man is
non-existent just as before his creation; and except for the fact that his
identity is kept in the memory and power of God, to be restored in the
resurrection, he would be forever non-existent.
same wise man, in chapter nine, tells us that "The dead know not
anything, neither have they any more a reward: for the memory of them is
forgotten." We are also told in this same chapter, to make wise use of
our present existent state, "For there is no work, nor device, nor
knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave [Hebrew, sheol-state of death]
whither thou goest. " - Eccl. 9:10.
examples show how necessary it is to give heed to divine instruction by
comparing spiritual things with spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:113), and to
remember that "no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private
interpretation. " - 2 Pet. 1: 20.
does not mean that no individual should interpret God's Word, but, as
Rotherham translates the verse, "No prophecy of Scripture becometh
self-solving." Those who have acquired a general knowledge of the
Divine Plan of the Ages (Eph. 3:11, Rotherham), have a guide that
enables them to understand many Scriptures that would otherwise be difficult
of explanation, and so are not nearly so apt to stray from truth by some
man-made divergent path.
the word "resurrection" does not occur in the Old Testament
writings, yet the doctrine of a resurrection is clearly taught there. Job
dieth and wasteth away: yea man giveth up the ghost [Hebrew, gawvah, to
breathe out . . . expire] and where is he? ... O that thou wouldest hide me
in the grave [sheol], that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be
past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man
die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait,
till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have
a desire to the work of thine hands."
could this mean but the anticipation of a resurrection from the dead?
in chapter nineteen, verses twenty-five to twenty-seven, Job says:
know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon
the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh
shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold,
and not another."
any one of Adam's posterity ever had cause to think there was nothing left
in this world to live for, Job was that one. Tormented by his physical
ailments-bereft of all worldly possessions -his family destroyed, except
for his wife who advised him to curse God and die-and now, the last straw
to his endurance -- falsely accused and condemned by friends from whom he
had anticipated sympathy and consolation. When Job besought God to hide
him in sheol,
we may be
sure he was not asking for additional torment (as many would have us believe
is the fate of those who go down into sheol). He had experienced all the torment he could stand. What he now desired
was rest; and the oblivion to pain and distress of mind that death and the
grave insure. But Job knew that God would provide a Redeemer, and that a
day would come when resurrection power would restore the willing and
obedient of mankind: "Thou wilt call, and I will answer thee."
likewise, in Psalm sixteen, verse ten, says (Psa. 16:10): "Thou wilt
not leave my soul in hell (sheol); neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption." In
commenting on this, Peter tells us:
patriarch David . . . is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us
unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn
with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh,
he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake
of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither
his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all
are witnesses." - Acts 2:29-32.
therefore, was a prophecy concerning the resurrection of Christ. But Paul's
argument in First Corinthians, chapter fifteen, assures us that the
resurrection of Christ, is a guarantee that all will be raised. Also in Acts
(Acts 24:15), in defending himself against the false accusations of the
rulers of the Jews, Paul says, "I have hope toward God, which they
themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both
of the just and of the unjust."
Christians are familiar with that beautiful twenty-third Psalm, wherein
David says, "He restoreth my soul. . . . I will dwell in the house of
the Lord forever." There is a sense in which the souls of the righteous
are being restored in this Age, as we shall presently note; but to live in
the house of the Lord forever, David's own soul, his own being, will
need to be restored from death, and from the power of the grave. That this
is precisely what will occur, is proved by the Word of the Lord through
Hosea, when he says, "I will ransom 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: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. " - Hosea
TIME OF THE RESURRECTION
point about which many have been confused, is the time of the resurrection.
This has been due largely to erroneous beliefs concerning the soul, and
what it is that will be resurrected. Obviously, if the soul is immortal --
indestructible, it would not need to be resurrected; for a thing that is
already alive, can not be restored to life. Consequently, those who hold
this view, if they are consistent, are forced to think of the resurrection
as applying only to the body. This would mean that the identical elements or
atoms, that once formed the body, would have to be brought together again,
that the departed souls might reinhabit them. All will then stand before the
judgment-seat of Christ, who will send them back to heaven or hell, but this
time in their bodies.
are of course many absurdities in connection with this view that cannot be
harmonized with the Scriptures. To begin with, man is not possessed of or by
a soul, but is a soul. God breathed into the nostrils of the body he had
formed, the breath of life, and man became a living soul. And when man dies, there is nothing left to go
anywhere. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek. 18:4.) "Death is the
wages of sin." (Rom. 6:23.) Speaking of man's state in death, the
Psalmist says: "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in
that very day his thoughts perish. " - Psa. 146:4.
time of the resurrection is declared to be "the last day." Martha,
when speaking to Jesus of her deceased brother, Lazarus, said, "I know
that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Her
source of knowledge had probably been Jesus, for four times in chapter six
of John's Gospel (verses 39, 40, 44, and 54), Jesus designates the time of
the resurrection as being the "last day"
this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath
given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last
this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son,
and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up
at the last day."
man can come to me, except the Father which sent me draw him: and I will
raise him up at the last day."
eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life: and I will raise
him up at the last day."
"last day," refers to the day of judgment, the seventh thousandyear
period of earth's history since man's creation. Paul says:
hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness
by that man whom he bath ordained., whereof he hath given assurance unto
all men in that he hath raised him from the dead." - Acts 17:31.
day with the Lord is as a thousand years," Peter tells us; and so this
would refer to the thousandyear judgment-day, the reign of Christ,
"who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his
kingdom." - 2 Tim. 4:1.
in the full and complete sense will take place during the second presence
of Christ; the one exception to this being the resurrection of Christ
himself. The examples, foreshowing the power of God to restore the dead,
that are given us in the Old and New Testaments, were not complete
resurrections, but merely the first step in the resurrection process; they
returned to the death in Adam condition and went into their graves
again; whereas, those who experience real resurrection, die no more.
Concerning the resurrection of the Church, it is written: "Blessed and
holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second
death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and
shall reign with him a thousand years. " - Rev. 20:6.
verse gives us to understand that there will be more than one resurrection,
otherwise it would not speak of a first resurrection. It also identifies
those who partake thereof as being kings and priests of God, and says they
reign with Christ a thousand years. The first resurrection, therefore,
pertains solely to the Little Flock Class who are declared to be "a
first fruits" unto God of his creatures.
find also that the time element enters into this first resurrection, that it
started nearly two thousand years ago with the raising of Christ Jesus, the
first of the first fruits, and will end with those "who are alive and
remain" unto the coming of the Lord. Paul informs us in 1 Thess. 4:16,
that the sleeping saints, who lived and died prior to the second coming of
Christ, would be the first to be raised; then, following this, those who are
still alive and remain, when he comes, will not need to sleep, but will be
caught up at the time of death, and, together with those who preceded them,
will meet the Lord in the air -- the spirit realm.
this, there are at least three additional resurrections that will occur:
namely, that of the Great Company-the servant class whose position will be
before the throne of God, where they will serve him day and night in his
Temple (note the way this class is contrasted with the Little Flock class)
(Rev. 2:26, 27 3:12, 21; 7:14, 15); that of the Ancient Worthy class which
is promised a better resurrection in reward for their faithfulness; and that
of the world of mankind who will be raised up and perfected by the judgments
of the Lord.
classified as "they that have done good," mentioned by Jesus in
John 5:28, 29, will include the "Little Flock," the "Great
Company," and the "Ancient Worthies"; they will have perfect
organisms and powers of life restored to them instantly; but the world
will be raised up gradually, and will be restored in all the component parts
of their beings simultaneously.
PRESENT RESURRECTION EXPERIENCE
have purposely left to the last, the consideration of that phase of
our resurrection, about which we should feel the deepest concern; for on it
depends the kind of resurrection we will eventually attain. In all
probability, most of us rarely think of ourselves as undergoing the process
of a resurrection; but in the perfecting of the new mind, the new
creature, we are being raised just as truly, as will the willing and obedient
of mankind under the judgments of Christ in the coming Age.
more than casual consideration will cause us to note that there are a number
of ways in which our resurrection process parallels that of the world.
First, there must be the release from the legal sentence of death, imposed
by Divine justice because of the disobedience of Adam. The basis upon
which this release can be granted, is that "Jesus Christ, by the grace
of God, tasted death for every man." (Heb. 2:9.) We, the Church,
experience this release through
the blood of Christ, and in consequence of the fact that "Christ hath
appeared in the presence of God for us." "We have an advocate with
the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.'' - 1 John 2:1.
world of mankind is still under the sentence of death. "He that
believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on
him." (John 3:36.) Therefore the world in general does not experience
release until the great High Priest enters within the veil a second time;
as pictured in the Tabernacle types, he will then lift up his hands
(symbol of the exercise of power) and bless the people. In contrast to the
Church, mankind will be subject to the authority of the Mediator, without
choice, and will come forth from the grave at his call, to experience the
judgments by which they will learn righteousness, and be gradually perfected
in being. "The soul that will not heed that Prophet shall be destroyed
from among the people. " - Acts 3:23.
who make good use of that thousand years of judgment in learning to obey
from the heart, will thereby become fixed in the character image of God,
and will acquire an immunity to temptation that will forever guard them from
the possibility of sin. Those whose conformity to Kingdom regulations
does not spring from the love of God, will not be able to resist Satan's
wiles when he is loosed at the end of the thousand years; and so, along with
Satan, will be annihilated in the second death.
resurrection process in the development of God-likeness -- the most
essential part of the resurrection in so far as the award of eternal
life is concerned, is a matter that takes time, and requires both willing
and active cooperation on the part of the Church and the world. We, in
contrast to the world, have had to exercise faith in order to come under the
influence of resurrection power. With us, that power has operated
through God's spirit, "working in us both to will and to do his good
pleasure." And when God's workmanship in us this side the veil is
finished, our new bodies, like unto Christ's, will be given us in a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye. - 1 Cor. 15:35-58.
phases of our resurrection are set forth by Paul in his letter to the
Philippian Church, chapter three, verses 10 and 11 (Phil. 3:10-11). Therein
is revealed Paul's whole-souled sanctification in his endeavor to know
Christ, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his
sufferings in being made conformable unto his death, that "if by any
means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." Paul's desire
to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, had to do with his
day-by-day development, for he couples it with having fellowship in the
sufferings and death of Christexperiences confined to the present life;
and this was all to the end that he might attain unto "the [first]
resurrection of the dead."
experience in sanctification must needs be the experience of each one who
will share in
resurrection. But how it should rejoice our hearts to know that our
perfecting in the character-likeness of God, is God's own work in us; and if
we will continue to be wholly sanctified unto him-if we sanctify him in our
hearts-he is both able and willing to finish the work he has begun in us,
and will do so to the end that he may establish our hearts in righteousness,
and make us meet
for the inheritance of the saints in light.
John T. Read.
Otto Ahrens, Buffalo, N. Y.-(February).
Sister Selma Fraser, Arlington, Mass.-(February).
Sister Florence Gimble, Sharon, Pa.-(February).
Sister Nellie Hogle, Appleton, Wis.-(February).
Brother John Josefowicz, Milwaukee, Wis.-(February).
Sister Rachel Lardent, London, Eng.-(February).
Brother Charles Moody, Buffalo, N. Y.-(February 1951).
Brother Clarence Potts, Vineland, N. J.-(February).
Sister Nellie Tillewine, Brooklyn, N. Y.-(January).
a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and s l call his name
Immanuel." - Isaiah 7:14.
is the lesson to
be drawn from
Isaiah 7:14? I suppose you have noticed the controversy in
press over the New
Revised Standard Version of
the Bible, particularly in regard to this verse. Perhaps you could relate
your answer to this controversy.
noted in the March "Herald," this prophecy has a dual application:
(1) to Isaiah and the nation of his day and, (2) to Jesus and all mankind.
G. Moulton, in The
Modern Reader's Bible, has well observed that "To him who at this day reads in the Book of
the Prophet Isaiah, the paramount question is still, 'Understandest thou
what thou readest? " (Acts 8:30.) To understand this prophecy we must
inform ourselves of the circumstances under which it came to be given. This
we may do without becoming involved in the many difficult problems which
have perplexed the scholars. Briefly, these circumstances were:
Ahaz was King of Judah.
Judah was threatened by an alliance which had been formed against it by
Israel and Syria.
The Lord, through Isaiah, told Ahaz not to fear this alliance, but to repose
his confidence in
Ahaz, instead of trusting God, sought an alliance with Assyria.
Isaiah, to encourage Ahaz to exercise faith in God, said he might ask for a
sign, in confirmation that God would, indeed, be with him.
This Ahaz refused to do.
Isaiah then said that God, nevertheless, would give Ahaz a sign, namely,
that a child should be born, to whom the name Immanuel was to be given -the
very name "Immanuel" having the meaning, "God with us."
All this failed to turn Ahaz from his course. He carried out his intention
of forming an alliance with Assyria, with disastrous results.
much for the circumstances under which the prophecy came to be given. In
regard to "the controversy in the public press" mentioned in the
question, this; of course, was
unexpected. In former times men have gone to the stake for confessing
their judgment as to the meaning of the Scriptures. ' It is not surprising
if, today, we learn that one minister publicly set fire to pages in the New
Bible and that a State Senator announced his intention f introducing in
the legislature a resolution barring the sale of the R.
S. V. Bible in
his State. Less heat and more light is always desirable in matters of this
sort, and the present instance is no exception.
is a fact that long before the New Revised Standard Version appeared,
able translators and commentaters had recognized that the Hebrew word in
Isaiah 7:14 means "a young woman old enough for marriage" (Westminster
Study Edition of the Bible). Leeser translates: "This young woman shall conceive"; and, in
a footnote, observes that the word "does not necessarily signify
virgin, but a young marriageable woman in general." Moffatt
translates: "young woman," while Robinson, in the Moffatt
New Testament Commentary on
Matthew 1:23 states that the Hebrew (Isa. 7:14) "has no thought of a
the term rendered maiden
Moffatt translation of the Bible) simply means an adult woman, young enough
to become a mother, and is by no means confined to virgins. This
has been recognized by Jewish scholars for centuries, and is admitted by
Christian students of the Old Testament."
the able commentator, Morrison, realized that, regardless of the meaning of
the Greek in
1:23, the Hebrew in Isaiah 7:14 might have a more general meaning than
virgin, for he says: "Whatever scope for doubt there may be regarding
the flexibility of the meaning of the word for virgin in Isaiah's Hebrew, there is no scope for doubting regarding the meaning
of the Evangelist's term." Barnes has several pages of notes on Isaiah
7:14 and its context. Therein amongst others he makes the following points:
"The word properly means a girl, maiden, virgin, a young woman who is
unmarried, and who is of marriageable age." The word "does note,
however, imply that the person spoken of should be a virgin when
born. . . . Whether she was to
the time when
the child was born, or was to remain such afterwards, are inquiries which
cannot be determined by a philological examination of the word."
has been argued (in my view unsuccessfully) that since the prediction
concerning the birth of Immanuel, in Isaiah 7:14, was to constitute a
sign, that is to say, a miracle, only a virgin in birth would satisfy this prediction. However, those who thus reason,
evidently overlook the fact that not only Immanuel, but Isaiah himself, and
his two other sons, were given for signs. ("Behold, I, and the children
whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders [&tents] in
Israel." (Isa. 8:18.) Here no question of a virgin birth arises.
Moreover when, in Hebrews 2:13, the inspired writer makes reference to
Isaiah 8:18, as having its application to Christ and his Church, he does so
without at all denying that Isaiah and his children, were given for signs in
is to say, in the Israel of Isaiah's day. He simply fails to mention this
Matthew, under the guidance of the holy spirit, make application of Isaiah
7:14 to our Lord Jesus as the fulfillment, of the prophecy, with no thought of nullifying the
earlier application to Isaiah and his times.
the foregoing facts before us, let us consider the passage as a whole, that
the lesson, WITH
US IS GOD,
may not be
lost on us in the difficult days through
which we are now passing, and which are not likely to grow less severe in
the days ahead.
has been called the Evangelist of the Old Testament. At the commencement of
his ministry he had been given a vision. In vision he had seen the Lord
(Christ Jesus - John 12:41) high and lifted up; that is to say, he had been given a
vision of the
Age to come, when Christ would be exercising kingly authority, and as the
result of such rulership, the whole earth would become full of the glory of
God. (Isaiah 6:1-13.*) This vision which he had seen, others might see. It
became the all-absorbing passion of his life to make them see it.-------------------------------
For a fuller discussion of this chapter see the "Herald" for September,
burden of his message was "God is with us"; not far from us,
though we have wandered far from him; not alienated from us,
have alienated ourselves from him; not adverse to us, though by our
disobedience we have set ourselves against him; but with us and for us --
with us, to cleanse us
from all our
sins by his loving chastisements; with us that, being cleansed from sin, he
may establish us in righteousness. In effect, Isaiah's message to the
sin-stricken nation of his time was: "You do not need to climb to
heaven in order to find God, nor cross the troubled seas to locate him; he is with you, even within you, and proves himself to be
with you by the response which my words awaken in your hearts. Would you
find him, look within. You have only to look and listen to discover that God
is already, and always, with you." - Deut. 30:11-14; Isa. 45:19;
55:6; Acts 17:27, 28; Rom. 10:6-8.
is the tone, this is the approach, this the method, of an evangelist; this
is the good news which Christ revealed more fully. Hence we rightly regard
Isaiah as the Evangelist of the Old Testament and find His words the
clearest and fullest anticipations of the Gospel.
summed up his message in the name he gave to one of his sons, a name
in which was summed up also his own personal experience; the name Immanuel.
child was embodied Isaiah's great message to Judah -- "with us is
was his great
but not his only
as we have elsewhere shown. ** The conditions of the time were, indeed, too
complex, and its moral condition too depraved, to admit of only one prophetic
message. It was necessary that the Prophet should bring more messages from
God than one -- messages of warning as well as messages of comfort -- to a
people that had well-nigh lost God. Isaiah had to admonish them of the
due reward, that is to say,
consequences, of their iniquity, as well as to assure them that, despite their iniquity, God
would never leave nor forsake them. The time was terribly out of joint, and
three were few who even strove to set it right. Hence the people of Judah
were threatened with nothing short of extinction. All their choice and
trained warriors had fallen in a single day before the confederated armies
of Israel and Syria. These armies, flushed with victory, were advancing to
the siege and assault of Jerusalem itself. And, though Isaiah was given to
see that the assault would fail, that the hostile confederation would be
broken up, he also foresaw that a nation so corrupt and godless as Judah had
become, had doomed itself to destruction; that it must fall before the
first vigorous, resolute, and steadfast attack. God would be "with
them" for the present, indeed,
and so with them as to deliver them from their immediate danger. And God
would also be with them in the hour of apparent annihilation, watching over
them in their captivity, and bring back "a righteous remnant" to
re-people their wasted land. But they must not hope to escape he natural
results of their own weakness and division and corruption. The years were
fast approaching in which the fierce and hasty Assyrians would "speed
to the spoil and hasten to the booty," ravaging and depopulating both
the holy land and the holy city.-----------------------------------
See "Herald" for September, 1940.
were the various messages, or parts of one complex message; which Isaiah was
commissioned to deliver. And it is striking to observe how, not content
with mere words, he embodied them in his own family life, in the vary names
he gave to his children and the children of the virgin prophetess whom he
took for his second bride.*** Isaiah's own name meant "the salvation of
Jehovah," and therefore expressed the ruling tone and theme of his
mission. And he so named his three boys that they, too, might bear witness
among the people, for God, and remind them both of the admonitory and the
consolatory aspects of his great message. Thus he named one of them, Maher-shalral-hash-baz,
which means, "Make haste to the spoil, hasten to the prey." Isa.
8:3), in order to fix and perpetuate his warning that the fierce and
terrible Assyrians would ere long sweep through the land, despoiling it of
its wealth, and making its inhabitants their prey. He named another son
Shear-jashub, which means "The remnant shall return, to remind them
that, even when that terrible judgment fell upon them, and they were carried
away captive to a Strange land, God would not suffer them to be wholly
consumed, but would preserve a sacred seed, a righteous remnant, from which
a new and purer national life might spring. (Isaiah 7:3; 10:20-23.) And now
he**** calls a third son (the first by his new bride), Immanuel, to remind them that, whether in adversity or in prosperity, in freedom or
in bondage, God
would always be with them and for them-not absent, not alienated, not
are other interpretations of the narrative contained in the earlier chapters of Isaiah, this is probably the best and is the mast
widely accepted by Scholars.
Some scholars have expressed the thought that the true rendering in Isaiah
7:14 is probably, "And thou (Isaiah) shalt call his name
that this was, as has been said, Isaiah's great and ruling message, that his
mission was one of comfort mainly, and not mainly one of judgment and
warning, becomes evident to us, not only as we catch the tone and spirit of
his writings, but as we consider the names of his household; names which
caused him to exclaim: "Behold, I, and the children whom the Lord hath
given me, are for signs and wonders [portents] in Israel." (Isa.
8:18.) For, if one of these names implied judgment, three of them implied mercy. The omen in the name, "Make haste to the spoil, hasten
to the prey," was doubtless full of terror; for the Assyrians were the
most fierce and cruel race of ancient times, and would sweep through the
land like a destructive storm; but, if this one name was so terribly ominous
and suggestive, all the others speak of an untiring and inalienable compassion:
"Shear-Jashub" predicted that God would bring back a faithful
remnant even from the cruel bondage of Assyria; "Immanuel"
assured them that God would be with them in all their perils and reverses;
while the name of Isaiah himself pointed to the end of all Jehovah's
dealings with them-"salvation" from all evil.
suffer this further word of exhortation, in closing; a word, you may be
sure, which is spoken as much to myself as to you: When once Isaiah had seen
the vision vouchsafed to him (as recorded in the 6th chapter) and grasped
its tremendous import, nothing else mattered to him. The events and changes
of time could no longer sway him with their former power. He was raised
above the shows and lures of time; its changes, its fears, its griefs; for
he could look through them and discern the sacred and abiding realities
which lay beyond. He had seen a vision; he had seen the Lord, high and
lifted up, and he looked for the time to come when he would exercise his
control, and bring in everlasting righteousness, peace, and joy.
are not prophets, nevertheless we represent, even though but feebly, the
Lord's cause in the earth today. And the experience of Isaiah is,
illustrative of that through which we must pass, if we are truly
consecrated, and would engage in some small measure in the service of God.
Like Isaiah we must be seers
e become servants. As many of us as are servants,
a vision, which others do not see, and have heard a voice they do not hear.
For us, as for Isaiah, the eternal realities have shone through the pomps
and shows of time, and we have heard a divine voice bidding us look to the
things which are unseen and eternal, not the things which are seen and
should we allow ourselves to become discouraged by the failures we have
experienced in the past; by the slips and stumblings, even by the downright
back-slidings which may have been ours, if these have been truly repented
of, and the Father's forgiveness sought and received. For "with us is
God." There were times, no doubt, when even Isaiah, noble and good man
that he was, found his faith flickering. For after all he was but a man, of
like passions with ourselves, subject to the same infirmities and fluctuations
of spirit. But we may well believe that in such moments as these, when,
weary of his own endeavors after personal holiness, and weary of his poor
success at influencing others, with faith and hope and courage waning, he
would return to the glorious vision with which his prophetic career had
commenced. We may well believe that there were many darkened hours in his
experience; hours of broken faith and defeated hope, from which he would be
revived by falling back on his earlier faith and brighter hopes; and as he
recalled the vision, and realized once again the glorious truths it
contained, truths which he had recognized and taught in his hours of clearer
insight, the faith with which he had first responded to the Divine message
would return, and he would go forth a true prophet again.
must it be with us; we need to realize very distinctly that the Lord will
surely establish his Kingdom, which shall yet fill the earth with his
glory. We have been granted such a vision in these last times, through the
unfolding of the Divine Plan of the Ages, as even Isaiah could have
comprehended only dimly. In the light of the glorious truth that has shone
on our pathway now these many years, the wondrous character and purposes of
God may be seen as never before. If, as we turn to others with the message
which has so cheered us, we find few who are able to appreciate it, and
fewer still who gladly surrender their lives to it, we must not permit such
experiences to so discourage us that we would cease all further endeavor
to pass on the good word. We must remember that here and there a member of
the "holy seed" may be reached. We must
remember that this was true in Isaiah's case, it was true in the case of our
Lord and his Apostles, and, we are assured in advance, must be true also in
ours. Let us hold the vision clearly before us. Let us remember that it is
for an appointed time, and that, though it may seem to tarry, it will not do
so in reality.
And let us, in the spirit of renewed consecration, yield whole-hearted
obedience to the heavenly vision in all the various details of our lives. In
as we are obedient
to the heavenly vision, our life will be a life of faith "in the things
which do not appear" to sense; we shall walk as seeing him who is
invisible; our character and conduct and our labors in his service, wilt be
drawn, gradually but surely, by an unseen power, even by God's holy spirit,
into ever closer accord with his mind and will concerning us.
at last, if we continue faithful to the end, we shall hear the Master's
voice: "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys
of thy Lord."
Just as we go to press the suggestion reaches us that,
in view of the importance of the subject, the related New Testament passage
(Matthew 1:23-25) might well be discussed at this time. We are asking
Brother Read to do this in our next issue. - Ed. Com.
yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves."
- 2 Cor. 13:5.
is nothing in the history of the world hitherto, and especially nothing in
the present status of its affairs, to favor the doctrine of our modern
millennialists, or to make us think it likely, if at all possible, that the
Church in this dispensation, by any human activities or improvements, will
ever be able
to bring about a condition of universal conversion, righteousness, and
peace, such as some say will and must come "before" Christ comes.
As no preaching of the Gospel, or efforts of evangelical workers, the
holiest and most efficient in all these many centuries, have succeeded in
making converts and saints of the entire population of any city or locality
on this earth, it would seem to be sheer folly to expect these agencies and
endeavors to do for the whole earth what they have never done for any part
of it, however small. In all
the ages ...
whithersoever it has come it has taken out a people for the Lord, who will
live and shine with him in immortal glory, ... whilst . . . the majority
have everywhere been on the outside ... and how can we suppose that it
will ever be different in the present order of things? And when we examine
the condition in which nearly two thousand years of the Gospel have left the
most favored nations, not to speak of the regions beyond, we look in vain
for solid evidences that another two thousand years of the same would bring
the world any nearer the fancied millennial state [before Christ comes] than
Christendom is at present. . . . Some hold up their hands in holy horror
at the idea that "Christendom," as it now exists -- "this
chaos of intermingled divisions, antagonistic cornmunions and interminable
contentions, jealousies and strifes" -- is to remain. They cannot think
that the Greek Church, the Papal Church, the disagreeing Protestant
churches, together with the many sects and heretical coteries which
"disgrace" the Christian profession, are to continue to the end
this state of things is exactly what has developed under "nineteen
hundred years of the Gospel proclamations," and what has been is that
which shall be, unless radical changes come, by the intervention of some new power and method of administration, such as the
coming again of the Lord Jesus to judge and rectify will bring.. . .
we look at the evils and the tares that have all the while been growing,
at the sad estate into which "Christendom has been brought" by
the spirit of sect, human ambition, self-seeking hypocrisy, unbelief,
misbelief and the super-exaltation of humanitarian goodishness, which
makes nought of doctrine, it seems next thing to absurdity to say that
"this" is the instrument and agency to convert "the
world" to truth and genuine godliness.
say, "Oh, yes; but only set the Church aright. Put it to work to do as
it should; bring it up to what it 'ought to be' in enterprise and
liberality, and there can be no question that it will soon conquer and sway
the world to Christ and salvation." Be it so; but who is to convert
Christendom and put it in condition to convert the world? Reform, Reform!
That is the watchword. The whole Church and the whole earth are full of
reformers laboring at reforms. But the sad fact remains: "That which is
crooked, cannot be made straight; and that which is wanting cannot be numbered,"
while the doctoring is often worse than the disease. . . . To convert the
world there must first be a conversion of the Church, and that can never
be until Christ the Judge shall come.
another thing to be noted in connection with our subject is the character
of the times in which we live. The Scriptures abound in allusions to the
moral aspect of the world in its "last" period --the period
bordering on the time when Christ shall come with power and great glory, and
everywhere those times are represented as full of unbelief, lawlessness,
outbreaking sin, rampant lust, blasphemous mockery, and reviling of sacred
things -- a very carnival of bad passions and God-defiant crimes.
question, therefore, arises, whether our times are not of the character
thus divinely described and fore-intimated.... Have "we" not
withal fallen upon a time of extraordinary degeneracy and wickedness? Has
there not come a grievous falling away from the faith, a giving of
seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men
that speak lies? Have not people become lovers of self, lovers of money,
boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to law and rightful authority,
unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers,
without self-control, fierce, traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of
pleasure rather than lovers of God, "holding certain forms of
godliness," but failing to show the power of godliness in their lives?
Have "we" not plentiful examples of those mockers who were to
come, walking after their own lusts and likes, and saying, "Where is
the promise of his coming?" [Parousia, presence, Diaglott translation.]
of the startling multiplication of divorces, the breaking down of the
sacredness of marriage, the shameless prevalence of licentiousness, and the
commonness of infanticide, and secret blood guiltiness of which physicians
tell. Note the growing indifference to the solemnity of oaths, to sacred
promises, to moral obligations, to the laws of God, and to all holy things.
Observe the rapid accumulations of colossal robberies, swindles,
defalcations, embezzlements, rascalities and false dealings, which
disgrace our civilization, much of it also in high places, by people of
social rank, education and refinement. Estimate the increasing killings,
murders, incendiarisms and lawless and malicious misdoings of men and women,
and the trampling under foot of right and justice in political, commercial
and banking circles.
the awful increase of suicides, which, within the past few years, have
exceeded the number of 200,000 per annum! Lusts and crimes and
fiendish passions seem to have reached flood tide, blossoming like trees in
springtime, filling our "daily journals with their stench," and,
yet, treated and familiarly talked of as
ordinary and trivial things! And when we consider that all this is within
the realm of so-called Christendom, we may well wonder that we should have
Christian people singing over it, and telling us that we are on the march to a glorious Millennium [before
Christ comes]. What this state of things betokens is not millennial glory,
but "the day of Judgment, on the margin of which the world of today is
treading." . . .
question whether there is to be a glorious Millennium on this earth before
the return of Christ is not to be decided by what is most agreeable to our
reason and fancy, nor yet by what we imagine the most effective to stir zeal
in effort to benefit the world lying in sin, but by what the Word of God
says. What does not accord with that Word must go under, without regard to
human likes, reasonings or opinions... . That many good and sensible
people have need to examine the question with more thoroughness than they
yet have done is abundantly evident; and that what we have thus written may
help some to right conclusions is our earnest wish.... Nor can we leave the
subject without solemnly laying it on the consciences of all whom we can
reach, not to rest satisfied with notions which flatter and please a
rationalistic fancy, but which they have never critically examined; and to
beware of giving sanction to a modern popular persuasion, which they may
find without just foundation in Scripture. . . .
is indeed a fact for all to consider, that the side which we take on the
question will and must make serious difference in the whole system of
our theological thinking. There is scarcely a doctrine which is not more
or less affected by the ground we take upon this question. Our decision
will and must affect our views of the Resurrectionof the Kingdom of God --
of the Second Coming itself of the nature and purpose of the Present
Dispensation -- particularly of the judgment, and what is to come after
it, and the whole condition and life of the finally redeemed.. .
it will and must make or unmake to us many most pregnant passages of
Holy Writ, rendering them grandly luminous, or sealing them as meaningless
and uncertain-mere riddles for interpreters to guess at, without
agreement as to their clear and certain import.
decision so far-reaching and momentous in its consequences and effects
cannot safely be treated with indifference, and certainly demands a very
serious, candid and thorough examination, that the conclusion may be one
solidly founded in the revelations given us in .the sacred Scriptures.
our part we are deeply convinced and satisfied that the doctrine of a glorious
Millennium of Christianity triumphant throughout all the world before
Christ comes is "groundless" and damaging to the cause it would
- J. A. Seiss (R3612, August, 1905)
and peace. We are writing to ask you to send us Pilgrims any time you have
one coming into this far-away place, for we always greatly appreciate any
and all of them, and get great good from their visits and lectures.
Our Good Hopes for this year is that we may be able to
send you at least $ during this year. We are not working any more at any
gainful occupation, since I am 73 this year, but from our meager income we
hope to The able to spare that much if it is the Lords will for us to remain
and rejoice in His Name and Plan and work.
Yours in His Name,
H. R. M. -- Texas.
I have been thinking a lot about 2 Corinthians 11:3 of late: 'But I fear,
lest by, any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, So
should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Simplicity--it
seems to me is a virtue often lacking even among Christians although Paul
may not have had in mind
thing I am thinking of. I think Satan 'finds it comparatively easy in this
modern, restless, active age to blind us to the "one thing
needful" and confuse us with a multitude of things seemingly needful. As in the case of Martha,
to whom Jesus said, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things -- but one
thing is needful." We are apt to be concerned with many material
things to an unnecessary degree, instead of spending more time at Jesus'
feet listening with Mary to His word. And might we not carry the lesson even
further and apply it also to the. tendency to be "careful and
troubled" about many minor doctrines and traditions of men to the
virtual exclusion of the one needful tilting love. - Col. 3:14.
Yours in our Lord,
L. W. -- Mass.
monthly Herald still continues to be welcomed in our house. Through the
years it has continued in the same spirit it started with. And this I think
is the all-important trait. We say not all be able to see eye to eye, but we
can all have this spirit of tolerance. In fact, if we have the Holy Spirit
we will have this humble understanding spirit.
editing such a paper there is, we know, a grave responsibility and many a
care, and we ask God's blessing on your labors. It is only those who have
undertaken such duties that can realize how much is involved. It seems to be
human nature to underestimate other peoples' efforts. However, we know the
time is coming when all men will be judged according to their works. May
that time soon come, and may we be ready when it does come.
Am enclosing $ Money Order. Please renew my subscription
and put balance to your general fund.
brother by His kind favor,
L. E. H. -- Alta.