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THE HERALD

of Christ's Kingdom


VOL. XLII March 1959 No. 3
Table of Contents
    

"Till He Come"

"Let Us Go Forth"

Israel Today

Beliefs That Matter

The Heavens Rolling Together

Lights and Shadows in Christian Experience

Calamities -- Why Permitted

Going Home

Recently Deceased


"Till He Come"

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

ONCE again the Passover season, as com­memorated by the Jews, is approaching, beginning this year on the 22nd of April.* This festival, which lasts for seven days, celebrates the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egyp­tian bondage; it recalls the thraldom of that nation to Pharaoh, and its redemption therefrom under the mighty hand of God. Furthermore it reminds them of the series of plagues which God sent to incline the heart of Pharaoh to do His will, to end their bondage, to "let My people go." It reminds them especially of the tenth and last of these plagues, in which the destroying angel smote the firstborns throughout the land, but "passed over" the firstborns of the children of Israel because of the blood of the lamb which, in obedience to the divine command, had been sprinkled on the lintels and door-posts of their houses.

----------------------------
*As noted on the back page of this issue, we will commemorate the death of the antitypical Lamb after six p. m., Tuesday, April 21
.

Two Passovers in Type and Antitype

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

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

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

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

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

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

Panorama of Future Unrolled

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

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

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

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

"With Desire Have I Desired"

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

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

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

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

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

A New Commandment

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

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

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

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

"This Do in Remembrance of Me"

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

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

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

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

Fellowship with Christ

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

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

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

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

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

Fellowship with the Brethren

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

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

Who May Participate?

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

- P. L. Read


"Let Us Go Forth"

Hebrews 13:13

Silent, like men in solemn haste, 
Girded wayfarers of the waste,
We pass out at the world's wide gate, 
Turning our back on all its state; 
We press along the narrow road 
That leads to life, to bliss, to God.
 
We cannot and we would not stay;
We dread the snares that throng the way; 
We fling aside the weight and sin, 
Resolved the victory to win; 
We know the peril, but our eyes 
Rest on the splendor of the prize. 

What though with weariness oppressed? 
'Tis but a little and we rest. 
This throbbing heart and burning brain 
Will soon be calm and cool again: 
Night is far spent and morn is near­ --
Morn of the cloudless and the clear.
 
No idling now, no slothful sleep,
From Christian toil our pow'rs to keep; 
No shrinking from the desperate fight, 
No thought of yielding or of flight; 
No love of present gain or ease, 
No seeking man or self to please.
 
No sorrow for the loss of fame,
No dread of scandal on our name;
No terror for the world's sharp scorn, 
No wish that taunting to return; 
No hatred can to hatred move
The soul that's filled with pitying love.
 
No sigh for laughter left behind,
Or pleasures scattered to the wind; 
No looking back on Sodom's plains, 
No listening still to Babel's strains; 
No tears for Egypt's song and smile, 
No thirsting for its flowing Nile.
 
'Tis but a little and we come
To our reward, our crown, our home! 
Another year, or more, or less, 
And we have crossed the wilderness; 
Finished the toil, the rest begun, 
The battle fought, the triumph won!
 
We grudge not, then, the toil, the way; 
Its ending is the endless day!
We shrink not from these tempests keen, 
With little of the calm between; 
We welcome each descending sun; 
Ere morn our joy may be begun! 

- Horatius Bonar


Israel Today

A year or so ago, in private conversa­tion, Brother Casimir Lanowick, Editor of Jews in the News, commented briefly on the acquaintance he had made with Daniel Zion, former Chief Rabbi of Bul­garia. At our request, he tells us in this, his fifth report from the Land of Promise, something of the background of Brother Zion, and of the progress he has made in recent years, first in accept­ing Jesus as The Messiah of Jewish Hopes, and as his own personal Savior, and second, in his understanding of, and witness to, the broad outlines of Present Truth as they are unfolded in The Divine Plan of the Ages and The Atonement Between God and Man.­ Scripture Studies, Vols. I and V.

- Ed. Com.

Jerusalem, January 20, 1959

When a Chief Rabbi accepts Present Truth, it is news of more than passing interest. We are speaking of none other than Daniel Zion, former Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria, who now lives in Israel. Just a few days ago we had the oppor­tunity to visit him, renewing a friend­ship that began in December of 1950. It was thrilling to us to hear him reiter­ate his faith in the truths that have been and continue to be so precious to us.

CHIEF RABBI ACCEPTS JESUS AS MESSIAH

In the summer of 1950, while we were residing in Redwood City, Cali­fornia, we received a number of news dispatches from Israel regarding Rabbi Daniel Zion, as he had just recently reached Israel from Bulgaria, and had made a public pronouncement of his faith in the Messiahship of Jesus. This of course created a great stir in the new Jewish State. As one commentator put it, "Daniel Zion's name was on the lips of every Israeli." The newspapers car­ried many articles, letters from readers, etc., regarding him. Here was not only a Rabbi, but a former Chief Rabbi, a learned man and highly respected, who had written some books on Judaism, coming to a conclusion that was vehe­mently opposed by the orthodox ele­ments.

It was in the midst of this turmoil that we reached Israel in November of 1950 on our first visit here. We well recall picking up a Ladion newspaper in Israel at that time and seeing Daniel Zion's name in the headlines, with the sub-caption reading: "Is this another Shabbatai Zvi?" -- a false Messiah who had arisen in times past and deceived many Jewish people.

Had this former Chief Rabbi kept his faith to himself, there would have been no great furor, but he made it known, sending letters to the leaders of the Government and to the Chief Rabbis of Israel, as well as making a public statement to the press. This made him a controversial figure for many months. He admonished the nation and its lead­ers that the only way for Israel's redemp­tion was through the recognition and acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah.

When we first arrived in Tel Aviv, we met a believing Israeli, Brother Aizik Tzalevitch by name, who invited us to stay with him, instead of going to a hotel, when we reached Jerusalem. (He was caring for a practically un­occupied building there.)

The upstairs of this building was in the process of being repaired, but the first floor was in liveable condition. Up­on reaching the City of Peace we made our way to the given address and were greeted by Brother Tzalevitch, who in­troduced us to Daniel Zion, who was also residing at this abode.

REJECTS DOCTRINE OF TRINITY AS UNSCRIPTURAL

For a month or so we lived here with these two Israeli believers. Almost every night we noticed that people came to see Daniel Zion and became quite agitated in speaking to him, using languages that we were not acquainted with-Hebrew, Bulgarian, Yiddish, etc. Finally our curiosity got the best of us and we questioned Brother Tzalevitch, learning that these were Christian mis­sionaries trying to prove the doctrine of the Trinity to Brother Zion. In this, however, they were unsuccessful. He continually referred to such scriptures as Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." Here, then, were professed Christians of long standing, holding to a doctrine which Daniel Zion, (whom they doubtless re­garded as a babe in Christ) was unable to accept.

At the time we felt that the best thing we could do would be to send Brother Zion a substantial piece of liter­ature on this very subject dealing with the relationship of Jesus to God. Upon learning that he could read French very well, we endeavored to procure a copy of the Fifth Volume of "Studies in the Scriptures," in French, which we might send him upon our return to America. In response to an announcement that appeared in The Herald, Brother Victor Randour, of Roanoke, Illinois, located a fairly good used copy of the desired vol­ume, which we had rebound and mailed to Brother Zion. (Later, Brother Randour sent us a copy of Volume One, in French, which we were privi­leged to pass on to Brother Zion also.) We received a beautiful letter of ac­knowledgement from him, in which he expressed his deep appreciation of this literature.

USES CHART OF THE AGES IN HIS BIBLE LECTURES

We kept in touch with Brother Zion through correspondence and, in 1955, when we toured Israel again, with a group of a dozen brethren, most of us visited him at his home in Bat Yam. You can imagine our emotions when, upon walking into the living-room of his dwelling, where he greeted us, we saw on the wall a Chart of the Ages, with Hebrew inscriptions on it; and were told by him that he used this chart in teaching Bulgarian Jews.

At that time he seemed to be very much at peace. For years the various missionary groups had endeavored to persuade him to accept a position with them as their official representative in Israel. But he rejected all such invita­tions, even though they were accom­panied with attractive financial offers. As a result, it has been a struggle for Brother Zion to carry on, because no steady support from any source has been coming to him. And since he is now nearing 80 years of age, it has been very difficult for him to subsist. What finally turned all the various church groups against him was a tract he issued in Hebrew, rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity as unscriptural. He has had op­position from both sides-from the orthodox Jewish factions and from the various Christian church denominations. It has taken much courage on his part to hold on to the things that he has learned to cherish as truth.

TEACHING OTHERS THE WAY OF GOD MORE PERFECTLY

At present he has a dwelling in the city of Joppa which he has converted into a sort of synagogue, which con­sists of a large meeting room, besides his adjoining small living quarters. Here, on every sabbath, he holds services, and we were told that about fifty Jews meet there regularly. In addition he has been able to instruct many of them privately concerning Jesus the Messiah. With the passing of time he has found that his most effective work is in this more private approach-tutoring those who have an ear to hear. When we visited Brother Zion, a couple of these believers that he has brought to a knowledge of the truth came to see him. One was a mathematics teacher. Recently, we learned that Brother Zion has been in­strumental in leading no less than ten Jewish people to know "the way of God more perfectly." - Acts 18:26.

During these years of witnessing, he has not been harmed physically. In fact, Rabbi Toledano, who was the Chief Rabbi of Joppa until recently when he was appointed Minister of Religions (a Cabinet post in the Government of Israel), told Brother Zion that he was right-but that he wouldn't get the people to believe his message. This calls to mind John 12:42: "Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also many be­lieved on him; but because of the Phari­sees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." How many rabbis there are in Israel who secretly believe Jesus to be the Messiah it is difficult to say. Certainly, not many have come out boldly, as Daniel Zion has. However, the time may come soon, as was true in the early Church, when any number of the spiritual leaders of Israel will declare their faith, as stated in Acts 6:7: "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem great­ly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."

IN THE DAYS OF HITLER

It will be of special interest to many brethren if we go back in Brother Zion's history and trace his experiences in Bulgaria. We have been told that when he was Chief Rabbi there, in the days prior to the Second World War, he took an action that was very bold. Hitler and the Nazis were threatening to invade Bulgaria. Because of this he obtained an interview with King Boris, and told him that if he dared to col­laborate with Hitler in exterminating the Jews, the judgment of God would befall the country. When the Jewish community learned of this action on the part of their Chief Rabbi, they stripped him of his authority, for fear of what reprisal might come to them because of this threatening language which he had used in the presence of the King.

Nevertheless, Daniel Zion told the Jewish community of Bulgaria that he would continue to pray and work for them. With the passing of time the fifty thousand or more Bulgarian Jews were spared the extermination that befell Jewries in other countries of Europe. As a result, when the war terminated, many Bulgarian Jews felt that it was because of the courageous action and the prayers of their pious former Chief Rabbi that God had spared them, so they reinstated him as their Chief Rabbi with reverence. Whereupon, with the establishment of the Jewish State, he, as their spiritual leader and as an ardent Zionist, urged them to migrate to Israel en masse, which they did. And when most of the Bulgarian Jews had left their native land for the Land of Prom­ise, he followed them. Then it was that the Iron Curtain dropped, and many Jews in Rumania, Poland, and other Eastern European countries were not able to leave for Israel. The Bulgarian Jews had -again--been-spared: The pres­tige of their Chief Rabbi rose still more in their eyes.

After Daniel Zion arrived in Israel, he came to Jerusalem and for weeks he prayed and fasted and re-read the New Testament, studied, meditated, and ar­rived at the conviction that Jesus was truly the promised Messiah. Had their past experiences with him not caused them to hold him in such high regard, his fearless witnessing on behalf of Jesus would have brought resentful con­duct on the part of the Jews not long from Bulgaria. But because of the pres­tige in which he was held by them, it was difficult, if not impossible, for them to take any collective action against him. He has settled in Joppa, where most of the Bulgarian Jews now reside, and he is carrying on amongst his peo­ple. When Brother Zion established his meeting place in this ancient city (the city in which Peter received the vision which the Lord gave him to prepare him for taking the Gospel message to the Gentiles - Acts 10), the rabbis issued printed leaflets warning the people against him and his teachings. However, the more such adverse publicity was cir­culated, the greater the attendance at his meetings, he told us.

All kinds of rumors have been cir­culated around Israel about him, but we are glad that Brother Zion is holding fast to his faith, not only in the Messiah­ship of Jesus but also to the basic truths of The Divine Plan of the Ages. We were much impressed by this fact when he told us personally of his whole­hearted acceptance of the message con­tained in Vols. I and V of the Scripture Studies.

Considering his previous position as spiritual leader of Bulgarian Jewry, Brother Zion is certainly a humble man. We would say that he looks as well today as he did in 1950. May God grant him many more years to serve the cause of Jesus the Messiah whom he loves supremely. Truly, Brother Zion's heartfelt longing is like unto that ex­pressed by the Apostle Paul: "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved." - Romans 10:1.

"Awake, O Land of Israel,
To beauty, love, and song,
Out of the dust of long neglect 
And centuries of wrong­
Out of the being trodden down 
In mire by alien feet­
Out of thy lonely widowhood­ --
Awake, no more to weep!
 
"O land where the Shekinah shone, 
Whose hills by One were trod,
Writ in the volume of the Book --
­The Promised One of God: 
Rich blessings will from thee proceed
To earth's remotest bound
When thy lost sons, at home again, 
Immanuel have found."


Beliefs That Matter

"To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and we by him." - 1 Cor. 8:6.

HERE we conclude the consideration (begun in the February Herald) of four specific suggestions, recommended for adoption by all who would nourish their faith in the one true God and in the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

It will be recalled that our first sug­gestion was to study the Bible, and that we recommended its study in the spirit of prayer, with the thought in mind of becoming better acquainted with the character of our heavenly Father, and with his glorious plans and purposes;-and with the intention of bringing one's life into conformity therewith.

SURRENDER TO GOD'S MESSIAH

Second: Surrender yourself, uncondi­tionally, to the Lord Jesus Christ, and ask him to take charge of your life.

Why do I urge this? you may ask. I answer: For this reason. If you carry out my first suggestion, of prayerfully studying the Bible with the intention of conforming your life to its teachings, it will not be long before you discover that all God's glorious plans and pur­poses, whether for the world of mankind in general, or for you, yourself, in par­ticular, are wrapped up in, and are to be accomplished by, his Messiah.

The Old Testament is full of predic­tions concerning Messiah, while the main purpose of all the New Testament writers is to set forth the evidence that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled those pre­dictions. As the Apostle John, in writ­ing his Gospel, declares: "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ [that is, the Messiah], the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:­31.) Yes, it will not be long before you discover, as did those Samaritans who listened to the story of the woman who had talked with Jesus at Jacob's well: "This is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world." (John 4:42.) As Jesus, himself, said to his close disciples:

"Ye believe in God; believe also in me. (John 14:1.) Ask him to cleanse you from all unrighteousness; ask him for the guidance of his spirit; ask him for the necessary strength to follow that guidance throughout the remainder of your life. You are going to need his guidance and his strength. Ask him for both. Ask in faith, nothing doubting., and your need will be supplied.

OTHERS

Third: Lose yourself in the service of others. You do not need me to tell you that that, surely, was the way in which Christ lived; and if we are to enjoy his fellowship we must, to the best of our ability, do likewise. That reminds me of a story about General Booth, the grand old man who founded the Salvation Army. At one time he desired to send a New Year's greeting, by cablegram, and telegram, to all Sal­vation Army Posts throughout the world. Cablegrams and telegrams are expen­sive and have to be short. General Booth pondered the matter and finally reduced his message to a single word. It was the word "Others."

Imagine yourself in charge of a Salva­tion Army Post and being handed a New Year's greeting from the General con­taining the one word "Others"! What effect do you think that cablegram would have had on you? In one case it in­spired its recipient to write a beautiful little poem. Here are three verses from that poem:

"Lord, help me live from day to day 
In such a self-forgetful way 
That even when I kneel to pray 
My prayer shall be for others.

 

"Help me in all the work I do 
To ever be sincere and true 
And know that all I'd do for you 
Must needs be done for others.

 
"Others,
Lord, yes others: 
Let this my motto be; 
Help me to live for others 
That I may live like Thee."

A DAY AT A TIME

Fourth: My fourth suggestion is this. In seeking to lose our lives in the service of God which, as we have seen, means, from the practical standpoint, to live for others, let us do so a day at a time.

Some of us make the mistake of try­ing to grasp too much of life at a time. Perhaps all of us are liable to this temptation to a greater or lesser degree. We think of life as a whole, instead of taking the days one by one. Yet our Lord and the Apostles, in every way, seek to discourage this. Of course, in this complicated civilization of ours, we must give a certain amount of thought for the morrow. God himself takes thought for the morrow. It is be­cause he has done so that there will be any tomorrow at all for us. It is because of his forethought that we have the seasons in rotation, contributing to the growth of the grain which becomes our bread. No! -- it is not wrong to take thought for the morrow. But the danger lies in anxious thought. And there is more than danger in it. There is physi­cal ill-health in it; for it has been sci­entifically demonstrated that worry kills. But far more important than that, anx­ious thought dishonors our Father by the distrust it manifests. It hinders our own spiritual growth; mars the beauty of character we should otherwise develop; and it beclouds our witness for God to others. And we are to prove ourselves in this respect, as in all others, "more than conquerors through him that loved us."

In the Lord's providence, many of us may still be here a year from now. Well, if we are, we'll want to look back on a year of real Christian living -- the best year of our lives. How shall we accom­plish this? Not by trying to solve the entire year's problems tomorrow. "Suf­ficient unto the day is the evil thereof," said our Lord. Let's take this coming year a day at a time. Even the problems of one day are handled best one at a time. If fifty problems are staring you in the face when you start back to work tomorrow morning, give your undivided attention to just one of them, and push the other forty-nine aside, until thatone has been disposed of. One by one, you will find yourself taking care of them all, whereas, if you try to handle all fifty at once, they will overwhelm you, and none of them will get proper handling. The poet put it in a simple line, as follows:

"One day at a time! -- that's all it can be;
No harder than that is the hardest fate;
And days have their limits, however we
Begin them too early and stretch them too late."

CONCLUSION

To summarize, then:

(I) Basic amongst "Beliefs That Matter" is belief in the existence of the one true God, and in his intention to bring about the ultimate triumph of right, the ultimate suppression of evil.

(II) This belief comes, and is strength­ened by, an acquaintance with God.

(III) To increase our acquaintance with God we may well adopt the following four suggestions:

1) Study his Word, prayerfully and carefully.

2) Accept Christ as our personal Savior and follow his leadership.

3) Live as he would have us live -- as Christ himself lived -- for others.

4) Live a day at a time.

"One day at a time

It's a wholesome rhyme;

A good one to live by

A day at a time."

- P. L. Read


The Heavens Rolling Together

"The heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll."
"The heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together."
- Isa. 34:4; Rev. 6:14.

IN the symbolism of the Bible, the "heavens" represent ecclesiastical powers -- the nominal church -- and the "rolling together" of these suggests the concentration of such powers. At the extreme ends of the heavens are the Roman Catholic and Protestant divisions of ecclesiasticism. The prediction that these are to be rolled together "as a scroll" suggests, not that they will merge, but that, while remaining separate scrolls, they will be drawn together by mutual interest and necessity.

For years we have been watching the unfolding of events, wondering just how such predicted "rolling together" might, under the Lord's overruling providence, be brought about. Recently an event took place which suggests that these prophecies may be nearing fulfillment. On January 25, according to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, "Pope John XXIII summoned an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church aimed at uniting the Christian forces of the world." In so doing, in the opinion of Time, "the Pope announced what may well be the most important 20th century landmark in the history of the Roman Catholic Church: the 21st Ecumenical Council, which will probably meet in 1961.

"Convened under the presidency of the Pope or his legate, an ecumenical council brings together the whole world's Roman Catholic hierarchy­ -- cardinals, patriarchs, primates, arch­bishops and bishops, and the abbots and superiors of certain orders. The deci­sions of the ecumenical council, sub­ject only to papal confirmation, are binding on all Catholics; it was the last ecumenical council in 1869-70 that de­clared the dogma of papal infallibility."

Commenting on the decisions of past ecumenical councils, the St. Louis Post -Dispatch recalls their historic signifi­cance. "The first, in 325, set the date for Easter. The third, in 431, declared Mary the mother of God. The ninth, in 1123, dealt with the recovery of the Holy Land by the crusaders . . . .

BIRTH OF PROTESTANTISM

"One of the greatest councils was the nineteenth, or Council of Trent. It lasted 18 years, from 1545 to 1563. It was called to examine and condemn the beliefs of Martin Luther and other Prot­estants, and to reform the discipline of the Roman Catholic Church itself."

Newsweek notes that "aside from their rejection of the papacy as un­justified by Scripture, most Protestants have other major doctrinal differences with Roman Catholicism -- e.g., they do not believe 'id-the dogma of the "Assump­tion of the Virgin Mary.

COMMUNISM MAJOR ISSUE

That the matter is one of urgency has not escaped the attention of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, as the following quo­tation indicates. "The call by Pope John for an Ecumenical Council underscores the urgency that he feels for the state of Christian unity today.

"This concern is especially deep over the Orthodox Church in Soviet Russia and the Catholic Church in Red China, where efforts to create a separate Com­munist-dominated church threaten a schism.

"One of the major subjects of the new council, therefore, may be a reaffirma­tion of the church's stand against Communism.

ATTITUDE OF PROTESTANTS

"The first Protestant leaders queried," reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, ex­pressed cautious interest. Dr. Edwin T. Dahlberg of St. Louis, president of the National Council of Churches, said any step toward unity of churches will be welcome.

"He added, however, that 'it would have to be recognized that it was a mutual coming together, not under con­ditions laid down by one church for all the others. Protestants could not ap­proach such a meeting,' he said, 'as sepa­rated Christians returning to the Church of Rome."'

According to Time: "Last week Prot­estant reactions to the Pope's planned council were calculatedly reserved.

"General Secretary Willem Visser 't Hooft of the World Council of Churches commented that much- would-depend on 'how ecumenical the council will be, in composition and spirit.' There are 'enor­mous' possibilities for cooperation (e.g., joint action against Communist oppres­sion, prevention of atomic warfare, the problems of Christians in non-Christian countries), 'provided that the Vatican is willing to admit and accept dogmatic differences.' In Britain the Archbishop of Canterbury indicated that the Angli­can Church would send an observer, if invited, but a spokesman for the Presby­terian Church of Scotland was dour. 'We are very keen on the ecumenical move­ment,' he said, 'but not under Roman Catholic sponsorship. We want a union of Christendom, but not on their terms."'


Lights and Shadows in Christian Experience

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." - Romans 8:18.

LAST month, at the conclusion of our devotional study of the cir­cumstances attending the awakening of Lazarus, we noted a striking resemblance between Peter's great confession (Matt. 16:16), and Martha's response to the Master's searching inquiry: "Believest thou this?" To him she had replied: "Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." - John 11:27.

Following this noble confession, we read: "And when she had so said, she went her way." The record does not in­dicate, but it is probable that Jesus himself had directed her to go, for she said to Mary: "The Master is come, and calleth for thee." - John 11:28.

This message she delivered "secretly." The secrecy, too, may have been part of our Lord's instructions; but likely as not it resulted from Martha's own wise and loving thoughtfulness -- first, to avoid unnecessarily alerting our Lord's enemies to the fact of his return; and second, to provide her sister with the opportunity for a private talk with Jesus.

MARTHA AND MARY

It is instructive to observe the char­acteristic differences in temperament between Martha and Mary, as they are portrayed by the Apostle John. These differences we previously noted, when studying the Bethany family, in the January Herald. There, indeed, in the familiar passage (Luke 10:38-42), where Martha appears as the practical, bustling housewife, and Mary as the devout, contemplative disciple who chooses "the one thing needful," -- the contrast, which is summarized in one brief incident, is direct, and with the evident intent on the part of the writ­er, that we should regard Mary as the one possessing those traits of character most worthy of emulating.

Here, in the eleventh chapter of John, this contrast is also to be noted. But instead of it being direct, it is developed gradually. As the beloved Apostle John unfolds his story, the dis­tinctive characters of the sisters are seen, not so much in contrast, as blend­ing into each other. He does not for­get to mention that both are loved by our Lord (John 11:5); that they each show deep sorrow for the loss of their brother; that they both send to the Lord for help, and both alike express their faith in him. And yet, notwith­standing this, "the difference of char­acter," as the eminent scholar, Light­foot, has observed, "is perceptible throughout the narrative. It is Martha who, with her restless activity, goes out to meet Jesus, while Mary remains in the house weeping. It is Martha who holds a conversation with Jesus, ques­tions him, remonstrates with him, and in the very crisis of their grief shows her practical commonsense in depre­cating the removal of the stone. It is Mary who goes forth silently to meet him, silently and tearfully, so that the bystanders suppose her to be going to weep at her brother's tomb; who, when she sees Jesus, falls down at his feet; who, uttering the same words of faith in his power as Martha, does not qualify them with the reservation. In all this narrative the evangelist does not once direct attention to the con­trast between the two sisters. He sim­ply relates the events of which he was an eyewitness, without a comment. But the two were real, living persons, and therefore the difference of charac­ter between them develops itself in action."

IF THOU HADST BEEN HERE

Under the impulse of her devotion, Mary, as soon as she had heard the message, arose quickly and left the house. The formal sympathizers, who were gathered there, watched her de­parture, but not knowing the reason, assumed that she was going to the grave to weep there, and decided to follow her. Such, however, was not Mary's intention. The music of her Master's name and the word that he was near, and wished to see her, brought joy to her heart, and she sought his presence, there to obtain the strength and comfort which only he could give.

When she reached Jesus, she fell down at his feet, saying, in the iden­tical words used by Martha, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." But, as already noted, there was no attempt on her part to discuss her grief. Her action, in falling at his feet, itself expressed the urgency of her prayer.* Moreover, in the few mo­ments that elapsed before the profes­sional mourners arrived, she was ap­parently so overcome by emotion, that conversation was impossible.

------------------------

* See Mark 5:22, 23 for a parallel case, in proof of this.

Jesus, who loved both Martha and Mary, was well aware of their differ­ences in temperament, and adapted himself to them. With the one, he was able to enter into a discussion - to lead Martha's lively, but not too en­lightened, faith in the doctrine of the resurrection, to faith in himself, as the one in whom was life, and through whom resurrection and life should come; to the sensitive spirit of Mary, on the other hand, he responds with silence, joining his tears with hers. Scholars tell us that the word translat­ed "wept" in "Jesus wept" (John 11:35), is not the same as the word twice translated "weeping" in John 11:33. There the meaning is "sobs," but here "tears" are to be understood; it is the expression for a calm and gentle sor­row.

THE SYMPATHIZING JESUS

This text, which shows our Lord to be the "Sympathizing Jesus," is held by some critics to furnish proof that the entire narrative of the raising of Lazarus is spurious. Such maintain that since Jesus knew he was soon to bring Lazarus back to life, he could not have shed genuine tears, or experi­enced sincere sorrow. Certain it is that if John's Gospel, instead of being the inspired Word of God, were merely the result of speculative thought, as some claim, it would not have con­tained John 11:35. Jesus, as the true Lo­gos, with nothing human except the outward appearance, would have raised his friend with triumphant looks and unmoistened eyes. But those who hold such views fail to appreciate the sig­nificance of John's earlier statement that "the Word was made flesh" (John 1:14). As one able writer has re­marked: "It is not with a heart of stone that the dead are raised." To us there is real significance in the fact that the very Gospel in which the di­vine Sonship of Jesus is most clearly asserted, is also the one which makes us best acquainted with the profound­ly human side of his life.

Jesus' tears were occasioned, first, out of sympathy for the bereaved -- not merely for those then present, but for the suffering borne by the entire hu­man family, since the reign of sin and death began. Reflect, if you will, on the number of breaking hearts there are, throughout the wide world, and on how loud the wail of suffering hu­manity, could we but hear it! Bethany processions, pacing with slow and measured step, to deposit their earthly all, in the cold custody of the tomb. Then, too, his tears would flow, as he thought of the triumphs effected by the enemy, death. The body of man, pronounced "very good" in the case of Adam, father of the race, is now ruined, and resolved into a mass of humiliating dust. What must have been his reflections, as he thought of men as they had now become - devas­tated wrecks, moldering in dissolu­tion and decay, with Satan sitting, as it were, in regal state, holding high holi­day over a vassal world! Again, he was about to perform his greatest mir­acle, and yet knew that while some of its witnesses would believe, many then and later would despise him, and dis­count his work -- yea, would even connive with others to put him to death. It should not surprise us to read that "Jesus wept."

TAKE YE AWAY THE STONE

To the tears of Jesus, the reaction of those present was twofold. There were those who said feelingly, "Behold, how he loved him"; while others said cyn­ically, "If he loved him so much, why did he let him die?"

They have now reached the grave. It was a rocky sepulcher. A flat stone lay upon the mouth of it. "Jesus said, Take ye away the stone." - John 11:39.

Here Martha voices an objection: "Lord, by this time he stinketh; for he hath been dead four days." It seems clear from these words that Martha was not anticipating the miracle the Master purposed. Evidently she sup­posed that our Lord's only reason for opening the tomb was to look one last time on Lazarus. This, however, will be no consolation to her, now. More­over, as the dead man's sister, she would quite naturally shrink from see­ing the ravages of death upon one so dear to her. Nor would it assuage her sister's grief, or that of Jesus. Both for his sake, therefore, and for Mary's as well as for her own, and for the sake of others present, Martha recoils from the thought of such a painful exposure.

However, in response to her objec­tion, Jesus gently recalls his earlier promise: "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" - John 11:40.

Many expositors understand our Lord to be referring to the conversa­tion he had with Martha, recorded in John 11:21-27. And, indeed, his words "if thou wouldest believe" (John 11:40), do remind us of expressions to be found in that passage. But the expres­sion, "the glory of God," prominent in John 11:40, is absent from John 11:21-27, whereas it forms the salient feature of John 11:4. Evidently, then, it was the promise in John 11:4, of which Jesus now reminds Martha. He well knew that it had been reported to the two sisters by their messenger, Hence the expression: "Said I not unto thee," stands for: "Did I not send thee word?"

This Bethany utterance has a voice reaching down through the Age, to our own day. Ofttimes the Lord lets our need attain its extremity, that his intervention may appear the more sig­nal. He permits his own promises to apparently fail, that he may test the faith of his waiting people; tutor them to "hope against hope," and to find in unanswered prayers and baffled expec­tations only a fresh reason for clinging to his all-powerful arm and frequent­ing his mercy seat.

FATHER, I THANK THEE THAT THOU HAST HEARD ME

The stone being removed from the grave, "Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always" (John 11:41, 42). At first glance these words may seem strange, yet when we recall that the two previous days had been spent by our Lord in seclusion, in the wilder­ness of Perea, it is not difficult to realize that he had there received as­surance from his Father that the great moment was at hand for him to mani­fest the power of God in resurrection life. Having this assurance, and being full of faith and of the holy spirit, Jesus now offers thanks to his Father in advance of the miracle.

This is the ideal set before us in our prayers at the throne of grace. May it be ours, truthfully to take upon our lips these words of the Master, and speak them in the ears of God: "Fa­ther, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." It is most difficult for us to emu­late the Lord in this way, for well we know that our faith, at times, is weak and faltering. Yet the lesson surely is that we should strive to reach that condition of "the perfect man in Christ Jesus" whereby we pray with full as­surance of faith and hope, and in be­lieving prayer, give thanks to our Fa­ther in advance of the desired blessing.

LAZARUS, COME FORTH

Now the great moment has arrived. Every eye is fixed on Jesus. What will he do? Eyes are strained; necks craned; every one is watching in si­lence. Then comes his authoritative voice: "Lazarus, come forth." At the word of command, "he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes; and his face bound about with a napkin." Again comes the calm voice of Jesus: "Loose him, and let him go." Thus, in simplicity and yet with wondrous grace, Jesus performed his greatest miracle, to the glory of God, and as an illustration of  the power which he will exercise, when he comes in the power and glory of his Kingdom.

How beautiful is this illustration! Lazarus, it is very apparent, had been really dead for four days. Now he is awakened from the sleep of death. (Not brought back from heaven, purgatory, or hell, but from the un­conscious, death condition, in which, he had known nothing. - Eccl. 9:5.) "Marvel not at this," said our Lord in another place, "for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his [Jesus'] voice, and shall come forth" (John 5:28). In that day, the Word of the Lord will not be ob­scure, or corrupted by false teachers, or by Satan's counterfeits. Instead, no evil shall be there; no dangerous errors to fall over, no sickness, sorrow, pain, or death, and, as Isaiah puts it: "The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quiet­ness and assurance for ever" (Isa. 32:17). "Hallelujah! What a Savior!"

(To be concluded)

- A. L. Muir


Calamities -- Why Permitted

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." - Isaiah 45:7.

Since the publication of the February issue of the "Herald," our country has experienced a number of hurricanes, tornados, and floods, with disastrous re­sults, and reports have reached us that people in other countries have under­gone similar calamities, including earth­quakes.

The severity and extent of these catastrophes brought forcibly back to mind an article written by Brother Russell in the early days of his ministry:

Believing the lessons he drew at that time are peculiarly applicable to todays' events, we have condensed the following para­graphs from his pen, written in Febru­ary 1884. - Ed. Com.

ACCOUNTS of the widespread and destructive floods of these past months, with their accompanying dis­tress, have ere this reached you through the daily press. Such like events as floods, fires, earthquakes, tornados, pesti­lences, cyclones, etc., have always elicited much comment both from press and pulpit regarding their cause.

The most commonly attributed cause is that God has sent the calamity as a special punishment for supposed greater wickedness of the people of the suffer­ing districts, and as a warning to others. Another and growing view is that it just happened so from natural causes; and that, if there is a God, he either cannot help such things, or does not care to do so. For our part, we cannot endorse either of these views.

The reasons which lead people in gen­eral to suppose these calamities to be "special judgments" are founded, we be­lieve, mainly on the dealings of God with Israel, upon whom he sent calami­ties, captivities, etc., as national punish­ments for national sins. But let us re­member that Israel was a peculiar people, chosen of God for a special purpose, and, like the saints of the Gospel Age, dealt with in a peculiar manner, different from the world. To them he said, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth." (Amos 3:2.) Israel was the only nation which Jehovah directly governed; therefore he chastised their sins, and made his prom­ises to them, while other nations were left under the dominion of Satan, the prince of this world, until he whose right it is, shall have come and estab­lished the Kingdom of God under the whole heavens.

While remembering that God has used calamities, such as the Deluge and the destruction of Sodom, as punish­ments and examples of an overthrow of the ungodly, it should not be forgotten that those were examples of those who should afterward live ungodly. And these examples are not examples of God's dealings in the present time, but are examples of the punishment or destruction awaiting the finally incor­rigible during or at the close of the Millennial , judgment period, or day. That Peter so applies those calamities as examples of the future, see 2 Peter 2:4-9.

In Jesus' day some had the same im­pression, that great disasters indicated God's special displeasure; but Jesus cor­rected them, saying: "Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things? Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay; but except ye repent ye shall all likewise PERISH."

These words of Jesus contain the key to what we believe is the correct view of this subject in the last word, perish. The fact is that the great calamity DEATH, of which pestilences, earth­quakes, floods, etc., are only incidentals, has passed upon ALL MEN, because all are sinners. (Rom. 5:12.) We have become so accustomed to death, the great calamity which is rapidly swallow­ing up the whole race, that it, the great­est of all losses, and the cause of all others, is looked upon as a proper and natural matter. If, however, things were properly considered, death as a whole would be seen as the great calamity, and the floods, etc., which only hasten it to a few, would be of comparatively little importance.

As death, the great calamity and curse, was caused by sin, so all these calami­ties spring from the same cause, and are under the control of him that has the power of death, that is the devil (Heb. 2:14), whose dominion and power, thank God, is soon to be taken away and given to the Prince of Peace. As death is the result of sin, so are pesti­lences, tornados, etc.

By one man's disobedience, death with its numerous channels of sickness and disaster passed upon all men, and those who meet it in one way avoid it in others; but all meet it in some form.

This will be apparent when we re­member that when Adam became a sinner, not only did the curse of death fall upon him, but the entire dominion of his kingdom-the earth-suffered, and is in a cursed condition. (Gen. 3:17.) For a time Satan is permitted to usurp the dominion of earth, and while seemingly working out his own plans, he at the same time acts as the agent of justice, to execute the penalty of sin. This being true, he is the one who by permission exercises the destruc­tive power upon the earth; and Jehovah does not interfere because mankind has justly come under the curse of a violated law, death; and because man is gaining a valuable lesson under the present dominion of evil and death, which will benefit him when the curse is lifted not only legally, but actually, by the Re­deemer who for this cause was mani­fested "that he might destroy DEATH [the great catastrophe in all its forms] and him that hath the power of death, [and who brings to pass the various calamities] that is, the devil."

As soon as the new Prince, Immanuel, takes possession of the Kingdom, a great change will begin, both in the world of nature and of mankind. The curse being canceled will be removed, and, the blessings purchased by the "precious blood of Christ" will be be­stowed. So great will be the change under the new administration, that in symbol it is called a new heavens (new spiritual ruling power). Behold he will make all things new; he will re-new or restore all things to harmony with God, and to a condition which from God's standpoint, is "very good."

Hence we regard those disasters, not as special punishments, but as parts of the general curse, results of sin; but all working out in harmony with God's design an ultimate good to those rightly exercised thereby. We have heretofore seen that the Prophet job was made a type of mankind; that the disaster and trouble and losses which befell him illustrated the losses sustained by man­kind, and that his restoration to favor and after-blessing, foreshadowed the "restitution of all things" to mankind. (Acts 3:19.) And we call to mind that the source of his trouble was Satan (Job 1:12), whom God in wisdom permitted to have power over him. As then the whirlwind, etc., was the agent of Satan, so we claim it is today. So, too, it was in Jesus' day. Jesus did not go about opposing the Father's will. If the Father had caused the death of Lazarus, would Jesus have opposed him by undoing his work? If Jehovah had caused the storm on the Sea of Galilee, which nearly overwhelmed the Lord and his disciples, would Jesus have been justified in stilling that tempest? But if the sickness and death and storms which Jesus counteracted were the work of Satan, the present "prince of the world," then all is clear, and we and all creation groan and travail and wait for the glori­ous reign of the new Prince, whose relief is foreshadowed by the acts of his earthly ministry, praying, "Thy King­dom come, thy will be done on earth. When the night of sin and suffering and weeping is over, and the Sun of Right­eousness arises with healing in his wings for the various troubles of man and of earth, the mists of ignorance will be dis­pelled, and it will be seen that not Jehovah, but man's sin and his present prince, Satan, has been the direct cause of earth's woe and sorrow.


Going Home

THE word home has been included among the finest words in our lan­guage. Indeed, some one once said that the three very sweetest words are God, Mother, and Home. Well, that was one man's idea. There are other exceedingly precious words, such as Jesus, Salvation, Faith, Hope, Mercy, Love. But we are willing to admit the value of Home. When Madam Albani as an encore sang, "Home, Sweet Home," in London, Eng­land, it was said that there were few dry eyes in the audience. The great word home strikes a chord deep down in the human heart. Many of us first opened our eyes in an environment which we soon learned to call "home." That envi­ronment had associations and harmonies not to be found in the world outside, but it took later experiences with life to fully impress this truth upon the mind so that we could sing from the heart,

"A charm from the skies seems to hal­low all there,

Which, seek through the world, is ne'er met with elsewhere."

When we attain to manhood and womanhood how often do we think of home, and how well do we remember our first home-going after having been absent for a while. We had taken up the battle of life to make our own way in the world. And now comes the sum­mer vacation, and we are going home.

The telegraph posts fly past as the train speeds by, but not too fast for us. And now we are at the station. Mother has been feeble, so she is not at the sta­tion. But father is there. He is stooped and not as spry as he once was, but he has a good hearty grip in his hand. There is no question about the fact that he is pleased. We walk up the street of the old town. There is the white house on top of the hill. And who is that at the gate? We know without asking. It is mother, and this is one of the happy hours of her life. Yes, we are home, and all the trials and cares of the past year melt into oblivion while, for a few, short, blissful weeks we bask in the radiance of love.

How the soldier dreams of home the night before the battle, and how the sailor thinks of home when the billows roar and the winds have lashed to fury the raging main! And the question he often asks himself is, "Shall I ever see that home of mine again?"

OUR HEAVENLY HOME

How the Christian thinks of home on the great sea of human life, when the foam-crested waves mount up toward heaven and a thousand perils seem about to spring upon him! And why should he not think of his heavenly home? Many have thought of it and have thereby felt an inspiration that has as­sisted them in making good. Jesus thought of it, and we are told that he "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame." Just how much he remembered of that former joy we are not told, but that he kept his eye on the goal before him there can be no question. And, further­more, he held out the prospect of future bliss to his disciples, saying, "In my Father's house are many mansions.... I go to prepare a place for you, and ... I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also." How many weary pilgrims on life's rugged road have been cheered and encouraged by the music that has entered into their hearts from this mighty promise made by the Son of God.

We are not home yet. Here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. And "we know that if the house of this earthly tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." We should be getting ready for this heavenly home. We have been placed here to gain the necessary charac­ter development. The chief purpose' of what we call the truth is to enable us to become acquainted with the Mighty One of the universe, and to establish connections between him and ourselves. Every point of truth gained, therefore, should lift us to a higher level, making us more God-like.

And just what is the character of God? According to the Bible it is love, and divine love has been said to be broader than the measure of man's mind, and the heart of God to be wonderfully kind. Well, we have been trying to gauge and measure his love. A great many persons in so-called Christendom have set forth written or unwritten creeds, most of them having pretty high fences around them, and in these creedal enclosures they have placed (as they suppose) the love and the wisdom of God.

But some of us feel that the love of God cannot be thus circumscribed. God may be giving his favor to some who cannot see all points of doctrine exactly as we see them, or who express their belief in different terms. They cannot say "Shibboleth," and so they do the best they can and say, "Sibboleth." The question then is, should we condemn them for doing this and judge them as being virtually out of the truth?­ - Judges 12:6.

And another question is, should doc­trines be to us stumbling stones or step­ping stones. There is nothing that can make a person so narrow-minded and intolerant as religion if received in a sectarian way. Just think of the millions of persons who have been slain in the name of Christ. The knowledge of this fact should make us all very humble before the Lord, lest we be found in the company of persecutors of the saints. Of course we would not want to be found in such company, but Satan is very artful, and if he can get us to judge others, doubtless he feels very much pleased with his success.

OUR HOME QUALITIES

The fact is that we should be develop­ing home qualities if we expect to reach our heavenly home. We should be learn­ing to live with all those who love the Lord, in peace, in charity, and in good­will. There will be no judging among us in heaven. Then why should there be judging among us here on earth? Why judge any man when we cannot read his heart? God judges according to motives. How many little points in the Bible has God left undetermined and therefore debatable simply for the purpose of testing our love. Do we deserve a lot of credit for loving those who agree with us in everything? Surely not; for such "yes" people are but the shadows of ourselves. Is it not a fact that some go about looking for their own mental re­flection in all whom they meet? Such persons might just as well look in a mirror. It is often persons who do not see things just as we do who are the most helpful to us, for they are more broadening to our minds.

Now then, do we want to be narrow or broad? The world has two general classes-conservatives and liberals. One finds them everywhere, even among Bible students. But did not Jesus say that the way is narrow? Yes, but in what sense? In the sense that it bars out the world, the flesh, and the devil, but not in the sense that it bars out other Christians who are living up to the best they know and are seeking any enlightenment that God may have for them.

How many of us will reach our heav­enly home? All the Christ-like ones will be there. How little Jesus had to say along the technical lines of doctrine, but he had much to say about faith in himself, and about love, for he inter­preted the entire Decalogue in terms of love.

THE VALUE OF DOCTRINE

But doctrine is valuable -- just in so far as it makes us Christ-like. It has no value in itself as an abstract entity. Does it warm up our hearts with a strong and ardent appreciation of the Master? Does it cause us to manifest greater kindness toward the brethren? If so, it is accomplishing its divine purpose. If on the other hand it is making us nar­row, conservative, select, and selfish, then it has failed of its purpose, for we have not been using it in the right way. "If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." And why? Because he lacks the home spirit, the spirit of love for other members of God's chosen family.

God has set the members in the Body as it hath pleased him, not as it hath pleased us. Oh yes, it is a fact that some of them do not appeal to us. If we had the selection of them perhaps they would not be in the Body at all. Being out of harmony with our own mental tendencies, these brethren jar against us. But God did not want a lot of people just alike, or those who would see things exactly alike. But does not the Word say that God's people will see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion? Yes, and they will do just that when this prophecy is fulfilled. And even that does not mean that they will see all things exactly alike, but they will see all the main things alike. And the wise virgins will make the types of the Old Testament conform to the teaching of the New, and not try to twist the New Testament to make it fit the Old Testament types.

There will be some wonderful sur­prises in connection with our going home. Probably some will be there whom we considered heterodox and not fit to preach the Gospel while on earth. So we did not vote for them as elders or teachers, although they possessed ability to teach and preach, and their lives were unimpeachable from the standpoint of rectitude. But on some purely technical point of the Scriptures they did not coincide with our views, so we ruled them out. But the question arises that, if we acted in the aforesaid manner, shall we be there ourselves? It would seem not. This business of being a Christian is a serious matter. We do not dare to repudiate our responsibility to the other members of the Body.

There are times in our experience, perchance, when we fancy ourselves on the verge of the broad ocean of eternity. Ere long the tide will come in and pick up our frail barque and carry us far away. But the stars will be there to guide us, and one glorious orb will out­shine them all, and that will be the bright and morning Star. And oft we find ourselves thinking of the ones whom we expect to meet in our heav­enly home-the great Father and his Son Jesus, and a glittering throng of tried and faithful ones. Oh, loyalty, faith, and love will have achieved their crowning victory in that blessed morn­ing when the portals of heaven open to receive us and we "answer to his call."

When we go Home,
Shall the broad sea lie all at rest, 
Or shall the breakers roar 
With riot of the deep, 
Scorning the voice of sleep; 
And thus 'mid billowy sound 
Shall we go Home?

 
It matters not.
That going Home will be the same. 
The virgins will be there. 
God's loved, the true, the tried, 
Bound for the other side, 
In robes of light divine, 
Shall meet us in the air.
 
When we go Home,
I think the ocean's mighty roar 
Shall melt away in peace 
To lullaby of foam; 
And heaven's gold shall glow 
In the vast vault, and so, 
Born in eternity, 
We shall go Home.

- Walter Sargeant.


Recently Deceased

Bro. Loyal A. Baxter, Waupaca, Wis. - (Jan.) 
Sr. Eula R. Chaffin, Midland, Pa. - (Jan.) 
Sr. Anna R. Clay, W. Lafayette, O. - (Jan.) 
Bro. Russell Dean, Rutherford, N. J. - (Feb.) 
Sr. Mae George, Harrah, Okla. - (Dec.) 
Bro. J. P. Herzog, Knoxville, Tenn. - (Sept.)
Sr. E. B. Muir, Indian Rocks Beach, Fla. - (Jan.) 

Bro. Wm. Pampling, Brentwood, Eng. - (Nov.)


1959 Index