XLII March 1959 No. 3
"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.
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.
Two Passovers in Type and Antitype
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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,
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
"With Desire Have I Desired"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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."
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.
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"
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."
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
Apostle Paul throws an additional light on the meaning of these symbols;
when he inquires:
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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"
Who May Participate?
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
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.
January 20, 1959
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
REJECTS DOCTRINE OF TRINITY AS UNSCRIPTURAL
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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." -
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.
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.
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
Surrender yourself, unconditionally, to the Lord Jesus Christ, and ask
him to take charge of your life.
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.
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:
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.
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."
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:
A DAY AT A TIME
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.
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."
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
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.
This belief comes, and is strengthened by, an acquaintance with God.
To increase our acquaintance with God we may well adopt the following four
Study his Word, prayerfully and carefully.
Accept Christ as our personal Savior and follow his leadership.
Live as he would have us live -- as Christ himself lived -- for others.
Live a day at a time.
day at a time
a wholesome rhyme;
good one to live by
day at a time."
P. L. Read
heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll."
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.
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.
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
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
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."
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
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.
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.
of the major subjects of the new council, therefore, may be a reaffirmation
of the church's stand against Communism.
ATTITUDE OF PROTESTANTS
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.
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."'
to Time: "Last week Protestant reactions to the Pope's
planned council were calculatedly reserved.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
MARTHA AND MARY
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
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.
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
IF THOU HADST BEEN HERE
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.
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.
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
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
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"
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.
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
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
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." -
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
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.
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?"
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
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.
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
LAZARUS, COME FORTH
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.
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!"
A. L. Muir
form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the
Lord do all these things." - Isaiah 45:7.
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.
severity and extent of these catastrophes brought forcibly back to mind an
article written by Brother Russell in the early days of his ministry:
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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,
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."
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,
passed upon ALL
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
to a few, would be of comparatively little importance.
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.
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
will be apparent when we remember that when Adam became a sinner, not
only did the curse of death
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
lifted not only legally, but actually, by the Redeemer who for this cause was manifested "that he might destroy DEATH
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."
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."
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
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
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
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,
charm from the skies seems to hallow all there,
seek through the world, is ne'er met with elsewhere."
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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? -
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
fact is that we should be developing home qualities if we expect to
reach our heavenly home.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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."