XLIV May 1961 No. 5
I send the promise of my Father upon you." - Luke 24:49.
the Old Testament, Pentecost was a feast of thanksgiving which was held
each spring at the completion of the grain harvest, on the fiftieth day
after the Passover. It was one of the three annual festivals when each
male of the Jewish nation was to come to Jerusalem and present himself
before the Lord. The grain harvest covered a period of fifty days,
commencing with the offering of the first sheaf of grain on the second day
of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Lev. 23:10,11,15.) It ended on the
day of Pentecost fifty days later with the offering of two wave loaves
from the new crop, as a first fruit unto God. (Lev. 23:17.) Both of these
feasts, therefore, were a part of the harvest.
was the first month of the year, and the Passover Lamb was slain on the
fourteenth day of that month. The next day was the first day of the Feast
of Unleavened Bread, which was a high day or Sabbath. The following day,
"the morrow after the Sabbath," the sixteenth day of the month,
the harvest began. It follows, then, that the grain harvest of barley and
wheat was the first fruit of the land every year. It seems that no
specific offering was required of the individual on Pentecost, but each
man brought voluntarily a free-will offering of what his harvest
justified. (Duet. 16:10.) Provision was also made for the poor, for those
who had no land to reap. They were permitted to glean the fields and
reap the corners where grain was left standing by the owners. (Lev.
23:22.) Both rich and poor, thus, shared in the bounties of the harvest.
the feast of Pentecost are assigned several descriptive names, each of
which is significant. It is called the "feast o f weeks" because
it was related to the Passover, and had to take place just seven weeks
after the sheaf-waving ceremony of the 16th day of the month of Nisan.
(Ex. 34:22; Deut. 16:9, 10.) It is also called the "feast o f
23:16. It was a thanksgiving festival for the harvest of the new crop,
accepted as a gift from God, which would sustain life for another year.
Therefore, the whole nation, both rich and poor, bond or free, joined
together in one body and rejoiced before the Lord. (Deut. 16:10,11.) It
was further called "the day of the first-fruits." (Numb.
28:26). The first fruit of man and beast, and of the field belonged to
God. They were his peculiar treasure; being offered or consecrated to him.
Pentecost was the day in which God claimed his portion of first fruit.
Jewish harvest, which ended with the celebration on the day of Pentecost,
pictured the harvest of the spiritual first fruits of the Gospel Age. Our
Lord not only fulfilled the Jewish law and nailed it to his cross, but he
also introduced all the antitypes at his first advent. These antitypes
remain with us all down through the entire age so that the last members of
the Body get as much benefit from them as the first. This is a criterion
which applies to all the types of the law. Note, for example, the Sabbath.
The Jews were commanded to cease' from labor and to enjoy a physical rest
every seventh day. The antitypical rest, which our Lord gives to his
Church, is a rest of mind and heart that we may enjoy every day. It is a
rest of faith; faith in the fact that he who has begun a good work in us,
is also able to finish it. Every child of God may enjoy this rest, a full
rest in the Lord, who gave it to us when he died for us on the cross. In
the passover type, those who ate the typical passover lamb, of course,
benefited from its death. So, likewise, those who figuratively "eat
the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of Man," appropriate to
themselves the benefit of our Lord's death. It is this benefit which we
share together at our communion, and which we continue to share
"until he comes."
the Pentecostal type, only the beginning and end of the harvest were
marked; the period between was devoted to ordinary labor. The same is
true in the antitype. To quote from another: "Just as the
presentation of the first sheaf of ripe barley to God, on Nisan 16,
setting forth Christ Jesus as the first-fruits of them that slept, was a
pledge and earnest of the two loaves presented on Pentecost, which
prefigured the Church in its elective character as the first-fruits from
among men, so also the second first-fruits are themselves a prophecy and
pledge of the fuller harvest yet to be gathered in the coming Age, of
which, in the Scriptures, all God's holy Prophets have spoken since the
world began." - Acts 3:19.
Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, he met with his disciples from
time to time for forty days. These meetings, however, were held in secret,
usually in the evening, in the early morning hours, at the sea shore, or
on a lonely mountain. The Jewish nation, as a whole, had no inkling that
Jesus had risen from the dead prior to Pentecost. (Acts 10:40, 41.) His
last meeting with the disciples was on the Mount of Olives, at which
time he ascended up to heaven. Ten days later the time arrived, which
God had appointed, for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them.
"The day of Pentecost was fully come"; the great day of the
feast of the full in-gathering of the harvest. It brought to Jerusalem a
greater influx of Jews and proselytes from all parts of the world than any
other of the three great festivals. Hence, the season was well chosen for
the first public proclamation of our Lord's resurrection and ascension;
as its rites were typical of the first-fruit of
spiritual harvest, which was offered to God as a result of Peter's
OUTPOURING OF THE SPIRIT
this day, the disciples, including those who had come up to the feast, were
gathered by common consent in one place. There was then heard a sound from
heaven as of a rushing mighty wind. It filled the house where they were
sitting, while cloven tongues, like lambent flames, were seen upon all
their heads. These signs furnished a double evidence of divine power being
manifested. The spirit was given to qualify the disciples for their work
as witnesses of Christ, as he had said, "enduing them with power from
on high." It was to work from within; "guiding them into all
truth," by opening their minds to an understanding of the truths
which up to now had been concealed. With spiritual discernment, it brought
spiritual life, accompanied by all those moral virtues and graces which
Paul calls the fruit of the spirit. These inward gifts remained to be
proved by the future course of the disciples. Other external gifts were
also made manifest, as a public proof of their endowment for their work.
These were the extraordinary gifts of the spirit, gifts that are
miraculous in their nature. Like other miraculous works, they were
designed partly for their direct use, but even more as a sign of a divine
PETER'S GREAT SERMON
news soon spread throughout the city. Multitudes flocked together to the
scene. They were confounded at hearing these Galileans speak in several
languages. An attempt was made to discredit the fact that this had
some strange meaning, by the taunting suggestion that the men were drunk
with new wine. In refutation of this charge, Peter pointed out that it was
but nine o'clock in the morning-too early for men to begin drinking in the
East, much less to be drunken. Instead of being filled with wine, he
declared that they were filled with the holy spirit. Moreover, under
inspiration of that same spirit, he remarked "this is that which was
spoken by the prophet Joel."(*)
Scholars tell us that the phrase "this Is that which was spoken"
is a form of introducing a quotation in which the sense of one or more
passages is given, and not the very words are used. When the exact words
are being quoted. the more usual form. "it Is written" is
employed, as for example, Acts 1:20. - Ed. Com.
with his discourse, St Peter, after plainly charging the Jews with their
wickedness in crucifying Jesus, declared that he had been raised from the
dead, and that his resurrection was in fulfillment of David's prophecy of
Christ, inferring from that prophecy the exaltation of Jesus to the right
hand of God. He then points to this which they now saw and heard as his
first gifts to men, and as proof positive, "That God had made this
same Jesus whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ." The appeal to
their conscience was the more striking, as many of Peter's listeners no
doubt had joined in the scenes of the Passover when Jesus was unjustly
accused and crucified. Now they were re-assembled at Jerusalem after a
seven week interval for reflection. At once the sting of conviction
pierced their hearts. They cried to Peter and the other Apostles,
"Men and brethren, what shall we do?" This was answered by the
call to repentance. It was signified by baptism in the name of Christ,
that their sins might be remitted and they might receive the Holy
Spirit. This offer of mercy was eagerly accepted by many.
were the chief points of the first apostolic sermon. Much more was added.
All was concluded with exhorting such as would, to come out and separate
themselves from this perverse generation. All who received the word, that
is, those who had faith in the truth as preached by Peter, were baptized
and added to the Church. The Pentecostal first-fruits thus offered to God
were three thousand souls. Nor was this a passing excitement. The new
converts became faithful disciples, adhering to the teachings of the
Apostles and to the fellowship of the Church. "And they continued
stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of
bread and in prayer." (Acts 2:42.) The four elements included in this
summary of the daily life of the infant Church deserve special notice.
is the Apostles' doctrine, which was based on their own witness and
testimony in regard to Jesus' life and death and especially his
resurrection and ascension. Faith in these basic doctrines is essential to
salvation. They also pointed out that these truths were based on the
writings of the Old Testament, on which all the Jews firmly believed.
second element is the fellowship. The word here translated fellowship is
translated communion in 1 Cor. 10:16, and means a common sharing or a
common participation. Though the word is most often used in connection
with mental or spiritual things, in this particular instance it seems to
refer to the material things of life. It was a practical application of
the truth received. The poor, who formed the great body of the
disciples, were kept from want by sharing the wealth of the rest
according to their necessities, the same as they did in the typical
Pentecost. We do not mean to imply that the first Christians adopted what
is known today as communism. No one was forced to divest himself of
individual property. None were required to throw all they had earned into
a common stock. They had, indeed, a common fund,, which was portioned by
the Apostles among the poor. Those who practiced fully the principle,
"that nought of the things which he possessed was his own," sold
their lands and houses, and voluntarily laid the receipts at the Apostles'
feet. But that this practice was not binding upon anyone is proven by the
amount of stress laid upon the self sacrifice of Barnabas in Acts
4:36,37. Also, the declaration of Peter to Ananias and Sapphira that they
might have kept the land if they had chosen, or even that they might have
used the money - Acts 5:1-4. Luke's language is indeed universal, but
universal statements are always to be interpreted by more specific
information. What was universally accepted was the principle that none
should want while any of the brethren had the means of helping them. In
carrying out this principle, they used that Christian liberty of
beneficence, which is far more effective than forced equality of wealth.
BREAKING OF BREAD
the breaking of bread alludes to a social custom, which sprang up among
this small community, of eating together daily. When we accept our daily
food as a blessing from the Lord, it is good for the Lord's people to eat
together. This is an opportunity for prayer, supplication, as well as
personal conversation about the things pertaining to life and godliness.
The first three times our Lord revealed himself to his disciples following
his resurrection were associated with eating. Who can doubt that the Lord
is very near when his people eat together, and talk about the things
pertaining to the Kingdom?
the distinct mention of prayer vindicates its place as an act of common
Christian worship. Some have inferred from Matt. 6:6 that all prayer must
be done in private. This was not the practice of the early church. Paul
prayed with the elders of Ephesus, our Lord prayed in the presence of John
when the Holy Spirit came upon him. Also, he was praying with three
disciples when the transfiguration occurred. Even his last words on the
cross were a prayer.
YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER
momentum of the Pentecostal movement struck awe even to those who did not
join it. This feeling was kept alive by the miracles which the Apostles
wrought. The first practical fruition of the new faith is to be seen in the contribution it made to the
development of a generous disposition. We behold the Church in its first
purity, being daily increased by adding sincere converts. They enjoyed
harmony within, and the favor of the people without, before the beginning
of persecution or declension. In the presence of the people who were
assembled for evening prayer, the healing of a man above forty years of
age, who had been lame from his birth, by Peter and John at the Temple,
gave Peter another opportunity of
the Savior, in whose name alone the miracle was performed. His discourse
was interrupted by the Sadducees who carried them off to prison.
Whatever the pretext was, their real offense was preaching the
resurrection from the dead in the name of Christ. Their arrest did not
prevent their words being received by no less than five thousand
believers. In the presence of the Sanhedrin which were assembled the next
morning under the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, with their Sadducean
kindred, Peter boldly avowed that the miracle had been performed in the
name of Jesus, who though crucified by them, had been raised by God.
Also that it was this name alone which was given under heaven for the
salvation of men. Their freedom of speech, contrasted with their want of
letters, left the council in no doubt that they were worthy followers of
Jesus. , The very presence of the healed man forbade
their denial of the miracle. The impression it made upon the people
rendered it dangerous for the Sanhedrin to attempt severity, so they
threatened them and let them go. The assembled Church received them with
thanksgiving, this being the earliest example of united Christian
prayer. The prayer was answered by another sign of God's presence: the
shaking of the place in which they met, as Sinai was shaken of old. It was
also answered by a fresh outpouring of
Spirit, enabling the work of the Apostles to be resumed with fresh power,
and the Church to be endued still more manifestly with divine grace and
THE LESSON FOR US
us not conclude our study without making a very personal and practical
application of the lesson of Pentecost. When the Sheaf of Barley
representing our Lord Jesus, was waved before the altar by the
officiating priest, it was composed of the very finest ears they could
find. So also,
at the Feast of Pentecost, fifty days later, the wheat harvest having now
been gathered in, the two loaves which were waved before the altar were
made of the new flour which, in turn, had come from the very finest of the
wheat. That is to say, such should have been the case. But in the case of
natural Israel the Prophet Malachi reminds us that instead of coming to
the Lord with their best, they were inclined to perform the letter of the
law and to avoid its spirit; apparently they were ready to bring
sacrifices and offerings, but the selfishness of their hearts and their lack of
true appreciation of the Lord led them to proffer him the weak and the
lame and the poor, while they kept the better for :heir own use. Through
the Prophet Malachi the Lord urged them that they test him, prove him, and
see whether or not he would grant them great blessings if they would but
enter into the spirit of their consecration and offer unto the Lord the
best of what they possessed.
as spiritual Israelites, may gain a profitable lesson from these sharp
criticisms of natural Israel. How is it with us? We have vowed unto the
Lord the first-fruits, the very best, the very finest, the most valuable
of all that we have and all that we are -- of time, influence, talents,
money, all. To what extent are we rendering unto the Lord our offerings
and sacrifices in harmony with this our covenant? It will not be long
before our trials will be over, but until that little while is past, we
are in the trial time, and it is proving us either worthy or unworthy of
the glorious favor which we seek-the chief blessing, joint-heirship with
our dear Redeemer. If we really appreciate this favor, we shall seek to
what extent there are yet other opportunities of spending and being spent
in his service. Of natural Israel the Lord required a tenth-a tithe. Of
spiritual Israelites he makes no specific requirement, but leaves it to us
each, that by the degree of our sacrifices, according to our abilities,
we may demonstrate the measure of our love.
Lord's words to natural Israel come to us spiritual Israelites with still
greater force: "Prove me now herewith," saith the Lord. If any
feel themselves poor, spiritually, if they feel that they are
spiritually lean, that they are not enjoying such fellowship with the Lord
as they would desire, that they are unable to draw as closely to him as
they would like, to all
Lord says: Bring ye the whole tithe into the storehouse, fulfill your
vow of consecration and thus prove me now herewith, and see if I will not
do my part; I will do for you exceeding abundantly above all that you have
asked or thought. Those who accept the Lord's proposition heartily,
without reservations, find their spiritual leanness departing, their joy
of heart increasing more and more.
I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them;
and after will I send many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of
the holes of the rocks." - Jeremiah 16:16.
recent happenings have focused attention upon the plight of the Jews in
Morocco. First, the death of forty-two Jews who drowned when the
dilapidated yacht Pisces
in a storm on January 10. They were fleeing the oppression of Morocco,
apparently bound for Israel and emigrating illegally according to Moroccan
law. Secondly, the African (or Arab dominated) summit conference held in
Casablanca worsened the already intolerable situation of the Jews in
Morocco. The attendance of Egyptian President Nasser at the conference
was used as a signal for extremists to step up their anti-Jewish
activities. Upon Nasser's insistence, the conference adopted a boycott
resolution against Israel, but soon Jewish businesses in Casablanca,
Morocco were being boycotted too. Reports are now coming out of the
country telling of hundreds of Jews being arrested, imprisoned, beaten
and tortured, old people being jailed and young children kidnapped.
Jewish girls are being seized by Moslem men and forced to marry them.
Thirdly, the death of Morocco's King Mohammed V, a few weeks ago, may
bring about a change in the country's affairs, although whether for better
or worse, so far as Jews are concerned, remains a question.
HISTORY OF RELATIONSHIP
and tension between Moslems and Jews have existed in Morocco to some
degree since the Arabs arrived there in the seventh century. The Jews were
already there, at least in the form of native Berbers converted to the
Judaic religion by scattered Hebrew settlers or adventurers, some of whom
may have come to Morocco with Phoenician traders long before the
destruction of the Temple. The Sephardic reflux from Spain and
Portugal in the fifteenth century represented a new wave of Jewish
settlement, at a high cultural level. Until the French protectorate,
Moroccan Jews had the status of dhimmis
-- alien subjects
of the sultan, with limited but recognized rights.
the larger Moroccan cities their mellahs, half sanctuaries, half ghettos, were huddled in
unhygienic squalor as close as possible to the walls of the sultan's
palace, symbolizing their uneasy though rarely intolerable
relationship with the Moslem majority. Nearly every political or
economic upheaval in Morocco's tormented history brought out Moslem mobs
to loot the mellahsand
sometimes to massacre their inmates -- but in quiet times the two
communities lived side by side without serious friction. In North
Africa, Moslem anti-Semitism, if it can be called that, never had the
virulence of the Christian variety in Europe. It was not racial hatred
but, as one leading French authority on North African Judaism puts it, an
attitude of 'ritual contempt'." So writes Edmond Taylor in The
founding of the State of Israel touched off a kind of mystic stampede
among the poorest Moroccan Jews, especially those in the remote mountain
villages. Approximately 125,000 of them emigrated to Israel, mostly
before 1956, that is, before Morocco gained its independence. The rush
of would-be emigrants overwhelmed the French authorities and Moroccan
Jewish organizations, creating serious social problems. "Whole
communities prepared themselves for imminent departure to the Holy
Land," writes Andre Chouraqui, a French expert on North African
Jewish problems. "Everything was sold -- land, houses, sometimes even
the furniture-to lighten the voyage toward the promised redemption."
departure could not be arranged for thousands of families, owing to red
tape or simply a lack of adequate transportation, and they piled into the
already over-crowded mellahs
larger cities-they had nowhere else to go-where some of them have had to
remain ever since. The memory still lingers of the Oujda massacre of 1948,
when thirty-nine Jews were killed by a Moslem mob stirred up by Pan-Arab
agitators from the Middle East.
WHEN FEAR STRUCK
wave of real panic swept over the raellahs when Morocco became independent in 1956. Vague fears
for the future of Jewry in a Moslem kingdom were reinforced by
widespread-though relatively mild-outbreaks of hostility against
individual Jews. There was a new exodus from the smaller towns and the
countryside, where the Jews felt less secure than in the cities. The
saturated. Jewish social relief organizations had to set up an emergency
refugee camp near Casablanca.
first years of independence the Moroccan government maintained its
opposition to organized emigration, both on economic grounds and for
reasons of prestige.
was no doubt that fear was the main motive impelling most of the Jewish
inmates to leave Morocco. Justified or not, it was spontaneous and
vicious circle of fear and repression became a spiral of tension when
Morocco joined the Arab League in 1958. Not content with blocking
organized emigration, the Moroccan police started withholding passports
from individual Jews suspected of seeking to reach Israel. Then they
began arresting -and sometimes torturing-Jews suspected of conspiracy to
emigrate. In the summer of 1958 a show trial was held in Tangiers of a
group of Jews who had been caught trying to slip over to Gibraltar. Some
of the defendants, who had been held in jail for nearly a year, had been
mistreated to obtain confessions. The alleged ringleaders received
sentences of up to three years.
turn of the screw came in the fall of 1959, when Morocco, in accordance
with Arab League regulations, cut off postal relations with Israel. Many
Moroccan Jews manage to communicate by indirect means with their families
or friends in Israel, but the postal ban disturbs them deeply as a
symptom of a progressive malady in the state. "Eventually they'll
get around to arresting us for conspiracy against the state every time a
Moroccan Jew encloses a message for his old mother in Israel in a letter
to France," a middle-class Moroccan Jew said.
HOW ISRAEL LOOKS UPON IT
Israel the state of affairs of Moroccan Jewry is viewed very seriously. Davar,
organ of the Histadrut, Israel's labor union, demands that Moroccan Jews
be given elementary human rights: "Freedom from fear, freedom from
oppression and freedom to leave their stepmotherland and join their
families in their real motherland."
Israel newspaper Hatzo f e states
that Morocco has become "a concentration camp without exits"
for the Jews.
Golda Meir, Israel's Foreign Minister, has made the following statement:
"We are still overwhelmed by the dreadful disaster in which more than
forty of our brethren-men, women and children-lost their lives when the ship
near the coast of Morocco. We mourn these precious victims, who took their
lives in their hands to escape from slavery into freedom, who yearned
for a haven of safety only to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea.
And so another link has been welded on to the tragic chain of attempts
by Jews to blaze a trail to their homeland.
Government of Morocco bears a heavy responsibility for the disaster. A
regime of persecution brings down frustration and despair upon its Jewish
citizens. Basic civil rights which are granted to every man are
arbitrarily denied to the Jews of Morocco, in contravention of the
solemn undertakings given by that State when it attained independence and
was admitted to the United Nations Organization.
forty-two Jews fell victim in a struggle for their primary and basic
right, the right of departure and immigration. In every civilized
country this right is recognized to be elementary.
the name of the Government of Israel, I wish to express our intense horror
and pain at the tragedy, and our profound sympathy with the grief of the
our exiles in Morocco know that they are not alone in their
the Israel press and public continue to express their indignation at
Morocco's treatment of her Jewish Citizens. The protest movement is
being spearheaded by the representatives of 250,000 North African Jews
living in Israel, who of course feel special concern for the 450,000
Jews still living in the North African countries, about half of them in
Morocco. Condemnation of "world-wide indifference" to the
persecution of the Jewish community of Morocco, and a final appeal to the
Moroccan Government to permit the community to emigrate, were made at a
memorial meeting for the victims of the Pisces
meeting, called by the Association of North African Immigrants, was
attended by Government and other leaders, and representatives of
Moroccan Jews in Israel.
Shragai, Head of the Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency, said
that "everything that could possibly be said to the Moroccan
Government has already been said." He added that the one mistake
Israel Jewry had made was to "put its faith in princes" and
believe in the declarations of Moroccan leaders who had promised that they
would safeguard the interests of the Jewish community after they had
achieved statehood. The Pisces
was a result of this faith.
Asher Hassin, MK (member of Israel's parliament) and Chairman of the
Association of North African Immigrants, suggested that at least part of
the present Moroccan tragedy could have been averted had earlier
opportunities been exploited for the mass evacuation of Moroccan Jewry.
mourning the dead, the leaders in Israel point out their own
shortcomings as a people and nation. The spirit of self-criticism is keen in Israel. This is good, as they will be learning
much by their mistakes.
the years when the Moroccan Jews were able to leave the land of their
birth for the Land of Promise thousands of families were separated. In
many cases children were permitted to go ahead of their parents and get
established in Israel. When the ban on emigration came in force thousands
of these parents were not able to join their children in Israel.
Furthermore, most of the Moroccan Jews who did succeed in immigrating
to Israel were the poor and uneducated. The Moroccan Jews in Israel found
themselves without leadership and family discipline. They have been the
problem group among all the immigrants. Much of course is being done to
integrate them into the life of the country. Inter-marriage has helped. It
is a common thing in Israel for a Jew from Europe to marry a kinsman
hailing from an African or Oriental country. This is a great welding power
in Israel. It goes a long way in breaking down discrimination.
a new ruler on the throne in Morocco there is, of course, the
possibility that emigration restrictions may be eased. Even should this
happen, we doubt that the more prosperous element among the Moroccan Jews
will leave the country. Probably this is because the Jews are quite an
optimistic people, and are inclined to wait hopefully, until it is too
late. (The German Jews were an outstanding example of such misplaced
optimism.) In view of this, we may expect the "many hunters" of
Jeremiah 16:16 to continue their work.
are, however, some Jews settling i n Israel voluntarily, before being
forced to do so. We refer to those from South Africa, where there remain
perhaps 100,000 more "sitting on a powder keg." These,
moreover, have made heavy investments in Israel and are Zionist in
to reports we have received, about sixty Congo Jews have emigrated to
Israel via Rhodesia since the recent violent developments in the Congo.
doors of Israel stand wide open to any Jew who wishes to enter. Such a
newcomer is welcome, whether rich or poor.
African continent in ferment is driving out the Jews. On the other hand
hundreds of Israeli technicians are going to the newly created African
states by invitation to help these nations get on their feet industrially
and otherwise. Strange? Or is it?
your light so shine
before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father
which is in heaven." - Matthew 5:16.
ONE explanation of the
Bible's universal and undying appeal is the abundance of its word
pictures. It abounds in parables, allegories, metaphors, similes, and
other figures of speech. A right division of the word of truth, therefore,
requires a correct interpretation of the pictures and the figurative
language of the Word. Lamps appear in the Bible more frequently as figures
than as literal articles, but we shall look at the lamps themselves before
we turn to what they are used to represent.
There was the
continuously burning seven-branched lampstand of the Wilderness
Tabernacle. There was the dimly burning lamp before the sacred ark in
Shiloh, actual yet symbolic too of the dimly burning zeal of Samuel's
nation at that time. There were the ten lampstands that. lighted the
shrine of Solomon's temple, five on either side. All of these were oil
lamps, probably with wicks.
But torches were also
used. The temple guard carried both lamps and torches into Gethsemane to
arrest our Lord. They were torches that Gideon's three hundred carried in
their pitchers at the rout of the Midianites. A torch was either a length
of resinous wood, or else a piece of absorbent material dipped in oil,
lighted at one end. There were many of these in the third floor room at
Troas from which sleeping Eutychus, overpowered perhaps by the heated air,
as well as-by Paul's long preaching, fell to the ground. These torches
needed to be replenished frequently with oil, so for prolonged burning,
oil had to be carried in a vessel. It was lack of these which marked as "foolish,
five of the virgins in Christ's parable.
Let us consider now
some Scripture references to lamps in a figurative sense.
Job 21:17. "How
oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their
destruction upon them!" (The King James version translators
frequently used the word candle for the original word "lamp,"
probably because candles were the predominant form of illumination in
their day. Candles were not invented until the end of the first century
A.D.) Job spoke of a person living as a lamp shining. When the person
died, the lamp was as it were put out. One could imagine job greeting his
friends with the words, "Long may your lamp burn!"
I Kings 15:4.
"For David's sake did the Lord his God give him a lamp in
Jerusalem." (See also 1 Kings 11:36.) While one of his seed reigned,
David's lamp was said by God to beshining before him in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 62:1, 2.
"For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake
will I not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness,
and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall
see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory." This
"lamp" is a torch, representing something that can be seen from
a great distance. An event is to occur in Jerusalem that will be seen by
all the nations. Jerusalem will become an exemplary city and men will
take notice. May our prayers speed that great day.
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." As
the flash-lamp can show us the way in the dark, so the Bible can show us
the way through life.
"For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light." A
single instruction, from the Lord or from another, can shine a ray of
light upon our pathway.
2 Peter 1:19. (See
Companion Bible.) "We have also a more sure word of prophecy;
whereunto ye do well that ye take heed in your hearts, as unto a
lamp that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star
arise." The prophetic portion of the word is a searchlight shining
down the future way. Let us take heed to it throughout the night till day
breaks and the Morning Star appears.
2 Samuel 22:29.
"For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness.
Throughout the Judean hills David had fled from Saul. By day, by night,
David never knew where next to go for safety; but the Lord had been his
lamp, and had always shown him the next step. May we be able to give a
similar testimony to this of David's, when our period of outlawry comes to
Passing over into the
New Testament we find that our Lord Jesus used lamps to illustrate his
point on several occasions. He spoke of John the Baptist (John 5:35),
"He was a ... shining light: and ye were willing for a season to
rejoice in his, light." This lamp was a man who gave a witness. John
had shone a powerful beam upon the Lamb of God, and those who had heard
John came and heard Jesus gladly. But by the time Jesus said this, they
were conspiring to kill him.
In Luke 11:33-36 Jesus
uttered a double word-picture. He likened the mind to an eye and the eye
to a lamp. "No one takes a lamp and puts it in a cupboard or under a
bucket, but it is put on a lampstand so that those who come in can see the
light. The lamp of your body is your eye. When your eye is sound your
whole body is full of light, but when your eye is evil your whole body is
full of darkness. So be very careful that your light never becomes
darkness. For if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in
shadow, it will all be radiant,
like the light you get from a brightly burning lamp" (Phillips
translation). That sign-seeking generation was blind as to who he was.
Their mental vision was defective. The lamp of their spiritual sight was
not in the right place in the house. Jesus was saying that if they would
only let their minds function properly, they would recognize him, and
every part of their lives would become bright.
LIGHT OF THE WORLD
spoke another parable of the lamp which is not to be confused with the
above. It occurred in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:14-16). "You
are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men
light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light
to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see
your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (R.S.V.).
Here the lamp represents the disciple, each individual follower of the
Master. The city is the Church, shining forth with the combined shining of
all the lamps or disciples that compose it. Because "set on a
hill" it is easily seen and acts as a beacon. The effectiveness of
this illustration would be appreciated by anyone who had traveled at
night in those days. Cheering indeed would be this view of the uplifted
city with its twinkling lights to guide his path.
if we are among those disciples to whom Jesus addressed the sermon, then
each of us is one of the lamps that go to make up the "light of the
world," and to each of us Jesus addresses the word, "Let your
light so shine." And for this he gives two
Firstly, "that men may see your good works." A lamp under a
bushel may be detected but will not be seen, and it may so easily go out
for want of air. It is tragically possible to be Christians in our
prayer-chamber and nowhere else. "The fear of man bringeth a
snare." A lamp is for the use of others. Secondly, the purpose of our
shining is that men may glorify God, not simply that they may see our good
works. All our acts of kindness and self sacrifice must be done in such,
a way that all the credit goes to God alone. From this Scripture it is
clear that our witness, our shining, is to be by both conduct and
preaching. The purest life, without verbal testimony, may be considered
no more than a monument of self-discipline; while the finest testimony,
without a consistent life behind it, will be hollow and hypocritical.
Master described the Baptist as a burning as well as a shining light. In nature there is almost
no shining which is not accompanied by heat; and no light is ever produced
without something being consumed. A Christian who is shining will know the
burning too. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall
suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). It has been truly said,
"There is no such thing as a secret disciple; for either the
discipleship will kill the secrecy, or else the secrecy will kill the
discipleship." So let us keep our lamps on the lampstand, and let
them burn brightly.
Philippians 2:14-16, the apostle Paul follows his Master in a closely
paralleled exhortation. "Do all things without murmurings and
disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God,
without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom
ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life."
Paul shows, as did Jesus, that our shining in the dark world consists of
both our life and our preaching, our deeds and our words. Yet how easily
we slip into grumbling and argument, not only in our contacts with the
world, but also in our
Christian fellowship. Paul's instruction is to abstain from both. It is
not that we should lay aside our critical faculty, but that we should
subdue this to the law of love. Then, with our lives as pure and loving as
lies within our power, we have to hold forth the message of life to
others. All the Word is our message, but God will reveal that part which
is the word of the moment to our hearers. Let us continually pray, with
David, " O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy
praise" (Ps. 51:15). The prayer will be answered, for has not God
given to us the spirit "of power, and of love, and of a sound
mind"? - 2 Timothy 1:7.
LAMPS FOR JESUS
Christ and Paul both liken the believers to lamps shining in a dark world,
let us ask ourselves some questions about this picture. If we are lamps,
how did we get the light? Paul answers: "God, who commanded the light
to shine out of darkness, bath shined in our hearts, to give the light of
the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor.
4:6). And the Psalmist confirms that the fight came from God: "For
thou' didst light up my lamp, Yahweh my God enlightened my darkness"
(Ps. 18:28, Rotherham). Such is the privilege of all who will offer their
hearts to his service, once and for all. These he accepts and within them
places his spirit. Henceforth, as little lamps, they shine forth the light
of his love wherever they go.
God has lighted our lamps, what must we do to keep them alight? Paul again
answers: "Be filled with the spirit" (Eph. 5:18). The lamps of
the Apostle's day were simple things, sometimes just roughly molded cups
of clay. Occasionally covered, they had a spout from which a wick
extended, bearing the flame. They were so crude that one wonders how
they acted as lamps at all. And then one reflects that of course it was
not the lamp that produced the light but the oil that was put into it! And
we can only shine for Jesus as we let him put the oil of the holy spirit
into these crude lamps of clay. "Be filled with the spirit."
is possible for a lamp to grow dim. How does one keep his lamp burning
brightly? Here are five simple rules for trimming the wick. First, even
before prayer, is the need to listen to the voice of God. He speaks
through the written word, and through the voice of conscience. Let us get
quiet and listen to them both. Second, let us make use of the privilege of
prayer, not only at set times, but whenever there is anything to praise or
thank God for, or to petition God about. Thirdly, it is essential that
we confess all our conscious sins to God. The sooner we do this, the
more time we shall spend in fellowship with God, the stronger we shall be
to resist temptation, and the more blessing we shall be to our
fellowmen. Further, the more often we claim the cleansing of Christ's
blood, the deeper will be our appreciation of what he did for us.
Fourthly, we must obey and do that which God dictates. His will becomes
very clear to those who are prepared to carry it out at any cost. Nothing
makes our light flicker and grow dim more quickly than turning to our own
inclinations. Lastly, to keep the lamp bright, let us keep our eyes on
Jesus. He is the Light of the World, and the Church warrants the same
title only as each member shines in the same way as he did.
SEND OUT THY LIGHT
can we pass on the light to others? We read in Matthew 10:8, "Freely ye
have received, freely give." The light we have has come to us
through no effort of our own. It has been revealed to us without measure,
being limited only by our capacity to receive. If kept to ourselves it
will steadily grow less. "There is that scattereth, and yet
increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it
tendeth to poverty." - Prov. 11:24.
light must include within its rays the whole range of divine truth. But,
like the Baptist's, its beam must come to a focus on one Personage, with
one object to lead men to him. Thus we sing:
light includes any help which we can be to our brethren and to the world,
whether physical aid or spiritual instruction. The Good News can be passed
on in so many ways, individually and collectively. In these days perhaps
children are the most receptive, and with them one can have the privilege
of seeing many new little lamps lighted. Who knows how far they may shine.
But in whatever work we do let us watch for the opportunities God gives
us. Then the work will be blessed, it will be God's light that shines out.
of us cannot be "leading lights," but for our encouragement,
records have been left us of those who did what they could, and saw God's
plan advance through their small contribution. In the Old Testament, for
example, we have the Israelitish maid, a slave in a Syrian household. She
could not heal her master's leprosy, but she bore witness to one who
could. The result was Naaman's miraculous healing. In the New Testament
there is an apostle of whom we hear little beyond that he brought others
to the Master. He brought the lad with the loaves and fishes, and five
thousand were fed. He brought his own brother to Jesus, and Peter became
the mouthpiece of the early church. Thank God for Andrew. While we may not
be able directly to help those in need, we each have the inestimable
privilege of introducing them to our Master, the one who can help them in
all their difficulties.
disciples of the Light of the World we have the responsibility to shine
more brightly every day as the world grows darker. Let us resolve to shine
into some new darkness every day, be it darkness of want or sin or error.
Let us shine continually till the day comes when, as overcomers, we shall
shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father.
J. Thompson, Eng.
Brother Thompson is a new contributor to these pages, he is by no means
unknown to our British brethren. Just as we go to press, word reaches us
that our Youth for Truth brethren are sponsoring a trip by him to the
U.S.A. this summer. They are arranging his itinerary, which will include
his ministry at the 12th Annual Berean Christian Conference, July 2-8
(see notice on back page) as well as visits to a number of the ecclesias.
The Berean Christian Conference Committee extend a cordial invitation to
all to attend their Convention. -
Ed. Com. )
J. Thompson, England
will be the sign of Thy
presence, and of the
consummation of the
Age?" - Matt. 24:3,
the April Herald
expressed the belief that the very fact that the disciples asked the
Lord what the sign of his presence would be, indicated a recognition on
their part that it might be possible for them to reach the end of the Age,
and be actually living in the days of his second presence, and not know
it. As corroborating this view we noted that that very condition had
obtained at his first advent. Signs, plain and eloquent enough to those
who had eyes to see and ears to hear, failed altogether of recognition
by the great majority of "his own" to whom he came. - John 1:11.
dear brethren, we urge the utmost consideration of others who may not be
able to reach our conclusions. In his own mind it is, and not in that of
another, that the Apostle urges every man to be fully persuaded. (Rom.
14:5.) No matter how sure we may be that we have the truth on this or on
any other subject, we know not anything yet as we ought to know it. (1
Cor. 8:2.) When we know even as we are known, we shall realize how dim
even our clearest vision here has been. (1 Cor. 13:12.) Meantime let us
think and let think. And as we test the teachings which come to us (1
John 4:1), let us observe carefully the effect which such teachings have
had in the lives of those who introduce them to us.1 Pet. 1:22; Heb.
Since these views depend to some extent on our
understanding of the word "parousia" it will be appropriate at
this juncture, to consider objections which have been urged against its
translation by the word "presence." One brother whose Christian
character and sincerity we do not for a moment question, but with whose
conclusions we can not agree, writes as follows:
"The teaching that our Lord has already cone and is
invisibly present is abased largely upon the understanding that the Greek
word 'parousia' is fully and solely represented by the English word
'presence,' whilst not a few appear to be under the impression that the
Greek word connotes 'unseen presence.' A few remarks concerning this word,
therefore, may not be out of place here. This word occurs 24 times in the
N. T., and is frequently used without any reference to our Lord's return.
Twenty-two times it is translated 'coming' and on two occasions
'presence.' In relation to earthly things the usual meaning of the word is
'arrival', which; we would suggest, is the nearest possible English
equivalent to the Greek."
That the word "parousia" is frequently used
without any reference to our Lord's return is undoubtedly true, as any one
may see for himself by reference to the twenty-four places in the New
Testament in which it appears. Furthermore, the impression, if any hold
it, that the word denotes an "unseen" presence is doubtless
erroneous. Nothing in the word "parousia" indicates whether the
presence of the person or thing under discussion is seen or unseen. That
must be determined by the context in every case. But that the literal
meaning of "parousia" is "presence" no scholar
disputes. In the two instances in which it is thus translated in the
Authorized Version it is evident that the translators realized neither
"coming" nor "arrival" would do. "For his
[Paul's] letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily
presence is weak, and his speech contemptible." (2. Cor. 10:10.) To
say that his bodily "coming" or his 'bodily "arrival"
is weak would not make sense. Yet it is the same Greek word "parousia"
translated "coming" in the other twenty-two places. Again,
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my
presence only, abut now much more in my absence, work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling." (Phil. 2:12.) Manifestly the
Apostle is not contrasting his "coming with his "going" or
his "'arrival" with his "departure," but, as the
translators themselves recognized, his "presence" with his
"absence," and the obedience of the Church not at the moment of
his arrival or departure, but during the period of both his presence and
The translators of the American Revised Version, while
retaining the word "coming". in the text of many passages,
disclose in the margin that the literal meaning of the Greek is
"presence." This is confirmed by the word-for-word translation
of the Diaglott*, although the version given in its margin frequently
* Except in two instances, namely 1 Thess. 3:13 and 4:15
where, for some reason not apparent, "coming" is given.
EXPERIENCE WITH PAROUSIA
Some of our Readers may recall the series of articles on
"Signs of the Master's Presence" which appeared in this Journal
twenty-five years ago. They may remember that in the issue for October
1936 we examined the word parousia and were not a little perplexed
that so able a scholar as Rotherham did not translate it uniformly by the
word presence in the twenty-four places in which it occurs. At that time
"Rotherham, who does not deny, but affirms, the
correctness of "presence" uses "arrival" twenty times
and "presence" only four times. When so learned a scholar as
Rotherham selects "arrival rather than "presence" for his
translation, although admitting "presence" to be the literal
meaning, we are naturally interested in learning his reasons. But when we
ascertain them, they prove singularly unconvincing. In an elaborate
footnote to 1 Thess. 2:19 he labors (unsuccessfully, we think) to
vindicate his position. We quote: "The sense of 'presence' is so
plainly shown by the contrast with 'absence', implied in 2 Cor. 10:10, and
expressed in Phil. 2:12, that the question may be asked, why not always so
render it?" (Yes, Brother Rotherham, we do ask this very question).
"The answer is," he continues, "because parousia, in some
cases, plainly marks an event rather than a condition, a transitional
point, rather than a continuous line. Take for example 1 Cor. 15:23. Here
are three points first, Christ's resurrection; second, His parousia;
third, His delivering up of the Kingdom, etc. The parousia will not fall
into series, will not file off a 'rank' in the resurrection, except as a
point. Hence, for this place, 'presence', a state, is not the word;
'coming' or 'arrival' may be."
"But what if it should appear that in 1 Cor. 15:23
the resurrection, the parousia, and the delivering up of the Kingdom are
not three points, three events, but are three states, three periods of
time? In that case this argument of Rotherham's would fall to the ground,
and he himself would then, presumably, always translate 'parousia' by
October, 1936 had gone to press we learned that the second edition of
Rotherham's New Testament, which was the one in our library, had been
followed some years later, by a third edition,* in which parousia
consistently translated presence.
the following, from the Appendix of his third edition, given in his own
words, under the caption, "Presence."
valuable third edition was reprinted in 1959, and is supplied by our
Institute at $12.95 postpaid.
this edition the word parousia is uniformly rendered presence (coming as a representative of this
being set aside). The original term occurs twenty-four times in the New
Testament. The sense of presence is so plainly shown by the contrast
with absence (implied in 2 Cor. 10:10, and expressed in Phil. 2:12) that
the question naturally arises, Why not always so render it? The more so,
inasmuch as there is in 2 Pet. 1:16 also, a peculiar fitness in our
English word presence. This passage, it will be remembered, relates to
our Lord's transformation upon the Mount. The wonderful manifestation
there made was a display and sample of presence rather than of coming.
The Lord was already there; and, being there, he was transformed and the
majesty of his glorified person was then disclosed. His bodily presence
was one which implied and exerted power; so that power and presence go
excellently well together-the power befitting such a presence; and the
three favored disciples were at one and the same moment witnesses of
both. The difficulty expressed in the notes to the second edition of
this New Testament in the way of so yielding to this weight of evidence as
to render parousia
by presence, lay in the seeming incongruity of regarding presence as an
event which would happen at a particular time and which would fall into
rank as one of a series of events, as 1 Cor. 15:23 especially appeared
to require. The translator still feels the force of this objection,
but is withdrawn from taking his stand upon it any longer by the
reflection that, after all, the difficulty may be imaginary. The parousia
case, is still in the future, and may therefore be enshrouded in a measure
of obscurity which only
can clear away: it
fine, be both a period
-- more or
during which certain things shall happen -- and an event, coming on and passing away as one of a series
of divine interpositions. Christ is raised as a first-fruit -- that is one
event; he returns and vouchsafes his presence, during which he raises his
own -- that is another event, however large and prolonged; and finally
comes another cluster of events constituting the end. Hence, after all,
presence may be the most widely and permanently satisfying translation of
the looked-for parousia
Son of Man."
OUR LORD'S PAROUSIA OCCUPIES PERIOD OF TIME
scholars of note have written in a similar vein. Amongst those we have
consulted may be mentioned G. H. Pember, The Great Prophecies (1881);
J. A. Beet, The
Last Things (1898);
George Milligan, St. Paul's
Epistles to the Thessalonians (1908); and J. A. Seiss, The
From the last named we submit the following extracts:
is now clear to the writer, that what the Scriptures call the Coming of
Christ, at the end of this Age, is not a single, but a complex event,
stretching through various periods and administrations, each being
sometimes referred to as the Coming, though in reality only a part, stage,
or section of it. In this respect, the Second Advent is a counterpart
of the First, and presents the same characteristic distributiveness. If
any one will be at the pains to examine, it will be found that the
prophecies which foretold Christ's first coming can, by no possibility, be
all referred to one precise day, hour, year, scene, or event, but spread
themselves over a period of more than thirty years. Christ came
was born at Bethlehem; he came
called out of Egypt; he came when
John presented him to the people as the Messiah; he came
announced himself at Nazareth; he came
Jerusalem on the ass; he came when he reappeared after his death. And yet
there were not a half dozen advents, but one advent. All these separate
presentations, at different dates and places, are comprehended under what
the Prophets, and we still, denote, both separate and together, by the
general and comprehensive expression of his coming, or First Advent. Thus,
Micah had said that he should 'come' out of Bethlehem-Ephratah; and Hosea
had said that he should come 'out of Egypt'; Malachi had said that he
should 'suddenly come to his temple'; Zechariah had said that he should
come to Zion 'riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass';
Isaiah had said that he would come 'in the land of Zebulun, and the land
of Naphtali,' as 'a great light'; while other Prophets had said that he
would come out of Nazareth. Each of these predictions had its literal
fulfillment, and each fulfillment was his Coming; but they were after all
so many different scenes, stages, or manifestations in the one Coming,
which is called the first, in contradistinction to the second. In other
words, the Advent was complex, consisting of many diverse facts and
presentations, in different localities, and successively running through
the course of thirty-three years. These several prophecies could not
possibly be fulfilled, except by the intervention of time to give the
place for them. And, as a matter of fact, a succession of years was
covered in the fulfillment.
then, is the key by which to explain and reconcile the equally numerous
and diverse predictions concerning the Second Coming. It is not a singular
and simple thing, all accomplished in the same moment of time, or in one
isolated event or scene; but it is a succession and variety of scenes,
events, and manifestations, each of which is called the Coming, but all of
which together make up the complex of the one Second Advent.
any will look up the various passages which describe the Second
Advent, it will be seen that no man can do justice to the language of
inspiration, and yet construe them all with reference to one and the
same thing, occurring in one and the same point of time. In the nature of
things, Christ cannot come 'as a thief in the night,' and at the same time
be openly displayed in the clouds of heaven with 'every eye' gazing upon
him. It is impossible that his coming for his saints -- the gathering
of them up from their graves, avocations, fields, and beds (1 Cor. 15:22,
23, 51, 52; 1 Thess. 4:1517; Luke 17:34-37) should be identical in time
and character with his coming 'with his saints' (Jude 14, 15; Zech. 14:4,
5; Rev. 19:11-14). It is simply out of the question, that the precise
coming spoken of in the Apocalyptic Epistles to the Seven Churches, or
that referred to in Rev. 16:15, should be the same with that portrayed in
Rev. 19:11-16. The Scriptures also distinguish between a simple
parousia or presence, and the epiphaneia, or appearing. 'Where there is an
epiphaneia, there is, of course, a presence, but a manifest, apparent,
discernible presence; whilst parousia denotes simply presence, without
the implication of manifestation or visibility. Epiphaneia is used six
times in the New Testament, and is in five instances rendered appearing,
and in the other instance brightness, in the sense of manifestation;
parousia is used about fifteen times, and is uniformly translated coming,
in the general sense of presence, or personal and local nearness,
whether openly and visibly or not. In 2 Thess. 2:8, both words are used
together in reference to the final overthrow or annihilation of the
great anti-Christian confederation, which is said to be by the
epiphaneia of his parousia; that is, by the appearing of his presence;
which involves the implication that the presence, 'coming,' is not
manifested or discernible until then, thus showing that the Advent
involves different phases, stages and times."
those who have not recently done so, we suggest a revew of the twenty-four
places in which parousia occurs in the New Testament. The references are
given as a footnote to page 159 of Scripture Studies, Volume II, and are
therefore omitted here. Such a review we have made ourselves, and find
that Brother Russell's position is sustained; parousia is never has the
thought of coming, or being on the way but always, in the New Testament,
has the sense of presence, and the context need never be understood as out
of harmony with this sense. However, on this, as on all matters, we
exhort: "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
(Rom. 14:5.) "Let brotherly love continue." ' (Heb. 13: 1.)
And even if we think a brother holding a different view from ours is
incompetent to teach us on this particular subject (he may not be
incompetent, but even supposing he is) let us not hastily conclude that he
is, therefore, incompetent to teach us anything. He may have rich stores
of knowledge and wisdom on other lines of Christian doctrine and
experience in which we ourselves may sadly lack, and of which it would be
foolish, to say the least, :For us to say we have no need. - 1 Cor. 12:21.
in next issue)
-P. L. Read.
announced in our April issue, the Annual Meeting of the Pastoral Bible
Institute, Inc., is scheduled to be held on Saturday, June 3, at 2:00 p.m.
in the auditorium of the Berean Bible Students Church, 5930 West 28th
Street, Cicero 50, Illinois.
only members of the Institute may vote (in person or by proxy), all those
who love our Lord Jesus and his appearing are welcome to attend.
Agenda will include a report by the Chairman, reviewing the activities of
the Institute for the preceding period.
his report, the election of directors for the coming year will take place.
Opportunity will also be given for the consideration of such other
matters as may properly come before the meeting.
seven brethren now serving as directors are candidates for reelection.
Brothers Frank R. Heitland (St. Louis, Mo.), Casimir Lanowick (Paradise,
Calif.), Mitchell Rutkowski (Chicago, Ill.), William Urban (Westchester,
Ill.), and Edward Zielinski (Agawam, Mass.) have also been nominated.
question appears in one of the oldest books of the Bible, the Book of Job,
(14:14), and today it has lost none of its interest to the intelligent
being true, why is it so rarely considered in the pulpits of
Christendom? Why should there be comparative silence on so important a
would happen if every church would set aside one Sunday a year to deliver
a message on the most vital of all questions: "If a Man Die Shall He
Live Again?" What a shock might result, what consternation be
caused in some minds, what searching for the answer on the part of many!
those seeking the Bible answer, a booklet having this title has just been
published. For a free copy, write to Pastoral Bible Institute, Inc., P. O.
Box 3252, Chouteau Station, St. Louis 10, Mo.
AS DISCIPLES of Christ whose lives are
pledged to His service and who desire above all else to learn and do His
Will, there must often come to our minds a realization that the whole life
and outlook of our fellowship is changing. It is not just that the forms
of words which express our articles of faith are remoulded and expressed
anew; not just that in many matters of doctrinal belief there are doubts
expressed and objections raised. These things have always been a feature
of our assembling together and always must be while free and healthy
research into the Fountain of all Truth continues. Besides all this there
is the indisputable fact that various features of "Present
Truth" have permeated the structure of present-day Christian thought,
and that this has borne fruitage in the shape of many separate schools,
each holding to some peculiarity of belief or expectation, yet withal
manifesting a very definite appreciation, first of the basic truth that
God will in due time bless all
the families of the earth, and secondly, of the dispensational features of
the Divine Plan. Whereas fifty years ago that understanding of the
"two salvations" and the "Ransom for all" which then
came to light was confined virtually to one movement directed by one
master mind, the assiduous witnessing to these, "Harvest Truths"
which was carried on for forty years has borne fruit in a hundred ways,
and today one may find a number of movements and proclamations, all
outside the scope of "Present Truth" as we know it, and yet
manifesting very plainly that in conjunction with much that would be
considered undesirable relics of Dark Age theology there is combined a
clear appreciation of some aspects of Truth which we ourselves consider to
be of prime importance at this time.
What is the right attitude to adopt
towards this development? Is it right to follow the example of those
disciples who "forbade them, because they followed not with us."
Or should we acclaim the truths we find expressed in such movements,
ignoring the error, and join with them in their work? These questions are
not idle ones, for in many places our brethren find that with perhaps
the breakdown of their local group, the opportunity of worship and
fellowship with adherents of some such enterprise offers a satisfaction to
the heart that yearns for Christian fellowship and the joy of association
in a common purpose, and to an increasing degree the lines of demarcation
between ourselves and movements of this nature are breaking down. How then
are we to answer the question?
Not by ruling out of the purposes of
God those whose studies in His Word have led them to other conclusions
than our own, for that implies the denial of the very principles for which
we should stand. And most decidedly not by concluding that in professing
the name and service of Christ it matters not in what organization we
serve Him nor what is the precise character of the message we proclaim.
For whatever developments the future may hold, and by whatever means the
divine revelation may come to man, tomorrow, it still remains true that
the knowledge of God's Plan which is our inheritance carries with it a
responsibility which can not be ignored if we would continue to bear the
honorable title of ambassadors for Christ.
There lies the answer to our question.
As a company of Christians we have a clear outline of the Divine Plan and
the fundamentals of Christian teaching which it is our duty to keep alive
in our midst. Without impugning the sincerity or the sterling character of
many whose lives are devoted to other movements it still remains true
that, unless we are grievously mistaken, that which is called
"Present Truth" is far in advance of present-day thought among
Christians generally. If that is so, then we are in the position of
Watchers in Zion, and our place is on the watchtower looking for further
signs of the day of "He that shall come.", Let those in the city
go about their business and serve as seems good to them. Those who are the
"Lord's remembrancers" (Isa.
62:6 margin) have a higher calling and a sterner duty to perform.
Let us then continue as a separated people, not in the spirit of the man
who thanked God that he was not as other men but in an attitude of sober
realization that in this great day, we who have received the grace of God
in revelation of His Plan are called to be like John the Baptist; a voice
crying, in the wilderness to be sure, but crying nevertheless in the
certainty of imminent fulfillment -- "The Kingdom of Heaven is at
-- Bible Students Monthly. London. Eng.
ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever
therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." - James 4:4.
Question Box discussion was first requested for publication in the Youth
for Truth bulletin, where it appeared in the issue for April-May, 1960.
A number of our young people expressed the hope that it might be given
wider circulation, hence its reprinting here -- slightly amplified.
we to assume from this scripture that if we want to be friends of God we
must be enemies of the world? How far does being enemies of the world
extend? Does this scripture mean that if we do participate in worldly
activities we are enemies of God?
used in the scriptures, the word world (kosmos, Strong SG2889), has more than one meaning. In John
3:16 we read that God loved the world, while in 1 John 2:15 we are warned
not to love the world. The world which the Father loves is the race of
mankind; the world which we are not to love is the one which would
alienate our affections from God. This word world is used twice in James
4:4, and in both instances has reference to the world we should not love.
we to assume from James 4:4 that if we want to be friends of God, we must
be enemies of the world? To my understanding that would be a correct
assumption. The world, in this verse, is one of the three enemies (the
world, the flesh and the devil) which are ever seeking to destroy the
Christian's spiritual life-enemies against which he must maintain a
continual warfare, fighting the good fight of faith.
far does being enemies of the world extend? It extends into every avenue
of life, and does so as long as life shall last.
this scripture mean that if we participate in worldly activities, we are
enemies of God? The answer here depends on what the questioner has in
mind. It depends on the activity, on the individual concerned, on the
time, the place, the occasion.
worldly activities are unmistakably evil. Participation in them would
make us enemies of God. However, many worldly activities are not evil;
may, in fact, be good. Others, neither good nor evil in themselves,
become either good or evil, by the uses to which they are put. For
example, garden clubs, sewing circles, dramatics, baseball, football,
chess, checkers, gymnastics, swimming, etc., etc. There is nothing wrong
with radio or television; some programs are enlightening, elevating;
others, disgusting. Even when the Apostle Paul, on one occasion,
exhorted the church not to company with fornicators (1 Cor. 5:9), he
found it necessary to qualify his counsel, for to comply with it
literally, one would need to "go out of this world."-Verse 10.
Christ came he did not attempt to supplement the laws
by God through Moses. Instead he enunciated, and exemplified, golden principles.
power of his holy spirit, poured out upon them at Pentecost, each of his
disciples was to apply these principles to his own individual
circumstances and conditions, and
to let the other brethren do the same. Of
course they should abstain from every form of evil-from evil in its every form. If possible, they
should abstain from every appearance of it, too. But since, to them that are defiled and
unbelieving, nothing is pure (Titus 1:15), they would find this an
impossible task. Each might make rules for his own conduct, if it seemed
desirable or necessary. But no one should attempt to apply his rules to
the conduct of others. "To his own master he standeth or falleth."
"Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he
alloweth."-Rom. 14:4, 22.