of Christ's Kingdom
LI. September/October 1968 No. 5
Table of Contents
Notes on Immortality
Notice of Annual Meeting
A Glimpse of God's Plan
Declaration of the Establishment of the State of
The Question Box
Entered Into Rest
Is Man? What Is the Soul?
What Is the Hope of the Church?
What Is the Hope of Mankind?
years ago, at the request of the president of one of our Middle-West
colleges, the following "Notes on Immortality" were submitted to
him by the writer. They are presented here with the thought that they may
be of some interest to our readers, particularly to the several hundred
new subscribers to our Journal, whom it has recently been our privilege to
welcome. (Readers acquainted with the six volumes of Scriptures Studies
the large debt these notes owe to those volumes, especially Vols. I and
will be found convenient to consider the matter under nine main headings,
which may first be stated, and then discussed, in the following order:
The Terms Mortality and Immortality Examined
2. The Terms Immortality and Everlasting Life Distinguished
3. What Is Man?
4. What Is the Soul?
5. The Church Distinguished From the Remainder of Mankind
7. The Hope of the Church
8. The World's Hope
(1) THE TERMS "MORTALITY"
AND "IMMORTALITY" EXAMINED
a state or condition in which death is an impossibility. Most people limit the word to mean everlasting
life. Immortality, however, means inherent life, a condition in which
death could not occur. This point will be more fully developed later in
the word mortality, however, more often than not, an entirely false
meaning is assigned. The common idea is that it signifies a condition in
which death is unavoidable. This understanding is erroneous. The
word signifies a state in which death is a possibility,
no means a certainty.
these points recognized we are prepared to consider the creation of Adam.
Adam was created mortal; created in a condition in which death was
a possibility or everlasting life was a possibility; according as he
pleased or displeased his wise, just, and loving Creator. Had he remained
obedient, he would have continued living until now -- and forever -- and
yet all the time he would have remained mortal, liable to death if
disobedient. Nor would such a condition be one of uncertainty; for God,
with whom he had to do, is unchangeable; hence Adam would have had full
assurance of everlasting life so long as he continued loyal and obedient
to the Creator. More than this could not reasonably be asked.
to his disobedience Adam enjoyed life in full measure, but not inherent
life -- not immortality. His was a life sustained by
tree of the garden" save the one tree forbidden; and so long as he
continued in obedience and in harmony with his Maker, his life was secure
- the sustaining elements would not be denied. Thus seen, Adam had life;
and death was entirely avoidable; yet he was in such a condition
that death was possible --
he was mortal.
AND "EVERLASTING LIFE" DISTINGUISHED
immortality are not synonymous terms, although such a view is
commonly held. The word immortal means more than power to live
everlastingly; and, according to the scriptures, while millions may
ultimately enjoy everlasting life, only a very few will be made possessors
of immortality -- sharers of the divine nature.
quality of immortality originally inhered in Jehovah alone, as
it is written:
"the Father hath life in himself (John 5:26); that is to say,
his existence is not a derived one, nor a sustained one. Any being whose
existence depends in any manner upon another, or upon conditions such as
food, air, light, etc., is not immortal.
any who suppose that the Bible abounds with such expressions as
soul, undying soul, never-dying soul, etc., no better advice could be
offered than that they take a Bible concordance and look for these words
and others of similar import. They will find none.
to the scriptures the holy angels are enjoying life-everlasting, but are
nevertheless only mortal; that is to say, the everlastingness of their angelic existence is not because they are immortal
(or death-proof) and so could not be destroyed by their Creator; but
because he desires that they shall live as long as they will use their
lives in accord with his just and loving arrangements. Not only are they
not now immortal, but there is no intimation that they ever will be. Proof
that they are mortal may be seen from the fact that Satan, who was once a
chief of their number, is to be destroyed (Heb. 2:14). The fact that he
can be destroyed proves that angels, as a class of beings, are mortal.
answer to this question, if given from the so-called orthodox theological
standpoint would be about as follows: Man is a composite being of three
parts, body, spirit, and soul. The body is born after the usual manner of
animal birth, except that at the time of birth God interposes, and in some
inscrutable manner implants in the body a spirit and a soul which are
parts of himself, and which, being parts of God, are indestructible, and
therefore can never die. These two parts, spirit and soul, orthodoxy is
unable to distinguish, and hence uses the terms interchangeably at
terms (spirit and soul) are understood to mean the real man, while
the flesh is considered to be merely the outward clothing of the real
man, in which he dwells for the years of his earthly life, as in a house.
At death, orthodoxy says, the real man is let out of this prisonhouse of
flesh, and finds himself in a condition much more congenial.
other words, orthodoxy claims that the real man is not an earthly being,
but a spirit being wholly unadapted to the earth, except through its
experiences in the fleshly body. When set free from the body by death, it
is argued that a great blessing has been experienced, although the man,
while he lived, made every effort to continue to live in the fleshly
house, using surgery, medicines, and every hygienic appliance and invention
to prolong the life in the flesh which, it is claimed, is poorly adapted
to his uses and enjoyment.
is this view confined to people of civilized lands; in a general way all
heathen people have practically the same thought respecting man; the
viewpoint finds support in all their philosophies.
the question, What is man? the scientific answer, stated in simple language,
would be: Man is an animal of the highest type yet developed and known. He
has a body which differs from the bodies of other animals, in that it is
the highest and noblest development. His brain structure corresponds to
that of the lower animals, but is of a better developed and more refined
order, with added and larger capacities, which constitute man by nature
the lord, the king of the lower creation. Man's breath or spirit of life
is like that of other animals. Man's organism and spark of life are from
his progenitors, in the same manner that the beasts receive their life and
bodies from their progenitors.
recognizes every man as a sentient being; but as to the future, beyond
the grave, science has no suggestion to offer, finding nothing whereon to
base a conclusion, or even a reasonable hypothesis.
we return to the Bible for an answer to our question we find that the
scriptures, while agreeing with both the orthodox and the scientific
viewpoints in some respects, contradict both along some of their most
Solomon, it is well known, was famous for his wisdom and learning. When to
him it was suggested that, whereas the life of the lower orders of
creation ceased at death, that of human beings continued on the other side
of the grave, his comment was: "Who can prove it?" While he knew
that human beings were endowed with moral attributes not possessed by
the lower animals, yet, so far as the kind of life they possessed,
his observation was: "That which befalleth the sons of men befalleth
beasts; even one [the same] thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so
dieth the other; yea, they have all one [kind of] breath; so that a man
[in this respect] hath no preeminence above a beast . . . all are of the
dust, and all turn to dust again" (Eccles. 3:19-20).
was this conclusion which Solomon reached different from that of other
scripture writers. The thought which he expressed in another place,
namely, that "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor
wisdom, in the grave" (Ecc. 9:10), is their united testimony. David,
in the Psalms, declares that in the very day one dies, his thoughts perish
(Ps. 146:4). Job, discussing the same question, says: The dead man's
"sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; they come to dishonor,
but he perceiveth it not of them" (Job 14:21).
IS THE SOUL?
then, is the soul? The Bible account of the creation of man reads as
follows: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and
breathed [or blew] into his nostrils the breath [or wind] of life; and man
became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). From this account it appears that
the body was formed first, but it was not a man, it was not a soul or
being until animated. It had eyes, but saw nothing; a mouth, but no taste;
nostrils, but no sense of smell; a heart, but it pulsated not; blood, but
it was cold, lifeless; lungs, but they moved not. It was not a man, but an
second step in the process of man's creation was to give vitality to the
properly formed, and in every way prepared body, and this is described
by the words: "blew into his nostrils the breath of life." As
the vitalizing breath entered, the lungs expanded, the blood corpuscles
were oxygenized and passed to the heart, which organ in turn propelled
them to every part
of the body, awakening all the prepared, but hitherto dormant, nerves to
sensation and energy. In an instant the energy reached the brain, and
thinking, perceiving, reasoning, looking, touching, smelling, feeling, and
tasting commenced. That which was a lifeless human organism had become a
man, a sentient being; the "living soul" condition mentioned in
Genesis 2:7 had been reached.
has been illustrated by the candle. For instance, the candle, unlighted,
would correspond to an inanimate human body; the lighting of the candle
would correspond to the spark of life originally implanted by the Creator;
the flame, or light, corresponds to the sentient being, or intelligence;
the oxygenized atmosphere which unites with the carbon of the candle in
supporting the flame corresponds to the breath of life or spirit of life
which unites with the physical organism in producing soul or intelligent
an accident should destroy the candle, the flame, of course, would cease; so,
human body be destroyed, the soul, the life, the intelligence, ceases; or,
if the supply of air were cut off from the candle flame, as by an
extinguisher or snuffer, or by submerging the candle in water, the light
would be extinguished, even though the candle remained unimpaired; so
the soul, the life or existence of man would cease if the breath of life
were cut off by drowning, or asphyxiation, while the body might be
the lighted candle might be used under favorable conditions to light other
candles, but the flame, once extinguished could neither relight itself nor
other candles, so the human body, while alive, as a living soul or being,
can start or propagate other souls or beings -- offspring; but so soon as
the spark of life is gone, soul or being has ceased, and all power to
think, feel, or propagate, has ceased.
candle might be relighted by any one having the ability; but the human
body, bereft of the spark of life, wasteth away, returneth to the dust
from which it was taken, and the spark of life cannot be rekindled except
by a miracle.
FROM THE REMAINDER OF MANKIND
fruitful source of confusion in the minds of Christian people, when attempting
to obtain the scriptural views as to the nature of man, is their failure
to distinguish between mankind in general and the church, the little
flock, which during the Gospel Age (the past 2,000 years) God has been
selecting from amongst men, fitting and preparing them for new and
superhuman conditions -- spiritual conditions. Failing to "rightly
divide the word of truth," they apply to all men the statements and
promises of the scriptures, especially of the New Testament, which are
addressed only to the church, and which have no bearing whatever upon the
hopes of restitution to human
held out to all others of mankind. These great and precious promises are
proportionately as untrue of the world as they are true of the church.
are literally scores of New Testament statements which are not applicable
to mankind in general, but only to the church, begotten again by the holy
spirit to a new spirit nature. To realize this it is only necessary to
notice carefully the salutations by which the apostles introduce their
various epistles. They are not addressed, as is supposed by many, to
mankind in general, but to the church, "the saints," "the
household of faith"; to those who will attain
unto the "first resurrection" as distinguished from the
general resurrection which is to follow theirs.
tell us that
immortality is the correct translation of only one Greek word, the word athanasia
It appears only three times in the New Testament, as follows:
mortal must put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:53);
"When this mortal shall have put on immortality" (1 Cor.
"Who only hath immortality" (1 Tim. 6:16).
the first two of these scriptures relate to the individual members of the glorified
and the third to our glorified
Jesus (the Father here, as elsewhere in the scriptures, being excepted
from comparison; see 1 Cor. 15:27).
HOPE OF THE CHURCH
the church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him as he is,"
be made "partaker of the divine
(immortality), and share his glory as his joint-heir (1 John 3:2; John
17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4).
the church is the perfecting of its members for their future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to
be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be kings and priests in
the next age (Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6).
hope for the world lies in the
blessings of knowledge and opportunity to be brought to all by Christ's
Millennial Kingdom--the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all
the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified
church - when all the willfully wicked will be destroyed (Acts 3:19-23;
sum up then: The proper recognition of the meaning of the terms mortal and
immortal, and their use in the scriptures, destroys the very foundation of
the doctrine of eternal torment. That doctrine is based upon the
unscriptural theory that God created man immortal, that he cannot cease to
exist, and that God cannot destroy him; hence. the argument is that the
incorrigible must live on somewhere, somehow, and the conclusion is that
since they are out of harmony with God their eternity must be one of
misery. But God's Word assures us that he has provided against such a
perpetuation of sin and sinners; that man is mortal, and that the full
penalty of willful sin against full light and knowledge will not be a life
in torment, but a second death. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."
incorrigible sinners have been destroyed (not continued alive in any sense
of the word, anywhere, but destroyed, Ps. 145:20), both immortal and
mortal beings will live forever in joy and happiness and love; the first
class possessing a nature incapable of death, having inherent life--life
in themselves (John 5:26); and the latter having a nature susceptible to
death, yet, because of perfection of being, and knowledge of the evil and
sinfulness of sin, giving no cause for death. They, being approved by
God's law, will be everlastingly supplied with those elements necessary to
sustain them in perfection, and will never die.
announced in our May-June and July-August issues, the Annual Meeting of
the Pastoral Bible Institute, Inc., is scheduled to be held on
a.m., in the
Central Y.M.C.A., 1315
Avenue, Atlantic City, New Jersey.
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
Institute for the preceding period. Following his report, the election
of directors for the coming year will take place. Opportunity will also be
given for the consideration of such
matters as may properly come before the meeting.
seven brethren now serving as directors are candidates for reelection.
Brothers Laurence lannaccone, Wilbur Twelker, Jr., and J. B. Webster have
also been nominated.
to the eternal purpose which he [God] purposed
in Christ Jesus our Lord." -
Bible was given for man's benefit; therefore the Bible account of
creation has to do with man and the place of man's habitation, the earth.
The first words of the Bible tell us that "In
beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The "heavens" here mentioned is that great
expanse in which God placed the sun, moon, and stars. The earth is the
place of man's habitation. Before creating man, God created the birds,
fish, cattle, and beasts of the field. Then he created man in his own
image. He created them male and female and gave them power to bring forth
account of man's creation is given in the second chapter of Genesis. There
we read, "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living
soul" (Gen. 2:7). Notice that God did not give man a soul.
He made man's body out of the elements of the earth, and animated that
body with the breath of life, in order that man might be a living being,
to enjoy the blessings of life in that beautiful Eden home where God had
placed him. Man was not given a soul, separate and distinct from himself,
but when he was created he "became a living soul." In other words, no man has a
soul, but every man is a
soul. God designates the various animals as "souls." (See Gen.
1:20 margin and Num. 31:28.) Every living creature is a "soul."
then gave man a law to govern his life. The keeping of God's law meant the
continuance of life and the blessings of Eden. Disobedience meant death
and the loss of all the blessings man enjoyed (Gen. 2:16, 17). God had
previously created the angelic hosts. These are his heavenly sons, who
shouted for joy when he began his work in connection with man by laying
the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4, 7). They would watch the work in
progress and when the highest earthly creatures, perfect man and woman,
were created in the image of God, there would be great joy in heaven. All
God's creation being perfect (Deut. 32:4), there would be nothing then to
mar the happiness of every creature in heaven and earth.
THE BEGINNING OF SIN
the time of creation there was perfect peace and harmony amongst all
creatures in heaven and earth. Not a stain of sin, nor mark of evil,
marred the happiness of the sons of God, angelic or human.
of the brightest and most beautiful of the angelic hosts was Lucifer. Like
all of God's creatures, he was perfect from the day that he was created,
but iniquity began to creep into him (Ezek. 28:15). He was "lifted up
because of his beauty" (Ezek. 28:17). He became proud and selfishly
ambitious, seeking to live like Jehovah himself (Isa. 14:12-14). By this
we could understand that he sought the worship of man, which rightly
belongs only to God. Thus he became rebellious against God, and planned
how he might divert man's worship to himself. From that time Lucifer
became "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan" (Rev.
deception Lucifer induced Eve to break God's command, by eating the fruit
of the forbidden tree and passing it on to her husband. Knowing this was
against the command of God, he ate also, and God's law was broken in a
simple act of disobedience (Gen. 3:1-6; 1 Tim. 2:14). Under the test, man
had failed, and the justice of God must now bring the penalty upon him.
They were turned out of Eden into a condition which was far from being
perfect, there to gain their food by sweat of face, until they should
return to the dust (Gen. 3:17-19). This is what Adam did for nine
hundred and thirty years before he died (returned to the dust). Thus the
wages of Adam's sin was his death, by gradual process lasting nine hundred
and thirty years. Dying, he surely died, according to the command (Gen.
children were born after he was turned out of Eden and while he was in
imperfect condition, hence they were born imperfect, inheriting sin and
imperfection from their father. This imperfection has passed to all of
Adam's posterity; therefore all die (Rom. 5:12; 6:23).
it noted that the wages of sin is death, and not eternal torment.
God does not eternally torment any; such a thing is contrary to his
nature,- and never entered his mind (Jer. 19:5). Sin began in Lucifer by
his rebellion. Sin entered the world of mankind by Adam's disobedience,
and has passed upon all his children. Because of this all die. But God has
made a loving provision for every man through the death of his only
begotten Son. All who die in Adam will in due time have a full, fair
opportunity to gain life for ever in perfect happiness, free from death
and all it implies -- aches, pains, sickness, infirmity, and the ills
which man is now experiencing (John 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22; 1 Tim. 2:4-6).
THE PROMISE OF DELIVERANCE
a considerable lapse of time from the creation and fall of man God called
Abraham and promised him that in his offspring all mankind should be
blessed (Gen. 12:13; Gen. 22:15-18). God had previously stated that the
offspring of the woman should bruise the head of "that old serpent
the devil." This was when the first man and woman were about to be
turned out of Eden, with the curse of death upon them (Gen. 3:15). This
statement was God's promise of a coming deliverance for man from the power
of the Devil. It meant that a deliverer should come from the offspring
of the woman, who would destroy the Devil and bring blessing to man. The
promise made to Abraham showed that the long-looked-for Deliverer was to
be of Abraham's children. Perhaps Abraham thought his son Isaac would be
the one; but not so. Isaac and his son Jacob were greatly blessed by God,
but they did not fulfill the promise. Neither became the blesser or
Deliverer of mankind.
Jacob's death his twelve sons and their families, known as the Children of Israel
(Jacob's name was changed to Israel), became a special people to God above
all others (Ex. 19:5). They were the descendants of Abraham, and so long
as obedient to their God, received many favors, but did not, as a
people, become the great Deliverer of the world of mankind, as they may
have hoped. Moses, their leader and lawgiver, prophesied that the great
Deliverer should be one of their brethren (Deut. 18:15). Many great men
arose in Israel after Moses, such as Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, and
others, but none of these proved to be the Deliverer.
time to time the prophets of Israel kept the hopes of the faithful alive,
that God would send a mighty One who would fulfill the promise made to
Abraham. In time this promise was limited to the house of David; the
statement being that God would set David's children upon his throne for
ever (Psa. 132:11, 12). This would give the thought that the coming Deliverer
would be a great King, one who would sit upon David's throne -- the throne
of the Lord (1 Chron. 28:23). The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied concerning
the Deliverer, the great Messiah, that he would be a
(offspring) of David, and that as a king he would reign and prosper, and
execute justice and judgment in the earth (Jer. 23:5, 6). Thus the
faithful in Israel would be looking for their long promised Messiah as a
great Prophet and a great King.
the great Deliverer came, the faithful recognized him, but the majority
rejected him even though all were in expectation of him (Luke 3:15). The
great Deliverer, the seed of Abraham, is Christ (Gal. 3:16).
THE BIRTH OF JESUS
promise made to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3), and often repeated to
others, would thoroughly impress upon all true Israelites that at some
future time there would be born of a woman of the Jewish people a holy
child, who would in some way (which they could not then understand) become
a great King and bring blessing to all peoples of the earth.
such as those of the Prophet Isaiah given to us in chapter 9, verses 6 and
7, would lead them to this expectation. The words of the Prophet are "Unto
us a child is born, unto us a
given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The
everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. of the increase of his government
and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,
to order it, and to establish with judgment and with justice . . . for
realize that these words are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, though only
partially fulfilled as yet. The greater fulfillment is yet future.
The birth of Jesus is one of the greatest events in human history.
The place of Jesus' birth, as all know, was Bethlehem. This was
according, to the words of the Prophet long before the event took place
(Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:5, 6).
was no great pomp and show surrounding the birth of the Great One. Each
one whom God chose to take part in this great act was humble, meek, and
possessed of great faith in God's promises. Both Mary and her husband were
poor, as no doubt were the shepherds to whom the angels brought their
message of joy.
heaven there would be great rejoicing and a host of angels were ready to
take their part in this great event. While others slept, Jesus was born,
and the angels, led by the angel of the Lord, brought their message of joy
and song of happiness to the shepherds -- keeping sheep. The angel of the
Lord brought glad tidings which shall be unto all
All have not heard these glad tidings yet, but we look by faith to the
time when all shall have heard, and all shall bow to the name of Jesus (Phil. 2:7-11).
A RANSOM FOR ALL
Jesus grew to manhood and was heralded by John the Baptist as the Messiah,
the Jews were disappointed in him. They were looking for a leader
greater than Moses, a general greater than Joshua, a king far greater than
David or Solomon, who would deliver them from the subjection of the
Romans, and make of them a great and mighty nation. The meek and lowly
Nazarene was rejected by them, and thus Jesus became "despised and
rejected of men" as the Prophet had said the Messiah would be (Isa.
53:3). They had set their minds upon the prophecies which spoke of the
might and power and glory of their Messiah, but overlooked those which
spoke of his humiliation and sufferings. They forgot that God's Prophet
had said that he should be "led as a lamb to the slaughter,"
that he should "pour out his soul unto death," and "make
his soul an offering for sin" (Isa. 53:3-12). These prophecies and
many others were fulfilled in Jesus when he came to earth, but those which
speak of his glory and power are yet to be fulfilled. Then the hopes of
the Jews respecting the Messiah and the expectations of Christians
respecting. Christ's second coming will be more than fulfilled.
should Jesus pour out his soul unto death? Why should he make himself an
offering for sin?
the answer is this: Man, because of sin, dies. "The wages of sin
is death (Rom. 6:23). Sin entered the world by one man's
disobedience -- the disobedience of Adam (Rom. 5:12) -and has passed
upon all men, for the offspring of Adam are all born imperfect, he having
fallen from his perfect condition before any children were born to him.
Thus "all in Adam die" (1 Cor. 15:21, 22). Before man can have
hope of everlasting life a ransom must be found for him, a
"corresponding price" for the first man whose sin brought death.
If such could be provided, then all who die because of Adam's
transgression could be given hope of life. God had promised to ransom
man from the power of death (Hos. 13:14). Where was the ransom to be
found? Not amongst fallen man. None of these can redeem his brother nor
give to God a
him (Ps. 49:7). They are all imperfect, therefore cannot provide the
ransom for man. Jesus was a perfect man, because he was "the only
begotten Son of God." God was his Father (Luke 1:30-35). Jesus said
that he came to give himself a ransom (Matt. 20:28), and the Apostle says
that the man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom for all (1 Tim. 2:5, 6).
Jesus further said, "I am come that they might have life, and have it
more abundantly" (John 10:10). Jesus by reason of his great sacrifice
provided the ransom price, which "in due time" (1 Tim. 2:6) will
bring to every man (He died for all;
2:9) a release from the death in Adam, and give to all, one full, fair
opportunity of salvation and life everlasting. Thus "all the
families of the earth" are to be blessed in him, according to God's
promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3). Jesus' teaching and example are the
finest ever given to man, and have done much to make the world better, but
his death was the all important matter. From the Cross there radiates the
only real hope for humanity.
was raised from the dead on the third day, highly exalted (Phil. 2:7-11)
and given "all power" (Matt. 28:18). As the risen, exalted Lord,
he has power to bring to mankind the benefits of his sacrifice, but that
work will not be completed until other features of God's plan and purpose
THE TRUE CHURCH
blessing and deliverance of mankind by the Lord Jesus Christ is the
purpose of his Second Coming. All the prophecies relating to his power and
glory will then be fulfilled, as those relating to his suffering and death
were fulfilled at his First Advent. Meanwhile, another work has been in
progress-the development of the Church of Christ. The true Church is not
composed of one nor all of the church organizations or denominations. It
is made up of the faithful followers of Jesus, whether they have been
inside or outside of church denominations.
who are truly followers of Jesus are given many precious promises (2
Pet. 1:4). They will be with Christ in his Kingdom (Luke 12:32; 2 Pet.
1:5-11). They will share his throne and his glory (Rev. 3:21; Rev. 20:4;
Col. 3:4). Theirs is a heavenly inheritance (1 Pet. 1:3, 4). As the Gospel
has been preached amongst the nations, those with an ear to hear have
responded to its invitation, and conformed to the conditions of discipleship.
These have not been a great number, but few, "a little flock."
These have lived and died, and slept in death, awaiting the return of the
Lord for their reward. At the Lord's return they rise from the dead first
and are made partakers of the First Resurrection to share the honor and
glory of Christ. Those of the true Church living at the Lord's return, do
not sleep in death; but death to them is a change from a human to a
heavenly condition. See 1 Cor. 15:20, 38, 50-52; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; Rev.
20:4-6; Phil. 3:7-11.
class is spoken of under different figures of speech. In 1 Cor. 12:12, 27
they are spoken of as the body of Christ, Jesus being the head. As a class
they are spoken of as the "bride" of Christ. The union of the
members of the Church with Jesus their Head is the marriage of the Lamb
(Rev. 19:7). When this has taken place, then the true Church of Christ,
with him in power and glory, sharing his great Kingdom, will share his
work, and with him invite "whosoever will" to come and
"drink of the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).
"THY KINGDOM COME"
nineteen hundred years the hope of the Christian has been the Second
Coming of the Lord, and the establishment of his Father's Kingdom on
earth. These have prayed from the heart: "Thy kingdom come, Thy
will be done on earth, as it
is the kingdom which will bring deliverance to mankind, and which will
bless all the families of the earth with the opportunity of life, liberty,
and happiness eternal. The Revelator saw in symbolic vision the present
order of things
passed away and all things made new. After seeing the Devil, the adversary
and oppressor of man (Rev. 20:1-3), bound, he saw a new heaven and a new
earth, a new order of things, and the present order of things passed away.
He saw the time when death will
more, when sorrow and suffering and pain will be ended.
saw One on the throne (Christ, the new King of all mankind) saying: "He
-- the blessings
of life, and freedom from sorrows and suffering, and the oppression of
the Devil (Rev. 21:1-7). These blessings are for all, even those in the
grave. To this end God has provided a resurrection of the dead through
Christ his Son. Jesus said that the time was coming when those in the
graves would hear his voice and come forth (John 5:28). The Revelator
further saw a river of life proceeding to man from the throne of God and
the Lamb, and Christ and his Bride, the Church, glorified, inviting
whosoever will to come and drink of the water of life freely (Rev. 22:1-3,
17). The Apostle Peter spoke of "times of restitution of all
things" when Christ should return. Restitution means a restoration of
something lost. Through sin, man lost life and his Eden home. Jesus said
that he came to "seek and to save that which was lost." In his
Kingdom, the earth is to be made beautiful and fruitful. (See Isa. 35:1-10
and Ezek. 36:35 for proof that earth will be like Eden.) Man will then be
given a full opportunity to live for ever (Ezek. 18:19-23), but those who
are disobedient will
destroyed from amongst the people (Acts 3:19-23).
Christ's work on behalf of man is complete, every knee shall bow to Jesus'
name; all living creatures in heaven and earth will praise God (Rev. 5:13;
Phil. 2:7-11). Every follower of Jesus desires his kingdom to come. The
disciples asked him when it would come and for signs of his return and
kingdom (Matt. 24:3). The Lord's reply (verses 7 and 8) tells us plainly
that world wars and events following are the signs that his Kingdom is
near. Before man gets the blessings of this kingdom he is to pass through
a great wave of trouble which will completely destroy the present order,
upon the ruins of which Christ's Kingdom -- the new heaven and earth --
will be established. The Bible message for today is "The Kingdom of God is at hand," which should be a message of joy and hope to all who
desire better things for mankind.
Fred Musk, England
shalt consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son,
so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee." - Deut. 8:5.
What experiences in life serve as disciplinary in our
Christian walk! Our first step in response to the call involves a degree
of discipline that is at once apparent, and suggested by the words of
Jesus: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take
up his cross and follow me." Discipleship means discipline; the two
words have a common root. The disciple is that one who has been taught
or trained by the Master, having heeded his call, "Come unto
me." Discipleship requires the discipline of conversion.
Recognizing our lost estate because of rebellion against God, we come in
repentance to our Lord Jesus, assenting with our hearts to the facts
that "all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to
his own way" (Isa. 53:6); that "all have sinned and come short of the glory
of God" (Rom. 3:23); that
"the Scripture hath concluded all under sin" (Gal. 3:22);
and that we
"were by nature the children of wrath, even as others "
strangers from the covenants of promise; having no hope, and without God
in the world." (Eph. 2:3,
an admission requires a measure of discipline, for it is difficult for
the natural heart to humble itself to admit of its sin and shame, and
the need for the provision made for us in Christ Jesus.
comes also in the consideration of the cost of discipleship. "He
that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me-, and he
that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me."
further exemplified in Luke 14:26,
Master says, "If any man come after me and hate not his father and
mother, wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life
also, he cannot be my disciple." This is strong language. What can
be the meaning of it? We know that love is the very essence of the
character of our God and of our Lord Jesus whom we are endeavoring to
follow. How then can we interpret such instruction in connection with
discipleship? Does it not mean that we are to make our Lord Jesus supreme,
permanent, and preeminent in our heart, so that no person, no thing,
shares that place in our life? No person, no possession, nor life itself
is too great to surrender for his sake.
is doubtless the reason why Jesus advised each one considering
discipleship to sit down first and count the cost. (Luke 14:28.) This denial of all, including ourselves, is the
greatest of all disciplines. There are those who are dearer to us than
life itself, but they should not be dearer than the Savior. For him and
his cause we have died to these and to every other earthly creature or
pleasure. It is "Jesus only!" And the step should not be taken
lightly or thoughtlessly, as is illustrated in Luke 14:28-33: "For which of you, intending to build
a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient
to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is
not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going
to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth
whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him
with twenty thousand?
while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and
desireth conditions of peace.
likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he
cannot be my disciple."
also requires the discipline of cross-bearing, one of the three things
considered a daily necessity: our daily bread, our daily work, our daily
cross. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take
up his cross daily,
me." (Luke 9:23.)
whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my
disciple." (Luke 14:27.) This
cross is not that which our Savior bore to Calvary. We are, however,
privileged to join with him insofar as self-denial is concerned, as seen
in his ministry from Jordan to Calvary. It was the Son's chief delight to
do the Father's will, and should it not therefore be ours also? The attainment
of this standard will mean self-denial in the deepest sense of the word.
question of discipline comes up for consideration. Here the Apostle
advises all to consider the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and
to lay aside every encumbrance and the close girding sin, to run with
patience the course marked out for us, looking not at self, but away from
self to the Leader or Perfecter of our faith. His great motive was the joy
that was set before him, enabling him to endure the cross and to
disregard the shame. His chief delight was the doing of the Father's will.
As he expressed it: "My meat and my drink is to do the will of him
that sent me." I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is
within my heart. "
writer urges us to consider Him attentively, and to note the opposition
that he endured from his own people in order that we may not be wearied,
nor discouraged, when brought face to face with the same difficulties,
pointing out at the same time that we have not yet resisted unto blood
striving against sin.
are then reminded of an Old Testament Scripture which carries an obvious
truth: "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord; neither
be weary of his correction For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, even
as a father the son in whom he delighteth. " (Prov. 3 11, 12.) And
"Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth
his son, so the Lord chasteneth thee." - Deut. 8:5.
Diaglott rendering of this Old Testament Scripture, as quoted in Hebrews
12:5, 6, uses the word discipline as follows: "My son, slight not the
discipline of the Lord, neither be discouraged when reproved by him; for
whom the Lord loves, he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he
receives. If you endure discipline, God deals with you as with sons. For
is there any son whom a father does not discipline? "
OF THE FATHER'S LOVE
Scriptures are suggestive of a close and remarkable relationship which
exists between the believer and his God and Heavenly Father, pointing
out the fact that discipline is based on love. This makes it more
educational than punitive. In other words, it is for our Christian
development and not merely for punishment. If there is no discipline in
the Christian life, then we may have reason to feel concerned about our
being true sons. "But if you are without discipline, of which all
have become partakers, then are ye spurious and not sons." All of us
have been subject to parental discipline in our early years, some of
which, administered with the aid of "the rod,'' doubtless left a
lasting impression, and very likely caused us to hold the parent in high
regard, since we doubtless knew that the discipline was deserved, although
it may not have been administered in the proper spirit. How much more
satisfactory, then, to submit ourselves to the Father of spirits and live.
Our earthly parents disciplined us in the way that seemed right to them,
but the Heavenly Father disciplines for our advantage, in order that we
may partake of his holiness. No discipline as it relates to the present
seems to be joyous, but rather grievous, "yet afterwards it returns
the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by
LESSONS FROM THE DISCIPLINING OF MOSES
may gain some helpful lessons on this subject by considering the
experiences of Moses and the children of Israel in their deliverance
from Egypt, and in their wilderness wanderings. The story of Moses
reveals divine oversight and protection in the preparation of one destined
to play a most important role in the affairs of Israel. Educated in the
palace of Pharaoh in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, Moses came to a time
of life when it became necessary to make a most important decision,
and "He chose to suffer the reproaches of his own people rather than
enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Did this require
discipline? It is obvious that for the advantage of the flesh, the thing
for Moses to have done would have been to remain where he was and perhaps
one day be a Pharaoh himself, and then by reason of his high position and
mighty authority be able to emancipate the entire host of Israel. Is it
not possible that some such thought occurred to him? His decision to
abandon any hope of promotion in Pharaoh's court in favor of a less
prominent position, and even one of reproach, shows a strength of
character that would lend itself very easily to divine leading. He here
displays a meekness that is precious in the sight of the Lord. "The
meek will he guide in judgment; the meek will he teach his way." In
this attitude Moses was teachable as subsequent events proved well.
however, he must learn the lesson of dependence on God, and waiting on him
for instruction. This was very soon forthcoming when Moses, with very
grave consequences, essayed to settle the personal quarrels and
strivings of one of his own people with an Egyptian. The second attempt
along this line resulted in Moses fleeing from Egypt to the land of Midian,
where he almost drops from sight for forty years, during which time he
tended the flocks of his father-in-law, Jethro. We should not assume
either that they were wasted years even though spent at such a menial task
as being a shepherd. Some of the world's great men have been those who
were privileged to learn the lessons of discipline, amid the scenes of
pasturelands, while caring for such submissive creatures as sheep.
years seems to be a very long time, and how interesting that its end
coincided with the end of the prophesied period of Israel's bondage, which
meant that Moses' preparation for the divinely appointed task was
completed. This was signalized by a very remarkable event. There in the
quietness of the desert a bush broke into flame, but, wonder of wonders,
the bush was not consumed. Still more awful was the voice that came from
the midst of the burning bush, "Moses, Moses." Moses replied,
"Here am I," and the voice said, "Remove thy shoes from off
thy feet for the place where thou standest is holy ground." This
dialogue evidently illustrates the need for discipline in reverence.
begins a new chapter in the life of one who in the years to come was to
learn more and more concerning the disciplines of the Lord and the
inestimable privileges of communion and fellowship that were necessary
in order to fit and sustain him for the tremendous tasks that lay ahead.
the entire history of these great events presents a most interesting
picture or type of the deliverance of the Church from the powers of
Satan and the world as represented by Pharaoh and Egypt. Instructions
divinely given were followed out to the last detail in the preparations
for departure, so that when the final blow was struck and the "first
born" of the land of Egypt fell under the power of the "angel
of death," their taskmasters and rulers, including hard-hearted
Pharaoh himself, were only too glad to let them go. So they came out,
600,000 men, besides women and children, with great substance because the
Egyptians loaded them with jewels and gold and silver, so much so that
they spoiled the Egyptians.
It is here that their discipline as a nation began,
and very soon we find them confronted with a most distressing situation,
and one in which their faith was sorely tried. With the Red Sea before
them, hemmed in on both sides by mountains, and with Pharaoh's hosts in
hot pursuit coming up on their rear, things looked very grim indeed, so
much so that the people lost heart and began to murmur against Moses.
"Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to
die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us? . . . It
had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in
the wilderness." Surely there is here a deep lesson for all who have
come under the blood and taken up the cross to follow in the footsteps of
Numbers 11:1 we are told "And when the people complained it
displeased the Lord." Is it any less displeasing to him for us to
fail in the same way? "Godliness with contentment is great
gain." Discontentment disregards the divine presence promised to the
Lord's own. In their wilderness journey the children of Israel had the
pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night to go before them
in the way, to defend them from their foes, to show them where they should
pitch their tents and when and where they should journey. These were the
outward, visible assurances of divine presence. By day or night they had
only to look to the pillar above the Tabernacle to receive that assurance.
To Moses had been given the encouraging promise: "My presence shall
go with thee, and I will give thee rest."
the New Testament times since the days of the Apostles, we have no visible
indications of his presence with his people, but we have the strong and
sure promises by the Savior, "All power in heaven and earth is given
unto me," and "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of
the age." This is effected by the holy spirit and its work in the
hearts of his people. So when we become discontented, we give evidence of
a lack of that spirit. Discontent is an outward evidence of lack of faith
in the promises of God. The children of Israel had been led out of the
iron furnace of Egypt by the strong hand of God to go to the land promised
unto their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When dissatisfaction
gripped their spirit, they "despised the pleasant land," and
remembered only "the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and
the onions, and garlic." Complaint caused them to prefer these in
Egypt's hard bondage, to freedom in a land flowing with milk and honey.
Discontentment discounts the provision God makes for us. For the
children of Israel there was the daily bread day by day in the form of
manna, enough for everybody. To the hungry, grateful people to whom it
came, it was like the coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like
wafers made with honey. When they became disgruntled they could say,
"But now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all, besides
this manna before our eyes." By that time the taste of it was like
the taste of fresh oil -- the taste of honey when they were delighted, and
the taste of fresh oil when they were discontented.
this alteration of taste caused by a change of attitude seem altogether
far-fetched, or do we remember seasons when the Word of God was
exceedingly sweet to our taste, and then. when under a cloud of complaint
we found it tasteless and commonplace? Discontentment displeases God, and
our relationship to him can be so marred by it that our progress is
greatly retarded and our pilgrimage made much more difficult. This, of
course, is a lack of faith. Of Israel it is said, "they believed
not his word, but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the
voice of the Lord."
may be a part of our disposition, but contentment can become a major
characteristic of our Christian life. The Apostle Paul said, "I have
learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both
how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things,
I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to
suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth
discipline of discontentment is to turn from a complaining spirit, from
criticism that corrodes and the dissatisfaction that displeases God, to a
thankful attitude, to faith and praise, that will be pleasing to him who
said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." We may boldly
say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do
we have to any degree succumbed to the spirit of the times, which is
restlessness and discontent, the need for discipline is very urgent; and
much good may result from mentally retracing our steps from the time we
first enrolled in the school of discipleship to the present moment.
Perhaps our sense of values has changed since first we sat down and
counted the cost. If this be true, the cross will have become heavier as
time has gone on, and the tendency to lay it down more marked. Let us then
consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself
lest we be weary and faint in our minds; and in addition let us note the
sense of values expressed by the great Apostle Paul in the words:
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."
true disciple is the one who sees in all of life's affairs the supervisory
and overruling hand of the One who has enrolled him in the School of
Christ, even our Heavenly Father; and if the lessons in that school be
disciplinary even to the point of scourging, the response should be:
whatever lot I see,
Since 'tis God's hand that leadeth me."
J. B. Webster.
was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious,
and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood,
created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to
the world the eternal Book of Books.
being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it
throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their
return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.
by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every
successive generation to reestablish themselves in
their ancient homeland. In
recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, ma'pilim, and
defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built
villages and towns, and created a thriving community, controlling its own
economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself,
bringing the blessings of progress to all the country's inhabitants, and
aspiring towards independent nationhood.
the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish
State, Theodor Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed
the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.
right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November,
1917, and reaffirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in
particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between
the Jewish people and EretzIsrael and to the right of the Jewish people
to rebuild its National Home.
catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people-the massacre of
millions of Jews
another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its
homelessness by reestablishing in
Eretz-Israel the Jewish
State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and
confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of
the comity of nations.
of the Nazi holocaust in Europe, as well as Jews from other parts of the
world, continued to migrate to Eretz-Israel, undaunted by difficulties,
restrictions, and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a
life of dignity, freedom, and honest toil in their national homeland.
the Second World War, the Jewish community of this country contributed its
full share to the struggle of the freedom and peace-loving nations
against the forces of Nazi wickedness and, by the blood of its soldiers
and its war effort, gained the right to be reckoned among the peoples
who founded the United Nations.
the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a
resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel;
the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take
such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of
that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of
the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.
right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own
fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.
Reprinted at this time
WE, MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE'S COUNCIL, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
OF ERETZ-ISRAEL AND OF THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT, ARE HERE ASSEMBLED ON THE
DAY OF THE TERMINATION OF THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER ERETZ-ISRAEL AND, BY
VIRTUE OF OUR NATURAL AND HISTORIC RIGHT AND ON THE STRENGTH OF THE
RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HEREBY DECLARE THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE'
DECLARE that, with effect
from the moment of the termination of the Mandate, being tonight, the eve
of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment
of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the
Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly
not later than the 1st October, 1948, the People's Council shall act as a
Provisional Council of State, and its
executive organ, the
People's Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the
Jewish State, to be called "Israel."
STATE OF ISRAEL will be
open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will
foster the development of the country for the benefit of all inhabitants;
it will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the
prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and
political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or
sex it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education,
and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will
be faithful to the
principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
STATE OF ISRAEL is
prepared to cooperate with the agencies and representatives of the United
Nations in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th
November, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the economic union of
the whole of Eretz-Israel.
APPEAL to the United
Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building up of its State and
to receive the State of Israel into the comity of nations.
APPEAL -- in the very
midst of the onslaught
launched against us now for months to the Arab inhabitants of the State
of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the
State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in
all its provisional permanent institutions.
EXTEND our hand to all
neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good
neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and
mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The
State of Israel is prepared to do its share in common effort for the
advancement of the entire Middle East.
APPEAL to the Jewish
people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in
the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great
struggle for the realization of the age-old dream-the redemption of
OUR TRUST IN THE ALMIGHTY, WE AFFIX OUR SIGNATURES TO THIS PROCLAMATION
AT THIS SESSION OF THE PROVISIONAL COUNCIL OF STATE, ON THE SOIL OF THE
HOMELAND, IN THE CITY OF TEL-AVIV, ON THIS SABBATH EVE,
THE 5TH DAY OF IYAR, 5708 (14th
Mordekhai Bentov Meir
Yitzchak Ben Zvi
Nachum Nir Zvi Segal
understood, we move along asunder,
Our paths grow wider as the seasons creep
Along the years; we marvel and we wonder
Why life is life, and then we fall asleep --
understood, we gather false impressions,
And hug them closer as the years go by,
Till virtues often seem to us transgressions,
And thus men rise and fall and live and die --
understood, poor souls with stunted vision,
Oft measure giants by their narrow gauge.
The poisoned shafts of falsehood and derision
Are oft impelled 'gainst those who mould the age --
understood, the secret springs of action,
Which lie beneath the surface and the show
Are disregarded, with self-satisfaction
We judge our neighbors, and they often go --
understood, how trifles often change us,
The thoughtless sentence or the fancied slight
Destroys long years of friendship and estrange us,
And on our souls there falls a freezing blight --
understood, how many breasts are aching
For lack of sympathy. Ah! day by day,
How many cheerless, lonely hearts are breaking,
How many noble spirits pass away --
God! that men would see a little clearer,
Or judge less harshly where they cannot see;
Oh, God! that men would draw a little nearer
To one another! They'd be nearer Thee --
I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of
the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail,
they may receive you into everlasting habitations." - Luke 16:9.
this verse, instead of the words given in the Authorized Version,
"when ye fail," some translations read: "when it
fails." Has this difference any significance and, further, which
translation is correct?
is good manuscript authority for either translation. Moreover, while on
the surface they may appear to be mutually exclusive, they need not be so
understood. In this connection it is interesting to compare the two
given in the Diaglott. There the word for word translation reads:
"when you may fail," while in the right-hand column, the
emphatic version reads: "when it fails." Other translations
supporting the emphatic version include:
soon as it shall fail." Revised, "when it shall
fail." Fenton, "when it departs." Trench, "when
it fails." No matter which translation is preferred, most scholars
understand the passage to apply at the time of death.
translates: "when ye die."
of us, no doubt, understand that the good we do with our "goods"
will receive an appropriate reward after death. But this
understanding does not exhaust the meaning of the passage. For, while it
is true that our Lord promises us an "eternal" reward, on the
other side the grave, the word eternity covers the past and present,
as well as the future. And while it is true that when we fail (in
death) it (mammon) will fail (us), is it not also true that mammon
may fail' us before we die? May we not, even while we remain in
this life, lose our money, or find that there are other losses for which
no money can compensate us? We know very well that we may; some of us
know it only too sadly. Riches have wings for use; not merely for
ornaments. It is not only the grim face of Death that scares them to
flight; they flee before a thousand other alarms. The changes and
accidents in which they fail us are innumerable; there are countless
wounds which gold will not heal, endless cravings which it will not
satisfy. And perhaps the point of our Lord's words may be this: "Whenever
mammon fails us, in life
its changes and sorrows, no less
we have previously made friends by our wise use of it, these friends will
open their tabernacles to us, tabernacles inn which our stricken spirits
may find refuge and consolation. It is this present, this constant, this
eternal reward, of the Christian use of our temporal possessions, on which
we need most of all to fix our thoughts.
only our Lord, but St. Paul has much to say on this matter. Perhaps his
fullest expression' is to be found in his first letter to Timothy, chapter
6. There he affirms that godliness with contentment is the true gain;
that then only are we rich, when we want nothing and long for nothing we
do not possess, when our minds and hearts are settled in a sacred content,
undisturbed by lusts and cravings for things beyond our reach. The love
of money, he affirms, is a root, from which all forms of evil spring.
Impelled by this base lust, many have wandered from the Faith, he tells
us, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. The desire to be
rich, he warns, is a snare in which many feet have been caught; those who
cherish it plunge into many foolish and hurtful lusts. Timothy, the man of
God, will flee this love, this craving, this desire. Having food and
raiment, he will therewith be content. Discarding the pursuit of riches,
he will follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love,
patience, -- meekness. He knows that as he brought nothing into the world,
so neither can he carry anything out.
then, should he neglect that in himself which is spiritual, in order to
amass a. burden which is only too likely to make his life anxious and
painful to him, and of which death will certainly relieve him. The gains
that can be carried into the next world, these, and these alone,
should engage his heart. In short, St. Paul, in this chapter, speaks of
wealth and of those who pursue it, in a large tone of contempt and moral
wealth should never stand first with us and that it should be valued only
for the good uses to which it may be put - these are not only Christian
principles to which our attention is drawn by our Lord in Luke 16 and by
St. Paul in 1 Tim. 6, but they are principles which commend themselves to
every man's reason and conscience in the sight of God. And therefore, we
shall be condemned by reason and conscience, as well as by Christ, if gain
is more to us than godliness; if we dread poverty more than we dread sin,
or sorrow more over a bad debt
a bad action, over a loss of money than over a loss of temper; or if we do
not seek to make a wise and generous use of our money, rather than to
secure a selfish enjoyment of it.
Here is a man, let us suppose, sincerely anxious to take the right course
and to make the best use he can of his life. All around him he sees
neighbors who are pushing on with the utmost eagerness in the pursuit of
fortune, who are sacrificing ease, culture, pleasure, health, and at times
conscience itself, in their love for that, the love of which St. Paul
pronounces' to be a root of all evil, a temptation and a snare, and which
our Lord himself says makes it very hard for a man to enter the Kingdom of
God. He has to determine whether or not he will join in
headlong pursuit-whether he, too, will risk health of body, culture of
mind, and sensitive
conscience, in the endeavor to grow rich, or richer than he is. He sees
that the dignity and comfort and peace of human life depend largely on
his being able to earn a sufficient income to supply a large circle of
wants, without being in constant anxiety and care; but he also feels
that he has many wants, and these the deepest, which mere wealth cannot
supply. Accordingly, he resolves to work diligently and as wisely as he
can, in order to secure an adequate provision for his physical necessities,
and to guard his independence; to provide things honest and decent in the
sight of all men; but he resolves also that he will not sacrifice himself,
or all that is best and purest and most refined in himself, to the pursuit
of money and what it will buy. Hence, so far as he can, he limits his
wants; he keeps his tastes simple and pure; and by labors that do not
absorb his whole time and energies he provides for the due gratification
of these tastes and wants. Hence also he gives a good deal of his time and
energy to reading good books, let us say, or to mastering some natural
science, or to developing a taste for music and acquiring skill in it.
He expects his neighbor, who had no better start nor opportunities than
he, to grow far richer than he himself has done, if his neighbor think
only of getting and investing money. And, therefore, he does not grudge
him his greater wealth, nor look on it with envious eye; he rather
rejoices that he himself has given up some wealth in order to acquire a
higher culture, and to develop his literary or artistic tastes.
then, we have two men, two neighbors before us. The one has grown very
rich, has far more money than he can enjoy, more even, perhaps, than he
quite knows how to spend or invest, but he has hardly anything except what his money will procure for him. The
other has only a modest provision for his wants, but he has a mind stored
with the best thoughts of ancient and modern wisdom, an eye which finds a
thousand, miracles of beauty in every scene of nature, and an ear that
trembles under the ecstasy of sweet harmonious sounds. By some sudden turn
of fortune, mammon
are both reduced to poverty; both, so soon as they recover from the shock,
have to make a fresh start in life. Which of the two is better off now? Which
of them has made real friends for himself out of the mammon while he had it? Not the wealthier of the two,
certainly; for, now that he has lost his wealth, he has lost all that he
had; he has lived only to get rich; when his riches went, all went. But
the other man, the man who read and thought and cultivated his mental
not lost all. His money has gone, but it has not taken from him the wise
thoughts he had gathered from books, or his insight into the secrets and
beauties of nature, or the power to charm from the concord of sweet
sounds. He is simply thrown more absolutely on these inward and inseparable
possessions for occupation and enjoyment. While he had it, he made friends
for himself out of the mammon of unrighteousness; and, now that it has
failed him, these friends receive him into tabernacles which are always
open, and in which he has long learned to find pleasure and to take rest.
foregoing illustration may suffice to make our Lord's words clear. And it
is one that the writer does not fail to use when young people seek his
vocational counsel and guidance, even though they do not profess to be
followers of the Master. But it is not a perfect illustration, for there
are losses in which even science and art, even nature and culture, can
give us but cold comfort. It does, however, point to a still better way
-the way of wholehearted consecration to God. For, obviously, if a man
give a good part of the time he might otherwise devote to the acquisition
of wealth, to the cultivation of godliness, instead of to merely intellectual culture; if he take thought and spend time in acquiring habits
of prayer and worship and obedience and trust; in acquainting himself with
the will of God and doing it; if he expend money, and time which is worth
money to him, in helping to further the glorious Gospel, and in
ministering comfort in the ecclesia in which he is a member, and to his
other associates in Christ, throughout the country in which he lives, and
indeed throughout the world; he, too, has made to himself friends out of
the mammon of unrighteousness, friends that will not fail him when mammon
fails him, but will receive him into tabernacles of rest. However poor he
may be, he may still pray, and read the Bible, and put his trust in God,
and comfort all that mourn in Zion who may come his way; he may continue
to grow in grace and in the knowledge of God and of his Son our Lord; and,
by his cheerful contentment, and unswerving confidence in the goodness of
God, and in the ultimate
of that goodness over evil (notwithstanding all surface indications to the
contrary), he may now bear witness, with an eloquence far beyond that of
mere words, to the reality and grandeur of a truly consecrated life.
Faith, hope, and love, righteousness and godliness, patience and meekness,
these will not close their doors against him, because mammon has
in his face. These
eternal friends, who pitch their tabernacles beside us wherever our path
may lead, and who welcome us to the rest and shelter they afford when the
cold north winds of adversity blow upon us, as well as when the south warm
winds of prosperity come (Song of Solomon 4:16).
short, it is not merely a future reward which Christ promises to as many as make a wise use of money and money's worth
(although it includes that), but it is a present, a constant, an eternal reward. Virtually he
says to us: Use your money for wise ends, whether you have little of it or
much; make it your servant rather than your master; compel it to minister
to your spiritual as well as to your temporal wants; expend thought and
time and labor in the effort to become wise and good and kind-to become,
indeed, like the Master himself. And then, whenever mammon fails you, your wisdom and goodness and
kindness will abide with you; and these will fit you, far more than any
wealth, for a noble and happy life, whether in this age or in that which
is to come.
E. Borland, Apple ton, Wis.
Ruby DeVouge, Montreal, Que.
George A. Ford, England
Brunswick B. Oatway, Vassalboro, Me.
John W. Powell, Porterville, Cal.
Sophia B. Siekman, Batavia, Ill.
Enbra A. Talbott, St. Joseph, Mo.