LII. May/June 1969 No. 3
any means I may advance to the earlier resurrection
WHITSUNTIDE has been observed for many centuries by many Christians as the memorial of the day of Pentecost, which occurred fifty days after the resurrection of our Lord.
On that day the Holy Spirit descended upon the early disciples in "tongues of fire," as a visible sign of their setting apart to the service of God, and of the beginning of a new life within them, wherein they should "walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Not since that day has the Spirit been visibly bestowed; yet every true child of God is aware that he has received the same begetting. "You have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye all know it." - (l John 2:20).
What is the purpose of this begetting? What is the meaning of the gift, and what is the intent of Him who bestows it? Is it that the recipient might "speak with tongues," or that he should thenceforth have an access-or an excess of emotional religious fervor? Nay; it is of far greater significance and consequences.
Jesus, in His patient effort to make clear to the Jewish ruler Nicodemus some of the things of the spirit world, told him that "that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." This statement seems basic and clear. It may be logically expanded to say: "That which is begotten of the flesh will be born [if not stillborn] a being of flesh; that which is begotten of the Spirit will be born [if it comes to birth] a spirit-being," The birth follows the begetting, and partakes of its nature.
In the same conversation Jesus explained that those "born of the Spirit" have powers of action and of invisibility to human perception totally unknown to man. "The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with every one who has been born of the Spirit."
"God is a spirit"; "heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool. The nature, laws, and conditions of the spirit world are vastly different from those of the earth. In the one particular of temperature the physicists and astronomers tell us that the universe has a range of tens of thousands of degrees Fahrenheit; our human life can endure a variation of "barely' one hundred fifty degrees. We cannot conceive of life existing at four hundred degrees below zero, or at ten thousand degrees above; yet the spirit world has joyful existence under these and other inconceivable conditions,
If we were planning to move our residence to, say, Africa or Australia, we should try to learn all we could about life there-in fact to go there in our minds and so prepare ourselves for our new environment. We would commence our new life there in anticipation; and that is exactly what the pentecostal begetting of the Spirit is--the mental seed-planting of a new spirit-life; a "lively hope," or new hope of life. To this embryonic spirit-life such various Scriptures refer as: "a new creature"; "the renewing [literally, up-newing] of your mind"; "walking in newness of life"; "set your affections on things above"; etc.
"There is a physical body, and there is a spirit body." The change from one to the other, tremendous as it is, is a mere detail to the power with which the begotten one has to do. The actual operation is dismissed in the Scriptures in a few sentences. "He giveth it a body as it pleaseth Him." "He will change the body of our humiliation into the likeness of His own glorious body." Moreover, this change will be accomplished instantaneously, "in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye."
But the mental, moral, and emotional transformation from the human to the spirit nature is a far more complicated and lengthy process, and requires the candidate's full, continuous, and careful cooperation. Practically the whole of the New testament is devoted to describing, facilitating, and inspiring this process. It requires rigid self-abnegation, self-discipline, and self-sacrifice, that is, of the human self. "The flesh-desires oppose the spirit, and the spirit-desires oppose the flesh, for these are contrary to each other; that not whatsoever things ye may be wishing, these ye should be doing." Every sincere candidate for spirit-birth knows this to be true.
What does it mean to us? Are we carefully cherishing and cultivating that flame of life that we have received, or are we permitting "the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches" to "quench the Spirit"? Are we "putting to death the deeds of the body" that we may live; or are we "living after the flesh," which is mortal-"death-doomed"? Are we "giving ourselves wholly to these things, that our profit may be manifest to all," as the Apostle advised his "beloved son" Timothy? Are we cultivating and bringing forth in our lives the ripening "fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, long-suffering," etc.; or are the "works of the flesh" still all too manifest in our relationships-family, church, business? Is our love like God's sunshine and rain, universal and impartial-"perfect," as Jesus admonished us it should be; or is it sectional (sectional) -- only for those who agree with us?
These are practical questions, of supreme importance. They should be addressed, in all seriousness, to ourselves. "Examine yourselves, whether ye be, in the faith"-not a creed, but the confidence and reliance in and upon the Lord, with reason on your part for Him to have faith in you. "Prove ye yourselves. Or do ye not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are disapproved?"
For "if we examine ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are corrected, that we may not be condemned with the world."
"Quench not the Spirit."
- H. E. Hollister
(Note: Scriptural quotations in the foregoing article follow the text of the three oldest Greek MSS., and the literal renderings of the Emphatic Diaglott, Rotherham, and Strong's Greek Dictionary.)
"God hath appointed a
day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man
bath ordained, whereof He hath given assurance
THE words of our text are those of the Apostle Paul, spoken from Mars' Hill, in his celebrated discourse to the men of Athens. Of such great import are his words that they have been inscribed in Greek on a bronze plaque on the hillside.
Some have expressed the thought that we may have already entered a Judgment Day, if not the Judgment Day of our text, and have asked the question: Has Judgment Day begun?
Before attempting an answer to this question, let us consider the two terms "judgment" and "day" and see how they are employed in the Scriptures.
The term "judgment" signifies more than merely the rendering of a verdict. It includes the idea of a trial, as well as a decision based upon that trial. And this is true not only of the English word judgment but also of the Greek word which it translates.
The term "day," both in the Scriptures and in common usage, though most frequently used to represent a period of twelve or twenty-four hours, really specifies any definite or special period of time. Thus, for instance, we speak of Noah's day, Luther's day, Washington's day; and thus in the Bible the entire time of creation is called a day, where we read of "the day that Jehovah God made the earth and the heavens" (Gen. 2:4) -- a long, definite period. Then we read of "the day of temptation in the wilderness" -- forty years (Heb. 3:8, 9); also of the "day of Christ," the "day of judgment," and "His day"; terms applicable to the Millennial Age, in which Messiah will reign over, rule, and judge the world in righteousness, granting trial as well as rendering sentence. Those who will carefully consult a complete concordance of the Bible with reference to the Day of Judgment, and note the kind and amount of work to be accomplished within that period, will soon see the absurdity of the common view of a twelve or twenty-four hour day, and the necessity for giving to the term "day" its wider significance.
The Scriptures make mention of a number of judgment days. Two of these relate to the human race as a whole. Between these two, several others are stated as taking place.
The first of the world's two judgment days was at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, when the whole human race was judged representatively in Adam, its head. Some have been disposed to resent this judgment, insisting that Adam misrepresented rather than represented them, but God, whose wisdom is infinite, states the contrary to be true.
The second and final Judgment Day for the world is yet future, when each will be judged individually.
WHO WILL BE THE JUDGE?
We are further informed that when God gives the world this individual trial, it will be under Christ as judge, whom God will thus honor because of his obedience even unto death for our redemption. God has highly exalted him, even to the divine nature, that he may be a Prince and a Savior (Acts 5:31), that he may be able to recover from death and grant judgment (including trial) to all whom he purchased with his own precious blood. Since it is the plain declaration of Scripture that "God has committed all judgment unto the Son," and has given him "all power in heaven and in earth," there is nothing to dread, but on the contrary, there is great cause for rejoicing on the part of all, in looking forward to the judgment Day. The character of the judge is a sufficient guarantee that the judgment will be just and merciful, with due consideration for the infirmities of all, until the willing and obedient are brought back to the original perfection lost in Eden. With this conclusion all the prophetic declarations agree. It is written: "With righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity." - Psa. 98:9.
BY WHAT LAW WILL THE WORLD BE JUDGED?
This coming judgment will be on exactly the same principles as the first. The same law of obedience will be presented, with the same reward of life and the same penalty of death. And as the first trial had a beginning, progressed, and culminated in a verdict and sentence, so also will the second; and the sentence will be life to the righteous and death to the unrighteous. The second trial will be more favorable than the first because of the experience gained under the results of the first trial. Unlike the first trial, the second trial will be one in which every man will stand the test for himself alone and not for another. None will then die because of Adam's sin or because of inherited imperfections. It shall no more be said, "The fathers have eaten a sour grape and the children's teeth are set on edge; but he that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge." "The soul that sinneth, it [and not its children] shall die. "- Jer. 31:29, 30; Ezek. 18:4.
Under the reign of Christ, mankind will be gradually educated, trained, disciplined, until they reach perfection. And when they have reached perfection, perfect harmony with God will be required, and any who then fall short of perfect obedience will be cut off, being judged unworthy of life. God had a right to demand perfect obedience of Adam, since he was created perfect; and he will demand the same of all men when the great work of restoring them is complete. None will be permitted to have everlasting life who then in the slightest degree fall short of perfection. To fall short of perfection, then, will be to sin wilfully against full light and perfect ability.
We do not wish to be understood as ignoring the present responsibility of the world, which every man has, according to the measure of light enjoyed, whether it be much or little, whether it be the light of nature or of revelation. "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good," and "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil" (Prov. 15:3; Eccles. 12:14). The good and evil deeds of the present time will receive a just recompense of reward either now or hereafter.
JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS
Between the world's two judgment days discussed foregoing, a period of about six thousand years intervenes. During this long period, God has been selecting two special classes from among men, and specially trying, testing, disciplining, and training them to be his honored instruments during the second of the world's judgment days.
These two classes are respectively designated, by St. Paul as the "house of sons" and the "house of servants" (Heb. 3:5, 6), the former being composed of those overcomers tried and found faithful during the Christian dispensation (the Gospel Age), and the latter being composed of the faithful overcomers who lived before the Christian dispensation. Those who successfully pass the trial for either of these special classes will not come into judgment (including trial) with the world, but will enter upon their reward when the world is coming into its second judgment day. They will be God's agents in the blessing of the world; in giving to men the instruction and training necessary for their final testing and judgment. "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" - 1 Cor. 6:2.
The world's second judgment day is immediately preceded by a judgment of the nations, as such. They are to be judged politically, ecclesiastically, and socially. Many Scriptures make this clear. However, while noting these, it is important to bear in mind the difference between national judgment and individual judgment. While the nation is composed of individuals, and individuals are largely responsible for the courses of nations, and must and do suffer greatly in the calamities which befall them; nevertheless the judgment of the world, as individuals, will be distinct from its judgment as nations. The day of individual judgment for the world will be the Millennial Age, as previously noted. Then, under the favorable conditions of the New Covenant, and granted a clear knowledge of the truth and every possible assistance and incentive to righteousness, all men individually, and not collectively as nations, will be on trial, or judgment, for eternal life.
The judgment of the nations which precedes this individual trial is a judgment of men in their collective capacities. The civil institutions of the world, social, political, religious, have had a long lease of power. And now, as the "Times of the Gentiles" come to a close, they must render up their accounts. And the Lord's judgment, expressed beforehand by the Prophets, is that not one of them will be found worthy of a renewal of that lease or a continuance of life. The decree is that the dominion shall be taken from them and that he whose right it is shall take the Kingdom, and the nations shall be given to him for an inheritance. - Ezek. 21:27; Dan. 7:27; Psa. 2:8; Rev. 2:26, 27.
Let us listen to a few passages from the pen of other Prophets which bear directly on this subject: "Come near, ye nations, to hear, and hearken, ye people . . . for the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies" (Isa. 34:1, 2). Again: "The Lord . . . is an everlasting King; at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation" (Jer. 10:10). "A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind [that is, intense and complicated trouble and commotion] shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth." - Jer. 25:31-33.
In calling attention to this subject, it is not our intention to arouse a mere sensation or to seek to gratify idle curiosity. Nor can we hope to produce in the minds and hearts of men such a condition of repentance as would work a change in the present social, political, and religious order of society, and thus avert the calamity. All the powerful causes which produce the trouble have been long at work; and no human power is able to arrest their operation and progress toward their certain end. No hand but the hand of the Lord could stay the progress of the present current of events, and his hand will not do so until the bitter experiences of this conflict shall have sealed their instruction upon the hearts of men. Our only object, therefore, in mentioning the subject at all, is to forewarn, forearm, comfort, encourage, and strengthen the "household of faith," so that they may not be dismayed but be enabled to look beyond the severest measures of divine disciplining in the chastening experiences of the world and see by faith the glorious outcome in the precious fruits of righteousness and enduring peace.
HAS THE JUDGMENT DAY OF THE NATIONS BEGUN?
As we look about us and note the conditions in the world today, it is difficult to escape the conclusion, especially when these conditions are considered in connection with time prophecies, that the nations have already entered their judgment day, that they are even now being weighed in the balances and found wanting. Indeed, for years it has been seen that the gathering of the nations and assembling of the kingdoms, preparatory to pouring upon them his indignation, "even all his fierce anger," as yet another Prophet (Zephaniah 3:8, 9) graphically describes it, has been in process.
Modern discovery and invention have made the remotest ends of the earth neighbors to each other. Travel, mailing facilities, the telegraph, the telephone, the radio and television have brought all the world into a community of thought and action hitherto unknown. Truly, the nations are "assembled" in a manner not expected, yet in the only manner in which they could be assembled, namely, in common interest and activity; but alas, not in brotherly love, for selfishness marks every step of this progress. The spirit of enterprise, of which selfishness is the motive power, has prompted the construction of the railways, the steamships, the airplanes, the telegraphs, the cables, the telephones, the radios, the television sets. Selfishness regulates commerce and international relationships, and every other energy and enterprise except the preaching of the Gospel and the establishment of benevolent institutions; and even in these it is to be feared that much that is done is inspired by motives other than pure love for God and humanity. Selfishness has gathered the nations and has been steadily preparing them for the predicted, and now fast approaching, retribution which is so graphically described by the Prophet as the "fire of God's jealousy," or anger, which is about to consume utterly the present social order. Yet this is speaking only from the human standpoint. From the standpoint of the Prophet, this gathering of the nations is ascribed, not to man's own efforts, but to God. Both standpoints are true; for while man is permitted the exercise of his free agency, God, by his overruling providence, is shaping human affairs for the accomplishment of his own wise purposes. And therefore, while men and their works and ways are the agents and agencies, God is the great Commander who now gathers the nations and assembles the kingdoms from one end of the earth to the other, preparatory to the transfer of earth's dominion to him "whose right it is" -- Immanuel.
The Prophet tells us why the Lord thus gathers the nations, saying, "That I may pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger." This message would bring us sorrow and anguish only, were it not for the assurance that the results shall work good to the world, overthrowing the reign of selfishness and establishing, through Christ's Millennial Kingdom, the reign of righteousness referred to in the words of the Prophet: "Then will I turn unto the people a pure language [their communications with each other shall no longer be selfish but pure, truthful, and loving, to the intent] that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent."
W e see the deepening clouds of trouble. We hear the thunder tones of judgment that "call the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof" (Psa. 50:1) -- from the east to the west. We see the lightning flashes of truth and righteousness, and observe how the whole earth is now in the shaking process which will eventuate in the complete overthrow of all existing institutions, systems, and governments. Present events indeed speak in trumpet-tones. Even as these words are being set up in type, a military expert (note--not a preacher but an army general) ends his radio newsbroadcast with a quotation from the Bible: "A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction" (Jer. 50:22). How shall we regard these things? Surely, dear reader, it will be with thoughtful and reverent hearts! In this eventful period everything that can be shaken will be shaken, that only the unshakeable things of truth and righteousness may remain (Heb. 12:25-29). Everyone called to a share in the coming Kingdom must be a lover of righteousness, one who will courageously and loyally exercise an influence which is always favorable to righteousness, justice, mercy, and peace. All others will be shaken out. In the end only the true will remain. "Seeing that we look for these things, [let us] be diligent, that we may be found of Him in [inward] peace, without spot, and blameless," as the Apostle exhorts. - 2 Pet. 3:14.
When our Lord was here in the flesh, the destruction of Jerusalem and the utter ruin of Palestine were close at hand. In those days our Savior forewarned his disciples against laying up treasures for themselves on earth. His counsel and advice to them was to lay up their treasures in heaven, and in the end they would find them there. The Lord's true people of today occupy a similar position. The great, symbolic-burning day is near. Christendom is about to be destroyed. In this great symbolic conflagration the possessions of earth will be valueless. The opportunities for laying up treasures in heaven will soon be overpast. Let us, therefore, brethren, heed the Master's words, dedicating, or rededicating, as the case may be, our all of earthly life and fortune upon his altar and seek to employ time, talent, and ability in the service of him who hath called us from darkness to light; of him who will at last welcome the faithful to the place that he has gone to prepare, in the Father's house of many mansions; for there we shall find the heavenly treasures that can never fade, never tarnish, never rust, and the glory and luster of which will abide throughout all time. Amen.
- Condensed from "The Herald," August, 1940.
"We see not our signs.
There is no more any prophet,
IN THESE few words of our text, beautiful even in their pessimism, there is summed up all the despair and all the hopelessness of a generation that had lost its youthful enthusiasm. In the early flush of youth they had eagerly embraced all the good promises of the Prophets and looked forward with earnest longing to the day when their golden words would be fulfilled in dazzling reality. They had dreamed dreams and seen visions, and in all those dreams and all those visions they had pictured themselves as the favorites of God, called and chosen by him to be his associates in the day upon which he would arise to rule the nations. They ardently desired a rule of righteousness upon earth and the overthrow of evil. They loved the name of the Lord and they wanted to see that beloved name cleared of the misunderstandings and false charges that had clustered about it. They had given themselves to God and he had accepted them for his own, to be a covenant people and a light to the nations, and life had become a different thing to them. Of course it was unthinkable that they should ever change their attitude! They had but to wait in the joy of this new-found relationship and when the day of deliverance dawned, their dearest hopes would be gratified.
But the years went by and a new and unknown factor emerged. . . . There were disappointment and disillusionment lying in wait to test faith and endurance; the insidious suggestion that more complete knowledge would reveal the instability of the foundation upon which those earlier golden visions had been built; the realization that many of the fond expectations had not materialized; and, perhaps worst of all, the onset of old age with its weakening of the natural powers and increasing difficulty of retaining the intellectual understanding of earlier years. What wonder that these things manifested themselves in a growing impatience with the enthusiasm of such prophets as remained in the land and a peevish insistence "there is no prophet; none there are who can tell us how long"?
We can sympathize with those disappointed Israelites of old, for we ourselves face a very similar situation. Things have turned out so differently from what was expected and some begin to doubt the certainty of earlier years. There was so much zeal and energy expended in those days, so much time and money given to a work that seemed worthwhile, so much organizing and building, and what has it all come to? Was it so much a work of the Lord as was thought? .. .
Nay, who are we that we presume to question the wisdom of the Great Shepherd? We may not have perceived every aspect of the Divine Plan with unquestioned accuracy, but then a great many Christians throughout the Age have been in that same position. If we have grown weary of deferred hopes, it is not because our Lord has grown weary of us. Neither is it necessarily that we are inconstant or changeable; more probable that we are uncertain....
The prophets have not failed us. The Holy Spirit is still active in the work of God, quickening the minds of his people and showing them visions of things yet to come as the time becomes due for those things to be understood. The drama of world history has stepped up its pace many times over in these last years; the succession of events is more rapid, the significance of each world crisis of greater moment, the possibilities of each situation more far-reaching. We see with our own eyes that of which our fathers in the faith told us, the breaking-up of a world order preparatory to the establishment of the Kingdom of God's dear Son. We see the progressive lining up of all world forces under the banners of one or other of two Great Powers. We see the land of promise and prophecy slowly becoming caught between the spheres of influence of those two Powers as in a pair of giant pincers. We hear the growing demand of Jacob that he be restored as of right to his ancient inheritance. We perceive these things and we know what they portend. When the faint-hearted children of Israel came to Ezekiel with their complaint, "The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth," the Lord gave him a word for them. We can take that word to heart, for history has repeated itself. "Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God; ... the days are at hand, and the effect o f every vision." Let us give more earnest heed to the sure word of prophecy, for now, in the world's Saturday night, it speaks with clear voice of the things that are yet to be, and as we see those things unfold on the screen of world history, we shall know of a surety that our faith has been well founded and that to, us belongs the word, "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved."
-A. O. Hudson, Eng.
As we enter the fifty-second year of our association together, it is encouraging to report that far from diminishing, there is an increasing interest in the Pilgrim Branch of our ministry. At this time of the year, when most of the friends are renewing their "Herald" subscriptions, correspondents frequently take the time to assure us that the services of our traveling brethren are deeply appreciated.
It facilitates the work and assists those who have matters in charge, when brethren throughout the country communicate their wishes well in advance, so that when we are making out schedules we are in a better position to make appointments. It is helpful, too, if we are informed in advance of the probable number of discourses desired.
During the past few years there have been a number of additions to our "Herald" subscription list, and it may well be that some of our readers are not aware of the availability of the services of our Pilgrim brethren. We take this opportunity, therefore, of informing such that our traveling brethren frequently pass through cities where there are only one or two friends and that arrangements could easily be made for a stop at such points, without any additional expense, if we were informed in sufficient time to include such appointment in a Pilgrim's schedule. It will, therefore, assist us materially, and make it possible to accomplish more in this branch of our ministry if our readers will let us know their wishes in regard to Pilgrim visit.
"But refuse profane and
old wives' fables, and exercise thyself
Here we conclude the consideration (begun in the March-April Herald) of the benefits enjoyed by Christians now, as the result of godliness. As the Apostle expresses it, in the text at the head of this article: "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is."
It will be recalled that we first discussed "four fundamental benefits of godliness in this life," namely, (1) justification by faith (2) the gift of the holy spirit (3) guidance from the Scriptures, and (4) the gradual transformation of character into the image of the Master, resulting from the first three mentioned.
COLLATERAL PROFITS IN THIS LIFE
We further noted that, in addition to the four basic benefits of godliness in the life that now is, there are many other related profits for the godly now, which in today's language would be called "fringe benefits." A few of these are spiritual freedom, peace, security, honor and power, pleasure and riches.
Christians are the only free people in the world. In 1776 the Declaration of Independence proclaimed liberty and truths never before realized: that men are created equal, have the unalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Since then great strides have been made throughout the world in civil, political, economic, and religious liberty. But Christians are the only ones really free. They are free from the slavery of Satan, sin, lusts and passion, and free from fear of eternal and purgatorial torment. The godly do as they please because they desire only to do good. They meditate day and night on the perfect law of liberty, and are Jesus' friends, striving to do whatever he commands. Jesus promised, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. . . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:32, 36).
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). We often hear people say, "I'm afraid it's going to storm," or "I'm afraid" of this or that. Such expressions show one's state of mind. Edward Everett Hale wrote: "Never bear more than one kind of trouble at once. Some people bear three kinds - all they have had, all they have now and all they expect to have." This is a pitiful habit to fall into, especially so because nine tenths of the troubles we imagine never happen at all. "Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday." Another has said: "Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere." If we carry past, present, or future troubles around, we are not cashing in on our profits, the heritage of the godly, peace.
Security is much talked of today. We have Social Security and Medicare, Relief, Job Corps, Unions, Guaranteed Annual Wages, and Life Insurance. We have had wars to end wars, and to make the world safe for democracy. But today, mirroring the worldwide trouble and distress, our country is in the gravest danger. The enormous expenditures on armaments and the prodigal worldwide opposition to communism is bankrupting our national economy. Despite these devastating conditions God's children are more secure and safe than is a babe in its mother's arms, because as Psalm 46 so well expresses it: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early."
To have a position of honor and power is one of the greatest urges of this life. To be godly is the most honorable and powerful undertaking in the world. Solomon asserts, (Prov. 12:26): "The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor"; and in Phil. 4:13, St. Paul boasts, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." We are arrayed against wicked spirit beings occupying ruling positions over this evil world but are promised victory over them, and that we shall teach them the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10; 6:12). The godly are called on to conquer self, and promised strength to overcome all opposition to their selfdiscipline, conquests greater than those of Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon. The wise man wrote: "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city" (Prov. 16:32).
Pleasure seems uppermost with everyone; more than ever, "eat, drink, and be merry" is the common goal. Christians enjoy the only lasting joys of life, for they have "all joy ... in believing" (Rom. 15:13), "rejoice in hope" (Rom. 12:12), "serve the Lord with gladness" (Psa. 100:2), have "the comfort of God's holy spirit" (Acts 9:31), and have "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8). These are but a few of the Biblical expressions describing the extreme pleasures enjoyed by the godly.
Riches everyone wants but few gain. There are none so rich as the godly. "All things are your's; . . . [because] ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's" (1 Cor. 3:21-23). This sounds fictitious but Psalm 50:10, 12 says that all the beasts of the forest, the cattle on a thousand hills, the world, and the fullness of it are all God's; and since Christians are God's dear children, all of God's vast wealth is theirs, and is being used for their everlasting good. The hymn does not exaggerate when it says: "My Father is rich in houses and lands, He holdeth the wealth of the world in his hands! Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold, His coffers are full -he has riches untold. I'm the child of a King! With Jesus, my Savior, I'm the child of a King."
GODLINESS; PROFITABILITY IN THE LIFE WHICH IS TO COME
having experienced it as yet we cannot say as much about the profitableness of
godliness in the life which is to come as has been said of the benefits in this
life. We may, however, learn much from such promises as John 14:2, 3: "In
my Father's house are many mansions: ... I go to prepare a place for you. And
. . . I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there
ye may be also"; Rom. 8:16, 17: "The Spirit itself beareth witness
with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children then heirs;
heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ . . . ";
Since Christians are to be like Christ, the Scriptures describing his glory will further disclose our hope for the future. Condensing these, we learn that Jehovah used mighty power to raise Christ from the dead, made him heir of all things, and set him at his own right hand far above all other created beings, made Christ the head over the Church, his body and bride. Christ is now far above the glorious estate he had before he came to earth and became a man. His first estate was in God's form and as God's agent, the Logos, he created the earth and all things. Christ is now on the divine plane of being, made of expressly the same bright, shining, glorious substance of which Jehovah's own person is composed. Christ is the only being, apart from Jehovah, who has immortality, dwells in light shining above the brightness of the sun at noon, whom no man has seen or can see (John 1:1-3; Acts 22:6; Acts 26:13; Eph. 1:19-23; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Heb. 1: 2-4). Of the godly Church St. Paul used the same extravagant language: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit: for the spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:9, 10). "When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. 15:54, 55).
To contemplate the future exalted estate and position of Christ and his Church is breath-taking, but to consider the tremendous work they are to do in the Millennial Age is equally thrilling. From 1 Cor. 6:2 one learns that the saints shall judge the world; and Rev. 20:4 tells us St. John saw in vision that the saints "lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." That reign will be over all mankind for Jesus said (John 5:28, 29): "All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment" (Revised Version). Isa. 26:9 explains that this judgment is not condemnatory, but corrective, "for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."
Psalm 126:1-3 gives some idea of how it will seem to the godly when they awake in Christ's likeness: "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad."
The profitability of godliness is thus summed up by Jesus (Matt. 19:28, 29): "Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold [in this present time (Luke 18:30)], and shall inherit everlasting life." Godliness is not a mere 6% return investment. In this life the godly gain 100 times as much as they give up. 100-fold is a profit of 10,000%. And in that life to come they gain everlasting life! That is very profitable! We urge, if you have not already done so, that you consecrate yourself to God, now! Those already enlisted in the ranks of the godly, we urge to daily renew their consecration to God and daily seek to fulfill it. Let us "exercise ourselves unto godliness."
- B. F. Hollister
"If any man will come after me, let him . . . ." - Luke 9:23.
Discipleship! How little has this been in consideration during the great doctrinal disputes which have marred the history of the visible, professing Church! Rather it has been orthodoxy, and orthodoxy that is measured by the strictness of adherence to a creed or system of interpretation established by a man, or councils of men. But, as there are many standards of orthodoxy, it follows that no matter how correct the views might be regarding the teachings of the creeds, or even of the Bible itself, simply holding correct views is not being a follower of Jesus,-is not discipleship.
The word disciple as used in the New Testament is not an exact synonym for pupil, or student, or scholar. It always implies not only an adherence to the teachings of Jesus, but, also, an attachment to the personal Jesus himself. Being simply students of the Bible in no way implies discipleship, for the word carries with it the idea of being disciplined; being trained and developed by instruction and exercise in godliness. Thus, in Matthew 11:27-29 we read, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me."
There are many illustrations in the Scriptures of the relationship existing between Christ and the Church, but this one of discipleship is that by which our lives and conduct are being measured by God, the Father; and, whether we are aware of it or not, by those with whom we come in contact day by day. When Jesus was here on earth he could say, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world"; but knowing that he was not to remain here he said to his disciples, "You are the light of the world .. . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:14-16; John 9:5). We, as disciples, have no light of ourselves; so whatever of the light of truth the world may see in us has to be that much of Christ that is reflected in us.
There is always the tendency to put outward activity in the place of the inward work of grace, transformation of life and character, sanctification. In the closing portion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7:21-23) Jesus warns against this, saying, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;" for many will come presenting their works, to whom Jesus will say, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." In astonishment they might ask, Workers of iniquity? What was wrong about preaching in your name? casting out demons? doing wonderful works? Ah! They were doing this on their own, having their own program and activities, disregarding the divine instructions; not being "co-laborers with God."
In Romans 12:1, 2, the Apostle beseeches his readers to present their bodies living sacrifices. He urges them to be transformed (changed) -- not merely to become informed as to God's will and purposes; nor merely to reform in the sense of becoming moral; but to be transformed by the renewal of their minds in order to prove, put to the test, that God's will is a good will, a perfect will, a most acceptable will. How often, though, the will of God is disassociated from the idea of sacrifice, and sacrifice from the expressed will of God. This is so well illustrated in the presumptuous presentation of the burnt offering by King Saul and the prophet Samuel's rebuke, "to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Sam. 15:22).
In the beatitudes, as arranged in Matthew's Gospel, Jesus gives a series of qualities that would characterize his followers; that would distinguish them. It has been said that the Sermon on the Mount does not fit this world. Jesus never said that it did. It was not taught to the world for we read, "Seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them" (Matt. 5:1, 2). It is also said by some that these teachings of Jesus are for the Kingdom Age as they are not practical in this age. But "do ye [we] not know that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Cor. 6:2). Certainly the saints could never teach the world the righteous laws of the kingdom if they had never applied these rules to themselves in this life. The teachings of Jesus are for disciples, now, even though their moral and spiritual excellency is not possible for, nor attractive to, the fallen human nature.
Consider some of the conditions of discipleship: forbidding even a word of contempt; having no impure desires; loving and praying for those who despitefully use them; rendering good for evil; warning against hypocrisy (play acting); warning against being over concerned about daily sustenance; warning against judging, and, at the same time showing the necessity of judging between a true and a false prophet; exhorting to build on a rock, and giving obedience to his teachings. The question now arises, "Who is sufficient for these things?" Jesus foresees the difficulty, and prescribes, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Many a worldly, professed Christian has taken false comfort in these words, thinking that this is of general application; that here is a blank check which needs only to be filled in and presented for payment. And we, ourselves, who have the first fruit of the spirit, are often overtaken in this same fault, as writes James, "You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your own. lusts" (James 4:3). Self-interest dominates fallen man, and still clings to us, even though now disciples.
The first requisite to discipleship is, as expressed by Jesus, to be "poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of heaven"-that is, blessed are the selfrenounced. And this agrees with the oft reported words of Jesus, "Unless a man deny himself, he cannot be my disciple." Self, and self-will must be warred against in order that God's will may have its way in us. Self-will and God's will cannot peacefully coexist in the mind of the would-be disciple. And faith is necessary for this, because the natural man can see only the natural; and the naturally unseen must become the most real in order for one to put implicit trust in, and obedience to, the teachings of Jesus, confident that he is what the Scriptures say he is, "the Son of the living God," the manifestation of God to man (Heb. 1:1, 2; John 1:1-18; 1 John 1:1-4). "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Matt. 17:5).
There are three laws which have to do with self: first, self-preservation; second, self-interest; third, self-denial. The first of these laws is good, for "self-preservation is the first law of nature." That is why God has woven the quality of fear in the composition of our makeup, or nature. Fear, of itself, is a good thing; it is what guards against a discontinuation of existence. This law of self-preservation is seen even in the vegetable world as each blade of grass, each shrub, each tree seeks to maintain its existence in its environment as best it can. But the second of these laws, that pertaining to self-interest, characterizes all of Adam's posterity; inherited from him -who introduced self-will in opposition to God's will into his once perfect nature. Self-interest elevates the individual self as important above all else; it makes self that around which all in its world revolves; and the more self-centered, the more miserable and loveless is the individual. But the third of these laws, that of self-denial, is basic to the Kingdom of God. It was enunciated time and again by Jesus, "Except a man deny himself, he cannot be my disciple."
To deny self is no easy matter, for it is not denying self of something, but denying the very selfhood, the ego. Necessarily, there has to be an adequate motive to induce this submerging of self, and that motive is declared to be "the redemption which is in Christ Jesus." Laboring under deep conviction of sin enslavement to which all are heirs, and finding that struggling for personal righteousness accomplishes little but a deeper awareness of this enslavement, the divine spirit directs to the grace and mercy of God; to "the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16).
It is the office of the holy spirit to "convict of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment," so the one coming under conviction is already being dealt with by God for the purpose of leading to repentance, and eventual discipleship. As Jesus said, "No one can come unto me, except it is given unto him of my Father" (John 6:65). But even though one has come to God for forgiveness, and has heard the call, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me," yet the response must be entirely voluntary, as is illustrated in Leviticus 1:3; "He shall offer it of his own voluntary will." There is no coercion. This was so even in the case of Jesus who was "called of God" (Heb. 5:4). His response was, "I delight to do thy will" (Psalm 40:6-8; Heb. 10:5-7). And again, "I lay down my life for the sheep . . . Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life. No man takes it from me, I lay it down of myself" [in accordance with God's will. Heb. 10:10]. "I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it again [not to lay it down again?]. Even in Gethsemane he could have had twelve legions of angels at his command to deliver him from the impending ordeal of trial, crucifixion, and death. Hear his prayer to the Father: "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." Here we see Jesus crushing out of himself every possibility of his own will ever being exercised contrary to the Father's will.
Self-denial and cross bearing must coexist. This idea of cross bearing is much misunderstood, as it is mostly thought of as being the enduring of that which nothing can be done about anyway. Although it is said of Jesus that he "endured the cross, despising the shame," yet it is also written, "What shall I say? Father, deliver me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour" (John 12:27). No! It was not the enduring of that which could not be escaped; it was his delight to be an instrument in the outworking of the Father's plan in putting away sin by the sacrifice of himself (2 Cor. 5:21).
Cross bearing was spoken of by the Lord before he was taken to be crucified; therefore it must have had significance which would be recognized by his hearers, else Jesus would not have used it as a figure of speech. What is its meaning? Crucifixion was the Roman method of execution for cases of extreme lawlessness; in showing contempt for the condemned, as well as making a public example of Rome's ruthlessness in punishment, the condemned was compelled to carry to the place of execution the wooden beams that were to be the material for his cross. Thus, this custom became the source of the figure of speech which Jesus used; and it meant, as he used it, that the faithful continuance in doing God's will might be that which would lead to murderous hatred by earthly powers and associates of whatever degree. And so we read in Rev. 2:10: "Be thou faithful unto death" [Not until death], for it is the degree of faithfulness that is expressed. It is obedience to the Father's will as it becomes known, no matter what the outcome may be. Such it was with Jesus who not only (a) "made himself of no reputation," but also (b) "was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:5-11). "He learned obedience by the things which he suffered [experienced]"; and became the "author of eternal salvation to all who obey him"; - follow him as his disciples, hearkening submissively to, him.
In Luke 14:16-24, one of the lessons which we see illustrated is the reluctance of the human heart to enter into God's Kingdom, to partake of the feast of favors offered to faith, to have fellowship with Christ in things that are of heavenly origin. Whenever there is set before us what is God's blessed will for us; always along with it is a logical reason why we should be doing something else, as we note in the parable: "I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go see it"; "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them [try them out]"; "I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." All of these are only excuses; the real reason for declining the invitation is that earthly ties and interests, all real and good, are given priority over interest in the things of the spirit.
But there is the inability of the natural mind to grasp and understand the significance and wholesomeness of the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14). This is well seen as recorded in Matthew 16:21-24; when, after Peter's confession of Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the living God," Jesus began to show to his immediate followers that "he must go up to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed.... Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me; for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." Then Jesus continued, "If any will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
As is intimated in the above cited passage, Satan will see to it that the way of self-denial and cross bearing, instead of being a delight in doing the will of God, will be presented as an offence, while to him who is dedicated to the will of God, to suggest otherwise is an offence. And so we read of the 144,000 in Revelation 14:4: "These are they who follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth." As another has well said, "There is no such thing as easy discipleship." And why should there be? Think of the magnitude of the reward for following Christ, if you can. To be confessed before the Father and all the holy angels; "to be like him, and see him as he is"; to be a partaker of his glory; to sit with him in his throne, and reign with him in bringing the covenanted blessings to all the families of earth! It is still a "straight [difficult] gate, and a narrow way," but it leads to life -- eternal life, the divine nature.
"As great multitudes followed Jesus, he turned and said unto them, If any come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." And then he explained why not in two parables-parables which have been much misunderstood: the parable of the building of a tower without sufficient funds to finish it; and that of a king going to make war against another king with superior forces (Luke 14:25-35). What Jesus is teaching in these is that half-heartedness will not do; neither insincerity; for unless there is wholehearted devotedness to the will of God, there will eventually be compromise. And the intimation is clear in. verse 26 that opposition may (shall we say, will) come from your own household, your family, and friends. If there is any compromise it has to. be on the part of the would-be disciple, for those of the world have nothing to compromise! "Count the cost" does not, or rather, should not, convey the thought of discouraging from discipleship; instead, it is a warning that it must be sincere, or there will be compromise, defeat, and confusion. Earthly ties, altogether fitting and human, will challenge our love and faithfulness, our devotion to Christ and his teachings. And then, Jesus adds, "Salt is good: but if the salt have lost its. savor, wherewith shall it be salted? This, the salt that has lost its savor, is the once professed disciple who has conceded to the prejudices of those who find the way of Christ -- the way of righteousness and godliness -- objectionable. Such a one is no longer able to bring conviction and witness to the reality of eternal life and eternal judgment.
Brethren, "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author [beginner] and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1, 2).
- F. A. Essler
Please explain Psalm 110:1, which reads as follows: "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool. "
We will first state our understanding of the passage and then submit Scriptural proof as to the correctness of our exposition.
(a) Explanation of text:
First, then, as to our understanding of the passage: In this verse, David, writing under the influence of God's holy spirit, reports a revelation of Jehovah's intention in regard to Messiah. In vision he, David, heard Jehovah addressing one, who though David's son, was yet his superior. David heard Jehovah say to this great One: " Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
(b) Scriptural proof as to the correctness of this interpretation:
Let us now examine the Scriptures in proof that this understanding is correct.
That the Psalm was written by David is a fact accepted by most scholars of repute. To begin with, it bears a superscription which reads "A Psalm of David"; thus, on its very surface, it claims to have been written by him. Moreover, in the New Testament our Lord Jesus himself evidences his belief that David wrote it. (Matt. 22:43; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42.) Not only so, but Jesus declares also that when David wrote this Psalm he was "in spirit," that is to say, he was aided and guided by, or under the influence or control of, the holy spirit of God. Accepting this New Testament confirmation of the fact that David was the author of our Psalm, it follows that the expression "my Lord" means David's Lord; that is to say, David's Master, his Superior, his "Adon."
However, the first occurrence of the word Lord refers not to David's Adon, but to Jehovah. This is signified by the fact that here the word "Lord" appears, in most Bibles, in small capital letters. The meaning may be seen more clearly by reference to the Revised Version, which reads:
"Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
Just now we referred to Matthew 22:43. Let us read that verse, together with the four verses which form its context, and note the additional light they throw on its inspired statement of the Psalmist. Commencing with Matthew 22:41 and reading from the Revised Version:
"Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, What think ye of the Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in the spirit call him Lord, saying,
The Lord saith unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I put thine enemies underneath thy feet?
If David then calleth him Lord, how is he his son?"
Considering these verses carefully we note, first, that in asking the Pharisees "What think ye of the Christ?" our Lord was not asking them what they thought about himself. True, he was the Christ, but he was not, in this question, insisting on that title. Rather, he is drawing them out. It is as though he had asked: "What have your studies of the Old Testament led you to understand is to be true of the great Messiah, when he comes? Whose son, whose descendant is he to be?" There was, of course, only one reply for them to make: "The son of David." This was common knowledge. The Scriptures had established this fact beyond question. (See, for example, 2 Sam. 7:8-17; Psa. 89:3, 4; Psa. 132:11; Amos 9:11.) Not only the Pharisees, but the masses of the people, too, were well aware that Messiah was to be of David's line. - See Matt. 1:1; 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30, 31; 21:9, 15; Luke 1:32.
Yes, all were agreed that according to the predictions of the Prophets, the Messiah was to be a son of David, and the heir of his throne. But now, having by this preliminary query prepared the way for his main question, our Lord puts it to them "How then doth David in spirit call him Lord?" "How do you explain this remarkable language which David employs here, in Psalm 110, verse 1? What is the reason that justified -- nay, what is the reason that, under the influence of the holy spirit, impelled-David to call him Lord?"
It is easy for us, with the New Testament in our hands, to answer our Lord's question. David's son was David's Lord, in the prophetic vision unfolded to David which he records in this Psalm, because, at the time that vision would meet its fulfillment, this great son of his would have become his Lord. Following his birth as a babe, he would have pursued the path marked out for him by the Father to, and beyond, Calvary. Highly exalted as a reward for his faithfulness, he would now become the Everlasting Father of the human race. As such he would be David's Father -- David's Life giver. (See Isa. 9:6; Rev. 22:16.) By his question, then, our Lord intimates to the Pharisees that, understanding merely that Messiah was to be a son of David, and failing to understand this verse, which declared that Messiah was also to be David's Lord, they had but a poor, outside, view of the real nature, character, and work of the long promised Messiah. It was not a mere monarch, somewhat like David, that was needed. It was one who was fit to be David's monarch, and the monarch of all monarchs, one who would have power with God, and whose throne might be established in the hearts of men.
This Psalm is quoted not only by our Lord in Matthew, Mark, and Luke's accounts, but also elsewhere in the New Testament. The first verse is quoted by Peter in his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost, a sermon which carried conviction to the minds of three thousand hearers. -Acts 2:34, 35, 41.
In 1 Cor. 15:25 we are told that Christ "must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet" - language which is quite evidently borrowed from David.
Again, in the first chapter of Hebrews, verse 13, the inspired writer, in showing the supreme excellence of the Christian dispensation over the past, and the vast superiority of Christ over all the angelic order of beings, exclaims triumphantly in concluding his argument: "But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" as God did say to Jesus the Messiah, as you will find recorded in the 110th Psalm of David. This is the culminating point of the writer's argument, and its force rests upon the universal acknowledgment of his hearers that this Psalm referred to the Messiah, and that there was only one being in all the universe so high, so exalted, so powerful, to whom its language could be applicable, and that that Being was David's Son and David's Lord.
Nor are we left in doubt as to the occasion in the experience of our Lord when this prophetic utterance of David would meet fulfillment. Would it be when Jehovah brought him into existence as the mighty Logos? Did Jehovah then say to him: " Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Was it when his life was transferred to earth as a babe at Bethlehem? Was it when he consecrated himself at Jordan? No! it was on none of these occasions. It was when, following his death and resurrection he ascended to heaven. Have we a Scripture to prove this? Yes, indeed. Hear the writer to the Hebrews, in chapter 10, verses 12 and 13 (Heb. 10:12-13).
"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. "
And again, in Ephesians 1:19-22, where the Apostle speaks of the mighty power of God:
"Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand .. . and put all things under his feet. "
St. Peter, too, takes up a similar strain, when in 1 Peter 3:22, he speaks of the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
"Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."
Concerning the Messiah of Jewish hopes we have found in the foregoing discussion at least two things taught in the Scriptures, and condensed in Psalm 110:1:
St. Paul was a man highly educated in the Old Testament Scriptures. Note the following from his pen, which testify that Jesus possessed these two qualifications:
"Remember [Timothy] that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my Gospel." - 2 Tim. 2:8.
Yes -- whatever else Timothy forgot he must remember that, and maintain it in his teaching.
Again, in Romans 1:3, 4 in what has been called the "Gospel according to St. Paul," he writes of that Gospel:
"Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead."
Just a word in closing. Jehovah is heard, by David, addressing Messiah: " Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." How shall we understand these words?
According to an able commentator (Perowne) this expression "denotes that the person thus honored occupied the second place in the Kingdom, taking rank immediately after the king, and also sharing as viceroy in the government."
If such be the meaning, if the solemn address, "Sit thou at my right hand," is equivalent to saying, "Be thou associated with me in my kingly dignity, in my power and universal dominion," then the best comment on the passage is to be found in Daniel 7:13, 14, where one like the Son of Man comes with the clouds of heaven and is brought unto the Ancient of Days, and there is given him a kingdom and glory and a dominion, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. The two passages, the one from the Psalms and the other from Daniel, are in fact combined by our Lord himself, when, standing before the High Priest, he says: "Hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven." - Matt. 26:63, 64; Mark 14:61, 62.
- P. L. Read.
All should be aware of the fact that the affairs of our Institute are in the hands of seven brethren who are elected from its membership to serve for a period of one year or until their successors are elected.
Our Annual Meeting this year is scheduled to be held (D.V.) Saturday, September 20, at 10:00 am., in the Y.W.C.A., North Carolina and Pacific Avenues, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 08401.
Membership in the Pastoral Bible Institute is, and always has been, open to any consecrated brother or sister who "is in full harmony with the purpose, spirit, and policy of the Institute," and who intends to support it "in all reasonable ways as he or she shall deem to be the Lord's will."
As stated in its charter, the purpose for which the Institute was formed is "the dissemination of Bible truths in various languages by means of the publication of tracts, pamphlets, papers, and other religious documents, and by the use of all other lawful means which its Board of Directors, duly constituted, shall deem expedient for the furtherance of the purposes stated."
The membership fee is five dollars ($5.00) which should accompany the application. If an applicant lacks the membership fee, but is otherwise acceptable, the fee will be paid out of a special fund provided for that purpose.
In order to participate in the election of directors at the next annual meeting, anyone, not already a member, who desires to apply for membership should do so promptly as, according to our bylaws, "the registration of such membership must be made twenty days prior to the election."
Members of the Pastoral Bible Institute are hereby reminded of the privilege which is theirs of nominating in the pages of this journal the brethren they wish to elect as directors for the fiscal year 1969-70.
The brethren whose term of service will expire are: F. A. Essler, J. C. Jordan, A. L. Muir, J. T. Read, P. L. Read, W. J. Siekman, and J. B. Webster.
The brethren named above are pleased to report that a spirit of Christian love and harmony exists in their midst; and they have every reason to believe that the Lord has seen fit to bless their association in this ministry. They realize, however, that those carrying on any work may fail to see opportunities for improvement and expansion apparent to others not charged with such responsibilities, and that for this reason changes in office sometimes have beneficial effects. They therefore urge upon all the members of our Institute that they make this a special occasion for prayer, that our Father's will may be expressed in the vote of the members. If after prayerful meditation any are led of the Lord to nominate brethren, and will forward the names and addresses of such brethren so as to reach this office on or before August 10, 1969, such names will be published in the September-October issue of the "Herald," that all members may have an opportunity of voting for them.