(Here and There)

Br. Ted Smith

From Volume VI pages 654 to 656:

The Nominal Church as an Adversary to the New Creation

Because their first knowledge of the Lord came to them while in the nominal church, or through some of its representatives or agencies, many are inclined to view sectarian Systems as their spiritual mothers, and to feel a love and obligation to them accordingly. Such find it difficult to realize that these are earthly systems—Babylon—really opponents of the New Creation. Their difficulty arises because of too close and narrow a view of the subject. They need to lift their eyes higher, and to realize that from the divine standpoint there is a wide difference between the nominal church and the true, between the tares and the wheat. Tares cannot beget wheat, nor can nominal Christendom produce true Christians. Its tendencies are in the reverse direction. The Scriptures declare that it is the power of God that works in us, to ‘will and to do of his good pleasure.’ (Comment—we should note this carefully—that it is ‘the power of God that works in us’ and not the Nominal Church with which we may have been associated.) It is the power of the new life which subsequently develops under providential care. (Comment—’It is the power of the new life’ that does the work, not the Nominal Church with which we may have been associated.) It is not the begetting of the spirit of worldliness that will produce this result. The nominal church, as distinguished from the true, is that class of people who have seen and heard certain features of divine truth (Comment—from the Bible.), who have been more or less enlightened in respect to right and wrong, more or less, therefore, brought under a measure of conviction as to what is right or wrong, (Comment—from the Bible.) but who under this information are careless, negligent of the divine will, (Comment—gleaned from the Bible.) and disposed to use divine mercies so far as they please, especially so far as they will minister to their personal or social advantage in the present time, and no more. The true church on the contrary as we have already seen, consists of those who have not only heard the truth, (Comment—from the Bible.) but have consecrated their all to him who loved them and bought them—those who have followed on to know the Lord and to obey him to the extent of their ability, and who, in thus following, count not their lives dear unto them. The nominal church is not the light of the world, but merely a class of people who prefer light to darkness and who like to have a little of the light shining from true Christians commingled with the lights of heathendom and of the various sciences. The members of the true Church are each a burning and shining light wherever they may be. (Comment ‘Wherever they may be.’)

The wider the difference between these two classes the better it generally is for the true church; indeed, the lamps of the faithful light-bearers have usually shone the brighter in proportion as the nominal system was immersed in gross darkness and superstition, and in proportion as the true church was persecuted by the nominal system—from whom, indeed, all the persecutions have come.

There is a continual temptation to the New Creation by the nominal church system (Comment—if they stay in Babylon, the New Creation is severely tempted.) —not only through false doctrines, but also in formalistic piety and hypocrisy, in which they draw nigh to the Lord with the lips, while the heart is far from him—while the thoughts, sentiments, words and deeds are wholly out of accord with the spirit of truth and the consecration which it inculcates. The temptations to the New Creation from the world would be comparatively powerless were it not for the fact that the nominal church combines the worldly spirit, aims and ambitions with the name of Christ and an humble service to him. (Comment—the nominal church combines the worldly spirit, aims and ambitions with the name of Christ.) The ease, honor of men, emoluments, freedom from sacrifice, and sureness of attaining the best things that this world can give, are the baits and allurements, the snares and traps, which Babylon holds out to the New Creation, and that continually. (Comment—the spirit of the world is IN Babylon, and used by Babylon to tempt the New Creation.) No others of the Adversary’s snares are so alluring, so deceptive, so powerful, as this one.

From Volume IV Page 258, par. 1:

But we rejoice to know that, notwithstanding the conflict of creeds and the unchristian conduct of multitudes of professed Christians, and of the so-called Christian nations, all Christian missionary effort among the heathen peoples has not been in vain, but that here and there the seeds of divine truth have dropped into good and honest hearts and brought forth the fruits of righteousness and true Christian character. Such fruits, however, cannot be credited to the creeds, but to the Word and spirit of God, despite the confusion of human creeds. (Comment—this fact should be clearly noted—’despite the confusion of human creeds’) The Lord refers to the Old and New Testament Scriptures as ‘My two witnesses’, {# Re 11:3} and faithfully they have borne their testimony to every nation.

We would not be understood as including all Christians as ‘Babylonians.’ Quite to the contrary. As the Lord recognizes some in Babylon as true to him and addresses then now, saying—’come out of her my people’, {# Re 18:4} so do we; and we rejoice to believe that there are today thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal of our day—Mammon, Pride and Ambition. Some of these have already obediently Come out of her,’ and the remainder are now being tested on this point, before the plagues are poured out upon Babylon. Those who love self, popularity, worldly prosperity, honor of men more than they love the Lord, and who reverence human theories and systems more than the Word of the Lord, will not come out until Babylon falls and they come through the ‘great tribulation.’ {# Re 7:9,14} But such shall not be accounted worthy to share the Kingdom. Compare # Re 2:26,3:21 Mt 10:37 Mr 8:34,35 Lu 14:26,27.

(Comment—the writer, our Pastor, believed ‘that there are today (his day) thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ He said some had already obediently ‘come out, and the balance (of those who had not bowed the knee to Baal) were being tested, and those who ‘loved self, popularity, worldly prosperity, honor of men more than they love the Lord, and who reverence human theories and systems more than the Word of the Lord, will not come out until Babylon falls and they come through the ‘great tribulation."As we all know this is the Great Company class—they are included in those who have not bowed the knee to Baal, but they are lacking in full loyalty to the Lord, and they will have to share in the plagues poured out upon Babylon.)

Tabernacle Shadows—all the paragraphs under the sub-heading of THE SCAPE-GOAT are interesting and instructive.

These, though ‘castaways,’ as regards the prize, {# 1Co 9:27} are nevertheless objects of the Lord’s love; for at heart they are friends of righteousness and not of sin. (Page 69, par. 2)

These are in a pitiable condition: they have failed to win the prize, therefore cannot have the divine nature; nor can they have restitution to perfect humanity with the world; for, in their consecration, all human rights and privileges were exchanged for spiritual ones, and the opportunity to run the race for the divine nature. (Comment—we know they did this, but, being in the Nominal System, they did not understand all. the philosophy of the matter as we do, who are instructed in Present Truth.) (They) were all their life-time subject to bondage—bondage of fear of men and men’s traditions and opinions which always bring a snare, and keep back from full obedience to God, even unto death.—Heb. 2:15. (Page 70, par. 1) (Comment—all this takes place in their lives in the nominal systems.)

When all the members of the ‘little flock’ shall have gone beyond the ‘Veil,’ divine providence, the hand of the Lord, will set free those bound ones, ‘who, through fear of death (to the world), are all their lifetime subject to bondage,’ by overthrowing the many theories, creeds, and traditions of men, and great nominal church organizations, in and to and by which his people (Comment—note these are ‘his people’ God’s people, but lower than the Little Flock.) of the ‘scapegoat’ class are held—hindered, from hearing and obeying the Lord’s voice. (Comment—what is the Lord’s voice?—is it not the Harvest Message?) (Page 71, par. 2)

Forced into freedom by ‘Babylon’s’ fall while realizing that the great prize has been lost, these ‘tribulation saints’ will then hear the High Priest’s voice and find themselves forced into the wilderness condition of separation and flesh destruction. At no previous time have there been so many consecrated ones bound as at present; yet there have been some throughout the entire age. (Page 72, par. 1)

Reprint page 5574 col. 2, par. 3 to 5:

Two Classes Born Out of Zion

In describing the birth of the ‘Man-child,’ The Christ, whose head was born more than 1,800 years ago, and the body of whom is now soon to be born, the Prophet Isaiah exclaims (66:7, 8), ‘Before she travailed she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child! Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children.’ The especially marvelous thing that the Prophet here records is that a ‘man-child’ is to be born out of Zion before Zion travails. This is a striking reference to the fact, elsewhere clearly taught, that the ripe ‘wheat’ of the Gospel church are to be separated from the unripe wheat and the ‘tares’ at the end of this age, that they are to be exalted and glorified before the burning, the consuming, trouble shall come. (Comment—the ripe ‘wheat’ is to be separated from two different classes—from the unripe wheat and from the ‘tares’.)

This ‘man-child’ then, is the little flock, the body of Christ, the true Zion. Out of nominal Zion will come this first-fruits class, before the nominal system will be overthrown; for she will die in her travail pains, and in dying, will bring forth her later children, the great company. In this great day of the Lord, nominal Zion will bring forth the man-child and these later children.

‘Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord. Shall I cause to bring forth and shut the womb? saith thy God.’ Ah, no! As surely as the Head was brought forth, so surely shall the body also be born. The birth shall certainly be completed. The great composite Christ shall come forth entire, not one member lacking-and before Zion’s travail has begun. But ‘who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such a thing:’ And so, after the man-child is delivered, the mother system will give birth, when her travail pains come on, to a great company of children! This great company is described in the Apocalypse as coming up out of ‘the great tribulation ‘ and washing their robes, spotted and soiled, and making them white, ‘in the blood of the Lamb.’

Reprint page 5377, col. 2, par. 2:

This recording has been going on throughout this present age. This means that those whose names are therein written are not only members of the family of God, but also members of the bride class. In order to maintain this position, they must be overcomers. In some Scriptures it seems that the great company class are included; in other passages it is not so.

Reprint page 5377, Col 2, par. 3:

In our text {# Re 3:5} we may not be sure whether or not the great company is included. From one standpoint it looks as though they were; from another, as though they may not be.. We do well not to settle it too definitely in our minds, but wait to see what the Lord’s intention is. We know that there will be some names blotted out. All those who go into the second death will be blotted out of the special record, and their names have no place in the book of life. Perhaps the great company class will also be blotted out of the special record. But we are not anxious to put that construction upon it. They are our brethren, they also are brethren of the Lord, and we would like to think of them as favorably as possible. (Comment—notice the writer is talking about the ‘special record.’)

Reprint page 5383, par. 5:

When the little flock shall have passed beyond the vail, there will still be the great company of the Lord’s people left here. Many of these will apparently continue in Babylon until the time of trouble shall cause Babylon to fall. And by the fall of Babylon these will be set free.

Reprint page 5393. par. 5 and 6:

Both classes, the little flock and the great company, receive the anointing of the Lord, the begetting of the holy Spirit. The Apostle says that ‘we are all called in the one hope of our calling.’ {# Eph 4:4} We all have received this anointing of the holy spirit, or we could not belong to the body of Christ at all. It is now a matter of development. Those who continue to develop in the spirit of the Lord will attain a place on the throne with Jesus. But there will be some who will not be accounted worthy to reign with him; yet they have received of the Lord this anointing, this begetting. These will not be of the body of Christ, because they failed to progress on account of lack of zeal in carrying out their covenant.

Reprint page 5411, col. 2, par. 2 to 6..

The Great Company

These are seeking to be followers of Christ and followers of Mammon, seeking to please the Lord and to please the world, having some of the Lord’s spirit and some of the spirit of the world (Comment’spirit of the world’ in Babylon.), and in general not making progress, and not putting off the things of the flesh—anger, hatred, malice and strife, envy and evil speaking, the works of the flesh and of the devil, and thereby are not putting on the fruits of the spirit—faith, fortitude, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly-kindness, meekness, gentleness, love. (Comment—not making progress’—’spots’ on their robes.)

It must be admitted that these have not had the right instructors, (Comment—in Babylon; ) and they have gotten wrong conceptions—misunderstandings of the Lord’s Word. Nevertheless, we cannot but have faith that God will guide these who are really his children, and will, through suffering, lead them to take a positive stand.

We do not think we should understand the Scriptures to teach that the great company will attain to the same degree of spiritual development as the little flock. It is true that God has only the standard of perfection for any of his creatures; but there are many who demonstrate by their lives that, if everything were favorable, they would be very loyal to the Lord and very loyal to righteousness. It is merely because the narrow way is so steep, so up-hill and rugged, that they have not the courage to go on. They fail to display that love and zeal which the Lord has set as the mark for participation in the royal priesthood.

We believe that the Lord would probably expect no more from the great company class than he would expect from the angels—as though he would say of each of these, Doubtless this person, under favorable conditions, would prefer to be my child and to live in harmony with me, and he would not think of living in sin, and would even suffer death rather than deny my name. If such be the test of the great company class, there might be a million (Comment: ‘A MILLION.’) who have demonstrated this degree of loyalty in the past, during this Gospel age. Some of these probably have even suffered martyrdom, when they were put to the final test.

Reprint page 5166. col. 2, par. 5:

This description (Comment—those who experience the first resurrection.) excludes the great company and applies merely to the little flock, ‘partakers of the divine nature.’ {# 2Pe 1:4} Other Scriptures seem to show us that the great company class will attain to spirit perfection in their resurrection; and therefore we might think of theirs as a second resurrection—second in order, in glory and in preference. These two classes compose the ‘church of the firstborns, which are written in heaven.’ {# Heb 12:23} The difference between them is merely that the little flock were zealous to go forward and perform what duties and privileges they saw, while the great company were less zealous and less loyal in sacrifice, although they would suffer death rather than deny the Lord or his truth.

Reprint page 5055—four paragraphs under subheading THE CARES OF THE WORLD OVERCOME MANY:

As we are all aware the Bible shows that some who make this consecration, afterward become involved with the world, the cares of this life, and the deceitfulness of riches. These fail to carry out their agreement. Thus they are holding back the very price necessary to make them joint-heirs with our Lord. Whoever rejects the cross will not get the crown. How many people are overcharged with the cares of this life! How many people are being deluded by the deceitfulness of riches!

There was a gentleman with whom the writer was once very intimate; we were like brothers. One day he said, ‘Brother Russell, I should like very much indeed to be out in the Lord’s work and to do some kind of service for the truth, but I have a wife, and I understand that the Lord holds me responsible for the care of my wife. I could not think of going out and leaving her dependent. But if the Lord in his providence should ever send me money so that I could go without my wife’s suffering any serious inconvenience, I would be very glad to go out and preach the Gospel.’ The Lord took him at his word. He was then a bookkeeper; but the Lord opened the way, by the death of a member of the firm, for him to become one of the principal partners in that firm. Without any effort at all he prospered financially until he was worth at least half a million dollars.

One day we said to him, ‘Brother, we have a very serious matter that weighs on us a great deal.’ He said, ‘Tell me what it is and I will assist you, whatever it costs.’ You see how gracious he was! He thought that we were after his money! Dear friends, we thank God that we have never yet found it necessary to ask for money; and we do not suppose that we ever shall. We said, ‘Brother, we are in great distress, and no one but you can help us.’ ‘Tell me what it is,’ he replied. We said, ‘Dear Brother, we desire to call your attention to something which you said several years ago when you were poor.’ Then we recited our previous conversation as best we could, and said, ‘The Lord has given you the money; He has done his part; are you ready to do yours?’ With streaming eyes he answered, ‘Brother Russell, I am so bound to my business—hand and foot—that it would be impossible now.’ The cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, according to his own words, had bound him both hand and foot; but his heart was still loyal to God.

We have no desire to be his judge, but we are inclined to think that dear brother did not get into the kingdom. While we do not know, yet we fear that his being bound ‘hand and foot’ may have stood in his way, though we think that he was truly a child of God. Are we to suppose that because he failed to make that sacrifice which he had agreed to make, he would go down into the second death? We hardly think so. We think that the Lord loved him and that he had a very loyal character. The Lord loves good characters. Our thought is that quite probably the dear fellow will be in the great company; and we are very glad that there will be a great company class.

Reprint page 4078, par. 2:

Some of our readers appear not to grasp fully the fact that two classes are being saved during the Gospel age—a ‘little flock,’ to be the ‘bride,’ the ‘Lamb’s wife,’ ‘joint-heirs’ in the kingdom; and a ‘great company,’ who will constitute the ‘virgins, her companions, that follow her.’ {# Ps 45:14} We might say from one standpoint that this not a fundamental doctrine, and that hence differences of opinion respecting it need cause little concern. However, every truth has its place and bearing upon the divine plan as a whole, and upon our doctrinal establishment, and hence upon our ability to ‘stand in the evil day.’ Those who see not the two companies in the process of development during this age will of necessity be somewhat confused in respect to certain features of the divine plan.

Reprint page 4926, col. 2, top of page: We might infer that the one thousand may fall into total unbelief, and the ten thousand, the ‘great company,’ into the great time of trouble to wash their robes white and to purify themselves. They will be partakers with Babylon in her sins and have part in her great fall.—Rev. 14:18; 18:10.

Reprint page 4648, par. 4:

Likewise let us beware of how the adversary might seek to ensnare us and to mislead us in the study in respect to the great company. If he could get us sufficiently interested in this, or in any similar question, so as to make of it a point of dispute in the church and to cause a division amongst the brethren and stumbling of some, we may be sure that it would pleasing to our adversary in proportion as it would be injurious to God’s people.

Reprint page 4294, last par.:

Let us all continue to remember these dear, loyal, faithful servants of the truth in our petitions to the Throne of Grace. We scarcely dare hope that the year 1909 will show a further increase upon the present one in this department; for we constantly say to ourselves, ‘Will wonders never cease?’ No such sale in subscription books was ever known. Undoubtedly the Lord is using this method, not only to reach many of his ripe and truth hungry saints, but also to put the truth into the homes of others, where it will be sought and devoured, and give strength during the ‘time of trouble,’ especially to the great company class.

Reprint page 3606, col. 2, par. 3:

True, some of this great company class have been turned ‘over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved (that they might be saved as spirit beings) in the day of the Lord Jesus’ all down through this Gospel age. But the proportionate number of these has probably been small as compared with the number who today, under the greater light and opportunity and privileges which we enjoy, have consecrated themselves, yet hold back from the completion of their sacrifice. (Comment—this would seem to refer to those who have responded to the Harvest message (’greater light’), but who ‘hold back from the completion of their sacrifice.’)

Reprint page 3748-last paragraph:

The lesson as a whole, is, first, that we must be on the rock foundation to have either part or lot in the matter—to be able to stand any test; second, that of those upon the rock, trusting in Christ, loyal to him and his atonement work, there will be two classes—the ‘little flock,’ faithful to the Word and upheld by it and protected, and the ‘great company,’ not sufficiently diligent and careful respecting the divine promises, and who will have a faith structure largely composed of error, which will be consumed. Respecting this latter class the Apostle declares, ‘the same shall be saved, yet so as by fire.’ This fitly describes the deliverance of the great company, who will ‘come up through great tribulation and wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ — # 1Co 3:12,15 Re 7:14. (Comment’faith structure largely composed of error’—where would this be but in the nominal system? And there are many who have responded to the ‘greater light’ of the Harvest Message outside the Nominal System, but who ‘hold back from the completion of their sacrifice.’ See 5th quote on page 8. So we have great company in the nominal system, and outside of the nominal system—connected with the Harvest Message.)

Reprint page 5656, first question and answer:

Many Christians Not Yet Enlightened

Question.—Is there any one at the present time outside of present truth who has the holy Spirit?

Answer.—There are various degrees of the Spirit of holiness which may be possessed by the child of God at various times in his experience. We may ourselves have more of the holy Spirit now than we have ever had before, implying that there was a time when we did not have so much. Or there may be some who have less, implying that they have not been growing spiritually, and are grieving the holy Spirit with which we are sealed.

We are not to think that all who are begotten of the holy Spirit are exactly on the same plane, in either their spiritual appetites or their development or their knowledge of God’s plan. We grow in grace as we grow in knowledge. If our measure of grace lessens, the knowledge begins to fade. The more grace we have, the more understanding is ours. As a matter of fact, the whole world has been laboring under such delusions that we are surprised, when we ‘wake up,’ to see how little we did know—to see how ignorant we were of some of the precious messages God has given us.

And as we were children of God before we received full knowledge, so we believe it is possible for others to be children of God without having the full knowledge. We are living in the end of the harvest time, when, we believe, the Lord is causing the knowledge of the truth to encircle the world. And yet the adversary is raising ‘dust,’ calumny, to hinder the people from appreciating it.

It is in very rare cases that God does as he did with Saul of Tarsus—strike him down with a great light, brighter than the sun at noonday. And it is because we believe that there are still children of God attempting to live on husks and skimmed milk—that there are such brethren in Christ who need the assistance we are able to give them—that we are trying to help them. Otherwise we would abandon all special effort at propaganda, knowing that there will be favorable conditions for all as soon as the kingdom shall be established.

The Bible speaks of the great company class as the ‘great multitude,’ as though the foolish virgin class were larger than the wise virgin class. And the Scriptures indicate that the great company class will not all have fled from Babylon before its overthrow. ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. This call has been going out for now thirty-seven years. It is God’s call.

The Scriptures show us that some will come out, and others will not come out, will not be released from Babylonish fetters. These foolish virgins will see that their lack of love and zeal has lost them a place in the bride class. But they are virgins, nevertheless, and will have a place, or portion, as the companions of the bride. They will follow her into the king’s palace. They will be bridesmaids, if you please—a position of lesser honor; but they will attain everlasting life. So we have reason to believe that the numbers of God’s people begotten of the holy Spirit and still in Babylon are considerable. (Comment—begotten in Babylon, but not by Babylon.) If we were in their place and they in our place, we feel sure that they would make heroic efforts to help us out of Babylon; so we are doing likewise.

Reprint page 5411—four paragraphs under subheading OPPOSITION OVERRULED FOR BLESSING:

We think there is good reason to believe that a considerable number who have made consecration are still in Babylon. We do not know this, however. We are near to the battle of Armageddon, near the time of the overthrow of Babylon; and we are seeking to give the Message of the truth as wide a circulation as possible, to the intent that this class may hear and come out, even though too late to win the great prize. That they are considerable in number is intimated in the 19th chapter of Revelation, where we are told that when Babylon falls the number of those released at that time will be a great multitude, that the voices of these will be ‘as the voice of many waters.’

We believe that at the present time there are a great many in the nominal churches whose minds are gradually becoming more and more awake to the truth. In various pulpits, where the truth is opposed, many things of the Gospel of the kingdom are being proclaimed; and this will have the effect of awakening and informing some of this class. Even though those bringing forward these truths declare them in spite and envy, nevertheless the message of the Gospel is preached. {# Php 1:15-18} Many thus have their attention called to certain truths, which we would never be able to give them—many whom we could not reach.

For instance, some of these ministers mention that we believe the nominal church to be Babylon; others say that we believe that our Lord is now present, in his second advent, and is gathering his jewels; {# Mal 3:17} still others are telling that we believe the end of the Gentile times will come in Oct., 1914. All these truths are being stated in a slanderous way. But we should not be surprised if the Lord will overrule for the good of his people many of these things.

Not long ago, to our great surprise, a brother told us that his first knowledge of the truth came to him through a Morehead tract. Another man heard his preacher say that we were the anti-Christ. He wanted to see what anti-Christ looked like, and he came to see and hear us, and got the truth, just on account of slanderous statements. So we have to be a target, that the Lord’s message may go forth. We are not to think it strange, as though some strange thing happened unto us, that we are caused to be a gazing stock, and pass through fiery trials. Let us rejoice that we are accounted worthy to suffer with Christ, that when his glory shall be revealed, we may be glad also with exceeding joy.—l #4:12-14 Heb 10:32,33.

Reprint page 4648, par. 2:

We urged the friends, however, to remember that many of us were justified and in fellowship with God, and had presented our bodies living sacrifices, had received an imputation of Christ’s merit, and our sacrifices had been accepted of the Father and the holy Spirit of adoption had been imparted, before we understood much of anything concerning the philosophy of the Atonement or the significance of the ransom, or anything about its application.

Reprint page 3884, par. 4:

Such are sure to respond and to come out of Babylon; others who remain, in spite of seeing the light, fail to be overcomers of the highest class—fail therefore to be in the elect Bride class, and must be counted in with the great company, which will come through great tribulation, and will get out of Babylon only when she has been cast as a great millstone into the midst of the sea—in the time of anarchous trouble with which this age will close.

Reprint page 4582, col. 2, par. 4:

But we cannot hope thus of all—especially when the light of truth is shining so much more brightly and when the Lord is especially testing the loyalty or disloyalty of those professing his name, with a view to their separation and to the determining of their eternal destinies. No doubt some who will be of the ‘great company’ will be more or less deceived of the adversary by the strong delusions of this hour. Such in their blindness and deception may set forth darkness for light and light for darkness. They may do it with great positiveness, but scarcely, we think, with bitterness—anger, malice, envy, hatred, strife—works of the flesh and of the devil.

Reprint page 5550, col. 2, par. 1:

It is the Word of God, the Gospel message, that will bring people into relationship with God. So whoever will receive the holy Spirit must first receive the knowledge of the truth; and then this truth will operate upon him. First he must take his stand for righteousness; next he must receive Christ as his Redeemer. Then, after having accepted Christ as his Savior, he must go forward and make a consecration of himself to walk in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus. If he merely understood that this is the will of God, we believe that he would be received of the Lord—begotten of the holy Spirit. Then it would be God’s order that he receive more instruction, because he had taken the proper steps thus far.

Reprint page 4593, par. 1:

There is a disposition on the part of some, unconsciously, to fellowship only such Christians as are outside of all denominations. Our true position, nevertheless, is that we recognize all loyal to our Redeemer, whether babes or fully-grown, whether in Babylon or out of her, whether they follow with us or indirectly speak evil of us.

Reprint page 2991, col. 2, par. 3:

While we may safely reckon that many members of denominations are properly children of God, and may properly fellowship them as brethren in Christ, notwithstanding the fact that they are still in Babylon, and blind to the harvest message... (Written April 1, 1902)

Reprint page 2079, par. 3:

It may be said, however, that all who become children of God and whose hearts are honest are delivered to some extent from bondage to this false doctrine (eternal torment), and are enabled through truths received to counteract the baneful effect of this error to such an extent as to permit them through certain great truths to see God’s love and in a general way at least to hope and trust that God will commit no injustice upon any of his creatures, and that somehow, somewhere and at some time all men will have a full chance to be reconciled to God through Christ. Thus with many of God a saints, we believe, the spirit of error hindering worship is overcome by the spirit of truth in general and true worship made possible.

Reprint 2851, col. 2, par. 1 to 3:

Are we to suppose, then, that there were no saints in the past, because in the past these false ideas of God held full sway amongst his professed children? Are we to suppose that. Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Calvin, Knox, the Wesleys and others, were not saints, and not joint-inheritors with Christ in the kingdom? No; on the contrary, we presume that these were saints, and that they laid down their lives in the Lord’s service; and we merely mention these prominent names as illustrations, and not by way of saying that they were the only saints of their times, and not disputing either that there were saints before them, all through the dark ages, as well as in the primitive church.

What we do claim, however, is that the mixed theology, which represents God as half love and half devil, never produced the sanctifying effect which we see in the lives of the class we have mentioned. We hold that all those who reached the point of saintship described in our text, {# Ps 63:3} and who were able to balance the present life and its earthly good things with the loving favor of God, and to prefer God’s a favor rather than life, so that they were willing to sacrifice earthly interests, that they might have the divine favor, both as respects the life which now is, and that which is to come, —these never reached this position through this mixed theology, but attained this grand position only in proportion as they were able to forget or ignore the human and Satanic blasphemies respecting the divine character, and to think of God from the standpoint of pure justice and love. Some of them have told us in their writings how terribly this devil-inspired theology weighed upon them; how they found the theory so antagonistic to all their conceptions of divine justice, mercy and love, that the only thing they could do under the circumstances was to shut the eyes of their minds to the nightmare of hell and devils and torments, and to say to the Lord, O Lord, I cannot understand this, but I accept thee as a very God of love and justice, and I know that when I shall see thee as thou art, and when I shall see all the works of thy great and wonderful plan, then I shall realize, as I cannot now realize, wherein divine justice and love are compatible with this awful theory of eternal torment for all except the little flock, the elect.

Thus by shutting their eyes to the error, and opening their eyes by faith to the real character of God, substantiated by so many declarations of his Word, the class we refer to, through all the darkness of the dark ages, was indeed enabled to love God supremely, so that they counted not their lives dear unto them, that they might have his favor; they were willing to lay down life and earthly advantages and hopes and favors, that they might have the divine favor now and everlastingly. And if God’s people in the past were enabled to triumph in spite of blindness, what shall we say respecting our position today, now that the due time has come for this vail that was spread over all nations to be taken away, so that the true light of the knowledge of God, shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, should shine into our hearts and give us to see through his Word, and freed from human tradition and Satanic misrepresentation, the justice and the loving kindness of our God!

Reprint page 3605, par. 4 and 5:

We reply that the great company do not sacrifice. Their covenant, their agreement, was to sacrifice even unto death, and had they faithfully carried out that agreement they would not be of the great company but of the little flock, the overcomers, the royal priests. From God’s standpoint they never carried out their covenant, and hence cannot be recognized as priests, and therefore, although for a time recognized as priests, in a tentative way, their failure to perform the sacrifice hinders them from being ultimately received as priests—it separates them from their brethren and constitutes them a different class, a class who have consecrated but who have not performed in harmony with that consecration. (Comment—these have ‘not performed.’)

All who love righteousness and hate iniquity in any measure shall have fullest opportunity of demonstrating this, and shall be accounted worthy of life everlasting, and unquestionably this company is a ‘great company,’ as the Scriptures indicate—far more numerous even than the little flock, as the Levites in the type numbered thousands in proportion to the five chosen from amongst them to be priests.

Reprint page 5864, par. 5:

In the sense that the consecrated are all called in the one hope of their calling and all begotten of the one spirit through the one Word of Truth, they are one class, one church, under one Lord, one faith, one baptism. {# Eph 4:4,5} Their division into two classes is the result of coldness, lukewarmness, fear to perform the sacrifice contracted, fear of death, on the part of some—the ‘great multitude’ referred to in this lesson. The Apostle describes them saying ‘Through fear of death they are all their lifetime subject to bondage.’ {# Heb 2:15} Some of them fear also loss of business or name or fame or social standing. Therefore they compromise with the world and its spirit. They do not deny the Lord. Indeed, many of them would die rather than directly deny him. Yet by their works they do deny him—ashamed of the truth because it is not popular, or ashamed of the Lord’s brethren because of their humble position or their unpopularity among the worldly.

Reprint page 5865, par. 4:

The Great Company of this lesson are to be found everywhere.

Reprint page 5865, col. 2, par. 1:

A beautiful picture of this is given us in # Re 19:6-9. There also we are told of the Great Company who will praise God eventually that the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready—even though they will not be part of that bride class. Awakened from their slumber and stupor, and separated from Babylon the Great by its fire, these finally recognize what they have missed; but they thank God that his plan, so full of blessings, will still be carried out, though the true bride class have gone before. (Comment—we note this takes place after the bride class have gone before.) Then the Lord gives to them the precious message, ‘Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ But they can go to that marriage supper only through much tribulation, which will test to the last their full devotion to the Lord—even unto death.

Reprint page 4647, col. 2, par. 3:

At the fall of Babylon they will be fully set free from the timidity which has restrained them, and be glad to acclaim the bride, and to say, ‘Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to God, because the marriage of the Lamb has come and his bride hath made herself ready.’

Reprint page 4692, col. 2, Par. 1:

In a sense, we might say that the Jewish nation stood related to Saint Paul in much the same way that the nominal Christian church of today stands related to the fully consecrated. They are our brethren by a nominal consecration or nominal profession. Such a relationship we ought to feel, we think. We believe this text {# Ro 9:3} encourages us to feel a great deal of interest in these brethren, and to be willing to do a great deal to help them. We do not know how many may really be saints and merely for the time blinded by the errors which the adversary has caused to be promulgated...’

Reprint page 4693, par. 2:

It will be in a time of the presence, the parousia, of the Son of man, for the gathering of the ‘elect,’ that all the virgins will be awakened by the message of the truth. Some will be able to appreciate, others will not be able to appreciate his presence.

Reprint page 4693, last par.:

It is not for us to presume to say that the Lord will have no blessing whatever for that unfaithful servant. He was a servant all the time. He respected the talent. He did not lose it. But he did not use it properly. He seems to represent a very similar class to the one described in our study of a week ago as the foolish virgins. This class will fail to get into the glories of the kingdom, but will surely get into the time of trouble and its outer darkness, disappointment and chagrin, with which this age will end and the New age be ushered in...

Question Book, bottom of page 289:

Question (1907) When will the Great Company suffer the Great Tribulation, and will they be at the marriage supper of the Lamb? Answer—I answer that nearly all the Scriptural pictures with reference to the Great Company would indicate that the special time for their tribulation would be at the close of this age—apparently just after the Church will all be gathered, —as, for instance, the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.

Question Book, page 306:

Question (1910) Are the Great Company priests in the service of holy things? Answer... But the Great Company are those that after having consecrated and proposed to take the proper steps to which they were called as priests fail to take the steps and therefore they will not be priests in the future.

Question Book, page 307:

Question (1911) Will there be any among the great company class who ran for the prize and lost, and then went into the great company class? Answer We answer yes; to our understanding they will all be in this class—all those who started out to run. Some of them may only have run one step or two (Comment—running ‘one step or two’ would not be very far, would it?), but the running for the prize seems to me to begin right at the gate. (Comment—gate of the race course, not the Gate to the Court.) Just the minute we enter the gate we begin running; you are on the race course and they are all running from that point. Whether you run fast or slow, you are on the race course and all enter by the same gate. As the apostle says, ‘We are all called in one hope of our calling.’ God did not call anybody to be of the great company class. Everybody that is called in this age is called to be of the little flock.

Question Book, page 316, bottom:

Question 1916: Are there any Scriptures to prove that the Great Company will not receive the Divine nature? Answer... St. Peter says He has given us exceeding great and precious promises that, by these (working in our minds and hearts) we might become partakers of the Divine nature. lie speaks to the little flock class, and not to the great company class. Why not? Because the Word of the Lord is not for the great company. (Comment—is this not another way of saying that there is only one hope?) They refuse to go faithfully forward until death, so the Word of the Lord is not sent unto them. They will have to be pushed in, you see; but those who will be willing to go in by the Word, they will share the Divine nature... (Comment—’so the Word of the Lord is not sent unto them.’ How true this is—the Word of the Lord tells about them, but is not addressed to them.)

(Final Comment: The foregoing quotes are presented as a study to those who might be interested in such a study; and in no sense are these quotes presented in the spirit of contention. We have no thoughts on the Great Company ourselves, but have carefully considered what our Pastor has written on the subject to see what we could gain in the way of knowledge, and what we could gain in the way of a greater measure of the Holy Spirit. We feel that our study has had the effect of making us more broadminded toward all who profess to accept Christ as Saviour and who profess to be consecrated to do God’s will.)