DOS2 DOS3 THE DESOLATIONS OF THE SANCTUARY  

 

A description of the Tests of Faith and struggle of God’s People for Truth, with special regard to the present time

 

  —————-An earnest warning to all Bible students——————

 

   By EMIL and OTTO SADLACK  

 

Angerburg (East Prussia) Germany

 

  —————Published by the Translators from the German—————  

 

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Gal 5:1

 

First English Edition 1930.

DOS4 ARE YOU CONSECRATED TO THE LORD?  

 

Then do not forget: That you owe your first love to Him.

 

That He alone is your teacher and master.

 

That His Word is to you above all else.

 

That you must hold fast and defend His Truth in love.

 

That your brother next to you, however great his capabilities may be, is your brother, and not your lord.

 

That a toleration of errors and abandonment of Truth is unfaithfulness to the Lord.

 

Therefore:  Remain faithful to Him the only Lord and Head, and with all of God’s consecrated ones, fight with determination for the Truth and against error and enslavement of conscience..

DOS5 TABLE OF CONTENTS  

 

PART ONE  

 

  *    The conflict between light and darkness, between truth and error, from Paradise onward to the first advent of Christ.

 

  *    Continuation of the conflict, from the first advent of Christ to the present time (to Brother Russell’s appearance).

 

  *    The latest movement. Its richly blessed way. Its mission and its final fall.

 

PART TWO  

 

  *    The omniscience of God.

 

  *    Satan in heaven.

 

  *    The outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all flesh.

 

  *    Elijah—Elisha.

 

  *    The entering into the joy of the Lord.

 

  *    The riding upon white horses— Re 19:11-21.

 

  *    "This gospel of the kingdom"—Mt 24:14.

 

  *    The vengeance upon Babylon.

 

  *    Character development.

 

  *    The treasure in an earthen vessel—2Co 4:7.

 

  *    The angel with the golden censer—Re 8:3.

 

  *    "1914"—"1918"—"1921"—"1925"—"Time is no more."

 

  *    The trial of the ancient worthies. Is it past or future?

 

  *    The parable of the sheep and the goats.

 

  *    The execution of the judgments written, according to Ps 149.

 

  *    "The Finished Mystery." Also: The "Millions" booklet and "Millions" message. The shortening of the tribulation. "Deliverance." "Bible students’ yearbook 1927."

 

  *    The parable of the wise and foolish virgins.

 

DOS6

 

  *    Further erroneous teachings of the Watch Tower Society: (The secret place of the Most High. The laying of the precious stone in Zion. The highway for mankind.

 

Christ’s second advent. The judgment of the church. Errors in the Bible? "Thy kingdom come." "The servant, " the "prison, " the "prisoners, " the "desolated heritages, " The angel flying in the midst of heaven. The golden girdles of the seven angels.).

 

  *    The work of the Lord.

 

  *    Organization.

 

PART THREE  

 

  *    Retrospection. The appearance of the Protestants. Their protest. The consequences.

 

The repetition of the Christian church’s experiences in the end of the age. The "movements" of God’s "free" children.

 

*    Closing thoughts. ("Our duty toward the truth.—What is costs; its value; its advantage.").

DOS7 FOREWORD TO THE GERMAN EDITION

 

"For we can do nothing against the Truth but for the Truth." 2Co 13:8.

 

Never, even for a moment, should the watchers on Zion’s lookout entertain the thought, that preparedness and watchfulness concerning spiritual things may be permitted to relax. Even during these times, when the Spirit of God in a special way flows through the circle of the faithful, revealing the secrets of the Divine Plan of the Ages, absolute sobriety and watchfulness are necessary. Has it not repeatedly happened that God’s children have deprived themselves of many blessings, merely because they did not watch sufficiently and in times of danger they did not avail themselves of their blessed privileges? They slept and were silent, whereas they should have watched and spoken, yea, should have cried aloud "in the City of Jerusalem." To be sure, it is easier for the flesh to look on inactively, while hostile powers force their way into God’s sanctuary to pollute it. Simpler, and far more agreeable is it, to be quiet, and let others fight against the desolations, thereby avoiding all slander, unkindness, hatred, etc.

 

But will the Lord say "Well done" if we show so much fear of and respect to men, and so little reverence for Him? Did He not entrust us with many riches over which we should watch with fear and trembling? Would we show our thankfulness to the giver of every good and perfect gift by being careless or indifferent? Today we have profound reverence for the heroes of Faith, the courageous protestants of the past, for their faithfulness to the Lord and to His Truth, so far as it was revealed then, but we are prone to forget—too, what a wall of enemies they had to oppose in their day, and what a barrage of insults and persecutions they had to ear. We say, "Yes, it was a grand time, " but, perhaps e let the "grand time" often go by us, without taking advantage of it and proving our own faithfulness.

 

We firmly believe that we are again living in such a "grand time, " and we very clearly see that a renewed desolation of the sanctuary of God is taking place. Oh, that all may

 

DOS8 yet awake and see the things as they are; oh, that all may clearly and plainly discern their Lord, their own selves, their privileges and responsibilities. How deep is the slumber of many of God’s children, who drank the mixed wine of Babylon—imbibing the errors which the old. wicked enemy so well understands how to mix in the cup. By this we mean the newest seduction of God’s people from the Truth by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, whose work was once so richly blessed. May these pages be a loud cry to all of God’s people to awake, a warning cry not to fear and delay in opening heart and eyes, to see what is being taught and done by that Society! The following pages will show calmly, but clearly and convincingly, what a great falling away has taken place, and thus demonstrate to every one the necessity of waking up, discerning, deciding and acting without delay or doubtful deliberations, and of being constrained by the love of Christ, which breaks the fetters and removes all obstacles. At the same time these pages will be an attempt to help those dear ones who, though they have been delivered from bondage, fall into unreasonable theories, speculations and daring predictions. We do not deal with mere suppositions or unfounded assertions, but with facts which are accessible and manifest to all.

 

From the bottom of our hearts we wish that all of the dear ones may be sincere enough to see these facts, and not close their eyes to them.

 

Although it is true that the Lord alone can give true Faith, and straighten out the confused sheep, it must not be overlooked that in so doing He constantly makes use of His children. Ro 10:14, 15; Jas 5:19, 20, and other Scriptures show us what our privileges and duties are. A passive state toward the desolations of the sanctuary, which generally leads to inactivity, can not be well pleasing to the Lord.

 

Beloved of the Lord, let us not cease to carry out the important duties of this "grand time"; let us not forget that we are consecrated to Him, and that we seek His approval. If we do not cleanse ourselves from the doctrines of errors, Isa 52:11, we will be found guilty and will have to atone. Let us act according to the Truth, regardless of possible consequences. Let us reject everything, even the smallest

 

DOS9 item, that is not from God, and only assent to that which is of the Lord decisively acknowledging:

 

THY WORD IS TRUTH!  

 

With fervent prayers we look to the Lord, to whom we are consecrated, for whom we desire to live and die, that He may bless our feeble efforts to serve Him and His precious Truth. The only motives we have for the publication of this work are the glorification of His great name, and the furtherance of the spiritual interests of His people. We wish especially to stress the fact that this work is not perfect, but only in part, 1Co 13:9-12, and that our conclusions should not be considered authoritative.

 

In conclusion we are thankful to and appreciative of all the dear brothers and sisters who in any way, be it through encouragement, contribution, advice or act have assisted in this work. May the Lord richly bless their labors and sacrifices.

 

THE PUBLISHERS.

 

Angerburg (East Prussia) Germany, New Year, 1928..

AUTHOR’S PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION  

 

The German edition of this work, which has been distributed in several thousand copies and in various countries of the earth, has found an exceeding lively echo by God’s people. Many dear ones have confirmed us in pleasing communications, saying that the contents of the book have been very helpful to them and shown them still more clearly the wrong way of a shallow grown movement, and also thereby the glorious divine truths. A further number of dear friends have by the Lord’s grace been awakened from spiritual slumber and reminded of their chief duties toward the Lord through a study of the book. Indeed, we may say, that very many brothers and sisters, yes, entire classes have passed through into the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free (Gal 5:1), after the perusal of this work. It will doubtless interest the dear readers to learn that the dear brother mentioned on page 138 (conversation between

 

DOS10 A & B) has been cleared up spiritually through the reading of the book. The same thing is true with the maker of the organization sketch; this dear brother sees today also with clear eyes where such an organization leads to. so we rejoice that "our labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1Co 15:58). A pamphlet issued by the German office of the Watch Tower Society against the authors of this book, which pamphlet is strongly personal and offensive, was not able to hinder these very pleasing results. With numerous friends the very opposite was gained by the Watch Tower Society from what was intended. Individual attempts to controvert our presentations set forth only a confirmation of the errors of the Society, and show that the Society is not ready to humble itself before the Lord and forsake its wrong way.

 

And now we lay this work into the hands of the hands of the dear brothers and sisters of the English tongue, while at the same time heartily thanking the brethren who have incited and carried out the publication of the book in the English language. But above all we give hearty thanks to the Lord, who has visibly smoothed the way for this. May He himself accompany this book with His blessing.

 

The dear readers will find that the contents of the book in part illustrate more the conditions among the German friends. But since the conditions on this side of the ocean are only the result of the direction of one central office, it seemed appropriate to carry the considerations in question over into the English edition also. only a few small parts, which would not be interesting to the dear friends in America and the other English speaking countries, have been omitted.

 

In general it might be remarked yet that the Watch Tower Society has departed still more from the truth and the methods in accordance with the truth. It would lead too far to examine the latest erroneous teachings presented by the Society since the publication of this book, which teachings are continually represented as coming from the Lord. The request has indeed been made to us to issue a supplement of the book, because of the newly added errors of the Society; we do not believe however that this is necessary. The ones obedient to God have been warned (not by us.

 

DOS11 alone!) and are awake, the ones obedient to men would not forsake their men-service because of further presentations.

 

In giving favorable mention on a few pages of this book to the "Herald" movement, the thought to set them up as authoritative (as so many dear ones do with the Watch Tower Society), was far from us. We mentioned them especially because of their good Christian spirit. In this connection we would mention that there are also still other movements among God’s people which seek to procure the acknowledgement of the Lord and His word. As concerning questions of knowledge, we d well to build upon the infallible word of our God alone and to examine everything by this authority (Ac 17:11). There is no standstill in knowledge; but progress is necessary, of course not by sensationally lusting after the new, but by "meditating upon His law day and night."

 

It was also far from us to glorify Brother Russell. As much as we esteem him for his humble walk and Christine spirit, so much have we emphasized and do we emphasize, that we are to follow and worship the Lord alone. Let us love the brethren, but let us not love them more than the Lord, whose word should be Yea and Amen to us! When we mentioned the presentations of Brother Russell with esteem, alongside of the testimony of the Scriptures, it was done chiefly to show how far the Watch tower society, which claims to be his "successor, " has departed in the period of a decade from his mostly correct teachings and good methods.

 

Thus we send this edition also forth with the prayer to the Lord that He might let it serve as a means to open the eyes of those who have given themselves into spiritual dependence to men, and to be a strengthening to those who thus far already have stood up in decisive loyalty for the Lord and His Truth. May God grant this! We greet all yokefellows in brotherly love with 1Joh 4:7.

 

EMIL and OTTO SADLACK.

 

Angerburg (East Prussia) Germany, October, 1929..

 

DOS12 ABBREVIATIONS  

 

Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, as used in this book—"Studies in the Scriptures, " by Charles Taze Russell (Pastor Russell).

 

Vol.7 ............." The Finished Mystery" W.T. ............ The Watch Tower Del. ............ The Book "Deliverance" Millions Booklet ..." Millions Now Living Will Never Die" W.T.R. ........... Watch Tower Reprints Example: W.T. 1927: 164, par. 16= 1927 Watch Tower, page 124, paragraph 16..

DOS13 PART ONE  

 

THE CONFLICT BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARKNESS, BETWEEN TRUTH AND ERROR, FROM PARADISE UNTIL THE TIME OF THE FIRST COMING OF CHRIST  

 

Enmity was ever upon the earth since Satan, the adversary of God, brought forth sin and taught men to do so. It was convenient for him also that conflicts arose amongst his people, mankind, who loved his sin, and it is evident that his greatest joy is the spirit of hostility.

 

But this enmity, this conflict, waged on the one hand with growing bitterness and on the other with increasing passion during the thousands of years of human history, was the conflict between light and darkness, between good and evil, between those submissive to God, and those obedient to the prince of darkness. Who does not here recall those ancient words of omniscient foresight spoken by Jehovah at the beginning of human history, so that both parties could hear: "and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed."

 

If the prince of sin expected that man would serve him with praise and pleasure, he was doomed to disappointment, for man served him with reluctance; having fallen a victim to sin, he was forced to follow in it, without being grateful to Satan. On the contrary, though generations passed without the fulfillment of the divine promise, the hope, born out of that promise for the crushing of the serpent, did not fade. Even today, after 6000 years, that hope has not perished, but is the common property of every race. Humanity hopes instinctively, and this is not in vain, for its fulfillment.

 

However the evil one may have appraised Almighty God’s determination to make the hope a reality, the specific promise concerning the "Seed of the Woman" disturbed him considerably.

 

"The Seed"—his enemy! The woman who had listened to him and sided with him, was to bear the "Seed!" How strange! A "Seed" came—and Eve burst out in exaltation as she remembered God’s promise. "I have the Seed, " she

 

DOS14 may have cried. And now Satan employed all his cruel wisdom, all his cunning, to bring that seed under his feet. We know that he again succeeded masterfully. Two "seeds" lived at that time, Cain and Abel. While the one inclined toward God, endeavoring to learn His will, the other was merely a plaything for the passions of the arch-enemy. The one on Satan’s side slew the one on God’s side, the evil killed the good. Such was the first conflict between the two "seeds" that were brought forth from man and yet constituted differently.

 

Satan may have imagined that God was outwitted, and may well have celebrated his victory that day. The donors and nourishers of the "Seed" suffered great sorrow. Their hope was grievously impaired by this occurrence, yet hope did not die. It cannot die, for God has put it into the heart.of man.

 

After Abel’s murder Satan saw another "Seed" appear—Seth. His peace and self assurance was disturbed once more. How he hated "the Seed!" How he would like to exterminate it, root and all! He planned further and worked with cruel cunning and trickery. He wanted to exterminate the "Seed" and finally have peace. And he had success continually, for men came to his side en masse. On the other hand there were very few searchers after God who sought Him earnestly.

 

We know little definitely of that early period of human history, but we do know that a bitter conflict raged between the two seeds. It went so far that "all flesh was corrupted upon the earth, " that only a few still lived who were of pure Adamic stock, so that God said that He was prepared to intervene, that the "end" (extinction) of all (human) flesh was come before Him.

 

How so? The Scriptures give us enough knowledge of it, even though briefly stated therein.

 

Satan again had his destroying hand in it, and apparently reaped complete success. That word about the "Seed of the woman" gave him neither peace nor rest; it pursued him whether he came or went. He must make void the promise of God relating to the "Seed, " no matter how. He made alliances with the angels to whom the "first world" was entrusted, picturing the most wonderful results and placing before them, as he had done to man,

 

DOS15 such delusively convincing propositions, that a part of the angels esteemed it an honor to pleasantly surprise God by carrying out such lofty plans.

 

As daughters were born unto men, it seemed to Satan an exceptional opportunity to carry out his wicked scheme. Cunningly he suggested to a part of Jehovah’s angelic host to help man (and so bring to a grand finale the commission of God) by establishing a new race of men, apart from the lineage of Adam, a new race, not subjected to the workings of sin and death received through Father Adam. The "daughters" of men would serve the "sons" of God to this end. When they refused, force was used. this story is described in Ge 6, and is briefly mentioned in several other Scriptures. This is the incident which supplied gods and demi-gods for many ancient myths. From this inter-marriage, desired and obtained by Satan, came the giants of mythology.

 

"There were giants in those days, " says the Scripture significantly and emphatically. Here was a new race, and a sevenfold woe now attacked Adam’s posterity. Satan’s intended results materialized; the earth was filled with violence "through them, " i.e., the giants, the Scripture says (Ge 6:13).

 

What a terrible drama took place on earth at that time! The scenes can hardly be described by the liveliest imagination. What a conflict, with Satan the victor! His final victory seemed at hand. "All flesh" had corrupted its "way" (or creation); in a few centuries the Adamic stock was almost wiped out. We do not know how long this went on, but probably more than ten centuries, possibly "one thousand two hundred and sixty days" (years) or even more. Ge 4:26 seems to suggest this. "Then" men began to call upon the name of Jehovah for relief from oppression.

 

Jehovah means the Unchangeable One, the God who keeps His word, who is faithful, and it seems that men, remembering God’s promises, given at the beginning of Satan’s destroying work, cried to Jehovah for help..The result of the conflict was as prophesied by God. God always seems to succumb, and Satan’s banner victorious; but when danger is greatest (not before, for such are God’s superhuman purposes), then God shows His hand

 

DOS16 and shows to all His astonished creatures, that He, Jehovah, is the All-faithful one, who keeps His word unto thousands of generations. The His Seed (the little flock of faithful ones) takes new hope and courage and clings with renewed strength to His merciful promises. The flood came, and with one stroke destroyed them all; "the world of the ungodly" was suddenly wiped away. (Lk 17:27; 2Pe 2:5.) Satan had his day of mourning after many feasts had been celebrated.

 

Did he stop? Did he give up his burning hatred, his deep-set plans against that mysterious "Seed of the woman"? No! Spitefully he schemed further, new ways and means must be looked for and found, for he must reach his goal. He again tried to have willing subjects, by driving a wedge between the few of pure Adamic stock, who had been saved. Lo and behold, the cast prospered. Only one sang the song of the unchangeable Jehovah God, the majority served "other" gods. Shem was chosen to further the promise given in Eden concerning the seed of the woman and all those which had been added as branches of that original promise, perhaps also those which God gave to devout Enoch, who had probably lived in the days of terror and who was saved in special way by the Lord, on account of his devotion, from the violence of the giants of those days. After Shem, Abraham appeared, and, as the "Seed of the woman" frightened the adversary of God. One seeker after God who serves Him, can fill thousands of God’s enemies with fear and terror, for God the Almighty, the great God of miracles, is with him. God always makes use of the humble, the devout and the obedient. He did not use the natural first-born, but the moral, spiritual first-born.According to the flesh they were not the first-born, but second or third-born, as for instance, Seth, Shem, Abraham, Jacob, David, etc. This was the divine choosing according to His plan of eternal unending wisdom.

 

We have only to read a little to find out how often Satan tried to root out those whom he knew to be on God’s side, one of whom he suspected, yes, anxiously might expect, would be the cause of his end. Why was Sarah taken into the house of Pharaoh? Was it not in connection with

 

DOS17 the destruction of the "Seed of the woman"? Why did Esau the first-born pursue Jacob, who had lawfully bought* the birthright, which the idolatrous Esau had considered worthless? He had to flee far from Esau, and endure "frost and heat" in a strange land. Why did Joseph, through whom the "stone" came (Ge 49:24) have to go out form his people into the world as a slave, and then into the prison where the inmates were most severely punished by the king? The answer to this "Why" is in connection with the "Seed of the woman" which the evil one at all times hated.

 

————— *Here we refer to the interesting and evidently correct explanation in the short article "Jacob and Esau in a new light." (W. T. 1910:377). —————

 

So it was in every generation, in fact in all the 60 centuries past. Enmity and conflict were the signs that the promise of God had not yet been fulfilled. How much could we learn by thoroughly and zealously studying the way of those devout ones who thus walked during the thousands of years. Indeed, how much would we learn for ourselves; we stress "for ourselves !" Even though one often looks to God’s heroes of the past in greatest recognition of their devotion to Him, when living co-laborers, for their faithfulness to God, praise enthusiastically each member of the "Seed of the woman"—how often do the living heroes forget, that they, even they themselves, must do their duty just as well as the former? How often does it happen, that such who could be used of God, in the course of time bid "Him Farewell" (Job 1:5, 11), often without knowing it. When the conflict became less bitter (for Satan is a cunning War- Lord), then the fateful end was near: those who had been called by God relaxed in fighting courage. "God’s people" (Israel) were in Egypt a little over two centuries, and it was high time for God to lead them "up" into His land. Satan had caused Israel to be pitilessly enslaved, because he felt, and rightly so, that the mysterious "Seed" must be or come out of Israel. He stirred "The Iron Furnace" (De 4:20) and worked God’s design without wanting to do so. Should not Israel be saved from dissolution amongst the Egyptians, and be led out? For this reason a fiery furnace had to be made, so that Israel would flee. Would they have gone out otherwise? Perhaps not! In this way Satan always works out God’s designs even now.

DOS18 CONTINUATION OF THE CONFLICT FROM THE TIME OF THE FIRST ADVENT OF CHRIST TO THE PRESENT. (TO THE APPEARANCE OF BROTHER RUSSELL.)  

 

We pass over the intervening millenniums, and come to the time of Christ, although much of profit may be said of that period. To speak like St. Paul in Hebrews 11:32, what could we say of David, the youngest of the eight, the "little one" of God’s choice (in contrast to the "great" Saul) whom the "great one, " driven by the evil spirit, persecuted; what could we say of God’s prophets also, who were persecuted unto death by those prophets and teachers who in their own opinion "lawfully" sat in Moses’ seat; always the same picture: a conflict between good and evil, between those who seek after God and those who do Satan’s service. How many of those who were once called by God and chosen for a special service, joined the ranks of the persecutors, after they came to the point of considering their position as a "right ." What a great desolation was wrought by them amongst the real "first-born, " the first-born of God! God always had to reject those who fought for their "right ," and accepted others, who were better than they (1Sa 15:28), who really sought after Him, without resorting to agents or associations which have fallen into mischief. Such noble ones, made perfect through much varied experiences of affliction and suffering, will be co-workers with God when His time has come for the crushing out of evil that will stir the whole world.

 

Jesus, the first-born of all creatures, came. Satan may not have calculated on that. We do not know if he knew when Jesus the Savior of the world was born, that the long promised "Seed of the woman" had come. At least no one can be certain. We will have to leave it undecided as to whether or not he knew of the extraordinary birth of Jesus (that Jesus had no earthly father, but was in truth the "Seed of the woman"), but we do know, that he immediately appeared upon the scene to destroy the child Jesus. Herod, the "great" the "heroic" was goaded on, and the plan seemed

 

DOS19 to be a complete success. The unrest of the arch-fiend certainly increased at that time, for something peculiar seemed to be going on. If the demons knew the Holy One of God (Mk 1:24), then the chief of the demon host surely knew Him also. The one, by whom everything was made, even Lucifer himself, came as a child upon the earth, something that never happened before. "What can that mean?" may have been Satan’s anxious question. No wonder that he gave free vent to his cunning and cruel thoughts. But "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, " wiser also than the greatest adversary (1Co 1:25). Therefore the child Jesus was removed at the right time, and, how peculiar, that "Egypt, " the world, hostile toward God, granted Him protection.

 

How crafty did Satan appear again and again in the long millenniums. From the time that he in self-exaltation steeped out of his divinely appointed element, he heeded no instruction. On the contrary, he practiced evil more and more, hateful and furious against those who served God. At all times it was as Luther said: "For still ancient foe; doth seek to work us woe; His craft and pow’r are great; and, armed with cruel hate; On earth is not his equal."

 

These things from time to time are more or less forgotten even by those who served God, and therefore again and again came to pass a new "falling into sin, " by those covenanted to God, and then others were raised up to keep alive the conflict for Truth, Light and Right.

 

Thirty years passed, and the time was come for the man Jesus to (1) give His unblemished human life (to God) as a ransom price for man, and (2) at the same time to be begotten to a new spiritual life, the highest, even the divine. This occurred at the due time. And as it occurred, Satan again tried his hand to destroy the "Seed" he feared. With surpassing craft he worked to attain his end. He possibly made some seeming concessions. Perhaps he proposed to do the work of God together with the "Seed, " asking only an acknowledgment for himself. But Jesus, who had His God and Lord set before Him always (Ps 16:8), knew

 

DOS20 that the slightest deviation from the Will of Him who had sent Him would mean eternal loss.

 

Looking up to His father, He conquered. And so He has become the brightest shining example, the beginner and the finisher of the faith to all who want to serve God in this world of darkness and sin. "Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus, I’ve lost sight of all beside—" should be the continued and unchangeable wish of those who are faithful to God. Let us note that Jesus was here left to Himself, as later also for a while on the cross, in a special sense the Father had forsaken Him. But after passing every such especially difficult trial He was divinely strengthened. After the temptation in the wilderness angels came and ministered unto him. We also, if we are firm in our faith, and do not deviate willingly even an inch from the divine path, if we come through the severest trials as conquerors, receive special strength through the loving providence of the almighty God. This is our consolation; taught by such experiences we are exercised, at all times and in all ways to trust the Lord and leave to Him the outcome of every trial.

 

Absolute trust in the Lord is always rewarded, even though we cannot see a step ahead. And we must often suffer an apparent defeat, in order to be victorious. Satan rejoiced, as Jesus hung upon the cross, satanically tormented, helpless, rejected by nearly all, bending His head, dying; for Satan surely believed that after thousands of years he had finally succeeded in his attempt to destroy the "Seed of the woman." Truly, it seemed as if he had conquered; as if Jesus’ trust in the Father had been of no avail. But we know that in this way only the greatest victory of all the ages could be won, and so won. In apparent defeat was the victory! The arch-fiend’s joy of seeming victory received a most damaging blow a few hours later, when, to the glory of the Father, Jesus was resurrected! Jesus not only came, 1900 years ago, to lay down His life as a ransom-price, and so to provide a basis necessary for eternal life of humanity; He came also, to prepare the way for a "New Creation" of Jehovah’s. At the moment of His presentation as a sacrifice (giving up the human life for all time in sacrificial death), He was begotten of the

 

DOS21 highest plane of being, and the same incomparable opportunity was given to His disciples, His true followers for some of the human family, under condemnation of sin and death; a privilege that can hardly be grasped! Without further explanation it can be understood why God put such stringent requirements upon those who are called to such glory, and why He demands from them absolute faithfulness and unqualified acquiescence to Him and to His cause. Is not the necessity for this clear? If those who are so called are to be joint-heirs of Jesus Christ, if they are to be clothed with the glory of the Father, together with Jesus the Head, if they are to occupy royal thrones; and if they are to receive immortality as the very essence of their being, then they must first be most severely tried to prove that they will never fall into sin, as Satan did. Glory, Honor and Immortality (Ro 2:7) upon the highest heavenly plane will be given to no one who has not first shown an implicit submission in respect to God’s will—thus proving himself fit for such a place.

 

Jesus imparted those terms to His followers clearly and distinctly. He advised well-considered and not hastily conceived decisions and resolutions (Lk 14:26-33). Whoever does not forsake all and follow only Him as a leader will not reach the heavenly goal.

 

No one can ever expect that the requirements will be lowered on his account. And the faithful ones can testify from experience that in looking unto Jesus their strength takes root; that it leads us to victory in the pathway; "following Jesus, e’en through shame, " carries us forward to the.goal. Every victory may be traced back to this looking unto Jesus. Every defeat can be attributed to a neglect of this chief duty. But this "looking" includes much more than is usually realized. As we found Jesus, and entered into communion with Him, as we believed in the forgiveness of our sins and our hearts were glad and free, we were so fervent at this turning point of our life, that we felt and resolved, like Peter, that: "Though I should die with thee, yet will I deny thee." Did it always remain so? If it remained so and still is, happy are we. But it is not always

 

DOS22 so. The love to Him, the "Betrothal love, " the first, the holy, the strong love permeating and penetrating our whole being, becomes oh, so often, less and less—it is withdrawn from the Lord—and placed upon others, perhaps a group of God’s people, some congregation or ecclesia, which often tries by all means to hold that first love for themselves. And if the danger is not recognized in time, this may lead to a condition of coolness and loss of the "first love." If this love, which rightfully belongs to the head of the body of Christ, is given to a man, and association, or organization, then the "shining light " of such an association will eclipse that of our glorious Lord and Redeemer. Unfortunately it is . It frequently happens, that the Lord, in place of the people who forsook the close-hearted relationship with Him and love ecclesiastical contacts (associations, classes, etc.), more than they do Him, draws others to Himself, and always the little ones, the humble, those who consider being near His feet the most desirable place. Some are left to themselves, because they do not put Him above all else, while others, because they love Him more than everything else have His blessings in a special manner, but are left atone by the world. But always from those who are less appreciative of the Lord’s blessings there must "come out" the true disciples, those who give Him their first love. This is the command of Him who called them.

 

The apostles and others in the beginning of the Gospel age were in full heart-harmony with the bridegroom. They loved Him and died for Him. We well know they all had their weaknesses, as well as we, but their devotion to God is well known to us all. With the exception of one, the son of perdition, all the apostles were absolutely faithful. They put the Lord before themselves at all times. Also after his going away they reminded themselves of His admonitions to be faithful, and they obeyed them under all conditions, even when human wisdom dictated a seemingly better way. They followed in His footsteps.

 

Yes, our Lord and master firmly established His church. The foundation was laid in wisdom.

 

Nothing that was necessary was lacking. Thus endowed with the greatest conceivable good, the church of the living God began to walk the

 

DOS23 narrow and troublous path. Satan’s joy and confidence in seeming victory was not at all increased by what he saw. God again seemed to have a special purpose. Satan’s restlessness increased; his fears concerning the realization of the ancient, though unfulfilled promises about the work of the "Seed of the woman, " increased. Had he not learned that the Logos, who had become man and resisted all his crafty attacks, ad as a victorious hero ascended into the heavenly realms, experiencing an elevation above his previous exalted position? Then he saw this highly exalted one send a special heavenly gift to the waiting disciples: the spirit of the Father, which became in them a begettal to the same high nature, the divine nature. Now it was necessary to work with greater cunning and artfulness. If he could not cause Jesus, the head of God’s church to fall, he would have to make the greatest effort to accomplish that with His followers, His "body." Into them, as with the angels before the flood, he injected the thought that the same purpose (of the Lord) could be carried out more successfully in another and better way. They must lose sight of their master and guide.

 

Did he accomplish his ends? Rather too quickly: His ambition, his urge for self-exaltation found the desired planting ground in the hearts and minds of many of God’s people. An undercurrent impelled by Satan was already noticeable in the early Church; a spirit began to develop that was intended to destroy the foundation and superstructure of the temple of the Church. We only have to read the account in the Acts, and specially the letters of the Apostles, to establish through them that a "falling away" had taken place in the earliest period of the Church. The "first love" was perceptibly cooled off, and was withdrawn little by little from Him to whom it was vowed.

 

Self-wisdom was highly esteemed, and it was the most able and outwardly prominent ones who in marked degree aided the "falling away"—partly unknowingly. The glitter of their personal wisdom dimmed their eyes to the brightness of the Lord, their only master (2Pe 1:2; Jude 4).

 

Their own methods, conceived by their own wisdom, took first place and demanded peremptory "acknowledgement and rights, " and that with unyielding passion. The suffering for Jesus’ sake, the waiting for Him, and the promised exaltation gradually became less desirable,

 

DOS24 and the second coming of Christ, which was once soon expected, because it tarried, was lost sight altogether. From time to time men, leaders in the Church, arose with definite messages and prophesies, and as these were not confirmed in time, and were proven to be earthly wisdom, they were not humble and honest enough to admit that their messages were a product of their own wisdom. Such dishonestly was and has at all times been the great obstacle that hinders the children of God from making headway in the path "after Jesus." Just consider how certain leaders in Thessalonica, in spite of the opposing evidence, held fast to the bold assertion that the day of the Lord was here already; yes, even more, they ascribed that assertion to others, even the Apostles. St. Paul explicitly states, that no such thing proceeded from him (2Th 2:1, 2). It seems that even spurious letters played a role, for Paul said that the brethren in Thessalonica should not so soon be shaken "in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us. .." In almost every letter of the Apostle it is shown that the corruption, sown by the hand of Satan in the field of the Church, for the most part found good ground. It tends to the greatest strengthening of faith, it makes more secure our best resolutions made to God, it lets light fall upon our way, when, as seen through the telescope of God’s Word, we compare that time with our day. The similarity is most striking. Exactly the same stamp, exactly the same development! At that time there was a love for the Truth then shining, satisfying the heart and mind, the Truth "in person" (Jesus Christ, see Joh 14:6) and in Word; then afterwards an abandonment of this Truth, and the adoption of unsupported, self-wise, result-promising theories; and finally the great."falling away." In the last days of this same age of salvation there was the same development: First there was ardent admiration for the valuable and imperishable Truths of God which were found again, for the light of His Plan of the Ages, the joy in Him, and His revealed and for the most part recognized Truths; then, as at that time, after the special guardian of the great gifts of grace left this stage of life, the discovery of private wisdom, "New Light" that eclipses everything else, new plans, new methods, a giving

 

DOS25 up of the wonderful symmetrical Truths, and an acceptance of entirely new theories that are sensational, grasping, effective, and which attract general attention; and thus gradually the devouring cancer was born anew: the falling away! Once, joy in Him and His work and His Gifts, now, joy in "her" (any association or organization, and "her" work, "her" offerings. We know that it is hard for many to understand the things as they really are; but time will write the history, and a little distance will give a better perspective to the connections, the causes and the effects. Then many will admit that we called attention to a development of things, which, becoming more powerful, is not for the good of—but to the greatest harm of the sanctuary. Even today it is not hard for some to see the striking similarity of the two ends (beginning and ending) of the gospel-age. In the following pages we will examine facts and proofs to show to all the honest and sincere of heart, what duties are theirs, what requirements they will have to comply with if they would have the approval of their God.

 

The falling away in the early church was quite gradual, and yet so that all the faithful watchers could discern its signs. We think it very appropriate to quote here the truly momentous words of our dear Bro. Russell, which are of greatest significance in this connection. He says in Volume One, pp. 285-287: "With the early church the promises of kingdom honor and joint-heirship with the Master were strong incentives to faithfulness under present trials and persecutions, which they had been forewarned to expect; and in all the words of comfort and encouragement in the Apocalypse, given to the Seven Churches, none shine out more clearly and forcibly than those which declare, " To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne"; and, "To him that overcometh will I give power over the nations."

 

These are promises which could not reasonably be misconstrued to apply to a present work of grace in the heart, nor yet to a reign over the nations in the present life; since they who would overcome must do so by death in the service, and thus gain the kingdom honors (Re 20:6).

 

But human nature seeks to avoid suffering and is ever ready to grasp honor and power; hence we find that even in.

 

DOS26 the Apostles’ day some in the Church were disposed to appropriate the promises of future honor and power to the present life, and were beginning to act as though they thought the time had already come for the world to honor and even obey the Church. The Apostle Paul writes, correcting this error, knowing that such ideas would have an injurious effect upon the Church by cultivating pride and leading away from sacrifice. He says to them, ironically, "Now ye are full, now ye are rich; ye have reigned as kings without us." And then he adds, earnestly, "I would to God ye did reign, that we (persecuted Apostles) also might reign with you" (1Co 4:8).

 

They are enjoying their Christianity by trying to get out of it and with it as much honor as possible; and the Apostle well knew that if they were faithful as followers of the Lord they would be in no such condition. Hence he reminds them that if indeed the long-looked-for reign had begun, he also would be reigning no less than they, and of the fact that he by faithfulness was a sufferer for the Truth’s sake, which was a proof that their reign was premature, and a snare rather than a glory. Then, with a touch of irony, he adds, "We (Apostles and faithful servants) are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised." I do not write these things merely to shame you: I have a better and nobler object—to warn you; for the path of present honor leads not to glory and honor to be revealed; but present suffering and self-denial are the narrow path to glory, honor, immortality and joint-heirship in the Kingdom. Wherefore, I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

 

Suffer and be reviled and persecuted now, that you may share with me the crown of life, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all those that love his appearing (1Co 4: 10-17; 2Ti 4:8).

 

But, after a great deal of persecution had been faithfully endured by the early Church, theories began to spread to the effect that the mission of the Church was to conquer the world, establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and reign over the nations before the Lord’s second advent.

 

This laid the foundation for worldly intrigue, pomp and pride, ostentatious show and ceremony in the Church, which was designed to impress, captivate and overawe the world, and which led step by step to the great claims of Papacy that as God’s kingdom on earth it had a right to command the respect and obedience to its laws and officers of every kindred, nation and people.

 

Under these false claims (and they seemingly deceived themselves as well as others) Papacy for a time crowned and uncrowned the kings of Europe, and still claims the authority which it is unable to enforce."

 

Thus far Bro. Russell. Now we ask: Is not history repeating

 

DOS27 itself today? Has not the wisdom of men (1Co 2:4, 5) again supplanted the wisdom of God (1Co 2:7)? Have not certain things been proclaimed with the greatest intolerance, as ready to take place at such and such time, which did not occur, because God’s thoughts were not the thoughts of these very fallible men? Did these men, who acted with such presumption, then repent? No! Were they of contrite heart, and again ready to be kind and loving to those who had long warned against such proclamations and dangerous desire for power? No! Did the complete failure of the message which they so spectacularly advertised among men, make them.small? Did they take pains to keep themselves under a more appropriate restraint in the future?

 

No! Or did they continue with their proud activity and proclamation? Yes! Did they insist that they were right, despite all the failures in their "work"? Did they continue to smite, injure and treat with hatred those who were earnest and established, the sober and warning ones among God’s people? Yes, alas! Ah, that this had to come! Knowing the terrible results of the great apostasy which culminated in the pompous system of Papacy which enslaved all, we should not hesitate, for our own sakes, to diligently trace the causes for this fiercely vicious movement. And today, as we call attention to such causes planted anew in these last days, and bring everything in line with the infallible Word of God, then everyone in his own interest should open his eyes wide to see these evil things and do his part in keeping the disastrous outworkings of these causes that are bound to come from reaching the degree which Satan desires. Just as we are sometimes to blame for our physical ailments, even so we are to blame for our poor spiritual condition, we are also to blame for the poor condition of our spiritual communion; and even for the spiritual condition of God’s people in general. Would that each child of God might recognize this! And speak and act rather than endeavor to avoid reproach and suffering by keeping silent. Would that there might be uncovered no crookedness and dishonesty toward God, the Omniscient One, who searcheth the heart and reins! How often did the apostles have to oppose erroneous

 

DOS28 teachings of the "brethren" who had been taken in the snares of the apostasy. We have already referred to the apostles’s plain warning to God’s children in Thessalonica, who were in danger of "acknowledging" brethren who taught error, and of letting the genuine message of God slip. The teachers of error declared: "The day is already here!" The apostle had to flatly contradict this and say: "The day is not here yet!" He had to exhort them urgently to cultivate their love for the truth, and to stand fast in the teaching which they had received, both orally and in writing (2Th 2:10, 13-15). The evil referred to in the epistle to the Thessalonians, which later worked so destructively, was also present in the church at Corinth; indeed, it had penetrated into the churches everywhere. Satan was interested in it. He had planted and watered it, and it had prospered greatly according to his evil expectations. Some of these Corinthians were over-wise like the Thessalonians, in believing that the time had already come. A patient waiting for exaltation and enthronement was thought unnecessary; and, contrary to the will of the humble class of watchers they began to judge and to reign! Paul had to warn those Corinthians to "Judge nothing before the time" (1Co 4:5). Were they able to bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and to make manifest the counsel of then heart? No! Does not this show that some were already controlled by evil schemes? Yes, their thought was to judge, but they manifestly did not use the necessary zeal to properly judge amongst themselves and in their own affairs.

 

That was just it! Others were prematurely judged, but where judgment was most necessary, i.e., of themselves, nothing was done. Paul rebukes them saying: "Is it so, that there is not amongst you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers" (1Co 6:5, 6). They were unable to judge among themselves, and therefore went to the unbelieving judge. All this shows very plainly that.their inclination to judge was a sprouted sowing of the evil one. The fearful consequences of this evil sowing were fully manifested after several centuries, especially during the "brightest" period of the "dark" ages. But the evil causes lay in the early days of the deflection

 

DOS29 from the express admonition of the Lord and His inspired apostles.

 

And today, inn the end of the age, do we not know that this old doctrine is publicly proclaimed?—the doctrine that we are to judge already in this life? Do we know that is is expressly stated that the judgment of the sheep and goats takes place now, and the fulfillment of this parable of Mt 25:31-46 could not take place during the Millennial Age! Yes, we know. And is it not known, that one cannot or will not use the necessary energy to judge one’s self? Is it not known that an appeal has been made to the masses, to help secure for the accursed a favorable judgment? Did the apostles so appeal to the masses? Was not their trust wholly in the God whom they served? And did they not, when the Lord permitted an oppression to come, turn to the believers, whom they exhorted to pray for them?

 

When the Corinthians (and some in other churches which had departed from the everlasting truth) judged, they of necessity had to reign also. and so it was! suffering and bearing reproach were less pleasant and desirable and it was so nice to be above others and keep them in their proper place. what does Paul say to the wise Corinthians? "Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us; and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you" (1Co 4:8). Do not almost the same expressions occur in the message to the Church of the Laodiceans, which portrays the conditions among God’s people in the end of the age (Re 3:17)? The Laodiceans ruled—but "to their own hurt, " as Solomon says (Ec 8:9), because in their condition they were still strongly natural, imperfect men, and in the eyes of the Omniscient One not competent to carry out a divinely intended reign.

 

Alongside of Paul’s warning "Judge nothing before the time" can be set, "Don’t reign before the time." Alas, so many no longer were pleased with the truly beautiful "activity" of sitting at the Savior’s feet and hearkening to His word in order to learn of Him, and then to bring the glad message to other hungering and thirsting ones. Such service brought but little gain pleasing to worldly ones, and when it did bring something, it was reproach and suffering. Another "activity" had to be

 

DOS30 sought, and it was found: to rule. Satan made it desirable, like the fruit of the lust of the soul in Paradise (Ge 3:6; Re 18:14). The fruit was chosen, and disaster came. The Kingdom of god had come—so it was declared among those wise in their own conceits, who, after being warned, were too insincere to perceive and acknowledge their course as destructive and a failure. Should they as "authorities" yield to the humble little ones who had warned them, and acknowledge their warnings as justified? That they would not do; "authorities" are unwilling to yield to nobodies. And so the accepted thought of reigning had to be continually enlarged upon and built up. these "rulers" (Nicolaitanes, Re 2:6, 15) were reigning in God’s Kingdom, as they said, and demanded acknowledgement and submission. And so cleverly had the arch-enemy introduced the matter, that a very large part of God’s people of that time failed to perceive the disastrous effect of it. Most of them loved to have it so, and the Lord’s truly faithful ones, who set His word above all things else, were placed in a difficult position.

 

Side by side with the "upward climb" of the apostates to glory and rulership, the Lord’s faithful ones "descended downward" into suffering and tribulation for His sake. Both of these movements in opposite directions developed side by side, till the one brought the other to the rack and the stake! Oh people of God, guard your holiest treasures! Take knowledge of the danger in which you find yourselves anew! Take your stand promptly against every thought and endeavor to centralize ecclesiastical power, right of rulership, and the sole right to teach in the Church of God! behold the original development, see its bitter fruits and learn therefrom for yourselves! Do not hesitate; thy Lord demands that you take a determined stand for Him and His truth.

 

Yes, the Corinthians reigned! Their kingdom of course was the Kingdom of God, because all who came thus, desolating the sanctuary of God, came not in their own, but "in His (!) name." in order to make the deception the more complete. But the Lord had foretold this to His own, with the important addition: Then do not follow them. They with their kingdom should have hung their heads for shame, for in their "Kingdom of god" things happened which were similar to the orgies of heathen festivals. After St. Paul

 

DOS31 had earnestly reminded them that they were reigning without him, without the apostles, he showed them the utter miserableness of their reign and their Kingdom of God, by saying: "It is reported commonly that there is fornication (!) among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles..." (1Co 5:1). A nice Kingdom of God, in which such devouring abominations are around about! And then, despite all this, to sit upon a high horse and reign from above! This is very like the spirit of the evil one. Did God’s people in Corinth do their duty in this matter? Did they act or were they silent? Or did they permit the Nicolaitanes to do as they pleased? Most of them were deficient in their zeal for the Lord, and most likely squandered their zeal in favor of those who deserved such approval by the Lord and the Apostle, for Paul, in the sorrow of his heart, had to rebuke thus: "And ye are puffed us, and ye have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from you" (1Co 5:2).

 

Thus it was with the wise Corinthians, who were already infected with the spirit of the evil one.

 

Is if any different today? How about these very things which Paul scourges? Are such evil doers removed from our midst? Or do they continue to "reign" and to judge and to condemn those who are better than themselves (1Sa 15:28)? Is such a puffed-up condition unknown today? Has judgment been held in the church of God? Alas, the voices of the few who cry out for a return to the "first love, " to simplicity and humility, to purity, to a desire to learn from and to a single mindedness toward Christ the Lord (2Co 11:2, 3) are drowned out by the shoutings of the many who enthusiastically sing Hosanna, not to Him who bought them and who deserves such Hosannas, but to themselves and to their self-made pompous organizations, to which they have attached the beautiful badge of honor "The Lord’s work." Yes, everything that is being done, however foolish it may be. and which time has long since proven untenable, is.done "in His name." "And ye are puffed up and have not rather mourned"—says Paul, and this reproach hits a large part of God’s people today.

 

DOS32 The Church of Christ is the "mystery of God, " generally unknown; its members’ lives are hid in God (Col 3:3). The apostasy, culminating in the grand system "Babylon, " is also a "mystery, " hidden to many, not recognizable by the many as such. The former is the "Mystery of God, " which He planted and is causing to thrive in the midst of "much tribulation"; the latter is the "mystery of iniquity, " of the evil one, who planted it and is causing it to prosper in the glory of rulership. One is opposed to the other, one wars against the other. It is nothing else but the old enmity pronounced in Eden. If all were immediately manifest, the Church of God as well as the devastating system of iniquity, then the purpose and goal of each could easily be recognized by all, but it was God’s Will that the revealment of His own should not take place till after their course in faithful service, in the footsteps of Jesus, in the way of suffering and ignominy was completed. Thus the Church had to pass through a time of much persecution and affliction. The divinely appointed leaders were, to a certain extent, taken from her by divine permission, and her path truly led through the "Valley of the Shadow of Death." But she remained faithful; nothing could force her away from the "Rock of Ages, " not even the gates of hades. Even the source of all light, the Word of God, was taken from her; the Christian Nicolaitanes appropriated in masterly fashion the methods of their Jewish predecessors (Lk 11:52) and yet the church felt the hand of her Lord. They "who cheerfully, though weeping, gave Him their goods and blood" were not without light. Even though they were only a few in number, surrounded by deepest heathen darkness, and a Christian (?) darkness like unto it, yet they could more or less clearly discern the origin and growth of the oft-mentioned "mystery of iniquity." And this caused them to draw all the closer to the Lord, and to love His word and His law. They continued victorious, and heroically maintained their faith in him who loved them and gave Himself for them; and for this they willingly died upon the rack and at the stake or in the gruesome dark dungeons of the earth. They died by the hands of those who had made false progress in pursuing the evil thought of the Corinthians ("we are reigning and judging already").

 

The Lord will reward their faithfulness in His due time, and to

 

DOS33 those who have already been full and rich and rulers, it will be said: Sit down there! Where do we stand? Let us not hesitate to see, and decide.

 

Pride and vainglory always bring with them the desire to supplant the truth, because the truth is the light which makes the evil manifest. Thus we find at the very beginning of the Christian Church the attempt to set aside the truth. The truth delivered to the Church by the Apostle Paul was opposed; yes, some highly esteemed leaders withstood the Apostle, and even questioned his apostleship. John, the loving disciple, also experienced the same thing. He who continually exhorted the faithful to love, had his letters, which were likewise written in the spirit of love, rejected by such self-conceited would-be lords. So he complains in his third epistle: "I wrote unto the Church, but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not." With evil, judging words, this would-be-preeminent one "prated" against the chosen apostle of love, and not satisfied with that, he even forbade those to do so who wanted to receive the brethren, "fellow-helpers to the truth" (3 John 8) and cast them out of the Church. Still we have the same picture: the "fellow-helpers to the truth " are being cast out of the Church. They might let the light which they possess shine too much into the evil, secret places of the rulers, and because the truth is the weapon most dreaded by these evil ones, it has to be removed from their midst. The "key of knowledge" was removed anew.

 

This, beloved, was the impression of the first days. And if the undercurrent was there already, when the specially chosen witnesses of the Lord, the apostles, were living, when the Christian doctrines were fought by the world-empire Rome (which certainly could not discern the difference between the true Christians and the tares!) how much more must it have spread after the special watchmen of the Church fell asleep, and after the "something" which was hindering the full appearance of the "mystery of iniquity" (2Th 2:6, 7), the heathen power—imperial Rome, had vacated its place. Then the destruction became greater and greater.

 

Erroneous teachings increased terrifyingly, and like a horrible incubus Satan’s system of oppression, Great Babylon,

 

DOS34 raised her head. The once faithful one fell, and by her union with the world became a harlot.

 

Exactly so as Israel of old. How very appropriate at this point are the words, once addressed to typical Israel: "How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers" (Isa 1:21). The same church which had been planted a noble vine, transformed itself, in the hands of the arch-deceiver, into a persecutress of God’s faithful ones, those who, out of love to their Lord and Master dared to avoid her pernicious ways, and who bore witness to the divine truth, both in doctrine and practice. How few there were who did this. The majority walked in the way of those who were entrenching themselves more and more in their enthroned positions.

 

By and by the thought was passionately presented, that the Church is god’s only organization here on earth, and that outside her pale and boundaries salvation cannot be had. This found lodgement in the hearts of those who failed to examine critically, or who loved human theories more than the word of God. The unthinking masses followed the ensnaring sophistries of their self-deceived leaders. To all those who failed to act upon the prophetic counsel given by Solomon the Wise in Proverbs 1 and 2, etc. (to "dig deep into divine wisdom") in order to be protected from the evil man and his equally evil wife (Pr 2:12, 16), it has happened as he described in the course of his presentations (Pr 7). This woman, in her passion, has ensnared all such who passed throughout the street near "her " corner, and went the way to "her " house in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night (Pr 7:8, 9). Had not the "goodman" gone on a journey and would not return until the day appointed (Pr 7:19, 20—compare Lk 19:12)? "with her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she carried him away." And what happened? "He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks" (Pr 7:21, 22). And the thought that outside the church (organization) there is no salvation, was made into a strong creedal-dogma. As long as the Church was faithful to her Lord she made no such claims, but as soon as she had fallen, she defended this dogma most passionately. Thus she brought it about,

 

DOS35 that many received a holy fear of her, a fear to be "outside" her communion. Freedom of thought upon, and opinion concerning that which is true or divine, was banned, and those who had more fear of God than his so-called "vicar, " were persecuted without mercy, and finally with satanic fury and cruelty. the ruling class among God’s people, the Nicolaitanes, eventually controlled everything; every agitation or heresy among the members of the Church was known to them. A grand espionage system was set up, which investigated the consciences of the believers, and woe unto him who dared to suspect such a divine (?) organization. To the cross with him! And did not this put more fear into the "believers"? Who could think of resisting? Of course, God’s truly consecrated were not deceived by the sophistries of the defenders of these designing organizations, such as: "If this were not the Lord’s work and according to His will, He would not permit it, and He would simply remove these leaders, " but the majority considered such arguments as entirely correct, and looked more upon outward appearances, upon that which men had set up, than upon God and His word. It is ever the same mistake; one defends men in such cases, but not God; one supports some men and fights against others. This is only because we do not keep within the boundaries drawn for us by the word of God. Going beyond the teaching of God’s word causes one to b puffed up "for" the one, against the "other" (1Co 4:6).

 

All of us, perhaps, are to some extent informed of the development of the great "apostate" system. Many Church historians have sympathetically written of the experiences of the true Church. Ah, what a finished product did Satan make of his "mystery of iniquity!" with what excellence and refinement did he organize everything. when the espionage system no longer sufficed amongst the professed people of god, a stronger and better one was added: auricular confession was introduced. Oh how crafty is our ancient foe! Tighter and tighter he drew the reins of his government. Liberty became unknown, not only in the realm of the spiritual, but also in purely secular matters. The whole world eventually came under the rule of these spiritual tyrants. The "great city" ruled over the kings of the earth (Re 17:8).

 

DOS36 However, we note that at no time was the world without the light of divine truth, "Ye are the light of the world, " Jesus said, and this word was truth. The Lord in His infinite wisdom cared for His true disciples, who were in the wilderness, far from all other provisions, and dependent upon Him alone. The word of God was dear, very dear, but they paid the highest price for this precious gift and for the light streaming from it. As they came in touch with it, and gave it a place in their hearts, they shook the dust from their feet with confidence in the Lord, and went forth out of that "city" with joy. Such a going forth took place continually during all of this Gospel-age. Naturally, those who came out, or were cast out, were branded as disloyal, and the allies of Satan; but the knowledge of these cast-out ones, that they were privileged to bear shame, and suffer for the sake and name of their leader, who was similarly cast out, gave them strength, and thus they became overcomers, faithful to the end. We must refrain from citing the names of the many witnesses of the Lord, who out of love to Him rose up to pull down strongholds, and cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God (2Co 10:4, 5), who were faithful unto death; and of how many do we not even know their names! These also form a cloud of God’s witnesses. And as Jesus, their leader, was mocked when He was in the power of the servants of darkness, during "their hour" (Lk 22:53), so are these mocked also. We see them all in a vision, how they, in sole dependence upon God, with rejoicing, with a face "as the face of an angel" (Ac 6:15), suffered and died for His sake, and it pains our hearts when we see with what derision and cruelty they were treated. When Huss, that faithful man of God, was condemned and sentenced to be burned at the stake, the priestly garments which had previously been put upon him, were torn form him with curses (as with the royal robe which had been put on Jesus), and the poor brother had to allow them to place upon his head a paper hat in the form of a crown, decorated with caricatures of devils. And thus they burned him. Thus has the loyalty of the faithful ones always been rewarded by the evil side; their standing up for the Lord and His holy and sanctifying truth was always followed by curses and imprecations, and they were

 

DOS37 honored with "caricatures of devils." We are reminded of a child of God of our own days, against whom, after he could no longer refrain from announcing the downward trend of the Church, this statement was publicly made: "I now call the attention of the friends to this, that they may now consider ...( Here follows the name of a well-known brother) as an ally in the intrigues of the enemy, and conduct themselves accordingly" (translation from German Watch Tower 1926, page 352). "And conduct themselves accordingly, " thus another demand upon God’s people to hate this protestant as a lawless one (formerly such people were called heretics).

 

The command to consider this particular truth-witness as an ally of the enemy brings vividly to mind similar experiences of the above mentioned truth-witness Huss. When the paper crown fell from his head, which had been fastened to the stake with a chain, it was placed back with the words, that it must be burned with the devils whose ally he had been.

 

We remark here, that most of the separations from the the fallen and rejected system were good and noble in the eyes of God (1Co 11:19). We had long ago become like Sodom and Gomorrah, if such separations had not come. Before and since the Reformation there were such beneficent separations, or shall we say, a coming out of the midst of her (Babylon). These movements were at first noble and good, but the Lord has shown time and again, that the motive to come out of the evil systems in order to honor a new group of God’s children (instead of Himself) is not that which will have His complete approval. Is it not known to us, that thus far every one of these movements, born of noble intentions, had in time honored its new group more than the Creator? In other words, that less of the first love was given unto the Lord, to whom it rightfully belongs, than to their new group of associates! We do not say one word against the various separations from the ruling Church, on the contrary, we affirm, that these movements preserved the Church of God from putrefaction and Sodomic conditions, but we would that all might recognize with open eyes, how each one of these originally good movements followed in the way of the mother system. We are well acquainted with the various movements, and know also that with them the period wherein they had divine approval, is past. And.

 

DOS38 out of each movement, when it was following ways of its own wisdom, a new one had to arise, which in turn had to be supplanted again, when it also finally went in the way wherein God has no pleasure. Thus the true Church has always consisted of "movements" and "heresies, " and how important is this! What would have happened, had she not been constantly in motion? She would have expired long ago under the creeds, stark dogmas and errors.

 

Do we not find then that it was the greatest wisdom on the Lord’s part, when He tore asunder the cords wherewith His people were bound to any particular visible organization? Was it not for our best interests that He did this? Did He teach that we should love a visible group of people (even the best) more than Him, "the fairest among the children of men, the one altogether lovely?" That we should heed the teachings of men (even the best), more than Him and His teaching? When He saw with His all-searching eye, that His faithful ones were in danger of acknowledging human institutions and teachings more than Him and His gifts, then He did not hesitate to break the golden fetters of His people. And then each time, all the faithful, who permitted themselves to be freed from the glittering bands, found the Lord again, and sitting at His feet were refreshed anew by the marvelous gems from His treasure-store of truth. They permitted themselves to be served by Him, and realized, that by a quiet and grateful acceptance of His service, they could submit to Him in the very best manner. Oh noble band, which, sitting at His feet, are thus serving Him; you who are receiving into good and honest hearts His gracious, lovely words, quietly let your Lord answer, when your own sister, who is very busy along the line of outward things, rebukes you before the Lore, because of your "inactivity."

 

Learn from Him, and you shall become wise and able to "work" His work, which He has entrusted to you in this life. Then you will realize, daily and hourly, that you have much, much to do, and will barely find time in all your life to finish the work which has been given you, to the satisfaction of the Lord. Of course, you will not join in the well-liked phrase: "Character-development is unnecessary, " but will rather use your whole strength in this divinely-required chief activity. Do you clearly see that this

 

DOS39 is one of the most essential requirements? Do you realize that this present life has been given to you that you might do this work yourself, till it is finished? Do you know that in carelessness in this work you are in danger of missing the abundant entrance into His heavenly kingdom with all its joys, glories and privileges of joint-heirship and joint-rule with Him? Do you know what "first-love" is? Do you have it? Or do you desire to have it again in your heart? Then look, decide and act! But do not hesitate, take no counsel with flesh and blood, but with thy Lord and with Him alone! He will lead you forth into a large place, and you will be free..

 

OUR MASTER

 

O Lord and Saviour of us all! O blessed Christ, divine! We own thy sway, we hear thy call, We test our lives by thine.

 

We faintly hear, we dimly see, In various phrase we pray; But, dim or clear, we own in Thee The Light, the Truth, the Way.

 

Our Friend, our Brother, and our Lord, What may thy service be?—Not name, nor form, nor ritual word, But simply following Thee.

 

To do thy will is more than praise, As words are less than deeds, And simple trust can find thy ways We miss with charts of creeds.

 

From Poems of Dawn..

DOS40 THE LATEST MOVEMENT—ITS RICHLY BLESSED WAY—ITS MISSION AND ITS FINAL FALL  

 

It was but little more than 50 years ago, that the Lord poured out special blessings upon His watchful and waiting people. Just 70 years had passed at that time since the presumptuous claims of the great city "Babylon" suffered another powerful eclipse. The supporters of this system themselves say that the "little season" of the Loosing of Satan then began (Re 20:3). From this we can realize much of the extent of the terror which had overtaken that system because of these events, which took place under the wise providence of God. And immediately thereafter as if by divine command, the Bible Societies ("pestiferous societies" as the almost impotent system of oppression called them) were founded, which revived hope like a mild, refreshing rain. Believing people by thousands turned to a thorough study of God’s precious word, and not without being richly blessed by Him who gave it. The result of the labors of this believing band of searchers was exceedingly satisfactory, and served to whet their appetite for further food. In this way the zeal for study increased, and God’s people were always "in motion."

 

We do not say that the faithful found everything, nor that their findings were in every point divine truth; but the majority of our readers will agree with us in this, that they received a due reward for their humble endeavor to know God’s word and will, not a meager one, but rich according to the bounty of their God. The light increased continually, to the joy of the searchers, to the discomfiture of those who, bound fast to creeds and dogmas, could only gaze helplessly upon this spiritual progress.

 

Then came another new movement, because God’s people must be in "movement." It happened a little over fifty years ago, that God called Brother Charles Taze Russell upon the scene of action. Through him He made known to His searching people further details of His great, exalted plan. True, some of the outlines of the divine plan of salvation had formerly been more or less understood and taught,

 

DOS41 but the relation of the individual parts to the whole was not or only slightly comprehended.

 

Brother Russell was especially (not exclusively, as is sometimes thought), called to forward this movement. It was a wonderfully glorious time. It was a time in which the spirit of God touched the hearts of His people, and of God’s people as a whole in a special manner. Whoever has gone through it with a humble heart and pure conscience can testify to that. "Yes, it was a wonderful time, " is still said today. Many of God’s children who were blessed therein, think of those beautiful days with a feeling of sadness.

 

It is indeed true that Brother Russell was the central point in this movement; it is also true he himself felt this. It is further true, that many dear ones leaned too much on him; but with all this the fact remains, that God’s people in general, during this time which is already in the past, were drawn by the beauty of the truth which shone forth so brightly. The knowledge of the divine plan of salvation, as it has been worked out in various ages, and as it will yet be worked out in the glorious future, was due, and therefore the Lord opened the eyes and ears of His people to receive it. We would not make a mistake (which has its foundation mostly in an ignorance of history, or even upon a certain kind of egoism), and say that before Brother Russell there was no "present" truth, i.e., no timely understanding of truth, and that only through him did light come to God’s people. This is not according to facts. God’s people who diligently searched and were duly blessed, were like a chain, of which not a single link was missing. It does not matter, whether many or few represent the Lord’s cause. It is a true fact, that during the long Gospel age there was an uninterrupted line of witnesses who had "present truth." As already stated, even Brother Russell had not found all the marvelous truths. They were already recognized and more or less known, but without order, lacking harmony and symmetry with, and toward each other.

 

Not even the truth concerning restitution did Brother Russell "discover, " as sometimes supposed. His time was, so to speak, a time of fitting together the various parts of God’s truths into a well-ordered whole—the knowledge of the divine plan of the ages. Brother Russell himself was greatly surprised, when

 

DOS42 he found, in fitting together the precious truths, how singularly even the smallest part of God’s plan harmonized with every other detail of this plan.

 

In fairly rapid sequence one part of the truth was added to another, and the joy among the watching ones continually increased. It was as if the holy vessels, long desecrated in the temple of the rulers of Babylon, were brought back into their places, and restored for the their own appointed purpose. That which had so long been darkened, now for the most part lay open and clear to the understanding of God’s consecrated. Doubts, apparent contradictions, questions, which caused a certain unrest because they could not be satisfactorily answered—all such things gradually disappeared. The eternal torment bugbear "ceased, " because the doctrine of the natural immortality of the human soul was now recognized as a product of the arch-liar, form whom it originated. The fires of hell were quenched by the water of truth. The uselessness of masses for the sufferers in purgatory was readily seen. Everything seemed to adjust itself in the best and most simple manner. The dark future was brightened, its horizon suddenly glowed with glorious signs of blessed hope and joy. That which had been withheld by the wiles of the adversary, the glorious future of Christ’s millennial kingdom of peace, which was made applicable to this present life alone (because of easily discerned motives), was put back in its proper place. since then it stands there clothed in exalted beauty. Truly, how many promises, which cause the heart to shout for joy, in the course of many centuries ("while men slept") had been torn from their divinely appointed place and in a distorted, shortened, minimized, clipped condition, forced into the present. And because much of it would not fit into the scheme of things, the sly thought was conceived and taught, that all these things could not be understood except in the seminaries and universities. But now it all was revealed. "Then human inventions collapsed! There tottered and fell what grasping rulers had planned! There, like vapor, the web of lies dissolved! As far as the morning had dawned." All this transpired in less than half a century. Around the year 1970 Brother Russell began to discern the various

 

DOS43 parts of the truth, and to connect them with each other as a whole. He was not alone active in this. A small circle of searching children of God shared the joys with him, which at that time came to those who allowed themselves to be led by the spirit of God. It is strengthening to faith, to read his own descriptions of the course of events of those days. Many a light beam of the dawning millennium was sent out for the benefit of the watchers upon Zion’s Watch Tower, and joyously hailed by these. The year 1886 is significant, because his first and best volume of "Studies in the Scriptures" (formerly called "Millennial Dawn"), entitled "The Plan of the Ages" was then issued. We believe that this particular volume has contributed most to transmit a knowledge of God’s wonderful plan (and in a comparatively short time) to the waiting people of God in all countries of the earth. Then the Lord’s faithful ones understood much clearer that God is working all things according to the counsel of His Will (Eph 1:11; 3:11). The quick and unique manner in which the "present truth" spread among God’s people at that time may well be called a miracle. "His word runneth very swiftly" (Ps 147:15); this Scripture verified itself. In the days of the reformation only was there anything like it—at that time also the moving spirit, the message of the hour, moved rapidly through the lands.

 

Those who were blest with the truth in America, who had relatives or a acquaintances in Europe, felt the joyful urge to "send" the gladdening knowledge to Europe. It was as if God’s children in all countries stood ready, waiting for the signal; when they "saw" and "heard, " there came in unison the cry: "That’s it." Quickly did the truth concerning the divine plan of love capture in one country after another the individuals who were looking for the truth. And all these blest ones became "one heart and one mind." Oh, what the truth, received into a good and honest heart, can accomplish! The fruit of this blessed labor of Brother Russell increased year by year. But despite all successes Brother Russell remained "small, " humble. Not that he never made a mistake, but when we consider that he supervised this blessed movement not one, two, five or ten years, but nearly half a century,

 

DOS44 we can honestly say, that he made very few mistakes, that he proved his submission to God, his humility, his consideration toward "others" in a manner seldom done by anyone. Knowing that even with God’s people the inclination exits, to accord the leaders of a movement too much honor, he exercised care to reject honors and approbations, modestly, but sometimes emphatically. This very thing made him great in the eyes of the similarly faithful and humble ones. This is our testimony concerning him, after he has left the stage of this earthly life.

 

It seems that the first decades of this movement brought a special fulness of divine light. Today one still hears this testimony from such as know and appreciate the truth. "How beautiful are the old Watch Towers!" This is indeed true. The "old" Watch Towers excel by compelling logic and an abundance of glorious thoughts. And we designate it as not only indecent, but objectionable in the extreme, when those who outwardly profess to esteem this man, say that the devil is hiding behind the old Watch Towers (W. T. 1925:174)*. Oh, how loveless and bitter! This faithful champion of the truth did not deserve such a thrust. But we will not make long dissertations, since we presume that most of our readers are sufficiently acquainted with these things, and they still have pleasure in that which really was, and still is truth, and that they know its inestimable value.

 

————— *The following letter written by the same author four years later, will interest our readers: "As re the letter of mine in the Tower will say that it represented what at that time seemed to me to be the proper conclusion as to the cause of my experience. It is now my belief that it was due to the fact that I had failed to abide in the ‘truth’ as presented by Pastor Russell. I am not now identified with the I.B.S.A. However, there is no bitter feeling between myself and any of the brethren in the W. T. B. T. S. to my knowledge. You can use all this letter but not a part."

 

J. E. C.

 

  —————

 

It could not always remain thus. The happiness of God’s children here below must always have an admixture of sorrow, else it is not genuine. The seasons of special joy are good; that God removes them after having permitted His people to enjoy them, proves that this is well and necessary. There must be "growth, " else God’s people would be stunted, and spiritual slumber would force itself upon them. Thus it came about that this special movement of these last days

 

DOS45 also showed its sad features. It would be quite improbable that the ancient foe, who had so long fought, should now, after seeing the jubilant joy of the Lord’s people, lay down his arms in resignation acknowledging: "I see that in the end all my labor avails nothing. I will put my sword in its sheath. I will cease to fight against God and His work and His people." Anyone else might do this, but not he, in his blind madness. He did not sleep when the watchers were awake and partook of the rich blessings. He was eye and ear witness of all that took place. Each beam of truth is like the thrust of a lance in his side. What should he do? How let this movement seep into the sand? How hinder these forces? That was his question. He was old and experienced enough to solve it to his own satisfaction, and not without a measure of success.

 

The specter of the promise about the "Seed of the woman" caused him continual unrest and he must labor unceasingly to carry out what he in his evil, malicious wisdom contrived against God and His consecrated people. His move succeeded again, and alas, only too well.

 

"Honor shall uphold the humble in spirit, " Solomon says truly, and on this very point God’s people, mostly the leaders, begin to "fall." The waiting for the honor, so absolutely necessary to the preparation of God’s children, lasted too long, and the way to shorten the suffering here below lay often so seductively near, and was so favored by various circumstances, that it seemed like a refusal of divine providence, and not to grasp these opportunities. They were grasped, and then the concomitants drew near with gigantic steps. Leave the place at Jesus’ feet, turn your eyes away from His face, give room in your heart to the thought that you are something, can do something and have something, and that you can become much more still, and you are no longer His disciple, for you have practically renounced Him. Then you can no longer sing in adoration: "He is in the midst, be silent all within me, and lowly bow before Him, " because you or your work (of course, you call it the Lord’s work), or something else is standing in "the midst..."

 

Beloved, we have seen and experienced enough to know this is truly so. Humility began to vanish among God’s people. The place at Jesus’ feet did not seem so urgently necessary

 

DOS46 any more. The eyes were focused on the "field" which was so full of tares, and, although its individual component parts were not "immortal souls" (not yet?) still they were important enough and worthy enough to have a work done with them. One felt so much courage, adroitness and desire to labor, to tackle this "neglected" work. And at that these dear ones imagined that they discovered this as a wholly new truth. But this has all been here before; "there is nothing new under the sun, " Solomon said long ago. For many predecessors of these dear ones had this wisdom (?) and applied it. But eventually they convinced themselves of their own unwisdom and failure, even though they wouldn’t admit it.

 

Although it cannot be claimed that Brother Russell saw clearly in every point of biblical doctrine, or more clearly than any other child of God in his days, the fact must be mentioned that he early and clearly saw a matter specially fraught with danger. The Watch Tower is the manifest proof of this. When we read its pages, we find that Brother Russell had to take a stand from time to time against unsober thoughts in the midst of the Church. Not alone this.

 

Concurrently with the various misleading thoughts there appeared the age-old evil: ambitions.

 

Yes, we might say the ambition is the point of departure for all unscriptural thoughts. Brother Russell says very truly that "ambitious leaders mostly bring in false doctrines" (W.T. R5981  205981).

 

Always this old evil! Brother Russell refused the praise which was forced upon him continually, but others were susceptible to praise. They were undoubtedly capable, and were not far wrong, when they thought that the work could be made to move still more rapidly. "Could"—yes, but the question was, whether the Lord was prepared to say "well done" to it. Many a "good suggestion" concerning the work was submitted to Brother Russell, which however, when considered in the light of God’s Word, he set aside as useless, yea, as dangerous. In general he went on his way, as his sanctified reason indicated. Not only other, new methods of work, were recommended to him as promising success, but especially "new valuable thoughts" were presented to him, which were said to be of utmost importance for the work in these last days. We will not decide how far Brother Russell

 

DOS47 yielded to these continuous offerings (it does seem a fact, that in some of his expositions during the latter days, signs of such doctrinal suggestions are here and there found), but we can ascertain without a doubt, that he knew of this undercurrent. We need only to glance through the Watch Towers, specially those of the last years, to find that he was fighting this under-surface smoldering. This movement of the "strange fire" took more concrete form and increased continually, and was recognized by Brother Russell and others as of greatest danger. He finally pointed it out as something which could be compared to the conditions depicted by Paul as existing amongst the elders of the church as Ephesus (Ac 20:17-35).

 

Spiritual pride has always been the cause of the ever reappearing "apostasy." By apostasy we do not of course understand the going out of some communion of professing Christians, whatever its name, but the departing from Christ, the forsaking our "first love" (for Him), the "not holding fast the head" (Col 2:19), the entering upon our own paths. Verily, one can only fall away from the Lord to whom he has been joined. He always, and in every way is to be the head of His church, and it is His wish, that this headship should always, under all conditions, be acknowledged by His people, both teachers, and those who are taught. And since He knew that the temptation to accept another head, to esteem another ruler and commander, would be laid at the feet of His people, He warned His own of this very thing with all earnestness. The heathen, those totally estranged from God, would not be their greatest hindrance, but men of their own rank, their guides and teachers, with whom they took sweet counsel together (Ps 55:13, 14), followers in the footsteps of Jesus. The abilities of a child of God never give the right to appropriate more authority and privileges than all the others have. In the Church of Christ all have the same rights, the same authority. If a child of God has more ability, it has thereby increased opportunity to serve God and His people. If a servant of God uses these as a power to control others, to obey his dictates, then his divinely intended service (note: service!) is ended, then he is in that condition which Jesus calls "Nicolaitanism" (lordship over God’s people) and condemns as hateful. This

 

DOS48 "Nicolaitanism" has really always been present in the church, but made its appearance in a special remarkable manner at the beginning and end of the age. The Revelator has clearly outlined its origin and growth in his messages. The evil of "Nicolaitanism" was at the time of its mention in the message to Ephesus only in its beginning. It was exalted as a doctrine in the Pergamos epoch. It is no accident that it is mentioned for the first time in the description of conditions at Ephesus (Re 2:6). Does this not prove, that it came from the ranks of the leaders? We immediately think of the prophetic warning of the Apostle Paul in Ac 20:18-35.

 

Jesus had already pointed out in His discourses that the persecutions and false doctrines would come from the circle of the leaders. Blinded, they would cast the faithful "out of the synagogue, " yea, kill them and verily think they were doing God a service (Joh 16:2). "From among yourselves"—this word has proven true to this day.

 

Following we cite some remarks from Brother Russell’s pen, which show how clearly he saw the ever-threatening peril of spiritual pride and desire for lordship, and from time to time he brought continually graver indictments against this spirit of "Nicolaitanism" and warned more and more emphatically against it, against unscriptural methods and unscriptural doctrines, the inevitable consequence of ambition.

 

"The Church’s dangers have always arisen from those who sought to lord over God’s heritage and to dispense their own wisdom or the wisdom of other men instead the Word of the Lord" (W.T.R3356 203356).

 

"As he (Satan) tried to persuade our Lord that there were better ways—ways that involved less personal sacrifice and self-denial than the Father’s ways—by which he might bless all the families of the earth, so he, during this Gospel Age, has been intent upon persuading the Lord’s truly consecrated brethren to adopt his plan—not to give careful heed to the Father’s plans and rules.

 

He would have them otherwise—to feel that they can serve the Lord better by other methods than those the Scriptures point out. He would puff them up with feelings of zeal for and pride in their human systems, the work they are doing, and the organizations they have perfected...

 

"It was not long after the apostles fell asleep, we may be sure, until the spirit of rivalry under the guidance of the Adversary led step by step to the ultimate organization of the

 

DOS49 great Antichrist system—Papacy. Its organization as we have already seen, was not effected instantly, but gradually—beginning to assume its power about the fourth century. The great Antichrist flourished so successfully for a time that all the histories written form that period onward to the ‘Reformation’ practically ignored the right of every person and class to the name Christian or to be considered orthodox and faithful who did not belong to or in some manner support this Antichrist system. Others were not permitted to exist except privately and under ban, and if there were histories of them, apparently they were destroyed; but, possibly, like those walking in the light of the present truth today, the faithful of that time were so insignificant in proportion of numbers and influence that none would have thought them worthy of mention in comparison with the great and successful system which they assayed to oppose, and which so rapidly climbed to the influential place of power in both temporal and spiritual matters.

 

"Since the ‘Reformation’ the adversary has again showed his cunning in organizing every new departure (every fresh effort to reach the truth) into another Antichrist."

 

(Vol.6, pp.199, 200, 201, 202)" We perceive the attack of the adversary, referred to in our caption (Take Heed to Yourselves), in every direction—the grievous wolves of error and ambition among ‘your own selves.’ We must sound the alarm and tell that ‘the hour of temptation’ is come..." (W.T. 1907:53, 52) "If the meekest man in all the earth and one of the greatest men in the world’s history was thus overcome by the circumstances of his position amongst the people, it should not surprise us if we find that in Spiritual Israel some who start out meek and humble become more or less arrogant, too, and talk about what they do and must do, and assume that the others are dependent upon them for the water of life." (W.T. R3866 203866) "Emphasizing the caution already given, the Apostle prophetically declared that there would be great need of their taking heed to themselves, because of their own selves, of the flock itself, and especially amongst the elders, men would arise speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them; desirous of being leaders, they would not hesitate to produce a schism of division in the Church to help along their ambition. The word perverse (here) in the original signifies distorted, twisted. The thought is that those who begin to lose the Spirit of the Lord, begin to lose their clearness of appreciation of the Truth. As personal and selfish ambitions cloud their vision they see the Scriptures more vaguely and feel free to twist or distort them to make them support their ambitious sentiments. How true the

 

DOS50 Apostle’s words; how great a danger there is along these lines, especially to the elders, the overseers of the flock! Evidently selfish ambition is one of the greatest of foes with which they must contend.

 

"Nor do these ambitions suddenly germinate, bloom and bear fruit; the process is a gradual one and hence the more dangerous, the more deceptive, the less likely to have our notice. How important then that all of God’s flock, and especially the elders, take heed to themselves and scrutinize their conduct, and above all, the motives lying behind their deeds! Let us remember, that absolute purity of the will is essential, every admixture of selfishness, however little, is a poisonous virus which, if unchecked, would lead to the second death. "Take heed to yourselves, is the admonition, for, the Apostle goes on to say, that of their own selves would men arise telling truths in a distorted fashion, for the purpose of drawing away disciples after them; for the purpose of being leaders in the flock; for the purpose of having praise and honor of men. Ah, how dear the price—the loss of divine favor and of eternal life." (W.T. R4458-4459) "He (Paul) expressly indicated that these defenses would be provided for ‘the evil day’ with which our age would close. He specially advised that while this armor was available to all of God’s people and to be had for the putting on, nevertheless only those who will put it on will be safe. Why so, it is asked? We reply that this is one of God’s tests by which we would prove our love, our devotion, our loyalty to Him. Those of little love will be careless respecting the details of the divine plan of the ages. ‘They will not have time’ to search the Scriptures. They will not be disposed to make use of the agencies which God will use for providing this armament in this evil day. they will have preference for some sectarian brand of armor or insist that it must come form some particular quarter, or refuse to wear any armor that they have not manufactured for themselves, or refuse assistance in putting on the armor of light." (W.T. R4438-4439 204438) "It was not to be wondered at that the more prominent brethren have the more severe trials along this line. It must not surprise us, if in this evil day into which we have entered, we should find a considerable number of those possessed of talents or influences stumbling. Of this condition of things the Apostle forewarns us, saying, ‘Be not many of you teachers, knowing that he who is a teacher will experience the more severe trials’ (Jas 3:1). The deflection of some recognized as teachers will prove to what extent they have a personal relationship to the Lord through an individual consecration to him and through his instructions by his Word and the prophecies—in the school of Christ." (W.T. R4448 204448)

 

DOS51 "Let us remember that humility is the first of the graces and will have much to do with our standing the tests now multiplying in so many ways upon all who have named the name of Christ. As the testing begins with the Church and proceeds to the world, so apparently in the Church the testing comes first upon those in prominent positions. And these need to be the more watchful, the more prayerful, the more earnest, that they may be able to stand. The adversary’s attempts are various. Some he beguiles with flattery, pride and ambition; others he would vanquish with despondency mingled with humility; others he attracts with pleasures of the present life; others with ease and popularity; others with misdirected energy, which gradually leads them from the narrow way. Some are seduced through too great a reverence of human teachings, human authority, subserviency to creeds and theories; while temptation comes to others along the line of disloyalty to God and to the leadings of his providence. Let us each remember that love for God means loyalty to him and his Word, and to every leading of his providence and grace, and loyalty to the brethren. A little while and our trials will be ended. A little while and we shall see his face if we are faithful." (W.T. R4524 204524) Despite every warning this harmful movement increased more and more. Willing eyes and ears were found, to which this "fresher" spirit was pleasing. Only the great respect enjoyed by Brother Russell generally, kept this undercurrent with its new methods, its new light (?), from breaking forth at once. Quite gradually it come, increasing exactly like the first "Nicolaitanism" of the days of Ephesus. We say "quite gradually, " although when compared with the progress of the first apostasy, it came up quickly, and has spread quite phenomenally since Brother Russell’s death. Perhaps Brother Russell counted on the sound judgment of those blest with the truth, to bar the progress of this evil, but if he did entertain this hope, he did not witness its realization.

 

On the contrary, he had to experience that the desire to lord it over God’s people on the part of some leaders became continually more intense. "New light" was lauded ever more obtrusively.

 

The fundamentals of the simple heart and mind satisfying truths were attacked; in a deceptive manner the sacred rights of God’s people were withdrawn. In exchange the requirements were ameliorated by removing the duty of diligent Scripture study, etc. Perceiving this growing danger, several years before his death Brother Russell wrote the serious article "Perilous Times at Hand, " in the very title of

 

DOS52 which he showed the severity o the trials in store for God’s people. We cannot here reprint the entire article, but would advise all the dear friends to carefully reread this important article (W.T.R1319 201319. Sept. 1891). The deductions of our dear brother read like a prophecy in the light of what happened since. What heaviness of heart he must have had, when he beheld from Zion’s Watchtower how the spirit of pride and the desire to lord it over the Church of God became more bold. Out of love for the Lord and His people, the cultivation of whose spiritual gifts lay so heavily on his heart, yet notwithstanding his modesty and consideration, he nevertheless spoke plainly against this evil development. In the above mentioned expositions, under the heading of the Scripture 2Ti 3:1, he points out the blessings of the last days, and of the marvelous spread of knowledge, then tells us, that despite these blessings, despite the light of the last days, the greatest dangers are threatening. Responsibility for these perils he attributes to self-will, pride and desire for lordship of some of God’s people. He describes very plainly the plans of this class among the truth people, and shows how they are shaping the course of their own new light, into the desolation of the sanctuary. Among other things he says: "But hand in hand with all these advantages, strange to say, comes the Church’s great peril..."

 

"The peril of these times is to the spiritual nature of the saints and to their valuable property in the exceeding great and precious promises of God, which are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus.

 

Subtle influences are now at work seeking to dwarf and extinguish the spiritual life and to rob the saints of their glorious hope, to sap stealthily the very foundations of Christianity, and thus effectually to overflow the whole superstructure of the Christian faith in the minds of many...

 

"The present besetments, being of this subtle character, are the more calculated to delude and ensnare, so that if one allows himself to be for a moment off his guard, the agencies of the adversary will gain an advantage and use it to entrap the unwary one...

 

"Paul was often in perils among false brethren who, concerning the faith had made shipwreck, and who greatly withstood his words—his efforts to build up the Church in the most holy faith (2Co 11:26; 1Ti 1:19; 2Ti 4:14-17)...

 

DOS53 "But why, you ask, should any one who had once received the truth desire to pervert it? The Apostle answers that their object is ‘to draw away disciples after them.’... Well we may inquire, as we realize that we are living in the last days here referred to, is there such a class of enemies to the Truth and to the Church in existence today? Truly, the voice of prophecy has never set up a false alarm, or foretold an uncertain event. The perilous times have come and the foretold perils are all about us. Side by side in the same communities with the humble, faithful, consecrated saints—in the same little assemblings together of those who have escaped from the bondage of Babylon, in the same households, and often at the same table of the Lord, there has also been developing a class who are ‘lovers of their own selves (selfish), covetous (of honors and distinction and the praise of men—ambitious), boasters (as though the credit of the truth now due and received were in some way due to them, as though they had a right therefore to alter and amend it at their pleasure), proud (of that knowledge which should be received with only humility and thankfulness, and which can be retained only under these conditions).

 

"Because the light of newly unfolding truth has dawned upon their pathway, they, in common with the faithful saints, no longer are of the same mind as were their parents, but the goodness of God thus manifested to them, instead of cultivating in them a spirit of thankfulness and of co-operation, which is its design seems to arouse a spirit of pride and ambition, which does not long hesitate to make merchandise of the truth for ambitious ends, however trivial and foolish those ends may be.

 

"And in pursuance of the ambitious policy, by degrees they become ‘evil-speakers’ (against the doctrine of Christ and those who believe and teach it), unkind, unfriendly to those that are good (who hold fast the truth in righteousness), and false accusers (of such). As they proceed in this way they seem to lose all former strength of Christian character. They become irreconcilable to the truth, so that neither Scripture, nor reason, nor example of the faithful, has the power to restore them. Loving their own wills more than the Will of God, they grow more and more boastful of their attainments—high-minded and heady. Not submitting themselves to the Head of the Body, Christ Jesus, they are ambitious to head new factions themselves, and thus they turn traitors to the truth. "They claim, too, to be very earnest students of the Word of God; and so they are, but they never come to a knowledge of the truth. They are after something new, some new and peculiar ‘find’ in the mind of God that will attract the wondering gaze of many curious disciples. But, alas for

 

DOS54 their purpose! there are no such real curiosities in the blessed Word of God; but the zeal of these ambitious ones is equal to the emergency, and one after another the actual truths are beclouded, distorted and perverted to this ignoble end and presented as newly found truths. And the unwary receive them as such, not recognizing at first that they are subversive of the entire system of divine truth. Thus their faith in the truths already learned is unwittingly undermined; they are caught in the snare of the enemy; and as they continue to ear to these seductive influences they become more and more entangled, until, having lost their anchorage they find themselves adrift on a vast sea of unbelief, floating they know not whither. Like their leaders, they may retain the form of godliness but they have lost its power."

 

Their Policy Will Be Deceitful

 

"But there is another feature of the description of these false teachers, whose ambitions place so many perils in the pathway of the saints which should not be overlooked. Verses 6 and 8 describe, or rather illustrate, the manner in which the influence of such teachers will be brought to bear upon the Church. Their opposition is not expressed in bold, defiant terms, and emphasized and enforced with vehemency as here intimated, their policy is crafty, deceitful, sly...

 

"...the studied effort of false teachers—false brethren developing in the very midst of the church—is to offset the truth by plausible forms of error, to unsettle confidence in the truth and all teachers of the truth, thus to lead away disciples after them and their theories. And in consequence of the allurements of these false teachers, and of the unfaithfulness of many to the love and service of the truth which they have received, a class in the midst of the Church will give much encouragement to the ambitions of these false brethren; ‘for’ says the Apostle (2Ti 4:3, 4), ‘the time will come when when they will not endure sound doctrine, after their own desires (desires for something new) shall they gather to themselves teachers, having itching ears (for new and strange things); and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.’ Nor will this class be only a small minority ..."

 

"From Such Turn Away"

 

"But how shall the faithful believers act toward these false brethren in their midst? Shall they take them by the hand as formerly and bid them God-speed? Shall they recognize them as brethren in Christ when they have denied the faith, when they have rejected salvation through the precious blood of Christ and now claim it of God as their just right, as the reward of their own righteousness, after they have, .

 

DOS55 as they say, slain the enmity that is in them? Are such indeed our brethren? Are they owned of God as sons? And shall we indeed walk with them and be guiltless? What does the Apostle say we shall do? He says, ‘From such turn away.’ (2Ti 3:5) "Such ‘evil men, ‘says Paul (2Ti 3:13) ‘shall wax worse and worse (more and more bold and aggressive, as they receive encouragement form that rapidly increasing class who will no longer endure sound doctrine), deceiving (others) and being deceived’—themselves being more and more firmly entrenched in the snares of their own weaving, so as to make it impossible to extricate them."

 

And then Brother Russell turns to the humble, believing people of God with earnest and loving counsel, and says: "But, beloved, our advise to you in these perilous times, when error is taking on its most baneful and deceitful forms, and when it is finding its most active agents amongst false brethren and sisters in your very midst, and when fidelity to the truth, therefore, occasions the severing of some of the tenderest social ties you have ever known, even among those with whom you held sweet converse as you walked together to the House of God—yes, in these times let us again urge the counsel of Paul—’Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them’;...

 

"Therefore, dearly beloved, what you have learned concerning God’s glorious plan of the ages, and concerning your privileged place in that plan, as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, his Son, and concerning the conditions upon which you hold this precious promise and may finally realize it, and concerning the great foundation doctrine of our redemption from sin and death through the precious blood of the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all, upon which fact rests the whole superstructure of the wonderful and glorious plan, hold fast these things, knowing of whom you have learned them...Search and see for yourself, and be not faithless but believing. It comes not to you on the miserable authority of vain imagination, or dreams, or doubtful visions, but on the authority of God’s most holy and authentic Word...

 

"Continue therefore in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of (having proved them yourself from the Scriptures), and be not of them who turn away their ears from the truth and are turned unto fables. And observing them who have a form of godliness, but who, nevertheless, by their false teachings deny the power thereof, ‘from such turn away, ‘and ‘have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.’ We cannot serve

 

DOS56 two masters; we cannot espouse the cause of truth and the cause of error as well, nor can we retain the friendship of God and of the advocates of error also.

 

"Who is on the Lord’s side? Let them rally around the Lord’s standard. All told, they will only be a ‘little flock.’ Like Gideon’s band, the company now gathered by the proclamation of the harvest-message of truth must be tested and sifted until the loyal, faithful, true-hearted, brave and valiant soldiers of the cross remain; and to these, though their numbers be small, will the laurels of victory belong when truth and righteousness finally prevail. Let no man boast of numbers now when the highest interests of the elect of God are all bound up with the faithful few, to whom it will be the Father’s good pleasure top give the kingdom." (W.T. R1319, 1320, 1321 201319) These are words of exhortation written by Brother Russell 25 years before his death. How significant are they now! As already remarked, this humble servant of the Church of the living God saw, almost with the vision of a seer, the things which were coming in the midst of the believers more and more rapidly, without restraint, to desolate God’s sanctuary in our days, after his death. New leaders of this once so richly blessed movement by their authority chocked the living truth of the Church and the divinely intended liberty, and each truth was desecrated by old errors newly brought forth and also by entirely new errors which were presented as new light.

 

The watchmen upon Zion’s Tower, however, were not asleep, but every protest against the assumed authority and against the wresting of precious truths, which these who are truly consecrated to Him made, out of love for Him and His truth, was and is decried as criticism of the Lord (!), as slander, with the abundant and powerful means which the lords of consciences of God’s people have at their disposal. Was it ever otherwise? Do we not continually experience how history repeats itself? Did the leaders of the "official" movement ever grant recognition to the few and unimportant ones of the little flock, when these fulfilled their duty, and with the divine weapons of the spirit cast down imaginations, and every height which exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2Co 10:4, 5)?

 

When God’s servants stood up against false methods and doctrines, or an assumed authority, it was not done from a mere desire to oppose, or slander, but from fervent love to

 

DOS57 the Lord, whose good gifts they prized above all else. The exposing of false doctrines is under some circumstances an unavoidable duty, and we would be guilty of the sin of omission if we kept silent while this evil was raging among God’s people. An exposing of errors (not of men!) of course brings much ignominy in consequence, but every defender of the truth knows this in advance. Brother Russell in his espousal of the truth experienced this with those nearest him, those who were dipping their hands with him in the dish. In a description of his experiences along this line he says: "All this meant another strain, another sifting, another cutting loose of friends, who erroneously supposed that our criticism of the false doctrines were prompted by a spirit of rivalry, and who did not o soon see whither his teachings were drifting, nor how great the importance of holding fast the first principles of the doctrines of Christ..." (W.T. R3826 203826) And regarding the so-called slanders (of error teaching brethren) he writes in another place as follows: "Some fail to get the proper thought on the subject of evil-speaking and appear to get the impression that any kind of criticism and any kind of objection to the beliefs of another is evil-speaking.

 

This is not the right thought. According to this thought our Lord and the Apostles did evil-speaking. Whoever has this conception should readjust his ideas so that they may conform to the Scriptural lines.

 

"To tell that a certain brother now disbelieves what he formerly believed is not evil-speaking, if it be true. St. Paul spoke quite freely of false doctrines and mentioned particularly the names of some of those whose perverse teachings had been injurious to the cause, ‘overthrowing the faith of some.’ Our Lord Jesus criticized the misconduct of some in his day. He called attention to some as being hypocritical in that they did not practice their own teaching. But neither the Lord nor the Apostles made personal attacks, slandering others. To tell fairly what another believes and to show that it is wrong is far from evil-speaking. It is speaking the truth, which should always be spoken in love. In many instances it is a duty to speak." (W.T. R4524 204524) Is it then slander when God’s children stand up for the pure preservation of the God given goods (truths, etc.), against perversion and despoiling of the Truth? Would it be a grateful loyalty to the giver of all good and perfect gifts,

 

DOS58 is one remained silent in such situations, so as not to displease a human system? Describing "teachers, messengers or servants of new light, " Brother Russell says of such, that "they imagine to have made great progress in the light, " and also pointedly puts the great question, "are we ready to defend the truth in spite of all revilings, or will we let it be misused, in order to escape the unavoidable ignominy?" We ask again: Is a determined standing up for the truth, slander?

 

Let each one decide, and let each one also take heed, where and how he himself stands. All those heroes, who from love of the truth, as it shone to them in their time, took a stand against the errors and entanglements of the "official" systems, Huss, Luther, Russell and many others, are today honored by many, as brave protestants, and rightly so. And they are given titles of slanderers, apostates, servants of Satan only by those who fanatically defend their own human teachings. Whoso readeth, let him understand.

 

From the foregoing citations from Brother Russell’s pen if can be perceived (this we continually emphasize) that he more and more clearly saw the rise of these evil things. This is also evident from the fact that sometimes articles in which he describes them were reprinted repeatedly.

 

Other submissive ones to God felt, with him, the necessity of continually calling attention to these things. In the Watch Tower of July 15, 1908, there appears a short article, "Tests of the Royal Priesthood, " which has been reprinted repeatedly, in which Brother Russell points out first that such few victories in the battle are attained among the truth people and then shows very aptly that the difficulties are threefold, namely:

 

(1) A selfish spirit, a desire for some of the best of the things which the Lord has condemned;

 

(2) A man fearing spirit. This is the spirit which brings a snare (Pr 29:25). The danger of paying more attention to the meaning of others, than to the Word of the Lord. Of such the Lord says, "How can ye believe (continue in proper discipleship) which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh form God only?" (Joh 5:44)

 

(3) Negligence in the appreciation of the Word of God.

 

And in the same article Brother Russell says further:

 

DOS59 "We must be tested by the hatred, the malice, the evil speaking and evil surmising of those who dipped with us in the dish, of those who partook with us of the present things of divine bounty at the table of the Lord, the spiritual food...We write thus pointedly, because in various parts we have some instances the manifestation of a loveless spirit, a hypercritical, unbrotherly spirit, a spirit in direct opposition to the golden rule and the Lord’s instructions, to go to him alone, and seek to win thy brother, and not to cast him off, nor excommunicate him." (\W.T. R4207 204207) Oh, if all of God’s people were free, and willing to take things just as they are! The majority will not see them! The majority will not consider the spiritual fetters put upon them as such, but will consider and wear them as ornaments, as badges of respect and marks of character. Yes, orthodoxy is made dependent upon the possession of such doubtful embellishments. We recommend the reading again of the very pointed exposition concerning this is Vol. 3:184, 185.

 

Nine years prior to his death Brother Russell deemed it wise to mention some of the things we have just quoted in his will. This fact is exceedingly important. In this, his last Will and Testament he gave as reason for a provision mentioned there, to "safeguard the committee and the journal from any spirit of ambition, pride, or headship and that the truth may be recognized and appreciated for its own worth, and that the Lord may more particularly be recognized as the Head of the Church, and the fountain of truth" (W.T. R5999 205999). And it is of further note that he expressed the desire in his Will, that these requests, etc., should be brought to the knowledge of all the friends in the issue of the Watch Tower immediately after his death.

 

All these exhortations and warnings were useless in so far as some of the leaders were concerned. For these servants of the ecclesia, which looked with approval on other (and presumedly better!) methods, the exhortations were only there to be thrown away. Had the dear friends in general, as truly earnest Bible students, opposed such endeavors, then this smoldering fire could never have spread so rapidly. But only a few were watchful and gave warning. The majority did nothing, or very little, in this respect. The thought was, that all these were brethren through whom the truth

 

DOS60 was imparted to us; and further, that they were watching over our souls. Yes, much more was imagined, at first with diffidence, but soon with more confidence. And now it is taken as a matter of fact, "that it is not the brethren, who write the Watch Tower for us" (Translated from the German W.T. 1927:32). When, therefore, we are distinctly told that the brethren who write the "Watch Tower" articles are divinely inspired, it only proves that we have correctly grasped the thought expressed in the above W.T. citation. It was also seen that those who took a stand against these evil developments received many a slap, but it was desired to live in peace and quietness. At times it was also plainly felt, that some things really did not harmonize, and that the "protestants" were espousing the real truth, but they, the few courageous ones, were left to struggle alone. They did struggle, looking not upon their thin ranks, but they looked only unto Him who was their strength. Even if some were inclined for a time to partly sanction the efforts of those "protestants" toward cleansing of the doctrines of strange things, this gradually ceased, because the influence from that side, which was at work with great energy, prevailed, and finally "convinced" them. The former feeling of uncertainty, the mental weighings of what is truth or error, the leaning first here, then there, at last gave place to a settled condition. Some rooted themselves in error, and the others in the truth (Manna of May 9). Many times did we experience that the friends, who for a time had much power of discernment, ability to see what was reprehensible in the action of the management and its methods and doctrines, because so fixed, that they inconsiderately and unthinkingly took their stand against those whose opinion of the new methods and doctrines they had shortly before shared. It has even happened, that men, brethren, who had seen clearly, suddenly decided to return to the "bosom" of the latest "one and only." Only solitary ones are standing upon the watch, looking up to their leader and working according to His Will. "Ye watchmen! Remain standing upon Zion’s tower!" In the same measure as the movement toward the desolation of God’s sanctuary grew, the requests and exhortations of Brother Russell became more urgent. We have already mentioned that he finally compared the conditions among

 

DOS61 God’s people with the conditions in the Church at Ephesus and nearly 1900 years ago. "After my departure..." Paul said, and it is by no means unreasonable to believe that Brother Russell had his own early departure in mind, when he made this comparison. The fact is, his departure came almost immediately after—Brother Russell took his leave from us all in the same year. Whoever reads our dear brother’s article here referred to, cannot escape the impression, that the counsel given therein, was so to speak the last effort to hinder the growth of the evil that had been sown long before, to root it out, as it were. All in vain! Every one who reads the article ("The Hour of Temptation") can feel in it the tender care of our beloved brother for the dear Israel of God.

 

Indeed, how much concern had this wise and lovable servant of God for the people of His Lord! What he said in his will, was here also, as at all times, the basis for his counsels, to safeguard the editorial committee and the journal from every spirit of ambition, pride and leadership, that the truth might be recognized and appreciated for its own worth and that the Lord might be more clearly recognized as the Head of the Church and the Fountain of the truth. In this manner Brother Russell wanted to "uphold" the rights and authority belonging to the Church. The Church was in the greatest danger of losing this possession, so very necessary for its further spiritual progress. "We see, " Brother Russell says in the article, "how such elders and deacons are gradually becoming still bolder; it is therefore urgently necessary, that all who have the right spirit, and who recognize that in our study of the divine plan of the ages by the grace of God, we have not followed ‘cunningly devised fables, ‘take a firm stand now for their own sakes, and also for the sake of the leaders who manifest a wrong spirit..." When we today, a little more than a decade after the publication of this article, review developments, and take the things as they were, and still are, then we will agree with Brother Russell, that the condition among God’s people in these last days, especially among the leaders, may be compared with the condition which existed when Paul at Miletus spoke touchingly and earnestly to the leaders of the church of Ephesus, which only too plainly showed the apostle’s fear of the rising Nicolaitanism. His counsel: "Take heed therefore

 

DOS62 (1) unto yourselves, and (2) to all the flock" was not heeded by a part of the servants of the church at Ephesus. They were probably glad that Paul with his influence would get out of sight.

 

to only did Paul surmise that Nicolaitanism would arise amongst them, but he, in a most positive way, declared it to the assembled elders. He said, no doubt deeply sorrowful in spirit: "Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things..." And then he reminded them that for the space of three years he ceased not to warn every one with tears; how he had endeavored to walk in their midst as pleasing to God, and that he was free form the blood of all; that he had coveted no man ‘s silver, nor gold, nor apparel, but rather he labored with his own hands to supply his own and his companion’s needs. This shows plainly, that the "grievous wolves, " the men of perverse things" were guilty in these points, that they did not, like Paul, endeavor to exhort the believers with tears to faithfulness toward God , that rather they were coveting silver, gold and apparel, and that they were opposed to laboring with their own hands. Instead of pointing to the Lord who bought them, to Him who alone is worthy of worship, they pushed themselves forward and striving selfishly, they began to rule and to command. Re 2:1-6 well describes the conditions in Ephesus less than half a century after the occurrence recorded in Ac 20:17-38, and shows that the predictions of the Apostle Paul exactly found a fulfillment.

 

The Church of God was still at Ephesus, but the "first love" for the bridegroom had become cool, being lavished upon others, who stood "in their midst, " and with this also the "doing of the first works" had vanished: The Church was "fallen" (Re 2:5). When the "first love" (which appeared at the espousal) grows weaker, because "another" successfully courts it, then it is quite likely that there are only a few steps to the renouncing of the "altogether lovely" bridegroom and an apostasy which culminates in fornication. And so we find in Pergamos an already accomplished "apostasy"—fornication (Re 2:14)! The Nicolaitanes had made great progress by that time (Re 2:6; 2:15). The sanctuary was quite desolated; the congregations had hesitated too long to take a stand against the withdrawal of the authority vested in them, by the ambitious Alexanders, Hymenauses and

 

DOS63 Diotrepheses. Much too long did they permit the few Antipases to battle alone against these usurpers (Re 2:13). All these were the beginnings of the system of oppression that is known everywhere, which in due course withdrew from the eyes of the "laity"amongst God’s children, the Bible and the truth, and as the "only sanctifying church" gave to the true warriors of God’s holy truth a taste of divine love (?) at the stake and on the rack! Thus it was, beloved; let us remember! Let us keep in mind what he Babylonian wine, the "wine of her fornication, " can work in God’s children! Let us remember that the departure from God’s ways, if only for a finger-breadth, or even by silent omission, when the battle for God and His gifts rages, can lead to such satanic intolerance and methods of proselyting! Thus seen, have not all the exhortations of Jesus and His inspired apostles, to hold the head, to love the truth, to be loyal toward the chief teacher and only commander been absolutely necessary? And, all this considered—have not the many, oft repeated admonitions, entreaties and warnings of the special servant of God during the last 50 years (we have just shown a small part) been an imperative necessity? And is not the anarchy, predicted with a seer’s vision, present in the Church because of such conditions? Have God’s people preserved their liberty? Have they opposed those interlopers, who, lusting after power, creep into houses to lead captive silly women? Only solitary ones are standing upon the watch! One can justly again use those words of rebuke spoken of God’s typical people, saying that a horrible thing is committed: False prophesying, rule over the people by the priests under the leadership of the false prophets, and—the people love to have it so! (Jer 5:31) the people, captured and harnessed in golden and jewel covered fetters, deprived of individual thinking and a free spirit of investigation, can hardly do anything now. How pitiful! We present here extracts from the repeatedly mentioned article, "The Hour of Temptation, " which prove that in the "V.D. M. Questions, " therein described, Brother Russell gave his last counsel for the preservation of the Church’s authority. Among other things he wrote as follows: "What we are about to write is far from what we would prefer, but it seems to be our duty as respects the Lord’s

 

DOS64 cause and people. We believe that a great crisis is upon the Bible students; and that the sooner it is discerned, the more successfully it may be passed. It may mean divisions; but as the Apostle remarked, divisions are sometimes necessary that the approved course and the approved doctrines and the approved methods may be discerned, and that the true teachers may be more fully appreciated. (1Co 11:18, 19)...

 

"So far as we are able to judge, the same conditions prevail today amongst Bible students which the Apostle pointed out to the elders of the church of Ephesus when he charged them: ‘Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own’ (Son) (Ac 20:28).

 

St. Paul’s prophecy came true: ‘After my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. And also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace.’...( Ac 20:29-32) "...From reports given us, a horrible state of affairs prevails in some classes when an election is to be held. The servants of the Church attempt to be rulers, dictators—sometimes even holding the chairmanship of the meeting with the apparent object of seeing that they and their special friends shall be elected as elders and deacons. We have heard of cases in which an elder refused to speak to one of the congregation because the latter had not voted for him. Yet doubtless that very elder would think himself the personification of modesty, humility and meekness.

 

"Oh, for shame that such a spirit should have any place amongst those who have any knowledge of the teachings of God’s Word and of the conditions upon which we may hope for joint-heirship with the Master!...

 

"Additionally, it may be generally expected that such as manifest an ambition of this kind to be leaders and teachers and to ignore the principles of the Golden Rule, as well as the special instructions for the New Creation, are generally the ones who bring in false doctrines. The same ambitious spirit of the Adversary which leads them to strive for honor in the Class seems to lead them on to pose as great teachers—bringers forth of new light...

 

"...Time and again we have noted how the Lord’s Cause has been hindered, and spiritually amongst the brethren has been stifled, by attempts to imitate the nominal

 

DOS65 Church in putting forward persons glib of tongue, lacking in spirituality.

 

"In such a case, is it not pride on the part of the Class, a desire to make a fair show in the flesh before the world? If not, why do they not at once rectify it in a quiet and positive manner?

 

When elders seek to bring the Class under their power and control and succeed, does it not show that the Class lacks the very quality the Lord tells us He desires to see—courage, overcoming?

 

And does the Class not injure such a would-be ruler, as well as itself, by permitting him to succeed in his unscriptural methods?

DECEIVING AND BEING DECEIVED!

 

"We have already alluded to the ambitious and selfish spirit in the world leading on to anarchy, and we have just pointed out how the same selfish, ambitious spirit is leading on to anarchy in the Church. We foresee the Time of Trouble for the world upon this score, and a Time of Trouble also for the Church. The world cannot purge itself of this class; for the leaders and the led have the worldly spirit, which is sure to wax worse and worse. But not so in the Church of Christ. Ours is the spirit of the Master, the spirit of loyalty to Truth, the spirit of the Golden Rule, the spirit of brotherly love, the spirit of liberty and helpfulness, the spirit of fidelity to what we believe to be the Truth. It is inexcusable for the Church, possessed of this spirit, to continue under the domination of ambitious men (and sometimes ambitious women). If they have not been conducting their Class affairs along proper lines, should they not begin at once? We believe that this is the time to set the House of the Lord in order.

 

"But someone will say, ‘We would have a great disturbance if we attempted to do anything contrary to the wishes of those who have fastened themselves upon us as our leaders and rulers.

 

To make a move at all, would endanger a division of the Class, and how could we think of anything which would result in that catastrophe?

 

"But, we inquire, which would be the better, to have a smaller Class operating along the lines which the Lord has indicated, or a larger Class upholding principles contrary to the Lord’s provision, injuring themselves, hindering their influence, and encouraging as a leader one who is either a ‘wolf’ or else a sheep which has been mistakenly mislead into the wolf spirit? We encourage all the dear brethren who are in such trouble to be very heroic; to see that they do nothing from strife or vain-glory, but everything in the spirit of meekness and love, that they may get back in again to the liberty wherewith Christ made free, and be not again

 

DOS66 entangled in any human bondage." (W.T. R5981-5982 205981 Nov. 1, 1916) With what accuracy did he foresee the coming developments! How correctly did he further foresee that the apostasy, the desolation, would even come from within the circle of the prominent brethren. Change of methods, of the truths, new light, spiritual control, banning of the protesting ones, fornication—all these have come! The anarchy in the Church which he feared, is present in a monstrous form, and lays its hand on everything that it can.

 

Although we must admit that the V.D. M. Questions were not the means for extirpating the growing evil, yet their recommendation by Brother Russell shows how great the peril was. Does he not expressly say: "We have not given such strong advice before, but we notice that many of the Lord’s dear sheep were disturbed, hindered in their development and deceived." He recommended the Questions (not coercingly or commandingly) as a help to preserve the authority of the class, the ecclesia (not of the leadership, which was striving for this authority!). The Questions mentioned dealt mainly with doctrine and conduct, and Brother Russell probably made both of these things the subject of the Questions, because he saw that the threatening desolation was aiming especially at these features. But as already stated, all this did not suffice to check the destruction. The V.D.M. Questions, given with good intention, were thought to be a wall of protection against the plainly seen endeavors to rob the ecclesia of its proper rights, but they were insufficient, and seemingly (as judged by the final outcome) neither necessary nor useful. If Brother Russell could have foreseen that the V.D.M. Questions would bring about the very opposite of what he expected in their final outworkings, he probably never would have made the attempt with them. It must be expressly stated however, that he was far from prescribing only just these 22 Questions to the ecclesia. Did he not literally say, that he advised that these Questions be presented to the brethren, "or a set of other questions which the class might prefer." (W.T. R5983 205983) If the matter of the 22 Questions was at first too highly appraised (we were ear witnesses of all that was seen in

 

DOS67 them—symbolically, etc.), and it was at first stated: "The V.D.M. and the pastoral work were the two character-features of the harvest work, which the Lord impressed on the mind of our beloved brother and pastor shortly before his departure (W.T. R6051 206051), and also said, that the Questions had to do with the sealing of the saints in their foreheads (W.T. R6096 206096), then all this was suddenly thrown over board as unnecessary ballast, as a hindrance (W.T. 1926:242). How peculiar! At first almost worshipped and acclaimed as of divine origin, and set forth as absolutely necessary, then rejected. we call to mind that the Watch Tower under its new management previously declared, "that this V.D.M. Department should remain a permanent feature of the work until the harvest shall end and the labors of the little flock shall Cease".(w.T. R6097 206097). "The two character features...which the Lord impressed on the mind of our beloved brother..." are vanished today without a trace. The Church’s authority is not preserved, although the rights of the ecclesias are well assured, but—vested in the leaders. Brother Russell’s expectation re the V.D.M. Questions were not fulfilled. One is amazed how the matter which at first was set forth as so indispensable could be set aside so suddenly as unnecessary. One asks: Why? May each one read over the reasons given therefor, and accept them if he will. But we will scarcely go amiss, if we accept another, deeper-seated reason for the discarding of the Questions. Among these 22 Questions there is one, which, like the forbidden tree, invited transgression, and it was a burdensome hindrance. "19"?

 

But another important point is connected therewith. "The only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz. "Verbi Dei Minister" (V.D.M.), which, translated into English, is "Minister of the Divine Word" (W.T. R6051 206051), as stated for a long time on the inside of the title page of each number of the Watch Tower, was bestowed only if the applicant correctly answered the Questions to a certain degree (85%), in the way indicated (W.T. R6096 206096). This of course necessitated the creation of an office which would judge the correctness of the answers and make final dispositions. Too little consideration as seemingly given to the fact that with this a new "central" was practically created, which

 

DOS68 would decide the doctrines, the rules, although the original intention was that the ecclesia should decide the fitness of its servants (W.T. R5983 205983). Brethren who had misgivings about such a "central" institution for a time were considered as opponents of the work. A result from the use of the V.D.M. Questions, in the course of time, was, that the accredited title "V.D.M."

 

approached (or was already?) an outward show; some wanted to shine with the "honorary title, " to show it outwardly. (W.T. R6047 206047; W.T. 1921:200) As already stated, the dangerous undercurrent could not be restrained by the V.D.M. Questions.

 

It became continually stronger and stronger, and, carefully at first, feeling its way, it was (wonderful are the divine permissions) exalted to power, to be a scourge, in spite of and after the man who had fought against centralization for nearly half a century, departed from the stage of this life. Let us not be misunderstood: We know that incorrectness of doctrine or conduct will creep in, because even the best, and we ourselves, yes, all err, even with the purest intentions, because we are not yet perfect! And if we desire mercy for ourselves, because of our own shortcomings, we should not be hasty to immediately sound abroad the errors of others. But it is not an unavoidable weakness which is present here, or an unintentional mistake in doctrine; quite a different matter lies at the bottom of this fatal movement. Here the question is about something quite systematic, a steady pursued aim. There is a system at the bottom of this movement, a conscious striving, whose issues are not rooted in God and in His Will. We repeat: The "apostasy" which has so terribly desolated the Church during many centuries is here raising its head again. Here are powers at work which are not from above, not of God. And although a cry will be raised about this, yet it is a fact, and will become generally known as a fact. We only desire that none may close their eyes tightly, to avoid seeing the good and the evil; that all who live in faith of being virgins might trim their "lamps" and see what is being done, that each might seriously weigh the thought that some will arrive too late and therefore will not be accepted by their bridegroom as His bride, and the present movement, against which we raise our voice, has to do with the arriving too late! It certainly

 

DOS69 has to do with it, and the sooner we have our eyes healed (Re 3:18), our bright-shining lamp in hand, and see this, the better it will be for us. Let us not submit to our own or others deceptions! Each one is personally tested and weighed in the perfectly adjusted balances of God.

 

It is not your Communion, Association, Society, Organization, your only sanctifying Church, your only channel. or whatever else the outward ties may be called, which decides for you and for your eternal destiny (remember this!), your own conduct and decisions, your standing before and toward God will settle this. And is any organization wants to relieve you of the burden of thinking, deciding, Scripture study, etc., if it recommends itself as a go-between you and your God and your Redeemer, then recognize such relief as the destruction, the desolation of the sanctuary, and do not hesitate to discern that this is no gift of grace from above, but call the thing by its right name. Do not cast to the winds the warnings of those observers who stand upon Zion’s Watchtower. Do not hesitate. "He who runs, but runs poorly, will miss the right to the crown." If you do not make use of the privileges which belong to you, others will quickly step in, and you will never obtain them again.

 

Only because we are firmly convinced (not leaning upon surmisings, or possibilities, but upon the facts as they become evident, especially in the course of the last decade) that there is something more than a few unintentional mistakes, and that the powers of "apostasy" are at work here, do we turn to God’s people and cry loudly and plainly: "Wake up!" We did indeed, for several years, see the decline of so beautiful a movement, but with all our fears we could not at first believe that the apostasy would come so rapidly and so destructively as the facts now teach us. We refrained from giving louder alarms in the hope that the evil would not progress so rapidly because of the general soundness and sobriety of the friends, who, we thought, were really earnest Bible students. But we were disappointed in our expectations. We have lived to see almost unbelievable things...

 

In the degree that earnest Bible study was stressed and also really practiced during decades, so far is Bible study—

 

DOS70 earnest Bible study, gone today. There is scarcely a trace of earnest study today. In place of Bible study there is Watch Tower study, alas, not even this, but Watch Tower assenting, and whatever does not harmonize with the Watch Tower presentations, may it be ever so much in harmony with the Bible, is error—we are told! Such as really are earnest Bible students, who still place the conclusions they have drawn from the Bible against the special wisdom of the "Watch Tower" are of course always against the much lauded "work of the Lord." Of course, if one yields to the thought, taught a thousand times, that the Watch Tower Society is the divine channel for the transmission of divine truths, etc., that it alone, and always, is carrying forward the "work of the Lord, " then one must indeed condemn everything opposed to this "work of the Lord, " yes, indeed, everything—the sound, sanctified common sense, logic, and not least, the word of god itself, when standing in opposition to it. Many times we have experienced how afraid God’s children are to open their eyes, in order to see Scriptural proofs. If these were in conflict with the Watch Tower presentations they were afraid to open or look into this book of most marvelous wisdom, the Bible. One was always very considerate to save the honor of the Watch Tower, even though one had to abandon the honor of God’s precious word. The "remaining in harmony" with this "work of the Lord, " whose real aspects the majority of its supporters knew not at all (the more mysterious a cause is, the more reverence is often given to it), was such a coercive necessity, that everything was, and still is, made dependent upon harmony with this mysterious work. Now we can understand much better, how the idea of this first, the chief work, could be maintained during the many long centuries, among really intelligent men. Whoever drinks of the cup, into which the first apostate jugglingly puts his gift, comes under a spell and is robbed of his clear, earnest, logical thought and action. Indeed, only in this way can all this be accounted for. The nations have drunk of the mixed wine, and—they were made drunken and were made mad. And as long as the adversary can go about, planning and working, he will put his gift into the cup; oh, the danger is not past. Is it only an accident, dear watching people of God, that immediately after those words concerning the vision of

 

DOS71 the appointed time (Hab 2: 1-3), which we have studied during the last fifty years with such increased interest, that there is a description of a puffed up condition, of insincerity, of wine of transgression? (Hab 2:4, 5.) The decision of dear Brother Russell to recommend to the ecclesias his 22 Questions (or others, to be determined by the Class) for preservation of their authority, and as a protection against unscriptural methods and teachings, came only (indeed not till the last year of his life (see W.T.R6051 206051) after he had hoped in vain during many years for the manifestation of a healthy and humble spirit on the part of the leaders. Only because this evil became more threatening, did he decide upon this advice. For the old Watch Towers are, as we have repeatedly stated, the incontrovertible proof that he saw the ever increasing corruption in the bosom of the church.

 

And with all his modestly he often used plain words to point out the evil and warn against it.

 

Long before 1916 we find quite plain remarks in the Watch Tower from time to time, that certain features appearing among serving brethren displeased him. Ever and again one concluded from these remarks that Brother Russell saw the chief trouble to be, that some brethren wanted to push themselves to the front by unwise methods, which have their origin in self-conceit and ambition.

 

It was his thought also, that the leaders "...are generally the ones who bring in false doctrines" (W.T. R5981 205981). Whoever compares his presentation with conditions prevailing—especially since his death, will understand fully and completely why we are describing these things. Alas, that the people of God might wake up, and always set the Lord and His gifts and truths above the gifts and self-conceits of fallible leaders! We declare therefore quite plainly, that we must now openly warn against the spirit, the methods, the doctrines of the movement which unfortunately carries the beautiful name "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, " since it is evident that it continues in its self-conceit to keep its wrong course, even after the failure of its proudly and sensationally proclaimed teachings; since it is further evident, that many, very many, are drinking the mixed doctrinal wine of this "only channel, " and are thereby suffering loss; since every hope

 

DOS72 of a "reformation" has proven deceptive; since earnest Bible study has been displaced by unconditional Watch Tower assenting, and, in short, since the movement has become an "apostasy." Our warning would simply be self-conceit, did we fail to bring from the divine Word the proof that this movement has robbed God’s children and ecclesias of rights belonging to them, and has twisted the divine truths in an astonishing manner, mixing them with error. We want to let his light, is truth shine forth according to the grace be stowed upon us, and we ask each one to prove whether the evidence presented here is from the word of God, or whether we speak of ourselves (Joh 12:49). At the same time we ask each one to feel his responsibility and duty toward God and His truth, and not only this: but to fulfill them. We urge each one in god’s name to read the "epistle" which He caused to be written (1Th 5:27), i.e., His eternal, only authoritative word of truth, to acknowledge it, and to judge and decide everything by it alone. Before we enter into the scriptural refutation of the erroneous teachings, etc., of the "Watch Tower" we will show first, in the following extracts form Brother Russell’s works, the thoughts of this wise man of God concerning the personal rights and duties of the ecclesias of God and the servants of the ecclesias. When we cite Brother Russell here and in other places of this work, it is not done with the intention of having him speak as an authority. Much as we esteem him, we would just as much warn every one, not to put the decisive weight on him nor on other men of God. The fact that the Scriptures alone speak with compelling authority should never be lost sight of. The citation of some of Brother Russell’s thoughts is done only because of their fitness. We must confine ourselves to but a small portion of his excellent thought, but wish that every truly earnest Bible student, every one serving God and not human institutions, might open wide their heart and mind, and see it unclouded, without fear or hesitation, to discern and compare it with the Scriptures, and to act in submission and loyalty to the exalted and wisely beneficent God and Father, and His Anointed, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

 

In the year 1889, there appeared a lengthy article from Brother Russell’s pen, which particularly called attention to the rights and duties of God’s children, and also showed how

 

DOS73 a self-exalted hierarchy had gradually seized upon the rights of the ecclesias, until at last the church was deprived of these rights and every vestige of liberty. We present herewith a few extracts from this important article, written in such brisk and stirring manner:

 

"PROTESTANTS, AWAKE!"  

 

the underlying principle of the Great Reformation, to which all Protestants look back with pride, was the right of individual judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures, in opposition to the papal dogma of submission to clerical authority and interpretation. On this very point was the whole issue of the great movement. It was a grand and blessed strike for liberty of conscience, for an open Bible, and the right to believe and obey its teachings regardless of the usurped authority and vain traditions of the self-exalted clergy of Rome. Their councils (of the Catholic church), at first harmless if not profitable, began gradually to suggest what each individual should believe, and came finally to decreeing what should be considered orthodox and what should be considered heresy, or in other words deciding what each individual must believe. There the right of private judgment by individual Christians was trampled upon, the "clergy" were put in power as the only official interpreters of God’s Word, and the consciences of the "laity" were led into captivity to those errors of doctrine which evil-minded, ambitious, scheming, and often self-deluded men among the clergy, were to establish and falsely label, Truth. And having thus, gradually and cunningly, secured control of the Church’s conscience, as the apostles had foretold, they "privily brought in damnable heresies, " and palmed them off upon the conscience-fettered laity as truths (2Pe 2:1).

 

Protestants generally, except Episcopalians, admit the fallacy of these claims of Papacy. And yet the habit of centuries, of regard of certain forms and ceremonies and for a certain class of self-exalted fellow-mortals, called the clergy, still clings to the people, and the Protestant clergy consequently receives much of the same homage and reverence against which the reformers of the sixteenth century protested.

 

Nor can we wonder much that even some very earnest, honest ministers accept this customary submission and reverence of the people, and the title of Reverend, and that superstitious respect which looks up to them as possessed of almost superhuman authority as religious leaders. It is a general weakness of the fallen human nature to take all the respect,

 

DOS74 honor and authority others are willing to accord. And then, too, many ministers have become possessed of the same ideas, and really themselves to be worthy of homage and reverence. Many get the old papal idea that the ruling and teaching of the Church belongs to the clergy by divine arrangement.

 

That false teachers would arise in the church, who would pervert the truth, was foretold. The Church, therefore, is not to blindly accept whatever any teacher may set forth, but should prove the teaching of those whom they have reason to believe to be God’s messengers, by the one infallible standard—the Word of God. "If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is not light in them" (Isa 8:20). Thus while the Church needs teachers, and cannot understand God’s Word without them, yet the Church individually—each by himself and for himself, and himself only—must fill the important office of judge, to decide, according to the infallible standard, God’s Word, whether the teaching be true or false, and whether the claimed teacher is a true teacher by divine appointment.

 

God himself provides these teachers; they are His gifts to the Church (1Co 12:28).

 

Any superior wisdom and ability granted such, is as much for the sake and for the good of the other members of Christ’s Church as for themselves. And whichever of God’s children comes to see some important truth generally disregarded by the Church and finds himself possessed of ability to make it clear to others, should do so, should teach it, to whosoever has an ear to hear. If a new truth, it belongs to the entire household, and he who keeps it from them, for any cause, defrauds the family of God, misuses a great favor, and deprives himself of a ministry (service).

 

We exhort all God’s true Church—the one Church, which includes all consecrated believers—to awake to the principles of the Reformation—to a recognition of the right of individual judgment upon religious questions. Demand Scriptural proofs for all you are asked to believe, take neither the decisions of Rome nor those of Westminster, nor of any smaller councils or synods, as final settlement for the question, "What is truth?" And be sure, that you believe and confess nothing that you do not understand fully and clearly. To subscribe to, or confess, what you do not understand, and therefore cannot truly believe, is solemn lying in the presence of God and witnesses, no matter if it be true that others, by the hundred, have done the same before you. If you did this once, thoughtlessly, even though it were years ago, in joining the Church, now that your attention is called to it, you are bound to procure a copy of the "covenant, " or "articles of faith, " the belief of which you confessed publicly,

 

DOS75 and after careful, prayerful study of it, if you find that you do not so believe, you will be bound to deny it as publicly as you confessed it, or else forfeit in god’s sight all claim to honesty.

 

Require of all who shall attempt to teach in the name of the Lord the exact words of the Lord or the Apostles which they claim support their teaching. Get the chapter and verse and look the matter up for yourselves, critically examining the text and the context. Weigh and test every item of teaching which you receive as your faith, regardless of how much you esteem the person who presents it. We know that no fellow-mortal is infallible, and that His Word is the only standard by which God wishes us to square and measure and build up our faith.

 

The object of Rome in establishing a clerical class, as separate from what she terms the laity, was to gain and to hold full control of the people. Every one admitted to the Romish clergy is bound by vows to submit implicitly to the head of that system, doctrinally and in every way. Not only is such a one held fast to those doctrines and hindered from progress by the strong chain of his vow, but also by innumerable smaller ones—his living, his dignity of position, his title, and his hope of advancement in the same direction; the opinions of his friends, their pride for him, and the fact that should he ever confess to greater light and renounce his position, he would, instead of being honored as an honest thinker, be maligned, despised and misrepresented. In a word, he would be treated as though to search the scriptures and to think for himself and exercise the liberty wherewith Christ made all his followers free, were the unpardonable sin.

 

We challenge any one to produce a solitary passage of Scripture giving one member of the Church of Christ more liberty or authority than another in these respects.

 

But in showing that the Scriptures recognize no separate clergy class, but that the entire Church of Christ is the Priesthood and that they each and all have the same authority to do anything that the Lord and the Apostles enjoined, as they find they have the ability, let no one suppose that we urge disorder. It is proper that each congregation should select or elect some of their number, best qualified, for these services. But it should always be remembered that the one who thus serves belongs to no higher class or caste than his brethren who chose him to thus minister or serve.

 

"All ye are brethren, and one is your Master." Such a servant of the Church is no more reverend or sacred than others, though if he be a very faithful and Christ-like servant he should be esteemed very highly "for his work’s sake, " because of loving, faithful service, but for no other reason (1Th 5:13).

 

DOS76 While glad to acknowledge that Baptists, Congregationalists and Disciples approach the true idea that the entire Church is the royal priesthood and that each congregation stands independent of the jurisdiction and authority of all others, yet we beg them to consider that their theory is not fully carried out; and, still worse, that the tendency among them is toward centralization, clericism, denominationalism; and worse still, that the people "love to have it so" (Jer 5:31), and take pride in their growing denominational strength, which means their growing loss of individual freedom.

 

The tendency of Protestants in this respect is to follow the method and practice of Rome. With Papacy the councils declare the doctrine to be believed; and the people, denied the right of private judgment, are required to believe whatever these councils decree to be the truth.

 

In view of these facts and tendencies, we sound an alarm to all who hold to the original doctrine of the Reformation—the right of individual judgment. You and I cannot hope to stem the current and to prevent what is coming, but we can by the grace of God imparted through this truth, be overcomers and get the victory over these errors (Re 20:4, 6) and as overcomers be granted a place in the glorified priesthood of the incoming Millennial Age (see Re 1:6; 5:10).

 

Hold to God’s Word and demand a "Thus said the Lord" for all you accept as your faith. (W.T.R1134-1138  201134) How important are these words of our dear Brother Russell! Could he have thought then, that this small call, "Protestants, Awake!" would also have to be cried aloud to this last glorious movement, in which he himself stood? Possibly not! It is as if Brother Russell had expressly written this cry of alarm for the "I.B.S.A." (International Bible Students of America) lying in the fetters of spiritual rulers since the mysterious year "1918."

 

And what was Brother Russell’s thought concerning the duty and responsibility of those who are not totally blind to this decline? He warns them urgently against letting a few fight in front and reap abundant ignominy for it, but to draw back themselves. Explaining that in this battle the questions about the defense of the things of God, His message and His truth, he says in another place: "The time has come for each one to declare himself boldly. He who is not for the cross (the ransom) is against it! He that gathereth not scattereth abroad! He who is silent on this subject, when it is being assailed by foes on every hand, whether it be the silence of fear, or of shame, or of

 

DOS77 indifference, is not worthy of the truth, and will surely be one to stumble quickly. He who from any cause sits idly by while the banner of the cross is assailed, is not a soldier of the cross worthy the name, and will not be reckoned among the overcomers who shall inherit all things.

 

And God is permitting these very siftings, in order to sift out all who are not "overcomers, " and to test and manifest the little flock." (W.T. R3826 203826) God’s children should not be faint-hearted in holding fast and defending the truth; but trusting fully in God they should courageously lift up the banner and thus demonstrate their true faith and heart-loyalty towards Him who has called and so graciously blessed them. They should never be wanting a "thus saith the Lord, " an infallible pebble for striking every Goliath. What, after all, is faith, if it does not manifest itself in this manner? Concerning this Brother Russell says in the short article "Your Precious Faith": "...If an attack is made upon the intellectual foundation of our faith we should see to it that we have a ‘Thus saith the Lord’ for every item of our belief. Let the Word of God settle every question, and let no human philosophies, however ingenious, lead us in the labyrinths of error; for if the foundations of our faith become unsettled, the superstructure cannot stand when the winds and the floods of adversity and temptation beat against it. Doubt and fear will cause it to tremble, and when it is thus weakened the vigilant adversary will surely send a blast of temptation against it, and great will be the soul’s peril.

 

"Let us, therefore, look well to the foundations of our faith—study the doctrine and get a clear intellectual conception of every element of divine truth which the inspired Word presents to the people of God; let us become rooted, grounded, settled, established in the faith, the doctrines of God, and hold them fast: they are the divine credentials; and let us give earnest heed to them, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Heb 2:1). (W.T. R1822 201822) And in regard to being established in the faith and in the truth Brother Russell writes beautifully and truthfully in the Manna of May 9 in consideration of the text, Col 2:6, 7: "The general sentiment among the teachers of false doctrine, who think it is neither necessary nor advisable to be established in the faith is—that to be established is to be a bigot. And so it is if one is so unfair in mind as to accept and tenaciously hold that which he has never proved neither by sound logic nor Bible authority. But he is not an unreasoning bigot who, in simple faith, on the authority of God,

 

DOS78 accepts the Word of God. And such, and only such, as do so are established in the Truth. The difference between a strong and steadfast Christian and a bigot is that one is established in the Truth, while the other is established in error." That a child of God should have the consequences of a courageous stand for the faith and the Truth once delivered unto the saints, to the Almighty and Omniscient God, and not shrink back, we have learned long ago—theoretically! but we must demonstrate practically that what we have learned is not only of the head but also of the heart. In considering the passage 1Sa 15:22 in the Manna of May 13, Brother Russell deduces as follows: "...Let us hearken to the Word of the Lord and keep close to it, not fearing the results, but having faith that He who keeps us never slumbers nor sleeps, and is too wise to err, as well as competent to meet every emergency that could possibly come upon us as a result of our obedience."

 

To the question that only the infallible Word of God should serve the child of God as a foundation of faith, and not the doctrines of human organizations, though they come to us with great positiveness, Brother Russell writes: "It will be well for us to remember, that all the graces of the Spirit, all the progress in the knowledge of divine things to which we have already attained, that may have helped us nearer to God and to holiness, have come to us through the Scriptures of the Old Testament and through the words of our Lord and his inspired Apostles; nor will it ever be necessary to go to other channels for the true wisdom which would prepare us for the salvation promised." (Manna of May 21) As soon as we perceive a teaching running contrary to the scriptural Truth we should at once do our duty and if necessary warn the defenders of error, Brother Russell has well expressed in the following words: "When we see others walking in forbidden paths, in the way of transgressors, we are not to follow them there in order to help them out, but to show them the right path by keeping in it and calling to them. When we see some confusing themselves with doctrines and teachings of men, which we know are fundamentally wrong, we are not to wade through those doctrines in order to help them out; but we are to remind them that the study of any doctrine which will not square with the foundation is not only a misuse of consecrated time, but all trifling with that which we know to be error is wrong and dangerous, as all violations

 

DOS79 of conscience and principle are dangerous." (Manna of June 8, compare also December 20) Is it not true? Can a grateful child of God act otherwise? Will a child of God fear men if this grateful love and loyalty is dwelling in the heart?

 

"The true children of God love the truth because they have an affinity for it. When they have found the Truth they recognize its value; they prize it and meditate upon it. They say it is just like God; it is the manifestation of His glorious goodness, the reflection of His loving, benevolent character. And therefore they love the Truth and the God who gave it; they treasure it up in their hearts and consider it over again and again..." (Manna of June 19)."let nothing becloud or obscure this truth—neither other truths nor errors. Let it dominate our course in life, and then, if God’s will is really our will, we have a clearly marked pathway before us, which is very important." (Manna of July 1) "Let us remember, that the first condition of acceptance with God is loyal obedience to His Will, the evidence of love for Him and faith in Him." (Manna of July 5) If we thus thank the Lord for His providences through His word of truth, the true foundation of our faith, then we will not praise ourselves, but Him, the giver of all good gifts. He will be the one to whom we will point everyone, but never to ourselves. To this Brother Russell says very truly: "All of the Lord’s servants should call attention to the Lord and not to themselves. Let us each bend our energies to pointing men to the Lamb of God, and not to self seeking. Modesty is a gem wherever found, one of the graces of the Spirit, which all of the Lord’s consecrated ones should seek to largely develop and well polish." (Manna of July 7) Wherever this modesty, the emanation of grateful loyalty to the Lord is present, there is less danger of falling a prey to seductive voices and organizations. Such as possess this modesty love the well-known voice of their Lord who said that He is the Truth, and "the voice of the Good Shepherd is a blending of various sounds in a manner in which they are blended by no other voice. His voice sounds forth the chord of justice commingled with the chord of love, and the whole intoned with wisdom and with power. Other theories, plans and schemes of men and devils have no such harmony of sound as has the message which the Great Shepherd has

 

DOS80 sent us through His Son. Moreover, when the true sheep hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, it satisfies their longings as nothing else could do. They will no longer be in danger of being attracted by other sounds or voices, theories or schemes, but will reply to all: Jesus has satisfied, Jesus is mine!" (Manna of July 9) How strictly God’s children should prove new light which is offered them, and how they should in a given case promptly reject it, Brother Russell has well expressed in these words: "However much they should ever come to respect prophesyings, or public speaking, the Lord’s people should learn proportionately not to receive what they might hear without proper examination and criticism; they should prove all things that they hear, should exercise discrimination of mind, as to what is logically and scripturally supported, and what is mere conjecture and possibly sophistry. They should prove what they hear with a view to holding fast everything that stands the test of the divine Word, and shows itself to be in accordance with the Holy Spirit; and they should as promptly reject whatever will not stand these tests." (Manna of August 18) Many other Manna comments also contain striking thoughts applicable here (for example see.Manna of September 4, 9, 23), likewise many Watch Tower expositions of Brother Russell and in The Studies of the Scriptures, but the above quotations are quite sufficient. We are convinced that all who still decline with thanks the golden chain offered them (Da 5:16, 17), recognize their duties toward God and His Truth, toward themselves and their fellows, moreover, they will comply with them.

 

After having shown in the preceding pages the course of the constant enmity between the servants of God and of Satan; that Jesus Christ founded His Church holy and pure, and on a good foundation, and that this Church was then led into Babylonian captivity and slavery, where the holy vessels of the temple were desecrated, having further pictured before your eye the finding again of the precious, divine truths, and the placing of them together into a well arranged whole, especially during the time of Brother Russell’s work, we also stated our conviction concerning the decline of the blessed movement (of the "Watch Tower"), and finally the duties of an obedient child of God—we will now examine

 

DOS81 some of these teachings of the "brighter" light (?) separately, that we might be able to decide whether or not our fears are justified, whether we should support the new light (?), or if we must declare it to be darkness and reject it. May the love and loyalty to the Lord give us all enough determination, to always say yes to His word, which has proceeded out of His mouth, and not simply to keep silent (in order to avoid disagreeable experiences) to every teaching which is not of Him (2Joh 9:10; 1Ti 6:3), but to reject it positively, thus protecting other children of God from deceptions. We would be guilty before God if we should look on inactively, while "the name of God and the doctrine" is being blasphemed. How the church at Thyatira was rebuked, simply because she "suffered" the woman Jezebel and her errors (Re 2:20). Let us not suffer errors, self-conceit, arrogance and blasphemy of the Truth! Ours is the duty and the obedience toward God! Let us rise quickly, without hesitation! Omnia ad dei gloriam! All to the glory of God! Let us not be forgetful!

BE VIGILANT  

 

Up then, and linger not, thou saint of God! Fling from thy shoulders each impending load; Be brave and wise, shake off earth’s soil and sin, That with the Bridegroom thou may’st enter in.

 

O watch and pray! —From Poems of Dawn..

DOS82 THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP (Lk 9:23)

 

Would you be my disciples? Consider again: Can ye follow my footsteps through trial and pain?

 

Can ye throw away pleasure, and glory and fame, And live but to honor my cause and my name?

 

Can ye turn from the glitter of fashion and mirth, And dwell like a pilgrim and stranger on earth?

 

Despising earth’s riches, and living to bless, Can ye follow the feet of the shelterless?

 

When ye hear i am come, then can ye arise, The joy of your heart springing up in your eyes?

 

Can ye "come out" to meet me what’er the cost be, Though ye come on the waves of a storm-crested sea?

 

Yea, we’ll take up the cross, and in faith follow thee, And bear thy reproach, thy disciples to be.

 

Blest Saviour, for courage to thee we will fly; Of grace thou hast promised abundant supply! —From Poems of Dawn..

DOS83 PART TWO  

 

THE OMNISCIENCE OF GOD

 

Whoever believes in the existence of a creator, a Most-high God, unquestionably believes it true also that this God is not only unlimited in His power, but also infinite in His wisdom. Not only does the Word of God teach this, but it is accepted as self-evident by believers. Yes, even the heathen who believe in the existence of a Supreme Being ascribe to this Being Omnipotence and Omniscience.

 

Can we imagine of our God that He might not be master of any situation? Can we suppose that anything could take place without His knowing its minutest detail in advance? Must not common sense tell us that this God stands infinitely above all creatures in knowledge and ability? Every believer in the Bible will confess with Job: "I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee" (Job 42:2).

 

Truly the God "who has and can do all" also knows all. He knew all before it came into being.

 

Although this is self -evident to us, the Holy Scriptures give the testimony which is valid confirmation to all believing ones, and "the end of all strife" (Heb 6:16). We entreat our readers, not to lock the door of the mind and throw away the key.

 

While even the great and powerful systems of nominal Christendom have believed and still believe in the omniscience of God, the most enlightened part of God’s people (?) comes forward and announces as "the only channel of truth, "that God did not know everything! It is hard for us to decide whether this doctrine, this "food from the Lord’s table, " should be received with laughing or weeping. Consider this: The God to whom heaven and earth and all their host belong, whom the worlds unprotestingly obey who "understands our thoughts afar off, and every word before the tongue can utter it" (Ps 139), who, according to 1Pe 1:20 and other passages, foreordained Jesus as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (which presupposes the fall)—this God should not have foreknown the fall into sin and the sacrificial death of Jesus! This God should, when

 

DOS84 the fall did actually occur, have regarded the situation as critical! (page 30 of "Deliverance"). So teaches the present Watch Tower Society! We have experienced that friends, from whom something better might be expected for the time they have been in the Truth, are even thanking God for the "wonderful spiritual food which the Lord now dispenses through the Watch Tower, the only channel." To thank God for it! Oh, the disgrace! Brothers, sisters! See with us, with eyes open, and show your love for the Lord indeed! We are not setting forth the state of affairs with a desire to stretch matters, to be one-sided or biased. We cite the "precious food" of The."watch Tower" literally, so that each one can convince himself, and we entreat you: Remember whom you are to believe: "God could have had foreknowledge that Adam would fall, and he could have withheld this knowledge from himself had he so desired...

 

It would not at all be necessary for God to foreknow that Adam would fall. If he did foreknow and foreordain his fall, the it follows that Adam did not have freedom of action. The opinion is therefore here expressed that God made His plan in the alternative; by this we mean that he made if in such a manner that it would meet any emergency. If Adam sinned, then redemption would e necessary...For this reason it appears that he did not foreordain or even foreknow that Adam would sin ...

 

The fact that God made provision that in the event of man’s deflection he would redeem him by the precious blood of his Son, would not at all make it necessary for God to foreknow that Adam would sin. As soon as Adam did sin God began the execution of his plan. There is no reason to believe that God had foreknowledge or foreordained that Adam would sin and that his Son would die, but he made his plan so as to cover either emergency; as the Scriptures declare, "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning" (Ac 15:18). This does not say that God foreknew all of his works before the beginning of the world." (W.T. 1926:169) The same train of thought is found in W.T. 1927:147; please read these carefully.

 

Brothers, sisters! Is it not clear to you, before the eyes of the All-seeing and All-wise One, that this food of the Society has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the "table of the Lord?" Does not this food show very clearly (even if not victuals were given) how low the fall, how evil

 

DOS85 the self-conceit and arrogance of the Society must be, which palms itself off as the only food-dispenser, the possessor of the greatest treasure of wisdom? They dare to present such a thing to the household of faith for consumption? Such a thing? Without hating the publishers of such an infamous doctrine, we not only regret such a deplorable, bungling work, but have also contempt for it; we turn from it with disdain. Friends, there are situations in which we may not be irresolute, or faint-hearted, thinking to seal the lips for the sake of peace. There are conditions in which manly determination is not only useful, but even absolutely necessary. Such a state of things is present here; it will not do to be weak and reserved, our vow of faithfulness to the Lord requires that we say unhesitatingly: Away with it! What does the Lord say to such a work which offends Him in the highest degree? Are such "works of the Lord, " of which the Society likes to speak in self-praise, works which find His approbation? He that has eyes like unto a flame of fire says: "These works I hate" (Re 2:6). Brethren in Christ! Do not permit yourselves to become embittered against the poor ones who are deceived by such teachings, but have no communion with such unclean food, hate it, as the Lord hates it. "Touch not the unclean thing."

 

According to the above Watch Tower exposition divine foreknowledge would have hindered Adam in his freedom of action. Then God would have to be without foreknowledge, in order to let Adam have freedom of action...And "God could have foreknown that Adam would fall, and He could have withheld this knowledge from Himself, had He so desired..." And He did "doubtless desire to withhold from Himself the peculiar knowledge of the way which Adam would take, and did doubtless withhold from Himself such knowledge"—the Watch Tower teaches with dumbfounding assurance. "Doubtless"—and many readers believe it, since it is the Lord who is presenting as food that which the Watch Tower brings, as we are assured, for example W.T. 1925:71, 72; 1926:158. But "doubtless" such a train of reasoning is absurd and nonsensical. Consider again, beloved, the wisdom of this "only channel, " in the sentence: "There is no reason to believe that God had foreknowledge (!), or foreordained that Adam would sin, and that His Son would die (!), but

 

DOS86 He made His plan so as to meet any emergency" (!) and judge fro yourselves. To believe this, means not only to doubt the omniscience of our God, it means its denial, more: It means the denial of the doctrine of the (one) divine plan in which knowledge we all once so greatly rejoiced, and God be praised, in which we still rejoice today. For if God reckoned with possibilities, if He did not foresee and foreknow man’s fall into sin, then He was either working without a plan, or with several plans! See, dear people of the Lord, into this frightful error do we fall, if we follow the "new light" of the Watch Tower without criticism. But how remarkable: While our exalted God did not (according to the Watch Tower teaching) foreknow the fall into sin, He did foresee other things. We mention only a few of the many instances: God’s prerecognition of Jeremiah ("Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, " Jer 1:5); His foreknowledge of Pharaoh’s stubbornness (Ex 3:19); The work of Cyrus (Isa 44:28); The birth of Isaac (Ge 17:19); The world empires and their development (Da 2:37-45); The rise and development of Antichrist (2Th 2:3-8); The foreknowledge of the members of the body of Christ (Ro 8:29; Eph 1:4; 2Ti 1:9; 1Pe 1:2). If God knows our thoughts before we think them, as shown in Ps 139:4, then He surely knows our deeds before we do them; then He also foreknew the fall into sin. Truly, He knows everything in advance, else He would not have said: "Ask me of things to come" (Isa 45:11). "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world" (Ac 15:18); the Scriptures declare, and as believers in the Scriptures we cannot contradict this. If He knew all the above-mentioned events, etc., in advance, then of course He also knew much more—in fact, everything. Since He knew these things mentioned 100 or 500 or 1000 or 4000 years in advance, He certainly knew of them 10, 000 or 20, 000 before, yea, "eternally." Surely! Did He not know when He gave the promise concerning the bruiser of the serpent’s head (Ge 3:15), that the first-born of all creatures would give his life on Golgatha more than 4000 years later? If He did not know this—was then sending of Abraham with Isaac (the type of the Seed of promise) to Moriah merely an accident?

 

Beloved, let us treat the divine word in a serious and

 

DOS87 worthy manner! Let us beware of revising and dressing it according to our thoughts and theories! Beloved in Christ! We are standing in the presence of the all-knowing and all-seeing.One, and are very sharply watched by Him. He desires that we accept and believe His word, which tells us concerning Him, the great God "...declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done" (Isa 46:10). Will we accept and believe His word, or disregard or totally ignore it, as the Watch Tower does in the question under consideration concerning the divine foreknowledge. Once more: Let us beware of making frivolous sport of the holy word of God. Let us not speak like those of Ps 73:11! The Watch Tower says that God can withhold from Himself a knowledge of coming things.

 

Although the folly of this thought is apparent, yet we ask: What advantage would there have been in the self-withholding of the foreknowledge of man’s fall into sin, or what disadvantage does the foreknowledge have? The Watch Tower will not be able to give a Scriptural answer to this. Why? Because the dogma proclaimed by it is senseless an unscriptural.

 

Those who are still able to think clearly we ask to consider, if there is not proof in the creator’s charge to Adam in Paradise to "dress and to keep" the garden (Ge 2:15), that God foreknew the fall? From what should the man keep the garden entrusted to him? Is it not from the evil, the unholy? Certainly not from the good.

 

Whoever finds pleasure in the dangerous doctrine of the Watch Tower concerning God’s lack of foreknowledge will "eat" it with voracious appetite; whoever loves that which is "clean" (Isa 52:11), will not first eat, and then vomit it again (Vol. 7 comments on Re 19:18), but will reject it, without partaking of it. Many friends are in great haste to eat every dish offered in the Watch Tower expositions (W.T. 1926:158). With an amazing superiority it is "pointed pout" in all seriousness, that the Watch Tower is perfectly right in its assertion, because Ge 22:12 is claimed to show that in the situation there described, God only then said: "for now I know ..."

 

Thus passages are sought and "found, " which support (!) the

 

DOS88 Watch Tower teachings. And Mt 25:12? The Most High does not "know" all things, and His Son does not "know" all persons...Only the "exclusive channel" knows and understands even that which the "layman" misses, it knows even what the devil "thought" in the year 1918 (W.T.1925:72, par. 63). No, no, beloved, God has long foreknown everything, but the Society is the one of which it must be said that they have no foreknowledge (and of course of us also). It evidently does not yet know that it has departed from the truth, and that with such foolish doctrines it is causing the adversary to rejoice. Like those teachers in Ephesus, the new teachers of the Society are verily "understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm" (1Ti 1:6, 7).

 

One sin begets another, likewise one error another. Is the Church proud and will not "confess her sins" in repentance and sorrow, does she turn and twist to justify her errors, then each error must bring new errors in consequence. This error of non-foreknowledge of God, proceeding out of error, has, in its defense, brought forth new errors. Since the Scriptures repeatedly state, that God knew this or that before the foundation of the world, etc., and since such plain declarations would upset its doctrinal house of cards, the Watch Tower lets the world begin only since the flood, or the time of our Lord’s first advent (Compare the totally deviating article W.T..1927:196). As a concession he adds: "But supposing he (Peter, in 1Pe 1:20) really refers to the first world, or world that was, even this was organized after man’s fall." Thus may scriptural expressions, such as "before the world" and similar ones now be taken only in the sense as set forth by the "only channel." Of course! Because otherwise they brand the doctrine of divine foreknowledge as of man, yes as darkness. What does our teacher say? "Such works I hate!" May we do likewise. "Doubtless" the Scriptures often speak of the world as of something which was long before the flood, also long before man’s fall. We believe that God literally knew everything before each world (whether in the sense of age, order, or the creation of the heavenly bodies); Peter, however, refers to the foundation of the world through God, and not through Satan. Why, we ask, should God have foreknown the slain Lamb only just before the flood, or shortly before his slaying? Does the Watch Tower draw conclusions

 

DOS89 concerning the great God from its own shortsightedness and increasing ignorance?

 

We believe also, that God in His Omniscience has not the desire to withhold from Himself the knowledge of any event whatsoever. such a thing would be paradoxical.

 

It appears useful to again call to mind the fact here that Brother Russell’s time was especially characterized by the perception of the divine plan. We began to perceive the "divine plan of the ages, " and were filled with a joyful exuberance when we appreciated how wonderful God’s plan is, based on Omnipotence, Omniscience, Love and Justice. But who could still speak of a plan of God, if God had to arrange for several possibilities, as taught by the Watch Tower? How strikingly did Brother Russell write of the divine foreknowledge in his work "The divine plan of the ages" (especially in the treatment of the question concerning the permission of evil); but now in the juggling the foreknowledge has become non-foreknowledge. And then they dare to say boldly: "No fundamental truth has been changed!" "It is still the same teaching" (W.T.1926:119; Yearbook 1927:14). Of course an intoxicated person will find no difficulty in saying this...

 

We neither measure nor have a boundary for the Omnipotence and wisdom of our God (Ps 147:5; Isa 40:28). We say adoringly and with sacred reverence: "Oh the depth of the riches—both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! "How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out !" For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?

 

"Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto his again?" (Ro 11:33-36.) Do we believe in this God? "This God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death." (Ps 48:14.).

DOS90 SATAN IN HEAVEN  

 

"The Scriptures do not support the thought that Satan has been barred from heaven since the fall of man in the garden of Eden, nor yet about the time of the flood. On the contrary, the Scriptures and the physical facts seem to indicate that for some good purpose Satan was permitted to remain in heaven. That is, God permitted it, and therefore it was for a wise and good purpose" (W.T.1925:69, par. 30).

 

So, "for some good purpose" Satan was "permitted to remain" in heaven! This is taught in the year A.D. 1925 by that portion of Christian people which considers itself as the most enlightened, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the "only channel" for the dispensing of divine truths! Will the society tell us fairy tales, as is done to little children? For the following sentence forces a grown-up person to smile: "Satan and his official family must have been cast out of heaven upon the earth some time after 1914, and before 1918. After this battle he must have been stunned for some time, so that he did not comprehend what had happened to him" (Par. 51).

 

It is not wonder when someone remarked, after reading of this alleged "stunning" of Satan because of his being cast down to earth: "I can readily believe that—from such a height!" Truly with such fairy tales mockery is made of the holy Word, it is played with as children play with sand. They seem to have forgotten that the Word of God is worthy of better treatment than that of men.

 

The article, "the Birth of a Nation, " in its entirety is a single great slander of the Word of God.

 

Amazed we ask: Why is this so? Why such unsupported theories? What gave the occasion for them? Truly is this is the better light which the Lord is supposed to have given since 1918, then the Lord himself is hastening to make His Word contemptible, and to cause "the way of the truth to be evil spoken of" (2Pe 2:2). But we entreat each one to inquire into the motives from which the articles of the present head of the Watch Tower Society have sprung. Surprising conclusions are arrived at then. Once the motives are discerned, enough will be known then.

 

DOS91 What was the motive for the article which turns divine truth upside down, and twists and throttles it? The writer cannot hide the motive at all, the trace of his thoughts is too plainly impressed in the article. Namely, he became president (people of God! Did you inquire of your God at that time?), and according to his mind, everything should move differently, better, of course. But there were a few watchmen who had a great reverence for God and His will, and these dared, out of love for God and in fulfillment of their vow of sacrifice, to say a plain and widely-heard "No" to the arrangements and doctrines of the president. But these had, however, been active in the "Lord’s work, " so to speak grown up under Brother Russell in part (or wholly?), and were fairly well-known and esteemed among the household of faith. That these objectors should now step in the president’s way was a thing unreckoned with.. What was to be done? The Bible was searched all over, and a weapon was found against the "enemies of the work" (of the Lord!?): Re 12. And these were given, like Huss and other martyrs centuries before, a paper cap with the "devil’s caricatures, " and then they were catapulted out of heaven with Satan. This happened (is supposed to have happened after the "vision") around 1917. Now the hated protestants were out of the way. But the supposedly dead were tougher than was thought, for soon they stood upon their feet again to the terror of those whom they had found against. Let us read this exposition of the "Watch Tower" literally: "Stars" symbolize leaders in the church who possess a knowledge of present truth. Stars could not symbolize nominal leaders, because they have no knowledge of present truth. "And his tail drew the third part of the stars, " etc. In the trouble that began in the Fall of 1917, which is really the beginning of 1918, it would not be unreasonable to estimate that one-third of the then leaders of present truth on earth were turned against the Lord’s kingdom work, and have been against it since. It was the tail of the devil’s organization down at this end that drew them (W.T. 1925:68, par.22).

 

Dear Brethren in Christ! Sometimes we ask ourselves, if there is not too much said against the doings and teaching of the Society, but when one looks at the hodgepodge of doctrine which it offers to God’s unsuspecting children, thus

 

DOS92 deceiving them, making the Lord’s work contemptible; when one sees how that which was laboriously built up is laid waste again, and how all the conditions fro a renewed fulfillment of Re 2:20 are re-created, then one is filled with a holy zeal to take hold of such trashy nonsense, not with tender hands, but with determination, to expose it. How systematically the self-lauding Society proceeds to stop all voices protesting against her ungodly methods and doctrines! This article, containing particularly serious errors, is a poisoned weapon against the brethren antagonistic to the president. Those courageous brethren who at that time said "No" in fulfillment of their vow of faithfulness, were immediately (and it was done in great haste) styled as constituting the "tail of Satan’s organization" (!!) and a hatred was systematically sown and furthered among God’s children against these disturbers of the supposed greatest, and far-reaching plans. The entire chapter in Re 12, was correspondingly dressed down, and everything fitted "wonderfully!" There was great joy in "heaven, " of course! But a few, who were loyal to God, wept! Go the way which to you seems wise, successful, and gain joy for yourself in it—at the same time while you are rejoicing over the success of your self-wise way, others must weep. The first "only one" (Isa 47:8) should be a warning example in these things seen afar off (Re 17:5). Did she not develop herself from the very smallest beginnings to a system of might which ruled the world, and eventually even sold salvation for gold and silver, and rewarded a refusal of the salvation thus offered with the rack and stake?

 

Consider! That "work of the Lord" (yes indeed, those abominations were also done "in His name"!) had a very small beginning. Woe unto a church, when this tiny mustard seed finds lodgement in the soil of her heart! From that same moment she will increase powerfully outwardly under new methods of her leaders, but inwardly be darkened in the same degree—only to be rejected of God, who will call new "movements" upon the scene which will further His cause and truth, according to His methods, for the church must have "movement." The Watch Tower exposition in question is truly a great error. No wonder, for it has arisen from the spirit of hatred against the protesting brethren. It is moreover the most

 

DOS93 fertile soil for countless miasmas of error which since then have actually ascended. It is to be rejected by "earnest Bible—students with deserved contempt. If its author, the president, thinks that his assertion will serve such Bible students as proof, then he does not know what an earnest Bible student is. His argument: "This proof should be sufficient to establish the fact that Satan was in heaven, and for some reason had access and opportunity to accuse the brethren in Christ before God—Revelation 12:10" (W.T. 1925:69) is a rotted support, but shows what a high opinion he has of his own assertions. If this rotted support breaks down, then the entire hate-inspired exposition is a deplorable heap of ruins. For there is neither "proof" nor "fact."

 

Proof and fact is , that Satan had fallen form heaven to earth long before 1917 or 1918; we will leave wholly undecided whether or not he was stunned by his fall and could undertake the work only after his recovery (W.T. 1925:73, par. 87). It is established that he had already been cast out of heaven in the time of Jesus, 1900 years before 1917-1918 (Luke 10:18). And if he was cast out then, he certainly was not "permitted" in the meantime to appear "in heaven for some good purpose." For what purpose? How often? Who determined the times of his appearance?

 

Indeed, according to the Watch Tower exposition Satan seemingly had a right to stay in heaven just as he pleased, for we read in W.T. 1926:275, that: "God did not prevent him from being there." We refer also to the equally foolish expositions in W.T. 1925:276, 277, 280; 1926:24, and others. This heaven furthermore, it is said in W.T. 1925:345, should be the heaven in which unrighteousness was deliberated, the "old heaven, " which according to the Scriptures is to pass away! This heaven, in which Satan had access to Jehovah?

 

Mt 18:10 seems to permit the conclusion that not all the angels may always appear in the presence of the Most High (actually we know very little about this) how much less Satan! Lk 10:18 does not refer to a future event, which should take place in 1917-1918, but looks back into the distant past. Ps 5:4 ("the evil one shall now dwell with thee, " literal rendering) shows that a dwelling of evil (in person or act) with God cannot take place, because of His holiness.

 

Eze 28

 

DOS94 and Isa 14, which we also consider is a figurative representation of Satan’s conduct, cannot be taken as decisive proof that Satan’s fall, his casting out as profane (Eze 28:16), should take place 1917 or 1918. This passage, like Isa 14, describes mainly the past evil time, during which Satan, because of his sin 6, 000 years ago, is cast off from God. According to Isaiah’s delineation the burden of the king of Babylon (confusion), will be pronounced retrospectively in the day of rest, the seventh day, the day of the millennial kingdom. Therefore the objection of the president and his defenders, that Satan’s fall from heaven could not have taken place 6, 000 years ago, because there were no peoples and nations at that time (Isa 14:6), collapses (W.T.1925:345). It is established that Satan, like our first parents, was banned form his holy environments immediately after the fall, and that at that time he became the prince and god of this world, and not merely since the time of Israel’s rejection, as the Watch Tower thinks (W.T.1925:67, par. 4).

 

The "proofs" of the Watch Tower, especially Job 1:6, when considered in their true light, are proofs to the contrary. The combination of the Watch Tower is somewhat like the one given by someone who said: "It is written: ‘He went and hanged himself’ (Mt 27:5), and it is written: ‘Go and do thou likewise’"( Lk 10:37). Is this rightly dividing the word of truth (2Ti 2:15)? Certainly not! The power of God’s glorious word does not always lie on the surface merely, where each one can take it freely and without labor; often, yes most frequently, one must stoop and gather the "Manna" each morning; one must "search" for the truth, as one searches for silver, and seek as for hidden treasures (Pr 2:1-5). Then one reaps the joy of the seeker! We should not be merely nominal, but real, earnest Bible students, who approach the word of God with reverence and adoration, since through it God is speaking to us.

 

In setting forth its supposed proof, the Watch Tower says that Satan made an accusation against Job there, i.e., in the presence of Jehovah in heaven ! Is there one syllable in the book of Job which says so? It is always well, not to put anything into the Bible which isn’t there, nor take away anything that is there (Re 22:18, 19). We entreat you to

 

DOS95 look at our counter-evidence, and we believe that it will be worthy of the consideration of all students.

 

Jehovah is the eternally existing, and unchangeable and all-faithful One, that God which keeps His promises to a thousand generations (De 7:9; Mal 3:6). It is a very striking, pregnant designation of the exalted God. This infinite One had a Logos (speaker, announcer of messages), His first and highest Son, by whom all things were made, who has a preeminence in all things, through whom alone therefore the redemption from sin could be accomplished (Joh 1:1-3; Pr 8:22-36; Col 1:15-20; 2Co 8:9; Re 5:13). This Logos often spoke and acted under the commission of the Infinite One in His name (Jehovah). When, for example, he appeared to men as His ambassador (angel), then he spoke as if the sender Himself were delivering the message. This can easily be ascertained by every student from the various Biblical accounts. Three men came to Abraham—in reality angels, one of these the Logos, but the spoke continually and used the name Jehovah. Ge 19:24 is otherwise unintelligible, and clearly shows the correctness of our exposition. At times the name Jehovah stands for the Logos, at other times for the Most High Himself. The seeming difficulty, or disharmony, as text critics are wont to say, dissolves itself into most perfect harmony in the divine light of truth. The angel of Jehovah appears to Moses at Horeb (Ex 3:2), but he never says: "I, the angel of Jehovah, " but as representing Him who sent him he says: "I Jehovah." The same thing is true of the (same) angel who later talked with Moses on the mount, and gave the law to him. We recommend the reading of this. The New Testament likewise confirms this everywhere. Read, for example, Stephen’s discourse in Ac 7:30, 35, 38). Why did the angel call himself Jehovah, if he was not actually Jehovah Himself? We have already given the answer to this, but the Scripture itself gives the answer to the student. We read in Ex 23:20:."behold I sent an (Mine, Ex 23:23) angel before thee...Beware of him and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions (because he is faithful, true, unchangeable), for my name is in him." Jesus, the Logos, the representative of the Host High carried His name, Jehovah. This explains much, and solves difficulties.

 

DOS96 If Jesus came to Abraham, Moses, Gideon and other men under the name of Jehovah, then the assumption of earnest established Bible students, that in the case of Job 1:16 we have to do with the representative of Jehovah is quite Biblical. Such an assumption clears up that which the Watch Tower darkens. We have already stated that nowhere in the Book of Job it is mentioned that the meeting of Jehovah with Satan took place in heaven. we also have abundant proof in the Scriptures that the angels are divided into "ranks, " and that all the angels, of whatever rank (Cherubim, seraphim; comp., also Col 1:16) would treat the archangel, the Logos of God, with deserving respect (Heb 1:6; 1Pe 3:22). Even the evil angels under Satan’s dominion knew how exalted he was, and even acknowledged it (Mk 1:24). How much more those angels loyal to God! We know further, that angels, as "doers of His pleasure" (Ps 103:20, 21) have been and are active upon the earth in great numbers, although we cannot see them with our human eyes. We need to refer only to Ps 34:7. The service of angels to men is much greater than we are aware of . When this representative of Jehovah came to earth, in the days of Abraham or Moses, how did the angels who were active on the earth conduct themselves toward this high visitor? Did they take little notice of him? Or did they show him becoming respect as the representative of Jehovah? It was natural for them to present themselves before him, that they would do this without being requested. Such a position of honor for himself did Satan strive after, as shown in Isa 14:13, 14. The presenting of themselves before the ambassador of Jehovah took place especially when commands were to be received or resolutions passed (Da 4:17; 7:10).

 

Is our exposition stretched or pressed, when we thus "expound" Job 1:16? Does it not rather naturally impress itself upon the student in his humble and reverent study? Let each one examine and judge according to his sanctified understanding.

 

Here then, on the earth, was the meeting between Jehovah’s representative (the Logos), and Satan. Satan was the despot of the air, and he was bold enough to step into the circle of those assembled. But we find further beauties of divine wisdom in Job on closer examination.

 

Because of lack

 

DOS97 of space we cannot give the details here, but if it please God, some of it shall be published later for the benefit of truth lovers. In Ex 33 (especially Ex 33:14) the angel (Exodus 32:34) is called "My presence, " and we know that the Logos (Jesus) was this angel, this "presence of Jehovah." On careful examining Job 1:12 and Job 2:7 we will find that it is stated there also that "Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah." Who then was this Jehovah in Job? We believe that the readers themselves will be able to find that scriptural answer. But in order to assist them in this, we will ask if Jehovah Himself (the Father) in His holiness could have had.intercourse with Job, a member of the sinful human race, without a mediator? Note in this connection that "Jehovah" held a dialogue with Job later (Job 38-42, see especially Job 42:7).

 

One sin begets another, and one error another. And the correctness of Bro. A. H. J’s deductions in W.T. 1926:78 (which, of course, he seeks to reject utterly) that "if there is error in this article...would we not expect that subsequent articles get even further away from the truth?" have been confirmed before our eyes. An error, when begotten of selfish motives (hatred of brethren who for the sake of the truth are saying a "No" (W.T. 1925:68, par. 22) is a sin. And it is a further and greater sin, if, in our efforts to "justify" this error, we bring forth a second error, which in turn leads to a third, fourth and still further errors. This is sin indeed. Men with spiritual pride are to be held responsible for this. They make everything dependable upon the very simple, and as they say, easily conceivable "fact" that it, and it alone, is the only channel for divine truths (yes, in a letter published in the German W.T. 1925:208 they have even gone so far as to use the expression "bread factory"); and that the message is in truth not its own, but that of the Lord (German W.T. 1924:157). Since then this is being emphasized with many different variations. Once they had established this principle and carried it through with the friends, then their "authority" will not permit them to acknowledge an error; it must be defended and colored, so that it will look like the truth. And because the word of God (the truth) does not support error, then a new error must be manufactured, to fortify the first one. Usually another Scripture is put on the rack and "worked over" until it is suitable for the purpose; but sometimes,

 

DOS98 when no Scripture can be found which would even distantly support the error, then the "assertion" of the "channel" is given out as truth. And then we wonder that the first "only one" (the papal church) made "tradition" of equal value with the written word! What does Jesus say?

 

Answer: Mk 7:9, 13; Mt 7:9; 15:6. It is unfortunately true as the Watch Tower says, that "no man likes to be beaten in an argument" (W.T. 1925:108, par. 6). Unfortunately! and yet not always: the humble ones, and they only, when "overcome by the testimonies of the holy Scriptures, " will gladly permit themselves to be beaten by the divine arguments, and give up their own just as readily.

 

It was soon found that the new light of the president, when closely inspected, is in reality dark. Students remembered that the Bible throughout says that the angels who kept not their first estate, have since been kept in chains of darkness, here in the air, and that Satan is their chief prince (Jude 6; 2Pe 2:4; Eph 2:2; Lk 22:53). It was correctly argued: If they were chained in the air here, then they could not freely appear with Satan in heaven above in the presence of Jehovah, as the Watch Tower teaches. What to do in order to be right in any event? The Watch Tower was not embarrassed for an answer. It replied: There were two armies of demons, of which the one, to which the above cited Scriptures are applicable, because of their being bound in chains of darkness was, of course, deprived of the possibility to seek the presence of Jehovah above with their chief prince, Satan. But Satan had a second army which was not limited as to their abode, and this was his "official" family, which was with him above, and then was cast out of heaven at the time stated (after 1914), and has since been totally deprived of every possibility to ever again desecrate the holy courts above, by their unholy presence. Now we know it! And this assertion does not come hesitatingly, but quite boldly, to the "Anointed." Is it not stated: "Without a doubt (!) there was a band of evil spirits..., " i.e., such as were not restrained in earth’s atmosphere, but could ascend with Satan into the heavenly courts (W.T. 1925:346).

 

"Without a doubt"—but, where in the Scriptures? The writer either forgot to quote it, or the prophet has spoken "presumptuously" (haughtily, out of his own) De 18:20; Col 2:18; 2Ti 4:3, 4.

 

DOS99 How did Brother Russell write? "Demand of all who seek to teach in the name of the Lord, that they quote the exact words of the Lord of the apostles, which they claim in support of their teaching. Turn to the chapter and verse, etc. ...Demand a ‘thus saith the Lord’ for everything which you accept as your faith.—Ac 2:10." Students will demand this! And because they demand it, and the president will (can) not give it, therefore he constitutes them as the "tail of Satan’s organization" (!!), worthy of the Second death! But pebbles for the sling, taken for the brook, hit every Goliath-error so squarely in the forehead that it sinks to the ground (Manna Sept.4 and May 9). we seek the honor of God and honor of His truth, and adoring Him, it is often necessary for us to cast down without indulgence the height which exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and which deceives God’s children. we may not hesitate even there, where it concerns the "organization of God, " erected by men, the "work of the Lord" established by men, the "prescribed way of the Lord" planned by men. Sentimentalities are entirely out of place in such situations. Fro it is here not a question of trifles, but of the rapidly growing, anxiety causing evil of the renewed "apostasy, " the renewed desolation of the sanctuary... "Cry aloud, spare not! lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression." (Isa 58:1.) We would mention just a few more unsupported statements for an article having its origin in hatred against protesting children of God; the "Birth of a Nation." We have already said that the exposition is praised as "new light, " and the Watch Tower itself takes pains, from easily understood motives, to make it clear to the friends that the better light is due and obtainable only since the pretended coming of the lord to His temple in 1918, and that logically much could not be understood before that time. And as a matter of fact so much of the old has already passed away, and so much has become new since 1918, that one seriously asks oneself, what was there really understood in accordance with the truth in the days before 1918? (In the days of Brother Russell.) Thus also the year 1918 is playing its part in this article! (W.T. 1925:67). It is only a wonder, if it could not be understood before 1918, that they waited with the dissemination of the

 

DOS100 true light till 1925! Why this? Would an earlier publication of the ‘better" light injure? Oh, certainly! Because thus early the then generally earnest Bible students would have said more emphatically "No." But by 1925 the "earnestness" of Bible study had gone down so far, through systematic labor, that the new lightning-flash could be sent out without danger. And it found—mostly—receptive minds. but the tangled skein grows still bigger. Before the new light on Re 12 and the cast out and stunned Satan was issued from the "bread factory, " the true exposition of Re 12 had already been given. Volume 7 contained it, and to exclude every doubt, it was said then that Volume 7 and its exposition was of the Lord, yes, that the Lord was responsible for Volume 7! So then, both form the Lord, and both not perhaps similar, but diametrically opposed; according to the one exposition (from the Lord) in Volume 7, the male child was the Antichrist, according to the new light it is the true Christ. What now? From the Lord, and rejected? Did the Lord Himself perceive that it was incorrect? Or was there an oversight? Or did God give what was correct, and the "bread factory" handed out what was false? We ask thus, because it has always been asserted that what was offered was from the Lord ! Of course we are hardly permitted to think logically. But we thank God that we can still think.

 

Since 1918 the friends can see what had been unknown to them till then. "since 1918 the Anointed understood ...for the first time..." (W.T. 1925; 68, par. 20). Satan is said to have been cast out of heaven, where, it is stated, he had access to Jehovah, down to earth about that time.

 

"From that time onward the battle has proceeded upon the earth. Before this the battle was fought out in heaven" (W.T. 1925:68, 237, 276-280; 1926:25). Let it be considered: The dragon of Re 12 is Satan literally, who for some good purpose is permitted to be in heaven, to seek even the face of Jehovah; this literal Satan was cast out of the literal heaven upon the literal earth, where he suffered a literal stunning, from which he had to literally recover. We ask therefore with all seriousness the logical question: If the dragon of Re 12:4 is literally Satan—must not Satan have a tail? Must he not also have seven heads and ten horns? (Re 12:3). Our questions still continue: If the protesting brethren (contrary to the uniform exposition

 

DOS101 of the Watch Tower) are designated as the stars of heaven (par.22), and the heaven is said to be literal—must not these brethren have been in the literal heaven then? Did they not fall down?

 

But another curiosity: These same brethren "stars of heaven, " are said to be Satan’s "tail" at the same time! (same article par. 22). How many-sided! Truly these are fables which are brought to the ears of God’s consecrated people! (2Ti 4:4). People of God! See how the convulsive defense of one error originates a hundred others and worse errors! Take heed! Turn away from them! Such "works" are never worthy of the demanded "exception." Jesus says: "I hate them." (Re 2:6).

 

The new nation has not been born, in spite of the trumpet-like exclamations of the Watch Tower.

 

And although in this question we would speak less positively than the Watch Tower, we would ask with Isa 66:8: "Shall ... a nation be born at once?" The close-lying answer, however, is seemingly "No, " and not "Yes." What if this starting point had been explained falsely by the Watch Tower? Then the entire exposition structure resting so proudly upon this would be one huge self-deception, then the glorified young men would have seen a mirage, a false "vision" again. (See W.T. 1925:342.) Who then is the "she" in Isa 66:7? We will not, as we said, give a positive answer here, but the following arrangement may perhaps give some students an incentive for searching the Scriptures: 1. Before she (Isa 66:7) travailed, she brought forth, before her pain came she was delivered of a "man child" (singular). this is so extraordinary (indeed, since the fall into sin impossible), that the question is asked if anyone has heard or seen such a thing. The answer evidently is: No.

 

And because it was foreseen that this remarkable birth would be applied to a "nation, " the question is asked in Isa 66:8. The answer here evidently is also: No. What if the "she" is no one else but the virgin who brought forth a son? Isa 7:14.

 

2. "As soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children" (plural). When, therefore, the Watch Tower says that the new nation is born as the "man child, " we repeat the question already put by the Scriptures: "Can a nation...?"

 

DOS102 There are so many curiosities in the "Watch Tower" in the themes "Birth of a Nation" and "Satan Cast Out of Heaven, " that it is hard to know where to begin with the clearing up, and where to stop. That which is , like the above mentioned thing, impossible, the Watch Tower accomplishes with playful ease. It’s Zion, God’s organization, as it is called a thousand times, i.e., the church of Christ gives life also to its individual members! So says the Watch Tower repeatedly since (for exam. W.T. 1926:141-142; Del. 246). Thus the church, the woman, brings forth the church, the man child ! either we must bow before this "wisdom" in reverence and say:" Knowledge too wonderful for me, too high, I cannot attain unto it, " of this wisdom is one of those fables of which Paul warned (Tit 1:10-14). A woman brings forth herself! That, of course, has never been. But to some this is not only clear, they even claim to have seen this unheard-of and strange birth. How great are religious systems which err from the truth in the invention of "mysteries!" Is not the above described teaching concerning the birth of the new nation as much a mystery as the doctrine of the trinity, etc.? All who duly reject all such idle babblings are, of course, quickly styled as lawless ones, apostates, offenses, tail of Satan’s organization, etc., etc., by the Lord’s representative (the Watch Tower). In spite of the multitude of its absurdities the Watch Tower sees only itself as God’s favorite, all else is Satan’s organization. It says literally: "Satan is our worst enemy, and we are his only earthly opponent" (W.T.1925:356).

 

Concerning Re 12 otherwise we would refer to the exposition of this chapter given in the "Berean Manual" (Commentary), which seems to have various points in its favor. We think that in the dragon figure we are not to understand the literal Satan, but the world empire, Rome.

 

Perhaps in this the Scriptures are also more exact than we think. In Re 12 we are told that the dragon (the Roman world empire here) is called the devil and Satan (Re 12:9-10, while in Re 20:2, where evidently Satan is meant personally, it is said: "Which is the Devil and Satan." The man child ("Son’) of Re 12 reminds of the "Son" of perdition in 2Th 2:3. And just as the Son of Re 12 ascended (advanced) very quickly (was "caught up") to a God and to his throne, so it is also

 

DOS103 said in 2Th 2:4 that the "Son" mentioned there exalts himself above all that is called God, showing himself that he is (a) God. How appropriate in this case does the naming of this deified "son" as Michael (One like God) in Re 12:7 seem. The sound of rejoicing in Re 12:10 is, it seems, nothing else but the confession of this new leader and his adherents in "heaven" (just as symbolical of course). They taught that with this victory of Christendom ( in reality of Nicolaitanism, i.e., the papacy), the longed-for reign of Christ and His kingdom had come. And this teaching became continually more passionate, until it brought to the protesting children of God, who would not submit themselves under the scepter of this counterfeit kingdom of God, torture and death of the rack and at the stake. One evil idea—and what terrible consequences! And yet this idea asserts itself to this day, and when a new communion of Christians introduced it, then they always thought again to have discovered a new message of "the Lord, "" His work!" If a still clearer exposition of Re 12 should be given, e are ready to accept it.

 

In paragraph 69 of this marvelously twisted article (W.T. 1925:72) the writer has requested that reader to take a pen in hand and calculate the 1, 260 days of Revelation 12 (which he applies literally). "Behold the result, " he says theatrically. The co-workers were "released from the custody of the officials of Satan’s organization" on March 26, and consequently, he says further, the time must be figured from the subsequent whole days, from March 28 onward." From the 28th onward? Why not from the 27th?(see also par. 64 and 87.) Answer: Because, then (from March 27 inclusive to September 8 inclusive; comp. par. 83) it would not be 1, 260 days! (1920 was a leap year!) This we have calculated with pen in hand! The assertion of the Society is an inexcusable misleading of the friends. So with exact "calculation" this exposition also collapses within itself lamentably.

 

Beloved in Christ! How much more could there be said concerning this foolish "brighter" light, but it is truly impossible for us to touch each point. Anyone who has solid ground under his feet can, without difficulty, distinguish the false from the true. Whoever will read again the article, "Birth of a Nation, " will find that there are many absurdities

 

DOS104 which we have not touched here. Love to the Lord should cause us to immediately recognize, without hesitancy, such spiritual babblings, and to reject them, and if somehow they have already taken root, to cast them out of the understanding. Yes, love to the Lord demands this! How difficult it is for some to lastingly maintain their first love to the Lord! How many testings, siftings are often necessary to get back to the first love, that is to the love for the Lord and His gifts! One "sees" the brethren, and is "seen" of them, one does not "see" the Lord with the eyes, and one easily forgets that the "eyes" of the Lord can "see" quite differently than those of the brethren. He who walks in the midst of the lampstands (His ecclesias, His people) has eyes which pierce everything, as a flame of fire. "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Heb 4:12, 13). Should we not, when the "Living" Word of God shows us the glorious truth through the "written" word, accept it as a precious gift from the Most High and reject as injurious everything that runs counter to the symmetric lines of this word? are we afraid to incur the displeasure of the visible brethren, who in unwisdom or self-conceit are neglecting the first love to the Lord and who (sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously)seek to be the object of the first love themselves? should we not rather fear to incur His displeasure, in whose eyes everything is naked and uncovered—the invisible One? Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ! Remember this! Let us follow Him where we plainly see His truths, methods and ways in the light of His light. and may we follow immediately, determinedly, without irresolutions. Let us not think that the rejection of one error is unimportant, and therefore need not be done so unconditionally. Let us not think to abstain from doing it because it might give offense to the brethren, and because we would have to expect many a suspicion, many an evil judgment for.ourselves. Should brethren be offended when others (who are also brethren!) call their attention to the true light, and therefore to their own wrong conclusions? Should they not be grateful? do they not also desire to acknowledge the truth? Does not indignation on their part at such attention-calling show that they have need yet to grow in the image of Christ? Is there

 

DOS105 anyone among us infallible? Are we not dependent upon one another? Does not history teach with overpowering clearness for all of God’s children that the progress in the truth came from just such consecrated ones to God who did not belong to the leading "official" organization?

 

While we mention all this in questioning manner, we believe that we are thinking soundly and soberly. we believe further, that a consideration of this advice would bring much benefit to many and show them the disadvantages of spiritual fetters, even though they were studded with precious stones; for a fetter remains a fetter. We believe further, that a giving up, on the part of the leading brethren with the Watch Tower, of the thought that the Lord was giving truths only through them as the one and only channel, would diminish the great spiritual war in "heaven" of these present days. Acquainted with the history of the church in the past, we must, of course, say that we do not indulge in the hope that the brethren will favor any such action. Their attitude hitherto toward the brethren, who, from love to the Lord are protesting, does not admit such a hope. And therefore we believe that our warning cries will not be heeded by them. They themselves have declared that they would give no heed to the criticisms of such (in truth, noble thinking) brethren, nor would they give time to consider them (W.T. 1925:355; but comp. Vol. 6:263, 318, where Brother Russell encourages criticism.) Thus they deprive themselves of many a blessing, because the spirit of searching is still alive, and to be found in that very part of the friends whom they designated as the "tail" of the dragon, and "allies of the intrigues of Satan."

 

From out of these manifold reasons and considerations proceed our entreating and warning cries: Back to the first love, back to the first works! (Re 2:4, 5) Back to the Lord as authority and teacher!

DOS106 THE OUTPOURING OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD UPON ALL FLESH

 

Every departure from the truth, however small it may be, always brings increasing spiritual losses. Attentive Bible students have noted with increasing astonishment how the Watch Tower during the last decade has reentered the path which has been forsaken by Brother Russell to the great blessing of God’s people, by withdrawing many, many Bible promises, which according to the plain testimony of the Holy Scriptures will find their fulfillment in the Millennium of the completed Christ’s reign of blessing, from this glorious future and applying them to the present time, or even to the entire Gospel Age. This can be ascertained in many very important points of truth. Unfortunately, a great number of dependent friends, who look upon the watch Tower as " direct food from the Lord," and who read it only with the intention of sanctioning it, fail to perceive it. This course can be noticed only by the earnest and thorough student. The endeavor to apply promises due in the future, of which we will mention a few more in the course of our considerations, to the present time, shows itself plainly also in the exposition of the familiar prophecy of Joel concerning the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all flesh. Every Bible student acquainted with the older Watch Tower literature knows that Brother Russell applied the Scripture passage Joel 2:28 to the thousand-year reign of Christ. And this exposition is the only correct and possible one, because confirmed by many scriptural proofs. In opposition to this the Watch Tower asserts (W.T. 1925:340) that the outpouring of the Spirit upon "all flesh" in the sense of Joel’s prophecy took place once in the end of the Jewish Age, and is also taking place in the end of the Gospel Age. It says expressly: "The text does not seem to be applicable at all to the Millennial Age." (See also W.T. 1926:143, where it says verbatim: " A careful study of the article in the Watch Tower will demonstrate that the Holy Spirit being poured out does not include the millions class who expect to live on the earth. The Holy spirit will not be poured out on anyone during the Millennial Age.")

 

DOS107 Beloved! Hear and be astounded: The Holy Spirit is already poured out upon all flesh! And this is said to be new greater light! But if this is really light, then the former exposition has been error, for, of course, both cannot be truth. We need on to question the facts, to look at our surroundings, to ascertain whether the promise of Joel 2:28 is fulfilled, i.e., whether the Spirit of God is poured out upon all flesh, or not. Even a literally blind man knows that all flesh does not yet possess the divine spirit. "Now the world is full of suffering; Sounds of woe fall on our ears.

 

Scenes of wretchedness and sorrow, fill the eyes with pitying tears," sings the poet, and he therewith strikingly characterizes the conditions among all flesh in our days. Are these the consequences of the Spirit’s outpouring upon all flesh? Let us not follow "cunningly devised fables" (2Pe 1:16; 2Ti 4:4), frivolous assertions which have no weight with God, which are as light as Belshazzar upon God’s judgment-balance. We look at the world—it "lieth in the evil one," and is worse than ever. These are the facts surrounding us, which cannot be denied.

 

But let us examine the Scriptures and see if they teach that the Spirit is poured out upon all flesh.

 

The answer is clearly "No!" Wherever we meet in the Scriptures the expression "all flesh," all mankind is meant, and not a selected class out of it. When we read in Ge 6:12 of Noah’s time, that: "... all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth," then we know that it concerned the whole world of mankind of that time. The same is true of the Scripture passages, Ps 145:21; 65:2; Isa 40:5,6; Zec 2:13; Joh 17:2 and all others where the words "all flesh" occur. If we are still able to think clearly and logically, then we must admit that in these passages all men are always meant. A limitation of the expression "all flesh" to an elect part of men surely would be a twisting of Scripture. It remains then to ascertain when the Spirit of God will be poured out upon "all flesh" (Joel 2:28), upon all mankind therefore. The Joel promise gives the answer plainly in the word "afterward" (Joel 2:28). After what? A thorough perusal of Chapters 1 and 2 is necessary if we would have the correct answer. Before Joel announces the prophecy under discussion, he describes the day of time "afterward." Connecting therewith the expression.

 

DOS108 is given in Joel 2:18, etc., that God’s favor would be granted again to His people Israel in connection with that terrible day. And then follow the words in question: "And it shall come to pass afterward, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaidens will I pour out my Spirit in those days." Afterward," therefore, means after the day of Jehovah, the day of desolation, and when natural Israel is, after many centuries, turning again to its God. We know that the day of desolation, also called the day of vengeance, constitutes the end of this age. If, therefore, the outpouring of the Spirit of God follows the day of desolation ("afterward!"), then this Scripture passage of Joel 2:28 can find its fulfillment only in the Millennium, never before! Only then, because only then all flesh is spoken of . Before the Millennial kingdom only a little flock indeed, and elect class, is blessed with the Holy Spirit, according to the well known facts. This is the clear testimony of the Scriptures, verified by the facts which we may not oppose. And, "the many which (today) hear, understand and love the message of the kingdom and ...who blow the trumpet" (extracts for a letter in German W.T. 1926:144), are not "all" however, not "all flesh!" The exposition of the Watch Tower is consequently man’s bungling work, an unsupported theory, a transparent design, wet up to designate all those protesting as being against the "work of the Lord" (it should be called "work of the Society"), "as dreamers and air-castle building old men!" Oh, dear people of God, violence is thus done to the word of God! For, be it noted, that the prophesying of the sons and daughters and the dreamings of the old men, etc., are the consequences of the poured out Holy Spirit and, therefore, can be only good and holy. How could those old men (elders) "build air castles," or dream foolish "dreams" as a consequence of the Spirit of God? (And this is the question here!) "Those who quit in 1918 are in darkness of have dreams," says the Watch Tower article cited, and in exposition of the word: "Your old men shall dream dreams," it declares: "Many who have long been in the truth continue to build air-castles" (!!) Hear, therefore, oh people of God: The Holy Spirit of God is working

 

DOS109 this! But we say: Away with such Watch Tower "dreamings!" All flesh will be blessed in the Millennial kingdom of Christ, as we have shown in the foregoing. The Watch Tower has the thought that the Holy Spirit is working only in the sense of begetting, that therefore the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy could take place only in this age. This of course is an error, for the Scriptures, which alone are authoritative, show that others also, who had been begotten of the spirit to a higher nature, possessed the Holy Spirit. Did not Abraham have the Spirit of God? Was not John the Baptist "filled with the Spirit even from his mother’s womb?" (Lk 1:15). were not the prophetic writers of the Bible moved by the divine Spirit? (2Pe 1:21; see also 1Pe 1:2). Were they then begotten of the Spirit? The apostle says in Ro 8:14: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God," and the human beings restored to perfection will also be sons of God and partakers of the Spirit of God (Re 21:7). If "the Holy Spirit will not be poured out upon anyone during the Millennial Age"—when can the outpouring of the Spirit upon Israel, repeatedly promised this people, take place? (Isa 32:15; Isa 44:3; Eze 11:19; 36:26, 27: 39:29; Zec12:10) Will anyone boldly claim that this has already taken place or is taking place today?

 

The words: "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh" represents a comprehensive description of the blessing in the Millennial kingdom of peace, beginning after the terrible day of Jehovah. Then follows the individual enumeration of the blest ones: first of all the sons and daughters, the old men and young men. These groups refer, according to our understanding, to natural Israel, which receives this blessing of the spirit first.

 

For let us note that these words are addressed to this people in the words: "Your sons and daughters, your old men (elders) and your young men." But according to Joel 2:29 even the servants and handmaidens also receive the Holy Spirit—all mankind. The words "and also" give us to understand that the servants and handmaidens had until then not been as close as the sons and daughters mentioned in Joel 2:28, etc.—Isa 14:2, with other Scripture passages, shows

 

DOS110 that the servants and handmaidens of Joel’s prophecy are actually the nations. For the fulfillment of Isa 14:2, and other similar passages, the conditions during the time of the 6000-year reign of sin cannot of course serve as samples; since this fulfillment falls in the thousand-year reign of blessing under Jesus Christ, it must be sought along entirely different lines, in accordance with the justice and love of the new government. Just as Jesus "led captive" the great captivity of the sin-enslaved human family (Ps 68:18), in order to lead them to God, so also must Israel’s reign over their former oppressors be similarly understood. At all events, none will then reign over another to is hurt (Ec 8:9). Let us also keep in mind that the outpouring of the spirit takes place "in those days" (Joel 2:29), i.e., in the time shown by the word "afterward," when the Spirit will be poured out upon the sons, daughters, old men and young men, neither earlier nor later, therefore also in the thousand years of Christ’s reign of blessing. "In those days" (Joel 2:29) points to the time already given in Joel 2:28.

 

The wonders, Joel 2:30, 31 of the prophecy, occur before the outpouring of the spirit upon all flesh, yes, even before the great day of Jevovah. The words: "Before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come," which is described in the two chapters as so divesting, and after which ("afterward") the outpouring of the Spirit follows, shows this so clearly, that every doubt is excluded. And this has also been wilfully twisted by the Watch Tower, as may be seen in the same article (W.T. 1925:343, par.42), where it is said that "God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh simultaneously with the occurrence of these events." We repeat: Joel 2:30-31 are fulfilled before Joel 2:28-29. To give a better view we here place the events together in their sequence: 1. The "wonders" of verses 30 and 31 occur ("before the day of Jehovah come").

 

2. Then comes the day of Jehovah, with its terrors and desolations; such as never have been before and never shall be again (Joel 1 and part of 2).

 

3. Deliverance of Israel (Joel 2:2-27 in part).

 

4. "Afterward" (after the events preceding) the outpouring.

 

DOS111 of the spirit upon all flesh, upon "your" sons, daughters, old men, young men, and also upon servants and handmaidens.

 

When Peter cited Joel’s prophecy on the day of Pentecost, it was done to prove to the mockers that the effects were not produced by new wine. Joel had already spoken of this in his prophecy, that the outpouring of the Holy spirit would result in prophesying, in seeing visions and dreams.

 

But in order not to rouse the impression that Joel’s prophecy was then being wholly fulfilled, Peter expressly says: "It shall come to pass in the last days." The Pentecostal blessing (which continues to this day, even though its effect is not so conspicuous, so wonderful as then) was only a first fruits (Ro 8:23) before the coming world-wide outpouring of the spirit in our Lord’s kingdom of peace. The question on the day of Pentecost was: "What meant this?" (Ac 2:12) And Peter explained to them what "this" was: The result of the reception of God’s Spirit and not that of wine. That is the point.

 

Much could still be said of the deductions of the questionable Watch Tower expositions, which are full of errors, but we want to take up only the grossest perversions of the truth. We would mention, however, the artificial, yes, ingenious, exposition regarding the "young men," who are said to represent "the great number of young men and women" having come "to a knowledge of the truth" (but is it a knowledge?) since 1918. these are truly "air castles!" How honored such "youths" feel, and therefore it is no wonder that they also, as has often been experienced, fail to manifest just the best manners in their behavior toward the "old men." Just as in Israel once (Isa 3:4, 5). To be sure, character-development is unnecessary; yes, wrong, yes, of Satan, as the Watch Tower thinks. Alas, "they refuse to receive correction" (Jeremiah 5:3). The main thing is that the youths say "Yes," and go forward enthusiastically (W.T. 1925:79, 118-119, 234, 343; 1927:255, letter). If 1918 was the pivotal year for the "young men," then Brother Russell does not belong to these, but rather to the dreaming old men. And this is also stated, somewhat under cover still, for there are many, we are told ion the letter of a pilgrim brother complaisant to the society, who are "lying down beside Brother Russell twenty years ago...asleep," aged "Results" who are dreaming (W.T. 1926:255, letter)

 

DOS112 and "which cannot bark." Brother Russell, faithful witness! Do you hear it? We recommend the careful reading of both letters published in W.T. 1926:286, of which the one is published in spite of it being "personal and confidential" (because it contains some character points against the old pilgrim brethren said to be "going to sleep"). Some significant things will be found.

 

Before we close the discussion of the Watch Tower article, "The Holy spirit poured out," attention will yet be called to a point touched on there, which may possibly have escaped the attention of the friends. It is concerning

 

THE TIMES OF REFRESHING

 

of Ac 3:19. This glorious Scripture, referring to the future, is also withdrawn form it and declared as already doubly fulfilled—in the end of the Jewish Age, and from 1875-1918 (W.T.1925:341-342). In contrast to this it is stated in W.T. 1925:93, that "the times of refreshing" count from 1918 onward. At this rate all the promises will be fulfilled shortly, and no promise will be left any more for the glorious future of the the Millennial kingdom of peace. History repeats itself! A subtitle of the latter Watch Tower article runs: "The time of refreshing is here" (page 93), and then it says in par. 2: "Bible students sometimes thought that ‘the times of refreshing’ were not the same as ‘the times of restitution.’ They are not the same." "What wonderful new light," many of the dear ones will exclaim with great rejoicing; but the earnest students grieve over it. Here again we have "strong delusions" (2Th 2:11), dangerous perversions of truth. But the earnest Bible students will blow the trumpet and truthfully proclaim: "The times of refreshing are not here yet! They are future!" They are nothing else but the "times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21) which are still future, in the near future of course. Then the "desire of all nations," the refreshing and rest will come (Hag 2:7; Isa 14:3).

 

The words of Acts 3:19-21 and their connections prove that the "time of refreshing" will be for mankind in general, therefore world-wide. That these times are not here yet for the world, is apparent, for mankind is still groaning under the labor, unrest and hard bondage (Isa 14:3).

 

We can still

 

DOS113 sing: "The times of refreshing, of rest, are now near." Many sing this, but do not believe it! In view of all this we repeat our questions: 1. Do the facts of the past and present attest, that the Spirit of God has been poured out upon all flesh? Can anyone affirm this question if he does not want to put himself in contradiction to the visible facts? 2. Does the Word of God attest that the Spirit is poured out upon all flesh? Can anyone who, with a reverent and humble heart, accepts the word unadulterated, i.e., just as it is, affirm the question? Whoever wants to affirm it, may do so. We cannot do this, and we know that other thousands with us do not bow the knees to doctrines which were not spoken by the mouthpieces of Jehovah. 3. Should we, when the true light is shining for us and is focused upon the question discussed here also, think: Well, I will be silent anyway, it doesn’t matter about this one point? Why should any disturbance arise through my conduct? We ask: Should we indeed decide thus?

 

Dear Israel of God! Whoever of us who is consecrated to Him who made heaven and earth and all that is therein, to Him who has called, accepted and given us His truth, to Him who observes our every step and takes a loving interest in our walk "in the path that Jesus trod"—will, without vacillation, without looking to others, make his decision only in favor of Him to whom he has obligated himself once for all in his covenant by sacrifice, to serve and hear Him alone.

 

Beloved, if this were not so, what would our service for "god" be? How do we serve God? Is it not in joyful submission to His Word? If not in this, then we are no longer His servants, for then we seek to please men more than Him (Gal 1:10). Do we recognize our duty? Then up, let us fulfill it, faithful in that which is least, to the honor of His name! Then we will finally hear His "well done!" and enter into His joy in His due time. Then only!

DOS114 ELIJAH—ELISHA

 

The history of Elijah is a most remarkable one in every respect. The life and work of this prophet of Jehovah falls in a time when Israel was already much devoted to idolatry. Although Israel was God’s covenant people, yet, "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel" (Ro 9:6).

 

How much patience God had with His elect people, which, without exception after each reformation fell again into the idolatry of their heathen surroundings. Hardly had a champion of Jehovah finished the battle for the restoration of the covenant people to the original pure worship of Jehovah and departed form the scene of this life, when a new apostasy took place. and it wasn’t the few who always found pleasure in the idolatry, but the many; and these again almost regularly only followed the footsteps of their leaders, whether kings or priests, who eagerly indulged in such idolatrous exercises. The entire government therefore, both civil and ecclesiastical, was mostly opposed to the genuine worship of Jehovah, and the few who were loyal to Jehovah were consequently in a difficult position.

 

Is this not also true with the nominal spiritual Israel of the Christian age? Truly, it is so! Every reform movement was finally intercepted by the world-ruler of this darkness, and guided into paths which would lead to himself rather than to God. and then ever and again new witnesses had to stand up, courageously, fearlessly, to save Christendom form utter corruption during the devilish abominations of the "dark" ages, the "glory" period of the apostasy. How idolatry reigned there! We see therefore how fleshly Israel, with its entire history, was an advance of the history of spiritual Israel. The similarities between these Israels are probably greater than most of us suspect. They are related not only to the entire history of both, but very often even to individual occurrences, crises and persons.

 

Hail to all those heroes of faith, who obeyed Jehovah in devoted loyalty, whatever he called them! Some day it will be revealed what the world owes to these few unknown, rejected witnesses of His. Their lot truly was not an enviable

 

DOS115 one. Elijah’s service was in a time when the hand of the persecutors lay heavily upon Jehovah’s faithful ones. Ahab, son of the evil Omri, was king over Israel, and "he did that which was evil in the eyes of Jehovah, above all that were before him" (1Ki 16:30). His wife was a heathen princess, Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon. To take her to wife meant to submit to her domination, and at the same time to worship Baal, whose zealous servant this daughter of Ethbaal was. She seems to have been am imperious woman, unyielding, farseeing, dogmatic and cruel. The somewhat more noble Ahab must have become still more more evil in her proximity.

 

Ahab was only a shuttle-cock for her demoniacal ideas and passions. It is true that those who have the purest worship of God are the most tolerant toward others; the more corrupt the worship of God (even where its representatives passed themselves off as the "only true church,".etc.) the more unkind, intolerant, and cruel are its adherents toward others.) People of God, take note of this! Under such a king, and still more under such a talented, satanically cruel woman, idolatry and to grow to enormous proportions. And so it came to pass. To receive at such a time Jehovah’s command: "Go, I send you!" meant something. Elijah received such a command, and he must execute it. The biblical account of those days, so full of changing events, is known to all of us.

 

Elijah was zealous of Jehovah with all his strength, and not without effect. But there were demons of no small power also behind Baal. We may well suppose that there were probably some among the fallen angels, occupying higher positions, who were craving worship, and who could be terribly cruel when anything opposed them. But God is greater than all these gods. If he but spake a word (Job 34:14, 15), then all enemies, all the Baals and Milcoms would suddenly perish. But God lets them continue to a certain degree and to a fixed time, according to His all-wise counsel. In the case of Elijah, God demonstrated on Mount Carmel, in the trial by fire, that he is the almighty God, and that the demons standing behind Baal had only limited power.

 

But even with such public demonstrations of divine power some were still far from repentance, because they had the

 

DOS116 spirit of the evil one, which accepts no instruction form God and His faithful ones. On the contrary, they proceeded form impotence to fury against those who were better than themselves.

 

In a rage over their inflicted disgrace Jezebel swore to exterminate the troublesome servant of Jehovah. Baal had to be justified.

 

Elijah goes to Horeb. Why? It is said that he fled there solely through fear. But let us not be too hasty. Do we believe that Elijah wrought those things on Mount Carmel, that battle against the world of demons, against the idolatry, against Baal and his 450 priests, against Jezebel and her power, in his own strength? No. He had the command from Hi God to do this. When God gives a command, then we can and should leave all the consequences of our faithful performance of His command to Him, because He conducts the battle. Then we can be quite confident, for just as He has determined, so will it come to pass. This unlimited confidence in Jehovah gave the heroes of faith that lofty courage which still fills us with admiration. But the command to slaughter 450 priests of Baal, God does not give every day. He who would "habitually" carry on such a work of smiting and slaughtering day by day would only show that he fails to give attention to Him who is to do the speaking and the deciding. "When the Lord thee would use, then in strength rise up. If Jesus in the soul be quiet, do thou not then undertake." If, because of too strong a self-confidence, you continue to do the work which once you did upon God’s command, although God had not commissioned you to continue it, then such self-willed act is presumption. Think of Moses who smote the rock a second time (Nu 20:8, 11, 12). Don’t think that you will celebrate victories day by day over 450 priests of Baal! How good it is that God does not give you such a command every day. It is well that we should recognize that we are very impotent. Might not a daily battle and victory over 450 priests of Baal make us heady?

 

One who believes he has established something special for the life of Elijah, says that Elijah became afraid, and that Elisha, in contrast to Elijah, knew no fear ! But let not such a one forget.his own experiences. Each one, to be honest, in a review of his consecrated life, must confess that it did not always revolve around

 

DOS117 the heights of victory and of joy. Sometimes one had to undertake a "flight," and—it was the right thing to do. After seasons of special joy there often comes a period in which we walk about oppressed and downcast. How often, for example, are the changing seasons and moods of those devoted to God laid down in the Psalms! How often Jesus met his enemies boldly, without fear, like Elijah upon Carmel, but why did He "hide" himself at times? Was that a sign of fear?

 

Certainly not! He acted only according to instructions from the all-wise Father.

 

If then we are abandoned for a certain time determined of God, we would rather undertake a "flight," than to presumptuously, without divine commission, daily slaughter priests. Would that the friends themselves might closely scan that "work of the Lord" which is being done in our days without divine commission ! Has the Lord acknowledged the work? Has He kept the Word which the management of that work pretended He had given so often through them? Why had He left it unfulfilled so many times if He spoke it, as it is claimed?—Simply because a work had been done without divine commission. Therefore the fact that God "did not answer."

 

Elijah’s "flight" was therefore not so unnecessary as it would seem. Above all, it was very needful instruction for us. When Elijah saw that in spite of the obvious miracle on Mount Carmel a turning of Israel "unto Jehovah" did not result, then he recognized his own impotence, and fled into the proximity of God. He not only went to Him, he went to Him at Horeb, to the place where He had made the covenant wit Israel. Here at the fountain, so to speak, he imbibed strength; here God passed by, as He did 700 years before; here he could realize the events of more than 700 years; here God talked with him. Must we not, each time we experience something like despondency over our seeming failures, go back even unto Horeb, to where we entered into covenant relationship with God? "Call to remembrance the former days" (Heb 10:32)—how often we should obey this! How little of our own selfwise "works" (Mt 7:22) would we do then, of which the Lord will have to say: "It is not my work."

 

DOS118 Eventually Elijah was carried in the whirlwind toward heaven, and his servant remained behind.

 

We know that Elijah did not ascend into heaven, the words of Jesus remove every doubt in this respect (Joh 3:13). Toward heaven it says, and the Scriptures are always exact. When we harbor an error, it is because we read something into the Bible which isn’t there. Moses sprinkled ashes from the furnace "toward" heaven and it became a plague, but it would be absurd to believe that these ashes went clear into heaven and were received there. The ascension of Elijah was at the same time just as typical as anything else in his peculiar life.

 

That Elijah was a type has been felt by earnest Bible students of all times. Long after his days were past it pleased God to mention him and bring him into connection with important prophecies which had reference not to Elijah’s own days, but to the future. this alone would be a good reason for the belief that Elijah with his experiences was typical. But the question is, of.whom was he a type? Many faithful and humble students of the Bible have believed and found found harmony in such belief, that Elijah was a type of John the Baptist, and then, still more, of the witnessing and persecuted Church of the Living God. We confess that we have found nothing that would make such an assumption appear erroneous. The testimony of the entire Scriptures confirms this assumption. We know that John the Baptist was in a certain sense the antitype of Elijah, because the Scriptures so state (Lk 1:13-17, and Mt 17:12, 13). While it is not expressly stated that he was a type of the Church, yet there are so many conspicuous resemblances, that this conclusion cannot reasonably be set aside. Here the Bible contains treasures which greatly rejoice the heart of a student. The last words of Jehovah to Israel, before the coming of the long-for Messiah, spoken by Malachi, make reference to the great and terrible day of Jehovah and say that Elijah would be sent before that day, not the literal Elijah of course, but someone who would accomplish a work similar to that of Elijah. And in the same connection the urgent counsel is given: "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto Him in Horeb for all Israel—the statutes and judgments" (Mal 4:4). how peculiar! The literal Elijah

 

DOS119 flees to Horeb (he was the first of whom the Scriptures report to have dwelt at Horeb after the time of the giving of the law), there to let the greatness and importance of that distant day of Moses, the beginning, the immediate proximity of God, brought back into the present through the eye of faith, produce its effect upon him. As we have already said: "Call to remembrance the former days"; back to the origin, to the beginning, "to the law and to the testimony!" (Isa 8:20). Had Israel obeyed the counsel, had Christendom also obeyed the counsel and remembered the law of Moses and the law of the founder of the Church, then the great and terrible day of Jehovah, which is mentioned immediately after, in direct connection, would therefore not be necessary. Does this not seem, according to this, that Elijah had to hasten to mount Horeb in order to constitute a type of important things? Thus seen, Elijah’s fear was not the only and perhaps evil cause of this journey, away to the place of the greatest, most exalted revelations of God, to the place of God and Moses. How wonderful also that in the vision on the mount of transfiguration those same two Horeb-men, Moses and Elijah, appeared again! (Mt 17:3).

 

How wonderful further, that the end of the life of both these men mysteriously went into the hands of God. Both laid to rest by God, supernaturally; the one dying on the mountain top, and buried down in the valley by the Lord, the other lifted up toward heaven by Jehovah’s power and likewise found no more. Is the assumption of established bible students under these circumstances, that on the mount f transfiguration Moses typed the earthly ("valley") plane, and Elijah the heavenly ("toward heaven"), to be rejected as erroneous? we think not.

 

The "great and terrible day of Jehovah," whose character is described so often and with emphasis under various designations in God’s word, has to do with the punitive requital of Jehovah’s justice in the end (the "harvest") of the various ages. The majority seems to know something of the day of Jehovah in the end of the Christian (Gospel) Age, but there was such a day of vengeance nearly 1900 years ago, in the end of the Jewish Age. Jesus speaks of the desolation of Jerusalem and its treading down till the expiration of the times of the Gentiles (throughout the entire.

 

DOS120 Christian Age therefore) in Lk 21, and says expressly: "For these be the days of vengeance..." (Lk 21:22). According to this, there was a"day of vengeance" then, to which Brother Russell has also called attention (Vol. 4:47, 529, 570 and others). A "day of Jehovah" forms the end of the Christian Age, the Age of spiritual Israel also. We believe that most of our readers are sufficiently familiar with this, but refer to our expositions in the chapter: "The Outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all Flesh."

 

As Elijah stood up in the one as in the other case before this day of vengeance. The one was John the Baptist, as already stated, and the other is the Church in the Flesh, according to the opinion of many of God’s people, and our own also. In both cases the message was: "Back to the law and to the testimony!’ or, "Remember ye the law of Moses" and "of the founder of the Church, Jesus Christ." But only a few hearts were turned to the truth, and therefore came and will come the day of vengeance upon the people.

 

A last day of vengeance might perhaps be mentioned at the end of the 1000 years Restitution Age. There will then be a harvest, a time of final decisions, and the adversaries, angels and men, will go down forever in that day of vengeance. If the suffering and militant Church of this Age is the Elijah, it is perhaps not erroneous to say that the glorified and triumphant Church in a sense will be the Elijah also. "Elijah" truly shall come and restore all things (Mt 17:11), and if it is a fact, that in spite of all admonitions and calls to repentance by the second Elijah all things are not restored, there remains only the assumption, that when the first and second Elijah "comes" again, in the day of the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ, all things will really be restored (Ac 3:21). Therefore, even if the admonitions and calls to repentance of John the Baptist and of the church in the flesh did not bring all the people to repentance, and although the day of vengeance was not averted, it still must be acknowledged that the sending and standing up of this Elijah was necessary in both cases, and accomplished the divinely intended work in a few willing ones. In both cases all those who permitted their hearts to be renewed, were (and will be) preserved from the day of vengeance.

 

DOS121 Elijah’s ascension toward heaven evidently is a type of the ascension of the militant Church. We believe that the change of the entire Church and her ascension will preserve he from the day of vengeance. We cannot indeed say anything with certainty, nor give any of the details, because these things still lie before us, but this we believe, that similarly as the preserved ones 1900 years ago went to Pella in the north, and thus did not need to go through the days of vengeance, so also the church now will go into the far north, into heaven itself, and thus escape that terrible day. All others will be smitten by the "curse" (Mal 4:6).

 

  *** In the foregoing we have given our thoughts on this question. We now mention the fact that the Watch Tower also sets these things forth since Brother Russell’s death in an altogether different, and according to its thought, better light, of course. It teaches now that Elisha as well as Elijah.were a type of the Little Flock, Elijah indeed till about 1918, and Elisha since 1918. The deductions referring hereto can be read in the article appearing in the Watch Tower in the year 1919 (pp. 227&243): "Blessed are the Fearless," and in many other places (for ex. W.T. 1925:38; 1927:67-72, 83-88). In our opinion the new light is in reality darkness, and we have proved this, according to the grace which the Lord had given us, in the foregoing statements. A little more shall be said in the following. It is really curious to note how indignant the society was at first, when they were told that they were doing the Elisha- work. This assertion they rejected thus: "Thus we see the ridiculous position in which we would place ourselves if we assumed such to be true" (W.T. 1918:53; W.T.R6213  206213). At that time they didn’t want to be the Great Company, which was supposed to be the antitype of Elisha. But lo and behold, in another day that which had been designated a "ridiculous position" at first, was now the correct one, and the divinely appointed way: The Elisha work was being done by them and is still being done!! It is very interesting to learn the motives for the new light. They are more than peculiar. It was the point of the "fear" (!) which gave the brethren of the "Watch Tower" the incentive to present to God’s people their completely changed

 

DOS122 opinion, and today their opinion is a firm dogma, supposed to be irrefutable truth, in all the Watch Towers. Today this dogma is solidly anchored in the understanding of those who are merely following the Watch Tower. The heading of the article with the new thought (that Elijah and his servant Elisha also typified the church) indicates why the brethren now regard Elisha as a type of the church. Their argument, in the first part of the article set forth at length, is this, that Elisha was a much more fearless man than Elijah and therefore as a type of the church’s work since 1918 wonderfully appropriate. They labor hard throughout the entire article, to make Elisha appear higher than Elijah. That we are not perhaps presenting their expositions with a bias, that the preceding really is their judgment of Elijah, the following citation form a later Watch Tower proves, where it says: "Furthermore, the experiences that would come to the church in the closing days of its earthly pilgrimage would be such as to require double as much courage, faithfulness, loyalty and love to overcome those difficulties as was required thereto. We have observed in the experiences of Elijah that notwithstanding he was bold and fearless throughout most of his earthly journey, yet there came a time when Jezebel threatened his life and he became very fearful and fled, but afterwards recovered his courage. The experiences through which the church passed during the year 1918 would have a tendency to make one to become timid and fearful who had not absolute confidence in the Lord and who did not realize that his battle is not his own but the Lord’s. It would require therefore an increased spirit of love, fearlessness and faithful devotion to the Lord and his cause to grasp the mantle that had fallen from the Elijah class, or in another picture the sword, "The Finished Mystery," and any added message in harmony therewith, and boldly and fearlessly carry it forward and use it as the Lord would have us do." (W.T. 1919:247)* —————-*But in the Watch Tower of Feb. 15, 1918 (article: "Two Classes in the Church," under subtitle: "Signification of Elijah’s Mantle") the Society expressly designates Elisha as the fearful one! It says there: "...it is manifest beyond the question of a doubt that it is the Elijah class that uses it.(the message in the so-called 7 vol), and not Elisha. It is easy to be seen now that the Elijah class, persisting in the proclamation of the message against Babylon, would thus separate themselves from the Elisha class, who would be fearful or negligent of performing any part of this work..."

 

Thus, at one time fear is imputed to Elisha, and another time on the contrary Elisha is said to be the fearless and Elijah the fearful one!—Just as it suits the occasion.

 

————— So Elijah’s time continued till 1918 perhaps, thus Brother Russell passed almost entirely through it, and according to

 

DOS123 this, it distinguished itself by the fear of the church (oh, dear Brother Russell!); 1918 only brought the time of fearlessness, at which time Elijah and Elisha were clearly separated.

 

(Through whom?) Considering this the Watch Tower writes: "The fiery chariot that separated Elijah and Elisha did not indicate that any animosity existed between the tow, or the classes represented by the two. On the contrary, Elisha was fully devoted to Elijah at all times. The chariot, as a vehicle, is a symbol of an organization and therefore would well represent the society, which the Lord, through his faithful servant, organized, used, and is using as a vehicle to bear his message to his people. Horses represent doctrines. A whirlwind is a symbol of great trouble, war. In the picture the fiery chariot with horses of fire appeared and parted Elijah and Elisha, and Elijah went up (was taken away) by the whirlwind. In the spring of 1918 the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was bearing a fiery message, a message due at that time. At the same time there was a great trouble. There ended the work which Elijah pictured and the taking away of Elijah indicated such ending. This does not mean the taking away of individuals, but it would mean the cessation by the Lord’s people for a time at least, of certain work pictured by Elijah. Elisha standing by the Jordan would indicate a period of time, however short or long, lapsing until Elisha would take up the mantle—the message borne by Elijah—and use it according to the Lord’s direction." (W.T. 1919:247) Here then it is expressly established that the separation of the work did not proceed from the friends, who generally approved and represented the methods and recognized teachings as hitherto administered. In the following explanation the Society has, perhaps unwillingly, well recorded the facts as they now lie behind us: "Without a doubt the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was organized by Brother Russell under the direction of the Lord; and as formerly pointed out, it was his thought that it should be his successor and do the work which he did not do." (W.T. 1919:248; 1927:157) Elijah’s flight and his journey unto Mount Horeb lets this old champion of Israel appear as such a weak character in the eyes of the Watch Tower Society, that Elisha (his servant!), free from all fear, completely overshadows him, this "father" (W.T. 1927:246-247). They seem not to have considered what a disdainful judgment would be passed with this in its antitypical application to the martyrs and warriors of the past.

 

DOS124 (to 1918). It is true, of course, that since 1918 no fear is shown, but that may be just the fault! They have been fearless since 1918 in the accomplishment of the "works," especially in regard to Babylon; a great end has been in view—to overthrow Babylon; but they forgot that it is better to hasten to Horeb, than to rip up—as has been said—the belly of Jezebel and her 450 priests without divine command. They were truly fearless in their gigantic undertaking against Babylon, intoxicated with the thought that the task to carry out the work of recompense (vengeance) against Babel had fallen to us. Yes, even against Satan a challenge was issued in foolhardy insolence with the following bombastic words: "In the name of Jehovah God...we defy the devil and all his instruments under the sun" (!)( W.T. 1926:200). In a poem of the Watch Tower 1926:380 the exhortation is given to remain loyal and endure patiently, "in order to belong to the army which overthrows Babel." Let us, beloved, see whether God’s people, the Little Flock, are the instruments in the hand of the Almighty for the destruction of Babel. The Scriptures always speak of the instruments for the destruction of Babylon as of a "great army," the instruments of Jehovah’s wrath. We need only to read Isa 13; Jer 50:3, 9, 14-16, 21, 25-27, 29, 41, 42; 51:11, 12, 27, 28, 48 and other passages, to find that God’s people, the Little Flock, are not to do this work on Babylon, but a people from the north, announced long ago, the great nation, the many kings of the earth. Concerning this Brother Russell correctly wrote: As we view these millions of armed and disciplined warriors we inquire, which of all this mighty host is that army to which the prophets point as the Lord’s great army? Can the prophetic references be to any of these? And if so, in what sense could they be considered the Lord’s army, since none of them are actuated by his spirit? Or can this reference be to the people of God, the soldiers of the cross, whose weapons are described by the Apostle Paul as not carnal, but mighty, through the pulling down of strongholds (2Co 10:3-5)? Can it be "the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God" (Eph 6:17), in the hands of the people of God, who are filled with his spirit, shall accomplish the great work of overthrowing all the kingdoms of this world, and giving them to Christ for an everlasting possession?...

 

It is evidently not the saints who are to constitute the Lord’s great army, referred to by the prophets, for the overthrow of the kingdoms of this world: nor are the weapons

 

DOS125 of their warfare sufficient to this end. their weapons are indeed mighty as the Apostle says, among those who are influenced by them. among the true people of God, who diligently apply their hearts unto instruction, his Word is sharper than a two-edged sword, truly "casting down imaginations (human reasonings) and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2Co 10:4, 5); but not so do the weapons of this warfare operate upon the world. The army of the saints is, moreover, not a "great army," but a "little flock," as our Lord himself designated it.—Compare Lk 12:32; Joel 2:11. (Vol. 4:542, 543.) But Re 17 removes every doubt. Every Bible student should know that in this chapter.the true church is represented neither in the "beast," nor in the "woman," but in those mentioned in Re 17:6, whose blood the cruel woman had drunk. The beast as well as the woman will be destroyed—the woman first, then the beast. Shall the saints destroy this woman, Babylon, the ‘great city," as the Watch Tower repeatedly, with bold assurance, teaches? We read: "and the ten horns which thou sawest, and the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate, and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire" (Re 17:16; see Diaglott rendering). If you want to belong to the army which overthrows Babel—would you identify yourself with the beast and its ten horns? Because from this side come 1, the hating; 2, the making desolate; 3, naked; 4, the eating of her flesh (Jezebel!) and 5, the burning of Babylon, the great city. Therefore, if you want to overthrow Babylon, then you must quickly join the "great" army of Jehovah and be enrolled in the lists of the beast and its tens horns. Then you must belong to the beast ! In view of this we ask: Were the many publications of the "Watch Tower," urging to fearlessness in the work overthrowing Babylon, correct? Was the boasted fearlessness in this gigantic undertaking appropriate? Will we not decide: We have nothing to do with the burning of Babylon! Why then encroach upon it? Why squander our powers there? Why such an expenditure in the sphere belonging to the beast and the ten horns? Why? Was it wise? Was it necessary? Were not the warnings of real Bible "students" against this work scripturally founded? Were

 

DOS126 the urgent statements of Elijah’s fear and the fearlessness of Elisha correct? No, and again no! Does not this show with one blow that the entire exposition of the "Watch Tower" with its motives collapses within itself? Oh, that the dear ones had enjoined more restraint upon themselves! They would not have experienced so many disappointments. For let us look at the separate phases of this smiting work! Are the waters of Jordan parted? This has continually been announced! Have the nominal church-heavens been burned up? How much of this "work of the Lord," so fearlessly done, brought a fulfillment, such as had been announced? Has not the point of the sword (said to be Vol. 7) brought harm than blessing? Is not the word of God this sword, as we read? Didn’t it have a point? Was it necessary to put one on? If Vol. 7 was the point, what was the hilt? Vol. 1 perhaps? We know that the dear ones feel logical questions unpleasant, but we only want to show with these questions how unwise much in this "work of the Lord" was. It had been better if the brethren who brought these foolish doctrines and did things in their own wisdom which do not belong to God’s people at all, had not dabbled in these, if they had rather hastened to Horeb! Truly this would have been much, much better. Then they wouldn’t have found it necessary to estimate Elijah so small and Elisha (because of his claimed fearlessness) so strikingly great. Then we had not experienced either that the time up till 1918, in the last part of which Brother Russell especially played an important part, should be designated as a time of uneasy fear (!) and only the time since 1918—the time of Brother Rutherford, as fearless and blest with a double portion of the Spirit! Oh, the ignominy! Since that article, one of the first erroneous ones which appeared soon after Brother Russell’s death, the Watchtower movement does not want to be the antitype of Elijah, but absolutely of Elisha only! And those who want to remain the antitype of Elijah are accounted as the fearful.ones! We see how even Elijah, that fearless reformer, must suffer, when those who often must protest against particular human undertakings are to be given a rub. But, dear friends, supposing that Brother Russell like other students was right in the assumption that Elisha was the type of the Great Company,

 

DOS127 and supposing further, that the present Watchtower movement is also right in its own announcement that it fulfills the Elisha-type—what follows thereon? What, if we were to say: Friends, we do not consider ourselves authorized to decide to which class you belong, but if you think that you are the antitype of Elisha, that’s your affair. Perhaps you are not so wrong in this your assumption. We have no cause to dispute this; however, we would rather be like Elijah and not Elisha...

 

We would not make a positive statement here concerning the double portion of the Spirit. To a certain degree we can assent to the "Watch Tower" when it says in the article: "When a prophecy is fulfilled, or in process of fulfillment, then the consecrated child of God can understand it" (W.T. 1919:243). We believe that the Elijah class has not been taken away yet, therefore we do not yet know for certain today, what measure of the Spirit the Elisha class remaining behind will need in that terrible day of Jehovah’s wrath. Evidently these things are still future. But we would mention the fact that many of the dear friends with the Watch Tower, who like to emphasize the fearlessness in their "work," manifest a great fear when urged to look straight at the truths presented to them, the testimonies of the Scriptures. They evade, and are afraid to account the Bible right and the "Watch Tower" wrong and they flee. If we say: "The Bible says thus and so, in such and such a place," then they say: "But the Lord has placed these brethren at the head of the work..." Now which is the stronger proof, the most decisive? Oh, that they might really be fearless! Since they know fearlessness only in their enthusiasm to do a great work, then this work will also further (as hitherto) remain without the divine Amen. Be more fearless, ye fearless ones! Have you not said yourselves "that the new creature in Christ should fear no man nor anything that man produces (W.T. 1919:227)? Then act accordingly. Cast aside all fear (W.T. 1925:38). Do not give us occasion to ask why you evade us when we meet with Bible in hand. Why must we continually experience it that you avoid every conversation with us?

 

And this is every place. Because more fearless, ye "fearless ones!" For "we must prove our faith and confidence in God and His promises by our acts and works,"

 

DOS128 and joint heirship with Christ is given to such "only as confidently rely upon his promises and act upon them and who do not fear what man or man-made ecclesiastical systems or any other system may or can do unto them..." "Such will seek always to know what is the will of God..." (W.T. 1919:228). Thus wrote the "Watch Tower" at that time very correctly, and now we ask directly: Are you "fearless of man or man-made institutions?" (W.T. 1919:229). Will you in truth "...calmly and joyfully obey his commands, not fearing what might result?" (W.T. same page.) His command is, to let the light shine, to proclaim His truth in word and deed, and, not infrequently, to cast down fortresses, imaginations, heights which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God (2Co 10:5). If you but will, you will have plenty to do in this.sphere, for you will meet many enemies. "They have established a great stronghold of error and gnash their teeth and war against everyone who dares hold forth the truth" (W.T. 1919:244). So beautifully and encouragingly wrote the Watch Tower, and we would also encourage you to obey this yourselves without fear, without regard to the great joys you will experience or what enmities it will bring.

 

Yes, thus wrote the Watch Tower in the article of Elijah and Elisha. It still sounds very well today. But one must understand what the Watch Tower meant thereby. If the article was to be an incentive to fearlessness in the dissemination of the message of truth, then it was meant without the least hesitation, that what was issued by the Society (W.T. 1919:244-45; 247) whether it be the "Mantle," the "Point of the Sword" (Vol. 7) or "any message in harmony therewith..." (something future, unknown then!) had been the command or gift of the Lord. Yes, that was meant. In other words, the Society suggested the thought to the friends that everything it does was truth and command from the Lord "...just as the Lord would direct." Now we understand it (W.T. 1919:247).

 

That we actually discern the aims of the Society correctly shall be proven here now. The Society was and is so permeated with its divine authority, that it designates even a criticism of its literature as a resistance against the Lord. This will not be conceded perhaps, but we will cite here

 

DOS129 literally, from the same article the following lines, which throw light on the situation: When the volunteer matter is announced by the Society should not the elders procure copies and meet and determine whether or not it is proper for the respective classes to distribute it? We know of no scripture which even intimates that such an obligation rests upon the elders or even upon the classes. Let us remember that "God hath set the members in the body as it pleaseth him." (1Co 12:18). This means that he has placed the various members in the body this side the vail to perform certain duties. If the hand assumes to do the work of the foot, the person finds himself standing on his head. Each member must perform his own part. Let us ask ourselves: Did the Lord, through his wise and faithful servant create and organize the Society as an instrument for the conducting of his work? We believe that the most of all the readers of the Watch Tower would agree that such is true. If true, then has not the Lord designated certain things for the Society, through its duly constituted servants to do, and is it not the duty of the Society to determine what shall be issued as volunteer matter for free distribution? If not, who shall determine? If this question is to be determined by the various elders or leaders of the diverse and numerous classes, when would the duty ever be performed? Does it not appeal to the reasonable mind of the new creature that the obligation devolves upon the Society to issue for free distribution such volunteer matter as seems to be the Lord’s will? Should not then everything be done decently and in order?

 

What then shall be done when volunteer matter is received by your class? We answer: The volunteer captain should report to the class the quantity of volunteer matter on hand, how much is allotted to each district and invite all the members of the class who desire to participate in its.distribution to do so (W.T. 1919:230).

 

We ask: Is this scriptural? Is a critical examination of Christian literature so evil in the eyes of the Lord? Did Brother Russell also, who was very careful in the selection of literature for public distribution, think so? (Compare Vol. 6:245, top).

 

We cite one more passage from the article "The Divine Arrangement" (W.T. 1921:136): "As an illustration: A short time ago a communication from an elder of a class to this effect: "We are sending for forty copies of the Golden Age and a like number of the ‘Millions’ booklets that we may carefully study and prayerfully

 

DOS130 consider them, to determine whether it will be in harmony with the Lord’s will and in harmony with the work of the society for us to permit these to be distributed here." We think that such a communication shows the lack of a proper understanding and appreciation of the divine order in the church. Doubtless the brother who wrote the letter was moved by the best intentions; but we mention it merely to illustrate the point."

 

Did not the elder, thus rebuked, and the class act absolutely right? Was it not their duty to carefully consider the "Millions" booklet and other literature in order to decide for themselves, as they say, whether they should distribute it or not? How evident does the Watch Tower make it that the intention of the elder and class (God bless him and it!) was presumptuousness! We repeat the question again: Will you be fearless in representing the truth? Fearless in the rejection of human self-wisdom? Fearless also toward the "Watch Tower" when it seeks to take away truth and substitute its own theories? Then act! Do not hesitate! And if "God’s organization" should place a ban on you because of this, then be fearless still ("blessed are the fearless!") and feel strong with the hand of the good Shepherd in your own: He leads and brings to the goal. He alone!.

 

LORD, THY WILL BE DONE!  

 

God’s leadings are known when we’re still Where the foot would rush without thought, The eternal Father’s will By heedlessness is made nought.

 

Many human undertakings Do not prosper, we often find, When through our own strength they’re done Instead of by grace divine.

 

The things of God and of the heart, Above all else do not require To be forced in noise and haste, But in stillness to retire.

 

—Nic. Ludw., Count Zinzendorf..

DOS131 THE ENTERING INTO THE JOY OF THE LORD

 

To the biblical and umbilical words which have been made into slogans by the Watch Tower Society in the last few years, there also belong the words of the Scripture concerning the entering into the joy of the Lord. It is taken from the parable of the servants to whom the talents had been entrusted to trade therewith (Mt 25:14-30). The good and faithful servants did trade with the talents and were rewarded for it; the wicked and slothful servants mentioned in the parable failed to do this, and therefore lost the reward. Concerning the faithful servant’s reward it is said literally: "well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Mt 25:21, 23). In view of the straying tendency of the Watch Tower expositions, we will enlarge upon this important Scripture.

 

It is taken as a matter of course in the circles of the present Watch Tower society, that the entering into the joy of the Lord takes place on this side, i.e., in the present earthly life. And, the sad part of it is that further dangerous errors are built up on this dogma (for such only can the tenet of the Watch Tower be called). The thought presents itself again and again in the Watch Tower during the last few years, that if we want to have a share in the kingdom glory, we must have entered into the joy of the Lord here (for example see W.T. 1923:103,181, 297; 1925:89, 190, 278; also 1925:36-38; 1926:380, par. 8). We say, this is an erroneous thought, without support in the divine word! Let us but look at the parable, especially verses 21 and 23. The lord of the servants returns from a far journey, and unquestionable representation of Christ’s return.

 

He comes to reckon with his servants, his followers, and to give them their reward (Re 11:18). In earthly matters the reckoning, the payment of wages, follows the completed work.

 

But the Watch Tower proceeds differently in the application of this parable. Surely the question here is not of an advance, or partial payment, but of the final reward. We stress the importance of the established fact that the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Mt 25:1-13)

 

DOS132 is related to the parable under consideration, even corresponding, as is shown in the word of transition into the second parable: "For it is as a man traveling into a far country..." (Mt 25:14).

 

The parable of the servants is to make more plain and to illustrate from a different viewpoint the lesson given in the parable of the virgins. But the same classes are shown in both parables. We find these classes in Mt 24:45-51. For a better view we place them together here: 1. "Faithful and wise servant" (Mt 24:45-47)—"evil servant" (Mt 24:48-51).

 

2. "Wise virgins" (Mt 25:2)—"foolish virgins" (Mt 25:2).

 

3. "Good and faithful servant" (Mt 25:21, 23)—"evil, slothful, unprofitable servant (Mt 25:26, 30).

 

In all three descriptions the question is of classes, not individuals. The faithful, good and wise.class in the final scene receives a high reward in all three pictures, while the evil, foolish, slothful, unprofitable class not only loses the reward, but receives a sharp rebuke from the Lord, and will, as we know, be saved as the Great Company, "so as by fire" (1Co 3:15), to a lower position. Since the question here is above all concerning the high reward of the faithful class, let us place these together here: 1. "Verily I say unto you, he shall make him ruler over all his goods" (Mt 24:27).

 

2. "...and they that were ready went in with with him to the marriage and the door was shut" (Mt 25:10).

 

3. "Well done, good and faithful servant! thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Mt 25:21, 23).

 

What harmony is shown to us in a comparison of the three parables or pictures. The same reward and the same time is treated in all three cases, only in different words. And now we state clearly: The entering into the joy of the Lord (Mt 25:21, 23) is the entering in to the marriage (Mt 25:10) with which the making ruler over many things (Mt 25:21, 23) or over all his goods (Mt 24:47) is connected. The giving authority over so many cities in Lk 19:17, 19 is of exactly the same

 

DOS133 significance. If we note carefully that the "entering in" is spoken of in both parables, Mt 25:1-30, and that both parables are connected and set forth the same subject matter; then all is clear to us. Apart from the evident agreement between the tow pictures which proves to us that the entering into the joy of the Lord cannot take place while the church is in the flesh, we will furnish further proof from Mt 25:21, from the degree of praise and reward. It says there: "Thou hast been faithful over a few things," i.e., the faithfulness is fulfilled. The past tense of the language proves this. What are the few things? The answer lies in 1Co 4:1; 1Pe 4:10; Eph 4:7. They are the talents, spiritual gifts, opportunities and privileges which have been conferred upon us during our earthly life. By these we are to prove ourselves faithful. But we state with great emphasis: The faithfulness over the few things does not end before the completion of our course! To all who think they already have been made ruler over much here, and that they have received the "Well done, good and faithful servant!" it can be said:"They have their reward." The rulership over many things is on the other side! The authority over the cities is on the other side! The rulership over all his goods is on the other side! All this is one and the same thing. The giving of authority has to do with the exercising of dominion, with the possession of a seat in the throne (Re 20:4; Da 7:20, 26). As long as we are in the flesh, we must take active part in the preparation of ourselves (walking in newness of life), through our service toward the household of faith and also toward all men; here we must work, not sit and rule. But unfortunately! the Watch Tower Society is ruling already; it is judging already. We are not saying this, it is its own assertion, and its devoted servants continually proclaim it. But in this it is judging itself. We would admonish it and its adherents by quoting the words of Paul to the Corinthians who had also fallen into this dangerous ambition: "Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us... (1Co 4:8). A pilgrim brother, in reply to a direct question, stated with an air of superiority and positiveness that he was already judging and reigning here. And this is not an isolated case. It is asserted in the Watch Tower itself. We read, for example, the following almost unbelievable explanation

 

DOS134 in a letter published in the German Watch Tower of 1927, page 32: "How clearly has the Father shown to us that indeed nearly all powers on earth had to yield their right to rule, and that our present king has taken the right to himself, while we, united with him now, standing at his side, may already share his powers with him. One heard it said on every side: "Never was it so clear to me that the king is present and is setting up his kingdom, and that we are indeed the only rulers and divinely acknowledged leaders."

 

Is not this a reigning before the time, like the papacy engaged in? Brother Russell describes this error in the following words: "The theory that the time had come for the church to cease her suffering and to begin her reign over the kingdoms of the earth would naturally be a pleasing and fascinating theory, and no wonder if gradually enveloped the church to such an extent that any who still held to the old apostolic views were few and considered behind the times—until finally when the error became known as "orthodoxy" and was established by councils of the church, those who held apostolic teachings on the subject were called "heretics." (Pastor Russell Sermon, Oct. 24, 1904.) Oh, that all of Christ’s sheep might perceive whither the Watch Tower Society is steering! Let it be said to you, beloved friends who are being led astray, and you dear champions of the truth also: the time of suffering is not compatible with the exercise of rulership (Ro 8:18). And we still have opportunity to suffer for Christ’s sake! Now we come to the words: "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." If only the Watch Tower management understood how to read aright! But even this is not the case, else they had not then arbitrarily rendered the expression "joy of thy Lord" with "joy of the Lord," or "in the Lord."

 

Joy of the Lord, or in the Lord is not "the joy of thy Lord!" Of the joy in the Lord it is said in Paul’s first letter to the 1Th 5:16) "rejoice evermore" (always) and to the Php 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always! And again I say: rejoice!" And even to Israel the word applied "... for the joy of (in) Jehovah is your strength" (Neh 8:10). But this is not the joy of the (thy) Lord in the sense of the parable of the talents, into which the servant may enter after

 

DOS135 his faithfulness is finished. To enter into this means to possess the joy which the Lord has at the time He speaks these words. O f this His joy it is said in Heb 12:2 "...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." This joy then lay beyond the cross—"Fulness of joy" at the right hand of the throne (Ps 16:11). He entered into this joy, and His followers are to enter into this His joy, when they have been faithful over the few things. For the "Watch Tower"the entering "into the joy of the Lord" dates from 1918 (W.T. 1925:37- 38, 259; 1926:72, 376, par.44). Oh, what a false conception! A year is arbitrarily taken—the year from which approximately the "separation of the work" and therewith the enslaving of the consciences began and the joy was enforced—to support a theory. If then the "Well done!" is being spoken since 1918 and the entering into the joy of the Lord takes place now, what are we to expect further? Does the parable show a further reward?

 

"The way of man is froward (guiltladen) and strange" (lit.: much twisted), says the Scripture (Pr 21:8), and the new Watch Tower management is also greatly twisted. With what artful jugglery does it manage to mix ideas, to mingle truths with errors. After it had been pointed out from the Scriptures by others (the Protestants!) that the entering in is on the other side only, the Watch Tower does not make a direct retreat, but with proud words speaks of it, "that the Christian...enters into the joy of the Lord to some degree (!) on this side the vail" (W.T.1927:63). To some degree? To what degree? Whoever will have entered into the joy of the Lord will possess that joy not to some degree, but in the fullest degree. And only such as have "prepared" themselves will obtain this joy of the Lord! And here the management dares to say expressly in the very same answer (to a logical and proper question!): "In former days Christians thought that the chief thing which they had to do was to prepare themselves to enter into heaven, and that their whole joy consisted in this, to be in heaven, and to have it easy and comfortable..." "And they that were ready..." Does it not say thus in Mt 25:10? And in the same breath they even dare to cite Heb 12:2 and to say: "When this joy

 

DOS136 was set before the Lord..." Do we not see and recognize that the Lord endured the cross for the joy set before Him? Here cross and death, there joy for eternity—into this His joy we are to enter, if we are faithful unto death! (never before!)—And finally a still bolder advance is ventured, the Word of God is violated. Because Protestants scripturally set forth the difference between joy in the Lord (on this side) and joy of the Lord (beyond) into which we are to enter, the passage applicable on this side, Neh 8:10, is given in reply thus: "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Hebrew, "the joy in Jehovah"). Thus we see, that the word, the jot and tittle, is not holy to the Bible students of today. The majority do not even notice it! Unfortunately! It is "not brethren who write the Watch Tower for us, but it is the Lord’s own food..." (German W.T. 1927:32).

 

We summarize our thought, which is scripturally verified: The entering into the joy of the Lord takes place when we have passed from faith to sight, when we have entered there whither our Lord and High priest is entered (Heb 6:20), in heaven. The joy of the Lord is not on this side! Only a frivolous playing with God’s holy word can lead to the fatal error that we can or have already entered into this joy and now do reign and judge.

 

Oh, the mysterious year 1918! From there on they began systematically, at first carefully, and then with haste and power, to lay the age-old, glorious truth of our God into the dust again. This point treated here also could "not be understood" before 1918—so goes the chorus. But in 1917 the Watch Tower still gave such beautiful and clear expositions (to which we can still assent.after 1917), that we will repeat them here verbatim. Speaking of the joy in the Lord, it says: "...And this is an increasing joy, which day by day, year by year, becomes more nearly complete, although it cannot be altogether complete until that which is perfect shall have come and that which is in part shall have been done away, until in the resurrection we shall see as we are seen and know as we are known. Then we shall appreciate the joys of the Master; for we shall have heard his welcome invitation, ‘Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’"( W.T. 1917:140.)

 

DOS137 How true! How striking! Only human wisdom (this is the most moderate expression which we can use) could reject the true light of knowledge concerning this and set up the new theory for purposes of their own organization. Yes, here also we designate the much-lauded "work of the Lord" carried out since 1918 in the very words of the last mentioned article as something "organized along the lines of earthly wisdom." (W.T. 1917:137.) But what is the animus of the assertions which the Watch Tower makes? We have already said that the motives from which the new, erroneous doctrines originate are never good ones. This is also the case here. The following is the motive in the question before us: When Brother Russell closed his eyes, then the repressed desire for a different course, which for some time had secretly been working under the surface, could unfold more unhindered. It was not Brother Russell who had the thought that the Watch Tower Society, as his legitimate successor (the first "only one" was not alone then ion solving the question of succession dogmatically!) should carry on the work as he did not carry it on, but it was harbored in the minds of the future leaders. Peculiar circumstances, evidently permitted by God for wise, ultimate purposes, let such plans obtain predominance. New methods, new doctrines, mostly of the sensational kind, a tight binding together of the friends through a strong organization regulating even the smallest details—under this new arrangement their plans developed exceedingly fast. The "work of the Lord," for so long known mostly in the circle of the household of faith, was laid suddenly before the world, the "field," and it prospered splendidly, outwardly considered. Not that we would make any objection to the proclamation of the message to the world, on the contrary, but it has always been the case that cultivation of the world by neglecting the household of faith brought great injuries, mostly compromises, erroneous methods and doctrines, as a consequence. Brethren who put more importance in purity of methods, of life and of doctrines than upon the progress of an outward "work of the Lord," were opposed by the new management as disturbers. To punish such with a "biblical" judgment was not

 

DOS138 difficult for them to whom the Lord (?) had presented everything. The Bible was searched through, and a paragraph was found. First the "work of the Lord" so-called, which was mightily puffed up, was so continually written about, that the conviction was established in the minds of the friends, that the Society alone was actually and in everything carrying on this work. So eventually there was only one organization of the Lord, the Society, together with all who acknowledged it—and one Satan. then it was said: (and this step was comparatively easy) "Whosoever is against the Society, is against the Lord." If anyone opposed the false methods and doctrines of the management, it was said that he is against the kingdom work, the result was that even their most foolish acts were counted as kingdom work. It was said: "You are lazy, you don’t want to work, you lack the joy to share in the work enthusiastically." then someone conceived the thought to operate with the "joy of the Lord," and quickly it was said: You have not entered into the joy of the Lord because of your refusal to courageously go forward with us in the work. We have entered in! Thus the error grew. So then, God’s children have entered into the joy of the Lord since 1918, not before. But to some who can wait, and who do not want to speak those words of Mt 25:21, 23 themselves, the joyful "Well done!...enter in..." is still future. In this thought these are happy and joyful (Isa 66:5).

 

The following incident will show how fearful the friends are to oppose the "watch Tower," even if it means a suppression of scriptural testimony. A brother who defends the "Watch Tower" is drawn into a conversation about different points of truth by friends who have been expelled by the Society. The course of the conversation was, briefly described, thus: A. "Brother N. N. have you also entered into the joy of the Lord?"

 

B. Silent at first.

 

A. "We mean, Brother N. N., whether you have also entered into the joy of the Lord according to Matthew 25 since 1918, as the Watch Tower teaches?"

 

DOS139 B. After some hesitation: "No! I have not entered into the joy of the Lord since 1918."

 

(The questioners, surprised, think that the brother is in the right way and sees the entering into the joy of the Lord still in future.) A. "What do you think about this question?"

 

B. Who evidently does not wish to expose the "Watch Tower" nor admit the correct view, replies: "I entered into the joy of the Lord when I consecrated myself to the Lord."

 

(The brother did not consider how he cut off his own retreat.) A. "Brother N. N., we have known you a long time, and you yourself said that you were in the world before your consecration. How then could the Lord say ‘Well done,’ because of the things which you did in the world?" (our readers will be pleased to know that the brother, N. N., referred to above has since comprehended the truth of the matter and is now one of the free brethren in Christ.) In another case the answer was given to the question: Have you entered into the joy of the Lord?

 

"I do not know!" Is this not a proof that the entering into this joy has not yet taken place? Because all those who will have entered into this joy will know it so surely that thee will not be the least doubt to trouble them.

 

ENTER IN  

 

Enter in, my loyal servant, Faithful thou hast ever been, Thou hast, in duty and in right, With the entrusted talents e’en Yielded thy life more and more, To the honor of my name, To the power of my kingdom, Through sacrifice—it came.

 

Therefore good servant enter in, Faithfulness do I reward; Thine the heavenly kingdom, yea, The crown of glorious regard! He who graciously esteemed, The small things great that he met, Who faithful was in e’en the least, Shall over "much" be set..

DOS140 THE RIDING UPON THE WHITE HORSES Re 19:11-21

 

The main error of the Christian Church in every epoch of the Gospel age consisted of this, that she could not wait. Even the foundations, the Church in the apostles’ day, which was to wait for the promise of the Father, did not wholly obey the word of the Master. The disciples looked at themselves and found that they were numerically incomplete, and looking into the Scriptures they found that another one must receive the apostolic office. It seems they never thought that it is the Master who chooses, and who had told them: "...I have chosen you" (Joh 15:16), for they made a choice. But in due time Jesus Himself chose His apostle (Paul).

 

In Part One we have already set forth how the thought: "The day is here!" found entrance even into the early Christian Church. some Thessalonians proclaimed: The day is here! Some Corinthians felt a great desire to reign before the time (1Co 4:8) and they looked with condemnation upon those who held fast to the word of their Master: "He that endureth to the end..." (Mt 24:13; Re 2:26).

 

This erroneous thought took deep root and could not be extirpated. We can of course all err in doctrine at times, but we can be healed from error, if we are humble and confess like the prodigal son: I have sinned (erred). If we are not humble at heart, and are in a "responsible position," then the failure to confess an error leads deeper into the labyrinth of perversity. The next step is, to make biblical doctrines and promises fit into one’s own theories and hobbies. Of course biblical doctrines are not intended ox fit into the frame of human theories. However, they must fit, since "authorities" are speaking, and not unlearned minor children. With knife in hand they can be made thinner and shorter, if too stout, or too long. If the knife does not suffice, then there is work for the axe; they are hewn ox size. If they still cannot be made to fit into one’s own teaching, then care is taken to make them disappear.

 

Are we not all familiar, beloved, with the grievous fact

 

DOS141 that in the course of the Gospel Age gradually every promise for the Millennial Restoration Age was forcibly torn out of it, until no millennial light was left, but only terror and eternal torment instead? Many blessed promises were transferred ox the present time, everything was treated premillennially. The "work of the Lord" prospered grandly—according to the opinion of the deceivers and the deceived; but the few Bible students wept.

 

Gradually the Church felt its poverty, in spite of its outward splendor. She felt that something was lacking. With the help of the long-lost candlestick some seekers found out that the glorious future was yet in store for mankind, despite the contrary teachings of nearly all the churches. Believing poets had sung of this glorious future with a more or less clear understanding of it.

 

Then Brother Russell came, and in a few decades all the truths that had been hidden, whittled, hewn and even thrown aside, were again in their places, a well-ordered whole. With increasing joy further parts of the truth were gradually found, which had been withdrawn from the glorious time of the future millennial kingdom of Christ; they were put back into their places. we have all passed through that time and are acquainted with the facts.

 

And now, since our dear brother’s departure, we are witnessing a repetition of history. The promises concerning the future are again gradually being withdrawn form it and mutilated to fit the "present." Have you, beloved, looked at a list of future promises which have been transferred by the Society? We produce but a few here:

 

1. The holy spirit is already poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28)!

 

2. The "times of refreshing" (Ac 3:19) have been already (are here now)!

 

3. The servants have already entered into the joy of their Lord!

 

4. The "judgment written" (Ps 149:9) is now being executed upon the nations!

 

5. The Church of Christ reigns now!

 

DOS142

6. The Church of Christ is already judging the sheep and goats!

 

7. The nations are already being dashed to pieces as potter’s vessels!

 

8. The "anointed" are already riding upon white horses!

 

9. The prison is already open!

 

10. The punishment of the world is even now! (W.T. 1927:213 in contrast to W.T.R4993 204993, March 15, 1912).

 

11. The new heavens are already here! (Del. 294). (Only the devil has been cast out of heaven very late, ostensibly only after 1914!) We take a stand in opposition to the assertion of the society about the riding upon the white horse. According to their teaching this riding is being done now, and we have not misunderstood the Society by any means. We refer above all to the article which appeared in the W.T. 1912:310, "The Lord’s Army," which treats of just this matter and openly declares that members of the ecclesia not yet perfected also take part in the battle described in Revelation 19:11-16, as the "other division" of the army riding upon the white horses (See also W.T. 1921:329; . 1923:309; and 1925:199, 200). And the reckoned weapons of warfare are said to be the three more or less doubtful books: "The Finished Mystery," "Million booklet," and "Can we talk with the dead?"

 

Read further the letter printed in W.T. 1926:286, in which the writer asks that the necessity for the friends studying the Watch Tower be made still "stronger." It seems necessary, to cite here verbatim a part of this important document, which the Society published with evident satisfaction. It says there: "I have just been in a three day convention, where four elders took up bout four-fifths of the time and never once mentioned the kingdom work. They talked on character development all the time, making a few excuses for the Watch Tower. But the part that I am getting at is that Zion sat there to get the message, and did not know but that they were getting it until I reminded the brethren that they were fifteen years back in the harvest and not in the kingdom at all."

 

DOS143 "Isa 56:10 can well apply to the elders and to many of the Pilgrims. A watchdog is expected to warn the householder, and if the brethren are lying down beside Brother Russell twenty years ago, they are asleep and cannot bark. The thing for Pilgrims, and for everyone else who is a leader, to do, is to study the Watch Tower from ‘The Sheep and the Goats,’ ‘Virgins Fair,’ ‘Birth of The Nation,’ ‘The King in Action,’ "Holy Spirit Poured Out," and everyone of the late Towers, ...( the very articles of error!) these are the things i am trying to get into my head and heart."

 

"I want to thank my heavenly Father, and you as his servant, for that wonderful article in the May 1 Tower—’Character or Covenant—which?’" And then if says further: "If we are on the white horse, we cannot stop to wash our faces, but must fight..."

 

Alas, that these dear ones should expressly declare themselves as not wanting to stop to wash their faces! Is the riding upon white horses really in this preparatory life? The "only channel" for divine truth answers positively "Yes!" We reply and loudly call to everyone: "No!—Brethren, here too you are in a dangerous error, and you are deceiving God’s people with this error!" We beg that you prove our testimony below by the scriptures, and then decide that which the Scriptures say, can ride upon those white horses today.

 

We think it will not be difficult to establish this. Supplementary to our former deductions we will add but the following sketch: Re 17 describes the woman Babylon and the beast with the seven heads and ten horns which carried the woman. The chapter shows further how the ten horns and the beast finally throw down and destroy the whoring, blood-thirsty woman. The order of this work of destruction is this: hating, making desolate, and naked, eating her flesh, burning with fire—five parts. Then in Re 18 the great conflagration of this woman("that great city") is described. We will not examine these here, nor which phases of the work of destruction are behind us, but only one question, relating to the last part of the work of destruction, shall be asked: Is

 

DOS144 the city burned? The Watch Tower answers exactly as we do "No"; the city certainly is not burned yet. But this is an important point; upon it depends the correct answer to the question: Are we riding on the white horses now on this side of the vail? Re 19 shows the events which follow the burning of the city. Note Re 19:2: "For he hath judged the great whore...and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand." The following verses show the marriage of the Lamb. "His wife hath made herself ready" reminds us of the passage Mt 25:10; "and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage." The "fine linen, clean and white" (Mt 24:8) is then no longer the (imputed) righteousness of Christ, but the actual righteousness of the glorified bride. Therefore it is said: "for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints." That this is so we can see from Re 3:4, 5. There the promise is to those who have not defiled their garments (the righteousness of Christ, worn here below) that they should be clothed in white raiment after they had overcome. The garment described in Re 19:8 is nothing else than the fulfillment of the promise in Re 3:4, 5, and shows therewith that the Church is then in glory. Then John sees the heaven opened and the armies descending out of heaven down to earth, following in the wake of the vanguard who bears the name: "The Word (Logos) of God." His horse is white, and His armies also, which are led forth to war, are white. But furthermore, the armies are shown as clothed with pure white linen (Re 19:14). Therewith the armies coming down from heaven are identified with the glorified wife of Re 19:8, and of course at the same time with the overcomers of the Messages, especially Re 3:4, 5. But therewith the proof is furnished, that the riders on the white horses are glorified and no longer here below ! Let us note this, friends. And to you, beloved of the "Watch Tower," we say: You are not only under the illusion that you are riding upon those white horses, but you have made a great mistake also. Pardon us when we say that you do not even know how (neither do we) to ride upon those white horses today. And since this riding does not precede the burning of Babylon, but follows, we repeat our question: "Is Babylon burned already? That decides the question. And the Pilgrim brother who speaks of the face needing washing ( which

 

DOS145 surely would not fit at all with the "white" horse and the fine linen) dares to say that he would not stop to wash his face! We advise him: Stop! Climb down from your high horse and you will see that it is not white, that you are still on earth! Will the armies coming down from heaven attack the woman, Babylon, in the war breaking out?

 

Of course, the sorceress who deceived all nations, first!—many will say. And yet this is not the case, for it is not these who will destroy Babylon, but the horns and the beast, as already stated. When the armies come down from heaven, Babylon will not be met with any more; for that city will have been burnt.

 

Who then will destroy Babylon? Not we! And the Watch Tower society of today will not accomplish it despite all their exertions in their "work of the Lord!" The strength expended therein is only wasted.

 

The armies have only to do with the beast, the destroyer of the woman, in the battle. Perhaps Isa 33:1 comes in point here. Thus only it is explained why the promises like Ps 149:6-9; Re 2:26, 27 speak only of the nations, and never of the whoring woman. Thus also we are able to ascertain when the dashing to pieces of the nations as potters’ vessels will take place: after the glorification of the Church, not before. The hostile power opposing the armies of Re 17:14; 9:15 consist only of the beast and the horns as can be ascertained from Re 19: 17-21, for there the woman Babylon is not mentioned any more, because at that time she has been burnt.

 

After the dashing to pieces of the nations as potters’ vessels in this battle between the Lamb and the beast, it will be the turn of Satan himself (Re 20:1-3). And then also begins the well-known period of the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ and His glorified overcomers of Revelation 20. Thus we believe we must understand the state of affairs.

 

We ask once more: "Can the riding upon the white horses take place today?" Beloved, if the divine word, which is Yea and Amen, does not convince us, then we will ride further upon the pretended white horses in the illusion and follow

 

DOS146 men, but not our glorified leader, Jesus Christ. Friends, these are questions of fundamental importance! Let us not hesitate to solve them in the divine light! Let us not follow human organizations, "if they speak not according to this word" (Isa 8:20). Is not His approval of more value to us than that of men? We should decide here and today, if the truth is shining upon us! That it may not be too late!.

 

IT IS WRITTEN  

 

Blessed are the souls of those, Who no other light have chosen, But the word of God alone.

 

Since God’s counsel they accept, They believe it not in vain; Their true hearts His word hath won.

 

What inestimable knowledge! Other wisdom need I none.

 

In His word i do confide, There is no other light for me, Joyfully I there abide Others come to naught I see.

 

Keeping of Thy law brings favor; Though in this path i am smitten, Lord, my faith and my behavior Are firmly fixed in: "It is written."

 

  —-E. O. Woltersdorf..

 

DOS147 "THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM" Mt 24:14.

 

Sincere Bible students have long noted that the Watch Tower Society under present president continually attributes greater and greater importance to the year 1918. If we are to believe the many assertions advanced by the "Watch Tower," then the year 1918 must have been more than wonderful. If a new doctrine is set forth, it is nearly always said: "This could not be understood before 1918." Now it happens frequently that the same point of doctrine was presented by the Society before 1918 totally different from the exposition given after 1918, and often in direct opposition to it. Before 1918 it was said that the knowledge was from the Lord; this was expressly stated and with emphasis. Then when the new light came upon the same question after 1918, directly opposed to the first exposition, it was said again, and most emphatically called attention to with many words (W.T. 1919:105, 106, 107; Vol. 7 on Rev. 19:15). If, for example, it was stated in vol. 7 that the male child of Revelation 12 is the Antichrist, it is now stated, after 1918, that the male child is the divine "New Nation," the true Christ. But then as now it was the Lord who gave this light through the "only channel." Be it noted that in the expositions before and after 1918 it is not the question simply of similar or related expositions, but often of presentations totally opposed to each other. Of course some peculiar perspectives result from this. Thinking Christians will put such questions as:"If the application given before 1918 was in truth from the Lord, why was it rejected after 1918 and replaced by an entirely new one?" Or: "If the passage could not be understood before 1918, the time in which the Lord ostensibly came to His temple (see W.T. 1923:37; 1924:229; 1927:166), was then the application made before 1918 really from the Lord?" Thus it is seen how they overstep themselves and set their own traps. According to vol. 7 (written 1916-17) the treading of the grapes of the vine of the earth took place before 1918 in this manner, that the wine vat was trodden in Scranton, the place where vol. 7 was prepared, and that the blood

 

DOS148 from the grapes flowed the 1200 furlongs mentioned in Re 14:20 to the Bethel home in Brooklyn (sic.!!). Thus was it taught, dear people of God, and that was from the Lord, as the "only channel" emphasized times untold. And now comes the Watch Tower and says of this Scripture passage as also of Re 12, that it could not be understood before 1918! (W.T.1926:259). Now what was really from the Lord, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow or turning? With what inconsiderate recklessness id the Bible treated! Of course, logical questions like the above make the interrogated one nervous and unfriendly.

 

He says it is a criticism of the Lord and His "divinely appointed way," if such questions are put to an "authority," an "only channel" for the transmission of truths. It is improper to have the society’s literature examined by elders or classes first as to its correctness (W.T. 1919:230) for no elder knows more than the committee. We read literally: "If an elder knew more about formulating the questions than the committee in the office appointed for that purpose, then he would be sent for to come in and formulate the questions" (W.T. 1925:348-49). (And if an elder were to report, he would be presumptuous, a lawless one, wicked, rebel, obstinate, self willed—as they are called! Mt 5:10-12.) The words of Jesus, Mt 24:14, cited in the heading, concerning the preaching of "this gospel of the kingdom" it is claimed could not be understood before 1918! Yes, the "only channel" goes still further, boldly and with assurance setting up the claim that the Lord had only given the commission to preach this gospel since 1918, not before, and that the passage of Mt 24:14 could not have applied before the end of the world war and the proclaimed coming of the Lord to His temple. (W.T. 1927:168) Even though the bold assertions of the Society, made with much assurance, affect many of the friends in such a fascinating manner, we must yet marvel how they can be accepted, unexamined, even with the thanks to God (as letters in the watch tower prove) as better light coming from him. have then the bible students done so little Bible study, that they devoutly accept such bold assertions as a divine "Amen?" Or is the fear of a human system eleven years after 1916 so great,

 

DOS149 that they regard a frown of the system as divine anathema? or has, perhaps, that stupefying wine taken away their ability to think and judge? Truly everything points that way! For we have experienced things we are accustomed to see only in people overcome with wine. When we ask: If the exposition before 1918 was from the Lord, and the one after 1918 is also from the Lord, which of the two totally different presentations is correct, dear friends? then the dear ones manage to reply: "Both are right." (!) Is it possible then to convince such from the Scriptures? Is it possible to converse with such on scriptural topics? But those who are still somewhat sober and would not give that foolish reply, in answer to a pointing out of the evident contradictions say: "The brethren do not mean it that way." That is peculiar; something is written in the Watch Tower which is not meant! What do we call an action to say something not meant?...The question whether the Watch Tower really means what it says seemingly plays quite a role everywhere; compare for example the question asked by someone in W.T. 1925:344.

 

We ask all Bible students devoted to God: Is the claim that the Lord has only given the commission for the carrying out of the preaching of this gospel of the kingdom since 1918 correct? Does the Bible prove this? Do the facts prove it?

 

The assertion is bare of every proof. The Bible and the facts refute it. It has only been set up, together with other assertions, to make the year 1918 artificially great and important.

 

Let us, beloved, look at this question in the light of God’s work, and after having done so, we will find that Brother Russell, beside many other students, was entirely right when he said that this gospel has been preached as a witness throughout the entire Gospel Age. Yes, the present president believed this also, even after the celebrated year 1918, as the Millions booklet shows (page 57). If we meet the divine word with the necessary reverence and study, then it will also become clear to us why Jesus spoke these words as He did. Gospel means good tidings. The kingdom of God consists of two parts: The ruling invisible, and the ruled visible one. The first part is being prepared during the Gospel Age, the

 

DOS150 second part will make its appearance and be developed through the completed first part during the millennial kingdom of Christ. The two parts can also be designated as ruler and subjects.

 

The evil world, sin and death, were to be permitted until the first part of the kingdom (the administrative, ruling part) should have come to perfection on the heavenly, spiritual plane of being, "through much tribulation." From the days when Jesus called the first members of His ruling part 1900 years ago, to the end of the reign of evil, a considerable time (nearly 2000 years) was to elapse. The called ones, not clearly understanding at that time the state of affairs, had the erroneous thought that their co-reign with their beloved Master, their king, was to take place immediately. How surprised was the circle of disciples when Jesus finally told them quite plainly, that he (Jesus) had to suffer and be killed. The consequence: His disciple, Peter, warned Him (Mt 16:22; Mk 8:32)! But Jesus really suffered and died, as He had said He would, and the joyful expectations of the disciples about the sitting on the right and left of the Master lay as a wreck on the ground. But Jesus appeared again, raised from the dead by the Father’s power, moreover glorified, exalted, more royal than He had been. And the disciples still having the promise of their reign in and with Him before them, at once asked: Will it be at this time (Ac 1:6)? Jesus did not directly answer the question concerning the time and reminded them only that they must think of their duties on this side, in order to be able to reign with Him, beyond all battlings and sufferings.

 

The thought that this Jesus (Ac 1:11) would come again very soon, during their lifetime, did maintain itself in spite of all teachings of the Lord and His apostles. Yes, it seems that at first the apostles also thought the time between the first and second advent much shorter than it really is.

 

The Thessalonians said: "The day of the Lord is here!" The Corinthians saw the time for reigning and judging as having come. Those who were sincere in this error were healed, but there was a faction also, which covertly more and more enhanced this thought of the (premillennial) reign of the church from selfish motives, till it really came to reign—a cruel, devilish reign. They had not hearkened to the Master. We refer to our prior expositions concerning this.

 

DOS151 This outcome was known to the Lord in advance. And because He knew it, He warned His own so often, personally and through letters of the apostles and through the Revelation. Despite all this the inclination has existed in each generation of God’s people, to expect the "end" earlier than it was to come according to the counsel of God.

 

In Mt 23:38, 39 Jesus had told them that they would not see Him till He came again. Upon this the question of the disciples was: "Tell us when...?" (Mt 24:3). Thereupon Jesus said: "Take heed that no man deceive you..." They should gather from His description that the end would "not be soon." If perhaps they thought that the promised gift of the Father (Joh 16:7, 13; Ac 1:8) would come in a few days or weeks and bring with it also the "end," they must take from the commission of Acts 1:8 that this was not possible if it was to be executed first. They perceived that they were to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, and further in all Judea, and still further—even unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Was this possible in a few weeks? Perhaps in Jerusalem and part of Judea, but not "to the uttermost parts of the earth!" To carry this witness to the end of the earth was not possible even in decades, this required, as we now know, nearly 20 centuries. Jesus would not give the disciples the exact length of time (for their good!) but from His description of the large territory for their witnessing they should have perceived that the cries: "The time draweth near" (Lk 21:8) or "the day is at hand" (2Th 2:2) must be met with increased watchfulness and willingness to wait. They should proclaim the message given them uninterruptedly, unchanged to the end. Therefore Jesus said in this connection, somewhat paraphrased: "My dear disciples! Many will come in my name and will cry out prematurely: The time is here! But the time will not be here. For the end will not come as quickly as is supposed. Before this end you must bear a far witness. For this gospel of the kingdom which we, I and you have proclaimed hitherto, must be preached to all nations upon the earth as a witness, then only will the end come."

 

Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom; see Mt 4:23; 9:35; Lk 16:16 ("since that time!") and other passages.

 

DOS152 The apostles proclaimed the same gospel of the kingdom; see Lk 9:2; Ac 8:12; Ac 20:25; Ac 28:23 and other passages.

 

And this was not yet 1918! Yes, throughout the entire Gospel Age this witness has been given, and for that very reason we call it the "Gospel Age." That the exalted beauty of this gospel had been covered up for a time is well known, but no one acquainted with history can claim that this witness has not been given at all during any certain period, nor during all of the 19 centuries, till the ridiculous 1918! But the Society does not only claim this with its teaching, but even goes as far as to presumptuously announce that it and its co-laborers are the only ones who are carrying out this commission of the Lord. And this it says "in humility and modesty!" (W.T.1925:200, 333.) Of what time then are those who were beheaded for the "witness" of Jesus (Re 20:4)? Before or after 1918? Who sang the words of admonition "With confidence cry, ye watchers’ voices...Christ must have a testimony!"? (from an old German hymn) of a time when the present president of the Society with his "gospel for a witness since 1918" was not yet in existence! it should be noted that Jesus in His words of Mt 24:14 and Mk 13:10 does not say from when but until when the gospel message should be preached. That proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom had begun long before 1918, yes, before the time when Jesus spoke these words, is shown in Lk 16:16 with utmost plainness: "Since that time (John) the kingdom of God is preached." "since that time" is not since 1918. Let us not wrest the word of God! The gospel was to be preached for a witness, which does not mean that all hearers would also accept it. Often, yes, mostly, the hearers gnashed with teeth against the witnesses of the gospel (Ac 7:54). But although stoned, tortured or burned, yet no desire for retaliation passed the lips of these gospel witnesses, no indeed (Ac 7:60). But now this "new light," which believes itself to be the only proclaimer of this gospel, teaches that the sentence "Depart from me ye cursed, into the everlasting fire" (Mt 24:41) would fall upon all those who do any injury to the messengers of the Lord in this life (while Jesus was absent in heaven!) (W.T. 1923:307, par. 8).

 

In other words: the hearers must accept the message preached by the witnesses, otherwise the punishment of Mt 25:41

 

DOS153 will fall on them. Is not this the customary way of all false systems? Is this a preaching "for a witness?"

 

Dear friends! We exhort every one for his own sake, to forsake such foolish doctrines. They are invented to bestow on the year 1918, a new but evil era, luster and importance. The work is not of God, but of men, and we shall see this as clearly as the sun, if we recover the courage to look distinctly at the things as they are. Are we not to walk in the truth? (2Joh 4; 3Joh 3, 4.) If we would turn our faces toward the Lord, then we must often turn our backs at the same time to certain institutions or organizations, however glorious they might be outwardly. Yes indeed, love and loyalty to God demands this. At least the patiently waiting servants who have not yet entered into the joy of their Lord by way of reward bestowed, are zealous herein, to prove themselves faithful in the little and unimportant things. How ashamed will the members of the "only salvation-giving church" stand, when they will become aware that the service devoted to their church and its teaching was far from the service of God. The same shame lies before the co-workers of the "only channel" also. But for us?—Let us fulfill the duty which is ours! But let us not delay (Re 18:4)! "Having assumed this to be her present mission, she has lost sight of the real purpose of this Gospel Age; viz., to "preach this gospel of the Kingdom in all the world for a witness to all nations," and to aid in the calling and preparing of a "Little flock" to constitute (with the Lord) that Millennial Kingdom which shall then bless all the families of the earth (Mt 24:12; Ac 15:14-17). (C. T. Russell in Vol. 4, page 169; see also page 564.)

 

GOD KNOWS  

 

God knows—not I—the devious way Wherein my faltering feet must tread, Before into the light of day My steps from out the gloom are led.

 

And since my Lord the path doth see, What matter, if ‘tis hid from me?

 

—-From Poems of Dawn..

DOS147 "THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM" Mt 24:14.

 

Sincere Bible students have long noted that the Watch Tower Society under present president continually attributes greater and greater importance to the year 1918. If we are to believe the many assertions advanced by the "Watch Tower," then the year 1918 must have been more than wonderful. If a new doctrine is set forth, it is nearly always said: "This could not be understood before 1918." Now it happens frequently that the same point of doctrine was presented by the Society before 1918 totally different from the exposition given after 1918, and often in direct opposition to it. Before 1918 it was said that the knowledge was from the Lord; this was expressly stated and with emphasis. Then when the new light came upon the same question after 1918, directly opposed to the first exposition, it was said again, and most emphatically called attention to with many words (W.T. 1919:105, 106, 107; Vol. 7 on Rev. 19:15). If, for example, it was stated in vol. 7 that the male child of Revelation 12 is the Antichrist, it is now stated, after 1918, that the male child is the divine "New Nation," the true Christ. But then as now it was the Lord who gave this light through the "only channel." Be it noted that in the expositions before and after 1918 it is not the question simply of similar or related expositions, but often of presentations totally opposed to each other. Of course some peculiar perspectives result from this. Thinking Christians will put such questions as:"If the application given before 1918 was in truth from the Lord, why was it rejected after 1918 and replaced by an entirely new one?" Or: "If the passage could not be understood before 1918, the time in which the Lord ostensibly came to His temple (see W.T. 1923:37; 1924:229; 1927:166), was then the application made before 1918 really from the Lord?" Thus it is seen how they overstep themselves and set their own traps. According to vol. 7 (written 1916-17) the treading of the grapes of the vine of the earth took place before 1918 in this manner, that the wine vat was trodden in Scranton, the place where vol. 7 was prepared, and that the blood

 

DOS148 from the grapes flowed the 1200 furlongs mentioned in Re 14:20 to the Bethel home in Brooklyn (sic.!!). Thus was it taught, dear people of God, and that was from the Lord, as the "only channel" emphasized times untold. And now comes the Watch Tower and says of this Scripture passage as also of Re 12, that it could not be understood before 1918! (W.T.1926:259). Now what was really from the Lord, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow or turning? With what inconsiderate recklessness id the Bible treated! Of course, logical questions like the above make the interrogated one nervous and unfriendly.

 

He says it is a criticism of the Lord and His "divinely appointed way," if such questions are put to an "authority," an "only channel" for the transmission of truths. It is improper to have the society’s literature examined by elders or classes first as to its correctness (W.T. 1919:230) for no elder knows more than the committee. We read literally: "If an elder knew more about formulating the questions than the committee in the office appointed for that purpose, then he would be sent for to come in and formulate the questions" (W.T. 1925:348-49). (And if an elder were to report, he would be presumptuous, a lawless one, wicked, rebel, obstinate, self willed—as they are called! Mt 5:10-12.) The words of Jesus, Mt 24:14, cited in the heading, concerning the preaching of "this gospel of the kingdom" it is claimed could not be understood before 1918! Yes, the "only channel" goes still further, boldly and with assurance setting up the claim that the Lord had only given the commission to preach this gospel since 1918, not before, and that the passage of Mt 24:14 could not have applied before the end of the world war and the proclaimed coming of the Lord to His temple. (W.T. 1927:168) Even though the bold assertions of the Society, made with much assurance, affect many of the friends in such a fascinating manner, we must yet marvel how they can be accepted, unexamined, even with the thanks to God (as letters in the watch tower prove) as better light coming from him. have then the bible students done so little Bible study, that they devoutly accept such bold assertions as a divine "Amen?" Or is the fear of a human system eleven years after 1916 so great,

 

DOS149 that they regard a frown of the system as divine anathema? or has, perhaps, that stupefying wine taken away their ability to think and judge? Truly everything points that way! For we have experienced things we are accustomed to see only in people overcome with wine. When we ask: If the exposition before 1918 was from the Lord, and the one after 1918 is also from the Lord, which of the two totally different presentations is correct, dear friends? then the dear ones manage to reply: "Both are right." (!) Is it possible then to convince such from the Scriptures? Is it possible to converse with such on scriptural topics? But those who are still somewhat sober and would not give that foolish reply, in answer to a pointing out of the evident contradictions say: "The brethren do not mean it that way." That is peculiar; something is written in the Watch Tower which is not meant! What do we call an action to say something not meant?...The question whether the Watch Tower really means what it says seemingly plays quite a role everywhere; compare for example the question asked by someone in W.T. 1925:344.

 

We ask all Bible students devoted to God: Is the claim that the Lord has only given the commission for the carrying out of the preaching of this gospel of the kingdom since 1918 correct? Does the Bible prove this? Do the facts prove it?

 

The assertion is bare of every proof. The Bible and the facts refute it. It has only been set up, together with other assertions, to make the year 1918 artificially great and important.

 

Let us, beloved, look at this question in the light of God’s work, and after having done so, we will find that Brother Russell, beside many other students, was entirely right when he said that this gospel has been preached as a witness throughout the entire Gospel Age. Yes, the present president believed this also, even after the celebrated year 1918, as the Millions booklet shows (page 57). If we meet the divine word with the necessary reverence and study, then it will also become clear to us why Jesus spoke these words as He did. Gospel means good tidings. The kingdom of God consists of two parts: The ruling invisible, and the ruled visible one. The first part is being prepared during the Gospel Age, the

 

DOS150 second part will make its appearance and be developed through the completed first part during the millennial kingdom of Christ. The two parts can also be designated as ruler and subjects.

 

The evil world, sin and death, were to be permitted until the first part of the kingdom (the administrative, ruling part) should have come to perfection on the heavenly, spiritual plane of being, "through much tribulation." From the days when Jesus called the first members of His ruling part 1900 years ago, to the end of the reign of evil, a considerable time (nearly 2000 years) was to elapse. The called ones, not clearly understanding at that time the state of affairs, had the erroneous thought that their co-reign with their beloved Master, their king, was to take place immediately. How surprised was the circle of disciples when Jesus finally told them quite plainly, that he (Jesus) had to suffer and be killed. The consequence: His disciple, Peter, warned Him (Mt 16:22; Mk 8:32)! But Jesus really suffered and died, as He had said He would, and the joyful expectations of the disciples about the sitting on the right and left of the Master lay as a wreck on the ground. But Jesus appeared again, raised from the dead by the Father’s power, moreover glorified, exalted, more royal than He had been. And the disciples still having the promise of their reign in and with Him before them, at once asked: Will it be at this time (Ac 1:6)? Jesus did not directly answer the question concerning the time and reminded them only that they must think of their duties on this side, in order to be able to reign with Him, beyond all battlings and sufferings.

 

The thought that this Jesus (Ac 1:11) would come again very soon, during their lifetime, did maintain itself in spite of all teachings of the Lord and His apostles. Yes, it seems that at first the apostles also thought the time between the first and second advent much shorter than it really is.

 

The Thessalonians said: "The day of the Lord is here!" The Corinthians saw the time for reigning and judging as having come. Those who were sincere in this error were healed, but there was a faction also, which covertly more and more enhanced this thought of the (premillennial) reign of the church from selfish motives, till it really came to reign—a cruel, devilish reign. They had not hearkened to the Master. We refer to our prior expositions concerning this.

 

DOS151 This outcome was known to the Lord in advance. And because He knew it, He warned His own so often, personally and through letters of the apostles and through the Revelation. Despite all this the inclination has existed in each generation of God’s people, to expect the "end" earlier than it was to come according to the counsel of God.

 

In Mt 23:38, 39 Jesus had told them that they would not see Him till He came again. Upon this the question of the disciples was: "Tell us when...?" (Mt 24:3). Thereupon Jesus said: "Take heed that no man deceive you..." They should gather from His description that the end would "not be soon." If perhaps they thought that the promised gift of the Father (Joh 16:7, 13; Ac 1:8) would come in a few days or weeks and bring with it also the "end," they must take from the commission of Acts 1:8 that this was not possible if it was to be executed first. They perceived that they were to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, and further in all Judea, and still further—even unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Was this possible in a few weeks? Perhaps in Jerusalem and part of Judea, but not "to the uttermost parts of the earth!" To carry this witness to the end of the earth was not possible even in decades, this required, as we now know, nearly 20 centuries. Jesus would not give the disciples the exact length of time (for their good!) but from His description of the large territory for their witnessing they should have perceived that the cries: "The time draweth near" (Lk 21:8) or "the day is at hand" (2Th 2:2) must be met with increased watchfulness and willingness to wait. They should proclaim the message given them uninterruptedly, unchanged to the end. Therefore Jesus said in this connection, somewhat paraphrased: "My dear disciples! Many will come in my name and will cry out prematurely: The time is here! But the time will not be here. For the end will not come as quickly as is supposed. Before this end you must bear a far witness. For this gospel of the kingdom which we, I and you have proclaimed hitherto, must be preached to all nations upon the earth as a witness, then only will the end come."

 

Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom; see Mt 4:23; 9:35; Lk 16:16 ("since that time!") and other passages.

 

DOS152 The apostles proclaimed the same gospel of the kingdom; see Lk 9:2; Ac 8:12; Ac 20:25; Ac 28:23 and other passages.

 

And this was not yet 1918! Yes, throughout the entire Gospel Age this witness has been given, and for that very reason we call it the "Gospel Age." That the exalted beauty of this gospel had been covered up for a time is well known, but no one acquainted with history can claim that this witness has not been given at all during any certain period, nor during all of the 19 centuries, till the ridiculous 1918! But the Society does not only claim this with its teaching, but even goes as far as to presumptuously announce that it and its co-laborers are the only ones who are carrying out this commission of the Lord. And this it says "in humility and modesty!" (W.T.1925:200, 333.) Of what time then are those who were beheaded for the "witness" of Jesus (Re 20:4)? Before or after 1918? Who sang the words of admonition "With confidence cry, ye watchers’ voices...Christ must have a testimony!"? (from an old German hymn) of a time when the present president of the Society with his "gospel for a witness since 1918" was not yet in existence! it should be noted that Jesus in His words of Mt 24:14 and Mk 13:10 does not say from when but until when the gospel message should be preached. That proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom had begun long before 1918, yes, before the time when Jesus spoke these words, is shown in Lk 16:16 with utmost plainness: "Since that time (John) the kingdom of God is preached." "since that time" is not since 1918. Let us not wrest the word of God! The gospel was to be preached for a witness, which does not mean that all hearers would also accept it. Often, yes, mostly, the hearers gnashed with teeth against the witnesses of the gospel (Ac 7:54). But although stoned, tortured or burned, yet no desire for retaliation passed the lips of these gospel witnesses, no indeed (Ac 7:60). But now this "new light," which believes itself to be the only proclaimer of this gospel, teaches that the sentence "Depart from me ye cursed, into the everlasting fire" (Mt 24:41) would fall upon all those who do any injury to the messengers of the Lord in this life (while Jesus was absent in heaven!) (W.T. 1923:307, par. 8).

 

In other words: the hearers must accept the message preached by the witnesses, otherwise the punishment of Mt 25:41

 

DOS153 will fall on them. Is not this the customary way of all false systems? Is this a preaching "for a witness?"

 

Dear friends! We exhort every one for his own sake, to forsake such foolish doctrines. They are invented to bestow on the year 1918, a new but evil era, luster and importance. The work is not of God, but of men, and we shall see this as clearly as the sun, if we recover the courage to look distinctly at the things as they are. Are we not to walk in the truth? (2Joh 4; 3Joh 3, 4.) If we would turn our faces toward the Lord, then we must often turn our backs at the same time to certain institutions or organizations, however glorious they might be outwardly. Yes indeed, love and loyalty to God demands this. At least the patiently waiting servants who have not yet entered into the joy of their Lord by way of reward bestowed, are zealous herein, to prove themselves faithful in the little and unimportant things. How ashamed will the members of the "only salvation-giving church" stand, when they will become aware that the service devoted to their church and its teaching was far from the service of God. The same shame lies before the co-workers of the "only channel" also. But for us?—Let us fulfill the duty which is ours! But let us not delay (Re 18:4)! "Having assumed this to be her present mission, she has lost sight of the real purpose of this Gospel Age; viz., to "preach this gospel of the Kingdom in all the world for a witness to all nations," and to aid in the calling and preparing of a "Little flock" to constitute (with the Lord) that Millennial Kingdom which shall then bless all the families of the earth (Mt 24:12; Ac 15:14-17). (C. T. Russell in Vol. 4, page 169; see also page 564.)

 

GOD KNOWS  

 

God knows—not I—the devious way Wherein my faltering feet must tread, Before into the light of day My steps from out the gloom are led.

 

And since my Lord the path doth see, What matter, if ‘tis hid from me?

 

—-From Poems of Dawn..

DOS154 VENGEANCE ON BABYLON  

 

We have already mentioned the fact that many confused children of God think the followers of Jesus Christ were called to overthrow Babylon. The Society confirms this unscriptural thought in many articles and poems; friends are urged "to belong to the army overthrowing Babylon" (German W.T. 1927:80, poem). More than ten years ago, in fact, shortly after Brother Russell’s death, when the seventh volume was written, this thought occupied the friends. Volume 7, in the comments on Revelation 18:6, page 280, among other things says the following: "Reward her even as she rewarded [you]. A diligent attempt has been made in this direction. Anyone over looked will be inserted in the next edition..."

 

According to this the Society says that the command of Re 18:6 concerned it and god’s people in general. Since this thought is held by many of God’s children, we will, although we have already written concerning it, scripturally show that it is a wrong thought; for the command "Reward her!" does not concern God’s children. Had the translators started a new paragraph with verse six, students would long ago have discerned the truth. As the words now stand, it is difficult to understand to whom they are addressed. However, if we seek, we shall find an explanation.

 

The exhortation of Re 18:4, 5 is addressed to God’s people. They should "come out of Babylon" (Isa 48:20; Jer 50:8; Jer 51:6, "flee") so as not to be involved in the destruction of this "great city," for "God hath remembered her iniquities." How can we picture this fleeing out of Babel? Is it expected that a child of God should haste outside the outer walls of Babylon; stop there and join the onrushing army from the north and together with it attack Babylon? Not so! God’s children, indeed, should leave Babel any time they recognize Babel as such, but in the time spoken of in Revelation 18 special haste is necessary. Perhaps Re 18:2 even states the time; we would not say it positively. Perhaps the "fallen, fallen" of this verse means nothing else than the throwing down of the woman rider (the "great city," Re 17:3,7)

 

DOS155 by the beast. For at some time the woman must be thrown off by the beast (comp. Re 17:16) and one is reminded involuntarily of the type, 2Ki 9:30-37 (in connection with Revelation 2:20). In the type a throwing down of Jezebel, whose flesh is eaten, and in Re 18:2, 17:16 we find the same thing. Hardly anything favors the thought that with the word "fallen" a falling from God’s favor is meant. Babel as such never was in God’s favor.

 

However this may be, recognizing the danger, God’s children should come out of Babylon in the quickest way possible. (’fleeing!"). Between the fall (throwing down by the beast which carries her?) and her destruction by fire there seems to be a certain space according to the attempts described in Jer 51:8, 9. In other words: the fall of Babylon does not seem to be synchronous with the burning, the last phase of the work of recompense (Jer 51:25)..God’s people should flee out of Babel and not stop outside the walls of the city in order to join the avenging armies coming from the north for a concerted attack. When we consider all the passages which speak of the fleeing out of Babel we will see quite clearly that we are to flee to Zion, to Jerusalem. Not only out of the city, but also out of the "land" of the Chaldeans (Jer 50:8). If we want to be as the "goats before the flocks" (Jer 50:8) then above all we must not have the desire "to belong to the army which overthrows Babel." While, therefore, God’s people quickly flee pout of Babel’s environs, the avenging army, an assembly of great nations out of the north, comes toward Babel (Jer 50:9). If we carefully read the description of the desolators of Babel in Jer 50:3, 14, 15, 25, 26, 27, 29; 51:11, 12, etc., we will clearly discern that the command of Re 18:6 is not addressed to God’s people, but to Babel’s desolators, i.e., the horns and the beast of Re 17:16, to the assembly of great nations brought up against Babel out of the land of the north (Je 50:9).

 

Jer 50:29, which contains the same words as Re 18:6, proves that it is not God’s people, who have fled out of Babel, but the hosts brought up against Babel from the north, which are to execute the vengeance.

 

This is the teaching of the Scriptures, and therefore works ("of the Lord?") undertaken with great expenditure of time,

 

DOS156 money, literature, discourses, etc., since the appearance of Vol. 7, to overthrow Babel, to set the church heavens of Babylon afire (W.T.R6150 206150) are not only wholly amiss, but a very great waste of strength and time, and are by no means the Lord’s work according to all the proofs we have given here and on preceding pages. and if God’s children have brought sufferings upon themselves in the execution of such works, then they were not suffering for the sake of Christ and the truth. such sufferings were caused by busy bodying "in other men’s matters" (1Pe 4:15).

 

The battle of the beast to annihilate the woman Babylon and the final battle between the Lamb and the beast (Re 17:14; 19:16-21) are not one and the same thing.

 

If we see things clearly, then let us cease from tasks which are not ours. Let us do the Lord’s work with the most careful consideration of His word and not hastily or in accordance with our own false interpretation, thus misleading God’s people. If we do not, then we shall have to experience the failure of our own work before long, and perhaps not have the opportunity or time to turn from our own way and walk in a way divinely pleasing. If you see the truth, then you should accept and present this truth at once, fearlessly, and regardless of what may be said or done. For you surely want to serve the Lord and not human institutions. Recognize your duties and act accordingly!.

 

OUR FAITH’S FOUNDATION  

 

In God, and not in fallible men Will I henceforth confide.

 

Upon God’s word, not that of men, My faith’s structure shall abide.

 

In councils’, creeds’, and dogmas’ sand, A fool who thereon buildeth! Such building will not stand! The apostles’, seers’ and prophets’ ground Alone is fit foundation.

 

And truth from our Lord’s own mouth Will rear the new Creation.

 

Since He Himself, the Holy One Is the elect and precious corner stone Blessed who on Him doth build! —-From a German Hymn.

DOS157 THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHARACTER  

 

"Character cannot be developed wholly without trial. It is like a plant: at first it is very tender; it needs an abundance of the sunshine of God’s love; frequent watering with the showers of his grace; much cultivating through the applied knowledge of his character as a good foundation for faith and inspiration to obedience; and then, when thus developed under these favorable conditions, it is ready for the pruning hand of discipline, and is also able to endure some hardness. And little by little, as strength and character is developed, the tests applied to it serve only to develop more strength, beauty and grace, until it is finally fixed, developed, established, perfected—through suffering." (C. T. Russell in Manna of Jan. 20) "If we do not develop this character now, the moral character of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will not have a share in the Messianic kingdom." (Extract from one of C. T. Russell’s sermons published in the newspapers.) ***"... Let the dreaming and talking of ‘developing a perfect character’ cease. Let all Christians be active in the performance of their covenant..."

 

"Satan (!) has turned the minds of millions into the channel of supposed ‘character development’..."( J. F. Rutherford in W.T. 1926:136; 1927:199) "I have just been in a three-day convention where four elders took up about four-fifths of the time and never once mentioned the kingdom work. They talked on character development all the time, making a few excuses for the Watch Tower, ... until I reminded the brethren that they were fifteen years back in the harvest and not in the kingdom at all." (Letter from a Pilgrim Brother, W.T. 1926:286) *** Note, beloved, the "development"—in the teaching of the Watch Tower Society and backward development of the christian character? Do you note how the most sacred of christian principles and feelings are reviled and declared useless? Read carefully and with seriousness, as earnest Bible students, the words of Brother Russell cited above, and compare them with the two other citations of modern Bible students. That which was high and holy, yes, the highest duty in Brother Russell’s estimation, is ridiculed and put away

 

DOS158 with a wave of a hand as "dreamings" by his ‘successor," who continually claims to have received brighter light since 1918! Oh, what an evil performance!

 

"Every true child of God must have a definite individual character..." Brother Russell says in the manna of September 17 in contrast to the present president of the Society, and we do not doubt for moment today the correctness of this thought. "In the development of a character in the likeness of their Redeemer they are daily ascending higher and are made fit for the heavenly kingdom..." Brother Russell writes in another place (W.T.R4445 204445). Until the appearance of the Watch Tower article "Character or Covenant?" discourses and essays upon character-development were much appreciated. The Manna texts, which treat of this almost exclusively, were read with pleasure until then, and expositions by serving Pilgrim brethren and others were especially enjoyed when they treated of character development in Christ. But when the president of the Watch Tower Society commanded: "Let the dreaming and talking of developing of a perfect character cease!" then all the (favorable) talking and writing concerning it ceased immediately—amongst those who obey blindly. What an authoritative order can accomplish! Do we still marvel over the blind obedience of the catholic world to the decisions and regulations of their papal head?

 

The article "Character or Covenant?" is only directed to this, to divert the Lord’s faithful from their chiefest duty, i.e., preparing themselves, and to give them instead, as questionable compensation, outward service and still more service and colporteur’s work. Yes, this service is even said to be the "treasure in the earthen vessel" of 2Co 4:7, according to the present teaching of the Society! Nothing shall be said against activity in the Lord’s service, but the activity should only proceed according to scriptural methods, in harmony with the truth. Our protest is aimed against the mockery and destruction of our first duty—the development of christian character. It is not our thought that perfection of this character is attained before our course is finished, but nothing less than perfection is the goal for which we must strive, if we would obtain the glorious inheritance of the overcomers.

 

DOS159 Brother Russell found some excellent words for this thought, as shown in the Manna of June 29, and we recommend a careful re-reading of this text. Wherever in recent times the Watch Tower contemplates character formation, it is only done in a bitingly-ironical, contemptuous, disdainful manner. They cannot do enough to slander this most essential activity of a Christian.

 

Let us hear some of these statements: "Many who have made a consecration to do the will of God have been induced to believe that by the ‘development of character’ pleasing to the Lord they could gain the kingdom as overcomers.

 

How absolutely unfounded in the Scriptures is such a conclusion! This has been one of the subtle tricks of the adversary to ensnare the consecrated."

 

"But the devil deceives many and induces them to believe that by developing a character, so-called, that will entitle them to a place in God’s kingdom."

 

"To teach, however, that by character improvement or development the Christian can be an ‘overcomer’ is to teach a delusion and a snare of the devil" (W.T. 1927:195, 199, 201, par. 4, 35, 44)..We refer to the slanders against christian character-development reprinted on page 147, also to the articles in W.T. 1927:38, etc. (par. 34) 94, 95; 1926:259. Even in poems character-development is being reviled. The author of the poem appearing in the German W.t. 1927:288, which begins with the words: "Why do you labor, oh melancholy soul, in a false holiness for inward beauty?" seemingly does not know that there are also Christians who are laboring for this inward beauty in true holiness without being melancholy. "Let character-development rest now" (!) he tells the readers and closes his poem, so to speak, with a glorification of the "defects" which Jesus is to cover! Along with the christian character-development, this primary condition for entrance into the heavenly kingdom, important truths, etc., are also reviled, as for example, the Christian’s longing for his heavenly home. such a longing is described as selfishness. We read: "It is a well-known fact that at the conventions held by those of present truth during the past several years, while the friends have talked much about the kingdom, the common theme of the conversation has been: ‘When are we going

 

DOS160 home? When shall we be relieved of earth’s woes and enter the kingdom and rule with the Lord?’ Has not the motive of both classes mentioned above, of those in present truth, been largely selfish?" (W.T. 1926:325; see also 1927:38).

 

In order to correctly understand the sense of the above words it is necessary also to read the last part of the preceding paragraph where it says: "...and, second, those who have accepted present truth and have really liked it, and have looked forward to the time when they might be taken to heaven and be relieved of all their earthly toils, and there enjoy forever ease and comfort."

 

Is it no longer remembered what was communicated on the evening of Brother Russell’s funeral services (by the present president!) of the departed brother’s longing desire? (W.T.R6012 206012). And how is this ardent longing for union with the heavenly bridegroom today put down as selfishness and reviled! Was not the above mentioned "common theme of conversation at the conventions" thus used because it was "from the Lord," as it is always asserted? Then from the Lord—and now selfishness?

 

We know that an ever greater importance is being attributed to the year 1918 for very specific reasons. This year is to mark the line between Elijah and Elisha, the new president assures us, between the unorganized and the organized church and—between the antiquated knowledge and the "brighter, better light." Ostensibly the Lord came to His temple in that year and brought new revelations to His own. But in the matter of character-development even the fetishism of the mysterious year 1918 has not been able to supplant the old view (now called"snare, deception of Satan"). For, long after the Lord ostensibly came to His temple the formation of christian character was described in the Watch Tower as absolutely necessary! For Example:."the perfection of character here pointed out as the proper and desirable aim of all Christians, and prepared for by the Lord through the giving of his inspired word, should be the mark toward which all the soldiers of the cross running in the race for the great prize should bend their energies." (W.T. 1919:255) Yes, they even chose a text for the year 1923 which had reference to formation of character! We read:

 

DOS161 "The test for the year 1923 relates to the transformation of the Christian into the likeness of our Lord and Master, Christ Jesus. The complete transformation into His character likeness is the earnest desire of every one of his faithful followers." (W.T.1923:6) And still later an article began with the words: "The new creature must grow into or develop the character-likeness of the Lord, his Head."

 

(W.T. 1923:184) And later still, in answer to a question, it is deduced that the purpose of all study should be, to form a character in the likeness of our Lord Jesus, etc. (German W.T. 1923:336). In 1924, six years after 1918, in a special article (W.T. 1924:249) it is explained what character really means.

 

Also in German W.T. 1921:25; 1925:201; and W.T. 1923:217-218, character-formation is praised in articles, letters and in conventions, although supposedly the Lord had already come with the true light in 1918 ! Why did He leave His own so long in "Satan’s snare" (!) to form character? Or had He given the "true light" to the "official" management, which kept it hidden under a bushel for over seven years, for fear the friends might conceive it to be darkness? But when the year 1925 had passed by, and proved the "work of the Lord" to be man’s work, then it was suddenly said that character-development was ‘dreamings," a "snare of Satan" and similar things. Thus they spoke with biting mockery against the blessed "activity," after having highly praised this "development" only a few weeks previously. Yes, they were bold enough to assert here also that the meaning of character-development had not been understood before! And then the most poisonous arrows were shot at the hitherto praised activity. The former teaching of the christian character formation was said to be "a cunning move of the adversary to ensnare the consecrated," a "deception of Satan," "delusion of Satan," "snare of the devil," ‘Satan’s work of delusion," that "in this condition (character-formation) one was supporting Satan’s organization and was a part of this world," etc., in the same song of reviling. dear Brother Russell: Do you hear what your "successor" says about that which you stood up for? And yet it was "officially" declared, after you had just closed your eyes, that "the Watch Tower will continue to publish only that which is in harmony with what ‘that Servant’ has hereto fore given to the ‘household

 

DOS162 of faith.’"( W.T.R6024 206024, top.) Do you know that according to the judicial opinion of your "successor" you have been ensnared by "a cunning move of the adversary" for half a century?

 

Oh, they knew and know very well what character-development is. But they wanted to cover their own hollowness with outward activity. And an attack on the preparation was already made in 1927. We read in a letter published in the German Watch Tower of 1927:176: "How precious (!) is the thought also... (that) we need not be anxious about our preparation, since the fruit, consisting in the proclamation, includes all other fruits as a matter of course!" We entreat you to read a few striking Watch Tower expositions, as for example W.T. 1926:136, par. 46; p.232, par. 53; p. 278, par. 34; 1927:184, 195, 199-201.

 

The attempt to prove that character cannot be developed, because we do not have a character but are a character, is quite threadbare. The fact that a growth, a development must take place within us, cannot be upset by the Watch Tower definition of "character." We are not here turning so much against the definition of this word, but, above all, against the derision of the life of sanctification, which until recently has been designated by all (the author of that Watch Tower article also!) as the means of character-development. For that matter, the thought of possession of character is quite customary in our colloquial language. By character we understand the sentiment, the direction of the mind, the being, the sum of a person’s qualities; in the present case, of a Christian. Qualities and virtues are certainly a part of our being, but we say rightly that as a person we possess or have them.

 

The virtues of a Christian we find also pictured as fruits of the Spirit in the Scriptures (Gal 5; 22). And just as the fruits grow and ripen, so also these our spiritual virtues, which make up the Christian character, must be cared for, formed; they must grow and be increased after the pattern of Jesus Christ. Is it not this process which is called character-development? The Scriptures continually speak of a development, a growth about and in us. We read, for example, in

 

DOS163 Eph 4:15: "...But speaking the truth in love (we) may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, Christ." Read also 2Co 4:16; Heb 5:12, 13; 6:1. The virtues of the Spirit which form the character are the results of impressions upon the "New Creation" or mind (2Co 5:17) which again is synonymous with the treasure in the earthen vessel, the "inward man" (2Co 4:7, 16). The Watch Tower simply ignores the scripturally proven growth and development of the New Creation. It has forgotten that the begotten New Creature must grow and increase till its birth, just as in the natural process. Yes, in a preceding paragraph of the article mentioned, it takes it upon itself to express the wholly unscriptural thought that the New Creation dies the sacrificial death! That which is sacrificed is, of course, eternally dead.

 

Even if we consider the character as something which is, and not as something we possess or have, the same obligation of a moral Christian life and walk results. The old nature—flesh, because born of the flesh—is of no use in producing the life in God (Joh 6:63; Ro 7:18; 8:8). The spirit-begotten one has to reckon himself dead toward that which concerns the power of the old nature (Ro 6:11). From this results the obligation to walk in the spirit (in newness of life, in the light) i.e., to make progress in the Christian life—to overcome, by striving to subdue all resistance of the flesh and eventually through Christ conquering it. Only thus can the spirit-begotten become in reality a New Creature on the spirit plane. This walk, this growing or progressing in the spirit, demands that we set all our thinking, feeling and willing wholly in harmony with God. The thoughts of God, the love of God, the will of God must become ours.

 

Only then are we in the truth, in Christ, who is the Truth. All the expressions of this our new life in Christ, i.e., our work in word and deed, must be in harmony with our inner life, else Christ, the truth, is not in us. Our Lord demands a clear decision—either cold or hot. We cannot sow in the one sphere and expect to reap in the other; either you are sowing to the flesh, and you will reap destruction, or you are sowing to the spirit and will reap life eternal. Only walking in the spirit will preserve us from the destructive lusts of the flesh. The walking—not the standing still! Standing still is retrogression.

 

DOS164 The Lord Jesus, also the apostles, put the highest value upon our being in Christ, our life in Christ (Joh 6:56; 14:20; Gal 2:20; Heb 13:20, 21; 1Joh 2:6, 29). To walk in the spirit means a continuous growing into His likeness, His purity and glory, into His power of love. The spirit of Christ dwells only in a pure heart and abides only there where it can work out its results.

 

The writer of the Watch Tower article in which christian character-development is derided, seems to have no conception of the holy inner life of a Christian. Anyone who interests himself in the life in God, will not permit himself to be carried away to a derision of that which we call character-development.

 

"Character or Covenant?" is not a matter of choice, for they co-exist. The fulfillment of the covenant by sacrifice—wherein does it consist? Is it not in the development of the christian character? The covenant by sacrifice is not fulfilled solely by (outward) "works in His name" (many will once refer to these; comp. Mt 7:22), but in a continuous growing into the likeness of Jesus Christ. And with this the outward activity will not be wanting, but this comes voluntarily, form an inner constraint of love, love to the Lord, not from ambition, or to please man or an organization. such christian love qualifies for every sacrifice, even to the giving up of life itself—even for the enemy. A love which is not capable of this is not heavenly, divine love.

 

We have often experienced how quickly friends obey the Society. some who had not yet read the article "Character or Covenant," when asked whether the former views concerning character-development are correct, affirmed this and declared a contrary assertion to be error. But after they had read the "Watch Tower" in which character-development is condemned as "dreamings," they hastened to throw the former view overboard. That which had been accepted as truth for so long, was now put down as "dreamings," because of the Watch Tower’s dogmatic assertion.

 

Now character-development has only a wretched, hangdog existence; only a "little" flock shows any further interest in this rejected essential of the Christian life. But they have chosen the better part. Dear brethren in Christ, do not let anyone take from.

 

DOS165 you this blessed privilege of character-formation, even though the "only channel," or an angel from heaven would rob you of it. Consider, if character-formation actually is what the newest desolators of the sanctuary teach, i.e., error, "dreamings," a "snare of Satan," then the apostle would also have been in this "snare of Satan!" Then Brother Russell also, so long glorified above measure by the same men who now speak so contemptuously of character-development, would himself have been a foolish dreamer. Of course, we know that Brother Russell is continually losing in importance as compared with his present "successor," as already shown in our treatment of the new adaption of the type Elijah-Elisha.

 

The dictum "Character-development is dreaming" has ripened another "development." We will not here make a detailed statement of certain things which here and there have occurred even in consecrated circle. They are the natural consequences of a cessation in character-formation, of the walk in the spirit (Gal 5:16,17). Such shameful occurrences explain why such a strong assault is being made against character-development, which, of course, requires quite a struggle against the flesh and the world. the anathema against the striving for the character-likeness of Jesus Christ is an encouragement to an easy life and shallow walk. How significant in this connection are the words of a Sister in central Germany, who joyfully said to a prominent brother: "Oh, how happy am I now, that character-formation is unnecessary!"—As a sad indication of the cessation of character-formation we would also mention the words of a brother devoted to the Society which he unhesitatingly addressed to a dear Sister, but who is (as it is said) "in opposition to the work": "I cannot love you, I must hate you, the world is dearer to me than you are!" Are these the fruits of the Spirit?

 

We must continually emphasize anew that every error brings new errors as a result. the virtues of a Christian actually are not prized as highly today by many Bible students, since the cessation of character-development, as they were formerly. And as the boundary between "this world" and "our world" is not so clearly seen since the cessation of character-development, therefore an entirely different meaning

 

DOS166 is given to the conception "World" (see example, 1Joh 2:15-17). Now it is said, that to visit pleasure resorts, dance halls, etc., or to yield oneself to an immoral manner of life, does not belong to the "world" which must be overcome! (W.T. 1927:198-199). We would ask: What then is the world? If such things do not belong to "this world" where do they belong? Perhaps to the results of the lessons of "God’s organization?" But we will understand all this when we recognize the causes of such erroneous doctrines; they love this world in many things and do not desire to specially trouble themselves to obey the admonition of Ro 12:2. We dislike to mention certain things here. The deciding question above all is: What is truth? But one thing is certain: Just as it is necessary today to preach conversion to the members in Christendom long dead, so it will be necessary soon to preach conversion (turning) from the way of "this world" to many Bible students.

 

We put to all the friends of the "Watch Tower," especially the leaders, the solemn question: "Does not the character-formation of a Christian have to do with his sanctification? Did you not all understand it thus formerly? Do you not know that we still understand it thus today? Does it not come to your consciousness at all, that in your fight against character-development you are at the same time fighting against that which once you called with us the life of sanctification, and which we still call thus?"

 

Who will further cultivate the very necessary character-formation in Christ? who will espouse it? Who will do it, even though the number who love this work is very small? Who? Let him step forth and separate himself from those who desolate the moral integrity of the life of sanctification, who seek to draw us aside from the holiest duties of a Christian. Do not hesitate, servant of God! Tear the restraining bands, by the grace of God, and find the way to Him who has and is the Truth. and if you are in doubt, and ask: "What is the truth?" then pray to Him to enlighten you, for He Himself is Truth..

DOS167 THE TREASURE IN THE EARTHEN VESSEL 2Co 4:7

 

We point again to the fact, that the present Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society zealously persists in perverting every Bible doctrine. It lays its hand on everything. Every doctrine, be it ever so scriptural, must enter into the Society’s laboratory, and from there it comes forth newly formed, torn, dislocated and deformed. "Formerly we thought...now we see"—this is now the society’s melody. the thought evidently is, that it (really its president) as Brother Russell’s successor must bring to light new truths at a rapid pace, or even faster, else its successorship would not be recognized. Therefore the effort to bring forth very many new doctrines. Herein the thing is made very simple: it is the divinely ordained way, the only channel, and everything coming through it is truth; brighter, better truth than that of Brother Russell’s days. That it actually looks at the matter thus can also be recognized, for it declares with ever greater emphasis its new teachings as coming from the Lord, yes expressly states that the Lord is responsible (!) for it. but we remember the fact that no good ever came of it when spiritual leaders believed themselves capable to too much. We remember further those words of our dear Brother Russell, which he wrote in telling his life’s experiences: "But, alas! How dangerous it is for any man to feel too much responsibility and to attempt to force new light." (W.T.R3820 203820) We refer here only to the W.T. 1926:117, 118, where the "new light" discovered since 1918 is recounted in a long list with proud satisfaction.

 

Truly, from that moment when we think that god is using us alone as a channel or in any other special manner, and that God’s people must acknowledge us and our pronouncements, etc., God can no longer use us. From that time we are only walking in our own ways, even though our much-lauded "work of the Lord" is outwardly flourishing and prospering under our management; and this is also the time

 

DOS168 when the Lord accepts others as useful instruments. Yes, indeed, others! Are they not mostly such as have been rejected by the "Only one"? was not Jesus also rejected by the "official" representatives of God? But was not He, the rejected of men, chosen of God, precious (Mt 21:42; 1Pe 2:6, 7)?

 

Oh, that we might consider the ways of God! Oh, that we might be willing to learn! That we might ponder in our hearts the history of the Christian church and learn from her! That we might not only admire the heroism in the great times of the past, but prove ourselves faithful and devoted in the present! Do we not often lack in this very thing? Are we ready, do we have sufficient love to stand up for the truths which we received from the Lord, plainly, honestly, fearlessly, yes, if necessary to give our lives for them? Oh, that God’s children might yet prove by their actions that the Lord Himself is the object of their loyalty and love, and that fellow servants, fallible men, come only after God in the measure of love. Then much would be different! Then a movement which God uses for the blessing of His people, could not so often and so quickly or so deeply fall into self wisdom (foolishness)! May our warning cry contribute a little to this end that God’s children will give honor to God first, and then only to those that love His truths and hold them fast in humility and submission to God.

 

Our observation is that many of the dear friends do not see how disastrous the way of the Society is, because they have accepted its teachings without consideration, believing that it is the divinely ordained messenger. But we know also, that another part of the friends more or less plainly feel, yes, see the disastrousness of the way, but they simply "suffer" (Re 2:20) the methods and teachings of the Society. Could we but bring the eyes of all the friends their grave responsibility toward God and His truth! For we will be called to account by Him (not by self-exalted organizations or churches!) for neglect of our duties as God’s children.

 

The "treasure in the earthen vessel" has also suffered greatly in the laboratory of the Society. It had not even discovered in the year 1927 (a decade after 1918!) that the treasure is not, as had been believed, the indwelling life from

 

DOS169 God, but—service! Service is the treasure, it is said, and friends here also are quick to set their faith upon the "better" light. the assurance with which the society operates is fascinating and robs the friends of the courage to search the Scriptures for themselves, to see whether these things are so (Ac 17:11). "Does it not come in the divinely ordained way? and therefore it must be right," thus runs the argument regularly. Accordingly of course, that which Brother Russell set forth in his day must, because it stands directly in opposition to the present "light," be not of God, but out of "his own." but is the new light really what it is so boldly claimed to be? Has the assertion been proven? When we apply to this light the measures and squares of the divine word (and woe to us if we do it not, but depend upon flesh!) then we quickly ascertain that this light is darkness. It has not come from God! With the boldness peculiar to it the "Watch Tower" asserts that the connection proves the correctness of its new light ("the treasure is service"). This is either willful or careless leading into error, because the assertion is in fact untrue! We emphasize: it is untrue, and we want to prove this to anyone who is still somewhat sober and has regard for the word of God. Before mentioning the treasure in the earthen vessel, the apostle said that God has shined in our hearts, to give light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2Co 4:6). This shining in is the inner enlightenment through the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to us. This gift of the Spirit is in us and creates "eyes of understanding" (Eph 1:17, 18) which see and discern what others miss entirely. We put the question to all: "Can an enlightenment take place without the Holy Spirit?" we ourselves answer "No!" When Paul immediately after says: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels," he hereby has reference to the divine light just mentioned, which God placed into our hearts. Thus we see that the "connection" just proves the assertion of the "watch Tower" as erroneous. If it were not for the boldness and audacity with which the Society presents its divine (?) truths, the friends could easily find out the unsoundness of the Watch Tower assertions by a critical examination of the context.

 

DOS170 The assertion that the treasure mentioned in 2Co 4:7 is service is wholly erroneous.

 

But the purpose of such an unscriptural assertion is clear. The "service," zealous service, continuous service, is to hinder the friends from becoming conscious, is to deprive them of the time, to hinder them from thinking these things over, or to examine, to see if all is correct.

 

Therefore the continual driving to service, lest the friends might at some time become "Bible students" and—find that they have been misled and mistaught. And that must be hindered. In the German Watch Tower of 1927:144, in a letter it said: "... what alone is needed today is work, only just work." And the friends are kept from transgressing this command by threats, being told that they would have to count with the loss of life (!) on any plane by a refusal to obey the service appointments; they might, it is said, perhaps only reach the plane of the Great Company (W.T. 1927:78).

 

Those who have returned to the liberty in Christ are much warned against, and they are therefore feared and avoided. On the other hand, much zeal is manifested by the society for those obedient to it. But this zeal is not in order to lead these deeper into the truth or to a more intimate communion with the Lord; it labors only to fill them with enthusiastic zeal for its work. How strikingly appropriate are the words of the apostle: "They zealously affect you, but not well (not for your good); yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect (be zealous for) them" (Gal 4:17). Oh, friends, who once did obey the truth: "Ye did run well, who did hinder you, that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion is not from him that calleth you." And remember, only "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Gal 5:7-9).

 

It is as though the leaders know no shame at all when they cite Brother Russell’s correct thoughts concerning the New Creation in their article (W.T. 1927:133), only to pour contempt upon them.

 

Yes, in order to make their so-called new light appear very bright, they frighten God’s people away from the correct thoughts of Brother Russell by the assertion that these thoughts were a fertile soil for the doctrine of the immortality of the soul! We cite here what Brother

 

DOS171 Russell says and what is now being slain in cold blood by the Watch Tower: "The work of these ‘New Creatures’ in the present time, as has already been shown, is a two-fold one, their begetting of the Holy spirit constitutes them priests, but it is only their minds that are begotten; their bodies are still of the earth, earthy, and hence, as the Apostle declares, ‘We have this treasure (the new nature) in earthen vessels, that the glory may be of God and not of us’ (2Co 4:7). The newly begotten mind, or will, is all there is at present to represent the new nature, and all there will be until in the First Resurrection that new will, developed in character, shall be provided a suitable body, etc." (Vol. 6:71)..Then the Watch Tower rejects this truth in the following words: "If the foregoing statement is the correct interpretation of the apostle’s words, then the new creature is merely something inside of something else called a vessel. Is not that exactly the difficulty that nominal Christendom got herself into by teaching that man has a soul within him and that this soul is immortal and cannot die?...

 

"...To say that he was speaking about a new creature being inside of an earthen vessel is entirely foreign to his argument..." (W.T. 1927:133).

 

We say: Brother Russell’s explanation is correct and the new light is actually darkness. The New Creation is solely represented in that which God gave unto us at our consecration, and not the earthen vessel also, which holds this treasure. the earthen vessel, the tabernacle which is being dissolved (2Co 5:1) is only the temporary organism used by the New Creation till the house from heaven is come (2Co 5:2). The tabernacle does not enter into the heavenly conditions, it is destroyed (2Co 5:1). When this treasure is joined together with the house originating in heaven, then there is really a New Creature present, i.e., a being that is suited in body and spirit which eternally harmonize. At present this combination does not exist, nor that harmony. On the contrary: These two are opposed to one another today (Gal 5:17). But if this be so, how then can the Watch Tower designate both as the New Creation?

 

Also the thought of the New Creation being begotten is partly given up. We read in the Watch Tower of 1927:116, par. 10&12:

 

DOS172 "... The Scripture does not say that the new creature is merely a gestated thing that ultimately comes to the birth... If a creature is being gestated, or in the process of gestation, then there could be no responsibility of that creature during that period."

 

And then it says: "... The thought that the natural begetting, gestation, quickening and coming to the birth illustrate the development of the new creature is not at all in harmony with the Scriptural teachings concerning the new creation. The Scriptures show that from the time the new creature is begotten and anointed he is a new creature, and that his responsibility begins as such from that time."

 

Thus the thought that the New Creation is something within us is discarded by the "Watch Tower" as error. But does not the Scripture expressly state that the treasure is in the vessel?

 

And this treasure certainly is not service! Does not the Scripture speak expressly of the begetting with reference to our life from God (for ex. Jas 1:18; 1Pe 1:3) and does it not set the time of the spiritual birth in the future?

 

The Scripture speaks of the impartation of the Spirit as a begettal, to demonstrate that we are God’s workmanship, since God is working in us both to will and to do; that we are wholly and solely His work of grace form the beginning to the completion on the spiritual plane. But this does not mean that we are without responsibility. we must be consciously active in our devotion to God, and through manifestation of the christian spirit with self-determination and self-responsibility to the full development of individuality—to the full stature of the man in Christ.

 

This spirit is grafted into our body. For our good! We have it in an earthen vessel, in order to attain unto the full personality—unfoldment of our Saviour through the conflict caused thereby.

 

Through conflict to victory; step by step; from glory to glory (2Co 3:18).

 

Oh wonderful wisdom of God! May it lead us, that we may behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled face—His purity and glory, His truth and holiness, His devotion and strength. May the desire be alive in us all that we may by His grace be changed into the same image from glory to glory! Oh, that we would let His purity, His truth, His

 

DOS173 strength be mirrored in us (1Ti 6:6; 4:8; 1Pe 1:15-17; 2Co 7:1)! whoever loves the Lord will take Paul’s admonition in Titus 2:11-13 to heart, also denying worldly lusts, live soberly (with self-control in all things), righteously and godly, i.e., piously.

 

"God’s endorsement and His image, Pious beauty, friendly mien; All that is in mind and spirit, Let by friend and foe be seen."

 

It is really shameful when the president writes in the article (W.T. 1927:132, par. 10) literally as follows: "There is nothing in the commission given to them to indicate that they were to be diligent in developing nice, pious, sanctimonious dispositions in order to go to heaven."

 

Truly, such a reviling of our most sacred duty the Lord cannot simply pass by. that which is in truth our chief duty, which was faithfully practiced for decades, that is now cynically glossed over. well, then we do not wonder if the nominal Bible students of our days take no pains at all to develop "a nice, pious, holy disposition." Then we do not wonder if an ugly, unlovely, unholy disposition is developed, that here and there they go so far as to indulge in actual, literal fornication! Oh people of God! Preserve your holiest possessions! Preserve the treasure imparted to you, and do not let it be soiled or pushed aside by the cunning craftiness of error (Eph 4:4)! Be encouraged, oh little flock and take the five smooth pebbles from the brook, you will, when exercised in the word, strike down every Goliath-error spirit! Separate yourselves from those who take no pains to develop a pious, holy character! Beloved, flee from error, deception, and thereby from those who deceive. "And let not your heart faint" (Jer 51:46)! The treasure is in danger!.

 

THE INNER TREASURE  

 

The Christian’s inner life is shining Though outwardly the sun doth blind, What they’ve received from the King of heaven, Is known to none except their kind; What none have felt, or touched in time, Has their enlightened minds adorned, And brought them honors truly divine.

 

—-Dr. Charles Francis Richter..

DOS174 THE ANGEL WITH THE CENSER WHO GIVES POWER TO THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS Re 8:3

 

The Scripture we are to consider, Re 8:3, 4 reads: "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should after it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand." Every enlightened student of the Holy Scriptures will quickly perceive when reading these verses that the scene described here corresponds to an important type. What the angel is executing here represents the antitype of that which the high priest performed in the sacrificial service of the day of Atonement. The mere mentioning of the altar and incense in this setting would practically compel us to believe that this vision corresponds with Israel’s Atonement service. It shows us how our Lord Jesus, as the great, true High Priest makes the prayers and sacrifices of the saints acceptable to the Father on the basis of His own sacrifice. As the apostle Peter says: "acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (1Pe 2:5). The sacrificed life of our Lord was a sweet savor, pleasing to the Father, and this sweet smell, here represented in the incense, gives power primarily to the prayers and sacrifices of His followers. Without the power of the merit of our Lord, which he applies on our behalf as our High Priest and Advocate, we would not be acceptable to God the Father. As further proof of this we cite the words of the apostle: "And whatsoever ye do, in word of in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God, the Father, through Him." Our prayers also must be offered to God through the Advocate. If we keep the type before our eyes then the vision of Re 8 is clear to us. The angel of Revelation 8:3 can represent only our Lord Jesus, Him alone, for He only is able to give power to the prayers of the saints, because He is our Advocate and High Priest. This is the clear teaching of the passage under discussion here and of the Scriptures in general. An expositor

 

DOS175 of Revelation says very strikingly: "No imperfect human being or agency can possibly be represented by this angel with the censer. Indeed it would be blasphemous to think of this angel and his work as representing any imperfect human being or agency..." (R.E. Streeter: "The revelation of Jesus Christ.") Quite correct! But listen, oh people of God, who this angel in this passage is said to be according to the exposition of the Watch Tower Society in volume 7. Re 8:3. "And another angel..." it is here commented on as follows: (whoso readeth let him take heed) "Not the ‘voice of the Lord,’... but a corporate body—the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, which Pastor Russell formed to finish his work. This verse shows that, though Pastor Russell has passed beyond the vail, he is still managing every feature of the Harvest Work." So we understand what is meant: the angel is not the Lord, but the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society! And in order to crown this presumptuous exposition it is further said: "Thus, in this prophecy, the great antitypical High Priest identifies Himself with the work of the Society..." To the words of Re 8:5, "And the angel" it is expressly stated also: "The Watch Tower Society through its proper representatives." We also find the same thoughts expressed in the W.T. 1925:149, par. 34, 35, only with the difference that there the "society" is misleadingly described as the Bible Students Association. Truly this is the height of presumption, pride and vanity! Do we still wonder then, when the pope makes the claim to be vicegerent of the Son of God? The assertion of the Society is in nothing inferior to this arrogance. It is a sad, note-worthy indication when a man or a human organization seeks and finds self especially marked in the Scriptures. It is an infallible mark of spiritual pride, but with it, at the same time, of spiritual decline, because "pride goeth before destruction" (Pr 16:18). And when it is said evasively, that the Society is all of the Lord’s people, we refer only to the definition of this appellation in their literature, where it is said re the publisher’s address "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society: ‘This is the name of a business firm (in the later literature: of a work) which is engaged in the publication of important religious books and periodicals, and other useful helps for Bible study.’" But that is not the whole circle of

 

DOS176 God’s people! Such a distortion of ideas will not entangle attentive readers. We are well aware that the conception "society" is variously described, just as the need requires.

 

The honor to be the great High Priest, which belongs only to our blessed Lord and Head, is taken from Him and appropriated by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, as their explanations plainly show. when cornered, Bible students like to take refuge in the remark: "It isn’t meant that way." (!) But this will not explain the answer here given. And if it is not meant the way it is stated in the explanation then it would be conscious deception! We see that the Watch Tower Society in its exposition of Re 8:3 follows in the footsteps of the papal church, which claims the highest acknowledgement and honor for its spiritual head as vicegerent of the Son of God.

 

What a decline! What a degradation of our only High Priest! And just as the papacy set up the dogma of the worship of saints, so also the Watch Tower Society is headed in that direction. A "worshiping of angels" (servants of God’s people) is advocated, instead of "holding the head" (Col 2:18, 19). For be it noted that the angel, which according to the exposition mentioned is said to be the Watch Tower Society, gives power to the prayers to the saints. If this exposition in Volume 7 concerning the angel of Revelation 8:3 is accepted, then the only possible deduction would be that our prayers must go to the heavenly Father through the Watch Tower society, which would endow them with power or make them acceptable. Do you notice what course the society is steering? The society is everything, the Lord takes second place.

 

How is the admonition of our Head obeyed: "One is your Master, Christ, but ye are all brethren" (Mt 23:8, 10)? The Society’s literature is also exalted above measure, as for example, then explanation of the "censer" of Re 8:5 in Volume 7 shows. Volume 7 us said to be the censer!.But not only in Re 8:3 does the Society find itself, but also in many other scripture passages. In Re 14:18 an angel is shown who has the power over fire and who gives the command to harvest the vine of the earth. To this the Watch Tower says in the same presumptuous language: (as in Vol.7 to Re 8:3) "Clearly the angel here mentioned is the

 

DOS177 Watch Tower bible and Tract Society." (W.T.R6150 206150, Oct.1, 1917) We recommend a careful reading of this W.T. article, in which, among other things, those who reject the seventh volume are declared as not belonging to the Elijah class, and in which the seventh volume is designated as the instrument which is to set the nominal church heavens on fire. But we see that their conflagration even failed to start. Either the "lord" had ordered the work by mistake ("withholding of a knowledge"?) or self-willed men had arranged the work "in His name." Much more had been expected of Volume 7. The "point of the sword," which this volume is claimed to be, according to the exposition of this article (W.T.R6149 206149, 6150&6214) seems to be much worn off in the meantime, for the use and approval of this book has diminished noticeably. In the W.T. of December 15, 1917 (W.T.R6182 206182) the Society is again designated as the angel having power over fire. There also, in bombastic words, the power and authority of the Society is said to scatter coals of fire, especially through Volume 7, which here is designated as a means to set the nominal church heavens on fire. The above exposition concerning the angel of Re 14:18 is repeated in January 1, 1918 W.T. (Reprints R6194 206194) the Society also wants to be the antitype of the fiery chariot which took Elijah away. (W.T.R6213-14 206213, February 15, 1918; in contrast see W.T.R5845 205845, February 1, 1916). Indeed the Society competes in self-laudation with the greatest of all systems, papacy.

 

We pray the Lord that He may keep us from this form of spiritual pride. Let us cultivate humility, beloved; let us set our Lord above all else, giving Him first love and first place. Let us not place ourselves in the foreground, render ourselves prominent and thereby take honor from Him to whom alone it belongs.

 

May the spiritual pride of the Watch Tower society be a warning to us. Isa 2:10-11, 22.

DOS178 "1914"—"1918"—"1921"—"1925" "TIME IS NO MORE"

 

Whoever has lived through the beautiful days of Brother Russell’s time, knows that 1914 was looked upon as the year when the long reign of sin and death would end, and the reign of righteousness and life begin. Prior to this, thought Brother Russell, drawing his conclusions from certain parallels, the little flock of overcomers would be completed and enter into the heavenly glory.

 

The expectations placed on 1914 were not wholly fulfilled. The Little Flock was not glorified; it is not completed as yet today, we believe. Brother Russell himself lived beyond 1914.

 

But what attitude did our dear Brother take upon the fact that 1914 passed by without bringing a complete fulfillment of his expectations? That 1914 is a very important year we all know, for in that year the great catastrophe began upon earth, chiefly in "Christendom," and still continues.

 

But the "end" did not come quickly, as the facts now show. What did Brother Russell say to these facts? Among other things: "...Our expectations must not be allowed to weigh anything against the facts." And after having placed this important principle at the head of an article, he acknowledged the mistake, and we also find in the same article further acknowledgments under the subheading: "Our mistake regarding the harvest." (W.T.R5950: Sept. 1, 1916.) Who can say now, that after the passing of 1914 Brother Russell failed in his duties toward the household of faith? No one! Because when he confessed the mistake and proved it with facts, against which no one can successfully set himself in opposition, he has honestly done all that could be done under the circumstances. Such conduct always shows sincerity, and men of such character can, as a poet says, "travel through error to the truth"; they continue to be blessed and used by the Lord.

 

After 1914 Brother Russell has not discussed any further point of time. He knew of none, and did not want to set any

 

DOS179 at random. (W.T.R5950-51 205950.) He died two years after the long looked for year 1914.

 

His "legitimate successors" claim that God took him away, because he could not possibly operate visibly in the succeeding work; he would have had to write about himself, it was said, etc. (see for ex. Preface to Vol. 7). Actually Brother Russell laid down his head after a life full of activity and blessing, that the Bible students might be severely tested, whether they had the truth merely in the head, or above all, in the heart, and whether they were giving more honor and service to the creature than to the creator. The test still continues, and we see its results. And we see that out of thousands only "three hundred" carry the "water" by hand to the mouth, that they.may drink it after critically looking at and examining it. The majority lay their eyes so close to the surface of the water and gulp the water so greedily that they cannot at all see what enters into their mouths. That is the test. Brother Russell’s "successors" have left his methods and teachings long ago. On preceding pages we have spoken of some of these things and have proved them.

 

In the matter of time the "successors" have also been very careless, just as they have in many points of doctrine. The Society’s literature since Brother Russell’s death has attributed a great and wonderful importance to the years 1918, 1921 and 1925 (sometimes also 1926). And here also friends were found who could not make the assurance of the society their own, and who counseled caution. This was especially true concerning the year 1925. The time periods previous to 1925 were generally only laid before God’s people; it was quite different with 1925.

 

Extraordinary efforts were made to make it known to the world far and wide. This cannot be denied now, since the printed matter in pamphlets and the Watch Tower, etc., is present. In the year 1917 the expectation was voiced that Abraham would come into actual possession of his inheritance in the year 1925 (W.T.R6175 206175). Of course in such a case the church would have to be glorified first, and it is a fact that this expectation was held. We read: "What will the year 1918 bring forth?... The Christian looks for the year to bring forth the full consummation of the church’s hopes." (W.T.R6191 206191.) Following we cite something from the

 

DOS180 Society’s literature as proof that the Society had the expectation that the dates given, but especially 1925, would bring the events which previously had been published in numerous written and oral expositions. We read: "... and since other scriptures definitely fix the fact that there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other faithful ones of old, and that these will have the first favor, we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men of Israel from the condition of death, ..."( Mill. p.99).

 

"At that time (1925) the earthly phase of the kingdom shall be recognized. The Apostle Paul in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews names a long list of faithful men who died before the crucifixion of the Lord and before the beginning of the selection of the church. These can never be a part of the heavenly class; they had no heavenly hopes; but God has in store something good for them. They are to be resurrected as perfect men and constitute the princes or rulers in the earth, according to his promise (Ps 45:16; Isa 32:1; Mt 8:11). Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old..." (Mill. pp. 89-90).

 

  "... ends about October 1, 1925 A.D., at which time there is reason to believe that Abraham will come into possession of his inheritance." (Mill. p. 108, see also p. 110.) "...1918 and 1921 indicate more and more distinctly that they were turning points or milestones on the chronological highway..." (W.T. 1922:150)..How great the assurance was concerning 1925 the following exposition in the W.T. shows: "The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures," than 1914. (W.T. 1922:262.) "The actual end of the jubilees brought the destruction of literal Babylon; and the end of the seventy cycles (as indicated by seventy jubilees) in the fall of 1925, will surely bring the deathblow to symbolic Babylon." (W.T. 1924:159) Compare also the Society’s own testimony concerning its proclamation re 1925 in W.T. 1925:54, par. 33, first line.

 

With the approach of 1925 the voices counseling caution in respect to it increased, because they could not find any sure basis in the Scriptures for the sensational proclamations concerning this year. They saw that the too-sure proclaiming of the theme "1925" would not bring blessings, but only

 

DOS181 ignominy instead. These admonitions had the desired effect upon some, and the Society became indignant because of it. It spurred the fickle ones still more passionately to a holding fast to 1925, and those who did share their expectations were put under the ban. Among other things they wrote: "Many are inclined to be doubtful concerning 1925, therefore they became lukewarm" (W.T.1923:35). The question "Will 1925 bring that which is proclaimed?" occupied the friends very much, a proof that they were not quite sure. How characteristically, for example, is the question printed in the W.T. 1923:106: "did the order go forth eight months ago to the Pilgrims to cease talking about 1925? Have we no more reason, or as much, to believe the kingdom will be established than Noah had to believe that there would be a flood?" The Society’s answer is peculiar. It says first: "It is surprising how reports get abroad. There was never t any time any intimation to the Pilgrim brethren that they should cease talking about 1925..."

 

"Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures, marking the end of the typical jubilees."

 

Yes, at the close of the reply the questioner is expressly assured that the Christian now possesses much more upon which to base his faith (i.e., "that the kingdom will be established in 1925") then Noah had ..., upon which he based his belief in a coming flood. But at the same time an undertone is sounding forth, that the Society itself does not know what really would happen in 1925; yes, they began to declare statements concerning definite events for 1925 as "quibble"—playing with words.

 

It would lead too far, to cite here the many publications of the Society concerning the year 1925 in its various pamphlets, Watch Tower articles and other literature. We entreat all, to look through the "Watch Tower" and other literature of the time before 1925, and to remember also the immense expenditure of time, strength, money, the innumerable discourses, and the great.amount of colporteur and volunteer work, which was made in connection with this year 1925.

 

We do not especially desire to point to the failure in respect to 1925; because we ourselves are fallible. But further on we will set forth why we are saying anything about this. Our

 

DOS182 position is not so much against mistakes as against a dishonest, insincere performance which misleads God’s children. We have proofs that the Society itself became "doubtful" re 1925, but that it did not walk a straight path and make these doubts known to God’s people in time. That, of course, would have required courage. After a majority of the friends, because of the many and positive announcements concerning 1925, had themselves become assured and devoted and grateful to the Society because of its "wonderful light," it would have considered it a weakening of its position to openly and honestly declare: "Friends, we must say today, that we are not sure about the events announced for 1925." this would, indeed, at first have shaken the confidence of many in the Society, but the confidence in the sure word of prophecy (2Pe 1:19) would have been restored, and above all, the Society would have proven itself upright and sincere. This confession did not come, and it was this that opened the eyes of the sincere among God’s people.

 

Not only did it fail to come, but one soon had to learn that the Society suddenly refused to assume any responsibility, but rather wanted to put all blame upon "others." It wanted still to be regarded as God’s mouthpiece, as His "only channel" for the reception and proclamation of His truths (this fact gains in importance when we remember, how continually it is claiming this office for itself passionately and jealously) and therefore it turned and twisted so long, that the friends believed its new contrary assertion also. The word "juggler," used in 2Ti 3:13 (see Young’s Conc.) fits so exactly here that we must apply it to the society’s conduct. It would lead too far afield if we were to cite all the turns with which it later placed its own self sure, yes, bold assertions, proclamations and expectations upon others. Whoever has not his head hidden in the sand will readily admit that the Watch Tower suddenly turned the lance about and all at once said concerning the expectations re 1925 published far and wide: "Many, ... several, ... a few, ... thought, believed, expected, etc." Had the Society made statements as Brother Russell did regarding 1914: "We thought, ... we expected, ... our mistakes...," then no one would have had cause to say anything against it. If I myself proclaim a certain message as an "only ambassador," and then, because of the failure of my own wisdom say: "I

 

DOS183 did not proclaim it, many...others...did it," then I would thereby prove to every sincere person that I am anything else than sincere, or the only one carrying out the Lord’s work. Whoever does not admit such facts, has, of course, the privilege to deceive himself and to share the guilt of deceiving others.

 

In the article just mentioned, W.T. 1922:150, one can already faintly detect the intention to push the false message off upon others. Many have had the inclination, it says there, to expect more than had really been predicted. What had been predicted we know; we also know that some...a few...had the inclination to expect less than had been predicted (by the Society); we further know that these have been and are to the present hour put down as opponents of "the work of the Lord," in spite of their sober and correct position as demonstrated by the facts; —Brothers, Sisters.in Christ! Can you still think logically? Then think! ...Arguments like: "1925 as a date (!) will not be postponed again even if all that is expected by some should not take place," are too insignificant to be given any weight by an earnest student. "As a date," of course, 1925 was not postponed, neither 1914, nor 1926 or 1927, etc., but the expected events were "postponed," they failed to appear! Such replies naturally would make "some" disconcerted. They caused meditation and with it an examination of all the Watch Tower assertions of recent years. But in just such an examination the Society saw a danger for its dominating position. Had the friends been given time to examine the things, to see whether they be true, then perhaps they might have discovered some things disagreeable for the "only channel." therefore they were turned aside from such examinations in a dexterous manner and turned to the grandly growing "work." If the glorious truth of the Scriptures formerly occupied the minds of the friends, now the work should captivate and fill them with admiration. Whoever today reads the phrases "some...a few...believed, expected," will ask himself: "Who could those few, ... some, have been, who entertained and proclaimed such vague, uncertain expectations? We cite here but a few proofs that the Society shoved the blame for

 

DOS184 the proclaimed and unfulfilled expectations re 1925 on to others in order to put itself down as wholly blameless.

 

Among other things they wrote: "Will any man have the temerity to say now that he knows the very day and hour when the last member shall pass beyond the vail, when all shall be forever with the Lord, and when the door will be closed? Surely not." (W.T. 1923:292) "Let no one now be deceived by calculations as to just when the Lord will cease his work with the Church here on earth. The year 1925 is a date definitely and clearly marked in the Scriptures, even more clearly than that of 1914; but it would be presumptuous on the part of any faithful follower of the Lord to assume just what the Lord is going to do during the year." (W.T.1924:211) "It is no time now, to show weakness of faith or to become discouraged because to some it may not seem that 1925 will bring what they expected." (W.T. 1924:247) "The year 1925 is here. With great expectations Christians have looked forward to this year.

 

Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during the year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his own people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire during this year that they would fail to joyfully do what the Lord would have them to do." (W.T. 1925:3, par. 2) "Some anticipated that the work would end in 1925, but the Lord did not so state." (W.T..1926:232) "Did not so state?"—but wasn’t the proclamation the "work of the Lord?"

 

When one reads the bold assurance in the article W.T. 1925:56, par. 47: "... assured that the Lord is still in direct charge, and that he is carrying o his work exactly on schedule time," and then sees the following shoving-off of the just-as-boldly proclaimed expectations upon others, then one receives a clear insight into the "strange" (lit. "twisted") way (Pr 21:8) pursued by the Society since Brother Russell’s death. After having set forth the Lord as director and master of its arrangements, it says boldly, without any shame: "It seems to be a weakness of many Bible students that if they locate a future date in the Bible, immediately they center as many prophecies upon that date as possible. This has

 

DOS185 been the cause of many siftings in the past. As far as we recall, all the dates foreseen were correct. The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything." (par. 51) What shall one say to such jugglery? It was the Society itself, which, despite all admonitions, concentrated "as many prophecies as possible" upon 1925, which put down such admonition as insinuations of the adversary and arrogantly cast them to the wind; and then, when the many prophecies focused upon 1925 tuned to nought—then all at once it hadn’t done this, but others, some, a few... ! To these feigned "some...few..." there was quickly imputed, to make the deception perfect, "imagination," "fantastic fancies," lack of "a scriptural basis for all they expected to come to pass that year," etc. Who then were these "others?" But if the reproaches, "imagination," "fantastic fancies," lack of "scriptural basis...," which the Society here and in other places heaped upon those mysterious "few...others...," be given back to it as the place where they belong—then they fit. But has an "official" organization of God (?) ever confessed its errors of doctrine and practice? "I am, and done else beside me!" (Isa 47:8) spake and speaks not only the "mother," but the "daughters" also love this song, and the Society is also singing it, as is expressly stated by it. And however wrongly it may act, or teach absurdities, or make vague assertions and shove its foolish messages off upon others, yet (or because of this?) it wants to be and remain the "Only One." People of God! Do you see the things as they are?... Are you following in you Shepherd’s footsteps?... Do you know what is included in loyalty to Him?... Do you love Him?... Then show how you do it! Fear not! More and more God’s children were and are being inflamed to outward service> Why? That they may not come to quiet, clear reasoning and thinking and ascertain the truth and the facts.

 

And in an ever more condemnatory manner those mysterious "few...some...many," who had certain expectations for 1925 are spoken of. Beloved in Christ! Some day history will establish the crooked ways of the Society in a different manner and will prove the desolations of the sanctuary.

 

DOS186 around the much-lauded and afterward much-reviled "1925." Do we desire that then we must be spoken of as those who, by foregoing personal investigation went through thick and thin with this system of most-refined deception, who placed the Lord, to whom our loyalty belonged, in the rear? Did 2Ti 3:5 apply only 1900 years ago? Does it not apply today to the selfwilled "authorities" and "Only One?"

 

"The end of 1925 is about here. Some have expected to see the work of the church in the flesh completed this year. Probably this expectation has been induced somewhat by the desire to end earth’s journey of toil and to sit at ease in glory. If so, then is there not a measure of selfishness in such a desire and expectation? Selfishness could not be pleasing to the Lord." (W.T.

 

1925:259) "It is to be expected that Satan will try t inject into the minds of the consecrated the thought that 1925 should see an end of the work, ..."( W.T. 1925:262) Thus wrote the Watch Tower. that which for centuries had been ardently longed for, which in no wise ever could be a selfish expectation, which the Watch Tower itself had been expecting (see for ex. WT.R6191 206191, par. 1), has with the turning of the hand become selfishness, because a few...some... still consider a preparation for that glorious condition as more important than the much-lauded "work of the Lord!" (Read: "work of the Watch Tower.") The Society well knew that it would come to the minds of "some" of he consecrated, that the Society had announced the end of the work for 1925 and therefore brings up its heaviest weapon with the sentence cited: "It is to be expected that Satan will try, etc. ..." Oh, yes, this Satan! The Society, of course, had never proclaimed an end of the work of 1925! (?) The Lord is "responsible" for the seventh volume, etc., and when the self-wisdom of the "Only One" lies demolished on the ground, then it is said: "Not from me! From Satan!"...

 

It was therefore the nonfulfillment of the many presumptuously-claimed chronological events and the well-founded fear that the friends would turn their attention again to the neglected Bible study, which caused the Society to draw attention to a new matter, to which it gave the catchy name "work of the Lord." With this supposed work of the Lord the question

 

DOS187 of "organization" is originally connected—a new deception of God’s people. Alas, that God’s people permit themselves to be deceived so much! Yes, at the first timid thought, after the deplorable collapse of all chronological expectations to carry on more Bible study again, they were captured, and now they see hardly anything more of the glorious divine truth and the "reasonable service" (Ro 12:1) because of the glamour and glory of this "work." Just as Brother Russell said: "They became irreconcilable to the truth, so that neither Scripture, nor reason, nor example of believers has the power to set them right."

 

In 1923 the Society still declared that the question which has been uppermost in the minds of the Lord’s people for the last 45 years, and especially during the last 19 years, has been and is this: "When will that union of the bride and the Bridegroom take place? When will the faithful followers of the Lord be united together with him?" (W.T. 1923:292). Now with ominous haste it is declared that such expectations are—selfishness! "Heretofore Bible chronology has been a great stimulus to keep the mind of the Christian fixed on the time of the King’s presence, the coming of his kingdom, and the taking of his power to reign," (W.T. 1925:260) and the acknowledgment of the chronological points was vehemently demanded; now it is said that the Lord nowhere stated in what year, etc., we should expect that taking away of the last members.

 

"Why should he inform us before his time, and why should we even desire to possess this knowledge before the Lord’s due time, ...?" it is said now, as if the Society had never announced dates. (W.T. 1925:260; 1926:232, par. 48). Describing the nonfulfillment of all that had been expected in 1914 it says: "... but did they (God’s servants) have a Scriptural basis for all they expected...?" (W.T. 1925:57, par. 51) thus making it appear as though it had been others only and not it who had ever certain expectations in regard to dates lying beyond 1914. "Out of thine own mouth will judge thee"—applies here also. Because the "few... some..." etc. are none others than the responsible ones with the "Only channel" itself. They believed, they taught, they expected and vehemently fought against those who did not believe as they; who discerned their teachings to be man’s wisdom, and they, the Society, fight against them to this day.

 

DOS188 Instead of manifesting sorrow and contrition over the fact that through their arbitrary way so many souls were misled and possibly led to unbelief, the society with a proud gesture puts off the anxious question as to whether 1925 or 1926 really would bring the change of the church, and declares: "... what does it matter?" (W.T. 1925:58, par. 66). But in the same article (par. 47) it is stated that it is not absurd to expect that Jehovah would mark this date just as clearly for the world, as he did with the year 1914. And a little later comes the open declaration: "time is no more. By this is meant that we are not to be deeply concerned any longer about time features.

 

The Lord is in His temple. The king and His kingdom are here. Whether or not the entire church is to pass beyond the vail in 1925, is a matter of little moment." (W.T.1925:247, par. 33). "Of little moment!"—Brothers, Sisters, think of this! "Time is no more"—mystery, intelligible only to the initiated! Herewith the Society only shows us what it thinks of the time. We will give this decision its proper value. For them there is really no more time. They have no time to consider their own ways, nor to study, nor to mourn, to be contrite, they only plunge themselves into their supposed "work of the Lord," to which they ever again boastfully point. But we declare: "Time is!" and will not consider it objectionable to be concerned about time features, without hurrying on ahead of God, as the Society did, and to say after the manner of the Watch Tower: "As concerning the time, there is no limit. It is now from henceforth and forever" (W.T. 1925:247, par. 33). "With the anointed ones now on earth time is no more" (W.T.1925:276, par. 10). "For these time is no more." (W.T. 1925:344, par.460. Again we say: mystery! Who now has been "quibbling" about words? (W.T. 1923:106). Only the Society, which, according to its own admission did not even give the Pilgrim brethren a hint "to cease talking about 1925."

 

The Society long ago felt that its "fantastic structures" would collapse, but did not initiate its adherents into its unbelief regarding its own expectations. Friends who not only traveled to the General Convention at Madgeburg in 1925, but even, as they confessed to us, sold some needed articles to give an offering to the "work of the Lord," had to hear at this Convention to their.greatest astonishment of great and most extensive plans (buildings, etc.), which went far beyond

 

DOS189 1925. They were frightened, but hardly dared to pour out their hearts to anyone. But the Society was not embarrassed for an answer. Never! With many words it sought to make the divinity of its "work" credible to the "Anointed," as it is in the habit of saying, even of the work after 1925 also. It acted as though the end of the work had never been announced for 1925. It was, of course, "others, ... a few... some..." who had done this, but not "we"! (the Society).

 

If 1925 did not bring what had been expected, it still brought something, but something quite different: a most thoroughly detailed formation of the supposed divinely arranged Organization ! In the Watch Tower 1925:56, par. 45 the "purpose" of 1925 is thus described: "What would be more reasonable than to expect that 1925 will be a very stirring and busy year for the antitypical Israelites, as God will be settling their arrangements and positions in the Body preparatory for their work to begin with the Gentiles on time?"

 

So then "ranks and positions in the body" were to be regulated in 1925! That which hitherto had been proclaimed for years concerning 1925 had suddenly disappeared; "new and brighter" beamed the light and the majority believed they must demonstrate their loyalty to the Lord and His work in quickly and enthusiastically following again this new light. It was also correctly feared right away, that this arbitrary act (detailed formation of the organization) would bring severe testings in consequence (par.45). Yes, it was the organization which came in 1925, but not what had been expected. And now Bible students have an organization; they are, like almost everything else in our day, organized ("bundled") and now they say: a wonderful gift from God! We will later have something to say about this fateful organization.

 

One would think that at least one excuse would have been given regarding the boastful announcements concerning 1925. Far from it. The "explanation..." after 1925 (W.T. Jan. 1, 1926) is even more boastful. It states expressly that the Society had nothing to take back concerning 1925. (!) It says literally: "We have, therefore, no occasion to correct anything whatever regarding the date 1925... We have nothing to correct regarding the date."

 

DOS190 And as proof it is cited that the events in the world along political and social lines had absolutely (!) confirmed the expectations for 1925. The perplexity of the whole world is proof enough it is further said, as if perplexity had not been in the world since 1914 and with us even today. In its embarrassment, and because it wants to be right at all events, the Society seeks to give the real events of 1925 the greatest and most wonderful significance, to enhance them artificially. But we think that a scriptural chronological date is such only when it is characterized by really extraordinary scripturally-predicted events. The Society had indeed expected such extraordinary events; but these failed to come. And concerning these it is mentioned as something quite unimportant, that some expectations indeed had existed about the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies and the "plainly visible beginning of the restitution work," but that these were only—. insignificant in character! (lit. insignificant inference). Thus appears the Society’s explanation! Wrong upon wrong, error upon error, ungodly methods, misleading of God’s people may be traced to it—it always remains God’s "only channel," it alone! Let it alone! It will remain what it is; because no movement which has walked in self-chosen instead of God’s ways has ever repented. we have only endeavored to call the attention of God’s people to the snares and dangers which are threatening, and to incite each one to perform his duty toward the Lord. "And let not your heart faint!" we cry to the Lord’s consecrated again and again. "If you feel yourself in bondage, courageously tear yourself away!" Don’t think that with this we mean to say: "Come to us." We admonish rather: "Go to the Lord!" and all else will be regulated. You will find all of God’s children, who, like yourself, have gone and are going to the Lord, who know only one bond, the spirit from above which binds them to one another and to God, only one work, that of the faith, the truth and the transformation into the image of Jesus. Such an Association of earnest, God-devoted Bible students is still an association without restraint, as it was fifteen and more years ago.

 

Oh, that God’s people, once torn loose from the power of human systems, which only capture minds and thoughts,

 

DOS191 might give attention to the Lord and his truth again! That they might see what are snares and pitfalls! That they might flee the newly-served sparkling wine of Babylon! Few only will do this. Few only will fear God more than men. And these will be blessed. Hasten!.

 

JESUS ALONE!  

 

Jesus alone! No other Master, Lord.

 

Hence my watch-word shall be: Not self, but Thee, And far from honor vain, I would be wholly Thine! Oh, that the false within depart And nought abide within my heart But Jesus alone! The smaller I, The greater He’s to me; The more His will prevails The less my own, Which is a hindrance—dire.

 

He adorns me with true riches, And still more fully refreshes The smaller I! Jesus alone! The precious name doth glow Within my innermost heart.

 

If it might grow The more my life depart! Oh, were I smaller, smaller still, And faithfully obey the will Of Jesus alone..

DOS192 THE TRIAL OF THE ANCIENT WORTHIES Is It Past, or Does It Lie in the Future?

 

The scriptural answer to the above question should not be difficult for any enlightened, earnest Bible student. When Paul speaks of the heroes of faith who preceded the Christian era, whom he enumerates in Hebrews 11, as having obtained a good report from God, and when he further, in Hebrews 12:1, commends them to us for our emulation as shining examples in courageous faith, loyalty and patient endurance of suffering, he has thereby decided the question as to whether their trial is past and they have passed it. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses..." says the Apostle, which is to say that they are examples worthy of imitation to the faithful of this age, in respect to zeal and endurance. Their trial was quite severe, as shown in Hebrews 11, especially Heb 11:33-38. They have passed it. It is therefore clear to us, and confirmed by the Scriptures, that the heroes of faith in the Old Testament had their trial during their life on earth and passed it, and on this account a "better resurrection" is in store for them in the awakening time (Heb 2:35). They will then receive a glorious reward. They will be made princes in all the earth (Ps 45:16). This is the teaching of the Scriptures.

 

The "new light" of the Watch Tower has darkened this truth also, which unfortunately must be said of nearly all truths. All the truths have been assaulted. The Lord is permitting this as a test to the faithful. In the Watch Tower 1925:23 the question concerning the trial of the Ancient Worthies is taken up. We are amazed as we read there that this class will still have to pass their final trial, and that at the end of the Millennial Age. According to the Watch Tower presentation they "will not have the perfection of character when they come forth from the grave." During Christ’s millennial reign they are to be trained in a school of experience and will finally stand perfect at the end of that time. Ye courageous warriors for the faith of God, what a disadvantage you are under, compared to your fellow-believers

 

DOS193 of the Christian era, who are tried only once, in this present life! Not until the end of the thousand year reign will eternal life be given you, if you pass the final test!—But, thank God, only the "Watch Tower" says this. We are glad that these thoughts are not God’s thoughts.

 

But let us examine this: According to the testimony of the Scriptures (Ps 45:16), the faithful ones of the Old Testament will be made princes in all the earth. They are to occupy a prominent, authoritative position among men and live visibly upon the earth as their teachers, representatives of the spiritual rulers, and execute their commands (Ps 45:16; Lk 13:28).

 

The directions of the spiritual government of Christ will be given to mankind through these earthly agents and regents. But how and when can these overcomers of the Old Testament be princes in all the earth, if the reward is given them only at the end of the thousand years after passing the final test? And then, according to the explanation of the ‘watch Tower" they are not to receive an earthly reward, but are to be changed to heavenly beings. According to this the Biblical promise that they are to be "princes in all the earth" would remain unfulfilled. No, these thoughts are human and without support, since they are refuted by the infallible divine word.

 

Through their loyalty in the trial during their life here they have proven their worthiness for the princely office in the Millennial Kingdom. Their character was tried and proven through suffering; it is, therefore, inconsistent to say that they will be awakened with an imperfect character and only reach perfection at the end of the thousand years. Did they not similarly suffer and were they not tested under the same adverse conditions, and did they not have to prove their loyalty and patient endurance unto death just as their fellow sufferers of this age, who will also stand perfect in their awakening? What advantage would they have over other men, if they had to be trained like these during the Millennial Kingdom and pass a final (second) test at the end of the thousand years? On the contrary, they would be at a disadvantage compared to these, since they would be doubly tested, here under sinful conditions, and then again in the Millennium.

 

If the heroes of faith of the pre-Christian era are to be

 

DOS194 princes in all the earth, then God has made this provision because mankind will need guidance, education and supervision during the Millennium, and for this the Lord will use these faithful patriarchs of old. After the restitution work has been completed, at the expiration of Christ’s millennial reign, all men will be kings, princes, subject only to God and His heavenly government. They will be trained and able to administer their affairs themselves. And whether the pre-Christian overcomers will then be raised to a heavenly plane of being, as some surmise, and as the Watch Tower also states, we do not know.

 

It cannot be inferred from Heb 11:40 that the old heroes of faith will be perfect only at the end of the Millennium. The making perfect, spoken of there, will not take place at the end, but at the beginning of the thousand years, in connection with their awakening and will require but little time.

 

We would here prove that the "new light" of the "Watch Tower" often lasts but a few months. It is alleged to be of the Lord and yet is without duration. A year after the exegesis above treated, the "Watch Tower" (1926:87, par. 40) brought an opposite thought concerning the Ancient Worthies, in which it is expressed that the class mentioned will come forth from the grave perfect, already tested and found faithful and occupy the divinely-provided place in the "government of Zion, in the new nation." This thought is still more distinctly expressed in the "Deliverance" book, page 311. There it is said: "It is reasonable to expect that these faithful men, whom we call ancient worthies, will be brought forth from the tomb as perfect men, possessing perfect bodies and perfect minds. They were tried and tested before they died. Their faithfulness to the Lord is even held forth of the church as a proper example and guide for those to follow who hope to be of the heavenly or invisible part of the Kingdom."

 

What can we say to that? Both thoughts are form the Lord, "new light," and yet are opposed to one another? Is that which the Lord gives of value for a short time only? Has He kept the knowledge of the right thing "from Himself?"

 

We hope that these expositions may open the eyes of

 

DOS195 sincere friends, so that the vacillating ways of the Watch Tower may be discerned. In the eyes of Brother Russell this question concerning the Ancient Worthies was clearly seen; what was then believed was the truth, and it did not become error in one year. No, the short-lived "new light" was human opinion. Let us beware, beloved, of placing such human opinions above the divine word. Let us not say: "The Watch Tower is our teacher and our authority" (W.T. 1925:191); the word of God is our authority, which, like God Himself, is unchangeable and abides forever. And "if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isa 8:20).

 

"These ancient worthies will be unlike the remainder of mankind, not alone in the fact that their trial is past while the trial of the world in general will just be beginning; but they will be unlike them also in the fact that they will have attained the reward for their faithfulness—they will be perfect men, having completely restored to them all that was lost in Adam of mental and moral likeness to God, and perfection of physical powers." (C.T.Russell in Volume 4, page 625) JESUS ONLY Jesus only! In the shadow Of the cloud so chill and dim, We are clinging, loving, trusting, He with us and we with Him.

 

All unseen, though ever nigh, Jesus only—all our cry! Jesus only! In the glory, When the shadows all are flown, Seeing Him in all His beauty, Satisfied with Him alone.

 

May we join His ransomed throng, Jesus only—all our song! —-From Poems of Dawn..

DOS196 THE PARABLE OF THE SHEEP AND GOATS  

 

In the days of Brother Russell all earnest Bible students were agreed that the fulfillment of the parable of Mt 25:31-46 will take place when our Lord and Head as the Chief Justice with His completed ecclesia as Associate Judges shall have begun His thousand-year reign of blessing—not sooner. All was clear and harmonious—until Brother Russell closed his eyes, and, as he saw it coming, a "chasing after something new, some new special ‘find’ in the mine of God, which would excite the admiration of many curious disciples" (W.T.R1320 201320) began. The alleged "old," "dreamed of" things were quickly removed. With alacrity they acted to make "all things new," if possible by 1918, and thus to gather more proof for the supposed coming of the Lord to His temple in that year. They did not make a fundamental change in the explanation of this parable until toward the close of 1923, so the assertion, so customary now, that this or that could not be understood before 1918, is proven to be idle talk. When it is said in the W.T. 1926:118, par. 28 that since 1919 a clearer (i.e., the present) knowledge of the parable of the Sheep and Goats was imparted to the church, this is either a conscious untruth, an intended misleading, or the "new light" has been kept from the church till 1923.

 

In the Watch Tower of Oct. 15, 1923, the present exposition of the Sheep and Goats parable appeared for the first time. It contains a multitude of errors and absurdities, and upon these errors other new errors have grown in the meantime. The following sentences (par. 4 of the article) show how the "Watch Tower" wants to have the parable explained: "Heretofore we have applied the parable to the Millennial reign of Christ, and the final judgment of the parable to the end of that reign. Such interpretation has been difficult to harmonize. If we find objections to its application during the Millennial age, and if we find the physical facts now known to us to fit the word picture, we would be justified in concluding that we might not have heretofore had the proper interpretation."

 

By presentation of the "objections to its application," the talk concerning the formerly believed fulfillment in the Millennial

 

DOS197 kingdom is, among other things, an "impossibility," "against all reason," etc. (pars. 6 and 10).

 

With this the direction of the exposition is indicated. According to this the parable would not find its fulfillment in the Millennium. If this exposition is "brighter light," then the former is not fainter light, but error and darkness, for the question here is about contrasts; here doctrine stands against doctrine. Formerly the parable was applied to the Millennial Age, now the Watch Tower itself applies it to the present.

 

The "Watch Tower" errs grossly when it says in paragraph 6 of this particle: "The final judgment (of the parable) is based upon certain events that transpired while our Lord was absent in heaven and before the restoration trial begins." According to this the judgment decides the eternal life or eternal death of each individual on the basis of their acts in this age and this life. Has not the.Society herewith landed again upon the ground on which nearly all churches and communions have long stood? If it wee true as the Watch Tower now teaches with its "brighter" light (?) then the fate of all mankind is sealed: they go into the Second death, since there is none righteous—excepting the faithful! Then the divine plan of salvation is a great failure. We say: No, these are not the thoughts of our God, this is man’s product, this is not true.

 

We still believe the Bible when it says that God has appointed "a day" in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man—Jesus Christ (Ac 17:30, 31) and that this day is the thousand-year day, the Millennium of the Lord Jesus Christ and His glorified bride. As long as the members of the body of Christ are being judged, the world is not; and as long as the former suffer, they cannot at the same time be reigning and judging. We must hold fast to this one true fundamental thought. There cannot be any doubt that the followers of the Lord are still undergoing judgment, that they are still being tested as to their absolute loyalty. As long as Satan, the prince of this world, is going about on the earth as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1Pe 5:8) there is opportunity for trial of the candidates for the throne, an opportunity for suffering and of judgment. When this class shall have been completed, then the judgment of the world, the judgment of the Sheep and

 

DOS198 Goats will begin. A judgment without a complete Court is unthinkable. Since the church will be the judges in the Millennium under the Head as presiding Justice (Re 20:4; Da 7:22-26) they must first be completed and united with their Head, and seated upon the sovereign throne and judgment bench (see the passages just mentioned and Re 3:21), then only can the world’s judgment begin. The church is not completed today.

 

The final judgment of the parable is based not upon events of this, but of the future age, the Millennium, although events of this life will not be without influence on the experiences in the next age. Nearly all are condemned in Adam today. they also die in Adam (1Co 15:22; Ro 5:12). The exception to this are the few enlightened ones, who have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit (Heb 6:4), who have passed from death unto life (Joh 5:24), who are now undergoing judgment (1Pe 4:17) and who die in Christ. Only this class, called the "Little Flock," is being judged here and according not the deeds of this present life rewarded or condemned. Of all others the words are true: "The world lieth in the Wicked One (1Joh 5:19), and "the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them (2Co 4:4). All who are not enlightened and partakers of the Holy Spirit come under this, the elders, scribes and Pharisees also, for whom our Lord made intercession (Isa 53:1; Lk 23:34) and whom the Apostle partly excuses because of their ignorance in crucifying the Messiah (Ac 3:17). The class of the Scribes and Pharisees of the past and present are, of course, not without light and responsibility, but had not the full measure of light, which would then have made them fully responsible. Our Lord Jesus repeatedly calls them blind; not less than five times does He do so in Mt 23.

 

But if they did not possess full light and were not partakers of the Holy Spirit, then they cannot have sinned against full light (Heb 6:4). Their actions of the present will affect their progress in the Millennium, because they will need not make increased effort not advance on the highway of holiness, to the degree that they have resisted the word and truth of God during the Gospel Age. We cannot, of course, know today whether they will or will not pass the judgment in the Millennium.

 

DOS199 We have established then, that only the followers of Christ are judged on the basis of the deeds and events of this life "while our Lord has been absent in heaven." The leaders of the society, with the bible students who follow them, have been in a hurry to unlearn and forget the glorious Restitution doctrine, which has a direct bearing o the judgment of Mt 25. Everything is here now: the "times of refreshing," the judgment of the Sheep and Goats, the riding upon the white horses, etc. Soon there will be nothing left for the Millennium. They have returned to the standpoint of the great churches, which make everything dependent upon the present life, and discern blessings in the future only for themselves. Babylon’s intoxicating cup is more alluring than the clear water of the truth.

 

The new exposition of the parable of the Sheep and Goats originated in spiritual conceit. We read in this Watch Tower article of Oct. 15, 1923, that the judgment described in the parable is based among other things, upon deeds which had been done to brethren who were in prison. On page 311 of this article we will find proof that an imprisonment (allegedly as suffering for Christ’s sake) has gone to the head of some Bible students, among these the author of this article.

 

It says in paragraph 41: "During the World War the beastly order again became particularly active, and no more wicked persecution of Christians has ever blackened the world’s record than that instigated and carried on by the clergy and the principal of the flock against defenseless, harmless Christian men and women who dared to proclaim the message of Messiah’s kingdom."

 

We entreat, however, that the entire paragraph of this article and also the following ones be carefully read. So then: There has never been a more malicious persecution of Christians (!!!) than that during the world war, which befell the present president and a few other collaborators! We read similarly in the W.T. 1925:72, par. 63, where it is said: "Again we emphasize the fact that from 1974 to 1918 there was scarcely any persecution of the Church. The severe persecution took place after Satan was hurled out of heaven (also 1914).

 

When he go the Lord’s representatives into his own prison (do we understand?) he doubtless concluded that he need give little or no attention to them any more..."

 

DOS200 This is said by the president! The Committee of the Watch Tower hastens to publish this "truth" (read: self-praise) far and near! Listen, ye martyrs of the past, ye apostles and all ye followers of the Lord, who have been persecuted and killed, who often have finished your lives on the rack and at the stake: thus your heroism, your sufferings and your martyrdom are esteemed as very little or nothing.

 

But this is not enough of self-praise. In paragraph 29 of the article it is deduced that a community of Christians met together in a General Convention in September, 1922, who addressed themselves on this occasion to all the nations of the earth by an adopted proclamation.

 

Then, after citing literal extracts of the proclamation, in paragraph 30 it is said: "He (the Lord) acts officially through his church. Is it not reasonable to conclude that this proclamation of the great principles of God’s Word sent to the nations fulfills the prophetic utterances of our Lord concerning the gathering of the nations before him for judgment?"

 

From this it would doubtless appear that the Watch Tower sees in this manifesto and the distribution of the proclamation the execution of the judgment, and that those who distributed this proclamation were the commissioned judges. That this is the thought of the Watch Tower is proven by the deductions in paragraph 20 of the article. Is not this a presumption difficult to be surpassed? Truly this is a pleasure for the fallen nature inclined to arrogance: to see all nations gathered before it. to judge them and pass sentence upon them. We see how justified the warning of the Scripture is: "Judge nothing before the time" (1Co 4:5). That which had been censured in the Corinthians is true of many Bible students of today: "Now ye are full, now ye are rich; ye have reigned without us..." (1Co 4:8). Faithful, patient endurance to the end is hard, the way becomes too long, the cross too burdensome. Judges and rulers do not need to suffer any more! This is quite according to the desire of the Lord—of this world. Of course, when we point to 1Co 4:5, then it is boldly claimed: "Today the time is here!" That was what the Thessalonians also claimed (1Th 2:2) and when Paul brands this assertion as a "delusion," we also

 

DOS201 do the same, and say concerning the Society’s assertion: "Delusion!" In the Watch Tower of 1924:51, etc. though, where the attempt is made to save themselves out of the self-set snares, it is said that the parable does not treat the final judgment of persons, but of classes. This is a transparent delusion. But if it were true, then it would be much worse, for the sentence is passed upon a whole group of persons, whereby the individuals in this class could not b considered, even though they were relatively better. The first article as well as the later one show without a doubt that the Watch Tower thinks of a judgment and sentencing of persons and wants the parable understood thus. In paragraph 51 of the first article it is expressly stated that "if the Pharisees were unworthy of a trial for eternal life, why would not the same be true of the modern Pharisees?" And paragraph 52: "May not this mean that those who...have neglected to feed the Lord’s flock, but who willfully and knowingly ignored them and permitted them to starve, and who persecuted other Christians who attempted to feed the hungry, and who deliberately misrepresented the Lord and his message of truth, shall suffer a like end? The sons of the devil of this age seem to correspond with the progeny of the evil spirits of Noah’s day (Joh 8:44). The former perished by water.

 

The latter seem doomed to perish by fire (2Pe 3:4-7).".Then in paragraph 53 it is stated further: "The devil is to suffer destruction. To the goat class Jesus says: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." As a goat class they will be forever destroyed. As to whether or not any of the individuals making up that class will have an opportunity for trial during the Millennial age we cannot surely tell. If they quickly change their course they may. The Scriptures seem to indicate that those who have knowingly and willfully repudiated the truth during the presence of the Lord, who have substituted Satanic doctrines for the doctrine of the Lord, who have neglected the Lord’s flock while claiming to be his representatives, and who have persecuted his brethren, may not be counted worthy of a trial for life during the Millennial age."

 

And finally at the end of paragraph 60: "Thus we see that the Lord will count some unworthy of a trial for life; ..."

 

But let us read for ourselves in the second article, which

 

DOS202 was to remove the difficulties the friends had with the new exposition (par. 25): "The fact that some may at the end of the Gospel age go into death who have not been justified to life, and that these will not be resurrected, does not in any sense nullify or make void the Apostle’s statement in Romans 5:18."

 

The article "The Destiny of the Goats" shows even more than the first article that a judgment of individuals (who form a class !) has been in mind. Paragraphs 28, 33, 61, and 80 prove this especially, these, as well as the entire article should be re-read. Both Watch Tower articles attempt to show—as the author cannot deny—that the Scribes and Pharisees of 1900 years ago and today, who reject the message, form the Goat class and incur the second death. It is even said in paragraph 63 of the second article that it was not necessary "that all who manifest this spirit (of opposition to the truth and its messengers) be justified and begotten of the Holy Spirit, in order to be responsible. The chief thing would be his knowing that one is a Christian, and ill-treating him because of that fact." Among these, without further ceremony, the "Watch Tower" seems to count that preacher whose wife bought a book from a colporteur, which did not please the preacher. (Par. 57-60, in connection with par. 63; see also W.T. 1925:271, letter.) This contradicts the clear testimony of the apostle, according to which only the "being made partakers of the Holy Spirit" makes such a one fully responsible (Heb 6:4).

 

Brother Russell, who was once set forth as the wise and faithful servant, is easily dropped by the Watch Tower when it is a question of dispensing "new light." But in the case of the new interpretation of the parable of the Sheep and goats the doubts of the friends were so great that the author used the expedient to cite Brother Russell to furnish a supposed proof that this had even been Brother Russell’s thought. In the second article Brother Russell’s thoughts re the case of Judas are cited. Brother Russell there says quite correctly, that the intimate intercourse with our Lord and the many opportunities constituted a grave responsibility for Judas, wherefore Judas sinned against greater light (par. 32). And yet it cannot be seen for certain from this expression of Brother Russell, that he considered the case of Judas as being eternally decided.

 

he says: "Therefore we must, apart from

 

DOS203 some future existence, come to the conclusion that his life was a useless, wasted one..." Brother Russell has not expressed himself concerning Judas’ future fate, neither will or can we decide anything today. The close and sweet intercourse which Judas had with the Lord (Ps 55:12- 14) neither the Pharisees nor the Scribes had, they mostly kept themselves aloof from Him form the beginning. But the "Watch Tower" triumphantly quotes the words of Brother Russell: "We confess that we have little hope for the Scribes and Pharisees, who, when they could find no other fault, attributed the works of our Lord to the devil." (par. 34) But the rejoicing that Brother Russell saw the "new light" at that time is premature. In the first place it is not proven that Brother Russell considered the fate of the scribes and Pharisees thus form the standpoint of the trial in the Millennium, and secondly, Brother Russell only says that he has little hope for this class. "Little hope" and "hopeless" is, of course, not the same. We do not, of course, know whether the rulers and Pharisees will prove themselves worthy of life in the Millennium or not.

 

The Watch Tower believes they can proved the claimed hopelessness with Mt 23:33. But we would ask them to seriously consider that it does not say there: "How can ye escape gehenna?" but: "How can ye escape the judgment of gehenna?" (which is to take place in the Millennium). That the Pharisees and others wee not to be fully held responsible for their deeds is shown in the repeated emphasis of their blindness (Mt 23:16, 17, 19, 24, 26), and the closing words: "behold your house is left unto you desolate; for I say unto you that ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye say: ‘Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!’ speak rather for than against the supposition that there is a possibility of future salvation for them still." For it is evidently this class which is meant in those verses. It is the slayers who are to say this. Ac 3:17; 1Co 2:8; 1Ti 1:13, 15 and other passages prove that the Pharisees and scribes of those (and the present) days acted partly in ignorance. Therefore they cannot be held fully responsible. Against these clear testimonies of Scripture it is set forth in the book "Deliverance," on page 150, that the Scribes, Pharisees and Priests were not ignorant, that they sinned willfully against the light. When Ac 3:17 is cited, the reply is: "The

 

DOS204 worldly rulers are spoken of there." But the fact is that Peter is there speaking of the ignorance of their ("your") rulers. Nicodemus, a Pharisee, is designated as a ruler of the Jews (Joh 3:1), which is further proof that it wasn’t the worldly rulers that were meant. Let us be glad that there is still hope of a blessing for the Pharisees and Scribes. Their deeds were the results of the powerful influence of the prince of this world. But when he shall have been bound, then surely many an opponent of the Lord and the truth will grasp the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of eternal life. And if Jesus, the Head of the church, and Stephen, the martyr, asked God’s forgiveness for what their enemies, with the Pharisees and rulers at their head, had done to them, do we think that these prayers were contrary to God’s will? Surely Jesus knew what He could pray for (Joh 11:42). We entreat all the dear friends to read Brother Russell’s expositions in Volume 1, study 8, "The Day of Judgment." There he says on page 145: "... No others than the Lord’s favored ‘little flock’ have as yet sufficient light to incur the final penalty, the second death."

 

This is scriptural truth, still valid today.

 

In the article "Transgressions and Their Effects Upon Character" Brother Russell writes as follows: "Hence there would be divine forgiveness for some of the great trespasses and transgressions which they have committed. The crucifixion of our Lord was not really intentional. Speaking of those who crucified Christ the Apostle Peter says: ‘I wot, brethren, that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.’ St. Paul expresses the same thought, saying: ‘For had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory’ (Ac 3:17; 1Co 2:8).

 

"These statements imply that this act was more or less of a trespass on the part of the perpetrators. There was a measure of sin, a measure of knowledge. In proportion as they had knowledge they had responsibility, and proportionately received stripes, nationally and individually. Therefore the Scriptures tell us that there will be future opportunities of blessing for those who crucified the Prince of Life. Their eyes will be opened when they awake. We are glad of this. They did not sin with full knowledge and willfulness, and are not, therefore, subjects of the second death. They will have a future trial...Some may never be recovered." (W.T.R5751 205751. Aug. 15, 1915.)

 

DOS205 Is it not so? We believe it is. And, therefore we cannot pronounce the final judgment so long as we are in the preparatory condition.

 

Jesus prayed: "Father, forgive them"; (Lk 23:34; see also Isa 53:12). Stephen prayed:"Lord, lay not this sin to their charge" (Ac 7:60); the many martyrs, who often were tortured on the rack and at the stake in such Satanic manner, likewise prayed for their blinded enemies; the present head of the Watch Tower Society on the other hand teaches that the Lord would punish the enemies of the Society according to their conduct in this life (toward the colporteurs, etc.) as goats, accursed, with the everlasting fire. Does not this mean on other words: "Lord, lay this sin to their charge." Our dear Redeemer’s heart, as also that of Stephen and all other witnesses and martyrs, was filled with love even for their enemies. We, too, should be filled with this love, and the president also, yes indeed. As Christians we should never forget that Scripture: "Vengeance is mine!" is a word of the Lord. Should we, when the worldly, or their spiritual rulers (Babylon) hate, or even deprive us of our liberty, vow unto the Lord that if we regained our liberty, we would "rip Babylon wide open"—as someone has vowed? Such a spirit of revenge, such an ugly, hateful vow we should put far away form us. We repeat here our question treated before: "Who will execute the vengeance upon Babylon?" The people of God? No! But the ten horns and the beast (Re 17:16), in Jer 50:9, etc., spoken of as "an assembly of great nations from the land of the north." With these then will that one who made the vow make common cause if he wants to rip Babylon wide open (and his scriptural presentations testify to the earnest purpose of his foolish design.) Beloved friends! The present interpretation of he parable of the Sheep and Goats originated in such vengeful thoughts, aside form other motives. Mankind is brought to judgment today, only because the Society’s message, which, however, is permeated with error, is not accepted by the majority of this blinded mankind. Upon these the sentence of condemnation is unhesitatingly pronounced. See also W.T. 1924:143, where it says; "The time is come when Christendom must hear that ‘the soul that sinneth, it shall die!...’" Here is

 

DOS206 confirmed what the present Watch Tower management set forth in the W.T. 1924:217, par. 8, that Brother Russell spoke plainly, exercising indulgence, but not with sharp words, for such are not proper today. This characterizes the spirit today! The Watch Tower Society knows no forbearance, no indulgence. (W.T. 1925:5, par. 25). According to their conception there is "really no excuse for it that the Pharisees permitted themselves to be deceived by the devil" (Del.p.137) yes, that today "none has cause or excuse to err!" (W.T. 1924:295). According to this all men would be guilty and worthy of the Second death. Errors, perversion of Scripture! The many religious organizations which teach exactly thus, are enriched by another one.

 

The Watch Tower distorts the parable by ignoring its teaching that all the nations are judged; for it brings only the nominal church before the bar of justice. Thus arbitrarily are the Scriptures treated! (See W.T. Oct. 15, 1923, par. 25, 26; Dec. 15, 1924, par. 6, 16 etc.) Nominal Christendom is not "all nations." The separation into "Sheep" and "goats" is also undertaken quite arbitrarily. "The basis of the announced judgment is the attitude of the people toward its messengers ..." says the Watch Tower (W.T. 1924:381, par. 10, 11) and upon this basis it pronounces sentence. According to this thought the sheep are all peoples who lean toward righteousness and now treat the Bible students friendly. (W.T. 1923:309, par. 24,55). So then, if the nations gain the favor of the Bible students, then they as "Sheep" are worthy of eternal life! But woe unto you who fail to treat the Bible students benevolently! The everlasting punishment will fall upon you as "Goats." Please read W.T. 1925:308. an address of welcome by a high official of Indianapolis to the general convention in session there, and the purchase of a set of books yield to him the reward of the blessed (the "Sheep" of the parable) while the clergy of the city, who had dissuaded the inhabitants or giving lodging to the Bible students, surely under an evil influence, receive the reward of the "Goats," But, thank God, this reward on both sides is given only by fallible, imperfect men! But with what subtle scheme the (nominal) Bible students are working, under the inspiration of the Watch Tower! They go to the clergy, against whom they issue incendiary writings, "indictments" (W.T. 1924:262), ask

 

DOS207 them for literal food and drink and expect to be ‘treated well" by them in spite of the failing accusations; yet worse, to implore these (!) to give them light! (W.T.1923:310, par. 35, 36; the "stranger" of the parable is, according to the W.T. exposition in paragraph 37, the band of colporteurs and missionary workers!) here both boldness and modesty are praised in "marvelous harmony."

 

Summarizing we would say: The parable of the Sheep and Goats (Mt 25:31-46) transports us to the time of the Millennium, when our Lord with all the saints as the highest tribunal or board of judges comes to judge all nations. The "day of vengeance" precedes this judgment, in which all the evil systems which enslave men will be destroyed, and the people, thus liberated, will be prepared for the opportunities of trial and blessing of the millennial kingdom. Satan will be bound during this day of judgment, and the people, freed from his influence, will then personally decide once for all either for good or for evil. The day of vengeance is still going on today; the Little flock not yet perfected, the board of judges not yet complete. According to Mt 25:14-30 the Lord comes at first only to reckon with His servants. When this is settled, and the servant class completed, He comes with all His saints (i.e., board of judges; see also Jude 14; Mt 16:27; Zech 14:5) in His glory (Mt 25:31) in which the fellow judges will be revealed to all (Colossians 3:4). Now our life is still hid with Christ in God (Colossians 13:3) the prospective judges, with Jesus the chief of the judges, are not yet manifest to the world (Ro 8:18, 19). Still it is necessary to suffer, to overcome, in order afterward to be able to sit upon the throne to reign and to judge (Re 3:21; 2:27;  20:4). When these overcomers are upon the throne, then begins the judgment of all nations, with the resultant final separation of the Sheep and Goat characters at the close of the Millennium; with the impartation of eternal life or eternal death. All those found worthy will inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Ge 1:26-28), and every human being will then be a king. The unworthy ones go into the Second death.

 

If some of the dear friends have difficulties in understanding re the "brethren" (Mt 24:40) we remind them that all

 

DOS208 men, when restored to harmony with God, will be sons of God and therefore brethren of Christ, and indeed the "least" brethren of Christ. regarding the imprisonment, nakedness, etc., the supposition seems justified that the people coming forth from their prison house of death will need the assistance to others first.

 

May we decide according to the infallible word of God! Scripture must be proven by Scripture; the proof must be clear. A human explanation on the other hand is indistinct and artificial. It can be estimated from every "Watch Tower," how artificially, indistinctly, twistedly, unintelligibly everything is "explained." One hears even Watch Tower friends confess: "I cannot understand this." Indeed, such a mixture cannot be understood; it is only meant to support confused doctrines! We still believe in the soundness of mind of those truly consecrated to God. To these it is not necessary to prove that the inclination to reign and judge (in any sense whatever) in this life, before the glorification, was wholly wrong at any time, but accompanied by the approbation of the great adversary. we cannot fail to cite something here from the pen of one who truly had better judgment, in the time before 1918, the time, therefore, when according to the present assertion of the "Watch Tower" so much couldn’t be understood. We read in the article: "Degrees of Sin and Their Punishment" under the subtitle "God is Training the Judges Now," as follows: "But so far as taking the position of a judge is concerned, we are not capable of doing this.

 

Therefore "Judge nothing before the time" (1Co 6:2).

 

When is "the time?" People are always glad to get the chance to judge others. Someone may ask, "When may we have the chance to judge? We would like to have it now." We reply, "Yours is the wrong spirit. Get rid of it or you will never be a judge at all." God is selecting another class to be judges—a saintly class that will be fully satisfied to judge nothing before the time, but to leave everything to Him. He says, "This is the kind I want. I will select them." The Apostle says: "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world" (1Co 5:2)?

 

We shall judge the world, not now, under present conditions, but after we shall have been changed in the first resurrection, changed in a moment...

 

DOS209 When we reach that condition of bodily likeness, as well as character-likeness to our Lord, we shall be His associates, His wife, the royal priesthood. Then there will be plenty of time for us to judge the world. All the lessons we get now will only develop us for that time. All the experiences we have with ourselves—you judging yourself and I myself—the better we shall be prepared for the opportunity which God will give us by and by." (W.T.R4990 204990) "We are neither authorized nor competent to execute such judgment." (W.T.R5519 205519) "We have not yet blessed the world; we have not yet judged the world; for we are yet instructed to do so. ... It is not while we are in the flesh, but after our glorification in the first resurrection that we are to be judges." (W.T.R5776 205776) We still say today: How true! How logical! (And this is error?) The opposing new thought, alleged to have been given by the Lord after He came to His temple, should be right, should be brighter light? Let each one decide according to his enlightened understanding.

 

The Watch Tower wrote concerning the parable of the Sheep and Goats in 1921, that it would take place after the Church’s trial time, after the setting up of the kingdom, when the true church is seated n the throne. (W.T. 1921:155) Then it says literally: "Who, after proper consideration will say that this is a matter of the past?" (And we would add today: "or the present.") The first sentence of this article might well begin thus: "Many of us have in the past read the Bible too carelessly."

 

That was in 1921. Then much of the "old" light was still in vogue. And they did not wish to jolt the friends too quickly with their "new" theories long harbored in their hearts. But soon after that they were seated on the throne as judges. The Resolution adopted at Cedar Point, Ohio, September 10, 1922, addressed "to the nations of the earth," is expressly designated as the "judgment" of Jude 14, 15 in the Watch Tower 1922:324. And a little later, in a resolution adopted at the General Convention in Los Angeles ( the new management has a predilection for resolutions, proclamations, appeals, etc., addressed to all the nations of the earth) it is expressly "established," that the ones described there had not done the things spoken of in Mt 25:42, 43, consequently

 

DOS210 they were guilty of the punishment of everlasting fire, as stated there.

 

Oh, we must say that the arch-enemy has succeeded anew in getting the leaders of God’s people to undertake work which should be done in the future, to the great injury of the Church. When done before its time, its workers manifest a large measure of obstinacy, pride and haughtiness: they recommend the very thing which the most vigilant ones of all times, and specially Brother Russell, have fought against all their lifetime as a snare of the evil One. It pains the heart to read the many letters in the Watch Tower which cannot find words enough to "admire" the very articles which are but will-o’-the-wisps (the one of the Sheep and Goats also; see for example W.T. Oct. 1, 1924). This admiration must encourage the management to go ahead in the way they have begun, and to treat the protest of the few humble ones with contempt. Thus it will be to the end.

 

There are numerous absurdities which the "Watch Tower" brings out in connection with the modern exposition of the parable, especially in the article W.T. Dec. 15, 1924, etc. But we believe that we have enumerated enough to have sufficiently shown the weak and imperfect structure of the new doctrine. Such a building will collapse in due time with a great crash, and those who do not quickly "come out of her" will be buried in its ruins. Praise be to God who has permitted us to escape from this system and to regain the glorious liberty in Christ.

 

  ***" Judge not—and ye shall not be judged.

 

Condemn not—and ye shall not be condemned.

 

Forgive—and ye shall be forgiven" (Lk 6:37).

 

FOLLOWING JESUS THROUGH DISGRACE

 

In this world’s anguish I’ll not complain Will not here a wreath of honor wear; Nor ‘mid flow’ry ways will wander When my Lord a thorny crown did bear; When the Holy One, devoid of pride, To a sinner’s cross was nailed—and died.

 

—Dr. K. J. Ph. Spitta..

DOS211 THE EXECUTION OF THE JUDGMENTS WRITTEN According to Ps 149

 

In the exposition thus far we have treated some of the bombastic language used by the "Watch Tower" during the last decade. This language bears witness of the spirit proceeding from the Watch Tower management. And this spirit communicates itself to the entire movement, because it is inoculated with it in a shrewd and clever manner. The spirit of arrogance, of self glorification, of condemning and of intolerance is triumphing[ among those who have forgotten that all honor and authority belongs of the Lord. Scriptures are twisted and stretched in order to prove the legality of their asserted authority and power. We all know how often and gladly the Watch Tower emphasizes, that the execution of vengeance upon the nations, the binding of the kings, etc., according to Ps 149:7-9 is the task of the church in these days. (See for example W.T. 1921:331; 1925:153). The Watch Tower Society does not hesitate therefore, to perform the deeds, stated in the Psalm, without waiting for the completion of the church.

 

From the Watch Tower 1925:36, par. 26 and 27 we learn how the Society wishes the words of the Psalm applied. It says there that Psalm 149 had so far been referred of the saints this side the vail and that this was correct. We reply: The first part of this statement is not wholly true and the latter is wholly irrelevant. Brother Russell has often expressed himself unequivocally to the effect that the execution of the judgments written, in the sense of the Psalm passage cited, takes place beyond the vail; for example see pamphlet: "Our Lord’s Return" (p. 21). When it is said that Brother Russell no longer held this thought in the last years of his life, we reply, that he was at least very cautious in the application of this Psalm to the present condition of the church, because he was not sure of it. It is, therefore, not quite true that "so far" Ps 149 had been applied by Brother Russell of the church on this side. However, we do not wish of leave any doubt

 

DOS212 that Brother Russell, even if he had thought differently in the latter time, is not the final authority for truth, the word of God alone is decisive. This will show to us that the application of this passage of the present time is not made "with justice." Before considering the question in the light of the Scriptures, we wish to refer to Brother Russell’s exposition in the "Photo-Drama, " page 93, which shows how certain and sure he was in the application of the promises in question of the time after the glorification of the church. It says there: "The term, Church Militant, signifies the Church at War. It was the wrong thought when the Church undertook to war with carnal weapons, either against nations or against heretics through the nations. She has no commission for such a warfare. It will be hers, eventually, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, and to execute the judgment written. This honor have all His saints! It will be hers eventually, when glorified, to sit with Christ in His Throne, and to exercise dominion over the nations, and of break them in pieces as a potter’s vessel (Re 2:27). But all this will be beyond the first Resurrection, in her Heavenly inheritance of Glory, Honor and Immortality."

 

The saints of Ps 149, which are there shown in a condition of special joy and extraordinary rejoicing, undoubtedly represent the ecclesia, the heavenly Zion. They sing a new song unto Jehovah (Re 14:3) in the congregation of the saints. With this the "general assembly, " the completed "church of the firstborn" (Heb 12:23) is meant, because the execution of the judgment is the honor given to "all His saints" (Ps 149:9). Here they appear in closed ranks, as a glorified body, with their leader in their midst as king (Ps 149:2). This would show us that this pictures the church not in her lowliness, but the church of Christ exalted as kings and priests (Re 5:10). Their activities, as described in Ps 149, show nothing of a suffering, oppressed and persecuted church, but reveals their sovereign power and glory. It is a fatal thought that the church is endowed with authority and sovereign rights on this side. As long as she is in the flesh, suffering, reproach, oppression and persecution must be her lot. Fro these are the means used for her preparation and at the same time the best evidence that she is His.

 

The judgment of Ps 149 is not executed in this present life.

 

The glory which causes the rejoicing of the saints (Ps 149:5)

 

DOS213 is not the joy of or in Jehovah in their condition on this side, but the joy of their Lord, which will be their glorious portion when they have received the "Well done, " after completed faithfulness (Mt 25:21). It is the rapture of heavenly bliss, the glory of the Father Himself (1Th 2:12) which will be their share, when they shall have passed from faith to sight.

 

this interpretation of the word glory does not suit the "Watch Tower"; it wants to possess the glory here, to have entered into the joy of the Lord here, because the joyfulness of the saints, it says, takes place upon their beds, and the beds represent a condition of absolute faith, a complete rest of faith. Of course, a bed can represent the condition of faith rest, but it does not always do so. It depends on the connection in which the word is used. For example, we meet with the expression in Isa 57:2, where it is said of the saints that they shall "rest in their beds." There is not the least doubt that the beds in this passage do not refer of a condition of believers this side of the vail, but to the glory beyond, the rest of eternal blessedness after the completed battle. For there the saints, the righteous, are spoken of, who are taken away "from the coming evil, " i.e., evidently from before the great catastrophe, to enter into peace. Isa 57:2 reads: "He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one who has walked in uprightness" (corrected translation). This is unquestionably the entering into the heavenly glory, which is described in the parables of Mt 25 as entering into the marriage, the entering into the joy of the Lord. The beds in Isa 57:2 and Ps 149:5 are identical. They surely represent the eternal rest of the overcomers with the Father in heavenly glory.

 

The rejoicing of the saints expresses itself in the "high praises of God, " as Ps 149:6 shows, in an ecstatic demonstration of praise for the wonderful deliverance of His people. And just as this truth was used on this side as a two-edged sword in the battle against darkness and error, so it will be used by these glorified overcomers in a much more perfect manner as a spiritual weapon. Then indeed it will remove all darkness and enlighten all. All this shows, how and when Ps 149:7-9 will find their fulfillment. Not on this side! In order "to execute

 

DOS214 vengeance upon the nations and punishment upon the people; of bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written" the saints must have their judgment behind them, they must first have overcome! Certainly! Does not the promise (note: promise!) to the church at Thyatira read: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessel of a potter shall they be broken to shivers; even as I received of my Father..."

 

(Re 2:26, 27)? So then: first overcoming and keeping His works unto the end—then the power will be executed upon the nations. "Have you understood all this" and obeyed it, or do you Bible students, contrary to the word of God, execute the judgment, the vengeance upon the nations now? Unfortunately many of you have begun a work for which God has not given you a commission! This work, therefore, is not His work, and it will fail in due time. Even if it be emphasized hundreds of times that it is His work, that it is being done is His name—still it is not His work, because it was undertaken before the time and without His sanction (Mt 7:22).

 

Only when the Lord receives the "congregation" (Ps 75:2), when it stands completed in wedding garments with the bridegroom, then, and not sooner, will the judgment be executed.

 

Let us note: "This honor have all His saints, " not a part of them, or separated groups, i.e., one part in a sacrificing condition—and the other in the glory condition.

 

If it be said the truth today is the sword and the means to bind the kings, we would point out that the truth, as due at any time, has always, not merely since 1918, been used as a sword. This argument, therefore, is insufficient to support the theory of the "Watch Tower." Beloved, let no one deceive you in any manner! The judgment-action of the Psalm takes place beyond the vail.

 

The dashing to pieces of the nations, the binding and fettering of their kings is also beyond the vail. God’s children must first have overcome and ceased suffering and passed into glory. The work of reigning, judging, condemning, riding upon white horses, executing vengeance, etc., today is premature. This we cry aloud! Let us beware of judging before the time, as the Corinthians attempted to do (1Co 4:8). We who have discerned that

 

DOS215 the executing of the judgment upon the nations is a future task, will humbly and faithfully follow in the footsteps of Jesus, our leader here, and suffer with Him. Then, if we suffer, if we endure to the end, we shall also reign with Him (2Ti 2:12).

 

Again we would point to the astonishing fact, that the Watch Tower Society designates all its regulations, however unscriptural, illogical and foolish they may be, as "the Lord’s command, " and similar expressions, with certainty and many blatant word. There are articles in which the expression "the Lord commands" (referring to the regulations of the Society) appears like a refrain. Only when one examines fearlessly and critically, what the "Lord" is commanding, can he just as fearlessly assert that fallible men, who despise Christian character-formation as a snare of Satan, are sending forth the many, often absurd commands. Again and again they counsel to."keep oneself in the background, not to seek honor and exaltation for oneself" (W.T. 1925:152, par. 58), in order that they might be so much more in the foreground. for if in W.T. 1927:200, par. 39, in the last two sentences, the censure stated there is carefully examined—is not the letter, published on page 238 of Aug. 1, 1927 W.T. a proof, as to how much it is "desired that others speak well of him?" We repeat: Everything, however erroneous, yes, foolish it might be, though it be changed ten times and be valid for one month only, of be supplanted then by a new "lightning flash"—all of this is ‘commanded of the Lord!" And we are to "obey!" And prove our loyalty toward the brethren! to act "according to His appointed way" or "lawfully" (or however else the expressions run) means, to believe and do that which the management teaches and orders. It teaches that the saints which "now" acknowledge this or that (among other things, that the Lord came to His temple in 1918) occupy "a position of honor." (W.T. 1925:152, par. 58; 196, par. 11.) And to this great honor belong also the execution of the judgments written. It says there: "To be serving the Lord lawfully now means to carry out the judgment mentioned in the Scriptures, " etc. (W.T. 1925, par. 68). The Watch Tower does indeed say: "Let no one attempt to exercise that power, " but reserves the right to itself, by immediately adding the significant words: "which he has not been authorized to use." (By

 

DOS216 whom?) (W.T. 1925:197, par. 21). We understand what is meant. We also understand what is meant when the Watch Tower (1925:8, par. 50) says: "It is presumptuous on the part of any to attempt to judge or administer punishment of the anointed of the Lord unless that be done in the Lord’s appointed way."

 

Why not come out openly? Why not just say that by "the Lord’s appointed way" the regulations of the Society are always meant?

 

So much is said of the execution of judgment against the nations, of binding their kings with fetters, of dashing the nations of pieces like the potter’s vessels; and they claim of have done this, but it was only done with the mouth and on paper—in reality neither were the kings bound, nor the nations dashed of pieces. But when these judgments are given of he glorified rulers, the completed Christ (Head and body) for execution, then all mountains (kingdoms) will melt like wax before the Lord of all the earth. Oh, it has been forgotten that the dashing of the nations is a promise which falls to the share of the overcomers (Re 2:26, 27). Yes, they would have executed judgment, binding, smiting and dashing—before the time. When the "parting of the waters of the Jordan" did not occur—the Bible students’ congregations were smitten and parted.

 

This class of people has been smitten, and it was discovered that the gathering together of these people (Bible students who took a stand against the pernicious course of the new management!) and casting them into the furnace was quite clearly the "real" closing work of the harvest. (W.T.1925:152; the entire article is an important document, see pp. 200 and 214). So the Society executes this judgment also! And when it has gathered the "things which offend" and cast them out, it treats them like the first "Only One": "Heretics, " who cannot claim any consideration.

 

They are not of be recognized. Such protesting ones (God bless them!) the Society claims, have joined the enemy in his design to destroy the "Lord’s work, " to "speak loftily" (Ps 73:8) then: "We pay no attention to these, because we have not the time." (W.T. 1925:359) Should Zec 11:16 come into consideration here?...

 

Judging, reigning—that is the desire before the overcoming.

 

DOS217 And this is the class (Jer 5:31) which writes the following: "The command is given and they move on as one man. They know that controversy amongst themselves will spell disaster. They are at peace with one another and maintain that condition until the contest is finished. They do not stop to argue the proposition as to who is in command.

 

They recognize that somebody must be; theirs is to obey orders and to work in exact harmony."

 

(W.T. 1926:36, par. 15) "Somebody must be in command" (note the argument!) and it was not necessary to stop to argue the proposition as to who had it. Somebody must have it, and it was the part of others of obey.

 

Then they rejoice that the Lord has organized His people so wonderfully in all the earth that everything "moves like clockwork, " and the thought "that we need not worry about our preparation, " is denoted as precious. The Lord has given us everything: "...the fine machines (printing presses, etc.) ...the most wonderful of all...five beautiful automobiles!" (From a letter published in the German W.T. 1927:175, 176.) And the most wonderful of all—the spirit from above? The hidden life in God?... "I am rich..." someone says, and someone else—the Amen—says: "Thou knowest not that thou art poor..."

 

We have only one Judge, Overseer and Ruler, one Commander (yes, He is in command, concerning this we really need not stop to discuss)—it is still the same God and Lord for us, no one else, really no one! (2Pe 2:1; Jude 4). Brothers, Sisters, look unto Jesus, your savior, heed His signal! Let us wait for the reigning, judging and dashing of the nations till we shall be as He is. Yes, then shall we do "Deeds" in His appointed way. Then will be the time. But now it is high time to prepare ourselves for the marriage. May we do this! Wake up, thou spirit of th’ early martyrs, The watchmen, who on Zion’s wall do stand, Whose days and nights are never silent, Who with confidence do meet their man.

 

Yea, whose sound through all the world doth ring And to all nations doth glad tidings bring! —K. H. Von Bogatzky..

DOS218 "THE FINISHED MYSTERY"  

 

In the interest of God’s severely tried people it seems necessary to say something concerning the literature given out by the Watch Tower Society since Brother Russell’s departure, but especially concerning the so-called 7th Volume: "The Finished Mystery." The dear friends who had lived through Brother Russell’s blessed time will remember in what manner the six volumes of the "Studies in Scripture" were issued. There we no sensational announcements, no human propaganda; no, the Volumes and Brother Russell’s works appeared without show, and without demand for recognition. They were laid before the friends for examination. How great the tolerance was in this respect, is shown by a few sentences from the program-pamphet "The International Bible Students’ Association": "There are no limitations as to membership, except such as could be properly applied of any true Christian:

 

(1) Faith in God as the great Creator and heavenly Father; (2) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the world’s Redeemer; (3) Faith in the Bible—that it is the inspired message of God respecting his will and purposes in connection with mankind; (4) A clean and honorable life.

 

Our Association finds this platform broad enough for all true Christians, regardless of all denominational lines, quirks and frills. We have no bondage, and anyone is as free to leave the classes as to enter them..."

 

"No class is obligated to have these lectures, or to have the literature which the association publishes for their assistance." (Taken from W.T.R5155 205155.) Nor were Brother Russell’s works published in a precipitate manner; their contents had been thoroughly thought over beforehand and bear the marks of thorough Scripture study. This explains why very little of their contents through the time and the increase of knowledge has been improved upon.

 

Anyone possessing the old Watch Towers, which are so despised today in certain circles, will find on the inside of the title page below the announcement of the six volumes, something, but very little, said about the seventh volume. It is stated there briefly: "Volume 7—The Revelation—promised, " or "Volume 7—(in preparation) about ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ.’" These intimations were sufficient of cause

 

DOS219 speculation by some of the brethren concerning the contents of this seventh volume. After these aforementioned brief references to a subsequent Seventh Volume had appeared for a number of years, Brother Russell explained: "As for the Seventh Volume, the editor can assure the readers, that nobody knows what its contents will be, for not a word of it has yet been written. No doubt in His own good time the Lord will give us the time and everything else necessary for an exposition of Revelation, if it be His will that we should thus serve the church." (W.T.R4753 204753).With this the ground was taken from the speculators for the time.

 

Brother Russell died in the year 1916 without having written the Seventh Volume. The Watch Tower itself reports that one of the latest remarks of Brother Russell was: "If the Lord shows me the key, I will write the Seventh Volume; if He shows the key of someone else, he can write it." (W.T.R6149 206149, see also Aug. 1, 1917).

 

This clearly shows that brother Russell did not have the key of an explanation of Revelation, and for this reason he did not write a Seventh Volume.

 

His occasional expositions of certain texts in Revelation were not sufficient to give a complete explanation of this book. But Brother Russell had hardly closed his eyes when they proceeded with precipitate haste with the completion of a Seventh Volume. "Hence it was rushed" it says in the W.T. of Oct. 1, 1917. Only a few months after his death the "key" to Revelation was found and used. Yes, it is asserted that this key was already present during Brother Russell’s lifetime (manufactured by another) (1906), but was not used by Brother Russell! In December, 1916, they began with the compilation of Volume 7, and by the end of March, in four months, therefore, it was completed (W.T.R6182 206182). To justify the publication of the volume, especially its very hasty appearance, the Watch Tower says: "Bro. Russell’s modesty and humility may have presented him form seeing the key. When you read the seventh volume, you may readily discover that Bro. Russell himself is the key." (W.T.R6127 206127.) This is a finely though out proof, but calculated as a

 

DOS220 deception. If Brother Russell only refrained form writing the seventh volume through modesty and humility (because ostensibly he is represented as the seventh Messenger), then he would have refrained also from explaining the passage of Scripture concerning the faithful and wise servant (Mt 24:45), which he applied to himself in a most careful manner. No, Brother Russell did not have the key, nor is he the key. This is shown by his own words during the last years of his life, in which we place more value than the assertions of the Society. He said: "We admit that there are many things that we do not know. If we knew all about the book of Revelation, we would get out the Seventh Volume very soon. There are a few things of which we are not just sure. we do not like to do any guesswork. We could guess about some things, but we do not allow ourselves to guess. ‘If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God’ (1Pe 4:11)!" Neither the Messages nor the Laodicea-Messenger himself are the key; Brother Russell thought, perhaps rightly so, that the correct understanding of Revelation 17 constituted the key. We believe, moreover, that we do not err in the expectation that the "Watch Tower" will also drop its own exposition of Volume 7, that Brother Russell is the Seventh Messenger. Different expositions of the Watch Tower (for example W.T. 1927:6, 7) are already preparing for this*).

 

————— *This supposition has been confirmed: The Watch Tower Society has dropped Bro. Russell as the seventh Messenger. See W.T. 1928: Nov. 1; article "The Laodicea Period."

 

  —————-

 

When Brother Russell declared that he did not have the "key" to Revelation, he must have spoken the truth; of speak an untruth because of "modesty and humility" was not his manner.

 

The Watch Tower Society nevertheless says in its preface to Volume 7: "But the fact is, that he (i.e., Brother Russell) did write it. This book can rightly be considered as a posthumous work of Brother Russell. Why? because it was he, to whom the Lord gave the ‘key’..."( Vol. 7, p. 5, Preface).

 

Who is right now—Brother Russell of the Society? Brother Russell is right, for he nether wrote the Seventh Volume, nor did he have the "key" to it! The Seventh Volume is not his "posthumous work, " nor "his last legacy"; it is not

 

DOS221 his volume! Why is this not admitted? It is established that Brother Woodworth gave the explanation of the parts in Revelation not explained by Brother Russell (see preface). According to the "explanatory remarks" to Volume 7, all citations from Brother Russell’s pen give the place in his works from which they are taken. But a careful examination will show that a considerable part of the exposition is not from Brother Russell, and that another important part contains references to Brother Russell’s expositions with a tendency to mislead. This is true, for example of the exposition on Re 8:3, which Brother Russell never gave, nor would have given! We therefore repeat our assertion: Volume 7 is not Brother Russell’s work! But why was such haste used with Volume 7? It was human calculation. It was thought that God’s people must be served increased light in the usual, yes increased pace, to secure the confidence of the friends after Brother Russell’s death. Then also they wanted the Seventh Volume by all means as an instrument to smite Jordan, as a "weapon of destruction, " for "setting on fire the nominal church heavens." (W.T.R6149 206149; R6182 206182; R6214 206214; W.T. 1919:244). It was asserted that the dissemination of this volume was the final work of the harvest (W.T.R6150 206150, top). Also, how difficult oftentimes it is to wait! The assembly of the brethren at Jerusalem did not think it necessary to wait, but (by appealing to the Scriptures!) obliged to proceed with the election of a substitute-apostle (Ac 1:21); Saul believed it necessary for him (also relying on the Scriptures!) to persecute the Christians (Ac 26:9). So the Watch Tower says: "One of two things is absolutely certain—that this is the long promised Seventh Volume with which the smiting is to be done, or else there must be another one written" (W.T. 1918:6).

 

"The Scriptures show (where?) that the Seventh Volume must be published" (Vol. 7, Preface, p.6)..Time has demonstrated, that the volume and its circulation were not the work of God. It as for the greater part a human work, as also the determining of the first day of its dissemination (the same as with the tract "The Fall of Babylon") had its origin in human calculations. And when

 

DOS222 Volume 7 brought sufferings to God’s people (see, for example, W.T.R6182 206182), they were sufferings caused by their own unwise acts.

 

And how was Volume 7 acclaimed and praised! It was (now it has been corrected in many places) food given directly from the Lord who also bore the responsibility for it (W.T.R6149 206149; 6150; W.T. 1918:54; 1919:244, 245); further, it was sufficient to overcome (W.T.R6147 206147); its joyful acceptance assured the obtaining of kingdom honors (W.T.R6150 206150); a seat with the Elijah class, while its rejection signified the loss of this place (W.T.R6150 206150; R6194 206194); it was further the last plague upon Babylon (W.T. 1919:105) and many other things. Is not this very strange language? Is not this evil praise, which pushes the Holy Scriptures into the background?

 

Brother Russell refused such praise. Because Volume 7 did not have the expected effect, and only brought disappointments and very severe trials, they sought to camouflage these grievous failures by continuous fulsome praise of this work, to artificially create an "impression" for it.

 

It was entitled: "The Finished Mystery." It is indeed a mystery, beginning on the first page.

 

while the titular designation is taken from Re 10:7, there were added to this title the supplementary words: "The winepress of God’s wrath and the fall of Babylon." Did they perhaps wish to unite both "mysteries" of Revelation, "the mystery of God" (Re 10:7) and the "mystery, Babylon the great" (Re 17:5)? The combination on the title page is indeed very mysterious.

 

"Every verse of Revelation, Ezekiel and the Song of Solomon explained, and a flood of light thrown upon the entire Bible, " thus the volume is commended with boastful words above the other volumes (see also W.T. 1919:93, "thoroughly explained"); today, of course, less than in the first years after its appearance. But this high-sounding commendation is unjustified; the volume is not by any means "the crown of the whole, " as a leading brother wrote enthusiastically. The endeavor was indeed made, to say something about every verse of Revelation, the prophet Ezekiel, and the Song of Solomon, but we ask the dear friends to look at the "explanation"

 

DOS223 of each verse. How poor the exposition frequently is, how often it is wholly negative, by expounding what the object treated in the particular verse is not; in many places only Scripture references are given in default of an explanation, while in Ezekiel a great number of verses are sometimes combined and an explanation then attempted. It had better been openly confessed that considerable portions of Revelation, and especially also of Ezekiel, are not yet understood, instead of vainly speaking of a complete explanation of each verse and a flood of light. It is said of Volume 7 (W.T. 1919:70) that there was nothing in it that was out of harmony with the Divine Plan; therefore anyone in opposition to the volume should not be elected as an elder, and also the acknowledgement of Volume 7 was requested. (W.T. 1919:69, 70; 139; German W.T.

 

1927:367.) It was said the Seventh Volume was food from the Lord Himself; He bore the responsibility. But the expositions of the volume have changed repeatedly (for example W.T. 1921:169-173; 1920:169), yes, the Watch Tower subsequently ascertained that there were explanations in Volume 7 which come from the realm of demonism (!), and it desired to deny this emphatically (W.T. 1922:196). More still: in the Watch Tower of 1925:67 it is declared that Re 12 (explained in Volume 7 before 1918!) could not be understood before 1918. And now?—Volume 7 from the Lord...expositions revised and changed...astrology (demonism) in the exposition ...Re 12 not understood before 1918... the consequence: the Lord must have erred; the Lord used the astrology in connection with the exposition; the Lord did not understand chapter 12 of Revelation at the time of the publication of Volume 7! Else, the Watch Tower has arrogantly asserted that Volume 7 is from the Lord. Let everyone who thinks decide for himself.

 

We see how lightly God’s word is treated. And how many erroneous expositions does Volume 7 show! The erroneous explanation of Re 8:3 has already been treated. The exposition of Re 14:20 is equally false. There it is set forth that the treading of the wine-press took place in Scranton, and that the 1600 furlongs (1200 according to Volume 7) represent the distance from Scranton, where the volume was written, to the Bethel home in Brooklyn! Is not this explanation highly ridiculous? It has, however, also

 

DOS224 been forsaken, as the W.T. of 1926:259 shows. There it is stated again, that Re 14:20 could not be understood before 1918! 1918 and always 1918 again! The president came to the head of the work shortly before! He himself confesses in the article "The Winepress": "It is remarkable and wonderfully encouraging to note how many prophecies have had fulfillment since 1918...There is a special reason for this."

 

Ah yes, the reason! Only the students, the watchers know it! It would carry us too far to cite all the false and doubtful explanations of the book. Whoever has really examined the volume will have discovered the inaccuracies long ago.

 

The other works also, which have appeared since Brother Russell’s death, are as reprehensible as Volume 7, with a few exceptions, especially the "Harp, " which is comparatively free from objections. In general it could be said that although Brother Russell described and exposed the systems of this world, as for example, the Antichrist system in Volume 2 (Study IX, "The Man of Sin"), or the kingdom of this world in volumes 1 and 4, yet he never did it in such a hateful, pugnacious manner, as it is done today ("The Fall of Babylon" [picture!]; the "Millions" booklet [picture!]; "Indictment Against the Clergy!"). Of course, if the Society wants to "belong to the army which overthrows Babel, " then its language and noise in the street is understandable. The instruments which will destroy Babel can use such language, "roaring like the waves of the sea, " hateful, brutal, vindictive and passionate. But as we have already said: If you want to belong to the army which overthrows Babel, you must join Jehovah’s "great" army, because the beast and the horns will burn Babel with fire, not the little flock of overcomers. The Manna text of Aug. 4.shows Brother Russell’s course of action and the following remarkable advice also: "Avoid as much as possible all unkind references to Christian ministers or others who differ from us in Bible interpretation. Preach the gospel! Let its mighty power do the work. In referring to others, speak as sympathetically as possible, endeavoring to make apologies and allowances rather than to condemn, which is not our province." (W.T.R5040 205040.) Even in his last will Brother Russell counseled indulgence, long suffering toward the world and toward the brethren.

 

DOS225 (W.T.R6024 206024, last paragraph). Where plain speaking was necessary, he let the Scriptures say it; he avoided being personal, aggressive or offensive. His attacks against the creeds and systems were always kept within the bounds of the Divine word and spirit. The greater part of his writings were not addressed to the nations of the earth, or to the rulers of the world (W.T.1926:211); they were only intended for the household of faith. he knew that the work for the world is a task for the future kingdom of Christ. Therefore his "Studies in Scripture" bear the subtitle "A Helping Hand for Bible Students." The present Watch Tower Society has changed this subtitle: Volume 1 today bears the new subtitle "The Way to Life and Happiness." The "new light" seemingly necessitates a forsaking of all our former beliefs! In this connection we wish to say something more concerning

THE MILLIONS BOOKLET AND THE MILLIONS MESSAGE

 

The booklet appeared in 1920. When the expected effect of the Seventh Volume failed to materialize, another sensational vehicle was sought for and found. it was desired to draw the attention of the masses to oneself and to see oneself in "a prominent position toward the world."

 

Mt 24:22, concerning the shortening of the days, seemed to offer the desired basis for the proclamation of a new sensational message (see W.T. 1920:127), this was quickly sent out, attracting many people because of its sensationalism, and drew them in crowds to the lectures.

 

This magnetic message was: "Millions now living will never die." As if by a military command the proclamation began. "Laying down a barrage, " it was called. (W.T. 1921:311.) It was to be the last message, thus setting aside Volume 7 as the last work. Assurances of life were made to the people if they heeded the message. "Do you fear death? You do not need to die, " one could read on the handbills. "Itching ears, " the apostle calls if (2Ti 4:3).

 

"Millions themes only, " were to be used in the propaganda, "because his kingdom is here" (See W.T. 1921, Oct. 15, p. 311). The bible students were to become as popular with this message as the pickle manufacturer with his "57 varieties."

 

DOS226 The Watch Tower expressly declared that the "Millions" message was "this gospel of the kingdom" according to Mt 24:14! (W.T. 1921:152). On the other hand it was said (W.T..1923:5) that just as the walls of Jericho were "compassed about thirteen times, " so likewise the Millions message must be proclaimed again and again. Those who had scruples about using this theme and chose a different one for a lecture, had to bear with the reproach form the Pilgrim brother giving the lecture, that it was a house without a roof. Yes, those who did not joyfully and painstakingly collaborate in the proclamation of this kingdom gospel (?) were suspected and set aside.

 

The Millions booklet’s message is based upon the expectations held by its author for 1925.

 

Today the matter is put aside in the regular way, according to the well-known "stop thief" method, as though the expectations for 1925 had not emanated from the Watch Tower Society and its president, but from others, selfish friends (W.T. 1925:259). But the "conclusion" of the president, as the Millions booklet shows (it testifies against its author today!) was "positive" and "incontrovertible" that there would be millions of people living on the earth after 1925 in the sense that they would never die. (See Millions booklet under the title "Positive Promise.") According to his expectations the Ancient Worthies were to come forth from the grave in the year 1925, while the restitution work was to begin at the same time. This presupposed the precious glorification of the Little Flock (W.T. 1926:196). That this expectation was held and nourished by the president cannot be denied, it is proven by the Millions booklet. Among the supposed Scriptural proofs it is deduced that the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies and the beginning of the blessing of all the families would take place about April 1, 1925. The subsequent explanation (W.T. 1926:196), that the return of the Worthies had been expected to occur "shortly after 1925, " is correct.

 

The Scriptures enumerated in the appendix, moreover, are not sufficient nor the desired proof for the passing over alive of Millions now living. At any rate we can see that the expectations re 1925, upon which the Millions booklet is built up, proceeded from the Watch Tower Society itself. In the sample

 

DOS227 text of the Society for "Millions" lectures for review it was literally stated: "The records laid down in the books of Moses lead him (the speaker) on to the year 1925 A.D., as to the beginning of the time which is to bring the deliverance of the human race from sin and death (Ac 3:21).

 

At this date he expects, based upon the declaration of the Scriptures, the first indication of the beginning of the resurrection of the dead and deduces from this, because many of the Scriptures cited by him also so state, that many of the people of this present generation now living upon the earth will never die." This syllabus shows that the Watch Tower Society, therefore, wanted the brethren to speak as above. Now it claims not to have so desired, nor represented this! "Some believed, "" a few expected..." etc., they say, throwing every responsibility upon others, and holding themselves blameless! Remain blameless—in your own eyes, but He who has eyes like a flame of fire is not bound by your judgment.

 

The expectations, as we all know, were not fulfilled. And therewith the Millions booklet has lost its importance. It is now only historical proof that it had its origin in perishing man’s wisdom so it is also with Volume 7, with the tract "The Fall of Babylon" and other works and proclamations of the Society; and this is the much-lauded "work of the Lord?" Do not the words of the Apostle come to mind here: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2Ti 3:4). Thus it is indeed. The good, sober, biblical doctrine is set aside in favor of speculative, artificially-combined, unsupported teachings. Hastily snatched up theories and dogmas to tickle the ears are in the same haste proclaimed to the public far and wide, only to finally disappoint them and rob them of their last confidence in God and His word. Beloved, thus the service and the truth, the true work of the Lord is slandered (2Co 6:3)! Let us, therefore, endeavor to tell the world only those things which are Scriptural realities.

 

That people will pass over into the blessed time of the Millennium with the prospect of eternal life may be true

 

DOS228 enough, we have no contention against it. but if we firmly assert and proclaim to the general public as fact that Millions of people now living will never die, then we are announcing our own work and not the Lord’s. Because we do not know this for a certainty; the Lord has not given us such a commission to execute. also we do not know, whether "twenty-five years, possibly more, will pass before the awakening of the dead shall begin." (W.T. 1925:58, par. 60) In the prediction of dates, thus far, mistakes have continually been made, as must be seen finally by all Bible students. should not this warn us to carefulness? To make anything depending on predicted dates with an exaggerated assurance is more than foolish, it is injurious. the best indications given us, as to where we are on the stream of time, are the "signs of the times, " among which, according to the Scriptures, certain things in connection with natural Israel should especially appear prominently. But if we carefully consider the circumstances and events of the time, we will find that we are not justified in making proclamations like the "Millions" Message.

 

This so-called "work of the Lord" has only slandered the true work of the Lord with the Millions Message (2Pe 2:2).

 

A few words more concerning Mt 24:21, 22, upon which Scripture the Millions Message is mostly based. The passage deals with

 

THE SHORTENING OF THE TRIBULATION.

 

It reads: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. and except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved, but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened."

 

Of this same tribulation it is said in Nah 1:9: "He will make an utter end; affliction shall not rise up the second time." There will be a shortening of the tribulation through divine intervention, not in its middle, as the Watch Tower thinks, but at its close. As set forth by the Watch Tower it would not be a shortening in the true sense, but an interruption of the tribulation, which would rise up again with new power, to usher those to whom eternal life upon earth.

 

DOS229 had been promised through the proclamation of the Millions Message, into a renewed phase of terrible destruction, into death. Is this the purpose of the shortening of the tribulation according to the words of our Lord? No! Neither do we wish to fall into the fatal error which some make, and say that the tribulation is passed and the eternal peace begun. The facts prove such messages illusions! The world war was only a remarkable sign preceding the coming great tribulation (the "day of Jehovah"), perhaps the one mentioned in Joel 2:30, 31. Should not the facts all about us convincingly teach us, dear friends? The shortening of the tribulation through divine intervention is for the purpose of delivering the people from the many and evil systems of the adversary, from all fetters, and to preserve them from the danger of complete extinction (as in the case of Noah).

THE SHORTENING OF THE TRIBULATION.

 

It reads: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. and except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved, but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened."

 

Of this same tribulation it is said in Nah 1:9: "He will make an utter end; affliction shall not rise up the second time." There will be a shortening of the tribulation through divine intervention, not in its middle, as the Watch Tower thinks, but at its close. As set forth by the Watch Tower it would not be a shortening in the true sense, but an interruption of the tribulation, which would rise up again with new power, to usher those to whom eternal life upon earth.

 

DOS229 had been promised through the proclamation of the Millions Message, into a renewed phase of terrible destruction, into death. Is this the purpose of the shortening of the tribulation according to the words of our Lord? No! Neither do we wish to fall into the fatal error which some make, and say that the tribulation is passed and the eternal peace begun. The facts prove such messages illusions! The world war was only a remarkable sign preceding the coming great tribulation (the "day of Jehovah"), perhaps the one mentioned in Joel 2:30, 31. Should not the facts all about us convincingly teach us, dear friends? The shortening of the tribulation through divine intervention is for the purpose of delivering the people from the many and evil systems of the adversary, from all fetters, and to preserve them from the danger of complete extinction (as in the case of Noah).

The contents of the book "DELIVERANCE"  

 

"the latest and best book of Judge Rutherford, " as it was stated in the commendations of the Watch Tower Society, we cannot examine in detail. In general it is said that the contrast between this book and the works of Brother Russell in regard to doctrine and tone of language used is especially conspicuous. In it are to be found all the beams of the "new light" which we have treated and still some others. How the book was praised and extolled before its appearance.

 

All their ability was used in arousing curiosity and interest and to produce them artificially. A leading brother from Brooklyn was especially chosen for this purpose, and he understood his task well. "And now, last and best of all, I have to tell you a secret, but please don’t let Brother Rutherford know that I told you, " said he and then proceeded to give vent as follows: "It is by far the best which he (Brother Rutherford) has ever written, and I feel sure, that when this great lightning flash has been let loose on earth, the devil and his helpers will become dizzy" (W.T.1926:199). Thus with the words of a mountebank "Deliverance" was recommended. Should such "puffing" not work amongst the gullible?

 

If the title "Deliverance" is misleading, it is still more

 

DOS230 true of the contents of the book. Of course there is truth in it. If we understand how to read it correctly—the language in the newer literature is often very tangled and indistinct, the author has no hope for the fallen angels. (p. 34, 45.) He says: "The Scriptures declare that in God’s due time all these wicked angels, who joined the rebellion with Satan, shall be destroyed, " and "Many of the pure and holy angels of heaven, ...turned to wickedness, and now they find themselves in prison, ultimately to be destroyed." The Scriptural proof is lacking. For there is none. The Holy Scriptures hold out the prospect of a judgment for the fallen angels (1Co 6:3), and this will prove which of them are worthy of life. Just as the judgment promised to men does not mean the condemnation of all, but a trial and decision, so also it will not bring to the fallen angels simply destruction, but a trial and decision, when they also, like mankind, will be released form the power of evil..Equally without support as this theory is also the doctrine (which appeared also in W.T.1926:215, and 1927:339) of the seven world-empires. It is claimed they are: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Great Britain. Which Scriptures prove this? Where do the Scriptures show that Egypt, Assyria and the British empire were or are world-empires (in the sense of the Scriptures)? Since Babel is designated the head of gold (Da 2:37, 38) it is shown that it is to count as the first of the world-empires. It had been an empire long before Daniel (compare Ge 10:10) but it was not a world-empire in the recognized Biblical sense before Nebuchadnezzar. It was really the first empire on the earth, as Ge 10:10 shows.

 

Egypt, designated by the Watch Tower as the first world-empire, was founded after Babel. The Scriptures call Medo-Persia the second world-empire, Greece the third and Rome the fourth. Let us note that all these empires existed before they became world-empires. The "ten toes" of the fourth world-empire, Rome, are not world-empires in the Biblical sense. After the fourth and last world-empire the prophet speaks of Christ’s kingdom as the next (fifth) world-empire. The scriptures speak only of four "beasts, " world-empires, and this is decisive for Bible students.

 

God’s kingdom follows immediately after Rome and not Great

 

DOS231 Britain. This new teaching of the Society is human guesswork, wholly unfounded in Scripture.

 

The book "Deliverance" is exactly the opposite of what is promised in it, for on its title page it bears the following words: "This book shall bear witness to the name of Almighty God..." Is it a "witness" honoring to this Almighty God, when it testifies of Him, that God did not foreknow the fall of man into sin, and the death of His son? The Omniscient One will surely not speak His "well done" to such a witness! This new "Deliverance" binds and pens up the friends still more than ever. There isn’t a trace of liberty in it. Its glory-seeking, bombastic contents truly are only adapted to promote spiritual bondage. We note it as a favorable sign however, that a few faith heroes "did not accept the Deliverance, " and suffered rather to be put under ban by fallible men.

 

God bless them all! and we counsel all: "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned"—2Ti 3:14—of the lord through His word.

We append a few remarks concerning the present "Manna" of the Bible students, the

 

"BIBLE STUDENTS YEARBOOK 1927"  

 

As day and night differ from one another, so do the contents of the "Daily Heavenly Manna" differ from the contents of the "Yearbook-Manna." And this is not to be wondered at, since the Christian character development, of which the laid-aside "Manna" almost continually speaks, has been put away as superfluous stuff, as dreamings. The closing words of the preface in the former "Manna" book sound like an indictment: "This book will last a lifetime, and can be used year after year, for the sacred message never grows old, ..." Now it is all done away with, thanks to the new president. It had been purposed in the year 1922 to supplant the "Daily Heavenly Manna" by another work. (See W.T.1921:55.) The "Yearbook" will be likely to appear yearly, and thus cause expense. But the rotary presses of the Bible house will thereby have work to do..After the time of Brother Russell the author of the "Yearbook" has drawn a heavy line of demarcation, and since 1918 a new era is counted, concerning which the preface has the following to say:

 

DOS232 "...and it is quite manifest that since 1918 there has been a far greater manifestation of the spirit of the Lord (!) in carrying on his work. Prior to that time the thought in the minds of Christians seemed to be generally that of going to heaven. That was largely selfish." (!)" Yearbook" Preface p. 21.

 

Thus does the president glorify his time, and thus he discredits the day of Brother Russell and Brother Russell himself, because this man of God spoke "continually, " as we read in W.T.1923:294, of the preparation of the church and her union with the Lord. Now the thought that the selecting of the saints is God’s chief purpose today is contested. With exquisitely contemptible words it is said: "Many have conceived the thought (!) that God’s chief purpose is to search (!) amongst the human family to find some to take to heaven; ..."( W.T. 1925:281).

 

And in another place: "It appeared then (in the days before 1918) to all the Lord’s people that Jehovah was merely seeking to educate them...and that the kingdom service was quite secondary, the literature which was published in those early days was intended mainly for the education of the Lord’s people, as witness especially the Sixth Volume of Studies in the Scriptures. It was thought that this work was permanent and final; but the Lord disclosed that it was only an intermediary work, preparatory to a much greater work in behalf of the establishment of his kingdom" (W.T.1927:157, par. 17).

 

Is not the continual calling attention to the time after 1918 and the judgment of the days before 1918 (the time of Brother Russell) not only "rather, " but quite excessively "selfish?" The boasting thought of the preface cited above, also marks the tendency of the entire book. This is confirmed by the Yearbook texts of Jan.25; March 24; Nov. 10, 25, 27. Whoever possesses the "Yearbook" (of 1927) may convince himself how often the year 1918 is mentioned, and how often the difference between the time before 1918 and after 1928 is rendered prominently unfavorable to the former. Convince yourself, beloved, how disapprovingly judgment is passed in the Yearbook on the Christian-character cultivation, commended in the "Manna" (see texts of Apr. 6; Aug. 12; Dec. 14). The new "lightning flashes" on the contrary continually and excessively glorify above all the unscriptural theories of the birth of the new nation; (see texts of Mar. 26; Apr. 2, 16, 21; .

 

DOS233 May 23, 29; Nov. 23; Dec. 19, 25 and others); of Satan’s casting out from heaven after 1914); (see texts mar. 11, 12, 26; Apr. 22; July 11 and others); of the ostensibly fulfilled pouring out of the Spirit upon the flesh (see texts Mar. 14, 31; June 6). Then there are also hard thrusts against those who do not joyfully take part in this; (see texts of Feb. 5; Mar. 9; Apr. 29); these are said to be "lawless ones, "" selfish, " etc. Furthermore there is found the mysterious, strongly-papel assertion that private Scripture interpretation was improper, since this should only be done by the divinely appointed (attention!) means (see texts of Sept. 27; Dec. 24; also W.T. 1925:165, 246; 1926:118, par. 35; 1927:56, 57). The text of July 29 brings the likewise suspicious expression concerning the exaltation of the church in its present condition. Also mention is made of the fiery chariot of Elijah as the type of the Watch Tower Society (!) and the separation of the antitypical Elijah and Elisha supposed to be accomplished in 1918 (text of Aug. 23). Of course the presumptuous claim that the Lord’s followers have been given here already and now power over the nations (Re 2:26; it is possible then without overcoming)—through indictments, resolutions, etc., is not missing (text of May 27; compare also text of Apr.4)! The time of fulfillment of the word: "Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee" (Ps 2:7), is said to be 1918! (text of Oct. 13). The command concerning the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom (Mt 24:14) was of course also given around 1918 (text of Mar. 20). But in the Millions booklet, appearing after 1918, it is said: "...and thirdly this (i.e., the proclamation of the Gospel of the kingdom) has already been done!" For the various proclamations the Lord is again mad responsible, as also or the false message concerning 1925 (text of Apr. 8). Also the foreknowledge of God is considerably restricted in the text of Oct. 5.

 

If the "Manna" published in Brother Russell’s time speaks very often and in a most attractive manner of the so necessary Christian character formation, the new "Manna, " good only for one year, speaks chiefly of—Organization! Alas, this organization, throttling all fresh spiritual life, all liberty in Christ! Someone has gone to the trouble and counted how often the word "organization" or "organized" appears in the new Manna, and he says: 205 times! Once: Transformation of character into the image of Jesus, now: Organization

 

DOS234 which declares that "Satan (!) has drawn the minds of millions to the matter of the so-called character development." (W.T. 1927:199.) Beloved in Christ! These are but a few examples from the "Bible Students Yearbook 1927."

 

And such a thing is presented to the dear friends for purposes of devotion and edification! How edifying on the other hand are the Manna texts. They are important still today. We may continue to use them further to our profit. This book still has its value (to us) "...it can be used year after year."

 

The appendix to the Yearbook contains representations of the great and extensive "work, " by which many friends are quite carried away. For this end the report was prepared. In the place of the deleted character development the development of a book in 45 "steps" is described (p. 46, 47). Indeed, the work as to quantity is grand, as the society itself says. But the question is about.the quality. But it is admitted in the appendix, that difficulties are present everywhere in the midst of the friends (pp. 63, 68, 70, 73, 105, 106). We know that these are the result of the unbearable pressure on the part of the management, and we interpret the difficulties as indications that the protestants, the champions of truth, still live. The titles given to those who were "put out" (text of Apr. 29), are anything but flattering ("dreamers, " etc.). Also those who do not joyfully receive the messengers and the message are sharply and judicially dealt with.

 

They are said to be the goats, but such as treat the colporteurs friendly are the sheep of the parable (p. 54)...

 

I.B.S.A. INCORPORATION*  

 

The following is the reason why Brother Russell formed the I.B.S.A.: A number of years after he bought the London Tabernacle, whose deed he had made out in the name of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, he learned that all British real estate, held in the name of unregistered foreign corporations was forfeitable to the Crown. Therefore he formed the I.B.S.A. as a holding corporation for the Tabernacle property. The three British managers (J. Hemery, H. J. Shearn, W. Crawford) under oath in the Conscription—————*This portion was inserted by the translators.

 

DOS235 litigation in 1916 and 1917 stated that the I.B.S.A. was a holding corporation only; that it was not an agency of the work of that body of Christian people who the world over were called the I.B.S.A. During Brother Russell’s life the I.B.S.A. Corporation, apart from the fees of its twenty-three members (23 pounds in all) never received or spent any money; neither did it receive or issue a check. The I.B.S.A. Corporation was nothing more or less than a "dummy corporation, " with "dummy directors, " and had absolutely nothing to do, apart from holding for Brother Russell the Tabernacle property, while he controlled it and the property held in its name.

 

  *** Many of the younger students and recent subscribers to the Watch Tower seem not to have noticed the statement on the second page setting forth the mission of the Society and the Journal to the thousands of Bible Students. We suggest a careful re-reading of this entire second page.

 

In order that all may be conversant with the legal standing of the Association we append hereto a statement of the Assistant Registrar of joint Stock Companies, London. The International Bible Students Association as an organization has been in existence many years, but was duly incorporated in London, England, under the above name on the 30th day of June, 1914, under the Companies Act 1908 and 1913, as shown below:.No. 136, 776. Unlimited Company.

 

CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION I Hereby Certify that INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION is this day Incorporated under the Companies Acts 1908 and 1913.

 

Given under my hand, at London, this Thirteenth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and fourteen.

 

GEO. J. SARGENT, Assistant Registrar of Joint Stock Companies.

DOS236 THE PARABLE OF THE WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS  

 

This parable also the Watch Tower interprets differently today than formerly. It would surely be absurd if a new interpretation were rejected simply because it contradicts that of Brother Russell.

 

We should be able, however, after much and prayerful study of the Scriptures, to decide for ourselves what is Scriptural and what is not Scriptural (Heb 5; 14). We should not so depend upon a brother that we would accept everything he says or believes without Scriptural proof.

 

The divine word alone is infallible; its testimony is dependable. let us therefore examine by this touchstone the explanation of the parable of the "Virgins" (Mt 25:1-13) given by the Watch Tower and see whether it is in harmony with the Scriptures or not. The new explanation is found in W.T. 1923:291-297. During that year there appeared in short succession expositions of all the parables contained in Mt 25. The first one was an explanation of the parable of the servants with the talents (W.T.1923:67); then the Watch Tower presented an explanation of the parable of the virgins and in the next number (Oct. 15, 1923) the new interpretation of the Sheep and Goats parable. This indicates a systematic plan.

 

We have already seen that the present exposition of the parable of the Sheep and Goats is wholly unscriptural and to be rejected, and that the motives for the new explanation are not the best. In our consideration of the entering into the joy of the Lord we have pointed out that the Watch Tower errs also in the explanation of the parable of the servants with the talents, and that here too, the motives are not good ones. We will see that the Watch Tower also errs in its new exposition of the parable of the virgins, and that here also ulterior motives have determined the style of the exposition.

 

The premise of the "Watch Tower" is that the fulfillment of the parable of the virgins is to found chiefly in certain events happening after 1914. The experiences of the church.

 

DOS237 in the year 1917-18, and later—the General Convention at Cedar Point (Sept. 1, 1922) with the chosen slogan "Behold the King!" ("Advertise, advertise, advertise the king and His kingdom") are here to constitute the central point in the exposition. In paragraph 62 of the exposition it is claimed that according to the parable all saints did not sleep, which would correspond with the condition of God’s people in the year 1919. But is all this true? No! The parable speaks of virgins going forth to meet the bridegroom, and not of subjects of the expected one. Not: "Behold the king!" not "Advertise the king and His kingdom, " but the cry is:"Behold the bridegroom!" according to Mt 25:6. The virgins, surprised by the midnight cry, immediately perceived the fact that they were unprepared for His reception, that their lamps were not shining brightly. All the virgins trimmed their lamps, since they wanted to be pleasing to the bridegroom. If the cry had been meant for the general public, then they certainly would not have cried: "Behold the bridegroom!" but: "Behold the king!" and advertise the king and His kingdom!" The reference to the king and His proclamation is meant for the world. But the cry: "Behold the bridegroom" is for believers, and not for the world. The Watch Tower’s application of this point is therefore unscriptural, it is given only for the purpose of making all the arrangements of the Society appear grand and divinely overruled. The "Watch Tower" is wrong also in its explanation that not all the saints, represented in the virgins, slept. Matthew 25:6 of the parable plainly and unequivocally states: "But when the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept."

 

The description of the marks of distinction between the two classes of virgins by the Watch Tower is likewise erroneous. Here the "Watch Tower" (in contrast to its expositions of 1921:30, where it is correctly explained that the wise virgins had provided themselves with a greater supply of oil than the foolish) seems to hold the thought that while the wise had oil in their vessels, the foolish had no oil at all. (par.44). But the foolish virgins evidently also had oil in their lamps. The parable shows that all the virgins started out with their lamps burning, but that a certain time the oil in the lamps of the foolish virgins was declining and the light therefore beginning to grow dim.. The fact of the case,

 

DOS238 therefore, is that the wise and foolish virgins alike had oil in their lamps, but that the wise—and therein consisted their wisdom—had provided themselves with additional oil in separate vessels, which the foolish failed to do. Neither is the oil, as the Watch Tower says in par. 34, a picture of joy and gladness, whereby it undoubtedly means the gladness of following the management enthusiastically in its "work of the Lord." This explanation is artificial and forced. Brother Russell’s explanation of this in Vol. 3:91, 92 is correct according to our understanding.

 

But the "Watch Tower" also errs in the explanation concerning the time of fulfillment. It says in paragraph 11 of the article, that it applied to the time after these other events—after these had been fulfilled. This is incorrect! After the Lord had spoken of the signs of His presence and the consummation of the age and of the division of the servant, he continues in Matthew 25:1: "Then (i.e., at the time when the picture of the division of the servant takes place in the described manner) shall the kingdom of heaven (not be like unto, but) be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom." In other words: the picture of the wise and faithful servant is illustrated, made plain by the parable of the virgins; it sets forth the same matter, only from a different angle. Evidently the time is same in both cases.* —————

 

*The authors of the original German edition take the view of a servant "class." An article applying Mt 24:45-47 to one individual may be had by addressing The Berean Bible Student, 61 Eagle St., San Francisco, California. (The translators).

 

  —————

 

We have already pointed out the wonderful harmony of the three parables, Mt 24:45-51; 25:1-13; 25:14-30, and shows that in all three cases two classes are set opposite each other. They are the same classes throughout. The class represented by the wise and faithful servant are the watching, waiting and faithful people of the Lord in the time of the end. The faithful and wise servant is that which the faithful and wise virgins are in the other picture. Just as the returning Lord finds the "faithful and wise servant" in the proper attitude, so likewise does He find the wise virgins in the other picture "ready" (Mt 25:10); and just as out of the class of the faithful and wise servant an evil servant class forms itself (note:

 

DOS239 he begins to smite his fellow-servants, etc., which he therefore had not done formerly!) so also a part of the virgins reveals itself as a foolish class. The evil servant had expected his Lord earlier and had not made provision for a longer wait, and the same thing was done by the foolish virgins, not having provided themselves with a supply of oil for the event of a later coming of their bridegroom (i.e., for their entering in with Him), as the wise class had done. Both, the evil (worthless) servant and the foolish virgins were therefore separated from the faithful and wise servant and the virgin class, and lost the highest reward...

 

But we ask that it be noted that motive, which cannot be called a good one, underlies the new interpretation of the parable by the "Watch Tower." It was desired to point out the foolish virgins and expose them. The ascertainment of this class is not difficult for the "Watch Tower"; they are all those who refuse to assist in the "work" of the Society: "The kingdom of heaven is here (?), millions now living will never die." (W.T. 1923:296; par. 68) So then, the dear friends who do not proclaim this message loudly and quickly, would according to this, constitute the foolish virgins, if the Watch Tower were the highest tribunal. Well, it does not trouble us if our brethren condemn us—fix our destiny. We are glad that "the Lord knoweth them that are His" (2Ti 2:19). He will decide. We are willing to be self willed in the eyes of the Watch Tower, if only the Lord judges differently.

 

The Watch Tower Society as the wise "virgin" class wants to be asked: "Give us your oil" (par.68); but it does not consider that it may be the one lacking it (Re 3:17). But one thing we feel and know, that the Heavenly Father has richly blessed those who during recent years have been newly awakened from a certain slumber, and with trimmed lamps passed into the brighter light of truth (Mt 25:7; Lk 12:35, 36), though devoted "private" study of the word of God as the lamp, the light of truth beams forth for them in new splendor under the gracious leading of the Lord. They are privileged to rejoice today in the discernment of the glorious truths of their great God more clearly than formerly. We note with sorrow on the contrary, how others, who are burying their talent in the earth, i.e., in extensive activity

 

DOS240 for the world ("the field is the world"), are more and more losing the light of the truth and going into darkness. The work for the world is done at the expense of their own development (Mt 25:10). Pilgrim brethren "henceforth" are to serve the friends only in the evening, and are to help the friends during the daytime to "get the literature into the hands of the people." (W.T. 1926:312, par. 38.) We will forbear citing any further absurdities of the "Watch Tower" in the interpretation of the parable of the virgins. We only desire to encourage the dear friends to thoroughly prove for themselves whatever is presented to them, like the Bereans of old, who even were commended for examining the inspired words of the apostles to see if they were in harmony with the Old Testament Scriptures. If we proceed thus, we will quickly discern errors, no matter where they come from, while at he same time the scriptural truths will become more and more clear to us.

 

But we exhort here also: Do not delay! Do not think that because of the many opposing expositions one can finally know all which is truth. "And dost thou ask ‘what is truth?’ Because in doubt thou art? Then go to Him for clearness, Who Himself is the Truth!" Ask Him, and when He gives clearness, then go and witness for the truth.

 

WAKE UP!  

 

"Wake up!" Lo, the voice doth call From the watchman upon Zion’s wall, "Wake up, thou city Jerusalem!" Midnight is the hour of calling.

 

They cry to us with joyful voices: "Where are you, oh ye virgins fair?

 

Behold the bridegroom! everywhere Arise and take your lamps! Hallelujah! Prepare yourselves For the marriage of the Lamb! Ye must go forth to meet Him!" —Dr. Ph. Nikolai..

DOS241 FURTHER ERRONEOUS TEACHINGS OF THE WATCH TOWER SOCIETY  

 

The secret place of the Most High (Ps 91).

 

How much we need the protection of the secret place of the Most High, and how much God’s consecrated people at any time in the past have needed it, is known to all of us who believe that without this protection we would have fallen victims to the adversary’s poisoned arrows. But since 1927 the Watch Tower teaches that this protection was not available prior to 1918, and neither was it necessary! It says (W.T. 1927:230- 231, par. 28, 32) that this protection had been foreseen and made available for the members of the Church when the Lord came to His temple (1918) and not before, because there was no necessity (!) for it before—always 1918! We would only say to this that we pity the poor ones who lived without this protection prior to 1918.

 

Is this "new light" truth? Let anyone decide before God, on the basis of His word. Our urgent exhortation for ourselves as well as to all devoted to God is "Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and opposition of science falsely so called, which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee" (1Ti 6:20, 21).

 

*** The Laying of the precious Stone in Zion (1Pe 2:6 and other passages).

 

We know that the laying of the chief corner stone (Jesus) took place 1900 years ago. Now the Watch Tower teaches that the laying of the corner stone at the time was only in miniature (a favorite expression now) and that the complete laying took place in 1918. It says, among other things: "The laying of the corner stone took place in 1918, when Christ Jesus, the anointed king of Jehovah, came to His temple" (W.T. 1926:10, 342).

 

This is, of course, an error. The stone was laid long before 1918 (1Co 3:11). Peter exhorted in his day, to come to this living stone, in order to be built up under Him for a spiritual temple. Read 1Pe 2:3-10. Accordingly the stone

 

DOS242 must have been laid at that time, and when the Watch Tower teaches that the Lord came to His temple in 1918, then the Lord would have just begun to build Zion. (W.T. 1926:342, par. 28).

 

The Scriptures know nothing of a laying corner stone "in miniature, " and a laying "in completion." God has laid the stone only once. The testimony of Ephesians 2:20: "...build upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;" removes every doubt. Yes, it is true that the temple class now with the clear truth sweeps away the refuge or bulwark of lies whereby some of God’s people are blinded (W.T. 1926:331, par. 32).

 

*** The Highway for the world of Mankind (Isa 35).

 

We have applied the promises of Isa 35 to the Millennial reign of Christ and his saints. And this was and is correct. Only in the Millennial kingdom will it come to pass that even fools shall not err in the way, and that the roaring lion, going about today, seeking to devour, will not be, etc. But the Watch Tower teaches now that this is erroneous. The way of Isaiah 35:8 it says, "does not mean the highway, "and adds: "We have spoken of it as the highway of holiness, but this is not that which the Scripture says." To the proper question, what kind of a way is it then, we hear the answer: "This is the way to go" (W.T. 1926:200). What wisdom! shall we exclaim with Job 12:2? "This way is the way to go"—do we know it now? We declare this answer to be an insipid, meaningless phrase and say with emphasis: "This way is the highway of restoration in the Millennial kingdom, when Satan (the lion) will be bound and no ravenous beast (Da 7, especially Da 7:11, 12) is found any more."

*** Christ’s Return.  

 

When in the past we spoke of Christ’s return (parousia, presence) we always meant a personal coming of the Lord. The Watch Tower still believes, "that his presence began about the year 1874" (W.T. 1927:163). It says, however, that since 1874 Jesus was doing a certain work on the earth, but states then: "while he is doing this work, the Lord still is at Jehovah’s right hand, and is at the same

 

DOS243 time present upon the earth." (Omnipresence?) Such a belief is peculiar. It says further, that the "descending" of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 can be used in a figurative (not real) sense. It might therefore mean, so it teaches us, that the Lord would concentrate his activity, during the time mentioned, directly upon the ...earth and yet be in heaven during this activity. (W.T. 1927:164, 165). And in W.T. 1926:73: "The government will be heavenly, because it is directed from heaven." Certainly, the Lord can direct all things from heaven, but the question here is what the Scriptures teach concerning our Lord’s return.

 

Does the teaching of the "Watch Tower" correspond with the true sense of the parousia, the presence of the Lord? Is the return of Christ real or only figurative? Would it be a parousia of the Lord, if He remained in heaven?

 

Jesus said He would go to the Father to prepare a place for His own in the Father’s house. Was this going real or only figurative? We think it was real. When He then says: "And if I go...I will come again and receive you unto myself"—is the "going" and "coming again" real or figurative?

 

Can the going be taken literally, and the coming again on the other hand only figuratively? Must not the coming again be just as real, literal, as the going was real, literal? Of course we need not deeply mediate whether the word "descend" means "that Christ Jesus must execute a flight from heaven to earth." (W.T. 1927:164, par. 16) If His ascension was a "flight" (Lk 24:51—"carried up") then His return will be likewise; if His ascension was something other than a flight, then His return was also. We have no means of knowing what possibilities are t the disposal of the glorified Lord for such ascension and descent. We only know that He comes again, how He returns is not necessary for us to know. That Jesus is still with the Father above and at the same time on the earth, is wisdom (?) which we have already met with in certain old systems. If this were so, then Jesus was during all the 1900 years in heaven and on the earth at the same time, and then why wait for His return? That He was present with His spirit His own (Mt 28:20) is known to us all. we believe that the return (the second advent) of Christ is just as literal as the first advent. We

 

DOS244 need not specially point out that our Lord came the first time in the form of a servant, while His second advent will be as the Lord of glory.

 

We are informed that other friends, besides followers of the "Watch Tower, " unfortunately are rejecting the thought of a real, personal coming of the Lord. Oh, people of the Lord, carefully heed what the Scriptures say! The Judgment of the Church. That the term judgment is the Scriptures very often means "trial and decision, " is known to us. In this sense also Jesus, our Head, was in judgment. When all the trials had passed over Him, He was "taken from oppression and from judgment" (Isa 53:8). His followers who walk in His sacrificial way, are in a similar judgment. It has really lasted 1900 years. Is if past? Has it been taken from the Church? We will correctly say: No.

 

The "new Manna" says: "Jehovah has taken away the judgment of the church." (Yearbook 1927:june 12). No wonder if it is continually declared (till the "Anointed" really believe it and act accordingly) that the Lord in 1918, since "the kingdom is set up" (1918, 1918, and again 1918!) "began to unfold the parables and passages concerning the kingdom and the present honor (!)... and activity of the church." (Yearbook 1927: Mar. 24 & others). "Present honor, "" visible honor!" (German W.T. 1925:207). Brothers, Sisters, let us still bear the present reproach, till the Lord has taken us away from judgment. Some in the days of Paul spoke gloryingly of their "honor, " but Paul says: "whose glory is their shame" (Php 3:19). We will not praise ourselves, not render ourselves prominent, but see our honor rather in the constant endurance of ignominy for Jesus’ sake, and not let our happiness in Him be diminished because men hate us, and separate us from their company and cast our name out as evil (Lk 6:22).

 

"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves...We will not boast of things without measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God has distributed to us...For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth" (2Co 10:12-18).

 

DOS245 "Thus determinedly we follow our heavenly Leader now, indefatigably suffering and bearing His reproach."

*** Mistakes in the Bible?

 

The Watch Tower asserts: "Even the Bible contains some" (mistakes). (W.T. 1920:103). This is said to excuse its own confessed errors. It adds, however: "By mistakes we mean a misunderstanding of misapplication. It (the Seventh Volume) does not contain any erroneous doctrines, " but its assertion of mistakes in the Bible (note well, not in the application of exposition!) remains. Oh, the shame! In order to cover up the many mistakes of the Seventh Volume, mistakes are claimed even for the Bible. The Bible does not contain mistakes of the author, but mistakes on our part in understanding and translation. But with the Watch Tower mistakes of the author are present.

 

May divine grace keep us from such disregard of His word! ***" Thy kingdom come." Thus all of God’s waiting children are still praying today. Brother Russell says correctly in the W.T. of Nov. 15, 1914 (W.T.R5575 205575) under the title: "The Kingdom Has Not Yet Come": "How evident it is that this kingdom has not yet come, when we see that amongst mankind selfishness id the rule, individually and nationally, and that there are many influences of evil which hurt and destroy throughout the world today. So we may continue to pray: Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven!" These words are applicable today. Therefore we continue to pray: "Thy kingdom come, " thus expressing the thought that it is not here yet, not yet set up. The proclamation of the Watch Tower Society, that the kingdom is already set up, has been the cause that this prayer is no longer used by misguided friends. We have been told in answer to a question, that the prayer for the coming of the Kingdom could no longer be made, because it is here already! How sad, that dear friends permit themselves to be carried away by this error, and cease to pray for God’s kingdom (2Pe 3:17). May the Lord open their eyes, that they might see and know that today nothing is more necessary than the coming of His kingdom.

DOS246 The "Servant." the "Prison, " the "Prisoners, " the "desolate heritages" ( Isa 42 Isa 49).

 

The Lord, through the prophet Isaiah speaks much of a "servant, " whom He calls His servant. But by careful reading we will also find that the prophet speaks of servants (plural) of Jehovah, which, therefore, must be distinguished from the servant.

 

The prophetic descriptions show us the servant under the most varied activities. Our eye beholds the various acts in which the servant appears, as in a drama, till finally the description reaches its climax in Isa 53. We all know that this ("the") servant in Isa 53 is Jesus and He only. But the servant in Isa 53 is the same servant who has been mentioned so often in preceding chapters. Let us note the sequence: Chapter 53 and preceding this shows us Jesus in His work ("he"); Isa 54 the bride of Christ ("she") and Isa 55 the fruit of the travail of His soul: the world of mankind ("all")..Is it not quite venturesome of the Watch tower when it says (W.T. 1926:243, 343 and other passages) the servant is not the Lord alone but represents "the body members as a whole, while in the flesh"? (p. 244). Of course here also 1918 plays an important role. And upon this risky exposition many new and great errors are built up, doctrines which place the many promises applicable in the future, in the present time. The Watch Tower writes: "In Isa 42:6, 7 God again addresses his servant, The Christ and says: ‘I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee fro a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners for the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.’ This prophecy could not possibly refer to the Millennial Age. It shows a work to be done by The Servant class while on the earth."

 

Similarly we read on page 244, where it says: "Heretofore the forty-ninth chapter if Isaiah’s prophecy has been applied to the Millennial Age exclusively; but it now seems quite manifest that this prophecy has to do with the closing experiences of the church, while some of her members are still in the flesh."

 

And the same thing we find on page 343, par. 35, where it is expressly declared that the opening of the blind eyes (see

 

DOS247 also Isa 35:5), the leading forth of the captives from the prison is the work of the Church in the flesh! We ask again: what remains for the Millennial Kingdom? For the "Watch Tower" there is practically no Millennial Kingdom, no further, future blessing. Everything is said to be "now, " since 1918. Note, beloved, how systematically and methodically the Watch Tower is proceeding. And, believe us, it will proceed much further in the way taken.

 

We ask you all to read the passages in question, especially Isaiah 42:1-7 and Isaiah 49:6-9 for yourselves and to decide whether they apply to the present or future. The desolate heritages, says the Watch Tower in its exposition (1926:343) "are undoubtedly that class designated as the great company." This exposition is a reprehensible error, because this word points to the general restitution in the Millennium. The "prisoners" in Isaiah 42 and Isaiah 49 are, according to the new light, "those consecrated Christians" in the nominal systems, the great company! (see also p. 339). And the "prisons" of the prophecy are said to be the church systems. Yes, the Watch Tower ventures the assertion: "The thought usually expressed has been that the grave is the prison and that the dead are the prisoners; hence the familiar expression. ‘Those who are in the prison-house of death.’ The Scriptures do not support that statement. It is nowhere stated that death is a prison-house" (W.T. 1926:339)..And on page 246, par. 28, it says: "Mark, that this Scripture does not say: ‘The prison-house of death.’ We have read that into the Scripture. We have read that into the Scripture. The text reads: ‘Say to the prisoners, Go forth.’ How could the servant say that to the prisoners if they were dead in the tomb...?"

 

What a question! The most appropriate answer to this is:"Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." And Ps 90:3? And Joh 5:28, 29; 11:43? Oh, how far has the Society lost itself in the labyrinth of errors! Let us hear further what the "Watch Tower" says:

 

1. "All who are begotten and anointed of the Lord and who abide under that anointing are counted as a part of Zion and also as her children." (p. 244, par. 8).

 

2. 1918 was "the time for the beginning of judgment." (p. 244, par. 15) 1918!

 

DOS248

3. "The gathering and raising up of Jacob, mentioned in verses five and six (Isa 49) clearly means the gathering together of the full number of the ‘one hundred and forty-four thousand’ (par. 18). The servant (the body members) according to this, gather themselves ‘together’"!

 

4. The dwellers in the darkness and the shadow of death (Ps 107:10) are the great company. (par. 19)

 

5. The blind in Isa 42:6 (compare also with Isa 35:5) are also the great company. (par. 24, 25)

 

6. The deliverance of the "captives" (the great company according to the Watch Tower) has been effected, among other things, through "indictments." (par. 26)

 

7. The no more hungering and thirsting, etc. of the great company (Re 17:16) is "while they are still on earth, not after they have reached heaven." (par. 29)

 

8. Those who in 1918 and since, have taken the place of those who "hurriedly departed from the truth" (those protesting against error and human methods!) were such who as "children" of Zion according to Isa 49:17-21, make haste to come to her and gather themselves, etc. (please read these passages carefully!) and these again are the great company described in Re 7:13! (par. 32, 33). Has the author well considered what he makes of these hasting-ones?

 

9. The foundations of the new earthly organization were being laid by the church now. (par. 35) In one of the hymns it says: "In vain who thereon buildeth!"

 

10. The arising and worshiping of the kings and princes of Isa 49:7 is applied to this side! (par. 36). This is pleasing to the flesh!

 

11. The "servant" (the body members, according to the "watch Tower") has already children on this side! (par. 39). This is quite suspicious! (Re 2:23).

 

12. Ps 79:11; 102:20 ("prisoners") designate the great company! (p. 341, par. 18, 19; p. 342, par.28).

 

13. The great company class are "strictly speaking" only at the end of the gospel age a body or company. (p. 339, p[are. 6) 14. In 1919 (calculated!) the nominal church systems had completely rejected God’s anointed king. (par. 23) 15. The handy man ready to lead the scapegoat into the wilderness is the clergy! (par.25). Can the clergy as a class then share the fate of the goats (as the "watch Tower" teaches), if the man could return to the camp after his cleansing (Le 6:26)?

 

16. The jailers are the clergy. (par. 38)

 

DOS249 The erroneous teachings in the two articles are colossal. Difficulties in the application of Isa 49 to the present time the Watch Tower seeks to overcome by saying that "verses eleven to thirteen...evidently are placed there as a parenthetical statement, for the purpose of safeguarding the secrecy of this prophecy" (247: par. 30). Whosoever believes "as the Scriptures say, " will see the errors and reject them, will find the truth which makes free, and will be free indeed.

 

*** The angel flying in the midst of heaven (Re 14:6).

The golden girdles of the seven angels (Re 15:6).

 

As to these points we would only put the questions to all the dear readers, which they may answer for themselves in the light of god’s word: Can it be that the proclamation of the Society’s messengers by "Radio" since 1918 (as the Society says) is the fulfillment of Re 14:6? (W.T. 1927:167). Can it be that the gold-lettering on the "Studies in the Scriptures" is the fulfillment of the Scripture concerning the "golden girdles, " and the white paper of the "Studies in the Scriptures" the fulfillment of the Scripture concerning the "linen" (Re 15:6)?

 

*** While this work was in the printers’ hands other truth-disfiguring expositions have appeared in the Watch Tower. This was foreseen. We restrict ourselves to a simple mention of these erroneous teachings of the Society without detailed comment:

 

1. A "people for His name" of Ac 15:14 is not the elect class f the Gospel Age, but consists of those at the present time, who take their stand against "Satan’s organization!" "It was for such a time in our own day that god sent His truth to the Gentiles to gather out from them a people for His name." (W.T. 1928:19-25) Beloved! With this new theory the arm has been lifted for a destructive blow against the Biblical doctrine of election!

 

2. Everything is today! so the "watch Tower" 91928:24) says that the parables of the Kingdom (as for example that of the sower, etc.) find their application today. "They do not begin during the period of the selection of the church..."

 

DOS250

3. The battle of the Watch Tower Society against "Satan’s organization, " concerning which the Watch Tower so gladly and almost exclusively writes, encroaches more and more on the political sphere. This is especially apparent in the pamphlet "Liberty for the People, " which unmistakably shows a partisanship for certain classes of people, and is, therefore, fit to inflame the political passions still more, "Liberty of the People!"—an effective bait, but how often are lack of liberty and intolerance hidden behind this cry, as these are also at home in the camp of the Society.

 

The Society, however, became embarrassed with the "devil’s organization." Because bible students often find it necessary to go to a hospital, they had to accommodate themselves to exempt hospitals—"strictly speaking"—from the "devil’s organization!" And also Airplanes? Printing plants? Radio? Autos?

 

4. Noteworthy are further the conditions set forth for the election of elders by the congregation in Dresden (Germany), which is considered standard (as respects organization!). There, acknowledgment of the seven volumes of Studies in Scripture, acknowledgment of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract society as the "expression of God’s organization on earth, " acknowledgment of the "Watch Tower" as the channel, acknowledgment of personal missionary activity from house to house "as the most excellent and blessed manner to give witness of the King and the Kingdom, " is demanded! Truly, the organization is well developed! But, where is the glorious liberty of God’s children?

 

Where is the condition of acknowledgment of the Lord and His word? We seek in vain for it!

 

*** Oh, dear friends! How perilous it is to depart from the truth! What a multitude of errors does one error bring forth! Let us hold fast the truth in love (Eph 4:15) daily and hourly, even unto blood, as did our brethren of former days. And let us do this with strong confidence in God.

 

Let us meditate deeply upon the long and glorious Psa 119, in which the keeping of His word, His testimonies, His commandments,

 

DOS251 His law, His instructions, His statues, His judgments, is spoken of so many times. May we hold fast to Him and His word at any price, even at the price of our life. We are reminded of a hymn which Luther composed from Ps 12 during his battle against the clumsy errors of his day, of which we here quote a few verses, because of its appropriateness.

 

Oh God from heaven look into it And let Thy pity move Thee! How few of Thy dear saints there are, The poor ones and forsaken.

 

Some would not let Thy word be true, And faith is almost perished too In all the world of mankind.

 

They’re teaching vain, false, cunning things, By their own wit invented, And not of one mind is their heart, nor in god’s word is blended; One chooses this, another that, Separating without measure While outwardly they glitter.

 

God wholly may destroy all those Who teach us empty tinder; Whose tongues speak proud, defiantly: "Who dare herein to hinder?

 

We only have authority to call, What we declare, is meant for all; Who is it that could us master?"

 

Therefore God says: I must rise up, The humble, poor, confused be; Their sighs have entered in to me, Their lamentings I have heard, My wholesome word shall now go forth, Anew bring blessings to them.

 

A stronghold for the poor-ones.

 

Dr. Martin Luther..

DOS252 THE WORK OF THE LORD  

 

As mentioned on preceding pages, the Watch Tower Society reportedly, passionately, jealously, makes the assertion since Brother Russell’s death, that it. and it alone as doing the "Lord’s work."

 

Thus it rigorously excludes everyone who is not going with it in everything. It makes the matter, as already stated, very simple: Brother Russell, it says, was the faithful and wise servant (but the Society has dropped him as that servant since 1927; comp. W.T. 1927:57.—And now?); he founded the Watch Tower society, and the brethren of the editorial committee are his "lawful successors" since his death, "lawfully chosen and appointed of the Lord, " and now He is speaking through them. Everything that was taught, arranged and done in his way, is the work of the Lord, " is the "commanded, "" prescribed, "" way of the Lord": but all who do not obey the arrangements of this way, are "lawless ones, offensive, self-willed, stiff-necked, idolatrous, rebellious, wicked, " etc. (W.T. 1925:200, 214; 1926:116, 145, par. 42, 43).

 

Exactly the same condition and language is found in the Catholic church. The church members firmly believe that their clergy is "lawfully chosen and appointed of the Lord" and that nothing else is the "work of the Lord" except that which comes to them in this "divinely appointed way, " whether it be doctrine, command or work. They know only one church (which is fundamentally absolutely true) and this church they claim to be themselves, and no one else. It does not come into their minds at all that the true church is not to be recognized simply by a membership in an organization, but in the manifestation of certain heart inclinations (the spirit of God), in the unreserved submission to the will of God, in the care and development of the life of God.

 

According to the argument just now cited, the church of the Living God could be recognized and seen by everyone, instead of by God only. Yes, everything is so simple—we are assured.

 

But those hungering after righteousness will not depend upon such "simple" conceptions concerning the church. They will not look upon the outward things, upon the outward

 

DOS253 membership in a church system, but only upon divinely laid-down marks of distinction.

 

It is, of course, not as simple as the "Watch Tower" thinks and teaches in the question of the "Lord’s work." The fact that Brother Russell founded the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society does not at all decide the question whether the Society is the "work of the Lord" today, or whether it is doing this work solely for itself. The fact that Brother Rutherford is at the head, that five brethren form the committee, that the movement is grandly organized to the smallest minutiae, etc., is in no way decisive. Such facts do not decide, no; all this is along the line of outward things. The only facts which decide this question are quite different. When one boasts about the ""legitimate successorship" of a prominent man of God to prove the genuineness of the "work of the Lord, " then the foundation for the asserted "genuineness" is certainly not genuine.

 

No, beloved, all this is of no consequence. The continual appeals to the lawful successorship to Brother Russell, to the organization created "by the Lord, " to the magnitude of the work, etc., . have no decisive weight with earnest Bible students. No! The true Bible students judge everything, really everything, according to the divine standard, the word of truth. They never wrangle over the question whether the "Watch Tower" is Brother Russell’s legitimate successor or the Pastoral Bible Institute (the "Herald"), they ask rather: What is truth? In so far as the "Watch Tower" teaches and works according to the truth, it is carrying on the Lord’s work, in so far as others do this, then they are doing the Lord’s work. The work of the Lord is done only in connection with His will and His truth, never otherwise. If ninety parts out of a hundred on the method and teaching of the "Watch Tower" are unscriptural, then they are doing ten parts of the work of the Lord, and ninety parts of their own (human) work. The "work" took an entirely different course after Brother Russell’s death, which many Bible students of our days are unwilling to acknowledge. We would therefore call to remembrance here what Bro. Rutherford himself said in September, 1922. Under the subtitle "Change in the Work’ we find the following words from his own pen:

 

DOS254 "There has been a distinct change in the character of the work of the church since 1918. The question is, has it been warranted? Those who have walked with us, but who walk with us no longer say: ‘No.’"( W.T. 1922:336).

 

Is the change in the character of the work here not only admitted, but even established? The change, then and now, consists in this, that an entirely new work on the world was undertaken after Brother Russell’s death; so quickly and with the exertion of all their fighting forces, as if the work had been culpably neglected during Brother Russell’s time. Proclamations, summons, etc., were addressed "to the people of the earth, " and "to the rulers of the world." That marks the change of character of the work. W.T. 1924:143 writes expressly: "Our message now is to the peoples of Christendom especially..." We also ask: Was this change justified? The facts as a consequence of this change shall answer.

 

The assertion of the Society that it alone and no one else on earth is carrying on the Lord’s appointed work, can easily be examined. For the work is not lying in the distant past or in the future, but in our own days. According to the assertions of the Society, which are repeated times without number in the various phases, the work was arranged by the Lord. Just a few of the many phrases: "The work of the Lord increases with every day, but also grows the opposition against it, and some permit themselves, unknowingly, to be pushed to the side of the opponents of the work, they come into a position of opposition against the work of the Lord as a whole and refuse to do this or that which the Lord makes known as necessary to be carried out." (German W.T.1922:153).

 

  "... who fail or refuse to recognize the Lord’s way, ... to do his work in the way he has commanded; ... to do the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way...; ... contrary to the way the Lord has commanded; ... joyfully obey his commands." (W.T. 1925:214, 215).

 

  "... to observe or to obey this divine arrangement; ... to obey the Lord’s order governing the church; ... to do his work in his appointed way." (W.T. 1925:200).

 

And so forth in the same tone. What "the Lord made known as necessary to be carried out, " was, of course, carried out (in spite of the refusal of some) by the wiling ones who remained—the work was done. When the "Watch Tower"

 

DOS255 says "arranged of the Lord, " it means, of course, the directions given by itself; this can be proven hundreds of times by the Watch Tower. But let us examine the actual work as it has been done since Brother Russell’s death. If it has really been the Lord’s work, then He must have acknowledged it, because His arrangements are free from mistakes, and guarantee the most punctual and complete fulfillment. The Society in the Yearbook 1927 says that whatever is arranged and commanded by Jehovah, is certainly carried out and positively takes place. If this is the case, then it is proven that it was, or is, the work of God.

 

What do the facts say of the years since 1916? All of the works carried out according to arrangements by the Watch Tower Society are known to us. Did the Lord acknowledge the many works of the Society as His work? Did He keep his word, when He ordered them to be carried out? Did He confirm the word of His servant (Isa 44:26)? Or did He arrange a work, command the proclamation of messages, in order to let His people experience disappointment upon disappointment? We ask again. What do the facts since 1916 prove?

 

One of the first works was Volume 7, which was published with striking haste. The dissemination of the tract "The Fall of Babylon" was a part of this same "work of the Lord." The Millions message imperiously demanded to be enrolled also in the circle of the "Lord’s work."

 

"1925" was not to be excluded therefrom. The creation and perfecting of the "organization" claimed the chief place in this same work. And so forth. Has the intended result followed the carrying out to these (and other) parts of the "work of the Lord"? Or should we, because of the splendor and glory of this "work, " or because of fear to come into the Society’s disfavor, close our eyes to the actualities and facts? Can and may an honest person do this? We know that the "work of the Lord" may not be examined as to its genuineness. If one finds that the work here and there is spurious, poorly founded, and that it shows clefts in its walls, and calls attention to this for the benefit of Israel’s watchmen, then it is said that he is criticizing the Lord’s servants and their arrangements, and thereby the Lord Himself, because He chose such servants and

 

DOS256 placed them in the responsible positions (W.T. 1924:72, par. 51). Such correspond to those who in these days "wish to" examine the matter "to see whether or not the things are in accordance with their ideas of what ought to be, who bring reason to bear upon the Lord’s dealing..." says the "Watch Tower" (1924:28). Such, it says in another place, "in truth and in deed take offense at the Lord" (W.T. 1926:295, par. 40).

 

But all right! Let us really follow that which the Watch Tower has recommended so often in recent years, namely to do the Lord’s will without any fear whatever. Let us not fear to examine the much-lauded work carefully.

 

Volume 7 was published in order to smite Jordan and separate the masses, to set the church-heavens afire, etc. We ask: Has this taken place? Have the masses been separated? Is Babylon burned up? we ask for a straightforward answer. The answer is: No! The masses still stand like a phalanx, Babylon’s heaven is not burned yet; the expected great things failed. These are the facts! Why did not the Lord, since He (as it is asserted) had arranged the work, permit the announced things to come to pass? Did He repent? Or did He withhold the knowledge of the actual course of the things in this matter from Himself, and forgetting this, make that arrangement? Is not the straightforward answer, which the facts give to all these questions this: "The proclamations mentioned had nothing to do with the work of the Lord!"?

 

The same thing is true of "The Fall of Babylon"; the expected result did not appear. The one, like the other, was to have been the closing of the Church. Was it, we ask? Can the accomplished work, in connection with the announced theme, be called the "work of the Lord, " when its "divinely" (so-called) made known and predicted goal was not attained? The straightforward answer, given by the facts themselves, is: This was not His work.

 

"1925!" What a gigantic expenditure was required in time, money, paper, books, lectures, colportage even to importunity, etc., by this work, "arranged by the Lord, "" 1925!" If we had not seen it with our own eyes, the fact of this gigantic work concerning 1925 might be disputed and denied. Here we ask with the fearlessness recommended by the Watch Tower: Was 1925 fulfilled? Was the proclaimed goal of the

 

DOS257 gigantic work reached? Was there no disappointment here? Where are the Ancient Worthies?

 

Do we not still sing: "They have slept in those green valleys, which in weariness they trod?"

 

Had the Little Flock been completed in 1925? May we be permitted here also to put the question frankly: Was this gigantic work the "work of the Lord? The facts here again answer: No! And so forth concerning many "activities."

 

Here we also emphasize that we care less to expose the failure of the work. We endeavor only to show that an examination of the continuous assertion that the Society alone was doing the "Lord’s work, " is not only no sin, but the holy duty of the friends, whose fulfillment brings the truthful, loudly proclaimed answer by the facts: Most of the great activities unfolded by the Society do not belong to the work of the Lord. Of 100 parts of these activities, when the facts are accepted as they are, ninety parts can be designated as purely human and not even humanly wise work. In the much-lauded "work of the Lord" ninety per cent (or more some think) human admixture! The assertion of the Society, that they only are doing the Lord’s work, is after all strongly boastful and reveals catholic tendencies (Isa 47:8; compare also Re 3:17).

 

But this will be found and understood only by those "since 1918, " who, obeying the urgent command of the "Watch Tower, " show fearlessness, weigh and examine the bombastic assertions upon the balances of facts. Only in so far as we do His will in His truly appointed way, only in so far His holy and sanctifying truth is given consideration in this connection, are we doing the Lord’s work; not otherwise. The doing of this work is not the monopoly (sole right) of a certain Society or organization, it is the glorious privilege of all of God’s children, even "the little ones, the insignificant, untalented and wretched" (Eph 4:7: "every one of us...!"). The Lord always acknowledges our work, if it is done according to His will; disappointments are never the consequence of such a doing of His will. If they come, we should be humble enough to examine the wheels, rods, yes, all parts of the "work, " to see if we had been doing mostly our own will. Brother Russell said: "Our mistakes... We had the erroneous thought, " and that

 

DOS258 was honesty. When 1925 was passing, toward the end it was stated in the Watch Tower: "We have nothing to take back concerning 1925..." Of course, then the mark of honesty, uprightness, and above all, humility, is missing entirely. Alas, that the "authorities" might be "as the children!" That they might repent! This "work of the Lord" which we have just examined relates almost exclusively to the world, i.e., it had to do with matters which concern the world in general. We are well aware that we have duties toward the world also, but the facts of past history, and the great Word of God confirm it, that our own interests begin to suffer from the moment when we seek to do and attain more from the world than it intended by the Divine will. As soon as we begin to transfer promises belonging to the future Millennial Kingdom and to the world in general to an earlier time (the present), in order to work upon such a new foundation, resulting from this transfer, we have actually placed ourselves outside the frame of the Lord’s work. Fro this is truly not His will, and therefore not His work. It requires no renewed proof that the Society, which claims like all who have preached it, to be the only one doing the Lord’s work, has entered upon the fatal path to transfer promises which certainly belong to the future, to the present, and to arrange the work accordingly; we have previously said a few things about this. But in this manner they are not doing His, but only their work. And though they call it the wonderful "work of the Lord" and claim to be doing it in His name (commission) it makes no difference. Mt 7:22, 23 should be sufficient warning for us. There was no lack of "works" either in Ephesus or Laodicea, nevertheless the "Amen, " whose eyes are like a flame of fire, says: "I have this against thee, that thou hast left thy first love, " and "...I will spue thee out of my mouth." And the word "my works, " spoken with emphasis in Re 2:26 surely means something to us. We are thoroughly in favor that after the work for and in us, the gospel is brought to the world according to the divine will, and we will also endeavor to do this. But we are not working according to the Lord’s will with sensational, chronological proclamations, "indications, " etc.

 

But we know, because here also the facts speak loudly and

 

DOS259 distinctly, that from the time when a premature work for the world has been undertaken, the "work in us" is neglected. It was thought that the "work in us" would prosper through outward activity like colporteuring, etc., and they began to find that it was right that the "talking and dreaming of the development of a perfect character should cease." Yes, later, when to many of the Watch Tower friends, "orderly organized" children of God therefore, the character development still remained tolerably necessary, dear and valuable, they even went so far as to make the extremely-ugly, exquisitely-pointed assertion, that this beautiful doctrine (of character development) was a "snare of Satan, " a "deception of Satan, " into which many professing Christians had happened! (W.T. 1927:199). And all of God’s dear children who still find pleasure in the intimate and progressive growing into Christ, hear Rutherford judicially say "... at that very time such are a part of the world and are supporters of the Devil’s (!) organization.

 

Satan has turned the minds of millions into the channel of supposed ‘character development’..."( W.T. 1927:199). And many Bible students even thank the Lord "who is directing and ordering everything, " for such evil teaching, and that "the Lord is still in direct charge, and that he is carrying on his work exactly on schedule time" (W.T. 1925:56, par. 47); that "he is setting forth such wonderful food to His Anointed of this time!" Oh, the shame! Let us, dearly beloved in Christ, work the "work of the Lord" to His glory. Let us have the greatest fear of bringing shame upon His work, His cause and His truth through a self-willed work! Above all let us work the "work in us" (Manna Feb. 5) and "giving no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed" (2Co 6:3). Let us refuse to follow false teachers, self-willed men, whom many will follow, as Peter predicted, for, because of them (their foolish undertakings, which are regularly failures) the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of (2Pe 2:1, 2)! If we have not seen these things plainly in the past, then let us do so now, immediately, and in a decisive turning to the Lord! The Lord’s work demands it! "And lest your heart faint" (Jer 51:46)!

DOS260 ORGANIZATION  

 

The church of Christ is a group selected out of mankind. The Lord does the selecting, not a man nor a body of men! This chosen church is invited to become like its Head, Jesus Christ, by following him in sacrificing its life here on earth. There is much fighting, ignominy and suffering for His name’s sake connected with such footstep following. After it has finished its course, and in god’s due time, all Christians (anointed ones) will be changed to heavenly glory.

 

They will be missing among men in the times of restitution, when they all will be with Christ in glorious spirit bodies, in heavenly conditions and "reigning with Him a thousand years."

 

This church is the special work of god during the Gospel Age. We cannot help quoting the brief but true words of our dear Brother Russell, which for so many years (but now no longer!) appeared in every number of the Watch Tower:.

 

"To us the Scriptures clearly teach:

 

"That the Church is ‘the Temple of the Living God’—peculiarly ‘His workmanship’; that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel Age—ever since Christ became the world’s Redeemer and the Chief Corner Stone of His Temple, through which, when finished, God’s blessing shall come ‘to all people, ‘and they find access to Him (1Co 3:16, 17; Eph 2:20-22; Ge 28:14; Gal 3:29).

 

"That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing of consecrated believers in Christ’s atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these ‘living stones, ”Elect and precious, ‘shall have been made ready, the great master Workman will bring all together in the first Resurrection, and the Temple shall be filled with His glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium (Re 15:5-8).

 

"That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that ‘Jesus Christ, by the grace of God. tasted death for every man, ”a Ransom for all, ‘and will be ‘the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, ”in due time’ (Heb 2:9; Joh 1:9; 1Ti 2:5, 6).

 

"That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, ‘see Him as He is, ‘be ‘partaker of the Divine nature, ‘

 

DOS261 and share His glory as His joint heir (1Joh 3:2; Joh 17:24; Ro 8:17; 2Pe 1:4).

 

"That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God’s witness to the world; and to prepare to be kings and priests in the next Age (Eph 4:12; Mt 24:14; Re 1:6; 20:6).

 

"That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity to be brought to all by Christ’s Millennial Kingdom—the Restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and His glorified Church—when all the wilfully wicked will be destroyed" (Ac 3:19-23; Isa 35).

 

This Church is neither the Catholic, not the Lutheran, nor the Baptists, nor Adventist, nor any communion of believers bound by fixed outward limits, visible to every man.

 

There is only "one holy, universal Christian church, the communion of saints, " as Luther aptly puts it: This Church is invisible, i.e., outwardly unknown; only the Lord knows who are His. It is only in preparation, in building. But it is just as true that individual members of the above-mentioned churches may belong to the "one church" of God, viz., such as fulfill the divinely imposed conditions. The members of the one true church are subject directly to their Head, Jesus Christ, and have no mediators. Freed from the yoke of sin, they live in the largest conceivable freedom, and in this very freedom they conduct their fight against sin and world. They know no bonds, which would be only hindrances. They are equals among themselves, no one has more authority than another. All authority rests in the hand of their Head. Escaped from the fetters of human organizations, they should have no desire to erect something similar to that which they just left; nor should they wish the others should change their status as truly free Christians, into organized Christians. Gal 5:1 is to them an admonition to be obeyed. All persuasion that an organization is necessary, especially when the "work" is increasing, should be insufficient to win them over to such plans. They reply with Gal 5:8.

 

This is the true church. And such it ever was, and ever will be. It is an organism, not a man made organization. Concerning this Brother Russell writes: "...Theirs the early church) was a ‘voluntary association’

 

DOS262 for mutual aid; and this society was under the laws and government of Christ, its head or recognized ruling authority. The bonds were bonds of love and common interests. Since all were enlisted under the captaincy of Jesus, the hope and fears, joys and sorrows and aims of one were those of the others; and thus they had a far more perfect union of hearts than could possibly be had from the union on the basis of any man-made creed. Thus their only union was of the spirit; their law for the government of each was love; and all, as a whole were put under obedience to the ‘law of the spirit’ as it was expressed in the life, actions and words of their Lord.

 

Their government was the will of Him who said, ‘if ye love me, keep my commandments’..."

 

"How simple, beautiful a effectual is God’s plan of the ‘voluntary association’ of his Children."(w.T.R1574 201574) The foregoing citations are taken from the article: "The Church of the Living God" which first appeared in the Watch Tower of Sept. 1893, and which is very helpful in correctly understanding the matter under consideration, and because of its excellency we here cite a few other parts of the article: "The first danger against which the Apostle warned the Church was sectarianism; and he was evidently heeded at the time at least, for no great sect of Paulites or Apollosites developed. But, as usual, the great Enemy, thwarted in one direction, moved to the opposite extreme, and attempted to insist upon the oneness very different from what our Lord or the Apostles ever taught. This attempt was to have every recognized member of the Church think exactly alike on every minutia of Christian doctrine. The attempt finally developed into papacy, where every matter of doctrine was decided by the popes a d councils; and every man who desired to be considered a church member was obliged to accept such decisions fully, and to profess that such were his belief, his faith; whereas they were not his in any sense, but that of adoption. They were generally either blindly received or hypocritically professed with mental reservations.

 

"This was not at all the oneness urged by St. Paul. He urged a oneness of heart and mind, not a thoughtless, heartless or hypocritical profession. He urged a oneness such as naturally results from the proper exercise of the liberty which we have in Christ, to search and believe the Scriptures, and to grow in grace and in knowledge, every man being thus fully persuaded in his own mind and firmly rooted and grounded in the one faith as set forth in the Scriptures... The one faith, which all should hold, was a very simple one; one so simple that all, the learned and the unlearned alike, could grasp it and comprehend it, and be ‘fully persuaded in their own minds’ concerning it. It was not a dose of incongruous

 

DOS263 mysteries, inconsistent with themselves and inharmonious with reason as well as with the Bible to be swallowed by the ignorant with credulity and by the learned with hypocritical mental reservations; but it was so simple, so clear, so reasonable, that every and any honest follower of Christ could be fully persuaded in his own mind regarding its truth...

 

"The endeavor to compel all men to think alike on all subjects culminated in the great apostasy and the development of the great Papal system; and thereby the ‘Gospel, ‘the ‘one faith, ‘which St. Paul and other Apostles set forth, was lost—buried under the mass of uninspired decrees of popes and councils. The union of the early Church, based upon the simple Gospel and bound only by love, gave place to the bondage of the Church of Rome—a slavery of God’s children, from the degradation of which multitudes are still weak and suffering.