ANSWER--I understand that it will, that the identity of each individual will be preserved; that is to say, all except those who go down into the second death. I cannot say I know of any Scripture to bear that out; it is merely a logical conclusion. God deals with us as individuals; He is not dealing with us as pieces of wood or metal or something that has no intelligence, but as an individual personal intelligence with a body to identify us as persons. And so we believe it will always be. We are not expecting that in the future things will be worse than the present, but when that which is perfect is come, those things of the present which are in part will be done away.
IMMORTALITY--When Brought to Light?
ANSWER--The Apostle says that He has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. It was neither His living, nor His dying, nor His resurrection, that brought this to light in the fullest sense of the word. It is the gospel that brought it to light, and this gospel was not fully understood by the Apostles at the time of the Lord's resurrection, but only after they had received the Holy Spirit. There were certain things our Lord said that would imply this, but they did not yet understand the matter; the thing was still hidden from them, so that it was not brought to light until after Pentecost. Then they began to see that there was not only hope for all of mankind who would ultimately come into [Page Q336] harmony with God, but that there is another hope, still greater, still more wonderful, for the Church which is the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, and that is immortality. So Christ in His message--the message of which His death was the center, and His resurrection a share, this great Gospel which centered in His death and resurrection--this great gospel message brings to light to all who can see, both life and immortality. We find, as soon as the light comes in, we can see in our mind's eye the testimony, "As the Father hath life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself." We can see there a testimony with reference to the immortality of the Church; so we can see that He gave His life for the whole world that they all might have life, and life more abundantly. There is general testimony concerning life for all mankind, but to get it in clear form requires the blessing of the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost which would open the eyes of our understanding respecting these things which our Lord had said and illustrated in His own life experiences.
IMMORTALITY--Has a Believer in It Hope of Membership in Christ?
ANSWER--In considering that question, I would have in mind the fact that there have been people in the past who, so far as you and I know, were Saints, and yet held these erroneous doctrines, as for instance, I should not at all be surprised that John Wesley was of the class that would be covered by this description, if he believed in eternal torment, and if he believed in the immortality of the soul in some sort of a fashion. Therefore, I would think quite likely that it was possible in the past, at least, that a person might be that much in darkness respecting God's plan and yet be a real member of the Body of Christ and a real sacrificer--a real believer in every sense of the word. I would add, however, that my understanding is, we are today in a peculiar position in that greater light has come into the world, and therefore there is greater responsibility on the people who are living today; as our Lord said in His day, you remember, that if He had not come amongst them, and that if the light had not shined in their hearts, they would not have had this responsibility. Those are not the exact words, but that is the thought. So, I think it is today: that the Lord is pleased in our day to bring increased light to His people, and to bring this to our attention, and we have a measure of responsibility in connection with the truth after it has come to us that we would never have had if it had not come to us. From this standpoint, we might suppose that the true light that is now shining would be granted to all who are in the right attitude of heart to receive it. In other words, just as at the First Advent, Jesus said of Nathaniel: Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile, and then he made the matter so plain to Nathaniel that it was very easy for him to believe the Lord. So I think it is today, that wherever there is an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile, there we may expect the Lord will make the truth so plain and so clear and so simple that that person will be able to see it and appreciate it and enjoy it; and that where [Page Q337] there is not a reception of the truth it is an implication, at least, that there the person is not an Israelite indeed, or else he is not without guile. We are not to judge, but the truth is to do the judging. That is what we understand the Lord to mean, that His Word will judge. So His Word, we believe, is judging today in the Church, and His Word will judge by and by the whole world. But we think that His Word of Truth is acting as judgment now, and the Spirit and power now; that this is the sickle of truth that is going forth in His "harvest time," to gather all the true wheat and to separate them from the tares. So then we are content to let the Lord do this work, without particularly making tests in our own minds, but simply that our expectation would be that wherever there is an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile, the Lord would lead him to an appreciation of Present Truth.
IMMORTALITY--Who Only Hath Immortality.
Q337:1 QUESTION (1913)--1--To whom does the following Scripture apply: "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see?" (1 Tim. 6:16.)
ANSWER--This passage is somewhat ambiguous; that is to say, in the way it is presented, it would be possible to take two different views, and if someone would claim that it was the Heavenly Father who was meant, we would not have any special controversy with him over the matter. In giving our own view of what it signifies we have already stated, and still believe it refers to our Lord Jesus. If it referred to the Father, it would mean that He alone has immortality, and that would imply that the Lord Jesus would not have immortality, whereas the Scriptures declare that He has. Then, if we apply it to the Lord Jesus and say He only bath immortality, it does not cut out the Heavenly Father from having immortality, because, as the Apostle explains, God is always excepted in every rule and proposition; He always is excepted.
Q337:2 QUESTION (1909)--2--In Paul's letter to the Romans, 7th chap. and 15th verse, we find these words, "For that which I do I allow not; for what I would that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." Does that apply only to the inability of those under the law to comply with its requirements, or does it apply to us in the Gospel Age and at the present time in our imperfect efforts to do the will of our Heavenly Father? In other words, have we a right to use this as an excuse for our imperfect ways?
ANSWER--I understand that the Apostle was speaking of the Jews and all who were under the law, that what they allowed or admitted was the just law of God they could not comply with, because of the imperfection of the flesh. You see the perfect law of God and you know you are not able to keep that in every thought, word and act, for in our flesh dwelleth no perfection. Our heads are more or less misshapen, and the New Creature finds that it cannot do the things that it would. You would be perfect, but you know that you are not. How then can God deal with us? Because He has graciously covered our imperfections; everything that we strive against, he covers with the merits of the sacrifice of Christ. If we could keep the law perfectly, [Page Q338] then Christ died in vain, for as the Apostle said, If righteousness could come through the keeping of the law, then Christ's death was not necessary, but we needed Christ to come, and die for us, and justify us. So this language, while used for the Jews, has an application for us as Christians. It does not mean that we should look at our shortcomings and say, O, you know I have so many weaknesses, and excuse ourselves that way. No, we have been given the robe of Christ's righteousness, and the Scriptural instruction is that we should keep it unspotted from the world. We are likely to get a spot on it by a hasty word or by our manner not being what it ought to be. The Scriptural injunction is that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin, not only from the original sin, but also from these imperfections, after we get the robe. After we have made a mistake, we should at once seek the Lord's arrangement for cleansing, thus getting rid of the spot, then our robe will be clean again. You go to the Lord, making application for this merit, acknowledging that you have erred, asking His forgiveness, you come to the throne of grace for help in every time of need, and you will get rid of the spot and then you can keep it unspotted.
There are a great many dear friends, which the Scriptures state will constitute a great company; they get one spot and say, I don't like that spot, then they get another and another, and then someone says, You have a great many spots on your robe. They say, Yes, but I guess I must have them. So they get used to them, they get so many of them that it is a difficult matter to get rid of them. So what you and I want to do is to keep as close to the standard as possible. See that you not only go to the Lord, but to the one you have wronged, whether your parent, wife, husband, brother, friend or enemy, and make it good to him. Take it to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to apply the precious blood on your behalf.
ANSWER--When we say that our Lord imputes His righteousness, we are not to think that He gives His own righteousness as the High Priest, but that He imputes the merit of His human sacrifice on our behalf. When, as the Man Christ Jesus, He laid down His life, without being under sentence of death in any degree, there was a merit in that sacrifice. The earthly life-rights, which the Lord laid down, were to His credit, giving Him the power of restitution for the world of mankind, the power for their regeneration. But before the merit of that sacrifice is given to the world, it is made the basis of our justification, for the covering of our imperfections. It could have been used for us in restitution but such was not God's Plan during this Age. Hence, Jesus' merit is imputed to believers who consecrate, and also covers the blemishes and unwitting trespasses of their imperfect earthen vessels to the end of their course.
IMPUTATION--Of Christ's Merit.
ANSWER--When speaking of Christ's imputed merit we should keep distinctly in mind that He has a personal merit, a righteousness of His own' which He has never given away. [Page Q339] He needs His own righteousness. In this sense of the word He could not give us His righteousness, without being bereft of righteousness. The same would be true of His life-right. He has a right to life; but it is not that right to life which He imputes to us; for He needs it Himself. He needs His own personal merit.
In what sense, then, do we say that He will give to mankind during the Millennial Age and impute to the Church during the Gospel Age, a life-right and righteousness respectively. In this way: He will give mankind His human life-right, the merit that was His as the reward for His obedience as the man Christ Jesus, namely, the privilege, or right, to live as a human being. That right was secured to Him by obedience to the Law. (Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:12.) Now He is highly exalted, a partaker of the divine nature, and no longer needs that right to human life and the righteousness which goes with that right. He is quite satisfied and complete in his present condition. He has, to give to the world, by and by, the right to human life and the righteousness which goes with that right, the merit of that earthly sacrifice. Of this, He imputes to the Church at the present time a sufficiency to make good for their imperfection. We are complete in him, so that our offering of ourselves may be, through Him, an acceptable sacrifice to God and reckoned holy.
IMPUTATION--What Releases Imputed Merit?
Q339:1 QUESTION (1911-Z)--1--In the case of the one who makes utter failure and who dies the Second Death, is the imputed merit released at the time his failure is determined or at the time when he actually dies?
ANSWER--The merit of Christ is imputed to those who come unto the Father through him. Those who repudiate this earthly merit of Christ have it no longer from the moment of their repudiation; from the moment of their rejection of the Lord all the merit that they had is released, forfeited, gone. This does not mean that they must die actually at that moment. But they fall into the hands of the living God; that is out of the hands of Mercy, into those of Justice. And we know that no one can stand in the presence of the living God and Justice without perfection. Those who repudiate the Ransom seem to have no longer a sense of sin. This is illustrated by the parable of the man who takes of the "wedding garment;" from the moment of his repudiation, no longer is it his in any sense of the word.
IMPUTATION--Pastor Russell's View.
Q339:2 QUESTION (1912-Z)--2--Have you changed your mind in regard to the following quotation? In Dawn, Vol. 1, page 232, par 1, we read as follows: "Our sins He consented to have imputed to Him, that He might bear our penalty for us, and He died on our behalf, as though He were the sinner." In Vol. 5, page 109, line 23, we also read: "Not imputed to them, but imputed to Him, who bore our sins in His body on the tree." In Vol. 5, page 444, par 2, we also read: "That God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, but imputing them unto Him."
ANSWER--The work of Christ is presented from a variety of standpoints, some showing modifications of one kind and some of another; some stating the matter from the human standpoint and some from the Divine. What we need in all Scriptural matters is to get at the real import.
From God's standpoint human sin is imputed to Jesus; that is to say. He was provided to be the sinner's Representative--to pay the price for the release of man from the death sentence; thus God pictures Christ as the serpent raised upon the pole. Thus the Apostle says He was made sin for us, although He knew no sin--He was a sin-offering.
Viewing the matter from the other standpoint, from the human standpoint, we see our own weaknesses and shortcomings, realizing the necessity of our Master's imputing to us the merit of His sacrifice to make up for our deficiency. Thus the facts agree, whether we state them from one standpoint or another. Our sins were reckoned against Jesus when He died for sin. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us when we offer ourselves to God and our Great Redeemer and High Priest makes good our deficiency.
ANSWER--Our Lord Jesus imputes His own Merit to His own followers under the conditions of their covenant of full consecration; but this imputation is with the full sanction of and in co-operation with Divine Justice--not otherwise. This imputation of Merit to the imperfect one desiring to he the follower of Jesus may be expressed as an imputation of Righteousness to such a one on the part of Divine Justice, on the part of the heavenly Father; as we read, "It is God that justifieth."--Rom. 8:33.
IMPUTATION--Old Testament Teaching.
ANSWER--I know of nothing that teaches it directly. In the Tab. Shad. we have many things which teach a very similar matter, but not directly that I know of.
ANSWER--The word imputation signifies to make applicable to another. Something the other does not have. Not by a direct gift, but by an imputation. It is rather difficult to define the word imputation. We can illustrate it better. If I was in need of $1,000 and asked you for it--that would not do. We never ask (laughter). I guess I had better change that illustration. Suppose John Smith needed $1,000, and Henry Brown had $1,000 and would give him the use of it, and yet, he said to himself, I think I will not give him the $1,000. He promises he will work it out. Let him give me his note, and I will endorse his note and let him go and borrow it of the bank. When you endorse his note you impute the $1,000 to his note. John Smith did not have a penny. The banker says, have you any money or property? No, not worth a cent. Can you have some one endorse it for you? John comes to you, and you endorse his note; you have imputed full value to that note. He takes it to the bank and it is all right. Worth $1,000 now, and not worth a cent before. So in this Gospel Age there are certain terms by which we can come to the father. The same terms by which Jesus came in that you will become a living sacrifice. You say, I am very willing to be a living sacrifice. You say, God [Page Q341] I would like to do what Jesus did. God will say, your promise is not worth a cent here. Why not? Why, you are a bundle of imperfection; I know you very well. You could not do anything at all. You get Jesus to endorse it for you. Let him be your advocate and take up the matter for you. So you go to Jesus. Will you, dear Lord, be my advocate with the Father? Will you make it possible for me to come in under these terms and present my body holy and acceptable? Will you help me do that? That depends. Oh, you have terms? Yes, very strict terms. You must turn your back against sin and enter into a special covenant as I have done. A covenant of sacrifice, giving up yourself absolutely. You say, I am willing to do that. Very well, you be my disciple and I will be your advocate and take care of the rest. You follow the lines I have laid down for you and you will come out all right. I will endorse for you. How does Jesus endorse for you? In this way--He has that corresponding price, that right to life, applicable to Adam and all his race. If you and I belong to the race of Adam, we had from the moment we were born, an inheritance in that great account. The Bible tells us in advance that the very object of God's having this plan of salvation was to give life to mankind. You and 1 have interest in that, because we belong to this race. If we can but know about it, we have the privilege of returning the human perfection, restitution; all that is included in that which Jesus put in the Father's hand. You could not accept restitution, for he has not offered it to any one yet. He said there will be a restitution of all mankind, and you and I merely know what is coming bye and bye. Then we learned that God has another feature of the plan separate and apart from the world and this is, that He is taking out a people for His name to be the Bride class, to be associated with Jesus in the kingdom. Now we see on what terms; that you shall walk in His steps, be like He was, and He will be your advocate with the Father, and when we agree to this and give up our little all, what do you give up? Just what you have got. Some ten years, and some ten days of life, and some more. You might give up a very healthy or a very sickly body. No matter what you have; great influence in the world or no influence at all, and give yourself just whatever you have. But all that you have--not a thing to be kept back--time, influence, money, everything goes when you make a consecration such as Jesus made. To be Jesus' disciple and follower that is what we agree to do. But when we come to the Father and find out we have not very much, we say, will He accept this? No, not that. How will it go through? Well, says Jesus, you know I have an account with the Father and a right to give restitution bye and bye and that includes you. Well, now I am going to impute to you all that I would be giving you bye and bye, and you give what you have now in your possession and I give in your behalf what will be coming to you bye and bye, so you see it will be all that will be yours in perfection. Illustration: We are not to think Jesus deals with each individual as they come along. The way Jesus did was this when He ascended on high He appeared in the presence of God for "us." Who are the "us?" It took in all those who will be of the Church class and it appeared for you and me away back there 1900 years [Page Q342] ago. The Holy Church is one church from God's standpoint. The Church He predestinated and foreordained. The Bible says God foreknew Jesus, and us by Jesus. Now if Jesus appeared for the whole Church at once He made an application of merit in the sense that it was imputed to all of us. I tell the banker, I have $1,000 I want to keep intact; I will be doing some endorsing. I will endorse a note for $1,000 and when that note is in, it will he for a number of people; to S. & Co. and the R. & Co., and a number of them. You know you have the merit there in my deposit, and that will be the merit for this note I endorse. So as long as this note is unpaid there will he an embargo on that deposit and it could not he used for any other purpose. Embargo means it has a handicap; a note given that covers the whole thing. Not the money given, but an endorsement. The Lord endorsed for the whole Church at once. Therefore He first imputed the merit to the Church and afterwards to the world. The Church does not need it now; we are going to join in with him in sacrifice; why should He give us the earthly life? We do not want restitution. We are looking for the better Hope; Spiritual Kingdom--glory, honor and immortality. Imputed to us, that which made our sacrifice acceptable to Him.
INCARNATION--Re Belief in.
ANSWER--I do not. I believe it to he entirely foreign to God's Word in every sense of the word.
INCENSE--We are in Christ a Sweet Savior to God.
Q342:2 QUESTION (1911)--2--Should the sweet incense burned by the high priest, and which represented the perfections of the man Jesus, be understood as having been offered also by the members of the body of the high priest, the under priests? If so, how was this shown?
ANSWER--Since there is nothing in the account in Leviticus that says that the incense was offered a second time, it is rather improbable that it was offered twice. And yet the thought is there that the sacrifice of the Church, made acceptable by the Atonement effected through Jesus' death, must continue to be presented until death, that these members might eventually be received into glory. "As our Lord was, so are we, in the world." As He was rendering obedience day by day, so are we rendering obedience day by day. As the spirit of loving zeal was demonstrated in His case, so in our case otherwise we should not be permitted to he members of that Body.
So we might say that the incense which He offered up, in a certain sense and to a certain degree, represented the whole Church, which is His Body; for in harmony with the Divine intention, before the foundation of the world, He was to be the Forerunner, the Representative and the Advocate of those who would he accepted as His members. Hence, in offering up His own perfections, He was offering up that which would, by imputation, be our perfection, as His members.
In view of the fact that nothing was said about offering the incense the second time, and since we do not go into the Holy as individuals, but as members of His Body, we are safe in saying that we are, "in Christ, a sweet savor to God," [Page Q343] though a bad savor to the world. "Be ye, therefore, followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and hath given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor." "For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ." (Eph. 5:1,2, Cor. 2:15, Rev. 8:3,4.) "Therefore, let us offer the sacrifices of praise to God continually;" "for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."--Heb. 13:15,16.
INCENSE--Re Lord's Goat.
ANSWER--There is nothing stated of that kind, and I do not understand it would be at all proper. The incense represented, I think, the personal value of our Lord's personal sacrifice; it ascended up as a sweet odor and that smoke entered in beyond the vail and covered the mercy seat. I understand that sweet odor and perfume remained there, giving the high priest full right thereafter of access to the Most Holy, and going in and out with the blood of the goat had no part with the offering of any more incense necessarily. Yet I do not know. I merely know that nothing is said about additional incense, and I would see no necessity for any additional.
Q343:2 QUESTION (1909)--2--How would you explain the fact that several of the brethren thoroughly consecrated are lapsing into insanity, generally shortly before death? How would this "square" with the spirit of a sound mind that we would expect to be pretty well developed by this time?
ANSWER--I do not know, I have not heard of it. I should not think there was anything in the truth to make anyone insane. The Apostle speaks of the Spirit of the Lord being the Spirit of a sound mind. I think that if you go deep into the matter that we have fewer persons of an unsound mind than in any other walk of life. Look at the condition of the state of New York, the Empire State. I find there more than twenty-five thousand people in that state in the insane asylums, adults, which would mean that for every one hundred and fifty adults in the state, one is insane. The state of New York has in it Presbyterians, Catholics, Methodists, as well as ourselves. How do you think we would compare, one in every one hundred and fifty insane? You would find fewer unbalanced minds in the truth than outside. If you find anything to the contrary, I would be glad to be informed. I do not know many who are insane.
Everyone knows that there are periods of life when there may be a temporary derangement of mind, and there are very few families who have not had some such experience. If some of those should be truth people, it would not be strange. I think of one who had typhoid fever and he became delirious or insane. I do not know very many in the Truth that are going insane, but I will be pleased to be informed if you learn anything of the kind.
ANSWER--I do not think it would square at all. I do not feel insane, and you do not look that way. I hope my mind is getting better balanced every year, and I hope yours is also. If any of us had reason to be perplexed or confused in our minds it was when years ago we thought that our friends and neighbors and children, all who had not died as saints, were all going straight to eternal torment. That was the time when your mind would probably give way. Now that we have found that it is not eternal torment that is the penalty, but death, and then learn that Christ died for all to bring eternal life--if that makes one insane, I do not understand the process of his mind. I would understand that if one in the truth loses his balance of mind, it would be due to something in his family line.
Our Lord did not say that as soon as we came into the truth He would give us mental restitution and that we should have no more headache, etc. The promise He gives us is the promise of the kingdom. As the old flesh shall die, He intends that the blessing of the truth shall make us more glad and to have more peace and joy while we are seeking day by day to finish our race.
INSURANCE--Is it Right to Take Out Short Term Policies?
ANSWER--I do not know the condition of your insurance societies here in Great Britain, but I know that we have many fine societies over in America. In many instances they are as strong as the banks, and in some other instances they have a stronger hold than the banks, and some of these societies are now in the course of issuing very cheap insurance. The man who can leave the money to his family may just as well leave it in insurance, for the insurance will be just as safe in the insurance company as in the bank. Would it be right to insure our lives? I should say that it is a great blessing to mankind. Do not, however, trust in the insurance companies instead of trusting in the Lord. Some of the poor worldlings are putting all their confidence in banks and insurance companies and exchanges. When these things smash, then their poor faith loses itself. We are not seeking to make provision for ourselves but we should seek to avail ourselves of every opportunity to help those around us and those who should remain after us in life. As to where to put your money; as to which bank to put it in, I do not know and so will not tell you. The Lord's advice was to have your treasure "where moth and rust doth not corrupt." I know of only one investment which is sure and certain, and that is a Heavenly investment. "Where thieves do not break through and steal." I cannot give, and will not try to give, any advice as good as the Master's words. I have merely thrown out some hints and suggestions, but this is not an answerable question finally and conclusively so far as I can make out.
INSURANCE--Is a Short Term Policy a Good Investment?
ANSWER--I feel so sure that I myself will come to a calamity; that my own experience will probably end in some kind of a calamity, that I have taken out small policies in the accident companies in order to leave something for my wife and my sister. Of course, this is private information. Don't tell anybody.
I.B.S.A.--Styled Truth People.
ANSWER--I should not put the matter in that form. My thought is that we are those who put the truth before anything else, we love the truth and would sacrifice anything we have for the truth. We are not putting creeds and traditions before the truth. We are not sacrificing the truth for any sect or party, but rather sacrifice sect and party, and even self, for the truth, because we understand God has put the truth as His own representative. Jesus so presents it in the word, saying, "I am the truth." In standing for the truth we are standing for the Lord.
Besides, I might add, this word truth is sometimes used as in contrast with error. As we look at our past experiences we have held a great deal of error, and as we now find ourselves growing in knowledge and growing in truth, we have come to speak of the matter from that standpoint; it was not given a sectarian sense. The term was not given by myself, but sprung up amongst the truth people as those who love the truth. We are willing to welcome all people in the same general compliment.
I. B. S. A.--Re Denominational Affiliations.
ANSWER--I did not know that they do. We do, however, dear friends, hold that it would he proper to break down the denominational barriers. That is to say, these different creed fences, some of which have existed for centuries and some for but one century, are keeping Christian people more or less apart. Some have high fences and others low ones, hut they are separating in their tendencies, and we advise God's people to get over these barriers and get together. Get together in Bible study. These creeds are like so many stakes driven down and we have been chaining ourselves to them. Why not get free from these? We sing, "Send out Thy light and truth, O Lord, let them our leaders be," but are unable to follow because chained to the creed stake. Let us leave the stake and follow the light. We believe that is God's way. We are not saying anything unkind regarding Christian people in these denominations. What we say is against the creeds, for they have done us a great deal of harm, and are doing others harm still. If all creeds were smashed there would be a good opportunity for the people to come together to study God's Word and make more progress as the days go by.
I.B.S.A.--Re Special Bible.
ANSWER--Some dear people think we have a different Bible because when we quote some text of Scripture it proves to be one they did not know was in the Bible. We think of a lady who said to me, "My pastor called to see me after the death of my husband." Her husband, who was a brother of International Bible Students' Association, had died, and her pastor, a Methodist, said to her, "Your husband had a strange religion, did he not?" She said, "He believed differently from others in some respects." "What were some of the things he believed?" She said, "One of the things was that a future time, during Christ's millennial reign, there will be an opportunity for restitution for the whole world of mankind. They will then be coming up out of sin and death, the opposite of what they are now doing. The Bible calls this restitution, and my husband believed that." He said, "There is nothing of that kind in the Bible." She said, "I think there is." He said, "You are mistaken." She replied quietly, "I think I can find it in the Bible. I think he has it marked." She looked and handed him the book, opened at Acts 3:19-21, which was marked, and he read it. He said, "What kind of Bible is this?" and looked into the front of it. There he found American Bible Society, and said, "Well, I never noticed that passage of Scripture before."
So with many other passages. We did not know some of the things which are there, and many things which we supposed were there are not there at all. We have not a different Bible. I might say, however, that we have a special edition of the Bible, which is the common King James version, but we have added in the back some special comments, gathered from selections from the Watch Towers and Scripture Studies, dealing with various passages of Scripture and explaining them somewhat. Some might call this a Watch Tower Bible, but we call it the Bible Students' Edition, because it is helpful in looking up what the Bible teaches on different subjects.
ANSWER--Simply for the reason that it is international. Our Association has its headquarters, really according to its charter, in London, England, although it operates here. It is one of the auxiliaries of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, which is the parent of several subsidiaries arranged for attending to different parts of the work. As the Methodist Church have the Epworth League, the Ladies' Aid Society, and I do not know how many other societies. They are all Methodist. Our society is international because it operates in all parts of the world.
I.B.S.A.--Relation to Other Classes.
ANSWER--These classes are all independent. They have a moral relationship of sympathy and brotherhood, as Christians have in all parts of the world. "One is your Master, even Christ." We are all Bible Students and in the school of Christ.
I.B.S.A.--Re Election of Its Officers.
ANSWER--Sectarianism is not the only method or method by which an election can be held. For instance, the Bible Class at Springfield, meeting as Christians, would select some one competent to serve them, after the manner of the early church. The election would be in the way prescribed by the Bible, by raising the hand, and the one chosen would he the elder, or teacher, as they are termed.
I.B.S.A.--Others Studying With Us.
ANSWER--Not at all. You are welcome to take part in any number of them. We do not claim to have a mortgage on them. Whether Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, or of no denomination, if you come in the spirit of the Lord and desire to know the truth, you are perfectly welcome.
I.B.S.A.--Re Membership Roll.
ANSWER--There is no qualification for membership, no grips, no passwords. Any person of good deportment is welcome to our meetings at any time.
As to the full number attending these different meetings I do not know. I do not know how many attend the Springfield class or classes. I do not know how many classes are held here in Springfield, but suppose there are at least a half dozen, as there are forty or fifty in New York City. I will just give as an estimate, in a general way, that there may be 100,000. Perhaps more attend these classes; perhaps 200,000. Come to think of it I heard recently from Southern India that there are now about 3,000 attending classes there. At that rate the entire attendance may run up to 250,000.
I.B.S.A.--Length of Organization.
ANSWER--This public work has been going on for the past forty years. Not, of course, with the same momentum as at the present time, and not the same numbers, but for forty years these classes have been in operation. We think we might be excused for saying, nearly 1,900 years there have been some of these classes. In the days of the Apostles they had some of these classes, and we have no doubt that during the dark ages there were classes of this same kind. But you will not find them mentioned in church history because the church had been neglecting the Bible and following the creeds. If we had an accurate history we would find there have been Bible Students for eighteen centuries.
I.B.S.A.--Relation to Church Union.
ANSWER--We believe the union of church to be just the right thing, because we take the Word of the Lord on the subject. All ye are brethren and one is your Master, even Christ. This is what we advocate when we [Page Q348] say, "Take away the creed fences and let us all unite, whether Baptist, Disciple, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Catholic; let us unite as Bible Students and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ." There is a difference between union of the kind we have described, and federation, of which we hear so much. The latter is quite unscriptural. The Bible tells us that it will have a measure of success, but denounces it.
I.B.S.A.--Aloof From all Denominations.
ANSWER--The I.B.S.A. do not hold aloof from any denomination. We welcome all to any class, at any time, in any denomination. We do not hold aloof from anybody. Why do we not go to a cathedral and hold meetings? They have not asked us to. Why not go to the Episcopal church? They have not asked us. Why not go to the Baptist church? They have not asked us either. We ask all in and try to have our meetings in public places, which will be free to people of all denominations. For instance, we have this beautiful hall until July 20th, and Jews and Gentiles, and people of all denominations have a full right to come here, and feel that they are invited. We do not hold aloof. Any aloofness is on the other side, I think. We say to people of all denominations, "Come with us, and you do not need to join anything."
I.B.S.A.--Re New Denomination.
ANSWER--The one true Church, dear friends, is the church of the Bible. There never has been but that one true Church. All others are false, and if I built up another church I would be building up another false one. That is not our proposition at all. The I.B.S.A. holds out the proposition which the Bible stands for, namely, that all people who are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, and consecrated to follow in his steps, are of the church of the living God whose names are written in heaven. The I.B.S.A. recognizes no other church. It does not say that only those in the I.B.S.A. constitute the church. It recognizes that all true Christians in the various churches should be awake, and we are trying to awaken them to the truth. The I.B.S.A. recognizes that these true Christian people are in danger of falling into infidelity, unless they get the true light of God's Word, and so is trying to bring all Christian people to study the Bible, and thus into complete union as the church of Christ.
I.B.S.A.--Why Leave Nominal Church to Join it?
Q348:3 QUESTION (1914)--3--If I am in harmony with Present Truth, as presented by Brother Russell, but live consistent in a church for years, what would I gain by coming out into the I.B.S. Association?
ANSWER--Shall I say they would gain a fortune, that it would be the making of your business, or entrance into society? What shall I tell him? I think he would gain a good conscience. Why, are there no good Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans or Catholics? Yes, verily. I believe there is nobody in this world stands on a broader foundation than the I.B.S.A. No other class of people who recognize all that are saints of God regardless of denominational lines more thoroughly than we. [Page Q349] Why should anybody leave the nominal church and join the I.B.S.A. In the first place, you cannot join the I.B.S.A. in the same way you join anything else. You simply can't keep out. They won't need to receive you in. You become a Bible student just as soon as you become free. The difficulty all along was that your mind was fettered and you did not know how to study the Bible, and you were afraid of it, and just as soon as you get free you are an I.B.S.A member.
Now you say, why could I not just as well stay where I am? It is not for me to decide for you. If you think you hear the voice of God telling you to stay where you are, then by all means follow God's voice; but to some of us the matter is this way. (You see I am leaving this broad and open to each man's conscience whether you remain in the nominal church or get out. I have not a word to say in deciding anybody's course.) All I have to say is this: As long as I would remain a Catholic, for instance, I would be understood by all of my neighbors and friends to be a supporter of and a believer in the doctrine of the Catholic church. If my mind got out of accord with any of their teachings it would be my duty to the Catholic church to withdraw from it as one who could not honestly represent it, and in honesty to myself I should withdraw. Why? Because I could no longer go to the people and say I am altogether satisfied. I would not longer believe its doctrines. For that matter I believe very few Presbyterians believe the Presbyterian creeds, and other churches the same; so, if they would all apply that same rule I am afraid all of the different churches would be depopulated at once and lose their membership, because people would say, I no longer believe that creed and can no longer stay in and be honest with myself, with God or with my fellowmen. What then would happen? It would be splendid. How? If all would do that they would all come together and there would be nothing but Christians. Then what would they be? I.B.S.A.'s.
I.B.S.A.--Re Soliciting, Praying For, Accepting Funds.
Q349:1 QUESTION (1914)--1--Pastor Russell. My Dear Sir:--I am much interested in your great philanthropy, and will be pleased if I may be privileged to have some part in it also. Can you use, and are you willing to accept, the enclosed check to assist in the work? If so, I will be pleased to have you use it in whatever way may be deemed advisable to you.
ANSWER--The check is for $2,700.00, and the question is will I accept it or not? I answer in the affirmative.
I might say, my dear brethren and sisters, that although no money is ever solicited, all the money that is used is donated, and as a rule, those who give to the work are not very wealthy people. But very many people having had their own souls blessed feel as though they wanted to do something to give the blessings to others, and so they will hand in some money, in this form, and sometimes in another form, desiring that it shall be used in some way.
For instance, when I was at Asbury Park one day an envelope was handed to me and I had not time to open it so just put it in my pocket; but I was talking to a reporter sometime afterwards, and he was asking about the work, how supported, etc., and I explained to him that it [Page Q350] was by voluntary donations; that I had been in this work forty years, yet we never had taken up a collection at any time, and whatever money the Lord provided was used to the best of our ability and judgment and as wisely as we knew how, the Lord being asked for wisdom to use the money of His own providing to His own praise, and that it keeps coming gradually, and that we never solicit it from the people nor ask God for it. Now that would seem very strange to some that we would not pray for money and tell the Lord how much or how little was in the treasury. But my dear friends, we have a God that knows all about the treasury, and what is the use of telling Him. He knows the account better than I do. I am not going to tell God how much He ought to put into the work. Let Him attend to that part. Whatever comes into our care is our stewardship and supervision. There our responsibility begins. Use it wisely and well and so it will gratify the Lord.
I said to the reporter: That is the rule we follow, and when God ceases to provide the money the work would decline in that proportion, for we would not ask, but would use whatever He sends. The reporter seemed somewhat doubtful, and I said, "I do not know but what I may have something in my pocket now." I pulled out some letters and found this one and said, "Here is one I have not examined," and I opened it and found five $20.00 bills in it. He looked with bulging eyes. All that it said on the envelope was, For the dear Photo Drama, from a sister. That was all. But it tells the story, dear brethren and sisters, and so we thank this dear brother and will try to use this money wisely to the Master's praise.
If all of the questions are as easy to answer as this one, my dear friends, I will have no difficulty.
I.B.S.A.--Re Spirit of Babylon.
ANSWER--I would think that each one would have to use his own judgment about this matter. If anybody had been very badly "stung" he should be very much on his guard. If he had not been "stung" he would properly not be so much on his guard. It is quite right to use your own judgment about the matter. So far as the headquarters at Brooklyn is concerned, and my own identification with the work there, let me say: everything is under my supervision. Nothing emanates from there contrary to my conscience. But you must use your consciences. While there are many wise and capable brethren at the Brooklyn office, yet by present arrangement they are my assistants under my general supervision as long as I live. That was the arrangement made when I turned my property over to the Society, years ago. This applies also to the Society's work in foreign lands.
I. B. S. A.--True Definition of Babylon.
ANSWER--I think if the I.B.S.A. can be shown to be a section of Babylon, we all ought to get out of it. If we all get out on the same side, where shall we be then? I think we shall be pretty close together if all get out on the same side. The word "Babylon" signifies "confusion," and in Rev. 18:4, it is used in reference to mixing the things of God and of men. There was a time when, throughout Europe, the kingdoms came very much under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. To some extent those kingdoms came under the influence of Christianity--to the extent that there was Christianity in the Roman Catholic Church.
It is well to emphasize that there was a time when the Roman Catholic Church was the only church in the world, and when the people knew no better than to be in it and of it. Where would they have been otherwise? Then there came a time when the church officials, those who were high in the church management, succeeded in coming into affiliation with the Roman Empire; and the Roman Church became its successor. Then the Church of Rome began to sway the nations and to tell the people of this or that principality, "Your king is not in harmony with us. You can select another one." Then there would be a revolution. The Pope and the Catholic Church were back of these changes. That is the way it began. There is where the illicit marriage of the nominal church and the world took place.
In many European nations this has now been gradually changed. In some the church and the state are completely separated. But this change has not been made in Austro-Hungary. The people are strictly under the control of the Roman Catholic Church. The church has to do with everything. In Great Britain, the representatives of the church of England sit in Parliament, as part of the government. The church bishops are members of the House of Lords. In Germany and Sweden, it is very much the same. Their government and God's government are linked together in the minds of the people.
This state of things God calls Babylon--the professed Church of Christ being married to worldly governments. These have been called Christian governments by mistake. They are not Christian. Look at the present conditions in Europe. The governments at war are not manifesting the Spirit of Christ. There are Christians in all these governments, but the governments themselves are not Christian. The nominal church has been responsible for this state of things. The situation has so warped men's minds that they think their present course the right one. They think that Christ is now reigning. In their minds the reigning kings and the parliament represent God on earth. The Lord would have us separate from all this.
There is another way in which the spirit of Babylon manifests itself; as, for instance, in the Protestant churches-Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc. They pander to the worldly spirit. They take note of the rich, trying to work in with the rich and get the rich into positions in the church. Thus they recognize money above spirituality. In many cases money runs the church. That is not the basis under which the true Church operates. There is a system in connection with all of them, even in the Baptist church, the most liberal of all.
The Baptists will say, "We are in no bondage; we have no ecclesiastical control at all." They do not realize that the spirit of Babylon has gotten into the church. Suppose we have here a congregation of Baptists. As a congregation they call their own minister and attend to their own affairs. A certain minister, then, Brother A., is called to serve them. But he must be ordained as pastor of this congregation. So they send for some other Baptist ministers--say Brother B., Brother C., and Brother D. to ordain him. But Brother A. does not stand in very well with the ministers called to do the ordaining. So they say, "We will not ordain Brother A.; he is irregular." And the congregation ask, "You cannot ordain him?" Then they reply, "We have nothing at all against Brother A., but we will not ordain him." So you see the preachers have the rule, and the people do not know it.
The Baptists will tell you the preachers have no authority at all. But the Baptists cannot do a thing without the consent of the preachers; this they do not seem to know. The preachers hold a power that God did not repose there. God never authorized any men to go and ordain another men to preach the Gospel. God does the ordaining; and it is for the church to decide, according to its best judgment, whom the Lord ordains or calls as a pastor. All this ordination by men is Babylonish, a species of machinery to manage the people. It is all worked just like politics.
Nevertheless, the Baptists are the nearest free, of all so-called "orthodox" sects. The people in the Methodist church have almost no liberty, except the privilege of giving money. That is the principal liberty they enjoy. The bishops rule in co-operation with the presiding elders. At each annual conference the presiding elder and the bishop have it fixed what minister is to go here and what one there. The minister that does not stand by the presiding elder will go to the country place which pays only $400; while the one who does stand by him, though no more capable, will be sent to a place that pays $1,000 or more. I have had several Methodist ministers tell me this. They complain about it, but do not want to get out of a job altogether. That is not the liberty wherewith Christ makes free. I realize that this is a system. Let me show you what a system it is. The bishops control the presiding elders, and under them the presiding elders control the preachers; and so it is all the way down to the class leaders They have their head or chief amongst them. They have a human head. The General Conference is the highest authority.
So the Presbyterian church has a head in the way of a General Assembly which has the deciding of matters. All this is according to the course of this world. The simplicity of Christ is not generally observed, except amongst the friends of the International Bible Students' Association. There it is very general, and the Word of God is observed. They learn to take notice when things are going wrong. The simplicity of the matter is evident to all.
On one occasion I was called upon by a minister of the Reformed church. He wanted to know how I managed my church I said to him, "Brother--, I have no church." He said, "You know what I mean." I answered, "I want you to know what I mean, too. We claim that there is only one Church. If you belong to that Church, you belong to [Page Q353] our Church." He looked at me in surprise. Then he said, "You have an organization; how many members are there?" I replied, "I cannot tell; we do not keep any membership rolls." "You do not keep any list of the membership?" "No. We do not keep any list; their names are written in heaven." He asked, "How do you have your election?" I said, "We announce an election; and any or all of God's people, who are consecrated and are accustomed to meet with this company, or congregation, may have the privilege of expressing their judgment of who would be the Lord's preference for elders and deacons of the congregation." "Well," he said, "that is simplicity itself." I then added, "We pay no salaries; there is nothing to make people quarrel. We never take up a collection." "How do you get the money?" he asked. I replied, "Now, Dr.-- , if I tell you what is the simplest truth you will hardy be able to believe it. When people get interested in this way, they find no basket placed under their nose. But they see there are expenses. They say to themselves, 'This hall costs something, and I see that free lunch is served between meetings, for those living at some distance. How can I get a little money into this thing, anyway?' " He looked at me as if he thought "What do you take me for--a greenhorn?" I said, "Now, Dr.--, I am telling you the plain truth. They do ask me this very question, 'How can I get a little money into this cause?' When one gets a blessing and has any means, he wants to use it for the Lord. If he has no means, why should we prod him for it?"
There would be nothing to come out of, as an organization, if one is an International Bible Student. You cannot get out of anything you have not gone into. If anyone can tell me how he got into Babylon by getting interested in the affairs of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, let him show me how he will jump out, and I will jump with him.
ISRAEL--Third With Egypt and Assyria.
ANSWER--This is a picture, we believe, in the future. Prophecies that are not yet fulfilled are not expected to be clearly and forcibly seen in all their details. In what way Israel is going to be one with these others is not very clear yet; but the Lord not only speaks of the three here but He speaks also of Egypt, Sodom and Israel in the book of Ezekiel, pointing out that a blessing shall be given to all three of these. Our Lord seems to have given prophecy more to be understood after it is fulfilled; and so you will find the prophecies relating to Christ were not understood until after they were fulfilled, and nearly all the prophecies relating to the second coming of Christ were not seen until they were fulfilled.
Q353:2 QUESTION (1909)--2--(Isa. 11:12.) "And He shall set up an ensign for the nations and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." To whom is the Prophet referring when speaking of the outcasts of Israel, and the dispersed of Judah?
ANSWER--You remember, dear friends, there was a time in the history of the twelve tribes when they were divided, the ten tribes being known as Israel, and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, called Judah. The ten tribes went into captivity and later the two tribes. After a long time, God arranged that Cyrus should make the proclamation that whosoever desired to return to his own country could do so, and the record is that some of all tribes went back to Palestine, but most of them were from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and from that time on they were all known as "all Israel." Our Lord, when speaking of Israel, recognized the fact that those living in Jerusalem represented the whole twelve tribes. Our Lord said in one place, Matt. 10:5,6: "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not, for I am not sent save unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." We are not to fall into the mistake that some do that the ten tribes are lost somewhere in the world. No, they were lost for the reason that when they were taken captives to Babylon, they mixed with the people there to such an extent that they lost their relationship as Israelites. Now we come down to the present time; those whom we know as Jews belong mostly to the house of Judah, but some to all. Furthermore, we are to remember that any Jew who neglected circumcision was no longer considered a member of that nation. The people who mingled with the Babylonians back there were not longer considered Israelites from God's standpoint. Today the people who practice circumcision and are called Israel are called Jews. Now we have the matter up to date. What shall we say of the dispersed of Judah and the outcasts of Israel? I would suppose that this was a statement to cover all Israel, not merely the two tribes, but to guard against any misunderstanding, both are included.
Just so when speaking of the New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not as though there were two houses, but so that those who were living at that day would know that the blessing would be not to the two tribes, nor to the ten tribes, but to all. That is my supposition. Cast-off and dispersed mean practically the same. He is going to count them all in as one nation.
ANSWER--The Jews are not going back very rapidly, but they are making ready to go back, and the land is becoming more productive. The prospects are that the new Turkish government, which has a kind of control over Palestine, will be more favorable to the Jews than the former Turkish government was, and so we look for something in that line before long.
You remember when we pointed out in the Dawns about the return of the Jews to Palestine, they themselves had not found it out. It is not coming as fast as we might have been inclined to expect. The Jews are to be re-established in Palestine, not that all the Jews that are in this country are going back, for many are better satisfied here. Those likely to go there are the ones called "orthodox"; and their [Page Q355] hearts are turning toward Jerusalem. No doubt but that when the land shall be open to them, then Russia will thrust them out of their country, and they will then go back in large numbers.
ISRAEL--Their Fall The Riches of The Gentiles.
Q355:1 QUESTION (1909)--l--(Rom. 11:12), "Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles: How much more their fullness?" When was or will be their "fullness" and what is it?
ANSWER--I understand the Apostle to be pointing down here to the end of this age, when God will give to Israel the fullness of His promise under the New Covenant.
Now, if God's dealings in the past were made contingent one upon another, what shall we expect of God's blessings which shall go out to all the world in the times of restitution? We can expect a blessing of all the families of the earth, as God intimated to Abraham, through both the heavenly and earthly seed.
Q355:2 QUESTION (1909)--2--Please explain the words of Jesus, "But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow-servants." (Mat. 23:48,49.)
ANSWER--We understand that a certain servant which the Lord would use at the end of this age, whether you like to call it a class or an individual, whatever it is, if the servant shall prove wicked and shall lose his relationship to the Lord, then we should expect that that servant would be cut off from his relationship to the Lord. One evidence of his being displaced and put out of commission is this: He would begin to smite his fellow-servants and to deny the presence of the Lord. He would lose the spirit of Christ and the truth respecting the presence of the Lord. It does not say that it will be so, but "And if he should." It implies that when the Lord selects a servant, it is upon condition that he remain in the Lord's favor and in harmony with Him, and if he does not, then thus and so shall follow.
ISRAEL AND JUDAH--Re Covenant Relationship
ANSWER--The house of Israel and the house of Judah will come into this covenant relationship through the new covenant just as soon as Messiah in his glory shall establish his kingdom, and that covenant shall be ushered in. He is already preparing the better sacrifices; he must accomplish this; soon he will be taking the blood and sprinkling the mercy seat. Then the next order of things will be the sprinkling, or blessing, of the people, and Israel and Judah will be the first then to come in under that arrangement; they will have the first share in that great blessing which will not be for Israel only, nor for Judah only, nor for these together only, but for all the families of the earth. From them these blessings will go forth.
ISRAEL--"Seven Times" of Chastisement a Blessing.
Q355:4 QUESTION (1915)--4--If the punishment for the righteous blood shed from Abel's day to our Lord's day came upon the Jews in the year 70 A. D., how can we explain the chastisements through which they have been passing all down the Gospel Age? [Page Q356]
ANSWER--We certainly know that the Jews said at the time of our Lord's death at their hands, "His blood be upon us and upon our children." They not only were willing to bear personally the responsibility for Jesus' death, but expressed the desire that their posterity also should bear it. Doubtless God, with His foreknowledge in respect to what this people would do, as well as in respect to their general heart condition, had from the beginning planned their "Seven Times" of disfavor. This He had caused to be recorded by Moses in the book of (Lev. 26:18-45). God had there declared that if the Israelites did not repent of their transgressions against their Covenant, and if His repeated chastisements failed to reform them, He would bring upon them "Seven Times" of punishment and discipline. In Bible chronology a "Time" is a symbolic year. According to Jewish reckoning each year was composed of 360 days; hence when used symbolically each year would mean 360 years, and seven such symbolic years would be a period of 2520 literal years. These Seven Times, or seven symbolic years, began in 606 B. C. at the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away of the entire nation into Babylon, at the time when the foretold 70 years of desolation of the land began (Jer. 25:8-12; 2 Chron. 36:14-22), and has continued ever since, we understand, or until about September 21st last.
During this long period of affliction upon Israel, the Lord has given the Gentile nations an opportunity of showing what they could do in the way of world-government. God had declared that during these "Times" He would deal very differently with His Covenant people from His previous dealings. He would walk contrary to them and would scatter them among the heathen (Gentiles); and they should be under the domination of their enemies, etc. It is a matter of history that the Jews have indeed ever since been oppressed by the other nations, "without a king," in full harmony with what was foretold by the Lord. This experience has been favorable to Israel as well as unfavorable. It has not been merely a chastisement for their sins. It has been an experience which the Lord has given them for their good.
"BEFORE I WAS AFFLICTED I WENT ASTRAY."
During the "Seven Times," then, the Jews have had severe tribulation and discipline. All of God's people, of every Age, have needed chastisements for their correction and development, some more and some less. God says to Spiritual Israel, "For what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? If ye be without chastisement, then are ye bastards (spurious) and not sons." (Heb. 12:8.) And so it has been with the House of Servants, Natural Israel. Because they were God's Covenant people, therefore He dealt with them; and He has really given them, during these 2,520 years, experiences which will prove favorable to such of them as will incline to do right. Those bitter experiences proved so favorable that when Jesus came they, as a people, were the holiest in the world; and at that time they had suffered only a small portion of these "Seven Times."
So we find that the preaching of the Gospel by our Lord and His Apostles found about five hundred of the Jews ready to believe and accept Jesus as Messiah. And soon afterwards, just after Pentecost, there were quite a number of [Page Q357] thousands who believed. These, we are told, were Israelites indeed in whom there was no guile. It is very remarkable that there was so large a number in Israel ready to receive the Messiah. This would not have been the case had they not been passing through disciplinary experiences. These experiences were all such as would tend to keep them separate from the Gentiles, keep them from mixing with any of the peoples of the earth.
If the Jews had prospered under the various governments -- Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome--they might have intermingled with these other peoples and have ceased to be Jews altogether. And the same is true of their prosperity since their national overthrow under Titus, A. D.70.
In God's providence the Jews have continued to have such tribulations throughout this Gospel Age as to have kept them separate from the rest of the world; and thus their minds have been kept in that condition of humility in which they will be best prepared for the Lord's service when the time of their complete restoration to favor shall come.
Our thought is that when the proper time arrives the Israelites will be more ready for the Kingdom than any other nation. The afflictions through which they have passed, their obedience to the Law, etc., will have prepared them for the Kingdom. We are not, therefore, to consider this long period of their suffering and affliction merely as tribulation, as punishment. For their ultimate good the Jews were to be trodden down of the Gentiles until the full Gentile domination.
ISRAEL'S GREAT REGATHERING.
St. Paul tells us that just as soon as the Gospel Church shall be completed, God's favor will return to the Jews--return in the full sense. "Blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles (the full predestined number of the Church to be gathered from the Gentile nations) be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written, There shall come out of Zion (the glorified Gospel Church, spiritual Zion) the Deliverer (The Christ, Head and Body, Jesus and His Bride), and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Natural Israel) for this is My Covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins." --Rom. 11:1-33.
The Lord purposed to take away all sins--the sins of Israel, the sins of those who were to constitute the Gospel Church, and the sins of the whole world. For this cause Christ was manifested, for this cause He died. This cancellation, or doing away with the sins of the whole world, will progress as each shall recognize the Heavenly gift of forgiveness and obey the Government.
The orthodox Jews, those who still hold to the teachings of the Law and the Prophets, and have faith in God, will be the first to receive the blessings of the New Age. "As concerning the Gospel they are enemies for your (the Church's) sakes; but as touching the election (the natural election), they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." So, then, this condition of affliction in which the Jews have been throughout the Gospel Age, in addition to the overthrow of their nation in the year 70 A. D., has really been a favor from God. All the tribulation through which this people have passed during the entire "Seven Times" of chastisement [Page Q358] will be finally found to have been to their advantage, preparing them for the blessings of Messiah's Kingdom. The Church will be the first in the Kingdom, Natural Israel with the Ancient Worthies at their head will be the second. Subsequently all nations will come into Divine favor and blessing, becoming members of Israel. All will be blessed through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
From the back of the Question Book:
IGNORANCE--Will It Save Heathen?
ANSWER--If ignorance were a basis of salvation then all should have been left in ignorance, for then all would have been saved. And if the heathen are saved through ignorance then also all of the babes and children who have died before attaining years of discretion and knowledge, and therefore in ignorance--these likewise should be saved. What a great missionary Herod must have been when he slew so many of the infants of Bethlehem, for of course these were all [Page Q786] saved to Kingdom glory! And what a pity we did not all die as infants! Heaven would be a delightful place filled with heathen and infants! We are informed in the Scriptures that the heathen's trial time for eternal life will be after the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, when not only the heathen but all the world of mankind shall be fully enlightened as to the way of salvation; when the way is so plain that a wayfaring man, though unlearned, shall not err. The babes developing to maturity will likewise have their opportunity of salvation, for eternal life is to be given to those only who exercise faith and obedience. Those who disobey, after full opportunity has been received, shall die the "second death."
IMMORTALITY--Do Men Possess Now?
Q786:1 QUESTION--I read in 1 Tim. 6:16, that the Apostle Paul speaking of God says--"Who only hath immortality." In the same chapter, 19th verse, the brethren are exhorted to good works, "that they may lay hold on eternal life." And the only place I find the word "immortal" is in 1 Tim. 1:17, which also refers to God, and in Rom. 6:23, the Apostle says--"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Then again Rom. 2:6,7, shows that the gift has to be sought for--"By patient continuance in well-doing." Therefore if immortality or eternal life is the gift of God as a reward to those who faithfully fulfill His desires, from whence is the authority derived by those who teach that man is now in possession of immortal life?
ANSWER--This is a question that is frequently asked these days by those who are not content to accept a mere assertion without a "thus saith the Lord." There is but one statement to be found in the Scriptures which could be construed as teaching that man was in any sense immortal; that he would not and that he could not die. This is found in the third chapter of Genesis, the fourth verse, Gen 3:4. However, we suggest that before any one accepts this as due authority they read the passage and note carefully who it was that made the statement!
IMMORTALITY--Now, Or Future Only?
Q786:2 QUESTION--I read in 1 Tim. 6:16, that the Apostle Paul speaking of God says--"Who only hath immortality." In the same chapter, 19th verse, the brethren are exhorted to good works, "that they may lay hold on eternal life." And the only place I find the word "immortal" is in 1 Tim. 1:17, which also refers to God, and in Rom. 6:23, the Apostle says--"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Then again Rom. 2:6,7, shows that the gift has to be sought for--"By patient continuance in well-doing." Therefore if immortality or eternal life is the gift of God as a reward to those who faithfully fulfill His desires, from whence is the authority derived by those who teach that man is now in possession of immortal life?
ANSWER--This is a question that is frequently asked these days by those who are not content to accept a mere assertion without a "thus saith the Lord." There is but one statement [Page Q787] to be found in the Scriptures which could be construed as teaching that man was in any sense immortal; that he would not and that he could not die. This is found in the third chapter of Genesis, the fourth verse. However, we suggest that before any one accepts this as due authority they read the passage and note carefully who it was that made the statement!
Q787:1 QUESTION--Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven" (Mark 10:14). Does this not mean that there will be infants in heaven?
ANSWER--There is a simplicity and gentleness about a little child which all good people appreciate. The Master was not so overwhelmed with His great work as to be unable to realize the desire of the Jewish mothers to have Him give their little ones a blessing. Therefore, when the disciples would spare Him the annoyance, He rebuked them and, calling for the little ones, He blessed them. The statement, "For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven," must not, however, be understood to imply that the Lord is electing or selecting such little children for His joint-heirs in the Kingdom; we must interpret Scripture by Scripture. We must remember His words that only "overcomers" can share with Him in the Kingdom (Rev. 2:7,11,17,26; Rev 3:5,12,21); and again, we are to remember His declaration that those who would be His disciples must take up their cross and follow Him. Such things could not be true of infants. Heart purity and simplicity are necessary for the Kingdom, but more than these are required. The text of the question should be understood in harmony with our Master's words, "Except ye . . . become as little children ye shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven" (Mat. 18:3). The emphasis lies upon the word "as" in the sense of like. Only the child-like and trustful disciples can experience God's highest favor--a share in His Kingdom.
ANSWER--There are some at the present day who believe that modern authors, teachers and poets are as fully inspired as were the Apostles. Even some clergymen apparently have the thought that they themselves are as authentic and reliable authorities, and should be regarded as such. If this view is the right one, then inspiration is a cheap article, and wholly unreliable when we reflect upon the many conflicting theories and doctrines that have been promulgated by modern theological authorities. The Apostle Peter, in referring to the inspiration of the Sacred Writers, declares that "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Pet. 1:21.) That is to say, God's holy power or influence operating upon the minds of the Prophets caused them to speak and to write of future things in relationship to the Divine purposes, which even they themselves did not understand. (Dan. 12:8,9.) The Apostles likewise were caused to write of [Page Q788] matters that would be necessary to the spiritual interests and welfare of the Lord's people in after times. (2 Tim. 3:16,17.) Plenary inspiration has not existed since the days of our Lord and the Apostles, and is not needed, as the Scriptures are complete and sufficient of themselves.
IRRESPONSIBLES--What Becomes of Them?
Q788:1 QUESTION--We know what becomes of the obedient and disobedient, but there is another class, which really cannot be called obedient nor yet disobedient. I mean the irresponsible, and they who love this present world and have not even a desire to know what God requires of them, and which, in my opinion, form the vast majority of mankind even in this enlightened age (so-called). What becomes of them? (P.E.I.)
ANSWER--The answering of this question involves the consideration of the doctrines of "Election" and "Free Grace," both clearly taught in the scriptures, as all Bible Scholars recognize. It is only within recent years that the beautiful harmony existing between these two doctrines has been recognized. From many Scriptures, of which we will only cite a few, it will be seen that the entire Christian Era, from the time of our Lord Jesus' first advent down to the time of His second coming, is the period in which the "Election" takes place, the election or selection of those who shall constitute the Bride, the Church of Christ. (See 1 Pet. 1:2; Eph. 1:4; 2 Pet. 1:10; Acts 15:14-18.) When, at the close of this Christian Age, the work of election is consummated, then God's free grace will be extended to all the remainder of mankind, through the selected class, who were elected to be kings and priests unto God and with their Lord Jesus to reign for the space of a thousand years over the nations of the earth for the purpose of lifting them up out of sin and death to human perfection and eternal life. Now is the Church's opportunity to make her calling and election sure; then will be the world's opportunity of receiving God's free grace. Election now and Free Grace then. See Acts 15:14-18; Rev. 22:17; Acts 3:19-21.
ISRAEL--Judgments, Repentance and Reconciliation
ANSWER--These verses, doubtless, refer to Israel's judgments and their final repentance and reconciliation. The three days we understand to be the days of the larger week, one thousand years to each day. In this larger week the seventh day will be the seventh thousand-year period--the Sabbath of rest from sin and Satan. Recognizing time from this standpoint and applying to each thousand years the parallel day of the week, we find that, as over four thousand years had passed and the fifth thousand had begun at the time the Jews had experienced the judgments of the Lord in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, it was therefore at a time corresponding to the fifth day of the lesser week, namely Thursday, the first day of the three mentioned. Friday the second day, and Saturday (the seventh day Sabbath) the third, in which the Israelites will be revived and raised up to Divine favor and life. [Page Q789] It is to be early in the morning of this third day--the thousand years of Messiah's reign--that "all Israel shall be saved"- -Rom. 11:26. Then will be the seasons of refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord as indicated in the "rain" mentioned in the third verse and referred to by the Apostle Peter--Acts 3:19-21.