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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. If I understand you aright in your article on the „Ten Virgins” of last number, your view is that while overcoming christians of all ages are virgins and will be joined to the Heavenly Bridegroom, yet the parable of `Matt. 25`, refers to those of that class living in our day, and who here and now as parts of the company have been used to represent the whole in the fulfillment of the parable. Am I correct?
A. You are correct, we do not limit the virgins of all ages, but believe this parable to refer to virgins at the close of this age. We cannot say however that every christian shall have the high honor of being united with Jesus as his bride and joint heir. The word, only authorizes us to say that „He that overcometh shall inherit all things.” We will not judge who are „overcomers”–the King has come in, he will judge righteous judgment.
Q. Your article in March No. „Three Covenants” states that the words covenant and testament are the same and from the same Greek word, and that the „New Covenant” is a thing of the future. To which covenant then does Jesus refer when He says: „This is my blood of the New Testament?” `Matt. 26:28`.
A. In the article referred to we found that the Abrahamic Covenant was an unconditional promise and for that reason it needed and had no medium. God simply confirming it by oath. „For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could sware by no greater, He swore by himself” that by these „two immutable things”–the promise and oath–in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation.” `Heb. 6:13-18`. We found also that the Law Covenant which was 430 years after did not disannul this one, that it was separate and distinct. „The Law” was not unconditional, but–„Whosoever doeth those things shall live by them.” And because it had these conditions binding on God on the one part, and Israel on the other, it required and had Moses as its mediator. Paul is intent on proving this distinction between the Law and the Abrahamic covenant and in `Gal. 3:20`, points out to us that the distinction between the unconditional and conditional is apparent from the fact that to the latter, God gave a mediator, while to the former none was given. –„For a mediator is not of one (or when there is but one party to the contract) but God is one.” Therefore a mediator being given with the Law, proves that it had bindings upon Israel as well as upon God.
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Then we looked at the New Covenant and found that it has conditions binding upon God and the world, therefore it should have a mediator. God binds himself to „restore all things,” to save men from death and to bring them to a knowledge of the truth, (`1 Tim. 2:4`), to „pour out His Spirit upon all flesh” (`Joel 2:28`) and to put a new spirit within them (as it was in Adam before sin entered) (`Ezek. 36:26`) and to write his law in their hearts (more than Adam had) `Jer. 31:33`, and he will set his sanctuary (dwelling–the Church) in the midst of them forevermore. (`Ezek. 37:26`.) And the conditions upon the World are, that then, they shall obey the Lord’s prophet or be cut off from life, (the second death). „Every soul shall die for his own sin.” `Jer. 31:30`. „It shall come to pass that every soul that will not hear that prophet, shall be cut off from among the people. `Acts 3:23`. But who shall be the mediator of so great a covenant? Paul assures us that „Jesus (is) the mediator of the New Covenant.” Jesus accepted the high position and sealed or ratified that New Covenant with his own blood (death) just as Moses had ratified the Law Covenant, which was a shadow of this, with the blood of a bullock and a goat sprinkling (cleansing) all the people; so Jesus died but instead of sprinkling all the people at once, he waits 1800 years to „take out a people for his name”– His „bride”–„His body”–to be associated with him in the work of sprinkling or cleansing all the people.
He said to his disciples of old and to us now: „Take up your cross and follow me”–crucify the flesh –and the same thought is suggested when Jesus took the cup saying: „This is my blood of the New Covenant shed for many (the world in general) for the remission of sins.” By passing it to each of us and saying, „Drink ye all of it,” he virtually invites us to drink into his death, to „be made conformable unto his death.”–„Are ye able to drink of the cup (death) that I shall drink of, and to be baptised with the baptism (death) that I am baptised with?…Ye shall drink indeed of the cup that I shall drink of, and be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with.” `Matt. 20:22`. „We know that as many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into his death,” (`Rom. 6:2`) and we know just as well what „the cup” signified when we find Jesus in the garden praying: „Father if it be possible, let this cup (death) pass from me.” So when Jesus passes us „the cup,” he says to us: Die with me, I will thus permit you to join with me in sealing the New Covenant and by and by when the body is complete, associate you with me in the glorious work of sprinkling (cleansing) „all the people,” as parts or members of the „one mediator between God and men,” when the New Covenant comes into operation.
How very forcibly every feature of the law seems to shadow forth the fact that, „If we suffer with him we shall also be glorified together.” We believe „that if we be dead with Him we shall also live with Him.” Let us then reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin, and though in the world be not of it.
Q. What are the two immutable things of `Heb. 6:18`?
A. You will find our understanding of this question in the above answer, to be God’s promise and oath to Abraham.
Q. Are there any reasons for thinking that Jesus will appear in the flesh to his church?
A. We know of no reason for so thinking but many reasons to the contrary. Brother Paton’s article– „EXPEDIENT FOR YOU”–in this No. is so much to the point that we will not answer you further. If it does not fully satisfy you, we shall be glad to know of any points of difficulty and answer them.
— June, 1880 —