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VOL. XXV. JUNE 1, 1904. No. 11.
Views from the Watch Tower……………………163
Denominational Union is the Cry……………163
A Moderator Awakening Late………………164
The Jonah Story Corroborated………………164
„Preach the Word.”………………………165
The Trend of Socialism……………………165
En Route to Los Angeles………………………165
Enoch, Elijah and the Sentence………………166
Importance of Jesus’ Resurrection……………167
„What of the Night?” (Poem)…………………173
The Life of Christ in Review…………………173
Cheering Words from Australia…………………174
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
DENOMINATIONAL UNION IS THE CRY
THE following from the Toronto (Canada) News well illustrates the trend of public opinion throughout Protestant Christendom. The spirit of union, or confederacy, is in the very air, as foretold by the prophet, who says: „Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.”—Isa. 8:12.
Fear, a realization of weakness, is at the bottom of this desire for union at the expense of the Truth. A union would give prestige to doctrines which cannot be sustained either by reason or Scripture. A union would give greater political power, and lead ultimately to the suppression of the Truth as unsettling and antagonistic to the peace of error and errorists. But the Truth has naught to fear, and the Truth people see clearly that only the Truth can produce that real heart-union which the Lord referred to in his prayer for his people—”that they all may be one.” Another part of our Lord’s petition was, „Sanctify them through thy Truth.” Wherever the sanctifying of the Truth goes, there true union goes, proportionately. Not worldly union, however; not denominational union, for the Truth separates from the world and from denominationalism and unites all developed children of the Truth to each other, by uniting each to the Head—our Lord. Such are taught of God; such hear their Head; such are thus made one in Him and in his Truth.
We quote the popular and erroneous view of the question, as follows:—
„One of the most encouraging features of the present religious condition of the world is the increasing prevalence of a desire for Christian union. The arguments in favor of union are numerous and weighty. But the most powerful of them all—the consideration that should be kept in the forefront of the whole discussion—is that the object aimed at is very dear to the heart of Christ himself.
„The union that most Christians desire is not a vague, unsubstantial thing, but a solid, practical reality—not a mere spiritual unity of aim and motive, but an external, visible union, which will remove the reproach of unseemly rivalry that Protestant Christianity has too long been compelled to bear. Such an organic union constitutes the only real answer to the great intercessory prayer of our blessed Lord—the solemnly suggestive petition offered up amid the deepening shadows of the last night of his earthly ministry: ‚That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.’ How much conviction of the divine mission of Christ is likely to be aroused in the heart of the world by the sight of the scores of rival sects into which the Church of Christ has been split up?
„Of course, the situation is improving. In our own country, nearly thirty years ago, Presbyterians led the way in the matter of closing up their denominational ranks, and consolidating their forces for the performance of their common work; and the example thus set was followed a few years later by the Methodists. The last quarter of a century has witnessed, too, a most gratifying advance in inter-denominational fellowship. Ancient asperities are being softened; denominational bigotry is slowly disappearing; in Christian utterances the irenic is being substituted for the polemic; mutual misunderstandings and recriminations are giving place to mutual appreciations and commendations, and from almost every branch of the divided Church of Christ many a ‚God speed you’ is heard, addressed to Christian brethren of other communions. All this the world can see, and the force of all this the world can hardly fail to feel.
„But how immeasurably more impressive would be the spectacle of one magnificent united Church! How irresistible would be the appeal to the world’s conscience, if all the scattered companies of the Lord’s
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army were united in one grand battalion, ‚endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace!’
„In so far as the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches are concerned, this desirable consummation seems to be within measurable distance, the question of their corporate union having now come to be a question of practical church politics.”
* * *
Sentiment in the United States is similar, as voiced by the New York Independent, as follows:
„Federation is one of the crying needs of our Protestant Churches. Some of our denominations in their national meetings have pronounced in favor of it. It would maintain the separate entity of denominations that are not ready to consolidate, and yet would be an evidence to the world of their essential and spiritual unity. We understand that it ought to
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be the business of such an organization as the National Federation of Churches to seek such a federation of denominations. It might be invidious for any one denomination to take the lead in inviting a conference for federation, for we have in this country no one confessedly preeminent denomination, as they have in England. But this Federation of Churches, which has hitherto labored to secure fellowship in labor in cities and towns, might well send a proposal to the national body of every Protestant denomination in the country, asking it to appoint representatives to meet in Washington in 1906—which will give time—with a view to the establishment of a federate union of the entire body of churches. If this existing Federation of Churches does not thus present the matter generally, why should not the various national conferences, conventions, assemblies, synods and councils independently make the proposition and appoint committees? We commend this proposition to those of every denomination who are interested in the visible unity of the Christian Church.”
A MODERATOR AWAKENING LATE
„New York, May 4.—’Look at Andover! What honest man can look at that institution and not be ashamed?’ said Rev. Dr. Robert Russell Booth, moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly and pastor emeritus of Rutger’s Presbyterian Church, speaking at the Bible League in the Marble Collegiate Course to-day. He was participating in a discussion ‚On the Practical Consequences of the Attack on the Bible.’
„‚What honest man can see endowments saved by the toil of the believing and the earnest used in the propaganda of those who say that what is recorded in the Bible is untrue?’ continued Dr. Booth, and there were cries of ‚amen’ from the pews.
„‚For nineteen centuries the Christian Church has been the Church persecuted and the Church militant,’ declared the speaker. ‚Now we must fight treason in our very midst. Men are using their positions in our pulpits and chairs of learning to disseminate treason. Church collections, salaries, endowments are being used to support those who talk Higher Criticism and to spread heresies.
„‚A minister in this city, as prominent as there is in the land, reads the Apostles’ creed: ‚Jesus Christ, who, they say, was born of the Virgin Mary.
„‚Jesus, who, they say, was raised after the third day.’
„‚No wonder men find excuse for easy virtue when ministers, ordained of God, insert „they say” in the Apostles’ creed. We are living in a time of financial immorality according to old fashioned men. There has come a change over our ministers which makes people suspicious of their honesty.
„‚If this continues, if the Word of God as given to our fathers is whittled away by the ministers of our Protestant denominations, the time must come when to those always faithful to God there will be but one refuge and that will be the Roman Catholic Church, which, whatever it has added to the Word, has taken nothing from it.
„‚We of this league expect that Archbishop Farley and Bishop Potter will join in this movement, if not by enrollment, in heart and spirit.
„‚It is an imaginative and fictitious concensus of opinion, for which the journalists are to blame, that scholarship is all on the side of the critics. I say that the ablest scholars will line up on our side, five to one.'”
* * *
The Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly is just awakening to the fact that the Higher Critics have possession of the so-called religious colleges and seminaries. The gentleman will ere long discover that the „prominent” religious people have almost unanimously forsaken the Bible as an inspired work and now use it merely as a text-book, useful because of its influence with the „common people”—but not inspired. Now is the time for us to find those not yet contaminated and assist them to the Truth, which alone will show the Bible to be both inspired and reasonable.
THE JONAH STORY CORROBORATED
The progress of the pulpit above that of the pew—away from the Bible and into infidelity—is well illustrated by articles recently published side by side in a secular journal. One of the articles quoted one of the most prominent and venerable ministers of our day—Rev. Lyman Abbott, D.D.—as denying the Bible story of Jonah, quoted as fact by our Lord. (Luke 11:30.) Dr. Abbott said: „I do not believe that the great fish swallowed Jonah, because there is nothing to attest the story,” etc.
The reverse side of the question is an account of a Bible class teacher’s discussion of the same subject with his large class of adults. The teacher, a prominent business man of Pittsburgh, Mr. James I. Buchanan, averred his faith in the Jonah story. He said: „The Bible is sufficient evidence for me, but occasionally I get interested in comparing the miracles with modern phenomena which remain unexplained.”
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Then he drew the attention of his class to the account of a seaman’s similar experience during a whaling voyage, reported in the public press about eight years ago and referred to in these columns.
The published account told how the whale’s nose broke the small boat to splinters, and how one of its occupants was swallowed. Subsequently the whale was killed and the man found unconscious in its stomach. Later he told that he could breathe there, but found it intolerably hot. His skin was very red, probably the result of the action of the acids of the whale’s stomach. In other words he was in process of digestion.
The story is so similar to that of Jonah as to be well worth remembering, and we were specially interested in some verifications which Mr. Buchanan related to the reporter. He said:
„Not long after that George Jarvie, a cousin, and a Scotch sailing master, happened to be a visitor at my home. One day I mentioned the New Zealand whale story.
„He said he had read the story, had heard it among the seamen of the islands, and the story was generally believed and vouched for among the seafaring men. He explained to me how the sailors of that region considered the fish story. His version tallied with that of the newspaper clipping, which Mr. Jarvie had never read.
„The fish prepared for Jonah’s residence was apparently not common in Jonah’s time, because no name is given for the fish. Almost a thousand years later someone conceived it was a whale that had swallowed Jonah.”
„Mr. Buchanan said that his sister, who had visited the New Zealand islands, had also been told the modern whale story, as she had heard it from people who claimed to know the sailor who had been swallowed by the whale and men who had served on the ship at that time.”
„PREACH THE WORD”
„The true pastor, being a messenger of Jehovah of Hosts, and not a messenger of Byron, Milton or Shakespeare, is bound by the most solemn of all his obligations to preach ‚Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.’ The gospel preacher is a minister of the New Testament, which became of force on the death of the testator, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In this Testament is recorded the following statement of our Savior: ‚The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.’ This cannot be truthfully said of science, or of popular literature, or of the writings of the wisest men not inspired of God. In His command to His disciples to teach all nations, Christ’s language is specific: ‚Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’ No mention is made of human doctrines, and no authority given for teaching them. ‚The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord. Is not My Word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?’ The Word of God is ‚the sword of the Spirit.’ One armed with this sword for destroying evil is required to use it. A sword needs no stronger proof of what it is than the effects of its use. No learned argument is necessary to prove that a hammer is a hammer. Use it, and it proves itself. Fire proves its own character when applied. God’s Word is ‚like as fire.’ It cleanses away evil. ‚Preach the Word.’ A pastor who substitutes anything else for the faithful preaching of God’s Word—and this is all he is authorized by Christ to preach—is trifling with the eternal destinies of men, and bringing guilt upon himself. The writer has in recent months heard much chaff in sermons, and noticed a conspicuous absence of the ‚one thing needful.’ It is the holy Spirit who commands, ‚Preach the Word.'”—The Interior.
* * *
It is not often that such an item as the above can be clipped from the „Religious Press.” We rejoice to find it and to commend it.
THE TREND OF SOCIALISM
„We openly war against God, because he is the greatest evil in the world.”—Schall, German Socialist leader.
„It is our duty as socialists to root out the faith in God with all our might, nor is anyone worthy of the name who does not consecrate himself to the spread of atheism.”—Liebknecht, German Socialist leader.
„We have simply done with God.”—Engels, German Socialist leader.
Bebel, another prominent socialist, perhaps the greatest living authority on the subject, leaves „heaven to the angels and the sparrows.” The same authority confessed that „Christianity and socialism stand toward each other as fire and water.”
„Modern socialism is without religion and its tendency is atheistic.”—Henry George.—Houston Chronicle.
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EN ROUTE TO LOS ANGELES
ABOUT twenty of the Bible House family accompanied us to the Pittsburgh depot on our departure on April 28 for the Los Angeles Convention. As announced, we left in time to make four stops with the friends in Texas. We reached Dallas, Texas, on Saturday evening, and had a pleasant social gathering with the friends and a good rest before the Sunday, May 1st, services.
The morning service was well attended—friends being present from many surrounding cities and villages. The first hour was devoted to praise and testimony and was very profitable, showing great progress since our last visit. One Brother testified that he was the only one at his place at the time of our last visit and that now thirteen were in attendance and rejoicing in the Truth.
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The Testimony meeting was followed by a fine discourse on Baptism by Brother Barton, and later several symbolized their consecration by water immersion.
The principal session of the day was at 3 P.M., addressed by the Editor—the topic being, „To Hell and Back!—Who are There?—Hope for the Recovery of Many of Them,” as published in the Gazette of May 2. The attendance was large. The house was crowded to the doors, about 700 being present, and about 500 were unable to gain admittance. There was close attention and a great demand for free literature at the close.
The evening service was held in a smaller hall and was not advertised, but kept for the interested friends. Brother Russell spoke at that session from the words, „The Lord your God doth prove you, whether ye do love the Lord your God or no.”
Early on Monday, May 2d, we started for Austin, where we arrived at 6.30 P.M., and, after a good supper, met a very intelligent audience, one of whom reported that he had come 68 miles by wagon and then 100 more by rail to attend the meeting and grasp the hand of the author of MILLENNIAL DAWN. The audience gave excellent attention, and we trust that some have been stimulated to a more earnest endeavor to follow the Lord and to study the divine plan. The friends of the Truth remained for a later meeting and some accompanied us to the train.
Next morning found us at Houston, where we had a hearty welcome from the local Church and visiting friends from various quarters. The morning session was a Rally and Testimony meeting, while the afternoon service, addressed by the Editor, was composed chiefly of believers. The discourse was from the words, „Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.”
The evening session was for the public and was well attended—about 1200 being present. The subject, „The Oath-Bound Covenant,” received the closest attention. The literature was in great demand and the friends hope that the Truth has received a fresh impetus. We left by night train for San Antonio.
Wednesday, May 4th, was devoted to a One-Day Convention at San Antonio. The morning session was addressed by Bro. Currie. The afternoon meeting, also for the Church, was addressed by Bro. Russell. We had some very enjoyable interchanges with the dear friends here also: our hearts flowed together as we communed one with another respecting our experiences and prospects.
The evening session, for the public, was held in Beethoven Music Hall. It numbered about 1200 very intelligent people, who gave great attention and in various ways manifested deep interest. Our hope is that the Colporteurs there may find many grains of ripe „wheat.” It is our experience that careful study of the literature is necessary to development. Talking and preaching are good to awaken interest, but reading is essential to development.
We are writing while en route to Los Angeles, where we hope for a splendid season of fellowship with the household of faith.
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ENOCH, ELIJAH AND THE SENTENCE
THE answer to the following query may interest others than the inquirer:—
„Since ‚death passed upon all men,’ because of Adam’s sin; and since all had to be redeemed before they could escape from that death sentence, how came it that Enoch and Elijah escaped from it before the redemption-price was paid?
We answer, that they did not escape, but were still under the sentence of death until the ransom was paid. The execution of the sentence was deferred in their cases, and their lives prolonged; but they would eventually have died had they not been redeemed. After Father Adam was sentenced he lived nearly a thousand years, but under his particular sentence he could not have lived more than a thousand years; because the sentence read, „In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying thou shalt die.” And since „a day with the Lord is as a thousand years” (2 Pet. 3:8), his death was fixed to take place within that „day.” But God left the way open to make types of Enoch and
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Elijah, and hence, so far as they and the remainder of the human family were concerned, no limit of time for the execution of the sentence was fixed. If, therefore, it pleased God to have it so, they might have continued to live for thousands of years, under the death sentence, without dying. In Elijah’s case, although he was translated, it is not said that he did not die afterward. His translation made a type, as we have seen (MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II, Chapter viii.), and he may have died and been buried afterward, unknown to men, as was Moses.—Deut. 34:6.
But with Enoch the case was different, as we are expressly told that he did not die. In his case, therefore, it is evident that the execution of the sentence was deferred, but there is no evidence that it was annulled. He, therefore, remained under that sentence of death until he was ransomed by our Lord’s death. As a member of the fallen race, he was an imperfect man, and although redeemed, and although a restitution to human perfection is provided for him in the divine plan, we are not certain that he is yet a perfect
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man. For the Apostle seems to teach that none of those whose faithfulness was attested before the Gospel call was made will be made perfect until after Christ and his bride are made perfect. He says (Heb. 11:39,40), after enumerating many of the ancient worthies, Enoch included, verse 5, „These all, having obtained witness through faith, received not the promise [everlasting life, etc.], God having provided some better thing [priority of time as well as of honor and position]
for us [the Gospel Church], that they [the ancient worthies]
without us [apart from us]
should not be MADE PERFECT.” And since the Church, the body of Christ, has not yet been perfected in glory, it is but a reasonable inference that wherever Enoch is and however happy and comfortable he may be, he is not yet made a perfect man, and will not be until all the members of the body of Christ have first been made perfect in the divine nature.
As to where God took Enoch, we may not know, since God has not revealed that. Should we speculate as to whether God took him to some other world, and for what purpose, it would be but an idle speculation. We may not be wise above what is written. We may be certain, however, that Enoch did not go to heaven—the spiritual state or condition—for such is the record: „No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven—even the Son of man.” (John 3:13.) Elijah is said to have ascended to heaven; but, from our Lord’s statement above quoted, that must be understood to refer to the air—as, when it is said that „the fowl fly in the midst of heaven” it certainly cannot refer to the heavenly condition, which flesh and blood cannot enter nor even see without a change of nature, which change has been promised only to the Gospel Church.
Understanding, as above shown, that Enoch was preserved from actual dissolution in death—although, already under that sentence, legally dead (Rom. 5:12; Matt. 8:22) until the ransom-price for all was paid by our Lord’s death—we can see that there will now be no necessity for his dissolution, but that when the due time shall have come he may be fully and completely restored from even the measure of human imperfection he had inherited to full, perfect manhood.
So, too, it will be with those of the world who will be living when the „times of restitution” are fully ushered in: it will not be necessary for them to go into the tomb. For although they are already legally dead, in that condemnation (or sentence) to „death passed upon all men,” yet their penalty has also been legally met by another, Christ. He now holds the judgment against all, but graciously offers to cancel it entirely for each one who will accept restitution to life and perfection on the conditions of the New Covenant.
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IMPORTANCE OF JESUS’ RESURRECTION
—MATT. 28:1-15.—JUNE 19.—
Golden Text: „Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.”—1 Cor. 15:20.
FEW seem to realize the importance of our Lord’s resurrection—its bearing upon the entire Gospel message. The Apostle indicates how much depended upon it when he wrote, „If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. … They also who are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” (I Cor. 15:14,18.) The numbers of the Lord’s professed followers, clergy and laity, who fail to appreciate the resurrection—who really do not believe in it—is very large. The number who really do believe in it is very small. The majority, under the teachings which have come down to us from the dark ages, fail entirely to realize that death means a cessation of life, and, as the Scriptures declare, „In that very day their thoughts perish.” On the contrary, the masses of Christendom have come to believe that there is no death, that the dead are more alive than they ever were before they died. Applying this thought to our Lord, as well as to others, they do not appreciate the Scriptural declaration that „Christ died for our sins and rose again on the third day.” They think of him as being alive during that time, and that it was merely his fleshly body that was inanimate in the tomb, and that the resurrection which occurred on the third day was not his resurrection to life, but merely the reanimation of his dead body.
ERROR LEADS TO CONFUSION
Confused thus by the errors of medieval times, which were adopted by the reformers and are engrafted upon the minds of the civilized world today, the majority of Christian people cannot appreciate the Scriptural declarations respecting the importance of the resurrection of our Lord. Instead of believing the Apostle we have just quoted, to the effect that our faith is vain, our preaching vain, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, the majority of Christendom would be inclined to say just the reverse of this: „What difference would it make to our dead loved ones, what difference would it make to our preaching, what difference would it make to our faith, if Jesus’ body had been left in the tomb?” Hence, only those who realize that the dead are dead—that they can have no conscious existence until awakened from the sleep of death—can really appreciate the importance of the resurrection.
If Jesus had not been raised up from the dead, we have no basis for the preaching of the Gospel—for the Gospel message is that, by the grace of God, Jesus’ death
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was the ransom price for father Adam and his posterity, and that because Jesus has thus paid the penalty for the whole race and redeemed all from the sentence of death by his own death, therefore, in due time, in God’s appointed time, Adam and all of his posterity are to be released from the death sentence, and Christ as the great King is to establish his Kingdom in the world, and through it lift from mankind the burden, the penalty of death, and that then all who are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man and come forth to the glorious opportunities of the Millennial Kingdom—opportunities for reconciliation with God, and release from all the imperfections of the fall. To preach such a Gospel, with the fact before us that Jesus had died and without any proof of his resurrection, would be vain preaching, foolish preaching, deceiving the people. To believe such a Gospel, under such circumstances, would be to brand ourselves as foolish simpletons; and to have any hope that our dead friends could ever be benefited by a dead Christ would be absurd.
Seeing, then, the importance of the Lord’s resurrection, and how every feature of the Gospel is dependent upon this great fact, we understand why it was that the apostles, preaching forgiveness of sins and a future blessing, based everything upon the fact that Jesus not only died for our sins as our ransom price, but that he rose again for our justification, for our deliverance from the sentence, the guilt, the penalty, that is upon us as a human family—the death penalty. No wonder, then, that our heavenly Father arranged that we should have so explicit an account, so detailed a statement of everything pertaining to our Lord’s resurrection; no wonder that the evangelists recorded matters with such minuteness, no wonder that in all the preaching of the apostles this great fundamental truth, which was the basis of their own faith toward God, was set before the Church as being all important. From this standpoint the present lesson must be of deep interest to all of the Lord’s people for all time—until the outward manifestations of the Kingdom shall attest the things which the household of faith must now accept by faith built upon this testimony.
HE AROSE ON THE THIRD DAY
We concur with the generally accepted—and, we believe, well-attested—view, that our Lord’s crucifixion on the 14th of Nisan, Jewish time, corresponded to the sixth day of the week, which we now call Friday. According to the records, our Lord died at three o’clock in the afternoon. Calvary was but a short distance from the gate of Jerusalem, the Temple and Pilate’s residence. Hence, Nicodemus and Joseph, members of the Sanhedrin, evidently friendly to Jesus, but not sufficiently convinced of the truthfulness of his claims, or else not sufficiently courageous to lay down their lives with him, had not far to go after noting his death to secure consent for his burial; and the tomb in which it is supposed he was buried is within a stone’s throw of the supposed location of the cross. It has been presumed, therefore, that our Lord was buried about four o’clock on the afternoon of that day, corresponding to our Friday. The next day, which we call Saturday, and which the Jews called the seventh day or Sabbath, began—Jewish time—Friday evening at sundown and ended on what we call Saturday at sundown, and our
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Lord’s resurrection took place early in the morning of the first day of the week, which we now designate Sunday.
Thus our Lord arose from the dead on the „third day.” He was in death from three o’clock until six on Friday, all of the night following, all of the next day, Saturday, all of the next night, which, according to Jewish reckoning, was the forepart of the first day of the week. This would not make three days and three nights full, complete—seventy-two hours—but we believe it did constitute what the Lord meant when he declared that he would rise from the dead on the third day. Some, desirous of counting full three days and three nights, have been led to claim that our Lord was crucified on Thursday; but neither would this make three days and three nights—seventy-two hours. In order to have three full days and three full nights we would be obliged to suppose that the Lord was crucified on Wednesday. But all the testimony is against such a supposition and the weight of it decidedly in favor of Friday, and the counting of a part each of three days and nights as being what our Lord referred to. But if any one have a different view from ours on this subject, we will not contend with him: it is a trifling matter, of no importance whatever. Nothing was dependent upon the length of time our Lord would be dead. The important items were that he should actually die, that he should be dead long enough for it to be positively known that he was dead, and that he should rise from the dead.
DESTROYING THE TEMPLE AND RAISING IT UP
When our Lord spoke in advance, saying, „Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up”—”he spake of the Temple of his body.” (John 2:21.) But of which body did he speak—of the flesh?—of the body which he took in order that he might be the sacrifice for sin, of the body which he consecrated to death? Was it that body that he meant would be raised on the third day? We answer that that body was not his temple, but merely his tabernacle. Our Lord’s resurrection body was not the one which the Jews destroyed, but a spiritual body which they had never seen, but which was revealed to the Apostle Paul as „one born out of due time” when, on his way to Damascus, Jesus appeared unto him „shining above the brightness of the sun at noonday.”
It is much more reasonable to suppose that our Lord spoke of his body which is the Church and of which he was and is the Head. The Jews destroyed the Head, and all down through the Gospel age the various members of the body of Christ have been called upon „to suffer with him,” „to be dead with him,” „to lay down their lives for the brethren.” The body has been in process of destruction
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from Jesus’ day until now, and very soon, we believe, the last member will have proven himself „faithful unto death.” Now, let us see how the Lord will raise up this Temple of which he was the great foundation stone, and of which the Apostle Peter declares, each of his faithful disciples is a living stone. (I Pet. 2:4) Considering the time from the Lord’s standpoint—”A day with the Lord is as a thousand years”—our Lord died in the year of the world 4161—after four days had passed and the fifth day had begun.
The destruction of the Temple of God, which is the Church, began there in the destruction of the chief corner stone and has progressed since—during the remainder of the fifth day, all of the sixth day, and we are now in the beginning of the seventh day—”very early in the morning.” And the promise of the Lord is that the Lord’s resurrection shall be completed about this time—”The Lord shall help her early in the morning.” (Psa. 46:5.) Thus we view the matter, that the Lord was a part of the three days dead and rose on the third day, early in the morning, and that likewise the First Resurrection will be completed—the entire body of Christ will be raised on the third day, early in the morning.
Evidently the matter of the resurrection was beyond the mental grasp of the apostles themselves at the time it occurred. Jesus had foretold that he would rise again on the third day, but they had not comprehended the meaning of his words: None of them for a moment thought of his resurrection, but merely of what they could do in the way of embalming his body, and showing to it, as his remains, the same sympathy and love which they would have shown to the remains of any dear friend or brother or sister. Thus it was that being hindered from coming to the sepulcher on the Sabbath day by the Jewish Law, which forbade labor of any kind on that day, the Lord’s friends began to gather at the sepulcher, probably by previous appointment, about daybreak, after the Sabbath,—on the first day of the week. There were a number from Galilee, and probably they were lodged with other friends in different parts of the city, and possibly with some at Bethany; hence they went by different routes. The accounts vary, and are yet in perfect accord and all true. They are told from the different standpoints of each writer, and are all the more conclusive to us as evidences in that they show that there was no collusion between the writers of the Gospels—no endeavor to state the matters in exactly the same terms, as there surely would have been had the account been a manufactured one, a concocted story.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE TRUTH ARE WEAK
Before the arrival of any of the disciples, while the Roman guard was still on duty at the tomb, an angel of the Lord appeared on the scene and a shock like that of an earthquake was experienced, and the guard, or „watch,” became as dead men—almost swooned or fainted—but, recovering, hastened from the spot to make their report to the chief priests, at whose instance they had been appointed to this service. The chief priests induced them to circulate the report that the body had been stolen by his disciples while they slept, and this report was evidently current for quite a time subsequently, as we read, „the saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day”—up to the date of writing Matthew’s Gospel, which is supposed to have been written some nine years after the event. Like all arguments against the truth, it was a weak one, but the best they could do. How foolish would be the testimony of men who would say what took place while they were asleep! A bribe was given to the guard as the price of this false statement, and they had the assurance of protection, security against the ordinary penalty for a Roman soldier sleeping while on duty; but then they were not on duty for the Roman government; they were merely a complimentary guard furnished in the interests of the priests and at their solicitation.
Meantime, while the guard was on its way to the priests to report matters, the Lord’s friends began to gather, with their love and spices, etc. The women of the company arrived first, and in so doing attested for all time the love and sympathy of their hearts, and honored, yea glorified, their sex in so doing. The three mentioned in our lesson have since had noble mention by the poets of all nations. One has written:—
„Three women crept at break of day,
Agrope along the shadowy way,
Where Joseph’s tomb and garden lay.
„Each in her throbbing bosom bore
A burden of such fragrant store
As never there had lain before.
„Myrrh-bearers still, at home, abroad—
What paths have holy women trod,
Burdened with votive gifts to God!
„Rare gifts whose chiefest worth was priced
By this one thought, that all sufficed:
Their spices had been bruised for Christ.”
During the forty days which began that morning, and which ended with our Lord’s ascension, he appeared at most eleven times, sometimes to one and sometimes to another, and on one occasion to above five hundred brethren at once. It is quite probable that instead of eleven times there were only seven, and that the other four records were merely differences of description of four of the seven manifestations.
„HE SHOWED HIMSELF BY INFALLIBLE PROOFS”
Our Lord’s first appearance was to Mary Magdalene, she out of whom he had cast seven demons and who, from thenceforth, became one of our Lord’s most earnest followers. She had much forgiven her; she loved much, and her love had brought her early to the sepulcher. Apparently, Mary Magdalene was the first of the women to arrive at the sepulcher, and immediately on finding that Jesus was not in the tomb, she hastened to announce the fact to John and Peter. Returning to the sepulcher, later
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she apparently reached it after the other women had been there and had gone their way, and it was while she was still near the tomb that Jesus appeared to her first of all, as described by John—20:11-18.
Subsequently the Lord met the other women as they were en route to make known the news to the household of faith. He addressed them, „All hail!” which in the Greek was the usual salutation, practically signifying, Rejoice! They fell before him, worshipping him and grasping him by the feet, and appeared afraid that anything henceforth should separate them from him. Our Lord, however, reminded them of their duty toward the brethren—that they should spread the good tidings of his resurrection. The same lesson comes to us, that after we have found the Lord, have come to realize the Truth, we have a great privilege in being permitted to serve it, and a great duty toward the brethren who as yet know not what has caused our hearts to rejoice. We are not to assume that we are to merely hug the Truth to our own hearts, but are to remember that it is also for others, and to take pleasure in dispensing it to them. He who thus serves the Lord and the household of faith is sure to have the greater blessing in the end.
Our Lord’s message was to tell the disciples that he would meet them again in Galilee. Thus it was that, after
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five or six appearances in the vicinity of Jerusalem, our Lord abstained from further appearing to his followers, and they returned to their home country, Galilee, where he met them, as he had engaged to do. We must remember that the most of our Lord’s ministry was spent in Galilee and that the majority of the believers were Galileans. It was to be expected that all of the household of faith should have some opportunity for witnessing to our Lord’s resurrection, and so the Apostle Paul tells us that in one of these later manifestations in Galilee, „Our Lord was seen by above five hundred brethren at one time; of whom the greater part remain unto this present [the time the Apostle was writing], though some are fallen asleep.”—I Cor. 15:6.
It is necessary that we should note carefully the two objects our Lord had in view in the various manifestations he gave his followers of the fact that he had risen from the dead. The first of these was a demonstration that he was no longer confined to earthly conditions, as they had known him to be during the previous years of acquaintance, but was now, like all spirit beings, able to go and come like the wind—invisibly, secretly. Like all spirit beings he was now glorious. The Apostle explains the resurrection of the overcomers of the Church in I Cor. 15:51,52, and the Scriptural assurance is that in our resurrection we shall be like the Lord, see him as he is and share his glory. The Scriptures also assure us that our resurrection is really a part of his resurrection, a part of the First Resurrection,—that Jesus the Head of the glorious Christ was raised from the power of death, was glorified on the third day after his death, and that early in the morning of the new dispensation the Church will come forth from death in his likeness, sharers in his resurrection.—Phil. 3:10.
OUR LORD’S RESURRECTION CHANGE
This being true, we know that the time when our Lord received his spirit body was at his resurrection and not subsequently; as the Apostle declares, „He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened [made alive]
in spirit.” Speaking of our Lord’s humiliation and his subsequent exaltation at his resurrection, the Apostle assures us that our Lord left the glory which he had with the Father and humbled himself to become a man, and that in due time he humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross—”wherefore God hath highly exalted him and given him a name that is above every name.” The exaltation came to him in his resurrection change. It was true of him then, as it will be true of all the members of his body in due time, that he was sown in weakness, raised in power, sown a natural [animal, human] body, raised a spiritual body.
This spiritual body of our Lord was just as glorious in the moment of his resurrection as it was at any time afterward or is now. It had all the powers properly granted to spirit beings in harmony with the Lord. He was not, as previously, merely the man Christ Jesus, but was now the Lord of glory. As such he was able to associate himself with his disciples, either visibly or invisibly, or to appear as a flame of fire in the burning bush, or as a wayfaring man, as he appeared with others to Abraham, or in any manner he might see fit. He was the same glorious being who subsequently appeared to Saul of Tarsus, shining as the lightning, much as the angel appeared when the Roman guard was overcome and fled.
Some, then, may inquire, Why did he not appear to the women and apostles in the same glorious manner, with shining features? We answer that to have so done would have been to hinder the very object he had in view. How could his followers, who were not then begotten of the holy Spirit and consequently were unable to understand spiritual things (I Cor. 2:14)—how could they have understood that a being shining like an angel was the Lord Jesus they had seen crucified three days before? And even if they could have associated the two in some manner, what evidence would there have been for others since? The removal of the remains of our Lord Jesus from the tomb was an essential to the faith of the disciples of that day, and of all who would believe on him since through their word, and manifestations of his being alive from the dead were necessary also to all these. The instructions which our Lord gave, and his expositions of the prophecies, and his application of these to himself, given at that particular time, were necessary as a firm foundation for faith. None of these objects could have been so well served in any other manner as the manner in which they were performed. Our Lord’s first appearance to Mary was as a gardener. She recognized him not; neither his clothing nor his features were the same as those she had
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previously seen, as those she had previously recognized. His clothing was divided amongst the Roman soldiers, his grave clothes were still in the tomb, the body which she saw was a special body and the clothing which he wore was special clothing prepared and used for this special occasion. She knew not her Lord until he adopted a tone of voice which she recognized.
It was the same with the two on the way to Emmaus, later on the same day. Jesus walked with them, but they knew him not; his clothing was different, his features were different, they saw no prints of nails in his hands or in his feet. They asked him, „Art thou a stranger in these parts?” He improved the opportunity for discussing with them calmly, deliberately, carefully, the prophecies relating to himself, expounding these to them so forcefully, so clearly, that their hearts burned within them as they thought of the possibility that the story which they had heard from the women might have been really true—that Jesus was to rise from the dead. Our Lord did not reveal his identity until he was ready to vanish from their sight. When he vanished, his flesh and his clothing vanished, too. The same evening he appeared to the company in the upper room at Jerusalem, the doors being shut. They were doubtless talking about the events of the day and of the preceding day, when, suddenly, Jesus appeared in their midst. He materialized—that is to say, he, a spirit being, came into their midst and there assumed flesh, bone, a complete body clothed. Does some one ask, How could he do this? We cannot answer, but whoever can understand the miracle of the change of the water into wine can as easily understand our Lord’s appearance in the upper room, the doors being shut; and how, after the interview, he just as mysteriously vanished from their sight, flesh, bone, clothing, all—the doors still being shut and doubtless carefully barred for fear of the Jews, in anticipation that the hatred which had pursued the Lord to death would fasten itself upon his followers.
BE NOT FAITHLESS, BUT BELIEVING
A later appearance was in the same upper room probably a week later—again on the first day of the week. Thomas was present: he had been absent on the previous occasion and he could not believe the testimony of the others. Thomas had expressed his doubts most forcefully and had insisted that the others were too easily convinced, but he was satisfied finally when Jesus, appearing to him with the others, requested him to put his finger in the prints of the nails. Did Thomas really see and put his finger into the nail prints of that body of our Lord which three days before had hung upon the cross. We answer No; that body of flesh and bones could not have come through the door while it was shut. The body which appeared in the upper room was a materialization—actual flesh and actual bones as our Lord said to them, „Handle me: a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.” What they saw was not the spirit body, what they saw was the actual flesh and bones. He, the spirit being, was hidden from their sight; he assumed this body of flesh and bones in their midst—created it there and created the clothing also.
Whoever disputes the power of the Lord to create flesh and bones has an equal difficulty in accounting for the clothing; for who will say that it would be more difficult to create the body than to create the clothing inside that room, the doors being shut? Who will say that it would be easier to make clothing vanish into thin air than to make flesh and bones vanish into thin air? The power to do these things is not natural to us, nor can we fully comprehend the matter. Now we see through a glass obscurely, by and by we shall understand how our Lord can do the wonderful things that he is continually doing. For do we not see miracles all about us in nature, in the transpirings of every day? The kernel of wheat—how is it possible that out of that little grain should come a stem, a sprout, a stock and a head full of grain? It is a miracle—something wholly beyond our power to accomplish and beyond our power to even understand. We could make a grain of wheat, we could combine the various elements necessary to it, and could shape them as a grain of wheat is shaped; but our grain, while analyzing the same as that which nature would put forth, would not send out shoots, would have no stock, would bear no grain.
„HIS FLESH SAW NOT CORRUPTION”
It is not for us to say what became of the natural body of Jesus—the one that was pierced. God has not revealed particulars respecting it, except that it did not corrupt. Where then is it? We know not; but he who hid the body of Moses so that none could find it, was likewise able to hide the body of Jesus. (Deut. 34:5,6.) Who can tell but that the uncorrupted body of Jesus is yet to be produced by the Lord as an evidence or testimony of the truth of this whole transaction for the world in all future time. We do remember that the manna with which Israel was fed was wont to corrupt on the second day, except on the Sabbath; but we remember also that a golden pot of this manna was preserved in the Ark incorruptible, as a witness or memorial of the great miracle of the desert. What shall we say, then, respecting this bread which came down from heaven, which is also likened to manna? Is not the Lord equally able to preserve the body of Jesus as a witness, and, although other bodies of flesh are wont to corrupt, may not this one be preserved incorruptible? There is a certain statement in the Scriptures which seems to imply that this same body, spear-marked and nail-marked, is somewhere kept for future exhibit—as it is written, „They shall look upon him whom they have pierced.”—Zech. 12:10.
The first five of the Lord’s appearances apparently took place during the first eight of the forty days’ presence. Thus there was a long wait in which there was no manifestation, and the apostles had abundance of time to think over and discuss the situation. As the majority of them were from Galilee, they probably did not remain in
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vicinity of Jerusalem more than two weeks after our Lord’s last appearance on the eighth day, but betook themselves to their homes, wondering whether or not they would ever see the Master again, whether or not he might appear to them again on their homeward journey or in some other upper room when assembling in Galilee. Perhaps, too, they remembered the message sent to them by the women, that he would go before them into Galilee and meet them there.
A little longer waiting in the vicinity of the old haunts, visited frequently by our Lord and themselves, and the practical affairs of life began to press upon them. Simon Peter was the first to declare his intention of re-entering the fishing business, and others of the apostles, accustomed to the same craft formerly, joined him, and practically the old partnership arrangement was revived as it existed two years or so before, when Jesus called them to apostleship. This was the very condition of things which our Lord foresaw, and we believe that his tarrying forty days after his resurrection before he ascended was in great measure for the purpose of giving the very lessons which now were called forth. He knew just how discouraged they would feel; that all the hopes and prospects of the Kingdom, as they had previously viewed it, would seem vague and indistinct under the new conditions, and how his followers would not be prepared to go out in the work he intended without further instruction. He was present with them, but invisible, a spirit being, during all these weeks; he heard and noted their queries and explanations, suggestions and conclusions, and was ready to apply the proper lessons at the proper moment.
„LOVEST THOU ME MORE THAN THESE?”
The Lord permitted the partnership in the fishing business to progress and a fresh start to be made. They toiled all that night and caught nothing, and doubtless were still further discouraged, concluding that failure was attending them in temporal matters as well as in spiritual. The opportune moment had come, and Jesus—standing on the shore in another form, in a body of flesh and with clothing, though not his own flesh and not his usual clothing, but specially prepared flesh and clothing—called to the apostles inquiring if they had fish; they shouted back that they had been toiling all night and had found nothing. He suggested the casting of the net on the other side of the boat, although it must have seemed to them foolish, because it would be but a few feet away from where it had already been, and indeed the boat itself was continually turning. Nevertheless something about the stranger on the shore impressed them and they did cast their net on the other side, and immediately the net was filled with great fish. So far as Peter was concerned the lesson was learned already. He remembered a very similar experience they had had at the time the Lord called them to apostleship, and quickly he perceived that the one on shore was the Lord—in another manifestation. Without waiting for the boats, the net or the fish, Peter sprang into the water and swam ashore in his anxiety to be soon with the Lord, and in his realization that this manifestation like the others might terminate suddenly. Besides, Peter was anxious to manifest his love and faithfulness, remembering how not a great while before he had denied his Lord.
It was in connection with this manifestation that Jesus specially directed his words to Peter: „Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?”—these boats, nets, etc. The question addressed to Peter was applicable to all, but of special weight and force to Peter as the elder and leader of all, and the one who had particularly said but a short time previously, „Though all forsake thee, yet will not I.” Peter declared his love for the Lord, and was told to feed the sheep and to feed the lambs. The lesson was a timely one and never needed to be repeated. Peter and the other apostles, so far as we know, never subsequently doubted the importance of their mission as apostles, but gave their entire time and energy to the feeding of the sheep and lambs. The miracle witnessed convinced them of the Lord’s power either to bless or hinder them in temporal matters, and that equally he will provide for their every interest as his apostles and representatives. The lesson was given at exactly the right moment. Had it been given earlier in their experience it doubtless would have had much less weight: it was the part of wisdom to permit them to become perplexed and to decide on the fishing business, and then on the very first day of their experience to give them this forceful lesson. It was a lesson respecting the resurrection of our Lord and also demonstrated the fact of his change, that he was no longer the man Christ Jesus, no longer subject to human conditions. Again he vanished out of their sight, but made an appointment for the meeting of all at a certain place.
This meeting by appointment was doubtless the one mentioned by the Apostle Paul—the one in which about five hundred brethren witnessed a materialization and manifestation of the Lord. We know not the full tenor of the various lessons taught, but incline to think that the lessons were more of the practical kind than in words—that these manifestations were for the purpose of convincing them of the Lord’s resurrection and of his change from earthly to spiritual conditions.
HE THAT DESCENDED IS THE SAME THAT ASCENDED
The next appearance probably was the one on the Mount of Olives at the time of our Lord’s ascension. Apparently all of the apostles and perhaps others returned to Jerusalem and to the Mount of Olives, their instruction being to tarry at Jerusalem until they should be endued with power from on high. It was while they were present with him receiving final instructions that he was parted from them; the form that they beheld gradually receding into the clouds was received out of their sight. In this arrangement the Lord did the best thing possible to be done for those who had not yet been begotten of the
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Spirit and who, therefore, could not understand spiritual things. He represented in the flesh the things which really transpired in the spirit. Then the apostles could understand after they had been begotten of the Spirit, and it is from the standpoint of the begetting and not from the standpoint of the natural man that their records come down to us.
The essence of this lesson is as expressed in our Golden Text, „Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.” Others have been awakened from the sleep of death temporarily merely to relapse into it again subsequently, but our Lord Jesus was the first „born from the dead,” the „first-fruits of them that slept”—as the Apostle declares, „He was the first that should rise from the dead.” His resurrection was the life resurrection—to perfection on the spirit plane. In that he was the first-fruits of them that slept, the implication is that the others slept similarly and are to come forth in the resurrection as spirit beings after the same manner. To be the first-fruits implies that the others will be of the same kind, for although our Lord was the first-fruits of all that slept in the sense that his resurrection preceded all other resurrections, in another sense he is the first-fruits of the Church, which is his body. It is in a still larger sense that the Christ, Head and body, is the first-fruits brought up to life of the whole world; as the Apostle James expresses the matter, „Of his own will begat he us with the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.”—Jas. 1:18.
Thus we see a first-fruits in two senses of the word: as, for instance, we see that strawberries are the first-fruits in the largest sense of the word in that they come before other fruits in the spring—so the expression that the Church is the first-fruits unto God of his creatures does not imply that all will have the same nature. Then again we may speak of the first ripe strawberries as the first-fruits of the strawberries. It was in this latter sense that our Lord Jesus was the first-fruits of the Church; and since the Church is the first-fruits of the whole creation, it follows that Christ keeps this place of primacy, not only in the Church, but in respect to all who will ever be raised up fully out of death into the fulness and perfection of life.
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„WHAT OF THE NIGHT?”
„Watchman! watchman! what of the night?”
„Shadows and darkness encircle me quite;
Earth is enshrouded in midnight gloom,
Black as the pall that envelopes the tomb;
Watchers are few, and mockers are bold—
The heavens are starless—the night-air is cold.
I am weary; O would that this night were gone.”
I will watch for the day till the morning dawn.”
„Watchman! watchman! what of the night?”
„In the east appeareth a glimmering light;
Faint it gleams—but ’tis rising now,
And streaming afar—’tis the morning’s brow.
Shadows are passing—the Day Star is out,
The glory is flashing and leaping about,
And the golden tints that are poured o’er the earth
Foretell of the bursting morning’s birth.”
„Watchman! watchman! what of the night?”
„Day rushes onward all cloudless and bright.
And warmth, and light, and beauty are driven
To the farthest bond of the far-off heaven.
Flashing flames from the throne of God
Are bathing the world in a golden flood.
Seraph and cherub are crowding it on,
And the pure in their rapture are skyward gone.”
„Watchman! watchman! what of the night?”
„Bursts on my vision a ravishing sight:
The Lord is in sight with his shining ones,
And the splendors of twice ten thousand suns.
He has come! Lo, the night-watch of sorrow is o’er,
And the mantle of midnight shall shroud me no more.
Pilgrim and stranger, haste to thy home,
For the morning, the beautiful morning, has come!”
—D. T. Taylor.
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THE LIFE OF CHRIST IN REVIEW
Golden Text: „Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”—Phil. 2:9.
THIS lesson is appointed, in the International Series, as a review of the Bible studies for the preceding six months—all of which have related to our Lord Jesus’ birth, life and experiences from boyhood to his resurrection. We trust that our readers have followed the studies connectedly, and we can only wish that they have received as much benefit as we from this course of studies. We will not again go into details, but will suggest that it may be profitable for each reader to review this series of lessons, and to seek to have and to hold well in mind the main thoughts therein developed.
Our Golden Text is a very precious one. It assures us that our dear Redeemer, whose faithfulness to the Father’s will and whose sympathy for the dying race, led him to endure the cross, despising the shame, was not permitted of the Lord to suffer a permanent loss through his generosity and obedience. If there were no other text of Scripture pertinent to the subject in the Bible, this one alone would be convincing to us that our Lord Jesus is no longer a man. Man, we are to remember, was created very good, an image of God—but an image on a lower plane than angels, and on a very much lower plane, therefore, than our dear Redeemer before he humbled himself to take the human nature. „What is man that thou art mindful of him? … Thou madest him a little lower than the angels, thou crownedst him with glory and
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honor”—in his Edenic perfection. Our Lord as a perfect man would be grand and far above men, but as a perfect angel he would be a still grander being, still farther above man. Hence, if our Lord were a mighty angel now, it would still mean that he had suffered a great loss as a result of his atonement work for man; and if he were a perfect man, it would mean still greater loss on our behalf. But this was not necessary, not purposed, and is not the fact. He left the glory, humbled himself, came down and accomplished the work necessary, paid the price—a man’s life for a man’s life—and our Golden Text gives the result: „Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”
Another Scripture, speaking of our Lord’s present exaltation, declares that he is exalted „far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named.” (Eph. 1:21.) We believe these Scriptures, and in harmony with them we believe that God’s character for justice and benevolence is demonstrated by this high exaltation of him who was faithful unto death as the man Christ Jesus. He is now a partaker of the divine nature, a spirit being of the very highest order—of the same order with the Father himself. This thought of our dear Redeemer not losing eventually by the great sacrifices he endured for us must be gratifying to all who are truly his and who love him. But, additionally, we have another source of satisfaction in thinking of our Master’s glorification, and that is that the promise is to us who are faithful to him, that we may yet share his nature, share his glory, share his name, share his exaltation, share his divine nature. O, wonderful wisdom and grace and goodness of our God! We call upon our souls with every power within us to praise and laud and magnify his great and holy name, honored before his people through his great and wonderful plan, revealed to his people through his wonderful Word!
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CHEERING WORDS FROM AUSTRALIA
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
You will be pleased to know that the work of this Branch is opening up; not rapidly, as yet, but we are hoping the velocity will soon be considerably increased. Some of the dear friends here are exercised concerning their opportunities in the Colporteur service, and are going ahead to make the effort. May the Lord’s grace be with them! But the field here is very great, and there is plenty of room for many more laborers in it; besides, the time is short. We shall be most happy, therefore, if those in America who contemplate coming out will do so without delay.
Herewith are extracts from interesting letters lately received at this office, also further TOWER subscriptions, among which are some new names.
With much Christian love to you and the Allegheny co-workers, and asking an interest in your prayers on behalf of this corner of the field, I am,
Yours faithfully in Christ,
Manager Australian Branch.
Your letter duly to hand. We were very pleased to hear from you, and can imagine how thankful you are to be comfortably settled. I wish I could run down to see you and help in the grand but difficult task you have undertaken. We have just returned from a holiday in the country. Spent a good time with Brother L., a TOWER subscriber, who, I am sorry to say, is having a hard time of it. He has been a great worker in the Methodist Church (local preacher, etc., etc.), and, of course, a „good fellow,” as we say; but having given this all up, it is different now. Still, we expect this, and rejoice with all those who walk the narrow way.
I shall soon be wanting a fresh supply of DAWNS, so let me know when you receive your big consignment. This looks like business, and no doubt it is the right thing to do; there is nothing like having plenty of faith. It is wonderful the amount of matter Bro. Russell and his staff are sending out; God bless them! We are anxious to get No. 6 DAWN, feeling sure there is a treat for us, though I still read the others with the same interest.
Hoping you will soon get a company of sincere lovers of the Truth around you, and that the work of the WATCH TOWER office will make great progress in all the colonies, and that God will bless you with his presence and guidance, I remain,
Yours in Christian love, in which my wife joins,
__________., New South Wales.
Many thanks for your kind letters and enclosures. My husband and I will make an attempt, with the help of the Lord, for a few weeks, to secure orders for MILLENNIAL DAWN. We pray we may succeed. Hitherto we have given away, instead of selling, but we shall try your plan, and hope to send you cheerful news. Enclosed is P.O.O. for three subscriptions and an order for cloth-bound DAWNS. We trust, dear Brother, we may be able still further to help on so good a work and so glorious a gospel. We are grateful to be vessels for use in His service.
Yours faithfully in Christ.
__________., New South Wales.
I received the parcels of DAWNS, Bible, etc., and thank you very much for them. I have been reading them, and there is not the least doubt about their being correct. I have not the time for continual study, but intend acquiring all the Bible knowledge I can; it is better to get it late than never. I am only sorry I did not get these works before; they are clearing up all my doubts on Christianity as clergymen could never do.
I have handed some of the tracts to friends, and two or three of them are very much interested. I think it will not be long before they withdraw from Babylon. One of them wants the DAWNS in cloth, and a Bible the same as you sent me, and I wish to ask whether you will send him the same for the same money, or whether mine was sent for the same price because it was all I remitted? You see, the Bible is such a splendid one that I am almost afraid to tell him the amount it cost,
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for fear when he sends he will have to pay more. [The brother’s fears are not surprising, for Bibles are very expensive everywhere in Australia, except at our Depot. For example, we have the Holman No. 8836 with patent thumb index, for 10s.10d.; in the Sunday School Union Depot in Melbourne the same Bible is priced 21s.6d.—E.C.H.]
I intend doing my best to spread the Truth around here, though do not expect to make much headway, as most people are bound to their various creeds, and are „full.” However, what time I have to spare I intend to use studying the glorious Truths, and helping others to the same knowledge. I remain,
A co-worker for Christ,
__________., New South Wales.
Yours of 10th inst. duly to hand. My time has been so much taken up since receiving your first communication, about a month ago, that I have not had sufficient at my disposal to give your letter that consideration it deserves, and to answer it as promptly as I otherwise would.
Business pressure upon me is very great, and absorbs most of my time, but you can rely upon me to do all I can for the sale of MILLENNIAL DAWN as time will allow. Have received orders today for six volumes, which please send. Enclosed is remittance.
__________., South Australia.
I received your kind letter of the 10th, intimating that a Branch of the Society had been opened in Melbourne. Was glad to hear of it, and trust it will prove of great service to the dear brethren throughout Australia. I, for one, have felt considerable drawbacks at having to wait three months for an answer from America.
For several years I have been trying to help Christian brethren by lending them volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN, but have as yet met with no hearty response from any one (one dear brother excepted), the majority of those I have tried to reach being very indifferent, and a few quite hostile. Years before hearing of Mr. Russell’s books I was deeply interested in the themes of which he so ably treats, and since reading them have continued to be so, praying and wishing from my heart that others might be led to receive their heavenly teachings, but, sad to say, without success, so far as I know, with the above exception. Still, I do not despair, nor wish to allow myself to get discouraged, remembering whose work it is, and the many precious promises he has given us in his holy Word.
I shall be glad to receive some tracts for distribution, also full information regarding the Colporteur service. I may be able to devote one or two hours daily to this kind of work, later on.
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:—
Tracts to hand; many thanks. I have given quite a number to those who I think will be interested, and have already received some interesting accounts from those who have gotten them. But I think it will take some time before they enter fully into the depths of the truths therein contained. My wife has become interested in reading „The Plan of the Ages.” Please forward the six volumes in cloth, which I will lend to friends.
Yours in the Lord,
I was very pleased to receive your letter, and to know that you are established. I trust that God’s richest blessings may rest with you in your labors, so that it will be a permanent Branch, and that you may long be spared to labor in the Harvest work.
I have been in this colony only three years this month. I nearly entered into Present Truth prior to leaving England, while you were in charge of the British Branch, through some one giving me a WATCH TOWER in Canning Town one Sunday morning. As it was, it was left over until I arrived in W.A., and at that time there were only two or three here who knew anything about it. About a fortnight after my arrival, I happened to go to Fremantle on a Saturday night and heard some one speaking in the open air. I went up to listen, but, being hard of hearing, I hardly caught anything, though I managed to hear something about 1914. I stopped till the brother finished, and then went up to ask him where he got his 1914, and that is how I was led into Present Truth. Shortly after, I was shown a WATCH TOWER. Well, I said, I had one similar to that given me in England! …
With kindest wishes, believe me to be,
Yours in the Lord’s service,
__________., Western Australia.
Yours of the 10th to hand. We were very pleased to hear from you and to know that you were getting settled in your new home. The Lord sustain you by bringing you in contact with true brethren and congenial friends!
There is little to tell you of our affairs. We have meetings twice a week for Bible study and prayer in which we always remember you. We could wish the Lord had left you with us, but we humbly submit to his will in this as in all other matters. I should be glad
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of any word of instruction or exhortation from you.
Please deliver one set of DAWNS in cloth to the address of the enclosed note, which will recommend you to my friends in Melbourne, where I hope you will find many who love the Lord and are hungering for the Truth. Give my love to all of like mind in the Lord, and let us „work, for the night is coming.”
Your brother in Christ,
__________., Western Australia.
Yours came to hand in due time, and I was glad to receive news of you and your welfare. I am pleased with the choice of position for headquarters, so far as the Australian States are concerned. I should have written you sooner, but have been very much engaged of late; you both and the work under your care are not forgotten, the same being remembered by me in prayer.
Our meeting at Fremantle was very profitable to me; I was glad to be there. Though I had to make a sacrifice to do it, I was indeed glad to meet you, and sorry to leave you, but the Lord’s will had to be done. I shall be pleased to hear of the progress of the work with you later. The Lord bless and prosper you as it pleaseth him, and in due time he will exalt you.
Yours in His service,
__________., Western Australia.