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VOL. XV. FEBRUARY 1, 1894. NO. 3
ZION’S WATCH TOWER
HERALD OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE.
PUBLISHED TWICE A MONTH.
TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY,
ARCH STREET, ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
C. T. RUSSELL, EDITOR; MRS. C. T. RUSSELL, ASSOCIATE.
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR, IN ADVANCE,
By Express Order, Postal Money Order, Bank Draft, or Registered Letter. Foreign only by Foreign Money Order.
FREE TO THE LORD’S POOR
N.B.—Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accidents, or other adversity, are unable to pay, will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.
SENATOR PEFFER’S FOREVIEW
Speaking in the United States Senate, on January 21st, Senator Peffer gave evidence of having the eyes of his understanding somewhat open, respecting what is coming. He is reported to have used the following language:
“A day of retribution is coming—a day of reckoning is nigh at hand. The people will smite their enemy. In their wrath this great crime will be avenged. Standing as I do in the night of the Nineteenth century, and looking toward the dawn of the Twentieth, I see coming a wave of fire and blood. I pray God that it may spend its force on the sea. Behind me is Rome, and before, God alone in his infinite wisdom knows.”
THE WORK IN ENGLAND
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—In my work at S__________(a town of 30,000 inhabitants) I found some who are likely to be greatly blessed by the truth. I put out about ninety DAWNS in the seven days I had at that place, and sold about 253 of the Old Theology tracts. While my idea in going there was principally to get a better knowledge of the smaller cities of England, the Lord perhaps brought it about in order to send the truth to some of his sheep there, who seemed to be very hungry. And I must say that the Lord’s hand can be seen in so many of the movements in connection with the work here that it is very encouraging, although the results in some ways have not been quite what I expected. For instance, in a neighboring city, a little company of “holiness” people had, for a year or more, been working very earnestly in their way till a few months since, when the Lord led them to see that they were not in the right way. For two or three months they had been waiting to know the Lord’s will; and about a month or six weeks since they began to feel that the Lord was going to send them the truth through “some man” as one of his messengers. Then, shortly before leaving, entirely unbeknown to these waiting ones, it was arranged to hold two meetings at the home of Brother and Sister Bivens who knew of the attitude of these friends, and afterwards invited them to the meetings.
After the first meeting two or three of these said that, as soon as they heard the voice of the speaker, they felt sure that he had what they had been waiting for. There are six of this little company in particular that I met, and they availed themselves of every opportunity to hear the message. After the second meeting I put the DAWNS in their hands, and trust that they are now entering into the joys of present truth.
I reached the great metropolis on Dec. 26th. At my request the brethren had appointed the evenings of the 28th and 29th for special prayer and communion in the interests of the harvest work in London and Great Britain generally. Together we thanked the Lord for the many favors of the past, and asked for more love and wisdom and strength, both for ourselves and all who have entered into the secret of his presence and the knowledge of the Kingdom to which we are called. The dear brethren here seem rejoiced to see me, and I need hardly say that you and Sister Russell and all the saints in America are much spoken of in their prayers.
Could you tell all the colporteurs through the TOWER of the possibilities and privilege of disposing of the Old Theology tracts at two cents or one penny each, in many places where the DAWNS can not be sold?
With greetings of love and good wishes, Yours in our Redeemer, S. D. ROGERS.
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“HALLELUJAH! WHAT A SAVIOR!”
CHRIST THE INSTRUCTOR, JUSTIFIER, SANCTIFIER AND DELIVERER OF HIS CHURCH.
“Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness [justification], and sanctification, and redemption [deliverance].”—1 Cor. 1:30
[A CANADIAN journal, The Expositor of Holiness, reached our table as we finished this article. We extract a few statements from one of its leading articles which show how blind are both the writer and the Editor respecting true holiness and a gospel faith in Christ. Ignoring the fact of the fall of the race in Adam, and of our consequent imperfection, because we are his offspring, born in sin and shapen in iniquity (Rom. 5:12; Psa. 51:5), the redemption accomplished by Jesus our Lord, and our justification, by faith in his blood, are not seen. This is the seducing spirit and tendency of our times, part of the “doctrine of devils”—no fall, no death, no ransom; Christ merely a pattern; salvation by works, following Christ’s example, crucifying your own sins in your own flesh, as he crucified sin in his flesh (?)—”in whom was no sin,” who was “holy, harmless, and separate from sinners.” We quote:—
“Because Jesus lived right, men imagine that they can substitute his life for theirs when they come to be judged. … They have carved out the beautiful fiction that God will look only upon Jesus’ life instead of upon theirs. He will see that Jesus’ life was very good,—that Jesus’ life pleased him, and therefore he will look only upon Jesus. … Therefore they expect to come up for judgment … with shortcomings, with failures, with infirmities of the flesh, with sins of omission, with sins of commission, and expect God’s divine favor, by this substitutionary process,—God looking upon Jesus. … The only atonement God will have anything to do with is based on righteousness,—that we should live right, act right, think right. Jesus did so.—If a man’s deeds be righteous he will escape condemnation.”]
CHRIST OUR WISDOM
Since God’s dealings with his creatures recognize their wills, therefore the first step in his dealing with them, is to give them knowledge, or “wisdom,” as it is translated in the above Scripture. It is for this reason that preaching was the first command of the Gospel age. To the worldly minded the preaching of forgiveness on account of faith in the crucified Jesus did not seem the wise course. To them it would have seemed better for God to have commanded something to be done by them. But, as Paul says—”It pleased God to save those who believe by [knowledge imparted through what the worldly consider] the foolishness of this preaching.”—1 Cor. 1:21.
The first gift of God to our redeemed race, therefore, was knowledge.
(1) Knowledge of the greatness and absolute justice of the God with whom we have to do. This knowledge was prepared for by the Mosaic Law, which was a “schoolmaster,” or pedagogue, to lead men to Christ. And Christ, by his obedience to that Law, magnified the
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Law and showed its honorableness, its worthiness; and thus honored God, the author of that Law, and showed his character.
(2) Knowledge of his own weakness, of his fallen, sinful and helpless condition, was also needful to man, that he might appreciate his need of a Savior such as God’s plan had provided for him.
(3) Knowledge of how the entire race of Adam fell from divine favor and from mental, moral and physical perfection, through him, was also necessary. Without this knowledge we could not have seen how God could be just in accepting the one life, of Christ, as the ransom price for the life of the whole world.
(4) Without knowledge as to what is the penalty for sin—that “the wages of sin is death“—we never should have been able to understand how the death of our Redeemer paid the penalty against Adam and all in him.
(5) Knowledge, in these various respects, was, therefore, absolutely necessary to us, as without it we could have had no proper faith, and could not have availed ourselves of God’s provision of justification, sanctification and deliverance through Christ.
Most heartily, therefore, we thank God for knowledge or wisdom concerning his plan. And we see that this wisdom came to us through Christ; because, had it not been for the plan of salvation of which he and his cross are the center, it would have been useless to give the knowledge, useless to preach, because there would have been no salvation to offer.
CHRIST OUR JUSTIFICATION
That Christ is made unto us righteousness or justification implies,—
(1) That we are unjust, or unrighteous, in the sight of God, and unworthy of his favor.
(2) That, in view of our unworthiness, God had in some manner arranged that Christ’s righteousness should stand good for “us,” and thus give “us” a standing before God which we could not otherwise have because of our imperfections—our unrighteousness.
(3) This scripture does not imply that Christ’s righteousness covers every sinner, so that God now views every sinner as though he were righteous, and treats all as his children. No, it refers merely to a special class of sinners—sinners who, having come to a knowledge of sin and righteousness, and having learned the undesirableness of sin, have repented of sin, and sought to flee from it and to come into harmony with God. This is the particular class referred to in this scripture—”who of God is made unto us justification” or righteousness.
(4) How God has arranged or caused Christ to be our “righteousness,” or justification, is not here explained; but what we know of divine law and character assures us that the principle of Justice, the very foundation of divine government, must somehow have been fully satisfied in all of its claims. And other scriptures fully substantiate this conclusion. They assert that God so arranged as to have the price of man’s sin paid for him; and that the price paid was an exact equivalent, a ransom or corresponding price, offsetting in every particular the original sin and just penalty, death, as it came upon the original sinner and through him by heredity upon all men. (Rom. 5:12,18-20.) He tells us that this plan of salvation was adopted because by it “God might be [or continue] just, and [yet be] the justifier of him [any sinner] that believeth in Jesus”—that comes unto God under the terms of the New Covenant, of which Christ Jesus is the mediator, having sealed it or made it a covenant by his own precious blood.—Heb. 13:20,21; 10:29.
(5) While the benefits of this gracious arrangement are only for “us,” for “believers,” for those who come unto God by Christ—under the provisions of the New Covenant—these benefits are, nevertheless, made applicable to all; for God’s special provision for the whole world of sinners is that all shall “come to a knowledge of the truth,” that they may, if then they will accept the conditions of God’s covenant, be everlastingly saved. A knowledge and a rejection of error—of false doctrines which misrepresent the divine character, even though they be mixed with a little misconstrued truth—will not constitute grounds for condemnation; but a knowledge of the truth and a rejection of it will bring condemnation to the second death. The Greek text states
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this much more emphatically than our common English translation. It says, “come to an accurate knowledge of the truth.”—1 Tim. 2:4.
(6) The provision made was sufficient for all men. Our Lord gave himself [in death] a ransom—a corresponding price—for all; he was a “propitiation [or sufficient satisfaction] for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2.) As a consequence, he is both able and willing “to save unto the uttermost [i.e., to save from sin, and from divine disfavor, and from death, and all these everlastingly] all that come unto God by him.” (Heb. 7:25.) And inasmuch as God’s provision is so broad, that all shall come to an exact knowledge of the truth respecting these provisions of divine mercy under the terms of the New Covenant;—inasmuch as the provision is that all the sin and prejudice blinded eyes shall be opened, and that the devil, who for long centuries has deceived men with his misrepresentations of the truth, is to be bound for a thousand years, so that he can deceive the nations no more; and that then a highway of holiness shall be cast up in which the most stupid cannot err or be deceived; and in view of all this provision God declares that all men will be saved from the guilt and penalty incurred through Adam’s sentence. Because, when all of these blessed arrangements have been carried into effect, there will be no reason for a solitary member of the human family remaining a stranger and alien from God’s family except by his own choice or preference for unrighteousness, and that with an accurate knowledge that all unrighteousness is sin. Such as, of their own preference, knowingly choose sin, when the way and means of becoming servants of God are clearly understood by them, are wilful sinners on their own account, and will receive the second-death sentence as the wages of their own opposition to God’s righteous arrangements.
The world’s salvation will be complete the moment all have come to an accurate knowledge of the truth concerning God’s great plan of salvation; because then they will know that by accepting Christ and the New Covenant which God offers to all through Christ, they may have life everlasting—salvation to the uttermost. Whether they will hear (heed) or whether they will forbear (refuse to heed) will not alter the fact that all will thus have been saved from Adamic sin and death—will have had a full salvation tendered to them. Thus, the living God will be the Savior of all men—especially or everlastingly, however, the Savior of only those who accept his grace and become “his people” under the New Covenant.—1 Tim. 4:10.
(7) It is only to “us” that Christ is made justification or righteousness. Though all men are to be saved in the sense of being brought to the knowledge and opportunity of salvation, none have Christ as their justification, the covering of their imperfections, imputing his righteousness to them, except “us”—the household of faith. “To you who believe he is precious.” (1 Pet. 2:7.) He of God is made unto us justification, righteousness, covering and cleansing from the unintentional weaknesses and shortcomings of the present, as well as from the original sin and its sentence. Who is he who condemns us? “Will that Anointed One who died; and still more who has been raised, who also is at the right hand of God, and who intercedes on our behalf?” Nay, he has been made our justification: it is the merit of his great sacrifice that speaks our justification.—Rom. 8:34.
Justification signifies to make right or whole or just. And from the word “whole” comes the word “(w)holiness,” signifying soundness or perfection or righteousness. None of the fallen race are either actually or reckonedly whole, sound, perfect or just by nature. “There is none righteous [just, sound, holy], no, not one; all have sinned.” But all who come unto God by Christ, whom he has accepted as the justification or righteousness of all who accept the New Covenant, are from that moment accepted and treated as sound, perfect, holy. Although we are actually unholy or imperfect, we are made “partakers of God’s holiness;” first, reckonedly, in Christ, and, second, more and more actually by the eradication of our sinful tendencies and the development of the fruits and graces of the spirit, through chastisements, experience, etc. (Heb. 12:10.) God not
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only begins on the basis of holiness, imputing to us Christ’s merit to cover our demerits, but he continues on the same line, and ever urges us to “be holy [to strive after actual soundness and perfection], even as he is holy.” (1 Pet. 1:15,16.) And he promises the faithful strivers that they shall ultimately attain absolute holiness, soundness, perfection—in the resurrection, when they shall be made actually like Christ, as now their wills are copies of his. For “without holiness [thus attained] no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14.) Hence, “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he [Christ] is pure”—seeking to be as much like him as possible now, and by and by fully in his image.—1 John 3:3,2.
Justified persons and no others are Christians, in the proper use of that term.
CHRIST OUR SANCTIFICATION
The term “Sanctification,” used in this text, means, set apart, consecrated, devoted to, or marked out for, a holy use or purpose.
Christ by God is made unto us sanctification. That is to say, God through Christ sets apart or marks out for a special share in his great plan “us”—the Church.
Many make the serious error of supposing that God is sanctifying the world,—sanctifying sinners. As a consequence of this error, many are seeking to copy Christ’s example, and thus, be sanctified before God, while they repudiate the doctrine of the ransom, or justification by faith. They confound sanctification and justification in their minds, and suppose that if they consecrate or sanctify or set apart their lives to God’s service and to deeds of kindness they are thereby justified.
This is a serious error. Justification is entirely separate and distinct from sanctification; and no one can be sanctified in God’s sight, and in the Scriptural sense, unless he has first been justified or cleansed from all sin.
Consecrating a person or a thing to God’s service does not cleanse that person or thing. On the contrary, God always refuses to accept anything imperfect or unclean. This is distinctly and repeatedly shown in the typical arrangements of the Law given to typical Israel. The priests were obliged to wash themselves and put on new, clean linen garments before consecration to their office and work as God’s typically set apart, or sanctified, priesthood. Their cleansing and new clothing represented justification, the appropriation of Christ’s righteousness instead of the filthy rags of their own unrighteousness, as members of the fallen race.
The seal or mark of their consecration was a totally different one, and followed the cleansing ceremony, as consecration should in every case follow justification. The sign or mark of consecration or sanctification was the anointing with the holy oil, which symbolized the holy spirit.
The anointing oil or symbol of consecration was poured only upon the head of the High Priest, but the under-priests were represented in the members of his body, even as Christ is the Head over the Church which is his body, and all together constitute the royal priesthood. So the holy spirit given without measure to our Lord and Head applies to us (his body) through him. The Father gave the Spirit to the Son only: all of the anointing oil was poured upon the Head. At Pentecost it ran down from the Head to the body, and has continued with the body ever since, and whoever comes into the “body” comes thereby under the consecrating influence—the spirit of holiness, the spirit of God, the spirit of Christ, the spirit of the Truth.—Acts 2:4.
But in consecrating the typical priests the blood was not ignored. It was put upon all, upon the tip of the right ear, upon the thumb of the right hand and upon the great toe of the right foot, thus showing that the hearing of faith, the work of faith and the walk of faith must all be touched and made holy by an appreciation of the precious blood of atonement—the blood of Christ—the blood of the New Covenant. And then the garments of all the priests—their clean linen garments—were sprinkled with a mixture of the blood and the oil, implying that both justification through the blood and sanctification through the possession of the spirit of holiness are necessary in our consecration.
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To what end or service are God’s people, the royal priesthood, consecrated or set apart?
Some would be inclined to answer: To live without sin, to practice the graces of the spirit, to wear plain clothing and in general to live a rather gloomy life now, hoping for greater liberty and pleasure hereafter.
We reply, This is the common but mistaken view. True, God’s people do seek to avoid sin; but that is not the object of their consecration. Before consecration, they learned the exceeding sinfulness and undesirableness of sin, and saw Christ Jesus as their sin-bearer and cleanser. Consequently they had fled from sin before consecration. When consecrated they will still loathe and abhor sin, and that more and more as they grow in grace and knowledge; but we repeat that to seek to live free from sin is not a proper definition of consecration or sanctification.
It is true also that all of the consecrated will seek to put on the graces of Christ’s spirit and example; but neither is this the object of our call to consecration under the Gospel high-calling.
It is true, also, that our consecration may lead to plainness of dress, and bring upon us sufferings for righteousness’ sake, in this present evil world (age); but, we repeat, these are not the objects of our consecration. They are merely incidental results.
The object of God in calling out the Gospel Church, providing for the consecration or sanctification of its members, is a grand and worthy one; and when once clearly seen by the eye of faith it makes all the incidentals which it will cost, such as self-denials in dress, loss of friends and companionships, and even persecution for the truth’s sake, etc., to be esteemed but light afflictions, not worthy to be compared to the glorious object of our consecration, which is that we may become “partakers of the divine nature” and “joint heirs with Christ,” and together with him bless the world during its day of judgment—the Millennium—as we will show.
God in his wisdom and foreknowledge knew that sin would enter this world and bring its blight,—sorrow, pain and death. He foresaw that after their experience with sin some of his creatures would be, not only willing, but anxious, to forsake sin and return to his fellowship and love and blessing of life everlasting. It was in view of this foreknowledge that God formed his plan for human salvation.
In that plan Christ Jesus our Lord had first place, first honor. As he was the beginning of the creation of God, so he was the chief of all God’s creatures thus far brought into being. But God purposed a new creation—the creation of a new order of beings different and higher than men, angels and arch angels—higher than all others, and of his own divine essence or nature. The worthiness of anyone accepted to that great honor should not only be recognized by God himself, but by all of his intelligent creatures. Hence God, who knew well the character of his first-begotten Son (our Lord Jesus), decided to prove or test his well-beloved Son in a manner that would prove to all of his intelligent creatures, what they all now recognize in the new song, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory and blessing.”—Rev. 5:12.
But the exaltation of our Lord, who already was the chief of all creation, was even less remarkable than another feature of the divine plan, foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1:2; Eph. 1:4); namely, that he would make to some of his human creatures (of the race sentenced as unworthy of any future life but redeemed from that sentence by Christ’s sacrifice) an offer of joint-heirship and companionship with his beloved Son, in the order of the new creation (of the divine nature), of which he has made the worthy Lamb the head and chief, next to himself.
This offer is not made to all of the redeemed race, but to many—”Many are called.” The called are only those who in this age are justified by faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Unbelievers, and scoffers are called to repentance and faith, but none are called to this high calling of participation in the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4) until they have forsaken sin and laid hold upon Christ as their Redeemer.
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If the worthiness of the Lamb was necessary to be shown, the worthiness of these whom he redeemed to be his joint-heirs (called also the bride, the Lamb’s wife) would also need to be shown, proved, manifested, before angels as well as before men, that God’s ways may be seen to be just and equitable.
It is for this reason that God calls upon those whom he does call to consecrate themselves to him; not in dress or word merely, but in every thing. It is not a consecration to preach merely, although all the consecrated will delight to use every opportunity in telling to others the good tidings of God’s love. It is not a consecration to temperance reform, social reform, political reform, or any other work or reform, although we may and should feel a deep interest in anything that would benefit the fallen race. But our attention should be as that of a maid to her mistress, or of soldiers to their officers, or, better yet, as that of a dutiful child toward a beloved parent—swift to hear, quick to obey, not planning or seeking our own wills but the will of our Father in heaven. Just such an attitude is implied in the words sanctified or consecrated to God. It takes hold of the will, and therefore rules the entire being, except where uncontrollable weaknesses or insurmountable obstacles hinder. And since our call and acceptance are based upon the New Covenant, which accepts a perfect will on the part of those trusting in the precious blood, and does not demand perfection of deeds, it follows that all, no matter how degraded by the fall, may be acceptable to God, in the Beloved, and make their calling and election sure.
Nor is this arrangement of the New Covenant (by which those in Christ whose wills and efforts are right toward God are not held responsible for the full letter of God’s law, but for the observance of its spirit or meaning, to the extent that they have knowledge, opportunity and ability) a violation of Justice, as some have assumed. God’s law was designed for perfect creatures, and not for fallen ones; but under the New Covenant in Christ, God has adapted his law to the condition of the fallen ones without interfering with that law itself or even with its spirit. The perfect law, dealing with the perfect man, demanded a full consecration of his will to the wisdom and will of his Creator, and an obedience to that Creator’s Word to the extent of his ability. But since man was created “upright” (and not fallen), in the moral image and likeness of God (and not born in sin and shapen in iniquity), it follows that his perfect will, operating through a perfect body and under favorable conditions, could have rendered perfect obedience; and hence nothing less could be acceptable to God.
How just, how reasonable and how favorable is God’s arrangement for us. Yet he assures us that, while he has made all the arrangements favorable for us, he must insist on our wills being just right,—we must be pure in heart, and in this respect exact copies of his Beloved Son, our Lord. (Rom. 8:29—Diaglott.) Of those who learn of and accept God’s grace in Christ, in the forgiveness of sins under the New Covenant, all of whom are called to this high calling of joint-heirship with Christ in the divine nature and its honors, only a few will make their calling and election sure (or complete); because the testings of their wills and faith are so exacting—so crucial.
Nor should either of these God-declared facts surprise us: it is not strange, but reasonable, that God should test severely, yea, with “fiery trials” (1 Pet. 4:12), the faith and love of those invited to so high a station. If they be not loyal and trustful to the last degree, they surely are “not fit for the Kingdom,” its responsibilities and its divine honors. Nor should it surprise us to be informed by God’s Word that only a “few,” a “little flock,” will gain the prize to which many are called and for which many consecrate. Few are willing to “endure” a great fight of afflictions; partly whilst made a gazing stock, both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly as companions of those who are so abused for Christ’s sake and his truth’s sake.—Heb. 10:32,33.
In a word, the trial of the justified and consecrated consists in the presenting to them of opportunities to serve God and his cause in this present time, when, because of sin abounding,
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whosoever will live godly and hold up the light will suffer persecution. Those whose consecration is complete and of the proper kind will rejoice in their privilege of serving God and his cause, and will count it all joy to be accounted worthy to suffer in such a cause, and thus to attest to God the sincerity of their love and of their consecration to him. Such consecrated ones, pure in heart (in will or intention), realizing the object of present trials, glory in tribulations brought upon them by faithfulness to Christ and his Word, realizing that their experiences are similar to those of the Master, and that thus they have evidence that they are walking in his footsteps who said, “Marvel not if the world hate you; ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” “Be faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”—1 John 3:13; John 15:18,19; Rev. 2:10.
Furthermore, they glory in tribulations because they realize that the Lord will be near them while they endure faithfully, and that he will not permit them to be tempted above what they are able to bear, but will with every temptation provide some way of escape; because they realize the necessity of forming character, and that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope—a hope that maketh not ashamed; and because they realize that all these favorable results of tribulation follow, because of a genuine consecration in which the love of God has been shed abroad in the heart, displacing the spirit of the world, the spirit of selfishness.—Rom. 5:3-5.
“He that committeth sin [wilfully] is of the devil.” “He that is begotten of God cannot sin [wilfully].” (1 John 3:3-10; 5:18.) And we have seen that all of those acceptable to God in Christ were obliged to come unto him under the New Covenant, whose first condition is faith in Christ, and whose second condition is an entire consecration of their wills to God’s will and service. Hence, any wilful sin would mean that they had repudiated the New Covenant and were no longer recognized as begotten of the truth, but under the influence of sin, and hence begotten of the devil—his children.
If any justified and consecrated child of God commit sin it will be, at most, only partially wilful—largely of weakness or deception. He may feel his shame and weep bitterly, as did Peter; but all such penitence would but prove that his sin was not of the wilful kind that would mark him as “of the devil.” No: so long as the seed of the Truth, and of his consecration, remains in him, he cannot sin (wilfully). But if any trespass under deception or weakness, and not wilfully, he has an advocate with the Father,—”Jesus Christ the [absolutely] righteous” one, whose merit is applicable for all such unwilful errors, of such as abide under the shadow of the New Covenant. If he confess his sin, God is just to forgive him—because Christ died. (1 John 1:7,9; 2:1.) But if we should say that we have no sin, no imperfection, we deceive ourselves, make God a liar, and disown the Advocate whom God provided; for we are weak through the fall, and liable to deception and error at the hands of the world, the flesh and the devil.—1 John 1:8,10.
Having seen what Sanctification is, its object or result and its present cost, we note that Christ by God is made unto us Sanctification—in that we could have no such call and could experience no such work of grace, under the divine plan except for Christ and the work he did for us;—justifying us before the Law of God, sealing for us the New Covenant and making us fit for this call to “glory, honor and immortality.”
CHRIST OUR REDEMPTION OR DELIVERANCE
Many readers confound the words redemption and redeem found in the New Testament, whereas they refer to different features of the work of Christ. The word redeem in its every use in the New Testament signifies to acquire by the payment of a price, while the word redemption in its every New Testament use signifies the deliverance or setting free of that which was acquired by the payment of a price. “We were redeemed [purchased] with the precious
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blood [the sacrificed life, the death] of Christ.” We wait for “the redemption [the deliverance] of our body” [the Church] from present imperfections and death. We wait for “the redemption [deliverance] of the purchased possession.—1 Pet. 1:18,19; Rom. 8:23; Eph. 1:14.
In Christ is our redemption or deliverance; for so God has ordained. He who redeemed or bought us with the sacrifice of his own life gives us, as our Prophet or Teacher, wisdom by his gospel, to see our fallen state and himself as our helper; as our Priest, he first justifies us and then sanctifies or consecrates us, as his under priesthood; and, finally, as King, he will fully deliver the faithful from the dominion of sin and death, to the glory, honor and immortality of the divine nature;—for “God will raise up [from the dead] us also, by Jesus.” If faithful to our call and covenant, even unto death, we shall, at the second coming of our Redeemer, “Receive a crown of life that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us who are kept by the power of God [His Word and Providence] through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.”—1 Pet. 1:5; Rom. 1:16; 2 Cor. 4:14.
“Hallelujah! What a Savior!”
Truly he is able and willing to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him.—Heb. 7:25.
WHOM GOD DID PREDESTINATE
In the light of the foregoing, now read a hitherto obscure passage of Scripture: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate must be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover, [the class] whom he did predestinate [must be copies of his Son], he also called [or invited to that honor through the gospel]; and whom he called he also [previously] justified [because he could not consistently call to honor and glory, those who were under his own sentence of death as sinners]; and whom he justified those he also [previously] honored [by sending to them the gospel message].”—Rom. 8:29,30.
Thus the Apostle continues his argument concerning the favor of God toward the Church, asserting that God has a purpose to fulfil, and that the call of the Church is in accordance with that purpose. (Peter declares the same thing. 1 Pet. 1:2.) And he asserts that all of God’s dealings and arrangements correspond with that purpose, and co-operate for its accomplishment. God’s predestination was, (1) that he would have a class of beings of the divine nature; (2) that each one of that class must have a fixed character, like that of his ever faithful, Beloved Son. To get such a class the Apostle reasons and declares, God must call or invite some (just as we see he is doing), because “no man taketh this honor to himself.” (Heb. 5:4.) But whom would God call or invite? None were worthy; all had gone out of the way; none were righteous, no not one. Hence it was necessary that God provide for the justification of those he would call. But he could justify only such as believed in Jesus; and how could they believe on him of whom they had not heard, and without a preacher sent of God? (Rom. 10:14.) Hence it was necessary that these be honored with the gospel message in this age, in advance of its general revealing, to every creature, during the Millennial age.—Rom. 1:16; 2 Cor. 4:6; 1 Cor. 15:1.
True, many more were called than will be acceptable—many more than will acquire the likeness of the Beloved Son; and many were justified who did not, after believing, consecrate themselves, and whose justification consequently lapsed; and many were honored with a hearing of the gospel who, after hearing a little of it, rejected the message of mercy and favor. But all the preaching, justifying and calling of this Gospel age has been to the intent that the foreknown class of the predestinated character might be selected and made joint-heirs with Christ.—See also 2 Tim. 1:8-10.
What shall we [who have been so highly favored by God, and for whose successful running of the race every necessary arrangement and provision has been made] say to these things?
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“If God be for us, who can be against us?” And in view of this let each say,—”What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows [fulfil my covenant of consecration] unto the Lord, now, in the presence of all his people. [This will mean, as in our Lord’s case, faithfulness (dying daily—1 Cor. 15:31), even unto death, but] Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his holy ones.”—Psa. 116:12-15.
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THE BOOK OF GENESIS
ITS OBJECT, AND ITS RELATION TO THE DIVINE CANON
THE object of the book is to reveal to us the material universe; man’s origin and relation to God the Creator, and the equality of all men before him; the divinely constituted relation of the sexes; the origin of moral and physical evil; the primaeval history of the human race, and the origin of nations; the selection of one as the depository of the sacred records, and of the divine purpose and method for man’s redemption; the history of its ancestral founders, and their relation to its subsequent history, etc.
Of these truths, to the knowledge of which we owe the present advancement in civilization, it is the object of the book to furnish a divinely accredited record. Its value is apparent on the face of the above statement, and is attested by the history of civilization. In these truths, and the divine attestation of them, lies the only basis of popular progress, and of permanent national prosperity; and on all these we should be in the profoundest ignorance, without the revelations contained in this book.
Auberlen, in his defense of the Scriptures as a divine revelation, has the following just thoughts on the historical value of these eleven chapters: “If we had not the first eleven chapters of Genesis, if we had, on the beginnings of the world and of humanity, only the myths of the heathen, or the speculations of philosophers, or the observations of naturalists, we should be in the profoundest darkness concerning the origin and nature of the world and of man. It is with these chapters on the one side, as with the prophecies of Scripture on the other. There we get the true light on the first, here on the last things; there on the foundation principles, here on the ultimate tendencies of history; there on the first cause, here on the object of the world; without which a universal history, or a philosophy of history, is impossible. But prophecy itself also has its roots in these chapters, on which all later revelation plants itself. Happily, these primeval records of our race, far more widely than we are aware, have penetrated our whole mode of thinking, and sway even those who believe they must reject the historical character of these accounts. These chapters maintain the consciousness, in humanity, of its own God-related nature, of its original nobility and its eternal destination.”
From this results its relation to the divine canon. Its teachings are presupposed in all subsequent revelations, and are assumed to be known to the reader. Passing allusions are made to them, in which they are recognized as known; but no formal, full and connected statement of them is elsewhere made, as though it were not already done and familiar to the reader. The ground-truths, on which the whole structure of religious teaching rests, are assumed to have been already taught; such, for example, as the relation of the material world to the Supreme Being, who created it out of nothing, and who therefore controls all the forces of its elements, brought into existence by him, and hence subject to his will; the relation of man to the Being who created him, and who therefore has a sovereign right to control the use of the powers which he created; a right paramount to that of the creature himself, who possesses these powers by the gift of Him who brought them into being; the cause of the moral and physical evils that universally prevail, throughout the world and among all races and generations of men; the inviolable sanctity of human life in every individual, until forfeited by his own violation of it in another; the initiatory steps for perpetuating the knowledge of the true God, and for carrying into effect the divine plan for the redemption of the race.
These are the ground-work of all subsequent teachings, and in all of them are assumed as known.
Moreover, the histories of various personages, treated of here in their minutest details, are often referred to as already known; so that no part of subsequent revelation could be
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understood, without a familiar acquaintance with this book.
UNITY OF PLAN IN THE BOOK
The book first reveals God’s relation to the universe, and to its sentient and intelligent occupants, as the Creator and rightful Proprietor and Sovereign of all.
It then records the early history and universal corruption of man, and the interposition of divine justice in the destruction of the guilty race.
It then proceeds with the general history of the new race of man, till it becomes manifest that the original lesson is without effect, that the tendency to evil is innate and universal, and that there is no power of self-renovation.
It then records the initiatory steps of the divine arrangement for the renovation of man, and for perpetuating the knowledge and worship of the true God.
Thenceforward it is occupied with the personal history of the family, in whom and their descendants the divine purpose was to be carried into effect. In the details of their history, as in the subsequent history of the nation, it is made evident that the wonderful truths of which they were the depository did not originate from themselves, but were divinely communicated. If an intellectual and philosophic people, such as the Greeks for example, with a capacity for acute and metaphysical speculation, had been selected as the depository of these truths, it might with more show for reason be maintained that they originated in the tendencies of the national mind. But how should the pure monotheism of the Hebrew Scriptures, the doctrine of the One Eternal God, have originated with a people ever prone to idolatry? And whence was that light which illuminated Palestine, a mere patch on the earth’s surface, while all other nations, the world around, were enveloped in darkness? And whence were those conceptions of God and his attributes sung by Psalmists and Prophets, and now the ground-work of the highest civilization to which man has ever attained, while Homer and Hesiod were singing of the gods of Olympus and the mythic fables of the Theogony? He who believes that the unphilosophical and unlearned Hebrews outstripped the most intellectual and wisest nations of antiquity, put to shame their learning and philosophy, and have become the instructors of the most enlightened nations of modern times, believes a greater wonder than the divine inspiration of the Hebrew Scriptures.
In this plan of the book there is a manifest unity of design, indicating a special purpose and aim in its composition.
It should be observed of this, as of every other part of the divine volume, that it is not
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a declaration of abstract principles, or of abstract truths, which convince without moving. It takes hold on the life, through its details of life, and influences action by showing the power and tendencies of principles in action. The minuteness of its details of every-day life is therefore in harmony with its spirit and purpose, as it is with all other parts of the divine Word; and on these depend its power, instrumentally, as an element in progressive civilization. —T. J. Conant.
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STUDIES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
—INTERNATIONAL S.S. LESSONS—
SUGGESTIVE THOUGHTS DESIGNED TO ASSIST THOSE OF OUR READERS WHO ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES WHERE THESE LESSONS ARE USED; THAT THEY MAY BE ENABLED TO LEAD OTHERS INTO THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL.
GOD’S COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM
I. QUAR., LESSON VI., FEB. 11, GEN. 17:1-9
Golden Text—”He believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness.”—Gen. 15:6
God had promised to make a definite covenant with Abram before he left his native land, Haran. (Gen. 12:1-4.) He actually made that covenant after Abram had complied with the conditions and come into the land of Canaan. (Gen. 12:6,7.) And now, in the words of this lesson, we find God encouraging Abram’s faith by amplifying and explaining that covenant, and counseling him to continue to keep his heart in the proper attitude to receive such favors, saying, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will perform my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.”
The covenant was to give all “the land of Canaan” to Abram and to his seed for an everlasting possession. The terms of the covenant clearly indicate an earthly inheritance, an inheritance of that which Abram actually saw with his natural eyes. And Abraham (for his name was here changed as a confirmation of the covenant)
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believed the word of the Lord, and never relaxed his faith, even to his dying day; for, says Paul, he “died in faith, not having received the promises; but, having seen them afar off, he was persuaded of them and embraced them” (Heb. 11:13), although, during his past life, as Stephen said, “God gave him none inheritance in the land; no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he promised that he would give it to him and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.”—Acts 7:5.
That was indeed a remarkable covenant, and a wonderful manifestation of the favor of God toward his faithful servant Abraham; and it was a remarkable faith on the part of Abraham which was able to grasp and appreciate a promise whose realization must be beyond the floods of death; and extending to a posterity so numerous as to be beyond all hope of reckoning.
But, great as was Abraham’s faith, there was a feature of that covenant of which it was impossible for him to have the slightest conception; for it was to have both a literal and an anti-typical fulfilment. This we are enabled to see from subsequent divine revelations through the Apostle Paul, who shows that the seed of Abraham was to be understood in two senses: that there was to be a natural seed, an Israel after the flesh (1 Cor. 10:18), and a spiritual seed, “which seed is Christ” (Head and body): “and if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s [antitypical] seed and heirs of the [antitypical] promise” (Gal. 3:7,29), which includes a much more glorious inheritance than the earthly possessions of the fleshly seed, rich indeed though their portion will be; for Christ is the heir of all things, and those who are Christ’s are heirs together with him of all things. All things are yours, for ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s, who created all things by and for his well beloved Son.—Heb. 1:2; Rom. 8:17; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; Col. 1:16.
A hint of this double significance of the promise to Abraham was given for our benefit in the illustrations which God gave of his numerous posterity. They were to be as the sand by the sea-shore and as the stars of heaven (Gen. 22:17)—the former an apt illustration of the fleshly, and the latter of the spiritual seed.
Let all those who are of the faith of Abraham mark these precious promises and follow them up until, the eyes of their understanding being opened, they see by faith the city established for which Abraham looked, the city which hath foundations, the glorious Kingdom of God in both its earthly and heavenly phases. (Heb. 11:9,10. See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. I., Chap. xiv.) The prophet Micah describes its coming glory (Micah 4:1-7) and says that, when the children of Abraham do thus come into possession of the land, they shall rest there in peace; for the nations shall have beaten their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they have war any more. Then “they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” And we believe it, because we are of the faith of Abraham, and know that all that the Lord has promised he is able to perform.
And not only so, but to-day we stand upon the very threshold of that new dispensation—the Millennial reign of Christ, when all of these things are shortly to be fulfilled—when Abraham himself shall return from the captivity of death (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18), when his natural seed also shall return and possess the land; and when God will take away their stony hearts and give them a heart of flesh and enable them to keep his covenant and to walk before him with a perfect heart and make them indeed a channel of blessing to all the families of the earth. (Ezek. 11:19,20.) See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOLS. I & II.
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GOD’S JUDGMENT ON SODOM
I. QUAR., LESSON VII., FEB. 18, GEN. 18:22-33
Golden Text—”Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”—Gen. 18:25
The subject of this lesson is an important one, though the limits assigned do not cover the event, which includes all of chapter 18, and chapter 19:1-28. Though the narrative is familiar to every Bible reader, its lessons have been very generally overlooked.
Before considering these it is well to note, in corroboration of our observations on lesson iv., concerning the ministration of angels prior to the beginning of the law dispensation, (1) how promptly they were recognized by those to whom they appeared. Although these appeared in human form, Abraham very quickly recognized them as
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more than human, and honored them accordingly. So also Lot recognized them; and, because he honored them as the messengers of the Lord, he sought to protect them from the Sodomite mob, even at the expense of his virgin daughters if need be. But while Abraham and Lot recognized them as the angels of God, the men of Sodom thought them to be only men. Nor were Abraham and Lot excited, or in the least disconcerted by the honor of such a visit. They received their remarkable guests with becoming dignity and grace, and with great composure; not with superstitious fear, nor as if it were a thing hitherto unknown; but as a rare occurrence and a special honor.
(2) Note also the expression of one of these heavenly visitants—one of the three representatives of Jehovah, possibly his beloved Son, afterward our Savior. Speaking for Jehovah, he said, (verse 17), “Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation,” etc.? “The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence him,” says the Psalmist. (Psa. 25:14.) Thus it was in Abraham’s day, and thus it is still. The Lord does not honor the world, nor the worldly wise, with a knowledge of his secret purposes.—Dan. 12:10; 1 Cor. 1:19,20; 3:18,19.
In verses 22-33 we have the account of Abraham’s pleading with the Lord for the possible righteous souls that might yet remain in Sodom, and an illustration of the promise that the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (Jas. 5:16.) But when not even ten righteous persons were found in Sodom, the four that were found were first gathered out before the visitation of wrath descended on the condemned city; for “the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.”
Coming now to consider the severe judgment upon Sodom, let us note its prominent lessons carefully—(1) We see that the city was wholly given up to wickedness and the basest immoralities. Not even a strange man was safe in coming among them. Sin had there reached that dreadful enormity to which the Apostle Paul seems to have reference in Rom. 1:18-32. See also Jude 7 and Ezek. 16:49,50. They were sinning, too, against sufficient knowledge from the light of nature, as Paul indicates, so that they were, as he affirms, “without excuse.”
(3) We observe next that the penalty inflicted upon them was not eternal torment, but a cutting short of the present life with its privileges and advantages: “I took them away as I saw good, saith the Lord.” (Ezek. 16:50.) And by the same prophet he declares
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his intention to bring them back, together with wayward Israel, the children of the covenant, saying, “When I shall bring again the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them. … I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways and be ashamed when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger [Samaria and Sodom—Verse 46]. And I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done [which he declares to be worse than Sodom had done—Verses 47,48], saith the Lord Jehovah.”
When the Lord thus declares his purposes, and that in full view and statement of all the circumstances, and signs his name to the document, there is no room left for cavil or doubt. Wicked Sodom and Samaria and Israel and all the families of the earth shall be brought back from the captivity of death—the only captivity which could possibly be referred to here; for this was spoken long after Sodom was laid in ashes. Nor was there a single Sodomite left to perpetuate the name; for it is written that, “the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:29; Gen. 19:24,25.) Our Lord also adds his testimony saying, “Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment”*—trial. (John 5:27-29.)
*The Greek word krisis, rendered damnation in the common version, does not mean damnation, but a trial or judgment, and is so translated thirty-nine times in the New Testament.
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And the Apostle Paul states, “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”—Acts 24:15.
The statement of Jude 7 that “Sodom and Gomorrah are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,” may be thought by some to be at variance with the above quoted scriptures. But not so. The word of the Lord spoken by prophets and apostles and by the Lord Jesus himself must of necessity be harmonious; and any interpretation which does not manifest that harmony must be erroneous. The word “fire” is here used as a symbol of destruction, and the word eternal is from the Greek word aionios, which signifies age-lasting. Thus Sodom and Gomorrah are represented as suffering the vengeance of age-lasting destruction. They were destroyed, says Luke (17:29), and they have remained so ever since, and will so remain until the appointed time for bringing them again from the captivity of death, as declared by the Prophet Ezekiel.
Mark also the statement that these were set forth for an example of God’s treatment of the evil doers (See also 2 Pet. 2:6)—an example both of his vengeance and of his mercy. His vengeance was manifested in their destruction; and his mercy is specially manifest in their promised deliverance. God will punish the evil doers, but he will have mercy also. Those who have sinned against a measure of light shall be punished accordingly (Luke 12:48); and those who, during this Gospel age, have been fully enlightened, and who have tasted of the heavenly gift of justification, and been made partakers of the holy spirit, and who have tasted of the good word of God (not its perversion), and the powers (advantages) of the coming age, and have spurned these, and counted the blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified a common thing (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-31), will be cut off from life in the second death.
However, the Sodomites and others, though great and shameful sinners, and worthy of many and severe stripes, some of which, at least, were received in their past life, as, for instance, in their fearful overthrow and destruction, were not thus fully enlightened, and consequently were not condemned to the second death, from which there will be no resurrection. And, therefore, even the wicked Sodomites will hear the voice of the Son of man and come forth in due time; for “God our Savior will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one [just and merciful] God, and one mediator between [that just and holy] God [who cannot tolerate sin] and [fallen, sinful] men, the man Christ Jesus [the only begotten and well beloved Son of God, whom God gave to redeem us, because he so loved the world even while they were yet sinners, and] who gave himself [in accordance with the Father’s plan] a ransom for all [the Sodomites and all other sinners included],—to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim. 2:3-6.) And while this testimony was not given to the Sodomites in their day, it is just as sure that they shall have it in the coming age under the Millennial reign of Christ, when they shall come forth to judgment—to a shameful realization of their guilt, and to an opportunity for repentance and reformation.
Our Lord’s statement with reference to their future judgment (Matt. 10:14,15) is also worthy of special note. In sending out his disciples to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of heaven (verse 7), he said it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for the city or house that would not receive their message—”And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily, I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.” The implication is that it will be tolerable for both classes, but less tolerable for those who wilfully reject the light of divinely revealed truth, and thus prefer the darkness to the light, because their deeds are evil (John 3:19,20), than for those who even sinned egregiously against the dimmer and waning light of nature.
Hear again the Lord’s warning to the caviling Jews who had seen his mighty works, but who wilfully refused to admit their testimony of his Messiahship—”Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more
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tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hades [the grave]; for if the mighty works which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.” (Matt. 11:21-24.)
Tyre and Sidon had suffered a terrible overthrow in the midst of carnage, pestilence and blood, and Sodom had perished under a deluge of fire and brimstone*; but the more guilty (because more enlightened) Judean cities remained. Why? Because the great day of judgment had not yet come, and except in a very few instances—of which those cited are in point, which were summarily judged and punished before the appointed time for the world’s judgment, for examples, as stated—the punishment of evil doers tarries until the appointed time, the Millennial age. Thus it is written, “The sins of some men are previously manifested, leading on to judgment, but in some [instances] indeed they follow after.” (1 Tim. 5:24. See also Luke 13:1-5.) The Lord points forward to the day of judgment when all the guilty shall receive their just desserts, and when chastened and penitent sinners may return to God.
*The whole region about Sodom abounds with slime or bitumen pits (Gen. 14:10), sulphur and salt; and the fire was probably from lightning. Thus God used the natural elements with which they were surrounded in accomplishing their destruction.
The judgments of that day will be tolerable for all; and the special revelations of divine truth and the helpful discipline and instruction which were not due in the days of Tyre and Sidon and Sodom, but which our Lord says would have led them to repentance, will be given in the coming day of judgment, both to those wicked cities and also to the cities of Judea.
How plainly all these scriptures point to the coming “times of restitution of all things” of which Peter speaks in Acts 3:19-21, saying, “Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heaven must retain until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
Then these times of restitution are the times of Christ’s second presence; and this work of restitution is the grand object of his predicted thousand years reign on earth; and that must be the day of judgment to which the Lord referred as the time for the “tolerable” discipline and final settlements with Tyre and Sidon and Sodom and Chorazin and Bethsaida and all the rest of mankind—the day spoken of by the Apostle Paul (Acts 17:31), saying, “God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained [Jesus Christ], whereof he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
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We rejoice in the blessed testimony thus assured to all men that God, who so loved the world, even while they were yet sinners, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life, hath also appointed a day—a period of a thousand years—in which he will grant to them all a righteous judgment, trial, by him—by that same Son, now risen from the dead—who also so loved us that he freely laid down his life for us all, that thus by the merit of his vicarious sacrifice he might remove the legal disability to our restoration. And we rejoice, too, in the mercy and love and helpfulness vouchsafed to our sin-sick race by the character of the Judge who has given such ample proof of his love.
He will be a just Judge, laying “justice to the line and righteousness to the plummet;” “a merciful High Priest touched with the feeling of our infirmities;” a wise and good physician able to apply the healing balm of the tree of life which is for the healing of the nations; and indeed the blessed seed of Abraham in whom “ALL the families of the earth (from Adam to the end) shall be blessed.”
With such blessed assurances, who could doubt that the Judge of all the earth will do right?
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KEEP ORDERS SEPARATE
We are always pleased to hear from TOWER readers everything pertinent to their spiritual welfare and the progress of the truth. In fact, we are disappointed to get a mere business order, and nothing more, from personal friends. But please always keep your general letter separate from your business order. This will be to your advantage, as well as ours.