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VOL. XXII. DECEMBER 1, 1901. No. 23.
Views from the Watch Tower
The Czar of Russia and the
The Troubles of the Scientists……………373
The Universal Meridian……………………373
Beloved Son Timothy’s Return…………………374
The Justice of Our Contention…………………374
The Voices of the Three Signs…………………375
Christ Our Passover Was
Sacrificed for Us………………………380
Crossing the Red Sea…………………………382
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We find that some of the friends have refrained from requesting “Pilgrim” visits because they supposed they would be expected to contribute for his railway fare and also for his support. This is a mistake: the services of the preaching “Pilgrims” laboring under the auspices of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY are absolutely without charge;—nor do they take up any collections. The Society pays their railway and all other expenses out of its funds, which are all voluntary donations, from such as are able and anxious to serve thus.
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RENEW REQUESTS FOR PILGRIM-SERVICE, 1902
The Pilgrim routes are made out months ahead; so it is too late to write us, as some do, when they learn from last page that a Pilgrim is coming to their vicinity. If you desire visits write us a Postal Card (or on a card of that size) answering the following questions: (a) Have you regular meetings now? (b) How many usually attend? (c) Who are the chosen leaders of the class? (d) Did the class vote its desire for Pilgrim visits? (e) Are you able and willing to secure a suitable room for private meetings? (f) Could you arrange also for one public meeting? and what number could probably be gathered?
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
THE CZAR OF RUSSIA AND THE WORLD’S PEACE
THE FRANKFURTER ZEITUNG, one of the most reliable newspapers of Europe, is the authority for the following report of an interview between the Czar and a German Admiral, while the Czar as the guest of Emperor William witnessed the maneuvers of the German fleet in the Baltic Sea,—the Admiral being in command of the fleet. It is important as showing the opposing arguments on the preservation of the world’s peace, which all men agree is desirable—essential.
We agree with the Czar’s line of argument, but hold that in the nature of things it is impossible of realization. The arming and drilling and building of ships will continue until the people of Europe are thoroughly awakened, when they will refuse to be fought and taxed, and a revolution in favor of Socialism will ensue—resulting, however, in Anarchy, as the Scriptures indicate, preparing the way for Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.
The conversation, as reported by the Zeitung follows:
Admiral—Your Majesty is pleased to confer too great an honor upon an old sea dog like me. I am delighted to think that your Majesty received a favorable impression of our army and navy, for, your Majesty may rest assured, we strain every nerve to keep the army and navy abreast of the times, which is the ideal thing for every good government to do.
The Czar—There I differ with you, Admiral. According to my own views the ideal thing to do would be to reduce standing armies and navies instead of keeping on increasing their strength. This so-called preparedness for war—arming on a great, and ever greater, scale is overburdening the peoples of Europe. All governments should strive to lessen their expenses for the army and navy. As long as they do the opposite, they are simply upholding and perpetuating an intolerable situation.
The Admiral—A humane and extremely generous thought, your Majesty, but—
The Czar—(interrupting)—not a thought only, Admiral. I am devoting my life to the realization of the peace idea.
The Admiral—Indeed, your Majesty’s big-hearted endeavors permit of no misinterpretation, but the other powers, your Majesty, the other powers. Your Majesty won’t believe for a moment that the other powers will find it to their interest to reduce their armies and navies!
The Czar—I am convinced that a condition such as I have outlined will serve the true interest and conform to the just aspirations of all the powers.
The Admiral—May it please your Majesty, don’t you think that a perfect army and navy, an army and navy ready to move against the enemy at a moment’s notice, so to speak—doesn’t your Majesty think that such weapons as those constitute the best guarantee of peace?
WAR PREPAREDNESS MUST STOP
The Czar—In order to establish true and permanent peace it is absolutely necessary that the nations’
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war-preparedness, as constituted by their armies and navies, be limited. The nations durst not go on forever increasing their war strength and heaping up war material. There should be no further progress, so-called, in the art of killing men and animals, destroying ships, interfering with commerce, and laying waste provinces. All that has to stop. The nations want a rest; they have been clamoring for the cessation of war scares, produced by the announcement that A has better guns than B, or that X is building more and better ships than Y can afford to do—they have demanded a letup in war preparedness for twenty years! On that point the civilized nations are fully agreed, and international policy, my dear Admiral, will eventually compel the permanent peace. Policy, I say, and not armies and navies.
Admiral—I beg to assure your Majesty that my government, like that of St. Petersburg, strives for peace most earnestly. To preserve peace is its sincerest wish, believe me, your Majesty. But to preserve peace our army and navy must be in the best
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possible shape; we must increase and augment them steadily to keep pace with the growth of population and the armament of other peoples. Your Majesty knows the old saying: Si vis pacem para bellum. God forbid that we increase the army and navy with the idea of carrying war into our neighbors’ land. It’s all done in the interest of peace. For peace’s sake we are willing to make any sacrifice.
PEACE NOT WITHIN REACH
The Czar—Yes, I heard this story before. You compel your people to bleed itself to death to furnish ways and means for keeping up a tremendous force on land and sea, and for adding to it constantly in a manner heretofore, happily, unknown. Neither Napoleon I. nor Frederick the Great, neither Alexander nor Peter, neither Louis XIV., nor our own Catherine ever dreamt of such armies and navies in war time as are now established while Europe enjoys the blessings of peace. But all your arming and the whole immense apparatus afoot and afloat, eating millions day by day, don’t amount to a row of pins as an actual guarantee of peace. The nations of Europe are today as far as ever from declaring the permanency of peace. Despite your armies and navies, the blessings of a world’s peace are not yet within reach.
Admiral—True enough, your Majesty, armed peace demands great sacrifice; we have to pay heavily for the maintenance of peace by a grand army and navy, but your Majesty, the people are glad to contribute to the welfare of Europe even at considerable expense.
PUBLIC WELFARE THREATENED
The Czar—Maybe, Admiral, but the thing can’t go on! The sacrifices demanded of the taxpayer are constantly growing, financial troubles, owing to the expense of the army and navy, are increasing day by day. I tell you, this thing spells disaster. The public welfare is threatened at its roots.
The Admiral—Your Majesty is pleased to leave many things, stamping armed preparedness as a blessing to the people, out of your calculations. Big armies and grand navies compel the nations to work and strive; they banish idleness and call for honest competition. Nowadays every people in Europe is trying to produce the best weapon, the finest ships.
The Czar—But it’s not humanity’s business to produce means of destruction. We were put upon this earth to build up, not to do the other thing. All the money spent for the army and navy above a certain necessary amount is money diverted from its real purpose, money invested in unproductive labor.
Admiral—Your Majesty was pleased to admire our fine quick-firing guns; you have seen those mysteries of the sea, boats that travel under water, the iron-clads yonder, our incomparable flotilla of torpedo-boats—all these wonders of twentieth century technique, are they not evidence of marvelous progress? Doesn’t your Majesty recognize that our people give their best thought, their brightest endeavors to the fatherland? I repeat it, in my humble opinion our army and navy is the best guarantee of peace, while the money invested therein pays abundant interest by the maintenance of peace. The people’s money could not be more profitably invested than in securing peace as we do.
BEST TO-DAY, USELESS TO-MORROW
The Czar (shaking his head)—Indeed, and what about those hundreds of millions you are spending for means of destruction, to-day labeled the “best and latest,” while to-morrow you must admit that they are valueless because something new, something to offset them, was invented? A fine investment, Admiral.
Admiral—I will not deny that we are frequently doomed to disappointment of the sort your Majesty referred to. But if your Majesty will permit me, I dare say the competitions of inventors benefits our home industry and consequently the people that live by industry and commerce.
The Czar—Your argument is illogical, Admiral. Powder and guns, torpedoes and sub-marine vessels, ships, not destined for commerce—all such things are false values; the persons engaged in their manufacture contribute neither to the world’s betterment nor to their own happiness. Ironclads, grapeshot, swords, and lances are not agents of progress by any means; their wholesale manufacture presupposes a deficit in the making of articles that stand for culture and economical advancement. Besides, it is easy to prove that the system of armed preparedness is largely responsible for the financial depressions that crop up from time to time in all countries turned into camps.
The Admiral—But, your Majesty, what has preserved peace during the last twenty and more years, if it was not our grand army? If we hadn’t been so well prepared as to number of soldiers and ships, as to the latest pattern of guns and other war material, hostilities might have broken out on several occasions.
The Czar—Hypothesis, my dear Admiral! There isn’t an atom of proof for what you say. I am convinced, on the other hand, that your grand collection of war material is a permanent menace to peace.
The Admiral—On that point I beg to differ with your Majesty, and the people, I am sure, think as I do. They love the army and value it for the protection it renders the nation. And for these services they are willing to pay.
The Czar—It is unfortunate that you and armed war preparedness enthusiasts generally will not see things in their proper light. As a matter of fact, standing armies and big navies are obstructing national development everywhere, and the people, staggering under the weight of overtaxation for army purposes, hate and loathe the institution, while fearing it at the same time. I tell you, Admiral, if things go on as they have been going, the catastrophe which you hope to avert will occur sooner than you think. The disaster will be awful—the thought of it might make an honest man shudder.
The Admiral—I beg your Majesty’s pardon. I am only an old sea dog trying to do my duty. Now duty, as I take it, compels the state to do everything in its power to keep the army abreast of the times, increasing and equipping it in the best manner possible, so that, in the hour of danger—
MAY INVOLVE THE WORLD
The Czar—No, no, no. It’s the state’s duty to avert war by other means than by laying up war material, that must necessarily lead to war. Don’t you
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know that the war of the future, of which we stand in such dread, may involve the whole world?
The Admiral—Is your Majesty thoroughly in earnest?
The Czar—Most thoroughly. I regard it as my sacred duty to secure permanent peace for the world by persuading the nations to disarm. At the same time I am not blind to the fact that this grand purpose can only be achieved by the co-operation of all civilized peoples.
This ended the conversation, the Czar rising and giving the signal for the dismissal of the fleet.
THE TROUBLES OF THE SCIENTISTS
Those who reject the divine revelation, the Bible, are continually in trouble—contradicting themselves and each other. The following from the Chicago Inter-Ocean will trouble evolutionists. Yet the learned Professor by the change noted is, however, probably no nearer the truth than before. He confuses his reason and handicaps it by assuming a false premise, rejecting the inspired one.
The article mentioned follows:—
MONKEYS WERE MEN, NOT MEN MONKEYS
That Professor Ernst Haeckel, the distinguished German naturalist, and the world’s greatest living advocate of the biological theory of evolution, has reversed his views of half a century and taken a stand with Professor Rudolf Virchow in opposition to Darwinism is the startling announcement made in Paris.
It is stated that during his expedition to Java, begun last year, Professor Haeckel has found striking evidence in support of the theory, advanced for the first time only a few months ago by Virchow, that monkeys are descended from man, and not man from monkeys. That, in fact, monkeys are nothing less than degenerate humans.
“If Professor Haeckel has made any such discovery,” said Dr. Edward Grant Conklin, professor
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of zoology at the University of Pennsylvania, “or if he has recanted his former multitudinous writings and lecturings sufficiently to make any such statement it means that one of the most remarkable revolutions in biological science has taken place.
“I can not credit the announcement. It seems too extraordinary to believe that Haeckel, of all men, should take this stand. I do not know if he has returned from Java, but he went there to study and make further researches into the pithecanthropus erectus, discovered by Dr. Dubois, with a view to further substantiate the theories he laid down in his ‘Phylogeny,’ tracing the descent of man.
“Haeckel may have discovered fresh remains of the pithecanthropus; if so, their nature has not been announced, and I can not speculate upon them, but any fresh finds along that line can not fail to be of the utmost interest to scientists.”
To understand thoroughly the revolutionary change accredited to Professor Haeckel, it is only necessary to review briefly the history of his part in the exploitation of Darwin’s theory and the causes that led to his recent exploring visit to Java.
Ernst Haeckel, now professor of zoology at Jena University, was the first distinguished scientist to fully accept Darwin’s theory when the “Origin of Species” was published. The scientific world was trembling on the brink of the revolution he caused later by the publication of “The Descent of Man,” when Haeckel anticipated Darwin in his most far-reaching conclusions, and in a measure prepared the world for the startling doctrines hinted at in the “Origin of Species” and fully promulgated in “The Descent of Man.”
Since then Haeckel has been the most advanced among the evolutionists. He has long asserted that the history of man is complete in all its essential details, and that all that now remains to be done is to fill in here and there such concrete evidence as zoological and paleontological research shall reveal.
In his “Systematic Phylogeny,” a monumental work in three volumes, he made a theoretic systematic arrangement of the vegetable and animal worlds living and extinct on the basis of the law of evolution. The work has been called a vast pedigree tree, with man at the top and the lowest non-nucleated cell at the bottom. In this pedigree there were no empty or unaccounted spaces. Haeckel constructed hypothetical animals or organisms, and to him, in theory, there were no missing links.
Twenty-five years before the discovery of Dubois’ pithecanthropus Haeckel had forseen in his phylogeny such a creature, and he had christened it “pithecanthropus allus,” or the apelike man before language. He gave to it a place midway in the order of life between the highest ape and the lowest human.
In every library, in every language devoted to zoological works, there are books by the shelf-full bearing the name of Haeckel. They stand beside and support the “Origin of the Species” and “Descent of Man” and “Man’s Place in Nature” (Huxley). Haeckel has been the apostle of Darwinism, the most trenchant fighter in the years when the theory was battling for a right to existence in the scientific world. Virchow, the world-famous pathologist, found Haeckel in his fight against Darwinism, and now that the champion should go to the other extreme is incomprehensible to those who have followed his career.
Professor Ernst Haeckel is now sixty-seven years old, and is a native of Potsdam. For thirty-five years he made his home in the quiet, sleepy little town at Jena, except for occasional expeditions and trips to scientific congresses. He has been a prolific writer, and is a most accomplished artist. All the drawings and illustrations for his works have been made by himself, and their marvelous accuracy has made his books of two-fold value. The extravagance to which he has carried some of his theories and the imagination he has infused into his driest and most scientific dissertations have in a measure cut him off from absolute confidence on the part of his followers, but no naturalist has earned fame by harder work or deeper study.—Chicago Inter-Ocean.
THE UNIVERSAL MERIDIAN
The meridian of Greenwich, England, is everywhere accepted as the starting line from which to reckon longitude and time all over the earth, and all our maps and astronomical calculations are made accordingly. Suggestions have been made from time to time, however, that a better starting-line might be
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found. Some of the Italian scientists, for example, have seriously objected to Greenwich, on account of the clouds and bad weather that frequently interfere with astronomical observations there. They recommend that the civilized world adopt Jerusalem as the standard meridian, because the skies are clearer there, and the possibility of making Palestine neutral territory would eliminate political objections.
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“BELOVED SON TIMOTHY’S RETURN”
WE HAVE PLEASURE in announcing the safe return of dear Brother E. C. Henninges (and his faithful helpmate) via the steamer “Etruria,” on November 16. During his absence, of nearly two years, his energy on behalf of the harvest work in Great Britain has been greatly blessed by the Master, as reports from the British Branch from time to time have abundantly demonstrated. The work there is on a far better footing than it has ever been in the past; and under the care of our new representative there, Brother Jesse Hemmery, it will, we doubt not, continue to prosper and gather much ripe “wheat” into the Lord’s “garner.”
As for Brother and Sister Henninges, we can readily find room for them in the Allegheny office. Indeed the general work is spreading grandly (and we expect it to expand much more during the next six years) and the addition of these efficient helpers to our present force is quite opportune. We trust it will give the editor an opportunity to proceed with the preparation of the VI and VII Volumes of Millennial Dawn, from which he has been greatly hindered by the expansion of the various departments of the work during the past two years.
The dear friends in Great Britain will miss our dear Brother and his untiring energy on their behalf; but we trust they will find in dear Brother Hemmery a faithful and good substitute. We commend him to them all. We have every confidence in respect to his character and ability—else we would not have esteemed him the Lord’s choice for the position he now occupies. We urge that the British friends support him by their prayers and co-operation accordingly.
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THE JUSTICE OF OUR CONTENTION
WE TRUST that hundreds of our subscribers in all parts of these United States have written letters or postal cards (or gotten up petitions) for the protection of the public’s rights under the laws as they are, and as they have existed for thirty years. Each one is responsible in this matter. Let each do his duty, and then be content with the results whatever they may be. We urge all who appreciate the present law, and who have not already done so, to send a letter or card at once. See page 367 of last issue. We give below our Appeal, which has been unjustly refused.
Allegheny, Pa., U.S.A., October 11, 1901. James A. Grier, Esq., Postmaster, Allegheny, Pa. Dear Sir:—
Your favor of the 4th is at hand, enclosing a copy of the Hon. E. C. Madden’s instructions to your office, citing us to show cause, as the publishers “why the Millennial Dawn series should not be excluded from second-class rates of postage, on the ground that it has the characteristics of a book.”
To this we reply: That the term “book” is a very broad one. In legal usage a “paper book” is a pamphlet which may vary in size from five to five hundred pages. In the usage of the United States Patent Office the term “book” is applied to any pamphlet or printed matter of one page or upwards. In the usage of the United States Post Office, ever since the establishment of the second-class, the term “book” has been applied only to printed matter substantially bound—in cloth or leather.
A reference to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary and the Standard Dictionary shows the original distinction between the terms “pamphlet” and “book” to have been that a pamphlet consisted of a number of sheets of paper stitched together, not substantially bound, nor too cumbersome to be held in the hand; while the term “book” applied to literature in substantial binding, and particularly to such as was too heavy for use in the hand.
In modern usage the rulings of the United States Post Office during the past thirty years, that any
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printed document in substantial binding, whether of few or of many pages, constitutes a book, while the same pages unbound constitute a pamphlet, have become practically a law. Nor can we conceive of a better method of distinction between books and pamphlets than this. Under this law, as it has been interpreted, we think wisely, justly, the binding, and not the number of pages, decided the matter. To change this arrangement, and to deny that the binding distinguishes what is a book from what is a pamphlet, and to arbitrarily decree that a certain number of pages should constitute a book, while a less number would constitute a pamphlet, would involve the Department in an inconsistency, should it attempt to decide as heretofore that pamphlets could not be such if put up in substantial binding, though acceptable as to number of pages.
Respecting the issues of our journal, known as the “Millennial Dawn” series of special issues. These have been issued under the present laws of the United States since 1886. They are of different-sized pages from our regular issues, and were put into this form for the greater convenience of our readers. They each represented several issues of our semi-monthly, Post Office rulings to the effect that one issue could not bear date as representing several having been promulgated since any of these pamphlets issued.
We hold that these pamphlets are entirely within our rights under the law; that nothing in the law in any sense of the word restricts us, either as respects the number of pages or the size of the page. These back numbers of our journal are constantly in demand amongst our subscribers and their friends, and
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any restriction of our rights and privileges as heretofore construed and as defined under the law will make serious hardship and righteous indignation amongst these over twenty-five thousand intelligent adults whose case we represent in this paper.
The fact that these special issues of our journal have a colored cover, while our regular issues have not, should not be construed as a violation of the law, because there is no law governing the subject, except the restriction that the cover should not be a substantial one. As a matter of fact, the leading journals of this and every land are in the habit of issuing, especially in the holiday season, special numbers, which usually have colored covers, as well as other features distinguishing them from the regular issues.
Moreover, the Post Office Department has for years recognized as second-class matter what is known as the “Official Postal Guide,” issued monthly under various colored covers, and ranging in pages from 32 to 1132. It will not do to say that this is a Government publication, for that would not be true; the most that can be said for it is that it is a publication very convenient to the Post Office Department, one which saves the Government from getting out a publication of its own. But even if it were a Government publication, what jurist would undertake to say that the Government is superior to its own laws, and that the law governing the meanest citizen does not govern also the highest one, and every official and every act of the Government? If the annual issues of the “Postal Guide” are not books, but pamphlets, then surely the Millennial Dawn series of special issues of our journal, less than half the size of the annual “Postal Guide,” are also pamphlets and not books.
Are we told that the Post Office Department could frank the “Postal Guide,” and thus send it through the mails free? We reply that it can not; because there is no law of the United States permitting them so to do. Before this could be done it would be necessary that Congress should pass a law to that effect. Likewise, of course, Congress could pass a law permitting all religious matter to go through the mails free, but we do not anticipate that Congress will ever pass either of these laws. The publishers of the “Postal Guide” can as well afford to pay postage as can other publishers throughout the United States.
Further, we submit that no law-making power claims to enact retroactive laws, that will go back of the time of their making, and take hold upon legal transactions of the past. If, therefore, the United States Post Office Department should now or at any time conclude that it has the right and the power to make new laws and regulations these, in all justice, must take hold as for the future, and can not in any sense of the word affect our vested rights as represented in electroplates and large editions of our special issues published under the full sanction of the law and of the Post Office Department. At very most, the new law or regulation could forbid us from henceforth publishing such special editions of our journal, or otherwise regulating as respects the number of pages, whether they shall be cut or uncut, and whether they must be of uniform color as to cover.
In the above plea we have made no claim for preference of consideration on the ground of our publications being strictly religious, because, although we believe that this plea would have weight in the minds of all moral and well-intentioned people, we prefer to stand strictly upon the basis of our rights under the law.
We understand that under the new law the Post Office Department intends henceforth to restrict lodge and society publications to literature or news, prohibiting the publication of advertisements. We wish to call the attention of the Department to the fact that our journal and its special issues would all come under this head also. Our subscribers are recognized as members of our Society—the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, chartered by State of Pennsylvania, and our publications contain no advertisements whatever, but are strictly confined to Biblical exegesis, cultivation of good morals, and in general the publication of the Gospel—”good news,” “good tidings”—the message which is new every morning and fresh every evening, and which more than any other news in the world is helpful to, not only the Lord’s people, but in general to civilization—”Good tidings [news] of great joy, which shall be unto all people.”
Trusting for a just and generous consideration of our plea foregoing, we remain,
Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society
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THE VOICES OF THE THREE SIGNS
WHEN PREPARING the Sunday School lessons relating to Moses and his two presentations of himself to the Israelites, as their deliverer from Egyptian bondage, we noted the fact that “these things were written aforetime for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come.” (1 Cor. 10:11.) And, considering the matter from this standpoint, we perceived, as we had never done before, that the three signs by which the Israelites were convinced that God’s deliverance of them was at hand, at Moses’ second presentation, must have been intended to typify some corresponding three signs or testimonies at the second advent of Christ; testimonies which will be convincing to the true spiritual Israelites. In the type these three signs or testimonies preceded the plagues upon the Egyptians; and this in the anti-type, must mean that the three signs or testimonies to spiritual Israel respecting the second advent of our Lord, and respecting the great deliverance which he is to accomplish, must precede the plagues, the great time of trouble, coming upon the world in general shortly.
At first we were perplexed, and said to ourself: “The Scriptures clearly show us that we are now ‘in the days of the Son of Man;’ our journal has borne as its sub-title, Herald of Christ’s Presence, since its institution, 1879; yet where are these three signs? Already twenty-seven years of the forty-year harvest
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have passed, and but thirteen remain, in the last four of which we confidently expect the plagues upon the world—anti-typical Egypt. Where are these signs or testimonies, which the type teaches us we should expect at this time, to convince all the true Israelites?”
For a time we were inclined to look for miraculous tokens, but subsequently realized that this would be out of the Lord’s order, as the anti-type is always on a higher and grander scale than the type: as for instance the typical Passover lamb but feebly foreshadowed the Lamb of God, and the great things accomplished through his sacrifice. Feeling confident of the times in which we are living, “in the parousia of the Son of Man,” we concluded that in all probability these signs had already been given, or were in process of giving at the present time. Still we could not recognize them, and feeling that the matter must now be to the Lord’s household “meat in due season,” we besought the Lord earnestly and repeatedly for light upon the subject, while continuing our studies. No light coming, we mentioned the matter to the Bible House family at the dinner table, requesting the prayers of all upon the subject, and that if any had suggestions to offer they would feel free to present them. Seemingly it was in line with the divine purpose that we should thus come to the point of making confession of inability to solve the riddle, and that our reliance for wisdom was wholly upon the Lord: for within two hours after this acknowledgment the entire matter became clear and lucid to our mind, as we shall endeavor now to lay it before you all.
(1) Our Lord declares Moses to have been, in some particulars, in some of his transactions, a type of himself, saying, “Moses wrote of me.” Moses himself declared, “A prophet [teacher] shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me.” Peter quotes this last expression in his sermon, and emphasizes it. (John 5:46; Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:22.) Moses did not typify Christ in all of his doings, however, nor was his life as a whole a type of the life of Christ. For instance, in his smiting of the rock, contrary to the divine command, he became a type of those of Christ’s followers who put him to an open shame, and who, in consequence, will die the Second Death; and as a type of these Moses was not permitted to enter into the land of promise. (Num. 20:11; Deut. 32:51,52; Heb. 10:29.) He typified Jehovah at times also; but in the present instance we are specially interested in considering his conduct with the Israelites in connection with their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt. In this type we see him distinctly as a representative of Christ Jesus. Moses was rich, a prince in high honor, learned in all the learning of his times, but for Israel’s sake he renounced these, left them all, and they being bondmen, he took his place amongst them, to be their leader and deliverer. How like this is to the description given us in the Scriptures of our Lord’s course! He left the glory of the heavenly condition and spiritual plane of being; he took a bondman’s form and was found in fashion as a man. He came to deliver his brethren from bondage.—Phil. 2:6-8, Diaglott.
When Moses came to his own people they rejected him, and he fled for his life to the land of Midian, from whence he came to them a second time. So Christ came to his own, and his own received him not (John 1:12); and he went into a far country, even heaven itself, from whence he has now, a second time, come, and will deliver all who are true Israelites indeed from the bondage of sin and death. Moses was forty years in coming to the point where he offered himself to Israel the first time; then he was absent from them an equal period of time, forty years, and came again and delivered them. There is a type or parallel in this time feature also; it illustrates the length of the Jewish and the Gospel ages, as being equal. From the time of the beginning of typical Israel as a nation, waiting for the coming of Messiah, down to the time when Jesus actually presented himself, was a period of 1845 years, and from that time, when he died and left them, until the period which the Scriptures show us marked his second coming (October, 1874) was a like period of 1845 years,—corresponding exactly to the two periods at which Moses offered himself in the type.*
*MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II. CHAP. VII.
THE VOICE OF THE FIRST SIGN
(2) At Moses’ second presentation to Israel he did not address them personally and directly, as at the first, God having said to him, “Aaron shall be thy prophet or mouthpiece, and thou shalt be a god unto Aaron.” This item of the type would seem to imply just what we see to be the fact of the case now, viz., that the Lord Jesus does not address himself to the true Israelites in person now, as at the first advent, but through his agent, through a mouth-piece. Aaron, the mouth-piece or agent of the Lord, we would understand to represent the Royal Priesthood—those of the Lord’s consecrated people still in the flesh, still sacrificing,—who have not yet passed beyond the vail into glory. The type, then, seems to say that the signs or testimonies which will convince all true Israelites now living respecting the presence of the Lord and his mighty power to deliver, his ultimate victory over Satan, sin and death, will be of or from our present Lord, but by or through the living members of his body, his brethren, represented in Aaron.
(3) The first sign or testimony to Israel was the casting of the rod upon the ground, and its becoming a serpent, and the taking of the serpent by the tail, and its becoming a rod again in the hands of Aaron. It was Moses’ rod, and Aaron was merely his representative in every act. The natural Israelite merely saw this as a miracle, and discerned in it no teaching; but the spiritual Israelite is not to expect a larger rod and a larger serpent, as the anti-type, but should expect to comprehend the meaning of the rod and of the serpent as an anti-typical instruction or testimony today.
A rod symbolizes authority. Moses’ rod was frequently used in connection with the plagues, as well as in connection with the signs, as signifying divine authority. A serpent is a symbol of evil—of sin and all its consequences, evil in general. The lesson for the spiritual Israelite today is that he is now to understand that all the evil there is in the world is
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the result, directly or indirectly, of God’s having let go of his rod or authority; and they are to understand further that it is God’s intention or purpose, as it is also his promise, to take hold upon the present evil conditions, which have lasted now more than six thousand years, and to bring order out of confusion:—to re-establish his authority in his own hand.
These acts or signs are said to have “voices” or to be testimonies. (Exod. 4:8,9.) Hence our query must be, Is this sign or testimony now being given to God’s people throughout the world? We answer, Yes. Has it been always recognized and presented thus? We answer, No. Was it ever thus presented before this harvest-time? We answer, No. Heretofore it has been a matter of speculation amongst peoples and theologians of all classes and shades of Christian belief, but a question without an answer,—Why did God permit evil in the world? Some have blasphemously held that God has caused the evil, that good might follow; but this God himself most emphatically denies, and everything pertaining to his character refutes it. He declares that every good and every perfect gift is of him, with whom is no changeableness or variableness. “His work is perfect.” Others have claimed that a conflict is in operation, between God and Satan, between good and evil, and that each side is doing its utmost to conquer the other—with evil and Satan predominant in the world, on account of which it is spoken of as “the present evil world,” in which there is “none righteous, no, not one.” But whatever the standpoint of view, it has been confusion only, until the harvest-time, when the true light upon the subject began to shine forth, showing that when sin entered the world God gave mankind over, let them take their course, let the rod of divine authority drop, “rested from his own work,” permitting sin and evil to flourish—not, however, intending that it should flourish forever as a serpent, but fully intending, predestinating, and even foretelling, that in due time he would set up his Kingdom in the person of the Messiah, who should lay hold upon that old Serpent, the devil and Satan, and restrain his power. Showing, too, that he will ultimately bring all evil conditions back to subjection and harmony with the divine authority and law,—destroying the evil connected therewith. This teaching, then, is the sign whose “voice” or testimony was typified by Aaron casting the rod upon the ground, its becoming a serpent, and his taking it back into his hand again. How much grander the anti-typical teaching than the typical sign! How much more forceful! Who of the true Israelites who has heard this testimony is any longer in doubt respecting the speedy deliverance of all of God’s people from the power of Satan, sin and death?
We would avoid personality as far as possible, but believe it to be in the interest of the truth and of the true Israelites that we point out that this sign has already been given. Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence was founded in 1879, and the “voice” therefrom, to the true Israel of God, announced that the second advent of our Lord, as the deliverer of the world, had already taken place—that he was present but invisible, a spirit being not possible to be seen by any, even his Church, until they should be “changed” and made like him in the first resurrection. The message further declared that he was present for the purpose of establishing his Kingdom, and delivering his saints and the whole groaning creation from the bondage of corruption,—as many as will obey him. And it is very remarkable that very shortly a special number of this journal was issued, bearing the significant title, “Food for Thinking Christians, WHY EVIL WAS PERMITTED.”* This voice or testimony was spread abroad amongst the spiritual Israelites in an extraordinary manner,—over a million and a half copies being circulated through the mails and at church-doors in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. And the voice or testimony of this first sign, token, teaching, is still being repeated from one to another of the Lord’s people throughout the world, and now in various languages. In that pamphlet for the first time, so far as we know, was shown that the evil in the world, the bondage to sin and death, and the reign of iniquity and the various oppressions to which the whole groaning creation is subject, are the results of God’s having let go his authority (rod), and not the result of his inability to hold the authority, nor in any sense the outworking of the authority in his hand. It showed also how complete will be the restraint of evil and its complete annihilation when again the Lord shall take unto himself his great power and reign. Could there possibly be a greater or a grander anti-type for the sign which Moses and Aaron presented to Israel through the rod and the serpent? Is not the truth on this subject much more convincing to the spiritual Israelite today than any natural signs or wonders or miracles could possibly be? Does not the knowledge now granted the Lord’s people respecting the divine plan of the ages, and its purpose, and the result, satisfy our longings as nothing else could do, and assure our hearts that deliverance is nigh?
*Since this publication two other tracts have been issued, bearing portions of the same title; No.12, “The Divine Plan of the Ages: Why Evil was Permitted,” No.52, “Food for Thinking Christians: Our Lord’s Return,” etc.
THE VOICE OF THE SECOND SIGN
(4) The second sign to be given to the Israelites was that of the leprous hand. Hidden in the bosom, when revealed it was leprous; but when hidden again, and revealed a second time, it was whole. Again we say that the natural Israelite discerned nothing but the natural sign, but it was intended of God that the spiritual Israelite should discern a much grander lesson, and that a testimony through this grander lesson would be still more convincing to him than was the typical sign to the typical Israelite. A hand is a symbol of power. In this case the hand represented divine power. Leprosy is a symbol of sin. The teaching, therefore, would seem to be that divine power was first manifested without sin or imperfection or blemish; secondly, that the same divine power, hidden for a time, was afterward manifest in sin and imperfection; and thirdly, that the same divine power, hidden again for a time, will subsequently be manifest without sin.
What teaching or testimony is this? We answer that it is in harmony with the previous teaching respecting the permission of evil, but does not apply
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to evil in general, but rather to sin in particular; does not apply to the world in general, but specially applies to the people of God,—to those whom God uses as his agents or representatives, his hand, his power in the world. God’s power originally was manifested unblemished. But during this Gospel age he has been represented by his consecrated people, the members of the body of Christ, who are his ambassadors and representatives; but they are leprous, actually imperfect, though reckonedly perfect in Christ. As the world sees them they are blemished, but from the divine standpoint their blemishes are all hidden, covered with the merit of Christ’s righteousness. Nevertheless, these have been the hand or power of God in the world for more than eighteen centuries; but by and by they are to be received into his bosom again, and “changed” in the first resurrection, so that when manifest again in the future they will be without sin, “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,” and will again be used of the Lord as his agent in stretching forth his rod and bringing the plagues upon Egypt, and delivering the residue of God’s people from the bondage of sin and death.
And is this also a sign or a testimony peculiar to this time in which we live, and was this subject never clearly seen before? We answer, it is peculiar to our day, and was never clearly seen before. In the past many have seen something of justification, something of sanctification, something of a coming deliverer; but never before have these subjects been seen in the clear light in which they are now seen as related to each other. Never before was the relationship distinctly seen between justification and sanctification and deliverance; that justification is of divine grace, accepted through faith; that sanctification implies works and sacrifice, based upon justification; and that to these justified and consecrated ones, who faithfully overcome, by the grace of God in Christ, shall be granted a share in the “glory, honor and immortality” of the divine nature in the first resurrection.
But has the voice or sign of this testimony gone forth in any particular channel, as did the preceding voice or testimony? We answer, Yes: in the Millennial Dawn series of volumes, the first of which was published in 1886. The united testimony of these relates to the Church, showing original sin, the first step out of it into justification, through faith in Christ, the second step of sanctification, and sacrifice, and the ultimate change, in the first resurrection to the divine nature, and glory and joint-heirship. These volumes deal specially with this subject from its various standpoints, the ransom-sacrifice of our Lord, on account of which the cleansing will come to us in due time, being everywhere prominently set forth; and also the fact that no absolute purity is to be expected until the Lord shall take us to himself in our “change.”
Supplemental to the teaching of the Dawns on this subject, and to assist in emphasizing their “voice” and making clear their testimony, the Pilgrim service has been instituted under which various brethren travel from place to place explaining and demonstrating the lesson taught by the leprous hand and its healing, and all of our readers, having heard the testimony are daily giving it forth to others.
THE VOICE OF THE THIRD SIGN
(5) Another sign was to be given, the Lord clearly intimating that it would be necessary, and that all of his true people would not hear or heed the “voice” of the first two testimonies. To natural Israel the third sign was the taking of the water from the river, and pouring it upon the earth, where it became blood. They saw merely the sign, the miracle; they read not its meaning, as the spiritual Israelite must seek to do. In explanation of the symbolical teaching of this type we suggest that water is here, as elsewhere, a symbol of the truth; and that the earth is here, as elsewhere, a symbol of society.* The pouring of the water upon the earth would ordinarily mean the refreshment of the earth, a blessing; and the pouring of the truth upon society would ordinarily be expected to mean a blessing to society; but in the symbol the water turned to blood, repulsive, abhorrent, symbolizing death; and this, in the anti-type, would signify that in the present time the pouring out of the truth upon society will produce an effect contrary to what might ordinarily have been expected. Society, civilization, has been claiming, especially within the past century, to be searching high and low for the truth. But this type says that the time has come when these professed truth-seekers (the word science signifies truth) will reject the truth, disdain it, and to them it will seem obnoxious, loathsome, intolerable. Our readers will here possibly call to mind our Lord’s words respecting this present time, “The sun shall be darkened and the moon shall be turned into blood.” We have elsewhere shown the significance of this:+ that the moon is the symbol of the Jewish Law, as the sun is the symbol of the Gospel message; and that the Gospel message will become darkness to the eyes of society in general, through the sophistries, higher criticism, evolution theories, etc., of this boastful day; while the Law, represented by the moon, will be viewed as bloody—that its sacrifices will not be esteemed as types, nor appreciated as such, but be regarded as the work of misguided Jews, who slaughtered their animals by the thousands because of their ignorance and superstition, and that the commands which they obeyed were not of God, but of their own conjecture and of priestly connivance. The same thought attaches to this sign or testimony of the water of truth being poured upon the social earth. It will be resented, as bloody, instead of being absorbed as truth.
*Millennial Dawn, Vol. I., pp. 66-71.
+Millennial Dawn, Vol. IV., pp. 590-594.
Is there any thing corresponding to this sign now in progress in the world, that could be esteemed a sign or testimony to the true Israelites, such as never was before given? We answer, Yes, there is. A very remarkable movement has been in progress amongst us during the past ten years, during which the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has supplied tracts free in any quantity to those who would promise to use them judiciously. You have the annual reports, showing the millions of pages which have thus been circulated—the truth being thus poured upon the symbolical earth, society, liberally in many lands and in many languages. But especially has this pouring
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out of the water, truth, progressed wonderfully during the past three years, under what we have designated the “Volunteer” work, in which hundreds of the Lord’s consecrated people have systematically, season after season, distributed to Christian people tracts and booklets which our Society has supplied freely—the donations covering the expense coming in without urging or even request.
But what is the effect of this pouring out of the water upon the most enlightened peoples of the world, professed truth-seekers? Is it gladly received, joyfully absorbed? Only by the few,—the vast majority seem to be angered, as the scribes and Pharisees and doctors of divinity at the first advent were angered when they perceived that the Lord and the apostles were teaching the people, and that without money and without price. (Acts 4:2.) Nothing can be more evident than that the professed teachers of Christendom do not want to be taught themselves and do not want their people to be taught the truth. They bitterly oppose it, and persecute and speak evil of those who in this way are seeking to do good. More and more they are getting so changed from the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ to the theory of evolution and higher criticism and sectarian pride and worldliness that the truth seems repulsive to them, undesirable, bloody. They not only view the typical sacrifices as bloody, but they resent the thought that the anti-typical sacrifice for sins was the death of Christ—they resent the thought that divine justice required this sacrifice, and that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins,” as the Apostle declared. (Heb. 9:22.) It does not fit with their theories. According to their theories man was created next to the monkey, and has been evolving as a race grandly up to the present time, and will continue to evolve and develop until he becomes a god, and hence needs only to be let alone, needs no Savior, no deliverer from the present condition of things, which are not seen to be evil. They put evil for good, and good for evil, darkness for light and light for darkness. To these the truth of God’s Word respecting the fall, respecting the ransom, respecting the coming deliverance and restitution blessings which God has provided in Christ, through the Millennial Kingdom for all the families of the earth,—these are all objectionable, contradictory to their theories, hateful, bloody.
As the “voice” of the third sign or testimony was to bring conviction to all of the true typical Israelites, so in the anti-type this last testimony or evidence will ultimately bring conviction to all of the Lord’s true people today in the world. They will discern that the systems and theologians in whom they have trusted are going further and further, day by day, away from the appreciation of the true Gospel—the truth as it is in Christ Jesus—into the outer darkness of the world. All who are loyal to the Lord, as they perceive this condition of things, as they recognize the cleavage between belief and unbelief, from the Scriptural standpoint, will thus be helped, convinced, and enabled to take their stand for the truth accordingly.
It will be remembered that when Moses and Aaron presented themselves before Pharaoh they performed the first of these signs in his presence—the rod turned into a serpent and being reclaimed was a rod. Pharaoh called for his magicians (types of theologians of today, whose minds—not morals—have become corrupted, and who are reprobates, not morally, but as respects the faith—2 Tim. 3:8), he explained to them that Moses and Aaron claimed that this sign was an evidence of divine power and favor, and asked them if they could not show the same evidences. They replied, Yes, and cast their rods upon the ground, and their rods also became serpents; but Aaron’s rod-serpent swallowed up all of these. What would this signify? It might mean that so far as the world is concerned the first sign or testimony which convinced the Hebrews will be claimed to be nothing new; it will be claimed that theologians all along have declared and thought that God blesses evil things, so that they result in good. But we answer that the view of this subject which God has now displayed to his people is so much more complete that it quite swallows up all these suggestions and theories of the past. What the Lord is now showing proves to his people conclusively, not only that some accidents are overruled of the Lord for good, but that all evil of every kind is the result of absence of the divine control, and that when the Lord shortly shall put forth his hand, and again take control of earth’s affairs, its evil conditions will give place to conditions in accord with the divine character and authority.
It will be remembered, also, that the first plague which came upon the Egyptians was the turning of all the water of Egypt into blood—the river, ponds, etc.—so that the Egyptians could not drink of the water, but digged for themselves wells near the river. As the water represents truth, the thought here conveyed would be that from the worldly standpoint very soon all truth will become repulsive—every feature of truth connected with the divine plan, as represented in the Word of God, will become abhorrent; and the digging of wells would seem to imply that, rejecting the Word of God, the world (Christendom—Churchianity) will seek for truth in various ways of their own.
WHAT SHALL WE SAY TO THESE THINGS?
It should be a great encouragement to us all to find so clearly expressed in the type what we had vaguely and indistinctly hoped for, viz., that the Lord’s people of the Royal Priesthood on this side the vail are being used of him in various ways in the accomplishment of his purpose of separating the people of God from others,—the wheat from the tares. It is remarkable in this connection that none but the consecrated have ever been successful in connection with the circulation of any of these testimonies. Of the more than a million copies of Millennial Dawn now in circulation remarkably few have been circulated by any but those who are believers in their testimony, and who have circulated them through a desire to be instruments and mouthpieces of the Lord in giving forth his word,—even as was Aaron to Moses.
Let us, then, dear brethren and sisters, feel encouraged, as, looking into the type, we see so clear a fulfillment in our day of the things written aforetime for our admonition. Let us with fresh courage show forth to all whom we have any reason to believe are Israelites indeed the secret of the divine plan—Why
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Evil Was Permitted. Let us prosecute also the work of showing them respecting the hand, the instrumentalities which God has used during this Gospel age in this service; respecting the justification which covers, in God’s sight, though it does not transform us in the sight of men, pointing out also the final victory of the consecrated. Let us persuade the first-born of Israel to faithfulness until our “change” comes, when we shall be made like the Lord and fit to be his servants and representatives. Let us continue also to pour out the water of truth; whether others hear or whether they forbear. The Lord’s assurance is that this sign, this testimony and its contrary results ultimately shall influence all Israelites indeed. Let us remember that the opposition of the worldly, even, will prove to be co-operative influence, in deciding the Israelites indeed that the deliverer and the deliverance are at hand. And finally let us apply to ourselves the Lord’s assurance to Moses respecting himself and Aaron, “Certainly I will be with thee.”
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“CHRIST OUR PASSOVER WAS SACRIFICED FOR US”
—EXOD. 12:1-17.—DEC. 15.—
PHARAOH’S heart seemed to grow harder and harder under divine mercies, as one plague after another was stayed at his request, through Moses. The goodness of God, instead of leading him to repentance, would seem to have made him only the more determined, as God had foreseen and foretold. God, however, informed Moses that the tenth and final plague would be sufficient to break down the opposition of this hard man, and compel his acquiescence with the requirement that Israel should go free. Before the infliction of this plague Moses enquired whether or not Pharaoh were willing to let Israel go, and upon receiving the negative response he warned Pharaoh that in consequence a dire calamity would befall the Egyptians. Apparently he immediately departed for the land of Goshen, there to put the people in readiness for the exodus. Their Egyptian neighbors gave them liberally jewels of gold and of silver and various articles of value, evidently anxious to have them go, and regretful that their ruler was so stubborn. They realized also, no doubt, that in some sense God was with the Israelites, and against the Egyptians, a matter which it seemed difficult for Pharaoh, their king, to discern.
How much time they may have consumed in preparation for the journey we know not, but we may well suppose that this was a time of suspense upon Pharaoh and all who knew of the last threat presented to him by Moses and Aaron. We are certain that the preparations required several days, if not weeks, because amongst other instructions each family was to select for itself a representative male lamb of the first year, unblemished, as the foundation for the religious ceremony, known as the Passover, ever since observed by that nation. The lamb was to be selected, accepted, separated from others, and cared for specially from the tenth day of that month, Abib (later known as Nisan), and on the fourteenth day of the month it was to be killed between evenings (between six o’clock the one evening and six o’clock the next evening—the usual Jewish day). Its flesh was to be roasted for eating the following evening, and its blood was to be preserved for sprinkling upon the lintels
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and door-posts,—the door frame, above and at either side. It was in the night following the fourteenth day that the roast lamb was to be eaten, with bitter herbs, the eaters being gathered in family groups, and all in expectation for the journey, sandals on their feet, and staff in hand, etc., ready to depart out of Egypt early in the morning of the fifteenth.
The story, as recorded in Exodus, is an interesting one, and has ever been one precious to the Hebrews, the law concerning it serving as one of the most prominent landmarks in the history of that nation. But to the Christian the meaning of this incident is of still greater importance. To him, as the anti-typical Israelite, the whole transaction speaks of the anti-typical deliverance at the hands of the anti-typical Moses at the close of the anti-typical night, and at the opening of the anti-typical Passover day. Our Golden Text, “Christ, our Passover, is slain for us” (1 Cor. 5:7), identifies the Lord Jesus as the anti-typical Lamb, and identifies the sacrifices which he gave with the deliverance which we are now hoping for, as near, even at the door. This fact is recognized by Christians of all denominations, and our Lord’s Supper is recognized as the commemoration of the anti-type of the Passover supper, especially by the Catholic Churches and the older denominations of Protestants. As the Hebrews celebrate the Passover annually, so these churches celebrate annually “Good Friday,” by an emblematic supper known as the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, commemorative of the death of “the Lamb of God” and the divine mercy consequently extended to “the Church of the first born.”
Let us go backward, and look at some of the minutia, and the meaning of these to us, the spiritual anti-typical Israelites. The taking up of the lamb on the tenth day of the month found its correspondency at the first advent of our Lord Jesus, when he presented himself to Israel at the close of his ministry, as their King, riding upon the ass, exactly on the 10th of Nisan. It was then that that nation should have accepted him, should have received him; but instead “they hid, as it were, their faces from him,” and saw not in him the beauty for which they were seeking, as a nation. It was on the fourteenth day of Nisan that our Lord partook of the Passover with his disciples, early in the evening. Later on in the same night he was betrayed. The next morning of the same day he was condemned and crucified. Later in the same day he was buried. All this was on the fourteenth day between evenings, between six p.m., where the day began, and the next six p.m., where it ended, and it was on the next day, the 15th, in the evening, that the Passover feast of the Jews was celebrated. We celebrate that feast anti-typically, continuously feasting and rejoicing in the grace of God toward us. But the Lord’s Supper belongs to the 14th of Nisan and commemorates the killing of the Lamb of God. That night in which the Passover feast was eaten represents this Gospel age—a dark time, in which sin and evil still triumph, and darkness
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is abroad, and in which the Lord’s people feed upon the merit of Christ, our Passover Lamb, slain for us, and realize that his “flesh is meat indeed.”
Along with the Lamb the Jew partook of unleavened bread, pure, unadulterated, figuratively separate from sin; it symbolized the precious promises which come to us from the Heavenly Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. “This is the bread that came down from heaven, whereof if a man eat he shall never die.” (John 6:50.) And, as the Hebrews ate their bread and lamb, so the anti-typical spiritual Israelite partakes of Christ’s merits and graces freely, but with them receives also the bitterness of persecution, trials, difficulties, misrepresentation and suffering symbolized by the “bitter herbs.” As the Hebrews ate shod and ready for their journey in the morning, so the true Israelites of this Gospel age partake of these spiritual favors, feeling the while that we are still in Egypt, and longing for the promised land; and they indicate by the conduct of life that they are pilgrims and strangers in this country, the world, and that they are seeking the heavenly country. But the deliverance did not come in the night in which the Passover was eaten, but in the morning which followed it. And so the deliverance of the spiritual Israelite does not come during the night of sin and trouble in which the god of this world reigns. It comes in the Millennial morning, for which we wait and hope and pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” “God shall help her, early in the morning.”—Psa. 46:5.
It is the mistake of some to suppose that the Passover refers, either directly or indirectly, to the passing of the children of Israel across the Red Sea. Nothing of the kind. The name was given with reference to the passing over or sparing of the first-born of Israel during that night in which the lamb was being eaten, and during which the blood was on the door-post without. The death-messenger was abroad throughout the land of Egypt, and the first-born of all Egypt were smitten, and the first-born of Israel were saved only upon condition that the blood should be sprinkled upon the door-posts and lintels of the houses in which they were. Any Israelite who did not respect the divine command, and place the blood-marks upon the front of his door, as directed of the Lord through Moses, would suffer, just in the same manner and just as surely as the Egyptians—the blood was the mark of distinction between those who were the Lord’s people and those who were not his people.
What does this signify now, to the spiritual Israelites? We answer that the sprinkling of the blood symbolizes an acknowledgment of faith in the redemptive merit of our Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, as our Passover Lamb. Whoever recognizes the Lord’s word in respect to this matter realizes that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins, and he who thus realizes the importance of the death of our Savior is expected to confess it, as symbolized by the sprinkling of the blood upon the outside of the dwelling. And its being upon the door signifies that all who were within that door were trusting in the blood, were under its efficacious merit. It is remarkable that while this doctrine of the redemption through the blood of Christ has been held with more or less clearness for centuries, it is now, in the close of this age, being called in question by some who are still naming the name of Christ, and by some who profess to be advanced teachers, and higher critics. All such are, from the Lord’s standpoint, Egyptians, not Israelites. All whom he will recognize as his people, Israelites indeed, will be such as will recognize him, his Word, and the work which he has accomplished for them through the shedding of the precious blood of our Passover Lamb, Christ Jesus.
The doctrine of substitution is made most emphatic in this type. As the blood represents life while in the veins, so it represents death when shed; and so, as the sentence of death was against our race, it was needful that Christ should die for our sins. Hence also the Lord has made it incumbent throughout this age that each one whom he would recognize must be one who would trust in and confess the atonement, the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. The blood was to be for a token, for a witness, for a sign, as evidence of the faith of those who were in the house on which it was sprinkled. It was not God’s token, but man’s token. God would do the sparing, but every Israelite who would be spared must see to it that his part of the program was carried out.
Let it not be overlooked that not all of the Israelites were in danger of death, but only the first-born; for this is a striking and prominent feature of the type. It teaches that while the deliverance that is to be accomplished in the morning will be deliverance for all who love the Lord and love righteousness, the first-born as well as all the rest, yet a special trial or testing comes during the night—before the Millennial morning—and this special testing or trial will affect only the first-born ones. Who are these first-born ones? We answer, they typified “the Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven,” the “little flock,” begotten to a newness of nature, and to joint-heirship with our Lord Jesus in the coming Kingdom. Others will be delivered from the power of Satan and the oppression of sin, as represented in the deliverance of all Israel from Pharaoh and his power and bondage, but the only ones who will be in danger during this night, the only ones who will be passed over or spared, during this Gospel age, will be the little flock, the Church of the First-born. This is distinctly the language of the type, nor can it be otherwise accounted for. It will be remembered that after the Passover, in the new order of things, the first-born ones spared in this Passover became representatively the Levites, amongst whom, in turn, were the priests, a little flock; and even so the Apostle declares of the Church of the First-born, “Ye are a Royal Priesthood.”—1 Pet. 2:5,9.
As already remarked, this Passover lamb found its anti-type in Christ, our Passover Lamb, who was slain for us, and of whom we partake. Our Lord instituted for us, the spiritual Israel, a commemorative service to take the place of the type observed by fleshly Israel. It was instituted on the same night in which he was betrayed, the same night in which he ate the Passover supper, as a Jew, and after the eating of the Passover supper. He took bread and wine to represent himself, as the true, anti-typical Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world, and he enjoined upon all who were truly his followers that
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they henceforth, instead of any longer, as the Jews, celebrating the typical Passover, should henceforth celebrate the anti-typical Passover. “As often as ye do this [celebrate the Passover] do it in remembrance of me [and not any longer in remembrance of the typical deliverance].” And from year to year this celebration has been handed down to the present time, and is still commemorated.
Some of God’s people, however, having become confused upon the subject, and having lost sight of the fact that it is a commemoration of the anti-type of the Jewish Passover, feel quite at liberty to set for its observance times and seasons of their own, without any authority from the Lord. They are excusable to a considerable extent, because, during the eighteen centuries since the institution of the ordinance the great Adversary introduced many doctrines and false practices amongst the followers of Jesus—amongst others, the doctrine of the Mass, which purports to be a repetition of Christ’s sacrifice, performed by the priests, re-creating Christ in the flesh, they claim, and sacrificing him afresh in the Mass, for the sins of those for whom it is performed. Protestants, coming out from Papacy, have rejected the doctrine of the Mass, but because the Mass had come to be frequently performed they imagined that the Lord’s Supper, as they celebrate it, is also without any limitation as to time and season. Moreover, even those old churches which still observe the Passover date for the Lord’s Supper have adopted a new method of reckoning it, contrary to the method in use by the Jews—one in which the memorial day always falls upon the Friday which is nearest to the true date, so that the Sunday following, Easter, will symbolize our Lord’s resurrection on the first day of the week.
The next proper anniversary of the celebration of the Passover, according to the Jewish reckoning of time, as used by our Lord and the apostles, and by some of the Lord’s people since and today, will be after sundown, April 20th, 1902.
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CROSSING THE RED SEA
—EXOD. 14:13-27.—DEC. 22.—
“I will sing unto the Lord for he hath triumphed gloriously.”—Exod. 15:1.
SKEPTICS have railed greatly against the truthfulness of the Bible record of Israel’s deliverance—crossing the Red Sea, etc. They object that so rapid an exodus of from one to two million people, with their flocks and herds, would be an impossibility; and they object, secondly, to the testimony that God miraculously delivered them by making a path for them through the sea. As to the first objection: We can readily see that if the Egyptians had been opposed to their going the difficulties would have been much greater. We are to remember, on the contrary, that after suffering the chastisement of the plagues they were willing, nay, anxious, for their departure, Pharaoh himself sending a message to Moses, even in the night in which the first-born were slain, saying, “Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go and serve the Lord, as ye have said; also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.”
We are to remember that the Israelites were in a measure organized; their tribal and family relationship having been maintained. The narrative shows that they went forth in military order,—either five abreast or in five companies. (Exod. 13:18, margin.) Evidently all were under the command of the heads of the tribes, “the elders of the people.” Several days elapsed before their journey brought them to the Red Sea. The great wall of Egypt, called Shur (somewhat similar to the great wall of China), is supposed to have hindered their making a more direct route. Besides, this wall was in the midst of a sandy desert, where there would be no sustenance, either for themselves or for their cattle; while the route taken, passing through the borders of Egypt to the head of the Red Sea, was evidently the most favorable one as respects pasturage, etc.
Various comparatively shallow places in the Red Sea, near its head, are suggested as possible ones by which the crossing may have been effected, and the description given would indicate that the passage was made on such a sandbar, which perhaps ordinarily would have from five to twelve feet of water upon it, according to the condition of the tides. The presumption is that the strong east wind spoken of, operating with the tides, laid bare this sandbar, and thus gave the Israelites a passage.
But while Pharaoh, under the sting of the last plague, was anxious for the departure of the Hebrews, nevertheless, as his grief assuaged and he considered the loss his empire was sustaining in the departure of over a million subjects, intelligent and ingenious and docile, and when he considered further that they were an unarmed host, and impeded in traveling by their flocks and herds, he evidently felt that he had been too generous in permitting them to go, and concluded that in the few days’ march they had already experienced something of the difficulties and trials of the journey, and that by this time they were not only discouraged, but hemmed in by the northern tongue of the Red Sea, and the Egyptian wall, while on either side were mountains. He concluded that they could be easily retaken, and would feel that they had had enough of their “outing” and perhaps would return to their labor more docile than ever. Consequently the Egyptian troops of the capital were started in pursuit.
The Israelites, who for years had learned to dread their Egyptian masters, heard of the pursuit, and cried unto Moses despairingly, Moses in turn crying unto the Lord on behalf of the people. The Lord’s response to Moses’ prayer is a striking one, from which spiritual Israelites may also take a lesson. It was, “Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” (Exod. 14:15.) There is a time to pray and also a time to act and thus to co-operate with God who is answering our prayers. When the Lord’s time for answering our prayers has come and we know it, it is for us to manifest our faith in him by going forward. Too many
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spiritual Israelites, after hearing the Lord’s message, instead of going forward in obedience are disposed to tarry and pray to the Lord that he give them some special message not common to others. Such through weakness of faith are in danger of losing their standing. “Without faith it is impossible to please God;” and obedience is merely a demonstration of faith.
Apparently the Israelites got a glimpse of the Egyptians in the distance, before sundown. This is implied in Moses’ statement, “The Egyptians whom ye have seen this day ye shall see again no more forever.” The account declares that the pillar of fire, by which the Israelites were miraculously led, removed to their rearward, so as to be between them and the Egyptians,—a pillar of cloud and darkness to the latter, and a pillar of fire or light to the former. Apparently there was a great storm that night, the east wind blowing furiously; outside narratives, such as that of Josephus, declaring that it rained, thundered and lightened appallingly. But whether this was merely upon the Egyptians, from the pillar of cloud, or whether it was also upon the Israelites, would be merely surmise. What we do know is that during that night the windstorm blew across that upper neck of the Red Sea in such a manner as to leave the sandbar bare for a considerable breadth, so as to permit the rapid passage of so large a body of people. The Israelites knew, through Moses and their elders, what miracle had been performed, and hastened to escape from their pursuers. The latter probably were totally unaware of the miracle, and perhaps unaware that they were crossing the ordinary bed of the sea, and therefore, without trepidation, hastened onward in pursuit, impeded, however, by various accidents to their chariots, which sank into the comparatively soft sand of the sea bottom. They, no doubt, concluded that where the Israelites had gone they could go. Nevertheless, ere they had crossed they became so discouraged with the opposition, of what they probably at first considered accidents, but afterward recognized as divine providences on Israel’s behalf, that they resolved on a return—to give up the pursuit, saying that the God of the Hebrews fought for them. By this time it was nearly daybreak, and Israel having crossed over Moses stretched forth his rod over the sea, and winds and tide, etc., being favorable, the waters came again upon the Egyptians, that they were drowned. It is said that wonderful storms, somewhat analogous to this one, frequently occur in this vicinity, and that Napoleon and a troop of soldiers were very nearly overtaken at about the same place that Pharaoh’s chariots were lost, by a sudden cessation of storm and rising of the tides.
A critical writer suggests that Pharaoh’s charioteers were probably intent upon heading off the Israelites, and thus turning them backward, and that the sea waters were a wall on either hand, in the sense of being a flank protection, hindering the troops from getting ahead of the Israelites, turning their flank. He
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says, “The wall would not, by any Oriental, be supposed to be an actual wall rising up beside them, any more than ‘the wooden walls of Great Britain’ are board fences about the island; or ‘the hedge about the law,’ which the rabbis built by their precepts, was a growth of vegetation.”
There are numerous lessons connected with this narrative, profitable to the spiritual Israelites. As already suggested, the experience of the Israelites and the Egyptians at this time represented the experience of the world in the close of this Gospel age, and in the dawn of the new dispensation—the period of deliverance of God’s people, too, from bondage to sin and death, which will be accomplished at the dawn of the Millennial age. We may reasonably understand that the last or tenth plague upon Egypt symbolizes the bitter experience of the world at the close of the present age, and that these experiences will be favorable to the Lord’s people, and unfavorable to others, down to a certain point where the contest will be abandoned, and those in authority in the world will agree to the full liberty of all who love righteousness and who desire to walk in the Lord’s way. Quite possibly “the powers that be” may concede for a time the demands of the weak and the helpless, and subsequently repent, and attempt their re-capture under the slavery of selfishness, and so through a Red Sea of trouble the Lord will then administer a final chastisement upon all those who oppose his deliverance of the poor and the needy and they that have no helper, and who cry for righteousness, and follow the leadings of his representative, Messiah.
Surely, when the new dispensation has been opened up, and the silver trumpets of the Jubilee shall sound release and restitution throughout all the world, there will be great rejoicing amongst all who love righteousness, and, in the language of our Golden Text, they may say, “I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously.” And already the spiritual Israelite can by faith thus rejoice and realize his release from sin and death.
Another thought we may draw from this narrative is the unlimited power of God, who has promised us that if we are his, and will follow the leadings of our Master, the anti-type of Moses, all things shall work together for good to us. We are to learn that nothing is too wonderful for our God to accomplish, and in proportion as faith increases our joys will increase, and we will have the full assurance of faith, the full assurance of victory, for “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” We are to learn that while the wicked may triumph for a time the Lord is against them. He is on the side of the poor and oppressed, who are seeking to know his will and to do it, and though he bear long with them, as represented in the parable, yet, finally he will avenge them of their Adversary: their enemies shall then become the enemies of the Lord, and the enemies of the Lord shall bite the dust—be destroyed.—Luke 18:7; Micah 7:17.
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REVIEW OF THE QUARTER
GOLDEN TEXT: “If God be for us, who can be against us.”—Rom. 8:31.
A review of the year, its blessings and its trials, will be in order, on this the closing Sunday of the year. We trust that all our readers may be able to apply the Golden Text to themselves with confidence and rejoicing.