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VOL. XXIII. OCTOBER 1, 1902. No. 19.
Views from the Watch Tower……………………291
Blindness Gradually Turning
From Fleshly Israel…………………291
A Minister encourages his Flock……………291
Jewish Hopes respecting Palestine…………292
The Outcome of This Age…………………292
“Are there Few that be Saved?”………………294
Crossing Jordan into Canaan…………………296
Grace Sufficient; only Believe………………302
Fidelity to Earthly and Heavenly
“The Great Company”………………………303
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LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND REMITTANCES
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,
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TERMS TO THE LORD’S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:—
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER, will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.
FAVORABLE METHODS OF SERVICE
The chiefest service we could commend, open to all who are unencumbered and in active use of their faculties, is the colporteur work. It is an honorable form of ministering the truth from house to house, as the apostles served. It is a service which the Lord seems to have blessed as much or more than any other for gathering the “wheat.” It is apparent at once to all that to sell such books as the DAWNS at 25 cents each, cannot be for money-making: that it is merely another way of preaching the truth. No other religious books are sold at any such price. Indeed few subscription books sell for less than two to three dollars each. Any who can serve in this work are invited to write to us for “Hints to Colporteurs.”
OUR NEW BIBLES
The three dollar grade is gone, except a few which we have agreed to hold until the end of the year. We still have a hundred or two of the two dollar grade, but they will not last long.
We have a few of both grades without pictures, to permit their being sent by mail to foreign countries. We will hold these for the foreign friends until November 15th: after that they will be open to all, for same prices, $2 and $3 postpaid.
“TABERNACLE SHADOWS OF BETTER SACRIFICES” is out of stock temporarily (both English and German), but we hope to have plenty very soon.
WE REGRET inability to supply charts promptly—except the 25c wall chart with metal hangers. Will fill orders for others as quickly as possible. Painters as well as printers in this vicinity are extremely busy at present.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
BLINDNESS GRADUALLY COMING OVER NOMINAL
CHRISTENDOM AND GRADUALLY TURNING
AWAY FROM FLESHLY ISRAEL
Is it not remarkable that as nominal Spiritual Israel begins to stumble into unbelief over “the stone of stumbling”—rejecting the ransom-sacrifice of Christ—the Jews, Israel after the flesh, begin to get glimpses of Jesus such as they have never before had? Note the following eulogistic expressions respecting our Lord, from the lips of eminent Jews of our day:—
“I regard Jesus of Nazareth as a Jew of the Jews, one whom all Jewish people are learning to love.”—Isadore Singer, Editor of Jewish Encyclopedia.
“Jesus was the gentlest and noblest rabbi of them all. In Jesus there is the very flowering of Judaism.”—Henry Berkowitz, Rabbi of Rodeph Shalam Congregation, Pennsylvania.
“Jesus is soul of our soul, as He is flesh of our flesh. Who, then, could think of excluding him from the people of Israel?”—Max Nordau, M.D., Paris, France.
“Even the most conscientious Jew may, without hesitation, recognize in view of the immense effect and success of His life, that Jesus has become a figure of the highest order in the history of religion. The fact that Jesus was a Jew should, I think in our eyes, rather help than hinder the acknowledgment of His high significance.”—N. Porges, Ph.D., Rabbi, Leipsig, Germany.
“We Jews honor and revere Jesus as we do our own prophets who preceded him.”—Jacob H. Schiff, New York City.
“I am of the opinion that we should endeavor with all possible zeal to obtain an exact understanding of the great personality of Jesus, and to reclaim him for Judaism.”—M. Lazarus, Ph.D., Professor of Philas University of Berlin.
“If he (Jesus) has added to their spiritual bequests new jewels of religion, truth and spoken words, which are words of life, because they touch the deepest springs of the human heart, why should not Jews glory in him?”—Gustav Gottheil, Ph.D., Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Emanuel, New York.
“We want our children to know that in Jesus of Nazareth, Judaism produced one of the most beautiful types of humanity, one of the world’s greatest teachers.”—Dr. K. Kohler, New York.
A MINISTER ENCOURAGES HIS FLOCK
Rev. Dr. Reid, of Watertown, thus explains to his people the present status of the doctrine of hell, and meantime gives us a suggestion of how impious he considers his congregation of “saints” to really be at heart. He evidently knows “his sheep” to be downright hypocrites. He says, as reported, evidently by himself, in the public press:—
“The age of religious barbarism is past. Science, the accentuation of the Fatherhood of God, man’s moral nature and spiritual experience make the hypothesis of a material hell incredible. The world would cast out the preacher who would dare to repeat today the message of Jonathan Edwards, that the view of the miseries of the damned would double the ardor of the love and gratitude of the saints in heaven.
“Yet there is a hell. Yet there are lost souls. Yet the guilty do go into everlasting punishment.
“You are in hell when you cannot look your fellow creature in the face because of the wrong you have done him; in hell when you would like to wring your own neck; in hell when you do not have a word to say for yourself, but are struck dumb by the consciousness of your own meanness and arrogance and baseness. You are in hell when envy, hatred and malice hold carnival in your heart; in hell when you know that you are not telling the whole truth; in hell with all your lies, losses and perversions and distortions of the truth. Perhaps there is a chapter in your lives that you keep closed or sealed because of its iniquity or infamy.
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Then you are in hell now; in the hell where men skulk and start and fail; in the hell where the limbs tremble and the heart thumps and the flesh creeps and the teeth chatter and the blood runs cold and the hair stands on end, the heart stops and the cold sweat overpours the face.”
JEWISH HOPES RESPECTING PALESTINE
The Jewish Exponent furnishes the following information: The failure to secure satisfactory terms from the Sultan of Turkey, as noted recently in these columns, is felt keenly but has not discouraged the leaders.
“Dr. Herzl set forth the standpoint of the Zionists, and formulated the conditions of Jewish settlement in a self-contained part of Palestine and in other parts of Asia Minor, on the basis of a Charter.
“These proposals were carefully considered from the Turkish side. Through his representatives the Sultan declared his fullest sympathy for the Jewish people; but the concessions which His Majesty expressed himself ready to make for a Jewish settlement could not be considered adequate according to our Zionist program. The negotiations have thus, this time also, remained without result. Nevertheless, the Sultan caused Dr. Herzl to be assured of his esteem and sympathy. The relations have in no way been broken off. On the contrary, we may hope that the advantages which a regular and legally guaranteed settlement of Jews present according to our program, will be recognized by the Turkish Government to their full extent.
“For that moment the Zionist organizations must be prepared; the agitation must be carried on incessantly, and the material means must be collected. The more efficient our movement becomes, the more speedily and surely will it reach its goal.
“It is rumored that the Actions Comite of the Zionist movement in Vienna is now seriously considering the proposition to hold the next Zionist Congress in New York. The question will probably be decided upon at the October meeting of the comite.
“Lord Salisbury is credited with having said on the Zionist solution: ‘It is a question of sixty per cent; if sixty per cent of the Jews desire Palestine, they will get it.’ It is, however, rumored that Lord Rothschild, impressed by the Alien Immigration Commission—which, when it again meets, will sit in Soho, the French quarter of the metropolis—and his conversations with Dr. Herzl will lead in a movement for the settlement of a large number of Russian Jews in lands, as Disraeli put it, ‘in propinquity’ to Palestine, and at present under the British flag. When his lordship will move, or whether at all, a short few months should tell, but from excellent sources I know that he has some such scheme in mind, and that the details are being investigated on his behalf.
“Lord Rothschild has heretofore held outwardly a most impartial attitude on all solutions, and whilst steering clear of Zionism has let it be known that he does not view attacks upon the movement with favor. Hence the idea he is studying may prove one that will unite all parties, and with his name at the back of it there would be no financial difficulties.”
STARTLING STATEMENT IN NEW YORK PULPIT
New York, Sept. 7.—The Rev. Dr. R. S. MacArthur, at the 100th meeting in the Evangel tent today, assailed the doctrine of baptism. He declared that the dropping of water on an infant at birth was heathenism and that the idea that God would forever condemn an innocent but unbaptized babe makes Him a tyrant.
That utterance, coming from Dr. MacArthur, had a wonderful effect on his hearers. They rose to their feet and applauded wildly. The scene was striking.
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“Baptism,” he declared, “never saved a human soul. The doctrine of baptismal regeneration is both unreasonable and unscriptural. The superstitions that have gathered about infant baptism form one of the saddest chapters in church history. Thousands through all the ages have believed that a child dying without being baptized was eternally lost. This dark and dreary superstition has cast a gloom over the history of the church for centuries.
“This doctrine is heathenism, pure and simple. The idea that God would forever condemn an innocent babe because some one had not put a few drops of water on its head and face makes God a tyrant. Rather than believe in such a God I would be an avowed infidel.
“This doctrine of baptismal regeneration makes the minister of religion a worker of magic, a fakir, a performer of ecclesiastical miracles. Such teaching is a violation of all sound reason and true scriptural teaching.”
Very good! Excellent! But while this eminent Baptist D.D. is plucking beams out of the eyes of others, let him not overlook the Baptist beam in his own; viz., that immersion in water is the door into the Church of Christ. If that were true it would mean that all not so immersed are out of the Church of Christ. And according to the misunderstanding of Baptists and others this would mean outside of divine mercy; for do not Christians generally claim that mercy ends with this age and that this age is merely for the gathering of God’s elect Church?—And that the prospect of all others is eternal torment? We trust that Bro. MacArthur and other Baptists will not stop their investigation, but proceeding learn what the real baptism is, and the distinction between it and its water-symbol; and what the true Church is and the distinction between it and the sects of Christendom. We shall be glad to help all the sincere ones in the solution of these problems, on receipt of postal card requests.
THE OUTCOME OF THIS AGE
W. G. MOREHEAD, D.D.,
Professor in United Presbyterian Theological Seminary
There are principles at work in modern society, which, if left unchecked, will soon make the advent of the Antichrist not only possible, but certain. THE LAWLESS DRIFT IS ALREADY ON US, precursor of worse to come. Who does not perceive that the forces are already loose which tend to the disintegration of the whole social fabric! Who does not perceive that the axe is already aimed at the chief hoops which bind together the staves of
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the civil polity! The restlessness under restraint, the revolt against authority and law, the spread of Socialism, the growth of agnosticism, the prevalence of materialism, fostered, as it largely is, by both the science and the politics of our time, the enormous greed of those who have and who want still more, the deep, ominous growl of those who have not, and who want and will have all this, and much more than this, betokens the breaking down of the barriers, the overthrow of the restraining influences, and the speedy advent of the great adversary. The Frenchman spoke well, perhaps better than he knew, who lately said, “I think I hear the galloping of the man on horseback!”
We have only to suppose the portentous movements of the times to grow and gather head until the hindrance is gone, the breakwater is down—and then—yes, what then? Then cometh “the Man of Sin,” the world deceiver, whom the Lord shall slay with the breath of His mouth, and shall bring to nought by the appearing of His Coming. Then the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever.
The above clipping is from the pen that attacks “Millennial Dawn” as being “the product of insanity.” It is surely a poor blind pen, or, at least, a somnambulistic one, when it cannot see that the “Man of Sin” of prophecy flourished for over a thousand years as Papacy: and that since the Reformation movement he has been slain with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. True the wound has to some extent been healed; but yet a little while and the bright-shining of the presence (parousia) of the Lord shall utterly destroy him, and all other kindred systems of error which now counterfeit, with varying degrees of accuracy, the true Christ—Head and “body.”—2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 13:3,12.—M. Dawn, Vol. II., Chapter 9.
LOOKING FOR THE WRONG ADVENT
Prof. Moorehead and others of his school of thought tell the world generally that they set no time for Christ’s second coming. They give the impression, surely, that they are in daily, yea, hourly expectation of seeing our Lord reappear in flesh on a cloud in the sky. But in the above the Professor tells the truth plainly; viz., that he and those who share his expectations are not at all looking momentarily for the Lord. Instead they are looking for “the speedy advent of the great adversary,” i.e., “Then cometh the ‘Man of Sin’.”
How is that? Why such an expectation of the advent of Antichrist instead of the advent of the true Christ?
It is because these dear brethren are sadly blinded by a literal interpretation of the symbolical Book of Revelation, and an expectation of Christ’s Kingdom in the flesh; whereas the Word declares: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.”—I Cor. 15:50; John 3:3,5.
The result is a blindness much more dense than that of the world on a subject of which they profess to be past-masters. Worldly people “can discern the signs of the times” far better than to suppose, as these self-blinded brethren do, that the trend of the world is toward greater veneration for fellow-mortals. The world well sees that the trend is in the reverse direction,—toward a denial of all authority and power,—divine as well as human.
How strange it seems that sane minds can imagine that “the galloping man on horseback,” a general, or emperor, or who not, would ever deceive the world—”the whole world” into thinking him greater than God, and doing him homage accordingly! In our judgment, this is just as improbable as that “the cow will jump over the moon.”
This man—Anti-Christ, is expected to convert the world and build the Jews a temple at Jerusalem,—all in three and a half years after he makes a start; and he has not yet made a start, and only “portentous movements of the times” are in evidence. Christ’s advent is to be just three and a half years after the advent of this preposterous man. And yet these brethren deceive themselves into thinking that they are not time setters, and that they are looking for Christ’s advent. We are sorry for them!
In conclusion: We kindly suggest to the Professor that the Common Version rendering of 2 Thes. 2:8, “the brightness of his coming” poor as it is, is better than his substitution; viz., “the appearing of his coming.” If he will look at these words in his Greek New Testament he will find that “coming” is not the proper word at all: that the Greek word here rendered “coming” is parousia, and that all scholars agree that in English it means presence (as of one who has already come). We suggest as a literal translation of the words,—”The bright-shining of the present one,”—the revealing or manifestation of one previously present, but unseen, unrevealed.
Our position is that Anti-Christ has already fulfilled his part, and a wonderful and awful part it was;—that now according to promise the true Christ has come a second time, in glory, and not in flesh, to reign, and not to sacrifice;—that his first work is the sifting of his church—the separation of the tares, etc., and the gathering of the true “wheat” into the Kingdom garner—beyond the vail, as spirit beings like their Lord: the sleeping ones awakened to First Resurrection glory, honor and immortality, and those who are alive and remain “changed” in the moment of dying to the same glory conditions. Soon, perhaps before all the “wheat” has been garnered, the fire of tribulation and anarchy will break out in the world—”a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation”—a time when faith in God and man and a disbelief of the Bible will be rampant throughout “Christendom” nominal. In that trouble and its overthrow of all law and order, government and religion, the world will learn an everlasting lesson, and be prepared for the reign of righteousness.—The rulers of the Kingdom of Light will, however, be as unseen to mortal eyes as are the present rulers of the darkness of this world—Satan and his coadjutors;—the earthly representatives of the Kingdom being men—perfect men—the ancient worthies, approved of God before the call to “change” of nature was given.—Heb. 11:39,40.
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“ARE THERE FEW THAT BE SAVED?”
EMERGING from that blackness of error called Calvinism (with its heaven of blessing for the “little flock” and its eternal torment for all others, as taught by good but sadly deceived men—John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles H. Spurgeon and others—) into the glorious light of the goodness of God, shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord and revealed in the divine Plan of the Ages, the writer was subjected to the same attacks of Satan (the great Enemy of God and man) to which all others seem to be exposed. Coming as an angel of light, he seemed to welcome us into the light out of the gross darkness which he himself had brought upon the world. And while our heart trembled with joy, and yet with fear also, lest after all we should find some evidence that God would do some terrible and unjust thing, to some of his creatures, at least, the suggestion came, God will not permit any to be lost.
At this time the word lost still had associated with it that unscriptural, wicked and awful meaning of eternal torment; for, although we had gotten rid of that misbelief, and saw that lost means dead, destroyed, the influence of that old error still gave a false coloring to the words formerly supposed to teach it. Hence the greater force in the suggestion that God would not permit any to be lost;—for surely no enlightened mind can candidly imagine the eternal misery of a solitary individual in all of God’s universe.
Reason and judgment swayed for a time, first to one side and then to the other, according to circumstances and moods, until we learned that our reasoning powers are not to be relied upon to settle such questions; that they are imperfect as well as liable to be prejudiced; and that for this cause God had given us his inspired Word to guide our reasoning faculties into proper channels. Then, appealing to the Scriptures, we found abundant proof that unless God therein trifles with his children’s confidence (and as men would say “bluffs” them, with suggestions and threats which he knows he will never execute) there surely will be some lost as well as some saved.
Among these Scriptures are not only those similes which speak of the salt which lost its value, and was thenceforth good for naught, but to be trodden under foot, and of the destruction of those servants which would “not have this man to rule over” them (Matt. 5:13; Luke 19:14,27), etc., but the following plain statements:—
Some “wrest … the Scriptures even to their own destruction.”—2 Pet. 3:16.
“Pride goeth before destruction.”—Prov. 16:18.
“The Lord preserveth [saves] the souls of his saints.”—Psa. 97:10.
“The Lord preserveth all them that love him, but all the wicked [not the ignorant] will he destroy.”—Psa. 145:20.
“False teachers … bring in damnable heresies, … and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”— 2 Pet. 2:1.
Some are “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.”—Rom. 9:22.
“Them that walk after the flesh … shall utterly perish in their own corruption.”—2 Pet. 2:10-12.
“The destruction of the transgressors and of the [wilful] sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed.”—Isa. 1:28.
“The Lord will “destroy them that corrupt the earth.”—Rev. 11:18.
“The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.”—Prov. 10:29,30; 21:15.
Some fall into “many foolish and hurtful lusts [desires], which drown men in destruction.”—I Tim. 6:9.
“For many walk, … the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction.”—Phil. 3:18,19.
“Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction.”—2 Thess. 1:9.
“If any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy.”—I Cor. 3:17.
“The judgment of God [is] that they who do such things are worthy of death.”—Rom. 1:32.
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”—Heb. 4:1.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy Spirit, … if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame.”—Heb. 6:4-6.
“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh; for if they escape not who refused him that spake on earth [Moses, the typical teacher], much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.”
“Looking diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God.”—Heb. 12:25,15.
“The soul that will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among his people.”—Acts 3:23. “By one offering he [Christ] hath perfected foreverthem that are sanctified. … Let us [therefore] draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith. … Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, … exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the [Millennial] Day drawing on. For if we sin wilfully, after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more [part for us in the] sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall consume the adversaries.”—Heb. 10:14,22-27.
If “he who [in the typical nation] despised the law of Moses [the typical lawgiver] died without mercy, of how much sorer [more serious] punishment shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot [disgraced] the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the [New] Covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy [ordinary] thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace?” Surely the wages of such conduct would be everlasting, while that in the type was not, but was covered by the great sacrifice for sins once for all. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”—Heb. 10:28,29,31.
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see
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life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”—John 3:36; I John 5:12.
“His servants ye are to whom ye render service; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.”—Rom. 6:16.
“The end of those things is death.”—Rom. 6:21.
“To be carnally minded is [to reap the penalty] death; but to be spiritually minded is [to reap the reward] life and peace.”—Rom. 8:6.
“Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”—Jas. 1:15.
“There is a [kind of] sin unto death; … and there is a [kind of] sin not unto death.”—I John 5:16,17.
“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill [destroy] the soul [being]: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna [the second death].”—Matt. 10:28.
“The wages of sin is death.”—Rom. 6:23.
“As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?”—Ezek. 18:32; 33:11.
“All the wicked will God destroy.”—Psa. 145:20; 147:6.
What could be more explicit than this testimony of God’s Word? And how reasonable it all is! Torment might properly be objected to as unjust as well as unmerciful; but taking away life from those who will not conform their lives to the just and holy and kind regulations of the New Covenant which God has opened to our race, through Christ’s great atoning sacrifice, is reasonable, just and merciful.
It is reasonable: why should God continue his blessings, of which life is the chief, to those who after knowing and being enabled to conform to his just requirements, will not do so?
It is just: because God is under no obligation to man. Man is already his debtor ten thousand times; and if he will not render loving respect to his Creator’s wise and good commands, Justice would demand that those blessings be stopped.
It is merciful on God’s part to destroy the incorrigibly wicked—those who, after full knowledge and opportunity have been enjoyed, refuse to be conformed to the lines of the law of God’s Kingdom—the law of love. (1) Because all who will live ungodly—out of harmony with God’s law of love—will always be like the restless sea, more or less discontented and unhappy. (2) Because such characters, be they ever so few, would mar the enjoyment of those who do love peace and righteousness. And to these God has promised that the time shall come when sin and its results, weeping and pain and dying, shall cease (Rev. 21:4), when he will destroy out of the earth those who corrupt it. (Rev. 11:18.) (3) Because God has promised that there shall yet be a clean world (Isa. 11:9; Rev. 21:5), in which the unholy and abominable and all who love and make lies shall have no place. (Rev. 21:8.) “Thou shalt diligently consider his place and it shall not be.”—Psa. 37:10.
Only such as have preferred their own wisdom to that of the Bible can read the foregoing words of God, and yet believe that all men will be everlastingly saved.
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Only such as are puffed up with a sense of their own benevolence can hold that God never would be satisfied or happy if one of the race perished. God has gotten along very well without the sinners thus far, and could do so forever. It was not for selfish reasons that he redeemed all, and is about to restore all who will accept his favor in Christ.
But some attempt to evade the foregoing statements of Scripture with the claim that they refer to wickedness, and not to wicked people; that they mean that all wicked people will be destroyed by their conversion—by having their wickedness destroyed. We ask those who so think to read over these words of God again, carefully, and see that they could not, reasonably, be so construed. Notice that even though the Word mentioned nothing about the destruction of wicked doers, but merely mentioned the destruction of wickedness and wicked things, this would nevertheless include wicked doers; because, of all wicked things, intelligent, wilful evil-doers are the worst. But the Word does specify wicked persons; and all who are familiar with rules of grammar covering the question know that when the person is specified the destruction of his wickedness merely could not be meant.
“The wicked shall be [re] turned [back] into hell [sheol] and all nations [Gentiles, people] that forget God.” (Psa. 9:16.) “The lake of fire, which is the second death” (Rev. 20:14), is “prepared for the devil and his angels [messengers or servants].” (Matt. 25:41.) And all who, with Satan, serve sin are his servants or messengers. (Rom. 6:16.) For such, yes, for all such, and for such only, God has prepared the penalty of everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.” And from Satan their chief down to the least one of his children who, notwithstanding knowledge and opportunity to the contrary, cling to evil and choose it rather than righteousness, this tribe will be blotted out to the praise of God’s justice, to the joy and welfare of the holy and to their own real advantage.
It will not do to judge others by ourselves, in all respects. The fact that God’s saints do not feel opposition to God’s will, and cannot understand how others can entertain such sentiments, sometimes leads to the false conclusion that if all others enjoyed a similar knowledge of God they too would delight in his service. That such a conclusion is false is evident, from the fact that Satan, who knew God thoroughly, “abode not in the truth,” but became “the father of lies” and “a murderer.” And, after six thousand years’ witness of sin and its results, he is still the Adversary of righteousness. After nearly two thousand years’ knowledge of the love and mercy of God manifested in Christ’s sacrifice for sin, he is still as unmoved by that love as he is unmoved by pity for human woe. And more than this: God, who knows the future as well as the past, shows us, unquestionably, that after being restrained (bound) for a thousand
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years by the power of Christ’s Kingdom, and during that time witnessing the blessings of righteousness, he will, when granted liberty at the close of the Millennium, still manifest a preference for the way of sin and opposition to God’s arrangements. Surely this proves that intelligent beings, and perfect beings, too, can know God and yet choose a way of disobedience,—whether or not our minds can grasp the philosophy of their course.
But the philosophy of the matter is this: A perfect being, angel or man, is a blank page upon which character must be engraved. Knowledge and a free will are the engravers. Pride, Selfishness and Ambition may be engraved, or Love, Humility and Meekness. The latter is the blessed or God-like character, the former is the sinful or devilish character. According to which are engraved will be the character. If the will decide for sin and cultivate the wicked character, the result will be a wicked being. If the will decide for righteousness and God-likeness, the result will be a holy being.
The same principles in a general way apply also to fallen men. No matter how fallen and weak they may be, they have free-wills. They can will aright, even when they cannot do aright. And under the New Covenant God accepts, through Christ, the imperfect deeds where the wills are perfect.
For some who are now evil doers and lovers of sin, our hope is, that they are such because of blinding of the devil (2 Cor. 4:4), which leads them to make a choice they would not make if they had a full, clear knowledge. God’s guarantee to all, through Christ, is that all shall come to an accurate knowledge of the truth, and thus to a full opportunity to choose between righteousness and sin. We have no hope for any who, after coming to a clear knowledge, choose sin, wilfully: neither in this age nor in the next is there hope for such, according to God’s Word.
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CROSSING JORDAN INTO CANAAN
—JOSHUA 3:9-17.—OCTOBER 12.—
“When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.”—Isa. 43:2.
FOUR HUNDRED and seventy years had elapsed from the time God gave Canaan to Abraham, by promise, before his descendants actually crossed Jordan and began to inherit the land. The promise had been long of fulfilment, and doubtless had severely taxed the faith of the people to whom it belonged; yet even in this respect the delay was a blessing to them, as serving to stimulate and develop faith. Nor are we to forget that the original promise has not yet been fulfilled; because the land was promised, not only to Abraham’s seed, but also to himself, and the noble patriarch still rests and waits in the sleep of death for the accomplishment of the divine promise, which will be fulfilled on a far larger scale when the people of God shall have passed the antitypical Jordan into the antitypical Canaan—the Millennial Kingdom condition. We are not left in doubt upon this matter. We have the Apostle’s words in Heb. 11:13,39,40, that Abraham and other faithful servants of the Lord still wait for the fulfilment of the promise made to them, until first the still higher, spiritual, heavenly promises, made to the Gospel Church, the Christ, shall have been accomplished, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Stephen assures us along this same line, saying that Abraham received not so much of the land as to set his foot upon, and his argument, based upon this fact, is Abraham’s resurrection in the future, and the fulfilment to him personally of his share in the divine promise.—Acts 7:25.
If in all this there was a lesson of patient waiting on the Lord and confident trust in his promise, to Abraham and his natural seed, there is a still larger and fuller lesson in it to Spiritual Israel, the spiritual Seed, along the same lines of faithful, patient waiting on the Lord for the fulfilment of the exceeding great and precious things he has promised us.
Some have been inclined to question the justice of God’s giving to Israel the land of Canaan, already inhabited by others;—the justice of not only permitting but commanding them to destroy the inhabitants of that land, and to take possession of it as their own. This transaction is held up as an illustration of the “land-grabbing” disposition of natural man, which seems to increase century by century, notwithstanding the increase of civilization and the general appreciation of justice. We are not of those who would defend the course of nations of modern times along these lines. As Christians, guided by our Master’s example and instruction, we should seek to do good unto all men as we have opportunity, and to leave them in peaceable possession of their homes, property and liberties. We are to recognize a difference, however, between the divine law of love, placed upon and accepted by the Lord’s consecrated people, and the law of selfishness, under which the mass of mankind—including the vast majority of nominal Christendom—still operates, and will continue to operate until the new dispensation and its new laws shall be ushered in by divine power. Nevertheless, seeing that the Church is separate from the world, in the Lord’s plan and in his dealings, we can look with comparative equanimity upon the overriding of justice and equity by the kingdoms of this world, and may realize that in many instances the Lord may take advantage of their natural disposition toward warfare and conquest and empire-building, and may allow the wrath of man thus to work out certain features that will be ultimately favorable to the accomplishment of the divine purposes.
Not being able to see behind the vail all the gracious purposes of our Heavenly Father, and not being wise enough to know how they can best be carried out, the Lord’s people occupy largely the position of spectators in respect to the course of this
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world,—its politics, conquests, etc. Were we to take a hand in the world’s affairs on either side of such questions we might, for aught we know, be working contrary to the divine will and program. While, therefore, we seek to be separate from the world and its affairs, and to give our thought and attention, sympathy and interest, to the affairs of the heavenly Kingdom, and while our voices, if ever raised at all on such questions, should be raised on behalf of justice, mercy and peace, nevertheless, we can view with great composure whatever changes may take place in the world, knowing that our heavenly Father has all power to overrule these matters differently if he chooses.
We say to ourselves, “All the good purposes which he hath purposed in himself shall be accomplished;” and he knoweth how to accomplish these in the manner that will be most to his praise and most for the good of his cause, as it shall ultimately be developed, and we remember the Master’s words, “Ye are not of this world, even as I am not of this world. I have chosen you out of the world, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain”—fruit unto eternal life. Our work is the work of him that sent us; we are ambassadors for God; and present work is the calling, upbuilding, instructing and general preparation of the Church to be the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife, and our mission is to co-operate in her call and to make ready. Later on will come our share in the ruling and judging of the world, as kings and priests of the divine order, in the divine time, and backed by the divine power to success and the blessing of all the families of the earth.
“The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.” He, therefore, had the right to give Canaan to the descendants of Abraham without giving a reason why to any creature. He had a right to give it when and how and to whom he pleased. He does, however, condescend to inform us that in blotting out these many little nations of Palestine, descendants of Noah’s grandson Canaan, he did so not along arbitrary lines, but along lines of justice. These Canaanites (also known as Hittites, and by various other tribal names, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Jebusites and Amorites) were not ignorant savages, but quite civilized peoples who, after the manner of the Sodomites, had gone into great excesses of licentious idolatry. In Abraham’s time God foresaw where their course would lead them, but he delayed to bring the promised seed of Abraham into their land for a time, because as we read, “the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet come to the full.”—Gen. 15:16.
These people were to be destroyed by the Israelites for two reasons; first, to have permitted them to live and to become incorporated with the Israelites in the land, by intermarriage, etc., would have been injurious to the seed of Abraham which God intended to develop, and of which he designed to make types of spiritual Israel. Furthermore, in the type which the Lord was making on a large scale, these Canaanites or Amorites represented the weaknesses and imperfections of the fallen nature. They symbolized sin; and their destruction by the Israelites prefigured the destruction of sin, the blotting out of the blemishes of sin, and the gradual uplifting of God’s people in the antitype of Canaan—in the Millennial Kingdom.
The chief difficulty in most minds, in connection with this slaughtering of the inhabitants of Canaan lies in the unscriptural thought, brought into Christian creeds during the dark ages, that the apparent death of an individual is really his entrance into more abundant life, either under pleasurable or tormenting conditions. And since these Canaanites were declared to be disapproved of God, the general thought respecting them is that while the Israelites killed them and took possession of their property, they, without further opportunity, were thrown at once under the control of devils and into an eternity of flaming torture. There is nothing of this kind connected with the Bible narrative. It is all the addition of human imagination, built upon numerous fantastic speculations of the dark ages. According to the Scriptures, death is really death, and these Canaanites, when slain by the sword of Israel, became unconscious, and will remain so until the Lord’s time shall come for their awakening from the sleep of death. They shall come forth in the Millennial morning, as our Lord’s word indicates—”All that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth.”—John 5:28,29.
They will not come forth as saints to the resurrection of life, the First Resurrection; but as members of the world in general, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, they will come forth to the judgment-resurrection; that is, to the gradual raising up that will be instituted during the Millennial age, a raising up of all who will be obedient to the judgments, the disciplines, the corrections in righteousness, which will be then brought to bear upon the whole world of mankind by the great Judge, our Lord Jesus, and by the Royal Priesthood, the Church, his assistant judges, of whom the Apostle says, “Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?”—I Cor. 6:2,3.
In view of this, then, we can readily see that no injustice was done to the Canaanites by the Lord’s decree, and that so far as they were concerned they suffered no more than, if as much as if some pestilence or famine or other common disaster had come upon them. They suffered the death-penalty, as all the human family suffer it, and our confident hope respecting them and all mankind is built upon the fact that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son to redeem all from the curse or sentence of death which came upon all through father Adam’s disobedience;—and that he who redeemed the world is shortly to bless all the families of the earth with a gracious opportunity to come back into harmony with God, back to human perfection. And when we realize that the call of the church in the present time is for association in this work, it gives a meaning to the trials and difficulties which constitute part of our instructions in that great work; and it also gives the Royal Priesthood a hope toward God which overbalances all the trials of the present time.
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The Land of Promise, Canaan, is frequently described in the Scriptures as a goodly land, “a land flowing with milk and honey,” a figurative expression representing its general prosperity and productiveness. That the inhabitants were wealthy is attested by recently unearthed Egyptian histories of about that time. Geike says:—
“The records of Rameses II show the condition of Palestine and adjacent countries, in the age of Moses itself [prior to the exodus of Israel]. The Egyptian king brought back from them, he tells us, gold, glass, gum, cattle, slaves, ivory, ebony, boats, horses, chariots inwrought with gold and silver or painted, iron, steel, dates, oil, wine, asses, cedar, suits of armor, fragrant wood, war galleys, incense, gold dishes with handles, ornaments of lapis lazuli, silver dishes, precious stones, honey, lead, spears of brass, colors—the plunder, in fact, of a rich and civilized country. The meadows of Palestine, its fortresses, its groves and its orchards, are mentioned showing that prosperity of every kind abounded.”
The Israelites needed to be encouraged for so great an undertaking, and hence the various tribes of Canaanites were mentioned by Joshua, that they might know that they were all included in the Lord’s bequest; and that they might know that he had taken cognizance of the whole situation. It was much to Israel’s advantage that these various tribes of Canaanites were distinctly separate, and did not cooperate to any particular degree. Moreover, they evidently felt secure in that the River Jordan separated between the hosts of Israel and their land, and being quite a swift river, it would be very difficult for a multitude to cross without boats or bridges, and many of them. The crossing took place when the Jordan was overflowing its banks, and was therefore much wider than usual; and we may presume that the Canaanites would feel so much the more secure, and less vigilant in any attempt to repel an invasion, supposing the river to be specially impassable at this particular season. Had the crossing been undertaken when the river was low, the Canaanites would have, undoubtedly, disputed the way; and Israel would have had a severe battle with poor weapons against a probably well equipped enemy. Besides, the miracle God intended to work would have seemed much less forcible at any other season of the year. Israel needed this further miracle and evidence of divine power and intervention on their behalf to give them courage for the work before them.
A man from each of the twelve tribes was selected; each one was to carry a stone from the midst of the Jordan to the shore, and these twelve large stones were to be set up as a memorial, a reminder to Israelites for coming generations of how the Lord had brought them over Jordan. (Josh. 4:2,9.) The priests bearing the ark were separated from the remainder of the Israelites by about three-quarters of a mile (two thousand cubits). They went upstream this distance, and were thus prominent before the eyes of Israel in what they did. As soon as the feet of the priests before the ark touched the waters of Jordan the waters began to subside, and as the waters subsided they took another step and another and another until they were able to walk on firm ground to the center of the river-bed, where they stood firmly until all the hosts of Israel—in all about two millions—had passed over. Still in no haste, they waited until twelve stones were placed where they had stood, and then the priests with the ark of the Lord passed over.
We are not to question the power of God in respect to this miracle, in whatever manner it was accomplished; but in looking for the manner we are to presume, as far as possible, that the Lord used some natural means in connection with it. If we were to suppose that the river rose up like a wall at the right hand of the priests, as tho it had been cut by a knife, it would seem unreasonable, and the downflowing waters would rise higher and higher, until it would overflow the banks on either side more and more,
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and the water of even a small river, at this flood time, would amount to a considerable quantity and flood a considerable space. It is preferable, therefore, that we understand the words of the record, as implied in the Revised Version, to mean that the banking up of the waters was “a great way off, at Adam, the city that is beside Zeretan.” In other words, we are not to understand that the dammed up wall of waters was close by the priests, but about twenty miles further up the river, near the town of Adam, where the river passes through a comparatively narrow gorge. How they were banked up there we are not informed by the record; no matter in what manner, it was a miracle—no less a miracle if we understood the method pursued by the Lord in its accomplishment. It may have been that an earthquake temporarily elevated the channel at this narrow place, and thus gorged the water for a time; and it is said that there are evidences at that point that some such physical disturbances did once occur. Or a slip in a hillside might have carried a large body of soil into the valley, and thus have choked the stream, which even down at Jericho is normally only ninety feet wide and thirteen feet deep. As an illustration of how this may have occurred we quote the following from Canon Tristram:—
M. Ganneau has drawn attention to the fact, mentioned in the history of Sultan Buybars, that in A.D. 1267, whilst the bridge at Gier Damich (or Adam) was being repaired a landslip some miles above dammed up the Jordan for several hours and the bed of the river below was left dry, the water being drained off to the Dead Sea. What occurred 650 years ago, by what we call natural causes, may well have occurred 3,000 years before, timed by divine interposition.”
In our previous studies we noticed that these things were written aforetime for our admonition—that they were examples or types of matters respecting God’s dealings in the future: now the question arises, What did this passing of Jordan by the typical people symbolize? and, especially, what did the bearing of the ark by the priests have to do with it? We have already indicated that for various reasons we cannot accept the view of Jordan and of Canaan so long held by many Christians, which represents Jordan as being death and Canaan as being heaven, as expressed by the familiar lines of the poet:
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“On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.
No chilling winds nor boisterous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.”
The very fact that the Israelites did have trials and pains and sorrows and battles, after they entered into Canaan, seems to contradict the thought that it represented heaven itself. As we have already intimated, our understanding is that Canaan typified the new earth condition, under the administration of the Millennial Kingdom. What, then, does the River Jordan signify? We answer, that it would seem to stand for, represent, the divine condemnation, the curse, the sentence against our race which has for six thousand years hindered mankind from entering into the blessed Kingdom conditions and opportunities and blessings which shall ultimately prevail for all. In this sense of the word death, Jordan, would stand for it well—the death sentence. This seems rather to be implied in the name of the river, which is derived from the names of the two main springs by which it is formed; viz., jor, signifying “down,” and dan, which signifies “judge.” The word Jordan would thus have the significance of “judged down,” that is, condemned, and as a type it would stand for the divine condemnation which hindered even those who desired to be the servants of God from entering into peace and rest and blessing and favor with God.
In this view of the matter, we see how appropriate it was that the Ark of God’s covenant, representing the Lord himself, his grace, his goodness, his promises, should stand in the midst of Jordan—effecting a cancellation of the sentence of death—in order that the Millennial blessings might be attained by all under the lead of Joshua’s antitype. That the Ark of God was borne by the high-priest and the under-priests, and that these first passed into Jordan, is also significant: it represented how our great High-Priest and the Royal Priesthood, his Church, must first pass into Jordan before any of the people could pass over. And the fact that the high-priest and the under-priests stood in the midst of Jordan while the people all crossed over, illustrates how the passing over, free from divine condemnation, will be effected by the work of the great High-Priest, and his associated “brethren.” He gave himself for our sins; he became a curse for us; he, as the man Christ Jesus, stopped in the midst of Jordan, that the world might pass over; the Royal Priesthood are following him in this sacrifice, and they too are stopping in the midst of Jordan; they also, as joint-heirs with their Lord, lay down their lives on behalf of the brethren,—to the intent that the whole world of mankind, or as many as will, may enter into the glorious Kingdom privileges, according to the divine arrangement.
It was not necessary that the priests should remain in Jordan, and die there, on behalf of the delivered Israelites, in order to complete the type, for instead, by the Lord’s direction, twelve stones were placed where they stood, representing the twelve tribes of Israel—representing the 144,000 out of all the twelve tribes (Rev. 7:1-8) who constitute the Royal Priesthood, and who become dead with Christ, according to the flesh, that they may live with him as new creatures, partakers of the divine nature, and participators with him in the great work of blessing all the families of the earth.
JUDGE NOT BY OUTWARD APPEARANCE
Judge not; the workings of the brain
And of the heart thou can’st not see;
What looks to thy dim eye a stain,
In God’s pure light may only be
A scar, brought from some well-won field,
Where thou would’st only faint and yield.
The look, the air, that frets thy sight,
May be a token that below
The soul had closed in deadly fight
With some internal, fiery foe,
Whose glance would scorch thy smiling grace,
And cast thee, shuddering, on thy face.
The fall thou darest to despise:
May be the angel’s slackened hand
Has suffered it that he may rise
And take a firmer, surer stand;
Or, trusting less to earthly things,
May henceforth learn to use his wings.
And judge none lost; but wait and see,
With hopeful pity, not disdain;
The depth of the abyss may be
The measure of the height of pain
And love and glory that may raise
This soul to God in after days.—Selected
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GRACE SUFFICIENT; ONLY BELIEVE
—JOSHUA 6:12-20.—OCTOBER 19.—
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.”—Heb. 11:30.
AFTER ENTERING Canaan the covenant of circumcision was renewed by the Israelites. Evidently their long journeying in the wilderness, because of unreadiness to enter into Canaan at the first, was to be understood by the Israelites as a period of partial disfavor with the Lord; hence both the circumcision of their children and the annual commemoration of the passover ceased during that period. The renewal of both when they had entered Canaan marked the return of divine favor and evidenced their more acceptable condition of faith toward God. Another change occurred: the manna, the bread from heaven on which they had fed for thirty-nine years, ceased after they had gotten into Canaan and had eaten their first passover there.
They were now ready to take possession of the
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land which God had given them, and were encamped near the city of Jericho, which occupies a sort of key position to Canaan from the direction of their approach. Joshua, the new leader, evidently had in mind the necessity of prompt action against Jericho, and was, no doubt, considering the fact that his army had no implements suitable for attacking such a walled city defended by well armed men, even though the latter were comparatively few in number. It was while on this reconnoitering expedition that he met an angel of the Lord with drawn sword in hand, who, in answer to his question, informed him that he was the Captain of the Lord’s hosts. Joshua, after doing reverence to him, received instructions how he should proceed for the capture of Jericho, and our lesson details the manner in which those instructions were followed out, and the great victory resulting.—Joshua 6.
We have already seen that the land of Canaan prefigures the Millennial Kingdom with its rich blessings which may be secured by all who, under the command of the greater Joshua—Jesus and his glorified Royal Priesthood, desire to be the Lord’s people. The renewal of circumcision on entering the land, would thus signify that one of the first institutions of the Millennial Age will be a consecration to the Lord—to put away sin, to live separate from sin as the Lord’s assisting grace will enable. The renewal of the passover would symbolize that in the Millennial dispensation the important work of redemption by the precious blood will again be brought prominently to the attention of all who desire to be God’s people, and that they can only be his people by a full recognition
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of the Lamb that was slain, and by an eating of his flesh—partaking of the mercies and blessings flowing from his sacrifice. The ceasing of the manna, and the eating, instead, of the fruits and grains of Canaan, may be understood to signify that the new dispensation will have spiritual food and sustenance of its own, and that in great variety and abundance; and that mankind will no longer be dependent upon the divine revelation contained in the Scriptures—upon the Word of God through ancient prophets and apostles. Good and necessary as these are under present conditions, they cannot be to the world all that the more direct teachings and blessings and instructions and guidance of the Millennial Kingdom will be, and will, therefore, not be needed under the new conditions. Now, the Word of God is a lamp for the feet of his saints, and some of its light shines beyond his saints to others in this night time; but by and by, when the Sun of righteousness shall arise and the whole earth be flooded with the glorious light of truth and knowledge, the lamp which at present we cannot prize too highly, will cease to occupy its present exalted and indispensable position, although it will always be appreciated and reverenced.
Another thought respecting Canaan: we have already noted that the Royal Priesthood may in some sense of the word be said to be already in the land of Canaan throughout this Gospel age—by faith—already in the place or condition which Israel after the flesh and the mass of mankind “entered not into because of unbelief.” (Heb. 4:3,6,10.) To this class, Jordan would fitly represent consecration unto death; and Canaan would represent our present newness of life while still in the flesh. To these, the circumcision represents, as the Apostle explains, circumcision of the heart and putting away of sin from the wills; to these the passover signifies not only the acceptance of the merit of Christ’s atonement on our behalf, but also a communion and participation with him in his sacrifice. These, as justified persons, having been fed with the manna from heaven, have been strengthened and brought across Jordan; and now as new creatures they live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”—they live upon the divine promises—”Thy words were found and I did eat them.” (Jer. 15:16.) To these the capture of Jericho and all the battlings with the Canaanites represent victories of the “new creature” over the flesh; not accomplished by their own strength, but accomplished for them by the Lord in recognition of their faith and trust in him.
The capture of Jericho was accomplished in a peculiar manner; the methods which, by the Lord’s command, Joshua adopted, would certainly appear foolish. For six days the armed men of Israel were to pass around the city, one time each day, followed by priests bearing the ark of the covenant and by other priests tooting with rams’ horns, keeping time as they marched. The program on the seventh day was the same except that the armed men and the priests bearing the ark and others with the trumpets passed around the city seven times, and that when they had passed around it the last time the priests with the rams’ horns ceased their tooting and gave a long blast upon the horns which was the signal for all the people of Israel to give a shout as they had previously been directed by Joshua according to the Lord’s instructions. It required faith on the part of Joshua to issue such instructions; it required faith on the part of the armed men of Israel and of the priests to carry out their part of the program which seemed so senseless, so little likely to effect anything against the city which was to be captured; it required faith on the part of all the people to expect that when these procedures had been accomplished and the final long blast on the trumpet had come (v. 5), that the walls of Jericho would fall down flat. No doubt it was part of the divine program thus to develop and test and strengthen the faith of Israel, and to teach them that the victories they were about to gain would not be in their own strength or might, but by the Lord’s power.
Just how this would apply during the Millennial age we may not yet clearly discern; but we are sure that in some manner the lesson will be given to all who then desire to come into harmony with God, that the power of sin, its fortresses and entrenchments in the fallen race, cannot be overcome without divine assistance, and that reliance upon God and obedience to the great Captain of the Lord’s hosts will be essential to every victory. The royal priesthood who have already entered, by faith, into the favors or privileges of the Millennial Kingdom (forgiveness of sins and harmony with the Father and blessings as new creatures), already realize the lesson, that sin is so
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thoroughly entrenched in their fallen human nature that it can be overcome only by divine power. All through the present time the royal priesthood sound the trumpets of warning against sin, and declare themselves as “new creatures” opposed to it, and announce that ultimately it must completely fall; and during the Millennial age this same priestly class, glorified, will still sound the trumpet note of obedience to God and opposition to sin, and in harmony with their instructions they shall finally sound a great blast, and all who are on the Lord’s side will join in, and by the Lord’s grace the power of sin will be utterly overthrown, its walls will fall down flat, and no longer constitute opposition, and every one who is on the Lord’s side will be energetic in the complete destruction of sin not only as relates to his own person, but as respects the utter extermination of sin in every form and in every phase.
The people were told in advance that the entire city was condemned of God; that he had taken the matter in charge and that they were merely to execute the divine decree against that city in its utter destruction and the extermination of every living thing therein, all of which combinedly symbolized evil. The only things that were not to be destroyed either with fire or sword, were the metals, such as gold, silver, etc.; and these were not to be appropriated by the Israelites, but were to be considered the Lord’s. Special caution was given, and the warning that any violation of these terms would bring a corresponding curse upon the person or persons offending and upon the whole camp of the Israelites wherever the condemned things should be found.
Thus during the Millennial age the general lesson will be that sin must be exterminated utterly, and whoever shall seek to hold on to any portion of it will thereby bring a corresponding curse upon himself as did Achan in this instance for securing to himself a “wedge of gold”, and “a goodly Babylonish garment.”
The lesson to the royal priesthood now, as well as to the world in the Millennial age, is that the Lord requires not merely an outward conformity to his Word, but a heart loyalty to him, which will enter fully into sympathy with righteousness and into hatred of iniquity—otherwise the penalty will be the Second Death, as symbolized in the destruction of Achan.
In respect to the slaughter of the people of Jericho, we must remind our readers of the points in our previous lesson in which we showed that the people thus put to death were not cast into an eternity of torture, but that they merely died with probably as little, or less, pain than if they had been smitten with some lingering disease; and that they have a share in the divine mercy and a provision in the great atonement which the Lord Jesus, our great High Priest, is accomplishing for the sins of the whole world, and which will shortly be finished and permit the blessing of all the families of the earth through their Redeemer.
Just a word respecting the miracle of the overthrow of the walls of Jericho. It was a miracle, however it was to be accounted for, as is demonstrated by the connecting facts, the order of the procedure and the particular time, shout, etc. Doubtless God, in the accomplishing of this miracle, used some natural means as in other instances. Possibly an earthquake may have been caused at that particular spot, so as to affect the walls without affecting or alarming the people of Israel but a short distance outside of the city. Another suggestion offered is that there is a dynamic force in certain chords of sound which as yet is but slightly understood, and that it is possible that the Lord operated along the line of this law but little understood by us, for the accomplishment of the overthrow of this wall, using the sound-chord of the long blast, and of the voices of the people, in conjunction with the marching. This does not seem to us a very reasonable view of the matter, nevertheless we give some curious incidents cited, as rather confirmatory, by those who favor such a view. These illustrations follow:—
“‘All structures, large or small, simple or complex, have a definite rate of vibration, depending on their material, size and shape, as fixed as the fundamental note of a musical chord. When the bridge at Colebrooke Dale (the first iron bridge in the world) was building, a fiddler came along and said he could fiddle it down. The workmen laughed in scorn, and told him to fiddle away to his heart’s content. He played until he struck the keynote of the bridge, and it swayed so violently that the astonished workmen commanded him to stop. At one time considerable annoyance was experienced in one of the mills in Lowell. Some days the building was so shaken that a pail of water would be nearly emptied, while on other days all was quiet. Experiment proved it was only when the machinery was running at a certain rate that the building was disturbed. The simple remedy was in running it slower or faster so as to put it out of time with the building. We have here the reason of the rule observed by marching armies when they
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cross a bridge, viz., Stop the music, break step, and open column, lest the measured cadence of a condensed mass of men should urge the bridge to vibrate beyond its sphere of cohesion. Neglect of this has led to fearful accidents. The celebrated engineer, Stephenson, has said that there is not so much danger to a bridge when crowded with men and cattle, as when men go in marching order. The Broughton bridge near Manchester, gave way beneath the tread of only sixty men. A terrible disaster befell a battalion of French infantry while crossing the suspension bridge at Angiers, in France. Repeated orders were given the troops to break into sections, but in the hurry of the moment and in the rain they disregarded the order, and the bridge fell.’—Professor Lovering, of Cambridge. Tyndall tells us that ‘while away up amid the Alpine solitudes of Switzerland a few years ago, I noticed the muleteers tie up the bells of their mules, and was told that the protracted combined tinkling would start an avalanche.'”—Harper’s Young People.
The sum and essence of our lesson is expressed in the words of the Apostle, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13.) Faith is an essential; but we must have crossed the Jordan; we must have been justified; must have partaken of the antitypical passover; must have been sanctified before we could have of the Lord either a promise of victory over our Jericho, or before we could exercise
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such a faith as would result in that victory. If in the type faith could bring the fall of the strong walls of a city, how great must be the value of faith in the antitype! “This is the victory which overcometh the world, even your faith,” but only so long as we trust in the Lord and seek to do those things pleasing to him, can we exercise this overcoming faith.
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“YE WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE”
Question.—In considering the subject of the ransom in the light of a commercial transaction, as expressed by the Apostle in the words, “Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price” (I Cor. 7:23), will you kindly state in as few words as possible what was the price paid? by whom was the purchase made? when was it bought? to whom was the price paid? when will that which was purchased be delivered?
Answer.—The Scriptures most distinctly declare that the whole human family was “sold under sin,” by the first Adam. The price paid him was the fruits of disobedience to God, which eventually proved to be very bitter rewards. The race thus sold under sin became subject to sin’s wages; viz., death, by divine sentence. This sentence was irrevocable, and, hence, would have meant everlasting death, everlasting destruction, had not the Almighty graciously provided for us a ransom. The word “ransom” (Greek, antilutron), signifying corresponding price (Matt. 20:28; I Tim. 2:6), indicates to us the method by which God proposed to assist our race without compromising his own justice and its sentence of death. In order to be our ransom price it was necessary that our Lord Jesus should become “the man Christ Jesus,” yet without sin, without taint, without blemish. This condition was attained through his miraculous birth,—and this purity and freedom from the death sentence upon the rest of mankind was maintained, to the end of his life, in that “he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate” from the sinner-race. In this condition he was ready, prepared thus to become our ransom-price, and this he did become by sacrificing himself, laying down his life on our behalf.
As the condemnation upon the entire race came through one man’s disobedience, so the voluntary sacrifice of the man Christ Jesus who was without sin, was a complete offset to the crime and condemnation of the first man, Adam; and as the race of Adam partook of his penalty, so also his race partakes in his redemption; and thus, as by one man’s disobedience the many became sinners, so by the obedience of one the many were justified to life—freed from the condemnation of death.
Here we see Adam and his race lost under the sentence of death, needing to be purchased or redeemed. Here we see the man Christ Jesus, the Redeemer, and perceive that he gave the corresponding price for all. Here we see God, the Judge, who sentenced Adam, accepting the man Christ Jesus in his stead, as his substitute, a ransom, or corresponding price. We have additionally the words of the Apostle, assuring us that Christ “through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God”—a sacrifice well-pleasing. (Heb. 9:14). We have besides, his testimony that our Lord Jesus took upon himself our human nature, that “he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” We have, also, the testimony that this plan was such an arrangement as to preserve the honor and dignity of divine justice, and yet to bring mercy and forgiveness to the human culprit, in the words, “That he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” Without the payment of Adam’s penalty for him, God could not have justly released the sinner from his sentence;—to have done so would have been an injustice—a violation of justice—as surely as the original sentence was a just one.
As already indicated, the payment of this penalty began when our Lord reached perfect manhood and made his consecration to death at Jordan, symbolizing it in baptism. It was finished on Calvary. As the ransom, the man Christ Jesus must stay dead; but in harmony with the previous proposition of the Father he was granted life on a higher plane, as a partaker of the divine nature, in reward for his obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. When he ascended up on high and appeared in the presence of God, he presented before him the sacrifice which he had made in the flesh, appropriating a part of it at once to those who had already believed on him—the apostles and other faithful ones of that time—and to all those who would believe on him through their word throughout this Gospel age. In evidence that this was accepted of the Father and accounted sufficient to cancel our sins, note the fact that the Redeemer was at once granted the privilege of pouring out at Pentecost upon his faithful disciples the holy spirit of adoption, as evidencing to them the full forgiveness of their sins; and thus indirectly testifying not only that Jesus had arisen from the dead and ascended up on high, but, also, that his sacrifice for sins was full, sufficient and acceptable to justice.
As to when the thing purchased will be delivered, we reply, that in the case of the Church there is a reckoned deliverance granted at once, when we believe. We are counted free from sin—justified by faith, justified by his blood, by the grace of God; and this justification becomes to believers the ground or foundation of their consecration to the Father, as joint-sacrificers with Christ in the sufferings of this present time, and the foundation of their hope of being joint-participators with him in the glories to follow. In the case of the world in general, practically no benefit from the death of Christ comes in the present time. The world must wait until the Church of Christ, admitted by divine grace to a share in his sufferings, shall have filled up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ (Col. 1:2,4), and shall have been glorified with him. Then these, as the glorified sons of God, shall shine forth in Millennial grandeur,
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for the blessing of the world, by the rolling away of the clouds of ignorance, superstition, prejudice, etc., and by lifting up so many as will, out of present slavery to sin and death into the liberty of the sons of God. That Millennial day, then, will be the great day of delivering that which Christ purchased with his precious blood—delivering mankind in general (so many as shall heartily accept divine favor on the original terms proffered to Adam; viz., thorough obedience).
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FIDELITY TO EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY BRIDEGROOMS
Dear Mr. Russell:
Since appreciating the light of present truth and endeavoring to walk in it I have been much restrained in my reading, and have several times been forbidden to attend any meetings held, or to hold any communications with any of the dear brethren.
For a while I quietly submitted and never had any reading matter around, except the Bible, when my husband came home. Then I grew bolder, and began to leave a tract about again. But each attack was worse, and finally my husband said: “If I see any more of those books or tracts about I’ll burn them.” My son has a Leeser, a Diaglott, etc.; they as well as the “Dawns,” were all taken care of by my oldest son who is not in the truth.
I find I must read the “Dawns“; they are more to me than my daily food, yet when I surreptitiously get one and am reading, I tremble and hide it if I hear a footfall. I am not happy, especially since it was shown to me that we should obey God, rather than man. Ought I to obey my husband
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in this, seeing that Christ is my Head? I feel like a coward in this.
Your favor of the 22nd is before me. I am glad that you have expressed yourself freely, and am glad to note that you have the spirit of a sound mind on this important subject. Your husband, probably a strong-minded man, has not fully recognized to what extent his attitude toward you on this subject is unreasonable and tyrannical. We are fully in sympathy with the Scriptural injunction that wives should obey their husbands; but this does not, as you have perceived, imply that the wife should obey her husband in matters contrary to the admonitions of the heavenly Bridegroom. No reasonable earthly husband will make such requirements, and we will trust that yours will consider the matter differently ere long. He will be helped, however, in seeing the right way by your kind and loving treatment of him, and your earnest endeavor to please him in all legitimate and proper ways, but by your positiveness, your firm decision and resolute conduct in the matters which appertain to your proper liberties of conscience. I would readily agree to keep my books and papers out of sight during my husband’s presence in the home; but I would neither agree not to think nor to read, nor would I agree to absent myself from the meetings of those of like precious faith.
I would tell my husband plainly that it is our duty to obey the heavenly Bridegroom first, and that when he says “Forget not the assembling of yourselves together,” I considered it duty to follow that admonition at any cost; that I hoped this would appeal to him as a reasonable and correct course; that I had no thought of neglecting legitimate, proper, home obligations and duties toward him, and the other members of my family, but would be as faithful or more faithful, than if under the influence of any other than my present convictions. I would tell him that this much liberty at least was thoroughly understood by me when entering the marriage relationship; that if in his marriage vows he did not intend to accord liberties of conscience he had misled and deceived me, and that in any event I would not submit to that kind of bondage, and that the quicker the matter was decided the better; that under no circumstances or conditions would I move one iota from this position, so long as I considered that my position was according to the will of the Lord; that if this led to any breach between us the fault and the change were certainly on his side, as I had never given away my liberty of conscience and never intended to do so, and would not ask him to violate his; that I believed that my view of this would not only stand the test of the Scriptures but also of all men and women possessed of sound common sense.
In harmony with this I would assure my husband that the truth, so far from making me less careful of his interests and my obligations as a wife, should make me more careful; and that I believed that if he took a right view and stand upon the subject, as I was determined to do, it would mean an increase of blessing to us both and to the household.
If after a reasonable season of patient, loving remonstrance against such attempts to fetter my conscience there was no change for the better, I would consider that I had been deserted by my husband;—that he had ceased to be a husband and become an oppressor and was not treating me as even a slave might hope to be treated in respect to his or her conscientious convictions. Taking the matter to the Lord I should look for relief—for the liberty wherewith Christ makes free. Not liberty to remarry, however; indeed even aside from the divine law making marriage perpetual (except upon one condition—Matt. 19:9) such an experience should be sufficient for anybody.
I will remember you at the throne of grace, that the Lord will guide in your affairs.
“THE GREAT COMPANY”
Question.—When and how did the class that fails to keep its consecration get “before the throne”? I understand that this class is to pass through the tribulation and “wash its robes and make them white in the blood of the lamb.”
Answer.—This class seems to be located most particularly at the present time—altho there may have been some throughout this age, who, because of failure voluntarily to suffer, have been forced to suffer either with Christ in tribulation experiences, or to deny him and thus be condemned to the Second Death. In the tribulation time which will follow the Church’s glorification we anticipate crucial tests upon all the Lord’s true people, and faithfulness then will mean “great tribulation” ending in death, which to these will signify change to spiritual conditions. On the other hand failure to meet the trials devotedly will mean full, intelligent rejection of Christ, and will bring the full penalty of such a course; viz., Second Death.