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VOL. XXIX MAY 1. No. 9
A.D. 1908—A.M. 6036
Views from the Watch Tower……………………131
Capitalists Warned by Miners………………131
Ministers of Christ Hypnotists…………….131
The Egotism of Higher Critics……………..132
Will Episcopalians and Greek Catholics Unite?.132
“In My Father’s House”……………………….132
The New Way of Life………………………133
“Greater Works Shall Ye Do”……………….134
Yearly Requests for Pilgrim Visits…………….135
The Holy Spirit Promised……………………..136
“He will Reprove the World”……………….137
Our Lord Betrayed and Denied………………….139
“The Hour of Temptation that Shall Try”…….140
Berean Studies on the Atonement……………….143
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NEW POSTAL REGULATIONS
A new postoffice ruling should be known to all our readers. Hereafter newspapers and magazines will not be allowed to keep on their lists the addresses of expired subscriptions—except for a few months: semi-monthlies, such as the WATCH TOWER, three months; quarterlies, such as the Old Theology, six months. If your papers stop coming you will know the reason why.
Subscription lists hereafter must contain the addresses of only those who (1) have paid their money, or (2) have definitely asked for credit, or (3) whose subscriptions have been paid for them at their request. The majority of our subscriptions come under either the first or second of these rules, and we here remark that the publishers are at liberty to extend a credit for another and another year, if the subscriber so requests, but not otherwise. As for the third class; these subscriptions of the Lord’s poor are paid for them gladly by Tract Fund donations of those more favored financially. But do not forget that these also under the new regulations must write us yearly requesting this. Look at the address label on your paper and note thereon the time of expiration of your subscription and act accordingly. We prefer to have the “Lord’s poor” write us in May each year. As paid subscriptions come at the close of the year this helps to divide the office labors. Remember that we like to have on our List the names of all the interested. Those who donate to the Fund which pays your subscription are delighted to have the privilege of thus serving the fellow-members of the Body of Christ. Therefore let no feeling of false modesty hinder you from making request under these terms if you need so to do. You can no more afford to do without the spiritual food than to starve naturally.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
CAPITALISTS WARNED BY MINERS
THE United Mine Workers’ Journal, of February 25th last, under the caption, “A Portentous Outlook,” says:—
“No one who is able to read the signs of the times can fail to be impressed with the portentous features that loom up from all sides of the industrial horizon. It does seem that the ‘captains of industry’ are determined to force a crisis in the affairs of this nation.
“Those who look behind the superficial, see in all this an attempt to punish the laboring classes, thus striking President Roosevelt over their heads, in order to discredit his policy. If in order that industry shall go on unchecked the food poisoner, the bank and railroad wreckers must be permitted to carry on their schemes unchecked and unopposed that fact cannot be too quickly known. The ruthless reduction in wages, the provocative methods employed to exasperate the working-men into strikes seem to point, as true as a needle to the pole, to the fact that we are facing an industrial and political crisis.
“They are making the mistakes of their lives. They are but a drop in the bucket, as they will learn to their sorrow, should they press this matter to a head. It is well for these men to remember that the creature is never greater than the creator. If they knew what was fermenting under the surface they would come to their senses at once, a thing they should do before it is too late.
* * *
In publishing this item, the WATCH TOWER is not to be understood to endorse all of its statements. Much can be said on both sides of every controversy, and not infrequently both sides are extreme and wide of the truth, which lies between their extremes. The rabid, bitter utterances of many laboring men are much to be deplored. Calmer words and arguments and votes at the poles would be the more sensible course. Likewise, capitalists are sometimes credited with very unwise and provocative language, calculated to stir up strife. But what can we expect? These people, rich and poor, are listed on the world’s census reports as “Christians” of various denominations; yet but few of them know even the first principles of the doctrines of Christ. How can we expect of them the fruits of God’s holy Spirit—meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness, love?
A brother, a railroad engineer, who is in close touch with fellow-laborers, tells us that the spirit of unrest and of bitterness toward the wealthy is growing. He cited as an illustration the fact that while one department of the railroad business was closed recently to curtail expenses, and although the employees were given work at another place, nevertheless, the official in charge of the transfer so realized the spirit of animosity prevalent that he took two trusted men as a guard each visit while superintending the transfer.
MINISTERS OF CHRIST HYPNOTISTS
“Faith and hypnotism will be used by the Rev. Dr. Robert MacDonald, pastor of the Washington Avenue Baptist Church, Brooklyn, to cure hysteria, insomnia, neurasthenia, drunkenness, religious melancholia and suicidal mania.
“Dr. MacDonald announced his intention to his congregation and will begin his work today.
“The faith-in-God-hypnotic-suggestion idea was given to Dr. MacDonald by the Rev. Dr. Worcester, of Boston. Dr. Worcester has accomplished some almost miraculous cures by this method, and he explained it to Dr. MacDonald, who spent ten days with him.”—N.Y. Journal.
* * *
We cannot prove our fears that hypnotism is a demoniacal power, but as previously set forth in these columns, such is our belief. All so-called “psychic powers” by which wonders can be worked associate themselves more or less distinctly with Spiritism, respecting the source of which we have no room for doubt.
This does not signify that the ministers above named (and all others who practice hypnotism), are intelligently serving satanic interests. God forbid! Our thought is that “the god of this world has blinded their (mental) eyes.” We are, as our readers well know, expecting wonderful developments along all “occult” and “black art” and spiritist lines during the next few years, as a part of the great “hour of temptation that shall try them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth.”—Rev. 3:10.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Too great carefulness respecting every word and act and plan is not possible. Temptations may come along the line of
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our natural weaknesses, but may be even more effective against us along the lines of our greatest strength of character, because less carefully guarded. The Apostle says, “When I am weak, then I am strong”—because more carefully leaning on the everlasting arms in the face of such besetments. Let us consider it the reverse way—when I am strong, then am I weak, because less likely to be on guard and to be relying on our Lord’s assistance. “Without me ye can do nothing.”
THE EGOTISM OF HIGHER CRITICS
The editor of a local journal, without pretending any special skill as a theologian, sees clearly one thing at least, that the Higher Critics are quite conceited when, although unable to agree among themselves, they invite the world to allow them to make a new Bible out of the old one. They claim that what others do not possess in the way of spiritual intuition, they each do possess: not only enough for their own needs, but a supply, also, for the whole world. He says:
“Either Higher Criticism is a good thing or it is not—either desirable or undesirable. At any rate it has become the great issue of the day in theology. Disturbing or otherwise it is too prominent in the thoughts of the world for a paper that pretends to reflect public opinion to ignore it. Our exchanges almost without exception contain letters and editorials upon this most important subject. In the meantime, what are we to do with it? It is being said more and more by clergymen that only the technically proficient are at all qualified
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to express an opinion upon the correctness or otherwise of criticism high or low.
“With the Higher Critics and their followers the development of man is still proceeding. What it may result in is not yet foreseen. So far, however, it has resulted in a critical attitude toward a book called the Bible, out of which by dint of paring and padding they propose to make the real Word of God. They feel themselves inspired so to do by the inward unfolding to them of the Divine purpose. The lower critics regard all this as presumption, as an extra-biblical attempt to give to the world a true revelation.
“There is no one to say, however, where it should at any time end. The reason of the individual reader, these critics maintain, is necessarily that reader’s final court of appeal. Yet, as we remarked before, even this does not seem to be permitted by them, since they also maintain that the individual reader may not be qualified. We have then in the last analysis a constituted hierarchy of Higher Critics who do not agree among themselves and cannot agree farther than to say that their theory in manner of interpreting is identical, even if their interpretations prove contradictory.”
WILL EPISCOPALIANS AND GREEK CATHOLICS UNITE?
The Toronto Mail and Empire prints the following report and sees in it a prospect of a great church union:
“The first organization of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Union in this country was perfected at an enthusiastic meeting held this afternoon at the parish-house of the Transfiguration and attended by many well-known Episcopalian churchmen and laymen, and has, it is understood, the entire sympathy of Bishop Potter and other high Church officials, and is said to be the culmination of a movement which originated in the house of the bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church. It follows closely upon the return to this country of the Rev. Dr. Charles C. Grafton, Bishop of Fond du Lac, Wis., who made an extended trip through Russia and the East, carrying the greetings and kindly expressions of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America.
“The Church at large, which is not advised of the deliberations of the House of Bishops, has always understood that Bishop Grafton was sent abroad to learn the attitude of the Eastern Orthodox Churches toward closer union with the Protestant Episcopal or Anglican Church. Since Bishop Grafton’s return he had made it plain that his reception from the high officials of the Russian and Greek Catholic Churches was most cordial, and that their sentiment was strong in favor of closer union.”
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“IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE”
—JOHN 14:1-14—MAY 3—
Golden Text:—”In my Father’s house are many mansions.”
AFTER the Lord had washed the disciples’ feet, and had given the sop to Judas, who then went out, and he had told the disciples that they all would be offended that night because of him, and had answered Peter that he would deny his Lord thrice before the cock crew, we may well suppose that the hearts of the eleven were heavy, disturbed, troubled with fearful forebodings. Had they indeed been deluded or had they misunderstood the Master when he told them that he was the Messiah, the heir of the Kingdom, and that they should sit with him in his throne? How could they interpret his language, seeing that only five days before he had received the hosannas of the multitude as the Son of David, the King of Israel, when riding on the ass? What could it mean that the Master was now “exceeding sorrowful” and spoke of betrayal, and of their dispersion and of his own death?
It was in answer to these their troubled thoughts that our Lord spoke to them the beautiful words of comfort and consolation recorded in the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th chapters of John’s Gospel, beginning—”Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
The apostles were already consecrated to God as his servants, before they came in contact with Jesus; they already believed in God, trusted in him, were Israelites indeed without guile. This is testified to further by our Lord’s prayer, in which he says, “Thine they were and thou gavest them me.” The trouble in their hearts was not in respect to the foundations of their hopes, for these were all established. They not only knew and trusted God, but knew and trusted also the promises of God respecting the Kingdom and the blessing that should come to all the families of the earth through it. The whole question before their minds was respecting Jesus: Was he indeed the Messiah, or had they built some false expectations upon his wonderful words and deeds? How should they understand it if now, after three and a half years of ministry, he should die at the hands of his enemies, instead
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of establishing his Kingdom and subduing all things to himself, as they had expected? He had said that he was going away, and that whither he would go they could not come. How could they understand these matters and harmonize them?
“YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN”
They had not yet learned the meaning of the words which, early in his ministry, our Lord had addressed to Nicodemus—”Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”; “Except a man be born of water and of spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3,5.) But these were spiritual truths, and could not be appreciated until Pentecost would bring them the anointing of the holy Spirit, and permit them to “comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths” of the divine plan. But they did need some comfort, and the Master proceeded to give them the best and the strongest spiritual food, instruction, that they were able to receive. He had many things to tell them, but they could not bear them then, could not understand them, until the anointing of the holy Spirit should prepare their hearts.
Our Lord began by reviving in them their faith in the Father and in his plan, saying, Ye believe in God,—believe also in me: recognize the fact that all of the Father’s plan will be accomplished, and inasmuch as you have seen my loyalty to the Father in word and in deed, and inasmuch as you have seen the Father’s power unto good works manifested in me, let faith’s anchor hold; continue to trust me, continue to have confidence, and you shall have a blessing; wait for the development of the divine plan, and it will more than satisfy your highest expectations. You are perplexed because I said that I am going away—going to the Father, but let me explain to you that my going is in your interest: I go to prepare a place for you in my Father’s house of many apartments; and as surely as I do this I will come again and receive you unto myself, that we may henceforth be together forever.
Thus, in a few words, the Master declared the work of the Gospel Age, pointing to his second advent and the glorification of the Church at the end of the age. He did not here stop to give them detailed explanations of the trials of faith and of patience through which they must pass; this he had done on other occasions, warning and cautioning them (Matt. 24); now their hearts were troubled, and he would merely console them with the assurance that his going away was necessary, that his second coming would be certain, and that the gathering of all to everlasting fellowship with him in the mansions prepared was assured.
THE FATHER’S HOUSE IS REALLY THE UNIVERSE
Figuratively speaking, heaven is God’s throne, the earth his footstool. Divine providence has made abundant arrangement for the everlasting blessedness of all the sons of God. In the divine arrangement a provision had been made for man when in harmony with God, before the fall, but by reason of sin all of man’s rights to a place in the everlasting abode of the just had been forfeited, and at the time of our dear Redeemer’s discourse he was in the world for the very purpose of redeeming man and all his forfeited rights and possessions. (Luke 19:10; Eph. 1:14.) The purchase had not yet been completed—our Lord intended to finish the arrangements therefor at Calvary within a few hours. But this would cost the sacrifice of himself—the full surrender of the man Christ Jesus as a man, and he could be with them no longer as a man. The hope was that by his obedience to the divine will he should not only redeem Adam and his race by the sacrifice of himself, the man Christ Jesus, but that he should be raised from death to a new nature on a higher plane—the divine nature. Thus it was necessary that he should go away from them as the man Christ Jesus, and that they should see him no more as a man, but that in due time, at his second coming, they also should be “changed” from human conditions to spirit conditions, and “be like him and see him as he is.”—I John 3:2.
It was necessary also that, after laying down his life, he should ascend to the Father and present his sacrifice on man’s behalf—as man’s ransom—and this he did: the Pentecostal blessing was the divine attestation that the sacrifice for sins was accepted of the Father on man’s behalf, and that the blessings which came forth upon all who accepted Jesus as their Redeemer were the result.
The interim between our Lord’s death and his second advent is not long from any standpoint of faith. (1) It is not long from God’s standpoint, for, as the Apostle Peter declares, “A thousand years are as one day” with the Lord. (2 Pet. 3:8.) (2) It is not long from the standpoint of true believers, for to none of them is the average of life and waiting above fifty years. We are not to take the longest and most incongruous view of this period—not to feel as though we had been living for eighteen hundred years in expectancy: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” and sufficient to each individual is his own share in the trials, polishings and preparations for the coming of the Bridegroom to receive him unto himself. While it is an affair of the Church as a whole in one sense of the word, it is an individual affair in the most important sense of the word to each of the Lord’s followers.
THE NEW WAY OF LIFE
“And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” For three years our Lord had been making himself known to his disciples, and also making them acquainted with the Father’s character; and hence, when he now informed them that he was going home to the Father, they were to feel that they knew the Father better than ever, and could better than ever appreciate such a home of righteousness and true happiness as he would provide and maintain. Moreover, their experience with the Lord, including his instructions and leading, had made them acquainted with the way to God, even though they did not recognize it as such. Hence our Lord’s declaration, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life—no man cometh to the Father but by me.”
Our Lord was the “Way” in that only through his
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sacrifice, the “ransom,” imputing his merit to sinners, could they be made acceptable to the Father or be received back again into fellowship with him. He was the “Truth” in the sense that only through his words, his instructions, his guidance, could there be any hope of coming into harmony with the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth. He was the “Life” in that all the race was dead, under divine sentence—had forfeited the rights of life—and none could come again into life conditions except through him, through the life which he gave for ours. Thus he is our Ransom or Way; our Teacher or Instructor in righteousness, in the truth, and our Life-giver—”Neither is there salvation in any other.” “No man cometh unto the Father but by me”—no man need hope for any place in any of the mansions of the Father’s house by any other way, by any other truth, by any other life.—Acts 4:12; John 14:6.
And so also Christ will be the Way, the Truth and the Life to the world of mankind in the Millennial Age. And as the Lord, by his sacrifice and offering, opened for the Gospel Church, his Bride, an abode in the heavenly division of God’s mansion or house, so by the same sacrifice he redeemed and will restore and give to mankind (to as many as obey him—Acts 3:23) a home in the earthly divisions of the Father’s house, which will then again become a Paradise of God.
Much as the apostles esteemed the Master, it was difficult for them to grasp the thought of his perfection—that he was the very image of God in the flesh. (I Tim. 3:16.) They had heard him tell, and indeed knew also from the Law, that “God is a spirit”—not flesh, and hence not visible. They had heard him declare previously, also, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, … he hath revealed him.” (John 1:18.) But they had never grasped the thought that in seeing Jesus they saw the most that was possible to be seen of the divine character—its likeness, its perfect image in flesh. It was therefore necessary that the Master should call their attention to this fact, saying, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He did not mean them to understand that he was the Father, for this he had distinctly disclaimed repeatedly, telling them that the Father was greater, and that the works which he did were done by the Father’s power. (John 14:28,10.) Nor did he mean them to understand that in seeing him they had seen an invisible being, as God is invisible. He did mean them to understand that in seeing his character, his motives, his love, they had seen a true expression that most faithfully represented the Father in all these particulars.
He would have them understand the unity subsisting between the Father and himself; his will was buried into the Father’s will, he would have no other: “Not my will but thine be done.” He would have them understand that the Father, by his power, by his Spirit, dwelt in him also, so that his words and works fully and completely represented the Father. He declared to them that the works which they had witnessed during his ministry fully attested this power of the Highest resting upon him and operating through him. And this seems to have fully satisfied the apostles, and to have brought rest to their hearts.
“GREATER WORKS SHALL YE DO”
As a further explanation of the necessity for his going to the Father, our Lord declares that as a result of his going his followers should do greater works than he had done. It may perhaps be proper to think that some of these “greater works” will occur after the Kingdom has been established—the great work of awakening the world of mankind from the sleep of death and restoring the willing and obedient to the full perfection of human life. That, truly, will be a greater work than our Lord Jesus accomplished at his first advent, for then his greatest work was the awakening of some sleeping ones without bringing them to the full perfection of human nature.
But in our opinion this is not the only sense in which the Lord’s followers are to understand that their works shall be greater than those of the Master. The Lord’s works were on a fleshly plane as a matter of necessity. The holy Spirit had not yet come—could not come until after he had given the ransom price and had presented it to the Father, and it had been accepted. Consequently, those to whom he ministered (even his disciples, not being begotten of the Spirit) could not be instructed from that standpoint. Their ears were heavy as respected earthly things, but in regard to heavenly things they could understand nothing; for, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” It is since Pentecost that “God hath revealed them [spiritual things] unto us by his Spirit,” which “searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God.”—I Cor. 2:10,14; John 3:12.
In the midst of the house of servants—none yet begotten of the Spirit, none yet granted the privilege of sonship (John 1:12)—our Lord could do and teach on no higher plane than the earthly, except as he “spoke unto the people in parables and dark sayings,” which in due time the Church should understand, under the leading of the holy Spirit. It was in consequence of this that our Lord’s miracles were all physical, and that his plain, understandable teachings were all on a plane appreciable by the natural man.
But when the holy Spirit was come, after Pentecost, the Lord’s people, in his name and as his representatives, began to do greater, more wonderful works than those which he himself had performed. Did the Lord open the eyes of the blind? His followers were privileged to open the eyes of men’s understanding! Did the Lord heal the physically sick? His disciples were permitted to heal the spiritually diseased! Did the Lord cure physical leprosy? It was the privilege of his followers to heal spiritual leprosy, sin. Did our Lord revive the dead? It was the privilege of his followers to preach a Gospel by which many “passed from death unto life” in a much higher sense. And the privileges of these still greater works are yet with the
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Lord’s people. Blessed are those who appreciate their great privileges, and are about the Father’s business with energy, with zeal! But those who, having received a talent of the Lord, bury it in the earth—in business, in pleasure, in society—cannot expect to be received of the Master at his second coming, nor to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord.”
As indicating how fully he would still continue to be the active agent of the Father in all things relating to the Church, our Lord assures us that such things as we ask of the Father he (Jesus) will do for us, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. The Father hath committed all things into the hands of the Son; nevertheless, in everything the Son acknowledges the Father and gives glory to his name.
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YEARLY REQUESTS FOR PILGRIM VISITS
WE request a careful consideration of the following suggestions by all who are desirous of securing the services of our “Pilgrim” brethren during the ensuing year. The “Pilgrim” branch of the work is increasing in importance each year, and we find it necessary to husband carefully our resources and use the best information obtainable in order that we may secure the best results.
The brethren chosen for this service are not sent forth as perfect, though the Society considers them worthy brethren in every way—ensamples to the flock in doctrine and practice. They travel continuously, as per announcement on last page of TOWER, all their expenses being met by the Society. They do not solicit money or anything else, either for themselves or for the Society. The service is free, the expenses being borne by the contributors to the Tract Fund. We seek divine guidance as to who shall be engaged in this service and where it shall be rendered.
The routine of the “Pilgrims” is in circuits arranged in harmony with the interest shown and requests received, and, since many changes occur during a year, we desire that requests for “Pilgrim” visits be made yearly in May. Please answer the following questions, or as many of them as apply in your case. These responses are filed for our information for twelve months. If you have already written us this year requesting “Pilgrim” visits, we should be pleased to have you repeat your request in harmony with the following questions. As new conditions arise we find it advisable to alter slightly the questions in order that we may be properly advised as to the condition of each locality as far as possible. You need not repeat the questions, but merely indicate them thus, (a), (b), etc. A postal-card will serve our every purpose and can be readily filed for reference. Please attend to this matter at once, in order that there may be no disappointment should a “Pilgrim” be coming your way. All letters referring to “Pilgrim” work should be noted on envelope, thus, “Pilgrim Department.” (a) How many Bible students reside in your vicinity? (b) Are weekly meetings held? (c) How many are usually in attendance? (d) Where do you now meet? (Give full street address.) (e) At what hours are the Sunday meetings held? (f) Was a vote taken on the “Pilgrim” invitation? (g) How many voted for the invitation to be sent? (h) How many, if any, voted against the invitation? (i) Would a suitable place be found for a public meeting? (j) What attendance do you think could be secured for the public session by such notification and advertising as your class would give? (k) Would a suitable place be found for semi-private meetings for the interested? (l) Have the members of your class chosen leaders in accordance with DAWN, VOL. VI., chaps. 5 and 6? If so, give names and full addresses of each. (m) Give full names and full addresses of the two (2) to whom notices of a coming “Pilgrim” should be sent, and notify us as to any change or removal. (n) If your town is not on a railroad give the name of proper railroad station at which to stop. (o) How many miles from station is meeting place, and which direction from station? (p) Would “Pilgrim” be met at station? (q) If not, how could “Pilgrim” get from said station? (r) Give writer’s full name and address. (s) Any additional remarks.
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THE HOLY SPIRIT PROMISED
—JOHN 16:4-15—MAY 10—
Golden Text:—”I will pray the Father, and he will send you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever. —John 14:16.
OUR Lord, on the way to Gethsemane on the night of his betrayal, gave the discourse of this lesson to his disciples. He had been telling them what they must expect as his followers; that they would be misunderstood, persecuted, reviled, because of their faithfulness to him and to the brethren whom he represented—”But these things have I told you that when the time shall come ye may remember that I told you of them.” (v. 4.) He had not told them of all that they might expect, intimating this when he said, “I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now.” The same may be said to be true of all that ever become the Lord’s disciples. They see a sufficiency of light for one step at a time, but the trials and difficulties future are graciously held from them that they may not be overwhelmed by them. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” This was not deception, not the alluring of his disciples into doing something contrary to their wills. At the very outstart the Master assures us that unless we take up our cross and follow
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him we cannot be his disciples. If we take this step honestly and sincerely we see plenty of difficulty in connection therewith, without knowing particulars of the troubles to come. Indeed, if we knew of our future trials we should be unjustly overwhelmed thereby, since at first we could but imperfectly appreciate the meaning of our Lord’s words, “My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in your weakness,” and the assurance that he will not suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able, but will with every temptation provide a way of escape. (2 Cor. 12:9; I Cor. 10:13.) Hence, as the Lord’s people take one step after another they find these promises quite true; they find themselves sustained, they find they have no more than they can bear, and that although their trials are indeed severer than at the beginning of the way, yet these can be overcome, because of growth in grace and knowledge.
The power by which the Lord would grant his aid to his persecuted followers during his personal absence was something difficult for them to understand. In our lesson the Master makes the matter as plain as possible, calling the power, the influence which he would exert on their behalf the holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the truth. As the influence thus to be exerted upon them would be sustaining and comforting, the Lord denominated this Spirit or power a comforter, a sustainer, a helper. He did not say that he would send another person to deal with them; no other person could deal with them better than himself. It was a spirit, an influence, a power which he would send, and this would fully represent the Father and fully represent himself, so that in having the holy Spirit they would be having the fellowship of the Father and the fellowship of the Son. This holy Spirit is properly enough spoken of in the masculine, even as the Father and the Son are represented in the masculine. As it stands the propriety is obvious.
THE HOLY TRINITY
During the “dark ages” a great deal of confusion of thought prevailed and the clear teachings of the Scriptures were lost sight of. Indeed, the Bible for a time was little in use. The Bishops were credited with being the equals of the apostles in inspiration, under the doctrine of the Apostolic Succession. Hence, when these met in councils their vote or decision on a doctrine was accepted as apostolic, authoritative. Seemingly
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it was overlooked that the Lord chose but twelve apostles and said nothing about any successors to them, and that in Revelation he intimated there would be no successors when he pointed out the New Jerusalem with twelve foundations only, and in those twelve foundations the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.—Rev. 21:14.
Quite early in the second century the influence of the Grecian philosophy upon the Church is quite noticeable, and various errors became prominent. One of these especially related to our Lord, practically putting him on a par with the Grecian philosophers, Socrates and Plato, and denying his special birth and his pre-human existence. In combating those errors some, loyal to the Lord, went to the other extreme and declared him, contrary to his own words, equal to the Father. (John 10:29; 14:28.) Next came disputation respecting the holy Spirit, and these same extremists took the ground that there are three gods, the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit, “equal in power and glory.”
Peculiarly enough, after claiming that they were equal, which implies that they are not the same in person, but different persons, the claim was made that they are really one in person. Of course, such unscriptural, illogical reasoning cannot support itself, and hence those taking this position were driven to various expedients and subterfuges of argument. At times some of them claimed that there are really three Gods in one person, while others claimed that there are really three persons in one God, and not being able to explain either of the nonsensical statements, they have resorted to that word so useful to error and superstition, namely, “Mystery,” “Mystery.” They tell us that the matter of the Trinity is so mysterious that neither they nor anyone need to understand it. If they do not understand it they, indeed, should not discuss it; but this should not hinder others who can understand it, and who see most clearly that the entire mystery is of their own making; that the Bible teaching on the subject is most clear, simple, harmonious and satisfactory.
When the Apostle discusses the question of God he says to us, There is one living and true God, not three! He proceeds to say that this one living and true God is the Father; then he adds that there is one Lord Jesus Christ. (I Cor. 8:6.) As we have already seen this same Apostle declares that the Father highly exalted the Lord Jesus and gave him a name which is above every name; that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. (Phil. 2:9,10; John 5:23.) This means that there are two persons, for in no other way could one exalt and honor another; and if the Son is to be honored as is the Father it follows, as other Scriptures show, that he is now partaker of the divine nature and that he was exalted to this high honor and dignity—”far above angels, principalities and powers”—as a reward for his obedience to the Father’s will, in having come into the world and redeemed mankind at the cost of his own life in pursuance of the divine purposes. This we have already seen from John 1:1—that our Lord, before he came into the world, before the world was made by him as the Father’s agent, was the Logos, the Word, the Messenger of the God, Jehovah, and that he was a God, a mighty one, superior to angels, the one “by whom all things were made that were made; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
It will be noticed that the Apostle, in speaking of the Father and the Son, refers to them as separate persons, and that he does not refer to the holy Spirit as another God, nor as the third part of God. Not that the Apostle ignores the holy Spirit however, for throughout all of his epistles it is recognized as the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of the Son, representing both Father and Son in the Church. Nor are we to understand that the holy Spirit is a spirit being—as when we read, “God is a spirit”—but that the word used signifies the spirit of a being, the power, influence, will, purpose, strength or whatever proceeds from the person. The holy Spirit is said to proceed from the Father and from the Son as an influence or power, and this influence or power in the Church of consecrated believers operates in turn upon those with whom they mingle. It is always a good and holy spirit or influence, and is thus clearly distinct from the spirit of the world,
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the disposition of the world, the influence of the world, the spirit of sin, the spirit of anti-Christ, etc.
“THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS NOT YET GIVEN”
Our Lord gently broke to his sorrowing, bewildered disciples the news of his prospective departure to the Father who sent him. They did not ask where, for they believed his word, that he had come forth from the Father and that he would return to the Father who sent him. But sorrow had filled their hearts. What would they do without the Lord! How could the promise of the Kingdom ever be fulfilled if he went away! Had they been following a delusion for three years? They would not doubt the Lord, but they were perplexed. Our Lord, therefore, explained that if they understood matters properly, it would relieve them of much of their distress, as it really was to their advantage, in their interest, that he should go away. Had he not gone away it would have been impossible for the Father to beget them of the Spirit and recognize them as sons of God; hence it would not have been possible for them ever to be more than human beings, ever to become spirit beings or partakers of the divine nature, together with its glories and honors. Indeed, without the departure of our Lord it would have been impossible for them to attain even to human restitution, for the entire work of salvation, both as respects the Church and the world, was dependent upon our Lord’s fulfilling the demands of justice. On the following day, as the Lamb of God, he died for the sin of Adam, which rested upon the entire race, and on the third day the Father raised him up by his own power. In this great transaction on our behalf a most important work was accomplished; but the benefits of that work, under the divine arrangement, could not come either to the Church or to the world, until first our Lord would ascend on high and appear in the presence of the Father and present the merit of his sacrifice as an oblation on behalf of his people. Had Jesus remained with his followers all through this age, even as a spirit being (as he was with them during the forty days), no one could have been begotten of the holy Spirit. It was necessary for Christ to ascend and present the merit of his sacrifice before we could be accepted and adopted, before we could receive the holy Spirit.
When the apostles received the holy Spirit at Pentecost, they said, “This is that which was spoken of by the Prophet Joel”—not, This is he who was spoken of by the Prophet Joel. They called it a baptism with the holy Spirit! A baptism with a person is not a conceivable or proper thought; nor could it be a proper thought that the holy Spirit as a person is personally present in each believer’s heart! Whenever we attach the thought of personality it implies place. Thus we see that God is a spirit, not that God is spirit; but we do not speak of the holy Spirit as being separate, as though it were a person separate and distinct from the Father and from the Son; it is referred to in the Scriptures as the Spirit of God, belonging to God, emanating from God; a Spirit of Christ, emanating from Christ; a Spirit or influence or power which is all pervasive, which can exercise itself in any place or in any number of places at any time and perform any kind of work or mission. How much more satisfactory is the true thought respecting the holy Spirit than the absurd and unscriptural ones! We might remark in this connection that the word “him” of verse 7 in the Greek could, with equal propriety, be translated “it”—”I will send it unto you”—nevertheless, we have no objection whatever to urge against the use of the word Him, since this holy Spirit or influence is of or from him, the Father. Similarly the word “he” in verse 8 could, with equal propriety, according to the Greek, be translated “it.”
NOT THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD
Among the various false ideas of the operations of the holy Spirit is one which claims that the holy Spirit as a person has been busy going hither and thither all through this Gospel Age convincing people of sin and converting them to righteousness. Some go so far in the erroneous thought as to tell us that no one could be converted from sin unless God’s holy Spirit miraculously operated upon him. If these thoughts approximated the truth in any degree they would imply that God alone is responsible for the fact that the world is not converted today, because the holy Spirit has failed to do its part in converting and reproving and convicting. But all this is a serious mistake.
The holy Spirit does not operate at all in the hearts of the world; but, as our Lord declares, It shall be in you, his disciples, the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit or disposition of the Son, the spirit of the truth, the spirit of a sane mind, the spirit of holiness to the Lord. None of these qualities of the holy Spirit is found in the sinful world; they belong to and are intended only for the “sanctified in Christ Jesus.” The power of God operates upon the hearts that are fully consecrated to him, energizing them, cleansing them, separating them from the spirit of the world and using them in the divine service. The spirit of the world is the spirit of sin and selfishness; the Spirit of the Lord is the spirit of holiness and consecration to the divine will.
“HE WILL REPROVE THE WORLD”
How, then, will the holy Spirit in you reprove them? We answer that all of the Church, begotten of the holy Spirit and thus enlightened, are to let their light so shine before men that it will reprove the world. That which reproves the world is the holiness
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of the Church. The Spirit of the Lord, the disposition of the Lord in his people, brings reproof to those who are living in sin. It was so in our Lord’s case, as he declared. The Father’s Spirit was imparted to him in this special sense at the time of his baptism; as John testified, “I beheld the holy Spirit descending and resting upon him and abiding.” He received the Father’s Spirit without measure, without limitation, for, as the perfect one, in the image and likeness of God, he could receive the Spirit of God in full measure. We, on the contrary, imperfect, defective through the fall, can receive the Spirit only in limited measure because of our defects—some more and some less; but, thank God, it is the privilege of each to be more and more filled with the holy Spirit and sanctified by it as the days go by. Our Lord’s light, which he let shine before men, was a great one. Our lights are feeble in comparison; but we are to emulate our Lord’s example, and be more and more filled with the spirit of the truth, the light of
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the truth, and let it shine forth with wisdom upon all those who are in range of our influence.
The effect of this will be three-fold, as stated in verses 8-11.
(1) “It will reprove the world of sin”—that is to say, it will make the world conscious of its sinful condition; it will show to the world more and more the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Many of the world have so lost the image of God and are so devoid of conscience that they cannot with great distinctness discriminate between honesty and dishonesty, between truth and falsity, between righteousness and sin. The world has been in the habit of measuring itself with itself; but now in Christ and his Church the Lord has established a new standard for the world; and the Church, not only by its words, but also by its actions, is to uphold the glorious standards of the Lord’s words along the lines of justice and love.
(2) It is not enough that the world be convicted of sin; it needs to understand something about righteousness, the opposite of sin; that a considerable measure of righteousness is possible and that the difficulty in attaining it is due to the fallen nature. The world is to be convinced that righteousness is the proper standard, the only one which God could recognize, and that in his wonderful plan he has arranged for eternal life to be granted only to the righteous. In this connection it is unavoidable that those who give the instruction, the spirit-enlightened ones, will find it necessary to make clear that no one can come into accord with the Father through any works of righteousness of his own, but that the forgiveness, the covering for sins provided through the merit of Christ’s sacrifice is necessary.
(3) The Spirit of the Lord in his people will convince their neighbors, all who come within the range of their light and their message, that the present life is not all that there is, that there is a trial purposed in God’s arrangement for the whole world of mankind, a judgment, a test. Whoever hears this message must concede its reasonableness, and it becomes a basis for joy and hope to all those who desire eternal life. Such as are rightly and deeply exercised by these convictions will seek the Lord and his various means of grace in the present life that they may also have their judgment and trial as part of the Church. But such as are not thus exercised or influenced are to be instructed through the Church; in proportion, however, as they have light or knowledge they have responsibility. In God’s plan he has provided a day of judgment in the future for the world, in which all shall have full opportunity of being judged, of being tested along the lines of their loyalty to the Lord. Nevertheless their conduct in the present life has to do with that future judgment or trial. In proportion as they may disobey their conscience and fail to follow the leadings of the truth in the present time, they will have stripes, difficulties to overcome in the future, and to whatever extent they now seek to live in accord with righteousness they will lay up for themselves a blessing which shall assist them in that day of judgment.
“BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED NOT”
The holy Spirit of truth in the Church will make known to the world that their continuance in the attitude of sinners, “children of wrath,” is because they do not believe in and accept of Christ and his meritorious sacrifice for sin. The holy Spirit in the Church will make known to the world that there is such a thing as righteousness, an imputed righteousness which has been secured by our Lord Jesus through his sacrifice, which he presented before the Father. The holy Spirit in the Church will instruct the world that the present order of things cannot continue, that a new order of things will be ushered in at the second advent of our Lord, as he has already redeemed the world, thus securing the legal right to dispossess Satan, the prince of the present order of evil.
“HE WILL SHOW YOU THINGS TO COME”
Our Lord prepared his followers for a still larger amount of instruction after his ascension than they had received from him during his presence. He explains that the necessity for this was their unpreparedness until they should be endued with power from on high. Until this they would be natural men, and, as the Apostle points out, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” This is the explanation, then, of why our Lord Jesus did not present as deep teachings along spiritual lines as did some of the apostles. It was not inability on his part to present them, but those truths would have been meat out of season to his disciples, which might have choked them, injured them. Hence the deeper things of our Lord’s teachings were stated considerably in parabolic form, which would not hurt them at the time and which later they would come to appreciate and understand. Thus he said again, “I have told you earthly things and ye believed not [are unable to receive them], how would you believe if I told you of heavenly things?”—John 3:12.
But the spirit of truth, when it shall come, will guide you into all truth, yet it will be only a channel and not an authority, for it will make known to you various features of the divine plan and these will include things not yet made manifest to you, but which in due time will be brought to your attention through the Word and through the influence of the holy Spirit. I shall be glorified by this holy Spirit, for it will be my things that will be shown unto you, for all things that the Father hath are mine; therefore, said I, that he [it] shall take of mine and shall show them unto you. Note in this statement the prominence of the Father. All things are of the Father, but the Father hath made the Son joint-heir with him, his associate, and nothing is said to belong to the holy Spirit, because it is merely the divine channel or agency through which communications, blessings, instructions, etc., will be communicated. The holy Spirit is not a person, but the spirit or influence or power of the Almighty God and his everlasting Son, our Lord. For a full discussion of this subject see SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. V., Chap. VIII.
“GIVE YOU ANOTHER COMFORTER”
Our Golden Text is beautiful, helpful. Indeed, our Lord explains that the holy Spirit as a comforting influence, as a guide, as an instructor and helper to the Lord’s people in the narrow way would be a gift from the Father. This agrees with the Apostle’s statement in the record of the Pentecostal blessing. Explaining
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the matter, the Apostle Peter said that our Lord, having been exalted to the right hand of divine power, received this holy Spirit, power, from the Father and shed it forth or sprayed it forth upon his followers at Pentecost. These descriptions fit well to the right view of the holy Spirit, but are very much out of line with the wrong view, that the holy Spirit is a person. How could a person be sprayed or shed forth! How could one equal in authority pray to another that a third one equal to either of them should be shed forth as a gift! The inconsistency of the error is very manifest as soon as our eyes open to its falsity. But how beautiful is the true thought; that as soon as our Lord Jesus had appeared before the Father as our Advocate and had presented at the Mercy Seat the merit of his sacrifice on our behalf, the Father was well pleased to grant his holy Spirit, his holy influence and power upon us, and adopt us into his family and treat us as sons!
How precious is the thought that the Pentecostal blessing was not merely for those who received it, but for the entire Church, as shown in the type! The kings, as well as the priests, in the olden times were anointed, set apart to special service, and Christ and his Church are the true kings and the true priests of the Melchizedec order, through whose ministries as kings and priests all the families of the earth will be blessed. Our Lord is the Head, we are his members in particular. The coming of the holy Spirit upon him to fit and prepare him to be the King, to fit and prepare him to be the Priest of the Melchizedec order, was symbolized in the type by the anointing of oil. Thus the Prophet speaks of this anointing as being poured upon Aaron’s head and running down his beard even unto the skirts of his garments. This, as we see, represents the adoption of the holy Spirit, which came upon our Lord Jesus the Head at his baptism, and which was shed forth at Pentecost upon all those who were ready and waiting to be accepted as his members, and we who since have believed on him through their word have come into membership in the same Body and have received of the same anointing; and “this anointing which ye received of him abideth in you,” and shall be in you. This anointing did not represent a person, but an influence and blessing.
What a satisfaction, what a comfort has come to the Lord’s people through their privilege of being used by him and adopted into his family by the begetting of the holy Spirit, the adoption of the holy Spirit, the anointing of the holy Spirit, the holy influence, the
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blessing of the Father and of the Son, guiding our judgments, guiding our hearts, opening to us the Scriptures, causing our hearts to burn within us as we are brought to a still greater appreciation of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of our Father’s glorious plan of salvation for ourselves and all the families of the earth!
This abiding was not to be a temporary matter, for a day, a month, a year, but to the end of the age, age-lasting, for the entire period. How glad we are that this is so, and how blessed are the instructions and guidance which we have enjoyed! Truly, as our Lord said, the holy Spirit shows us things to come, and explains to us things that are past. How many of our blessings are along the line of appreciation of coming things—the Millennial Kingdom, the times of restitution, the uplifting and strengthening of all the families of the earth!
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OUR LORD BETRAYED AND DENIED
—JOHN 18:1-27—MAY 17—
Golden Text:—”Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men.”—Matt. 17:22
TODAY’S lesson constitutes one of the saddest chapters in history. It reveals to us the depths of human ingratitude, selfishness, weakness, and fear to a remarkable degree. Nevertheless, it is a most helpful lesson to those who are in the right attitude of heart to receive it, because it warns against weaknesses more or less common to all and against dangers to which all are exposed. It emphasizes our Lord’s words to the twelve apostles, words which are applicable also to all of his followers—”Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” And in respect to the Apostle Peter’s experience and our Lord’s magnanimity in dealing with him, the lesson gives encouragement to others who, like Peter, have strayed from the right path unwisely.
To get the proper bearings of this lesson we go back to the early hours of the same evening when Jesus and his chosen twelve met to eat the Passover Supper. For three years our Lord had been training those twelve men, preparing them to be his representatives in the world, his mouthpieces to the Church. They had seen his power, known his teachings and themselves had exercised the power of healing and casting out devils, his power operating through them. He had been on the alert to instruct them as to the need of humility; that they must become as little children, simple, earnest and obedient in order to be fitted for the Kingdom which they were called to share with him. On several occasions he had been obliged to call to their attention the necessity for meekness and humility, as he perceived the spirit of ambition and rivalry amongst them. On this last evening which he would spend with them in the flesh he had noted with regret that when assembling for the Passover Supper they had neglected the usual hospitalities of the time not only toward each other but also toward him, their Leader, their Master whom they professed to believe was the special Son of God, the Messiah. They had neglected to wash one another’s feet and his feet, a custom, almost a necessity to comfort in that dusty land, where sandals are worn instead of shoes.
“I, YOUR LORD—SERVANT OF ALL”
Forgetful of his own weight of care and sorrow, and anxious for the welfare of his followers, Jesus improved the opportunity to teach them all a great lesson in humility. He took water in a basin and a towel and did the feet-washing, while the disciples, ashamed, confused,
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knew not what to say or do under the circumstances, except Peter, who protested that he could not thus have the Master act as his servant; but when Jesus explained that there was a symbolical meaning to the matter, Peter also was anxious for the washing. Lest they should fail to get the lesson, our Lord, after he had finished, explained it, saying, If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, have displayed humility and willingness to serve any of you in the most menial capacity, you surely ought to be willing to follow the same example with one another, and to perform the most menial service for one another, even to the extent of washing one another’s feet, as opportunity may offer.
It was not long before this that Jesus, talking to the apostles, told them plainly that he would be delivered up to the authorities and that the disciples would all forsake him. This seemed a hard statement to the apostles; an intimation that Jesus lacked confidence in them, and it was the impulsive Peter who spoke up and declared that although all should deny the Lord and forsake him he would never do so. It was then that our Lord prophetically told him that before the second cock crowing at night he would deny his Master, and assured him that Satan desired to capture him, but that he was praying for him that his faith would not fail. Surely these statements were of value to the Apostle in his hour of temptation; surely they helped to put all the apostles on guard against what was to be expected.
“LORD, IS IT I? LORD, IS IT I?”
Proceeding further in his cautioning our Lord declared, “Verily I say unto you, one of you shall betray me!” What consternation must have prevailed! Could it be that amongst those who were so highly favored of the Lord and so long associated with him there could be one so base as to deny his Lord?
Let us not lose the force of this lesson; let us remember that the Lord’s disciples down through the Gospel Age have been as the Apostle here declares of the twelve, “Men of like passions with you,” men from the common walks of life, neither above nor below the average standard of human imperfection! Let us remember that the same Lord who cautioned those twelve respecting the trials coming upon them is still mindful of his Church, his flock, and we may suppose especially mindful of all who are in any prominent place of responsibility amongst the brethren. He still guards us, warns us, seeks to keep us from falling under the power of the Adversary. He still prays for his faithful, those who at heart are loyal to him, but who have weaknesses of the flesh which are liable to make their temptations more severe. As our Lord’s interest in and efforts for the apostles increased as they neared the special hour of their temptation, so we may be sure that it is also with respect to his Church in general today, when the last members of his Body, the “feet of him,” are approaching the crucial hour, “The hour of temptation that cometh upon the whole world to try them.”—Rev. 3:10.
The Master does not speak to us in audible tones, as he did to those twelve, but has he not spoken to us with equal force and earnestness? Do not the words and actions of the Lord to those disciples come to us today with the same lesson and with as much force as they bore to them? Have we not, in addition to these examples and warnings, special declarations of the Scriptures respecting the end of the age? Did not our Lord, in the parable of the suitable and unsuitable fish, explain to us that in the end of this Gospel Age there would be a separation of those in the Gospel net? Does he not again in the parable of the wheat and tares tell us of the separation due to take place in the harvest time of this Gospel Age, when only the true and the ripe wheat will be gathered into the barn? Does he not through the Apostle forewarn us that in the end of the age perilous times shall come because men will be lovers of their own selves—selfish, ambitious—lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? (2 Tim. 3:1,2.) Does he not tell us that it would be at the time in the divine plan when God would send [permit] strong delusions, so that all might believe a lie who shall not have received the truth in the love of it and with zeal?—2 Thess. 2:11.
“THE HOUR OF TEMPTATION THAT SHALL TRY”
Does he not also tell us that the temptations of this hour will be such as would, if it were possible, deceive the “very Elect,” but that in their case it will not be possible because of their love, their zeal and the consequent blessings and privileges that divine favor will provide for them! And if to Peter special encouragement was given—”I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not”—have we not a full equivalent of this in the Scriptural assurance, “Lo, I am with you alway,” “My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in your weakness”? (Matt. 28:30; 2 Cor. 12:9.) Surely we have much advantage every way over the apostles in their trial, and this advantage is emphasized in the fact that their trial came upon them before their anointing with the holy Spirit, whereas our testings come to us at the time we are of the anointed Body. When we now look out into the future and hear the message, “The morning cometh, but a night also” (Isa. 21:12), we may well be forewarned as to what to expect in that short night of trouble which will affect the consecrated followers before it reaches the world in general. We must expect in this hour of trial that “a thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee”; yet we must remember that this promise is limited to the class specified, to those who have made the Lord, even the Most High, their refuge and habitation; for no evil can come nigh their dwelling place. (Psa. 91:7,9.) Therefore, dearly beloved, putting on the whole armor of God that we may be able to stand in this evil day, we will need to watch unto prayer for ourselves and for those over whom the holy Spirit hath made us overseers, that we may feed the flock of God, which he hath purchased with the blood of his own Son.—Acts 20:28, Diaglott.
As the eating of a meal together was a pledge of
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faithfulness, so for the Master to dip a special sop was a special mark of favor, and this was given to Judas at the supper to indicate the one who would betray the Lord. We can better imagine than describe how the apostles, in various tones, asked the Lord, “Is it I?” and how Judas likewise asked the same question! We can imagine the look of our Lord’s eye as he gave him the sop, saying in action and look, Judas, why do you resist the loving kindnesses which I have bestowed upon you? You have professed to be my friend and disciple; I surely have done the part of a friend toward you. That glance and that sop should have overwhelmed the selfish Judas, but as the mercy of the Lord, in the taking away of the plagues from Pharaoh had so much the more hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so every additional manifestation of our Lord’s humility and kindness seems to have had the effect of hardening the heart of Judas. In answer to our Lord’s glance and sop Judas, so far from repenting, was more embittered, more determined to carry out his program. It shone in his eye; our Lord read his thoughts and answered in the words, “What thou doest, do quickly.”
Let us not lose the lesson in its application and bearing upon the Lord’s people of today. If any amongst the consecrated are cultivating selfishness and personal ambition, they are preparing themselves for such a termination as that of Judas. The influence of the spirit they are cultivating will lead them further and further from sympathy with the Lord’s cause and the faithful brethren until, like Judas, they shall be ready to sell the truth for a little personal advantage. And when such a condition of heart has been reached by those who were once enlightened and have tasted of the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, no power will hinder them from going to the limit of their evil course. Their minds become so poisoned against the truth that the very sops of favor animate them the more toward evil. As in Judas’ case we read that then Satan entered into him, so with a similar class here; we may expect the Adversary to get fuller power and control over them.
THE LESSONS OF GETHSEMANE
One would think that the impressive lessons of that night would have so filled the minds of the apostles and made them so alert that sleep would have been far from their eyes. But not so; they scarcely understood how to take the Master’s words; he had said so many remarkable things which they did not comprehend; it seemed so incomprehensible that he who had come to be the Messiah and reign should be betrayed and crucified, and that they whom he had promised should sit with him in his throne should all forsake him and flee. Hence the repeated instruction that they should watch and pray made little impression. Even the three special friends of Jesus, the ones whom he made his special confidants and took with him to the Mount of Transfiguration on another special occasion without the others—even these three slumbered, except as from time to time the Lord visited them and awakened them and they noted certain incidents which they recorded for us.
“LEST ANY ROOT OF BITTERNESS SPRING UP”
How is it now? The night of trouble nearing, the hour of trial that shall try all that dwell upon the face of the whole earth coming close, and with the many warnings of the Master through the Word that we should watch and pray lest we enter into temptation!—how is it with us? Alas! many of those who, like Peter, James and John, have been specially favored of the Lord, especially near to him, fail to realize the importance of the time in which we are living, fail to realize that the foretold temptations are about to come upon them and that, like Peter, they will be in great danger of being swept away, sifted out from amongst the Lord’s faithful.
We can imagine our Lord’s condition to some extent. His great hour of trial was upon him; he realized it to the full; it meant not only that his own faithfulness, past and present and on the day following, would decide respecting his loyalty to the Father and his right to obtain the high reward of glory, honor and immortality, but it meant additionally that the interests of the whole world of mankind were in the balance! Victory would mean eventually the deliverance of all the prisoners in bondage to sin and death; failure would mean the loss of everything! Can we wonder that his soul was exceeding sorrowful, and that in his intensity of feeling bloody perspiration oozed from his pores? Ah, dear Master! Well was it written of him, “Of the people there was none with me.” Even his most intimate and most beloved disciples failed to appreciate the conditions and to render him the sympathetic aid which he craved. What would those disciples afterward not have given to have had back the opportunity of ministering to their Lord in his hour of trial! What a privilege they let slip! There is a lesson here for us also, for although the Master is not in the flesh and will suffer no more, some of his members are still in the flesh, some who must suffer with him if they would reign with him. Our sufferings are not all just like those of the Master, nor are they just the same with each of us; each has his own experiences to prove, to test, to fit, to polish him that he may be made meet for the Master’s use. Have we, each for the other, that sympathy, that yearning love which would lead us to help one another and to bear one another’s burdens and thus to fulfil the Law of Christ, the Law of Love? or have we the Judas spirit to injure? or have we the spirit of slothful indifference and lack of appreciation which would lead us to slumber while the interests of others of the Body are at stake, while the brethren are suffering and are in trial? Our practical answer to these questions the Lord is looking for, and his love and his favor will be upon those who manifest most of his Spirit. To us much has been given, in that the hour of testing along these lines comes to us after we have received the anointing of the holy Spirit. Of us correspondingly more will be expected
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—”We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
AN ANGEL MINISTERED UNTO HIM
When our Lord in his agony prayed the Father, “If it be possible let this cup pass from me,” we are not to suppose that he meant the cup of death, for he had already explained to his disciples that this death was necessary, and that he had come into the world for this very purpose. What, then, was the cup which he asked might pass from him? We reply that quite probably he referred to the particular ignominy which would be associated with his crucifixion; which would attach to his execution as a blasphemer against God and between two thieves. Another Scripture gives us to understand that the severity of our Lord’s anguish was in respect to his own faithfulness, upon which depended his resurrection. If he failed in even one little item, one jot or tittle of the Law, his own life would have been condemned and forfeited as much as was Adam’s and as a result he would have had no resurrection and no future life, and the whole work, for which he had come into the world, would have been a failure. The Scripture we refer to says, “Who in the days of his flesh offered up strong crying and tears unto him who was able to save him from [out of] death. And he was heard in respect to the thing which he feared.” Although none of his disciples gathered around him to assure him that he had been without spot and blemish and that every act of his life had been in full conformity to the divine will, God more than made up to him such encouragement by sending specially an angel, who ministered unto him, who served him in respect to the thing which he feared, who therefore must have given him assurance from the Father that he had been faithful, that he was approved.
On the strength of that assurance our Lord arose firm, calm, strong for all the coming events of that night and the next day up to the moment of his death. And so it should be with us: Properly there should be some anxiety in respect to the future; the Lord will not be pleased if we are careless as respects the matter of making our calling and election sure. We are to appreciate life, and particularly the life more abundant which has been promised to us if we prove faithful. We are so to appreciate this that our eyes will be toward the Lord for such ministrations of his love and favor as will give us assurance that we are still his and that the glorious hopes and promises are still ours. And his assurances or comfort may not come through earthly ministrations; the Lord himself will see to it that every member of his Body who is deeply earnest and anxious on the subject will have the proper witness of the Spirit, the proper testimony to his heart of his continued acceptance and faithfulness.
JESUS BETRAYED WITH A KISS
Treachery is universally despised and properly so, hence Satan, the traitor to God, and Judas, the traitor to our Lord Jesus, stand out prominently as representatives of that condition of mind and heart which should be shunned by all, the condition of heart which the Lord declares merits and shall have the Second Death, everlasting destruction. From the various Gospel records we find that Judas, leaving the company of the Lord and the eleven apostles, went again to the Chief Priests, with whom he had already been in conference. He finished the bargain and became the guide of a band of temple guards or temple policemen and their followers. These, armed with their clubs or maces, took with them lights needed for the searching of the foliage, although the moon was at its full. From the
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standpoint of the rulers the midnight hour was the most favorable because a large concourse of people then in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover included many who knew Jesus and had been witnesses of his miracles and his arrest in day time might have led to a tumult. Our Lord probably went to the Garden because it belonged to a friend and because in the open his disciples would have a better opportunity for escape from arrest; though it does not appear that there was any special endeavor to make an arrest, except that mentioned by Mark of a young man who followed with the crowd as they led Jesus away and who had on a long, loose garment, and when they laid hold upon it he fled from them naked. This is supposed to have been John Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark, and that he lived on the premises of which the Gethsemane Garden was a part.
Our Lord’s agony, prayer and comforting at an end, he returned to the apostles, saying, “Sleep on now, and take your rest.” Your opportunity for watching with me or speaking a word of comfort has passed; your opportunity for waking your own hearts and minds to prayer as a safeguard against coming trials and testings is past. Behold the band of those who will arrest me! A little ahead of the band came Judas, who indicated the Master by the traitorous kiss, which John, for very shame, did not record. Judas, finding his deception recognized as the Master said, “Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” left him and joined the band who had come for his arrest, while Jesus, coming out of the cover into the open, said, “Whom seek ye?” After he had answered their reply, saying, “I am he, let these my friends go their way,” we read that the men went backward and fell on the ground. This was doubtless the result of a power our Lord exercised upon them, the power by which he might have resisted them entirely had he so desired. What he did was sufficient to show them and his apostles that his surrender was not one of necessity, but that the Father’s will might be done.
Awhile before Jesus had said that they should have some swords, and, finding that there were two, he said they were enough. The Apostle Peter was evidently the bearer of one of these and as the armed men approached the Lord, Peter used the sword and smote off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest. This incident was evidently of the Lord’s intention to show that his surrender was not because of cowardice on the part of the disciples or himself. It also furnished the opportunity of healing an enemy by our Lord’s touch and the opportunity of saying to Peter,
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“Put up thy sword; they that take to the sword shall perish by the sword”; in other words, My followers are not to fight with carnal weapons, my Kingdom is not to be established in this manner.
Annas had been the High Priest for a number of years and had been followed in the office by several of his sons and now his son-in-law, Caiaphas, filled the position. Nevertheless, Annas in a certain sense was recognized and hence our Lord was first taken before him. Annas questioned him but did not attempt a judicial investigation. This was had before Caiaphas and apparently in another part of the palace of the High Priest.
It was apparently while our Lord was being examined by Annas that Peter, who warmed himself at the fire, was questioned three times respecting his identity with our Lord as one of his followers, and three times he denied and directly the cock crowing began. Peter heard it, and our Lord, while being led from the presence of Annas to the judgment seat of Caiaphas, looked upon Peter. What a sermon there was in the glance toward Peter! He who had boasted of his courage that he never would deny the Lord had failed. How much weaker he was than he had supposed! How the Lord’s prophecy had come true, Before the second cock crowing thou shalt deny me thrice! He went out and wept bitterly, sick at heart and thoroughly ashamed of himself, resolving, no doubt, that he would be less boastful in the future and do more of the watching and praying which the Master had enjoined.
We know not how close parallels to some of these experiences may lie before some of the Lord’s dear people now. But let us hope that if any of us should come so sadly short of our own hopes and privileges that the Master would not only pray for us, as he did for Peter, but that he would turn upon us also his glances of reproof, of chiding, and also such glances as would remind us of his sympathy and love that we might not be overwhelmed with our own sense of weakness and shame, but that our repentance, unlike that of Judas, should be like that of Peter, sincere and acceptable to the Lord.
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BEREAN STUDIES ON THE ATONEMENT
THE TEXT BOOK USED FOR THIS COURSE IS SCRIPTURE STUDIES, SERIES V. (E)
Questions on Study II.—The Author of the Atonement
(29) Examine the tenth proof-text—Isa. 6:1—and demonstrate what is and what is not its true signification. P.47, last two pars., and P.48.
(30) How should we view Isa. 8:13,14? P.49, par. 1.
(31) Proof-text number 12 is Psalm 110. Examine it and demonstrate the truth respecting its teachings. P.49, pars. 2,3,4.
(32) Since our Lord Jesus is styled the “Great Teacher” and since it is written, “All thy children shall be taught of Jehovah” (Isa. 54:13), is or is not this a proof that our Lord Jesus is there referred to as Jehovah by name? Pp.50-54.
(33) Find and read one or more Scripture texts containing the word Trinity.
(34) Is it supposable that the doctrine of Trinity is taught in the Bible and yet no such word can be found in it?
(35) Quote the strongest text in the Bible which seemingly implies that there are three Gods instead of one. Compare I John 5:7 with Deuteronomy 5:6-11.
(36) What is the teaching of Trinitarianism—that there is one God who sometimes assumes three distinct manifestations, or three Gods equal in glory and honor? Did you ever know anybody able or willing to give a positive answer to this question? P.54, par. 1.
(37) Explain the force of the Trinity doctrine in the passage, “The head of the woman is the man, the head of the man is Christ and the head of Christ is God.” (I Cor. 11:3.) P.55, par. 1.
(38) What objection can be urged against I John 5:7? Does it teach three Gods in one person, or three distinct Gods?
(39) Were the translators of our Common Version Bible to blame for the insertion of the spurious text? Why not? P.56, par. 1.
(40) Do scholars of all denominations acknowledge that the greater part of I John 5:7 is not a part of the original Bible, but a spurious addition without right or authority? P.56, par. 1.
(41) Which words in that text are spurious?
(42) Would the passage make as good sense or better if the interpolation were omitted? Read the passage corrected. P.56, par. 2.
(43) Mention some of the versions of the New Testament that omit these words and cite the comment by the “Improved Version,” also Lang’s comment. P.57.
(44) Name some prominent Bible scholars who have pronounced the passage a spurious interpolation. P.57, last par.
(45) Quote Dean Alford’s words. P.58, par. 1.
(46) Quote Dr. C. Tischendorf on the subject. P.58, par. 2.
(47) Quote Prof. T. B. Wolsey. P.58, par. 3.
(48) Quote Dr. Adam Clarke on this passage. P.58, par. 4.
(49) Quote John Wesley on this subject. P.58, last par.
(50) Why was there more excuse for misunderstanding on this matter a century or two ago than now? P.58, last par.
(51) In what sense is there a unity or oneness between the Father and the Son? P.59, par. 1.
(52) Are the Father and the Son spoken of in the Scriptures as equal, in the sense that neither has nor ever had a superiority over the other? P.59, par. 1.
(53) What is implied in the terms Father and Son? P.60, par. 1.
(54) Are all things of the Son and all things by the Father, or vice versa, and what does this statement imply? P.60, par. 1.
(55) The doctrine of the Trinity is called a mystery. Why? In what sense is it mysterious? P.60, par. 2.
(56) Would Satan over-honor Christ? Why, then, would he propagate this error? and what has he effected? P.61, pars. 1,2.
(57) How old is the error on this subject, and how did it get so firm a footing in Christendom? Pp.62, 63.
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